Keith Olbermann

Keith Olberman Vs. Al Gore And Current TV: Not Good For The Progressive Movement!

Former Vice President Al Gore has been actively involved in the promotion of a new public affairs cable channel, Current TV, in the past year and a half, and it looked as if he might have scored a victory with the coming of former MSNBC talk show host Keith Olbermann a year ago.

Olbermann was supposed to be the beginning of a channel to compete with MSNBC, CNN and Fox News Channel, and signs seemed to show that it was working until recently.

The addition of Cenk Uygur and former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm a few months ago, and then the addition a week ago of Bill Press and Stephanie Miller, boded well for the new network.

But underlying the surface was a bitter dispute between Olbermann and the management of the Gore cable channel, with Olbermann, always a difficult and prickly personality, becoming what was clearly a prima donna, who had a horrible and explosive personality that led to his firing from ESPN and MSNBC, and now has led to his firing from Current TV, because of his refusal to cooperate on conditions and work rules, including refusal to share anchor duties on the night of the Iowa caucuses, constant absences on a level much more than would be considered normal, and complaints about petty things that any employee would ordinarily accept as part of being an employee for any company.

Olbermann is now threatening to sue, and the situation does not make him look better one iota! For a man who reportedly was on a contract worth $50 million, and a lot of input to the development of the channel, one has to wonder why he has so much trouble getting along with management now at THREE channels!

The man is not a positive force for journalism anymore, and his ego and obnoxious personality makes him the news, instead of his ability to be perceptive about the personalities and issues of the news.

This is a major factor in the decline of journalism as a profession. The selfish, self centered Olbermann has worn out his welcome in cable journalism, and it is hard to imagine any other channel hiring him in the future.

But don’t feel sad for Olbermann! His total earnings over the years are something only the top one percent that he constantly attacks, but is a member of, would possess, and he can just write, rather than speak, and will NEVER have a problem paying his bills like most of us in America!

What Olbermann has done is NOT good for the progressive movement, but Al Gore looks ever the better, since he tolerated the temperamental nature of Olbermann, until he finally had to put his foot down and decide to fire him.

The sooner any lawsuit is resolved, the better for those who observe, and feeling sadness of what the dispute does to those of us who advocate progressive values, but have to be embarrassed at the spectacle that has developed!

Meanwhile, former NY Governor Eliot Spitzer, who was dropped by CNN, even though this author thought he had done an excellent job, has now replaced Olbermann, and despite criticism of Spitzer’s sex scandal a few years ago, which led to his resignation from the governorship, he has redeemed himself in the author’s mind, and will be a positive force for Current TV, which hopefully will continue to develop and overcome this disgraceful dispute between them and Keith Olbermann!

More Political Media: Current TV Expands To Include Bill Press and Stephanie Miller Starting Monday!

For those of us who are political “junkies”, political “addicts”, Current TV, stared by former Vice President Al Gore, and having as its first “star’ the controversial Keith Olbermann, formerly of MSNBC, is rapidly expanding, with a goal of becoming another MSNBC, but maybe even more progressive than that cable channel is!

Starting next week, Current TV, available on most cable systems, will have Bill Press on live from 6-9 AM as competition for Joe Scarborough’s “Morning Joe” on MSNBC; and will have Stephanie Miller on from 9 AM-12 Noon.

Bill Press used to be on CNN and MSNBC, and is one of the leading progressive commentators; and Stephanie Miller, the daughter of William E. Miller, Vice Presidential running mate of Barry Goldwater 48 years ago in the Presidential Election of 1964, and formerly on CNBC and on radio for the past eight years, and traveling all over the nation as part of the Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour with comedians Hal Sparks and John Fuglesang (which this author was pleased to be able to witness when they were in Fort Lauderdale a few months ago), is also a delightful addition to cable television.

Both Press and Miller will join the station which, in its evening hours during the week has Keith Olbermann, Cenk Uggur, and Jennifer Granholm (former Michigan Governor).

There will also be a two minute political news break from 6 AM through 11 AM daily, as an added feature.

Since there is plenty of talk radio and Fox News Channel on the right, we can certainly use more progressive alternatives, so Current TV and Al Gore must be applauded for deciding to compete with CNN and MSNBC. The more the better!

Keith Olbermann: Brilliant Statement About Progressivism And Meaning Of Life!

Keith Olbermann, in his closing commentary last evening on his CURRENT channel show, truly expressed the argument for progressivism, and the true meaning of why we are here on earth.

Troubled by reports that President Obama seemed ready to sacrifice the social safety net of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid for a deal on the Debt Ceiling controversy that is raging right now in Washington, DC, Olbermann made it perfectly clear that such an eventuality would be a deal breaker for him and many progressives.

As Olbermann stated, the point of life, since we all die and eventually are only remembered by those who have been affected by our life on this earth, is to have concern about others, not just those we personally know.

Is life designed only to acquire wealth, fame, power and publicity, or is life meant to have an effect on other people’s lives?

Olbermann said that our impact on other people matters much more than the acquisition of wealth and power for its own sake, as it is what we do for others that will make us memorable after we are gone from this earth.

Therefore, to help the needy, the poor, the disadvantaged, is being the best we are capable of. To concern ourselves with our fellow human beings, not just our own selfish selves, is the point of life. To help eradicate poverty, suffering, and disease is the purpose of our existence.

Our common humanity is what should drive us in our daily lives, not just how we can become wealthier and more powerful, and to gain more publicity and a heightened ego.

What Olbermann stated is the true meaning of what it is to be a progressive or a liberal, and as the author listened to him, he had tears in his eyes as it really hit home that true evil is the concern only about oneself, and demonstrating selfishness, greed, and lack of concern of others. It is exactly what Christianity condemns, and yet there are so many “good Christians” who claim these as virtues, the height of hypocrisy!

Thank you, Keith Olbermann, for reminding us why we are progressives, and the pride I feel about my strongly held value system and beliefs!

Changes Coming In Cable And Television News!

As we enter the second half of 2011, and the Presidential race becomes ever more center stage, Fox News Channel is making every effort to legitimize itself as “mainstream”, just as Jon Stewart went after Fox News Channel on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace last week, as not being accurate or responsible in its coverage of politics and news!

Having “rescued” liberal commentator Juan Williams, after he was summarily fired by National Public Radio, with a reported $2 million a year five year contract, Fox News then went to hire CNN morning anchor John Roberts to be a national correspondent, and former Democratic Senator Evan Bayh to be a political commentator.

Now they have hired CNN White House correspondent Ed Henry to be their White House correspondent, and of course, for the past few years, they have had former CNN morning anchor Bill Hemmer on their station.

Will it work, to make Fox News Channel seem “mainstream”? With the leaving of Glenn Beck from his every weekday show through joint agreement, it might have some effect, although Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, John Stossel, Greta Van Susteren, Brit Hume, Bill Kristol, Liz Cheney, et al, make one wonder if that is possible!

Meanwhile, Keith Olbermann, who had a “divorce” from MSNBC, has now revived his “Countdown” show, following a similar format, on former Vice President Al Gore’s independent station, Current TV. For those who enjoyed his incisive coverage of politics, it is a welcome return, but the question is whether he can “steal’ the audience of MSNBC and Lawrence O’Donnell at the same hour, along with Eliot Spitzer on CNN. As it turns out, Current TV replays Olbermann’s show EIGHT times over the 24 hour cycle, so in theory, one can watch Spitzer, see O’Donnell in rerun at 11 pm, and then watch Olbermann at any three hour cycle up through dinner time the next day!

Additionally, Norah O’Donnell of MSNBC and NBC, who had been a chief Washington correspondent, is now moving to CBS as their White House correspondent. Always pleasant and appealing in her manner of reporting and commenting, CBS has staged a major coup by gaining her employment!

So cable news and TV news in general has become ever more personality driven, and adds interest to the coverage of major political events!

Can The Ideological Divide In America Be Overcome To Avoid Incitement Of More Violence? Highly Doubtful! :(

The attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and the murder and wounding of twenty other victims in Tucson, Arizona, should be a wake up call for the country at large, and the political leaders and media personalities in particular, but don’t bet on it! 🙁

The right wing is trying to deflect blame for the use of incendiary language, and trying to compare it to left wing criticisms that may ridicule and mock the opposition.

But it is the specific use of language of the right that is at issue, not the concept of criticism itself!

There can be a healthy, vigorous debate over ideas without promoting rhetoric that calls for revolution, asking citizens to be armed and dangerous, calling for direct action against a tyrannical government, and putting online a map with cross hairs targeting particular congressional district representatives.

There is absolutely no excuse for the rhetoric employed by Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and others on the right.

To compare it to the rhetoric of Ed Schultz, Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, and Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC requires a mentality that makes one wonder about the moral virtues of the listeners. These talk show hosts have never called for any of the above concepts that the right wing is infamous for.

The sad truth is that any possibility of change is remote, and tragically, we are on the road to greater bloodshed and violence on others, including the horrible thought of danger to our national leaders in the executive branch! 🙁

How can we tolerate this, and how can we even think of anyone backing any of these characters in public office, or supporting the continuation of talk show hosts who are only concerned about enriching themselves, and don’t give any concern about public safety or what is good for the national interest? 🙁

The answer is if violence escalates, lawsuits will have to be instituted against right wing talk radio hosts as having contributed to and incited the bloodshed, forcing them off the air and impoverishing them, to shut them up!

Again, speech matters, and if one shouts “fire in a crowded theater”, they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, whether they are ordinary citizens, political leaders, or media personalities!

The Conflict Over Barack Obama At MSNBC! :(

MSNBC is seen as the “liberal” and “progressive” cable channel, the rival of “conservative” and “Republican” Fox News Channel.

But these are not happy days at MSNBC, with a big split developing among the evening talk show hosts, regarding Barack Obama’s tax compromise with the Republican Party!

Chris Matthews fully backs Obama’s compromise as necessary and unavoidable under the circumstances, and makes it clear that there is no real alternative to Obama for progressives!

Lawrence O’Donnell also has concluded much the same thing, so therefore, two of the five talk show hosts stand together in support of Barack Obama!

But Ed Schultz, Keith Olbermann, and Rachel Maddow are all highly critical of Obama for “caving in” to the Republicans, and demonstrating weakness and a lack of “spine”!

The angry base of progressives and liberals, however, really have no place to go, as there are no strong alternative candidates, although Russ Feingold has been suggested, and today, Howard Dean, a “blast from the past”, has also been mentioned!

The prospects of either of these gentleman or any other, more obscure, candidate stopping Obama dead in his tracks, and keeping the Democratic Party united for the Presidential campaign, is close to zero!

Again, it is not pleasant that this tax deal had to be agreed to, but there is simply no real alternative than to “bite the bullet”, and plan for a major fight on the part of Obama to change the direction of the nation in the Presidential election campaign of 2012!

The fight against the GOP agenda is not over by any means! It is just beginning, and it would be helpful if the three MSNBC hosts understood that, and came back to support of Barack Obama!

The Suspension Of Keith Olbermann By MSNBC: Is It Appropriate? NO! :(

Progressive talk show host Keith Olbermann of MSNBC has been suspended because he gave political donations to Democrats who ran for office in Arizona and Kentucky, working against the candidacies of Governor Jan Brewer and Senate candidate Rand Paul.

MSNBC felt that a talk show host should not be permitted to contribute to candidates, as it compromises them on their show.

Does this make sense? NO, as is there anyone who does not know by watching Keith Olbermann, that he is a progressive voice, and that he favors the Democratic Party?

Does being on a talk show mean that one loses his freedom of speech, which contributing to a political campaign is, according to the Supreme Court in the January 2010 Citizens United case, that has allowed unlimited contributions by corporations?

Is not MSNBC a corporation which can contribute to campaigns, as Fox News Channel has done to the Republican Party? Why is it that employees of a corporation don’t have the same right to contribute that their employer has?

Is there anyone who does not know how Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck and others feel about the Republican party?

The only people in news media who should be discreet about politics are those who simply report the news, but Fox News Channel and MSNBC are stations that promote an agenda, so what is good for one should be the same for the other!

MSNBC has made a mistake in suspending Olbermann, and should reverse its decision, and bring back to the airwaves one of the most insightful and principled progressives who are engaged in the fight against the Right Wing, corporate takeover of this country, which the Supreme Court has, regretfully, encouraged!

Eliot Spitzer And Kathleen Parker Team Up For New CNN Show In Fall!

Former NY Governor Eliot Spitzer, who was forced out of office after 14 months due to a sex scandal, is now about to take on an hourly news program on CNN, cohosting it at 8 pm weekdays with Kathleen Parker, a 2010 winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Journalism for the Washington Post, who defines herself as a “rational conservative”!

Spitzer had a dry run as a substitute talk show host for MSNBC, and proved to be very stimulating, and effective in arguing ideas and points with conservative guests! Parker is very articulate when she has appeared on cable shows, and it sounds like a great debate and point-counterpoint will develop between Spitzer and Parker, as well as their guests!

This could be another “Crossfire” type show, and it sounds as if CNN is attempting to challenge their tough opposition at 8 pm–Bill O’Reilly on Fox News Channel and Keith Olbermann on MSNBC! All for the better! 🙂

A Fantastic Idea: A Public Debate Between Conservative And Progressive Talk Show Hosts For Charity!

A movement is developing online on Facebook to promote a public affairs debate for charity, to be provided to families of war veterans, between leading conservative talk show hosts and leading progressive talk show hosts, and it should be definitely encouraged!

The debate would pit Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and Glenn Beck from Fox News Channel versus Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow of MSNBC and Jon Stewart of Comedy Channel, with Stephen Colbert of Comedy Channel as the moderator.

This would be a great opportunity for a serious debate on political issues, and would put all six talk shows hosts’ “feet to the fire” to prove that their viewpoints are legitimate on the many political controversies dividing this nation!

The question that arises is whether all of these talk show hosts would be amenable to such a challenging debate. This could be the “debate of the century” in the sense that since none are running for public office, it could be a very productive discussion that would be educational to the millions of Americans that would, hopefully, watch and listen to the debate!

I call on all of these talk show hosts to accept the challenge, and to show the public the abilities and talents they possess, and let the people decide for themselves who is to be believed and trusted!