Friday, January 21, 2011

A Few Thoughts about Olbermann's Departure

As I said about Keith Olbermann's suspension from MSNBC in November - which I also deeply regretted - there was a lot about Olbermann's Countdown, most especially his all-too-often histrionic over-the-top style, that I was no fan of.  But his voice was an important, often refreshing, sometimes even crucial and reassuring note in our fast-moving, dangerous world, and I'll therefore miss him and Countdown.

As for MSNBC, I've by and large supported its progressive view since before there was cable all-news television.  But I find myself progressively less happy, more annoyed, at the way they have chosen to roll it out.  They still lamely repeat Chris Matthews at 5 and 7 pm (have Matthews on once in the evening at 7 pm).   They still ruin their weekends with "doc-block" stale documentary programming rather than live news.  Even their new slogan - "lean forward" - is weak.  Why lean, not move, or go?  Lean is way too passive.

So the firing of Olbermann now - or, to make the best case for MSNBC, letting him leave - is just the latest in a long list of out-for-coffee at the top strategy.  I wish MSNBC well, but I wish Olbermann better, and the progressive point of view (I'm a progressive libertarian) better still.

Some of the talking heads on television are saying Comcast's take-over of MSNBC is the reason for Olbermann's departure.   If so, my advice to Comcast is:  give America the kind of reliable progressive programming we deserve.
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