Keith Olbermamnn returns to the margins of cable television June 20 when he launches a new "Countdown" show on Al Gore's Current TV. (I say margins because Current TV averages about 23,000 viewers a night in primetime, which would make it the last place late local newscast in Baltimore.)
Pegged to that return, Politico has a timely piece today on Olbermann's paranoid and peculiar use of Twitter to attack those he sees as enemies. I guess I have to count myself among that number, since I have been a target of both his "worst persons" segment and his angry tweets. Read the Politico piece by Patrick Gavin here.
I am quoted in Gavin's piece along with Gawker's John Cook, former CNN correspondent Bob Franken and Tucker Carlson, editor of the Daily Caller. They all make solid points about the emotional excess and lack of restraint shown in Olbermann's tweets. Here's one of Olbermann's "Dear Moron" tweets that Gavin cited:
I include that tweet because my modest input in Gavin's piece is a prediction that just as Olbermann ultimately came to be an embarrassment for other employers, so will he be one for Gore, a co-founder of Current TV.
As I say in Gavin's piece, one can assume from Gore's political career, he has some understanding of and commitment to a civil national discourse. Olbermann creates the opposite of that through his inflammatory on-air words and behavior. I believe he is bad for the media and for the nation's civic life.
I can see how tempting it is to Gore to have a new host who drew about a million viewers a night to MSNBC. But at what cost to the reputation of the channels and the people in charge?
Anyway, check out Gavin's piece. It's a good one, and then stop back and let me know.
I missed Cook's description of Olbermann as a "pathologically self-destructive ego-vessel." I am glad Gavin included it so I could catch up with the post. You can read it here.
I also liked Tucker Carlson's remarks about the psychological, um, issues connected with someone like Olbermann living out his emotional life online. I said some of that to Gavin as well.
But the most damning thing in the article is the assertion by Gavin that Olbermann's crazed and nasty tweets have become ho-hum to many media critics. Olbermann has lost his ability to shock. Gavin's right, and that also fits with another belief of mine: that Olbermann is on a fast train to marginalization.
Wow, I thought this was going to be a two paragraph post directing readers to the Politico piece, but I'm getting all wound up. Time to stop.
But, one last thought: What do you think about Olbermann, who trires so hard to play a journalist on TV, declining to speak to Gavin?
Just the guy I'd want as my chief news officer.