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Start date for Olbermann's march to marginalization

Al Gore's Current TV announced a start date for the official marginalization of Keith Olbermann: June 20.

That's when "Countdown with Keith Olbermann," which used to air to an audience of more than one million viewers on a cable channel that flew under the storied banner of NBC News, will debut on the channel that averages an audience of about 23,000 viewers in prime time.

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The new version of "Countdown" will air at 8 p.m. weeknights, the same time as the old MSNBC version, and while it might be fun to see whether or not Olbermann can do any damage to CNN's Eliot Spitzer, the least trusted man on television, and MSNBC's uber-ideologue Lawrence O'Donnell, I don't think there is going to be anything amusing about Olbermann's return.

I am still hopeful that the removal of Olbermann and Glenn Beck from two of the three cable channels that have become the primary realm of the American political conversation will elevate the tone of that discourse in this election season.

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But after seeing what Olbermann has been up to with his angry and ugly tweets recently, I fear his new show will actually be worse than the old. Think angry, partisan, paranoid and filled with reckless character assassination -- and all of it delivered in an even louder and more desperate voice. He's already screaming on Twitter to avoid being ignored. I can only imagine how crazed he'll be on-air come June 20th.

I am not going to repeat what he said last week about conservative analyst S.E. Cupp. I was happily on vacation while it was being decried and denounced by others. You can read a re-cap here.

But if this is the new more civil voice that Olbermann promised to bring to the discourse of American civic life after Jon Stewart's Washington rally, he has a weird notion of how civilzed people disagree with one another.

I am not shocked by anything Olbermann tweets or says any more -- no matter how nasty and slanderous it is.

But I am kind of surprised that his new boss, a former member of the Senate, a body that prides itself on a civilized public discourse, allows him to behave that way.

Maybe Gore, too, is desperate enough to do almost anything to find an audience for the channel he co-founded in 2005.

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