Here’s Keith’s statement
And I really liked the guy’s stuff, but I am unsurprised.
I’m not going to talk about ego or volatility, or the difficulty of his working relationships. All that is out there.
The fact remains nobody did what he did during George W. Bush’s presidency. In an era when no one in mainstream media seemed brave enough to call the administration to account for it’s policies, he did so…early and often.
I wish him well in his new direction, whatever it might be.
I got tired of what I saw as too much thin-skinned stuff…but I’ll always admire his work, the way he mentored people and his facility at picking very cool guests…
I foresee a non-tv future. Sports journalism perhaps. Something he loves. Where he is, at last, his own boss.
What I hate about this is how much glee there will be on the right at this. How people who couldn’t do what he did if their lives depended on it will do a lot of mindless giggling and p and L’ ing. Howard Kurtz is going to be smirking all over ‘Reliable Sources.’
Update…Here’s a read on the situation that says it much better than I could, acknowledging the difficult and embracing the good about Mr. Olbermann’s career.
2nd update April 7: 1208 EDT.
After reading Keith’s suit online and the cross complaint by Current…and FTR I am an Olbermann fan…this is my take. Also FTR this is my opinion of what the complaints mean. Only. My. Opinion.
Keith’s stance seems to be, and I give him points for…
1. I came to Current looking to create Countdown again, and the facility and systems were not up to the standards I feel I need to have to do this right. I asked for correction and improvement multiple times and did not get it.
2. Since I don’t drive (he can’t) I use car services that are supposed to have been paid by Current, as part of my contract and weren’t.
3. I had a throat ailment this winter. It was legitimate. Those days, as a subset of the days I was out… cannot and should not be counted against me.
4. I was given the title of “News Director.” at the time it was a real title with some teeth, IOW I did get to have a say over who else got brought on…again, part of the contract. Current is now interpreting this differently, calling it an ‘honorific.’ Why?
I therefore feel I was fired without cause, and am suing.
I think the two weakest points in Keith’s suit are:
His absence during the primary was inappropriate. From my understanding he did not yet have his throat ailment. Political primaries during an election year are one of the most important nights out there for any opinion show. Can they fire him for that single incident? I don’t know, but they may have grounds there.
When Current repeatedly fell down on the job, Keith seems to have decided that because they did, his own contract became an “if then” statement. IOW
Since Current clearly cannot or will not do the things listed above I’ve decided not to fulfill that portion of my contract that said I had to promote not just Countdown, but Current’s entire lineup. (the requirements are listed in Current’s cross-complaint)
Had he taken the high road and said to himself…look, I’m going to hang tough on the set thing, just keep asking for lights that work and promos that air correctly and go ahead and promote…back Cenk and Granholm, even if he didn’t like their work, and had he done the primary thing he’d be in a stronger position right now.
The strongest pieces of Current’s cross complaint seem to be:
He did not promote our entire lineup as he was contractually obligated to do.
He did not provide sufficient notice when he was going to be absent.
They look weaker when they assert:
He was out too much and we don’t care that part of it was justified medical and part of it was vacation prior to the primary season. We’re bringing all of it out in our cross complaint as if all that time were inappropriate and unjustified.
We refuse to deal with lawyers and agents (metaphorically stomping their feet) We only want to speak with Ollbermann himself. When he only communicates via email we’re going to take it personally, and again, not assume it’s because of the throat ailment, at least some of the time.
We’ve decided not to pay for his car service, because he switches too much, even though it was part of the contract.
We’ve decided not expend much effort in correcting the set glitches. We don’t really explain why in the cross complaint.
Again, whaaah to that.
I think their first two items alone do give them technical breach of contract, but they knew he’d sue for the entire 50 mil and those two weren’t enough, in their eyes to lose both his talent and some portion of the 50 mil. But their inaction in other areas and other types of absence complaints seem very petty and inflated to me.
I think it’s going to get ugly. And I remember Joel Hyatt from his Cleveland days. An ego like that is not going to be a happy camper in the same playroom as Olbermann’s.
Much as I miss his voice politically, I think he shouldn’t do it, at least for awhile. I think part of his um, difficult times at MSNBC and Current stem from: He’s good at it, but doesn’t really love to do it.
Do something off tv about baseball, KO. You love that. It shows.
I think his ego gets less in the way, he’ll be happier…
And then, those of us who are fans of his political side may get something on HBO down the road from him.
June 20th 8:00 pm EDT.
Current TV. Do not adjust your set. They control the …
…Stylish verbal flamethrowing.
No doubt with the correct use of the word ‘egregious’ from time to time…
Countdown. Lights. Camera. Keith.
Note: as a few have said, I must still be an idiot at embedding video…if this doesn’t show up for you, head to Youtube and search for “Keith Olbermann” “Current Promo” There are two and they will both pull up. Apologies for any inconvienience my technical ineptitude has caused.
Per Mr. Olbermann he’s been told it’s his last show. It’s been a great ride. I hope Keith Olbermann lets his fans know where he lands next.
I know many in the Republican leaning media outlet are cheering. Their perogative.
The guy had the guts to stand up to the last administration
he’s smart, literate, clever, etc, and because of that, even if he makes a move to purely sports journalism…we have not heard the last of him.
I’m startled but not shocked. The Comcast merger was just recently approved, and Comcast is run by a really conservative guy.
And now we’re going to hear people at CNN and possibly even network news say that well. we saw that coming, he started to believe his own press, etc, sagely wagging their heads, all the gutless wonders that wouldn’t have the spine to have said what he said, when first given the room to do so by his corporate overlords, since it did, in fact, make them money.
words on Keith Olbermann’s suspension. (For those who are not familiar with cable news, he hosts a show called “Countdown” on MSNBC.)
They are of course, my opinion with some links to actual journalists included.
It appears that the suspension was technically correct, under NBC news standards in place. He contributed 2400.00 each to three political campaigns without asking prior approval, and it’s the without asking prior approval part that appears to have triggered the suspension.
I hope to goodness NBC has record of Pat Buchanan and Joe Scarborough asking permission in 2006 when they donated. Most sources say they did.
While the merger has begun, Comcast, owned by a conservative, has not yet taken control over the part of the merger that NBC news is under. so by that, they can say they had no part in this.
Pundits and/or journalists on both sides of the political spectrum have said they thought the suspension without pay was overkill. The Weekly Standard, for example.
His colleague, Rachel Maddow, said on her show yesterday that she believes the point has been made and that Keith Olbermann should be back hosting Countdown while listing the many pundits and newsfolk at another cable pundit outlet who openly solicit contributions for politicians they talk about or have on their shows, not just by name but by candidate and the amounts contributed. (She’s factual like that.)
Here is my opinion:
I think someone high up, at NBC Universal got pressured to, or decided on their own that Keith Olbermann’s conduct should be held up to a microscope at work, with the eye to finding a technically correct reason to get him gone.
I’ve been witness to several similar firings/resignations/suspensions/final warnings in my lifetime…and I firmly believe this was. A group or person wished for the suspension. Whether it is temporary or permanent, he got suspended not for two or three 2400.00 checks. The rules were the delivery system for something else.
And, lo here on Sunday, may be the something else:
This latest linked story claims Mr. Olbermann was suspended for refusing to admit his contributions were a mistake or a rules violation on-air…If true, that genuinely puzzles me, because his show was the quickest to admit when they made a factual blunder of any show I’ve seen since the days of Huntley-Brinkley, Cronkite, etc. (The opinion and the bias were open and obvious always yes, but factual errors are another matter.) We’ll see.
The pure economics of it:
This guy made you a ton of money, and shutting him up is going to lose you a ton of money. That’s bad business.
If you keep the name “Countdown,” and change the host, it will become your least watched show…whereas if you move Rachel to that slot, say, and put Lawrence O’Donnell in her old slot…and someone new in Lawrence’s slot…that would be a better deal for you. You’ll make more money.
And the personal.
The first moment of Olbermann’s work I noticed was while scanning through the horrific images of the Convention Center and the Ninth Ward during Katrina. He was *criticizing* the Bush administration openly and directly.
And getting away with it.
And using the word ‘egregious’ properly in a sentence.
It seemed particularly fearless to me. My perception was, that the country had been mostly in lockstep with the Bush administration since 9/11, and incorrectly so since late 2002… and that criticism was hobbled more closely than during any other time in my adult life.
His work made my own 2004 resolve to get more political and more active seem like the right thing to have done….and gave me a purpose….When you’re homebound in a wheelchair having a purpose is a darn good thing. He fought like a….for healthcare reform, and his personal experience with that labyrinth informed his words.
And, the Special Comments:
Being something of a verbal flamethrower myself, I take great joy in anybody taking the gloves off, when something has to be said.
If he surfaces somewhere else doing political commentary, I’ll be in the first row.
If he returns to MSNBC so much the better, although I’m shaking my head at NBC for being this economically dumb.
Note: a smaller version of this has been emailed to Mr. Griffin, Mr. Olbermann’s boss at MSNBC.
Second update: Well, maybe Mr. Griffin had second thoughts after 300,000 signatures on a petition, many other media outlets calling the suspension as off by a yard or two etc, etc.
Keith’s BAAACCCKKK! He’ll be opinionating again on Tuesday.
suspended “indefinitely?” Bwahahaha! …since when does four days, (only two broadcast days) equal indefinitely.
I know that last line was childish endzone dancing. I can’t help it.
Mr. Olbermann himself gives a shoutout to viewers and his side of the story….
From which, my favorite quote:
I want to sincerely thank you for the honor of your extraordinary and
ground-rattling support. Your efforts have been integral to the remedying of
these recent events…I genuinely look forward to rejoining you on Countdown on Tuesday, to begin the repayment of your latest display of support and loyalty – support and loyalty that is truly mutual.–K.O.(grin and more childish endzone dancing by me.)