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Monday, January 24, 2011

MSNBC Taking Water Fast Post-Olbermann

I admit it. Keith Olbermann was my man for a long time and even when I moved away from combat punditry I would always flip on Keith to see what he was up too. But now he has left MSNBC or more specifically Count Down and turned it over to Lawrence O'Donnell. The scuttle is that after two years of Keith negotiating with the network they parted ways over differences we can only guess at. Pushing the bar must have finally got to the brass, but all you have to do is watch the network post-Olbermann to see it is a ship taking water. Fast.

I like Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell, but they are no Olbermann. Bringing in the Ed Schultz show is just piling on left wing on liberal on left wing. He brings little but bombast and regurgitation to the lineup and I am a liberals liberal but Ed is too much for even me. But Lawrence O'Donnell while sincere and heartfelt is a man with a cross hair on his back. You can already see the brass's next move when the plummeting ratings come in. And they will plummet.

The problem is Keith wasn't just Count Down, he was the anchor of MSNBC at night. Hardball, Maddow and O'Donnell were the warm up bands for Keith, though they often followed each other with reciprocal stories. But Keith just took it up a notch and blasted a hole right through the rights latest buffoonery with scathing indictments, dripping sarcasm, and boyish glee. Many times he went right over the top and blasted out of the roof, but it was always an interesting rocket to watch. Now we are left with the smoke and blow back of his departure and there seems to be little propellant left in the MSNBC tank.There is just a gaping hole.

Lawrence will do his best to fill the big man's shoes but he is doomed. The left suffers from lack of firepower in general and they just lost one of their biggest guns. Keith had the guts and and the position to take on anyone including the President and say exactly what he thought which is probably why the higher ups at CBS and MSNBC squirmed and pulled on their collars. But of course it was that type of red hot editorializing that cranked up the ratings and made MSNBC a player.

It almost makes you wonder if the golden age of combat punditry is coming to an end. If the age of civility does indeed occur then certainly the other combat pundits will be out of a job. Maybe Keith Olbermann saw the writing on the wall and got while the going was good. But before it is over a Jay Leno type of scenario would not be that surprising with Olbermann returning to bring ratings back in line. I think a flame thrower would be the proper metaphor for the regard he would show the short sited higher ups of MSNBC and company.

http://www.billhazelgrove.com/
Rocket Man will blast off in February

Books by William Hazelgrove