One more Keith Olbermann post

We’ve probably beat the Keith Olbermann thing to death here, but it is worth noting that he has his fans have apparently set up a page called “Bring Keith Olbermann Back” (to MSNBC). I don’t know what this means, exactly. We report, you decide.

I’m a crazy, paranoid, unserious person so don’t listen to me, but here’s how I see things going with MSNBC under Comcast: they stick with the left-center stuff for a while but with hosts/promotions that (they know) won’t work well, so that in a few years they can say “people just don’t want to watch this stuff”, then they fill the network with “Morning Joe” type shows or worse. I just can’t see Comcast keeping a “liberal network” around, not with Ed Snider as chairman. Everything that happens will be a coincidence of course, just like it is when currency nuts shoot Democratic members of Congress.

Does anyone here seriously think MSNBC will have a lot of shows with liberals hosts in five years? I sure don’t.

When people say things like “well, they want to make money, don’t they”, I’m not convinced. I don’t think something small like MSNBC will ever make or lose much money anyway. But it has enough viewers that is has some kind of propaganda value, probably one that is larger than its value as a conventional business.

Update. I have my Comcast corporate structure wrong, per the comments.






128 replies
  1. 1
    You Don't Say says:

    What does this page say?

  2. 2
    Kryptik says:

    Yeah, this is my distinct worry too Doug, and why I thought they promoted O’Donnell to the 8PM slot, and haven’t shitcanned Ed either. Both of them are easily caricatured and without the actual advocacy Olbermann had potential for.

  3. 3
    DougJ DougJson says:

    @You Don’t Say:

    It says:

    Mr. Olbermann is the voice for millions of Americans around this country with common sense values and ideas. He must be restored to the airwaves at once.

  4. 4
    Ija says:

    I think there is some discussion in the earlier thread whether Olbermann really did set up the page. This might be the work of a fan.

    I agree with your other points, though. I really don’t see Comcast, with the kind of people currently heading it, letting MSNBC stays on the left. There are people to whom political influence is more important than making money.

  5. 5
    Cap'n Phealy says:

    I don’t think KO set it up…he’s never been a FB presence, mostly he just tweets and blogs baseball at mlb.com, and an occasional post at Kos, usually Special Comment-related.

  6. 6
    Elisabeth says:

    Could that page have been set up by someone other than Olbermann?

  7. 7
    DougJ DougJson says:

    @Elisabeth:

    It comes off what looks like his Facebook page. Maybe the Facebook page is fake, too, but it doesn’t look like it.

  8. 8
    Ija says:

    @DougJ DougJson:

    Yeah, that tagline. I don’t see Olbermann using that if he really sets up the page. He’s not that self-regarding and grandiose, is he?

  9. 9
    Elisabeth says:

    @DougJ DougJson:

    Thanks! I assumed it was him but, since I only play the games on FB, I figured I’d ask.

  10. 10
    DougJ DougJson says:

    @Ija:

    If it’s a fake, it’s a good one. The web page has been around for 18 months and the last time he used it much was when he was suspended.

    That said, I agree it doesn’t look like he’s necessarily writing it all himself. But I suspect it’s at least all done with his approval.

  11. 11
    Crusty Dem says:

    @DougJ DougJson:

    Nope. Just a fan page.

    ETA at bottom of “Keith Olbermann” page:

    Description above from the Wikipedia article Keith Olbermann, licensed under CC-BY-SA, full list of contributors here. Community Pages are not affiliated with, or endorsed by, anyone associated with the topic.

  12. 12
    nestor says:

    In 1985, Snider was one of the founding contributors of the Ayn Rand Institute

    Move along, nothing to see here.

  13. 13
  14. 14
    DougJ DougJson says:

    @Crusty Dem:

    How does that work? They can use his image and have him say “I did this, I did that” without his approval.

    Excuse my Facebook ignorance.

  15. 15
    leo says:

    It’s always amazed me that people look at the preponderance of conservative content in traditional broadcast media — particularly on radio but to a certain extent, on tv as well — and accept it as some natural phenomena. As if the huge amount of rightwing radio, just to take an obvious example, somehow reflected our country, the market or what have you.

    Of course, the obvious real reason is ownership: look at who owns the networks (and their conglomeration is increasing with each passing year) and that’s all you need to know.

  16. 16
    Dennis SGMM says:

    The money quote from the Wikipedia article linked in the OP:

    In 1985, Snider was one of the founding contributors of the Ayn Rand Institute, which was established by the philosopher Leonard Peikoff to promote the advancement of Objectivism.

    Snider is, like most libertarians, convinced that all they need is a voice and people will flock to their banner. I’m almost tempted to watch television again just to see how long it takes him to run MSNBC into the ground.

  17. 17
    Punchy says:

    OT: Uncle Buck flipping a pancake with a shovel may be the best scene in any movie, evah.

  18. 18
    Keith G says:

    We’ve probably beat the Keith Olbermann thing to death here

    Oh no, not even close to the standard B-J level of “beat to death.”

  19. 19
    DougJ DougJson says:

    @Keith G:

    That’s a high standard though. Given that it’s a weekend, we may to be able to match it.

  20. 20
  21. 21
    DougJ DougJson says:

    @Keith G:

    Thanks.

  22. 22
    DougJ DougJson says:

    @Punchy:

    What did Sully think of it?

  23. 23
    Crusty Dem says:

    @DougJ DougJson:

    If they list it as a “fan” page, there are no limitations, if it’s a “person” page, the actual person can get it removed. The easiest way to tell the difference is whether it reads “add as a friend” or “like” at the top (add as a friend being a person and like being a fan page).

    Fuck dude, it’s Facebook, the rules are there are no rules.

  24. 24
    Michelle says:

    “Bring Keith Olbermann Back” is a group created by a fan by the name of Dakota Ioanis about 15 hours ago. So essentially, it’s a fan page. As far as Keith himself having a personal profile or official page on Facebook, I have no idea. But no, Keith himself did not set up this group.

  25. 25
    Davis X. Machina says:

    It’s always amazed me that people look at the preponderance of conservative content in traditional broadcast media—particularly on radio but to a certain extent, on tv as well—and accept it as some natural phenomena.
    </blockquote

    However undesirable, such a monoculture isn't new or unusual, though.

    How much liberal broadcast media was there, ever? In the radio era, apart from union-owned stations, places like WEVD, and the like? In the television era, apart from the public/educational stations that went on to become PBS?

    There are immense money barriers to entry — and the people with money don’t roll with us, by and large. A few liberal billionaires aren’t a real counterweight.

  26. 26
    eemom says:

    dunno, I think that would be a fairly pathetic and whiny thing to do if he actually set it up himself.

    I agree with everyone who says, as I have myself, that KO was really a force for good during the Dark Years. But I could tell from the first time I set eyes on him that he’s also an arrogant egomaniac. And he’s made shitloads of money. I am totally not buying the martyr thing. If Comcast did in fact push him out it’s entirely possible they did it because his pain in the ass factor exceeded his market value.

    DougJ, I think your conspiracy-esque theory in a way overestimates those people. I don’t think they plan ahead that far. As for “propaganda,” I doubt that they’re idealogues so much as typical rich republican assholes.

    I could be wrong, of course.

    Now if Rachel were to mysteriously bid us adieu — THAT would be cause for conspiracy-mongering.

  27. 27
    Mike in NC says:

    Does anyone here seriously think MSNBC will have a lot of shows with liberals hosts in five years?

    Tweety will be replaced on “Hardball” by someone like John Stossel or Mark Halperin, with regular “Special Comment” contributions from the likes of Megan McArdle.

  28. 28
    JGabriel says:

    DougJ @ Top:

    Does anyone here seriously think MSNBC will have a lot of shows with liberals hosts in five years?

    Five years? Just enough time for the 2016 election.

    I’d say the time frame you’ve suggested is just about right.

    .

  29. 29
    Kryptik says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Nah. Tweety’s too much of a useful tool. He gets to be a ‘liberal’ while still able to opine about how the latest GOP primary candidate is a real man’s man.

  30. 30
    Punchy says:

    @DougJ DougJson: I googled it and got nothing. You’d figger the British guy would enjoy a fat Canadian.

  31. 31
    baldheadeddork says:

    Got a correction for you, Doug.

    Ed Snider is not the chairman of Comcast. He is the chairman of Comcast-Spectacor, which owns the Philadelphia 76ers, the Flyers, and the stadiums where they play.

    Snider sold a 63% stake of Spectacor to Comcast in 1996. He retains ownership of the remaining 37%. Snider had nothing to do with Comcast before 1996, and he’s had nothing to do with the cable side of the company since. He’s not on the Comcast board now, and I don’t believe he’s ever been.

    The CEO of Comcast is Brian Roberts. If he’s political he hides it well. His father Ralph founded Comcast and still serves as Chairman Emeritus. His politics seem to lean Republican from looking at his donations, but that’s all there is and he’s also donated to Hillary Clinton, Dick Gephardt, Joe Biden and the DSCC. Their endowments run to Jewish organizations, medical facilities, and the University of Pennsylvania.

  32. 32
    stuckinred says:

    @Kryptik: Just ask the Swift Boats Vets for Truth. Motherfucker had them on almost daily.

  33. 33
    Cat Lady says:

    I don’t think something small like MSNBC will ever make or lose much money anyway. But it has enough viewers that is has some kind of propaganda value, probably one that is larger than its value as a conventional business.

    In other words, like the Moonie Times. A true 23/7 (- Rachel) Randian network by our Galtian overlords and their glibertarian bootlickers? Perhaps the Fonzie of Freedom is being groomed as we speak? It would be irresponsible not to speculate.

  34. 34
    Mark S. says:

    I think they’ll try to remain the liberal alternative to Fox. But who knows? Maybe they’ll turn into a trashy tabloid channel like Headline News and hire that bitch Nancy Grace.

    What I’d like to know is who the hell watches CNBC. If you are an investor, are you going to trust dipshits like Cramer, Kudlow, the guy who looks like a bird, the bimbo who’s pretty much admitted to sleeping with every CEO, etc.?

  35. 35
    Church Lady says:

    My best guess is that he is so difficult to work with that the brass decided he just wasn’t worth the money. His last contract (in 2008) was worth 30 million over 4 years. That’s a whole lot of money to spend on someone with falling ratings.
    His wars with management at every place he has ever worked are legend in the industry and he doesn’t just burn bridges when he leaves, he napalms them.

    We used to watch Countdown every night, starting way before it became completely political. Michael Jackson Puppet Theater and the jabs at Bill O’Reilly cracked us up. It was entertaining, and as the show started to develop a more political bent it was still a great show. I remember the first Special Comment, the one taking Rumsfeld down. My husband and I both literally applauded. Then he did a second, and then a third, and then they started coming so frequently that the Special Comments weren’t quite so special anymore.

    With each Special Comment and increase in ratings, his ego seemed to get a little larger. Eventually he turned into a pompous blowhard and his ratings started to fall. Ben Affleck’s takedown of him on SNL was one of the most dead on spoofs I’d ever seen on the show. The only thing that could possibly top it was Tina Fey as Sarah Palin.

    He gets credit for moving MSNBC in a particular direction, given the flameout of Air America, because the left needed a voice. Sometimes you can overstay your welcome and your hosts seem to prefer the other guests. That’s what seemed to happen here. When Lawrence O’Donnell filled in for him and got better ratings, that was probably the start of the death knell for the show.

  36. 36
    eemom says:

    @Kryptik:

    Seconded. Tweety’s no fucking liberal, he’s a professional rude asshole, especially when he “interviews” somebody. The only good thing about him, and the reason he gets “liberal” cred, is that he occasionally turns his rudeness on someone who’s a much bigger and worse asshole than he is.

    He’s kind of like a smart-ass kid you hate being around, but he’s the same kid who ratted out the emperor for wearing no clothes.

  37. 37
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Cat Lady: There’s one of those already, and there may not be room for two or more. CNN’s feint right has been a disaster — damned near destroyed the brand except for CNN International — and MSNBC tried the hard right-hand turn already — remember “Alan Keyes is Making Sense”? “The Situation with Tucker Carlson”? “Savage Nation”?

    They’d wind up with the political version of Fox Business News. No one watches it, there’s room for one-and-a-half business channels, and CNBC and Bloomberg are already there.

    If MSNBC does an about-face, it would either more spawn Matthews-style stuff, and at least get some audience, or become RandTV and have an audience that wouldn’t fill the Meadowlands.

  38. 38
    lllphd says:

    what scares me is this:

    i don’t watch tv. at all. oh, sometimes i’ll turn it on for a pbs thing, and every so often i’ll watch 30 rock (love me some alec b). but, i get all my news from the net, and the rest of the entertainment they can stuff in a big box and blast to the ends of the galaxy, as far as i’m concerned.

    that said, in response to msnbc, i’d normally say well fine, most liberals get their news from the net anyway. but, it this situation, comcast is trying to own the net, too.

    that’s the problem with this new merger. that’s the problem with no media ownership restrictions. that’s the problem with monopolies in general. that’s the problem with obama’s fcc pics specifically.

    we can only hope that verizon’s claim of unconstitutional bias against them will hold some water somewhere. never thought i’d be rooting for them, but in this case, everyone should consider switching, if for no other reason, to stick it to comcast. where it hurts.

  39. 39
    Hunter Gathers says:

    I’m of the ‘everything Comcast touches turns to shit’ frame of mind on this. Ratings will drop, Maddow will jump ship, and MSNBC will turn into an even more retarded version of CNN. 24/7 concern trolling, featuring asshole conservatives (think Erick Son of Erick), douchenozzle ‘progressives’ (Hamsher will get her own gig), all of it MC’d by Joe the Scar and Dancin’ Dave.

  40. 40
    dww44 says:

    @leo:

    Tis all about money. Life is really depressing sometimes. But, as I read somewhere else last night, don’t get depressed, organize. At least organizing keeps the anger at bay at what the right is doing to the country. From an MSNBC announcer this a.m., she started off a piece with “Obama started moving toward the center this week….” Seriously. Just this past week? He’s actually been in the center for quite some time. It’s just that the right is so far gone, they are close to falling off the flat edges of the flat earth many of them believe exists.

    And the headline in my local paper this morning… Chambliss says that the Senate will Vote to REPEAL health care… Now the latter is an issue we all ought to call our Congress critters about, even if we know it is a given that they will vote to repeal. They need to know that there is a substantial constituency out there that believes the legislation is good.

  41. 41
    Tom W. says:

    Don’t hold your breath folks, or sign a petition that really as nothing to do with the situation. Olbermann is apparently leaving to form his own version of Huffpo, and has been planning to for quite some time:

    http://www.thewrap.com/televis.....snbc-24127

    There’s no martyr like the false martyr.

  42. 42
    JGabriel says:

    Crusty Dem:

    Just a fan page.
    __
    ETA at bottom of “Keith Olbermann” page:

    Description above from the Wikipedia article Keith Olbermann, licensed under CC-BY-SA, full list of contributors here. Community Pages are not affiliated with, or endorsed by, anyone associated with the topic.

    Link? Color me perplexed. I can’t find the information you’re quoting, nor can I find anything that indicates that the Keith Olbermann Facebook page is run by anyone but Olbermann.

    I’m not saying you’re wrong, necessarily. Just that I can’t find the info to back it up, and would like a link, if you can provide it.

    .

  43. 43
    eemom says:

    @Mark S.:

    heh. I don’t know who WATCHES CNBC, but some asshole at my gym ALWAYS has the teevee directly in front of my stair-climber tuned to it, which pisses me off exceedingly.

  44. 44
    c u n d gulag says:

    baldheadeddork,
    You’re right, it’s Roberts. And from what I read, he’s pretty conservative (can’t remember where, sadly).

    But I do see them letting MSNBC’s “liberalism” die a slow death.

    Maybe Keith can find a home on Oprah’s new channel?
    Maybe she could get a little bit more involved herself, and give some voices to people from the left?

    No, I’m not drunk. Not yet. Just hopin’ out loud.

  45. 45
    Jonas says:

    The wikipedia page is great. Not only was he a founder of the Ayn Rand Institute, but there was a conflict and he founded the splitter group, The Atlas Society. Splitters!

  46. 46
    Jonas says:

    He being Ed Snider, sorry.

  47. 47
    Donut says:

    Doug may be correct that there may not be any “liberal” hosts on MSNBC in five years, but if that’s the case, then I wonder if the enterprise will be struggling for the same profitability, if not actually bleeding cash. And shareholders will not stand for that.

    C.R.E.A.M.

    So I am not so sure that they will dump the current formatting, generally speaking. Where are they gonna go with the week day prime time programming? The consevative cable-viewing audience Monday thru Friday is pretty much owned by Fox. If they go to the “middle” then then they will have nothing to distinguish the MSNBC brand from CNN, and no one wants replicate their barely mediocre results.

    I dunno. I got no special insights here but that said I have a hard time seeing a full bore dump of the so-called liberal hosts.

  48. 48
    JGabriel says:

    c u n d gulag:

    Maybe Keith can find a home on Oprah’s new channel?

    That would be interesting; I think it could work. I doubt, though, that Olbermann will be able to pursue that kind of opportunity until sometime in 2012. Jes’ speculatin’, based on the rumors regarding his buyout.

    .

  49. 49

    Hey, here’s the bottom line. Comcast shouldn’t be buying NBC. period. full stop. the KO stuff is just a distraction. Hell, GE shouldn’t have owned NBC.

  50. 50
    Brachiator says:

    “Bring Keith Olbermann Back” (to MSNBC). I don’t know what this means, exactly. We report, you decide.

    Sadly, it probably don’t mean squat. There has been all kinds of chess moves in tech, media and communication companies lately as corporations align themselves for the next battles over media, distribution and customers. For example, from an LA Times blog:

    I am rooting for the Jets and Packers. Just wanted to get that out of the way. NBC prime-time chief Angela Bromstad joins Jeff Zucker and Jeff Gaspin out the door as Comcast gets ready to take command.
    __
    Just a few days after Comcast got government approval to take over NBC Universal, Angela Bromstad, NBC’s head of prime-time entertainment, turned in her resignation. The move had been expected since last November when Comcast said former Showtime programming chief Bob Greenblatt would run NBC’s entertainment operations. Other senior executives also leaving are NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker and NBC Universal TV chief Jeff Gaspin. Expect lot of other departures.

    I didn’t think that “the talent,” as the kids say, would be impacted so quickly, but the rumor is that the long knives had been out for KO for some time. It was just about when to do the deed.

  51. 51
    You Don't Say says:

    @Tom W.: We’ll see, I suppose. I’m no fan of Olbermann’s, or his propensity for pompousity, but he hasn’t made himself a martyr in this situation. He made a quick and unadorned exit. If others are turning him into a martyr that’s not his fault.

  52. 52
    baldheadeddork says:

    One more time, gang. Ed Snider has nothing to do with Comcast the cable company. The cable company bought ~2/3rds of Snider’s business fifteen years ago and hyphenated the name of the partnership to Comcast-Spectracor. That’s it.

    Doug, I like your posts but that is a FDL-esque weak-ass correction. You don’t have the Comcast corporate structure wrong, you’ve got an incorrect statement anchoring the entire post.

    I don’t care about Comcast one way or the other, but come correct. Zombie lies aren’t okay just because they’re ours.

  53. 53
    Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel) says:

    @mark s: I’ve wondered the same thing about cnbc. I suspect it is retirees with about 100K to invest and want to feel like their running with the big dogs. Individually, their portfolios amount to a pittance. Collectively, I would imagine they are a force.

    But that’s pure speculation. All my investments are more along the line of keeping the lights on.

  54. 54
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel):

    FinPorn. If you don’t have it, or can’t get it, you can at least watch it, thanks to the miracle of modern technology.

    Same as sex.

  55. 55
  56. 56
    BGinCHI says:

    1. Soros needs to just start a lefty Fox News op but without the lying to its viewers.

    Tag: “Like Fox, But Without the Lies.”

    2. Agree with Doug that they’ll just keep trotting out the likes of Andrea Mitchell as a “liberal” because she’s an “independent, experienced journalist.”

    And so if you believe that, you’ve already let the corporate boot press down on your neck.

    Better media, plz.

  57. 57
    PS says:

    @DougJ DougJson: I have to agree with baldheadeddork. The whole framing of the post is incorrect, even though the underlying prediction may not be. It sure would look better rewritten.

  58. 58
    barkleyg says:

    Hows about the new OPRAH network?

    KO could be her “first” Political Reporter/Investigator.
    It’s usually self before thee, but I have a “good” feeling that Rachel, and Ed would probably love to follow. Oprah could be her entertainment channel, with Political reporting being a large part of what Oprah and her viewers would want to see.

    Just saw this was mentioned above.

    Right about 2012. But, if it is early 2012; the SHOW is just beginning!

  59. 59
    Violet says:

    @Mark S.:

    What I’d like to know is who the hell watches CNBC.

    The guy at my gym. He comes in and without asking anyone turns all three TV’s in front of the treadmills and ellipticals to CNBC, Fox Business Network, and Bloomberg. Doesn’t matter if anyone is watching stuff, he does what he wants. He’s a jerk and imho, pretty typical of the kind of person who watches those networks.

  60. 60
    BGinCHI says:

    @barkleyg: This is a good idea, and hopefully it would be run out of Chicago and include Phil Donahue. I think he’s still alive.

  61. 61

    DougJ:
    Ed Snider runs the sports end of Comcast(which owns the Philadelphia Flyers and 76ers). They also run a bunch of the arenas though I am not sure that falls under Snider’s charge. Brian Roberts(who took over from his dad) runs Comcast overall. So Roberts is(or was) in essence KO’s boss now. What’s funny(or not) is that Ed Rendell’s former CoS(when he was Mayor of Philly) left Rendell’s employ to be a VP at Comcast. And Rendell being a DLC Democrats .. well … anyway. Roberts doesn’t like Democrats, not the proud DFH kind, anyway.

  62. 62
    Violet says:

    @eemom:

    heh. I don’t know who WATCHES CNBC, but some asshole at my gym ALWAYS has the teevee directly in front of my stair-climber tuned to it, which pisses me off exceedingly.

    Ha! I posted before I read this. Do we go to the same gym? Except the guy I’m talking about is on the elliptical.

  63. 63
    BGinCHI says:

    @Violet: Someone needs to piss in that guy’s water bottle.

  64. 64
    fraught says:

    I’m thinking that right wing radio/TV will be a factor in the next election and that will be it. Those guys are dying in their barcaloungers and can’t use the internets because tying is for girls. If Keith decides to be the next Arianna he’ll give Drudge a shove and will be able to handle the talking points of the day for the left the way Rush and Drudge do now.
    Making up a younger demo, the left feeds off of the internet and people like Keith, Rachel and Oprah know this. And Oprah is one person who is not scared of an aging Murdoch. She can and will drink his milkshake.
    Watch the Oprah connection in this next election.

  65. 65

    @Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel): CNBC is all about Wall Street and Wall Street traders. That’s it!! And their ratings have taken a nosedive, especially Cramer.

  66. 66
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Violet:

    The guy at my gym. He comes in and without asking anyone turns all three TV’s in front of the treadmills and ellipticals to CNBC, Fox Business Network, and Bloomberg. Doesn’t matter if anyone is watching stuff, he does what he wants. He’s a jerk and imho, pretty typical of the kind of person who watches those networks.

    Wow, and I say this as somebody who basically views the other people at the gym as meatbags who are there just to make me wait for machines, that’s douchey. Does anybody ever change them back?

  67. 67

    @barkleyg: You forget one thing. KO won’t be on TV regularly as a host till January 2013.

  68. 68
    Ija says:

    @BGinCHI:

    This. He’s wasting his money funding things like CAP. How many people really read Think Progress or Matt Yglesias anyway?

  69. 69
    Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel) says:

    @ Davis X: In the 80s my grandfather was an unrepentant consumer of a channel in Chicago (that broadcast over the airwaves! how retro!)that ran stock market programming throughout the day. A precursor to the cable finporn. He watched it perched on a stool @ the kitchen counter chain smoking one camel after another but it took little imagination to see him doing the same thing in an empty theater. Maybe wearing a raincoat.

  70. 70
    BGinCHI says:

    @Phil Perspective: I think the C stands for “Cracker.” Or maybe “Crackerjack.”

  71. 71
    Alex S. says:

    Keith can be parodized just as well as Ed Schultz. And from a right-wing perspective, he’s just as unhinged as any other liberal host. I can imagine that Comcast pushed him out, but only for personal reasons.

    And Oprah can’t afford to get political. It would destroy her brand.

  72. 72
    BGinCHI says:

    @Ija: He can afford to do both, but agree. Seriously, if I were him and they were accusing me of all that shit (like “controlling” everything), I’d conspicuously start a network as a counterweight to Fox and I wouldn’t hide my motives at all.

    Transparency wins over time.

    More courage, plz.

  73. 73
    cmorenc says:

    @Hunter Gathers:

    Ratings will drop, Maddow will jump ship…

    The unmistakable “tell” that Olbermann’s departure was more than simply a clash between a difficult prima donna and corporate borgs, but also a deliberate Comcast-pressured ideological shift is whether and if so, how soon Rachael Maddow also jumps ship. I have a suspicion that even over at Fox, there are some powerful inside corporate managers who are entirely simpatico with the ideological tilt of that network, who nonetheless would gladly get rid of Glenn Beck as a too-frequently problematic pain in the ass if only they could get away with it without suffering too many business and political repercussions. Olbermann’s situation is that as many fans as he has, he’s not anywhere near so valuable to the MSNBC franchise (even as a supposedly “progressive” network) as Beck is to Fox’s.

    If pressure for a true rightward ideological shift is forthcoming at MSNBC, it won’t be long at all, a few weeks at most, before Rachael follows Keith out the door. The question then will be, where exactly would or even could she go from there? She’s so firmly established herself as a strong progressive commentator that it would be impossible for her to carry any other purported identity to anywhere else she would go in broadcasting.

    Although it would be a huge step down from her platform at MSNBC, one place she could somewhat usefully bide her time would be as a replacement for the horrid, obnoxious shsrew Lynn Samuels on the Sirius/XM “Left” channel. Samuels amounts to a cross between a somewhat brighter female version of Archie Bunker and the very archetype of a PUMA; she’s about as “left” as the ass of a right-facing horse.

  74. 74
    BGinCHI says:

    @Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel): When does your one-act play premiere?

    Hint: Abe Vigoda is alive and needs work.

  75. 75
    Michael says:

    All I got to say to Kossacks is “dude, you have no KO”.

    Count me as one of those who didn’t appreciate his smarmy unctiousness. Couldn’t stand his show.

    Ironically, I’m only marginally to the right of Trotsky.

  76. 76
    Violet says:

    @fasteddie9318:
    I’ve seen men challenge him before, but not women. People are generally pretty nice at my gym and they ask before doing stuff like changing channels. He’s the only person I’ve seen there who does this. I’ve seen men say to him, “Hey! I was watching that!” and if someone does call him on it he changes it back. I guess shame still has some power.

    I’ve never seen a woman challenge him on it. When I’ve been on the treadmill and he’s come in, it’s always kind of near the end of my workout and I’d have to either shout at him (since I’m at the back and he’s in the front of three rows) or get off the treadmill and go deal with it in person. It seems like such a pain so I don’t bother.

    Plus, he’s big and tall and he kind of scares me. He’s got that Master of the Universe entitled attitude about him and I half fear he’d follow me around and report me to the management for some tiny infraction, true or made up, or hire someone to follow me to my car and scare me real good. So I’ve elected to say nothing. I suspect I’m not the only woman doing that.

  77. 77
    BGinCHI says:

    @Alex S.: Yeah, when Keith raises all that money for people without HC and so on, he’s just as bad as the right. Or he’s a joke.

    You know, it’s pretty easy to set his bluster aside and just try to gauge how much utility it does to have a show that sheds some light on real issues as a counter to Fox and stupid journos like Mitchell.

    It would help not to act like the whole thing is like high school.

    And Oprah may be ready for a change. She damn sure don’t need the money.

  78. 78
    BGinCHI says:

    @cmorenc: Let’s see what she says about KO leaving. That will give us a good hint in the short term.

  79. 79
    Violet says:

    @BGinCHI:
    Did Rachel’s show air after Keith’s last night? Did she say anything?

  80. 80
    BGinCHI says:

    @Violet: Didn’t record (dammit). Sorry.

  81. 81
    Tom W. says:

    Maybe KO should to talk to Cole about a strategic collaboration or partnership in KeithPo

  82. 82
    Violet says:

    @BGinCHI:
    I haven’t seen anyone mention anything about Rachel commenting on it. I thought her show aired after his. Didn’t they do some toss from him to her on occasion? To be honest I haven’t watched MSNBC much since 2008, so I don’t know.

  83. 83
    fraught says:

    I’m also thinking that if Oprah has anything to do with Keith leaving, we won’t hear about it until the beginning of 2012. Oprah has the same kind of slow and steady game that Obama has.

  84. 84
    WereBear says:

    @fraught: And Oprah is one person who is not scared of an aging Murdoch. She can and will drink his milkshake.

    Mmmm. Such a mental picture that gave me. Complete with bowling alley.

  85. 85
    Davis X. Machina says:

    If the new owners want to make an ideological point, they’ll clone Fox — and no one will watch. They have to cannibalize Fox’s already hyper-loyal audience, or develop a new one, and if there is a whole new loony-right one out there, just waiting, like Chuck Norris, then we’re screwed anyways. I don’t think there is.

    What would a RandTV do, tactically or strategically, that Fox isn’t already doing?

    The value to the right of a loss-leader network that allows you to catapult the propaganda into the mainstream is all in the first one.

    Every Plasmodium falciparum– bearing mosquito that bites you after the one that makes you sick is just having lunch.

  86. 86
    Ana Gama says:

    @Violet:

    I haven’t seen anyone mention anything about Rachel commenting on it. I thought her show aired after his.

    Chris Hayes hosted in Rachel’s place last night, because Rachel was in LA to appear on Bill Maher. She and Bill very briefly discussed it, both expressed surprise, but not much more than that.

  87. 87
    You Don't Say says:

    @Violet: Chris Hayes was filling in for Rachel, who was on Bill Maher. She commented briefly there.

  88. 88
    Mark S. says:

    @Violet:

    Geez, that would royally piss me off to the point that I might do something I rarely do: complain to management.

    That’s probably also why my gym doesn’t let anyone change the channels. One result is that I’ve developed an intense hatred for HLN, a channel that couldn’t be any trashier if they just showed 24 hour bestiality porn.

  89. 89
    Martin says:

    My money is on Keith having given up on doing politics as simply driving him too crazy and getting a chance to do sports again due to the merger. He got Rachel doing what she ought to be doing – and doing a much better job of it than Keith, so he can claim mission accomplished on that.

    Time for him to get back to what he’s best at, is my guess.

  90. 90
    eemom says:

    @Alex S.:

    Oprah can’t afford

    there exists no question as to which that phrase could form part of the answer.

    ETA: anyway I think all the Oprah spec is for naught. No way would she tolerate his ego.

  91. 91
    Violet says:

    @Ana Gama: @You Don’t Say: That’s right. I remember hearing she was on his show last night.

    @Mark S.:
    As a general rule people at my gym are pretty nice. I don’t have problems with hardly anyone and when I have had occasion to go to the management about things they deal with it pretty quickly. This guy is one of the only ones I’ve encountered who isn’t considerate about the TVs. Other people change channels to something I don’t necessarily want to watch, but they’ll ask if people are watching what’s on before they do.

    I have noticed that this guy doesn’t talk to anyone at the gym, which is a little unusual. People are fairly friendly, even if it’s just saying hello to one of the people that works at the front counter. This guy is single-minded and just does what he wants. If I really was watching something and he changed it, I would complain. So far I haven’t been too bothered because I’m usually at the end of my workout when he arrives.

  92. 92
    PanAmerican says:

    This will all be moot when they whack the cable news and move to shows featuring patriarchal loudmouth small business owners with wacky family/employees and shut-in hillbillies with 200 cats.

  93. 93
    WereBear says:

    @Violet: Dude needs some capsaicin in various places.

  94. 94
    Michael says:

    @Mark S.:

    That’s probably also why my gym doesn’t let anyone change the channels. One result is that I’ve developed an intense hatred for HLN, a channel that couldn’t be any trashier if they just showed 24 hour bestiality porn.

    Hate to brag, but at mine, we have itty bitty plat screens on each machine, individually controlled and with headphone jacks. It cut down on the squabbles over what to watch, and eliminated my propensity to make loud and snide comments about Fox themes and commentators.

  95. 95
    Yutsano says:

    @WereBear: Ooh that’s ebil. I like your style.

  96. 96
    Violet says:

    @Michael:
    My gym is upgrading to those machines soon. We’re all excited. I’ve been wondering what this guy will do, though, since he’ll have to choose ONE channel and not watch all three Business/Financial channels. I guess he could set up the ones on the machines next to him, but I don’t think someone actually ON one of those machines would like that very much. LOL.

  97. 97
    Michael says:

    @PanAmerican:

    …and shut-in hillbillies with 200 cats.

    Don’t be hatin’ on A&E “Hoarders” – it is my guilty pleasure.

    Well, that and “Jersey Shore”.

  98. 98
    me says:

    @PanAmerican: Too expensive. They’ll probably go to a 24 hour “Ow My Balls” format.

  99. 99
    Violet says:

    @Michael:
    Oh man, “Jersey Shore.” I just watched the first show of the new season. I feel so dirty.

  100. 100
    Yutsano says:

    @Violet: Thank you so much for vindicating my decision to eschew television when I moved to the new condo. Only thing I really miss is Food Network and live sports.

  101. 101
    Nutella says:

    they want to make money, don’t they

    Not nearly as much as they want to push a particular political position. Remember when they dumped Phil Donahue when he had their highest rated show in 2003? There was an NBC memo that stated Donahue should be fired because he would be a “difficult public face for NBC in a time of war”, in other words, MSNBC has a specific political message and he wasn’t going along with it.

  102. 102
    General Stuck says:

    While I generally agree with this post, concerning right leanings of Comcast, the reason isn’t necessarily pure ideological right wing. Comcast, like many other big corps realizes some basic facts about our current politics, and how that affects their main general purpose in our system, which is to eventually own every fucking thing, at least in their particular markets. This seems to be even more a part of the Comcast corporate and ownership ethos , accelerating under Brian Roberts hand. They are wary of dems, and even though some of them may be personally moderate or liberal. The wariness is because dems can become persnickity about concepts like having diverse media ownership, and worrying about silly things like that giant corps like Comcast might not be best for the ordinary citizen. They still may get what they want from dems, and did with the approval of this merger. But with republicans, they are guaranteed it. The wingnuts will not only not slow down their quest to “own the world”, but will be handy to see what they can do to help. While MSNBC may or may not go all Fox News, I am betting there will be less and less bombasity concerning corps and business friendly republicans.

  103. 103
    hamletta says:

    Guys, if MSNBC is going full-metal wingnut, how come they just hired the odious and self-righteous Cenk Uygur?

  104. 104
    Gian says:

    about 2.8 billion comcast shares

    trades for about 23 bucks a share right now, meaning if there were 1,000,000 Olberman viewers who each bought 100 shares of comcast, they’d have in the ballpark of 35% of the company.

    did he have that many viewers? I don’t think so, and when you start talking number of viewers with 2500 to burn on stock, the numbers have to go down. I could shuffle my roth and have about $500 to play with…

    What if we did as a long term thing? Liberal viewers with a 401K or Roth get a sharebuilder type account and put $20 bucks a month into buying comcast stock and in maybe five years can wield a large voting block of shares…

    Or just buy the one to file a shareholder loss of value lawsuit when they fire their most popular hosts as MSNBC did with Donahue for political reasons and hurt the bottom line.

  105. 105
    debit says:

    @hamletta: Because Cenk will do nothing but bash Obama.

  106. 106
    cmorenc says:

    @Tom W. :

    Maybe KO should to talk to Cole about a strategic collaboration or partnership in KeithPo

    What would the collaboration be called: “Keith Juice?” “Olbermann’s balloons?” “Count Cole Down?”

  107. 107
    Steaming Pile says:

    @BGinCHI: Fox News is on basic cable. Everywhere. MSNBC is often in one of the higher service tiers, if it’s available at all (guess why Fox’s ratings are higher). If Soros tried to start a new cable news network, he’d have a hell of a time getting Comcast or Time/Warner or Dish or any of the other big players to add it.

  108. 108
    BGinCHI says:

    @PanAmerican: You mean squidbillies, right?

  109. 109
    BGinCHI says:

    @Michael: Same with mine, which is almost a completely gay gym (so of course more tasteful and fabulous than others). It really cut down on the slap fights.

  110. 110

    @hamletta: Not saying I agree, but some people will argue that Cenk isn’t committed to the cause because he was once a Republican(like Kos).

  111. 111
  112. 112
    cckids says:

    @eemom: Tweety’s not left or right, Tweety’s all about politics. If you are good/successful at the “game”, he thinks you are great! See the sh*t he spouted about Palin for so long. Actual principles need not apply.

  113. 113
    General Stuck says:

    Christ, WP is eating comments again. I surrender FSM

  114. 114
    Pooh says:

    @Church Lady:

    My best guess is that he is so difficult to work with that the brass decided he just wasn’t worth the money. His last contract (in 2008) was worth 30 million over 4 years. That’s a whole lot of money to spend on someone with falling ratings.

    His wars with management at every place he has ever worked are legend in the industry and he doesn’t just burn bridges when he leaves, he napalms them.

    We used to watch Countdown every night, starting way before it became completely political. Michael Jackson Puppet Theater and the jabs at Bill O’Reilly cracked us up. It was entertaining, and as the show started to develop a more political bent it was still a great show. I remember the first Special Comment, the one taking Rumsfeld down. My husband and I both literally applauded. Then he did a second, and then a third, and then they started coming so frequently that the Special Comments weren’t quite so special anymore.

    With each Special Comment and increase in ratings, his ego seemed to get a little larger. Eventually he turned into a pompous blowhard and his ratings started to fall. Ben Affleck’s takedown of him on SNL was one of the most dead on spoofs I’d ever seen on the show. The only thing that could possibly top it was Tina Fey as Sarah Palin.

    He gets credit for moving MSNBC in a particular direction, given the flameout of Air America, because the left needed a voice. Sometimes you can overstay your welcome and your hosts seem to prefer the other guests. That’s what seemed to happen here. When Lawrence O’Donnell filled in for him and got better ratings, that was probably the start of the death knell for the show.

    This this this a thousand times this.

  115. 115
    che says:

    @hamletta:

    According to some at DKos, he’ll just fill in temporarily until they find someone else to take over permanently.

  116. 116
    Death Panel Truck says:

    didn’t appreciate his smarmy unctiousness (sic)

    Smarmy and unctuous are synonyms. You may as well have said you didn’t appreciate his smarmy smarminess or his unctuous unctuousness.

  117. 117
    Brachiator says:

    When people say things like “well, they want to make money, don’t they”, I’m not convinced. I don’t think something small like MSNBC will ever make or lose much money anyway.

    It’s always about the money. Even if they can do small shavings to boost the margins. And news does not make as much money as entertainment. Here’s USA Today on Nightline and Jimmy Kimmel

    Starting Feb. 3, the news show will be trimmed by six minutes so Jimmy Kimmel Live can move up to a clean midnight (ET/PT) start, making it easier for insomniacs switching channels at that hour to find him. Kimmel, in turn, will expand by six minutes to still end at 1:06 a.m.
    __
    The move is part of Kimmel’s two-year contract extension, effective next month, that will take the show into its 10th season. “The earlier you’re on, the better,” Kimmel says.
    __
    “More people are going to watch, so that’s why it’s important to me.”
    __
    But it also allows ABC to shift a few extra minutes of national ad time to Kimmel from Nightline, which follows local news at 11:35. “It’s a complicated thing, but essentially, ABC will make more money by moving me up.”

  118. 118
    Citizen Alan says:

    @nestor:

    When I contemplate things like this, it occurs to me that the Business Plot probably would have succeeded if its backers had near total control of the media. I also wonder whether the ideological (and probably biological) heirs of those backers consider the current economic quagmire to represent a second bite at the apple.

  119. 119
    JGabriel says:

    @Death Panel Truck: No need to be all redundantly repetitious about it.

    .

  120. 120
    Yutsano says:

    @JGabriel: “Department of Redundancy Department. How may I help you in assisting you?”

  121. 121
    JWL says:

    FOX being the home of the willfully pig ignorant, it’s still beyond me why anyone watches MSNBC, CNN, the network news, etc.

    I appreciated the work of Olberman, and appreciate Maddow. But I long ago tuned out being spoon fed corporate bullshit in the guise of news that is relevant to my life, or the nations welfare.

  122. 122
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @hamletta:

    Guys, if MSNBC is going full-metal wingnut, how come they just hired the odious and self-righteous Cenk Uygur?

    That way they can re-use the Olbermann wardrobe. Shirts with a size 22 neck ain’t cheap.

  123. 123
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Death Panel Truck:

    You may as well have said you didn’t appreciate his smarmy smarminess or his unctuous unctuousness.

    Or his Erik Erikson.

  124. 124
    mk3872 says:

    Once you get it straight that Snider is Chairman of Comcast Spectacor, not Comcast, then you’ll realize that the company’s current leaders are the Roberts family and they are not so bad.

    I’ve lived and worked in the tech industry in Philly for over 10 years and everyone of us in this region in IT works for Comcast at some point in their career, as have I.

    Comcast is not the world’s most progressive company, for sure.

    But Brian Roberts does very good work for the community, which is a very liberal and diverse community in the Philly area.

    Hold your fire on this one and pls don’t go all Firebagger over Roberts and Comcast. They ain’t no worse than GE, that much I will guarantee.

  125. 125
    El Kabong says:

    I mentioned this in the other thread, but I’ll put it here, too. I recall Keith saying (and I’m paraphrasing) “if you think you’ve been following me on facebook, you’re wrong. I don’t have a facebook account.” I don’t know if that’s still true, but I consider it probable that he still doesn’t. He has explicitly mentioned his twittering on his show, and his tweets have never referenced it that I’ve ever seen. When he has something longer than 140 characters to tweet, he links to a blog site, or a twitter long-text repository. Never facebook.

  126. 126
    AxelFoley says:

    @Michael:

    All I got to say to Kossacks is “dude, you have no KO”.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  127. 127
    AxelFoley says:

    @hamletta:

    Guys, if MSNBC is going full-metal wingnut, how come they just hired the odious and self-righteous Cenk Uygur?

    Is this a trick question?

  128. 128

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