Saturday, January 22, 2011

Goodbye Keith Olbermann

I am personally unmoved by the removal of Keith Olbermann from MSNBC, since I quit watching him months ago. His pontifical style, arrogance, and insistence on never using one word when twelve would do the job were not quite enough to drive me away, but his increasingly dishonest discourse and misrepresentation of facts was. I dislike demagoguery, no matter which side is engaging in it.

That does not mean that I believe his removal is a good thing. He pissed off a lot of people, while pissing on quite a lot more, but he made some people think. He had a following and he was keeping at least a portion of that following attuned to and thinking about the process of democracy. He was undoubtedly making a significant number of his audience follow him without thinking at all, of course, but that portion would be following somebody and better him than someone like, say, Glen Beck.

In his final show he dropped little tidbits to give the impression that his departure was of his making, but I rather doubt that such was the case. I’m not going to speculate on the cause, other than to suggest that I doubt it had to do with the merger but may have had to do with the departure of Jeff Zucker. I don’t really care why it happened.

His removal would be a good thing only if it was accompanied by the removal of all the rest of his ilk from both sides of the political spectrum. That, of course, would mean the collapse of cable news altogether, which would be great, and maybe of the cable system itself, which might not be all that bad either.

Update: Seems Olbermann is prohibited from being on television for a while, but rumor has it that he will "establish a presence for himself" on the Internet. I am so excited that I am on the verge of having an organism.

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