Is Olbermann a liability for MSNBC?

MSNBC’s bombastic left-wing “news” anchor Keith Olbermann is out of control and causing increasing problems for the cable news network, NBC insiders say.

Olbermann, who fancies himself as a cross between news legend Edward R. Murrow and Howard Beale, the mad prophet newsman of the black comedy movie “Network,” went after former MSNBC general manager Dan Abrams Wednesday night, claiming Abrams had been fired and had a grudge against the network.

The tirade left NBC executives red-faced because Abrams, a lawyer, is still employed by NBC as a news analyst on legal issues.

Olbermann castigated Abrams in a new segment of his show “The Countdown Hall of Shame,” which replaced the tired “Worst Persons in the World Segment” that had turned into a nightly tirade against Fox News personalities Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck.

Obermann named the media website Mediaite — founded by Abrams — as runner up in the Hall of Shame Category because it reported on the Tea Party calling Obermann out for his claim that the grassroots movement lacked diversity when MSNBC anchors are mostly whitebread.

Said Olbermann:

Perhaps the reason that Mediaite took a Tea Party’s word for it is that this is the same site of a fired MSNBC employee. And in his attempt to implant his bitterness toward this place, to plug or weave it into his website, he has wigged out. He would like us to sweep his failure under the rug as if it were a bald-faced lie, or there will be hell to pay.

Mediaite managing editor Colby Hall responded:

I’m surprised that MSNBC bookers and Today Show producers haven’t got the memo that [Abrams has] been fired. More importantly, the opinions and sentiments in all of Mediaite’s pieces have been those of the editors and writers of Mediaite.

The whole scenario reminds one of an aged stand-up comedian who hasn’t updated his material in years, but is still somehow content playing to a half-filled room at the West Topeka Chuckle Hut. At some point it’s no longer funny, nor even fun. It’s just sorta sad.

Sadly, Keith Obermann has lost it.

Oberman may have lost more than his credibility with the inaccurate attack on Abrams. Some in the NBC power structure wonder if Olbermann is a loser for the network. Despite his claims of viewership gains, Obermann’s ratings lag far behind right-wing powerhouses like O’Reilly.

Andrew Malcolm at The Los Angeles Times say Obermann is sinking fast:

In the most desirable TV demographic of 25-54, which Keith will soon outgrow himself, “Countdown” lost 44% of its audience from the beginning of President Obama’s term until this year. It could  have been worse — say, 45%.

Olbermann averaged 268,000 viewers last month in that sector. That’s just several thousand sets of those eyes more than Campbell Brown over on CNN. According to one count, Keith even finished in that time slot behind Nancy Grace. Nancy Grace!

Writes Jeff Bercovici at Daily Finance:

There are also more subjective signs that Olbermann’s stridency and lack of proportion are alienating some of his natural allies. Quite a few eyebrows elevated last week when Jon Stewart, in a parody of one of Olbermann’s “Special Comment” segments, called out the newsman for going way over the top in his denunciations of Republican Senator-elect Scott Brown of Massachusetts. The criticism was all the more remarkable, given that Stewart and Olbermann usually take the same side on most issues, especially when it comes to Fox News and the Republicans.

Olbermann’s overheated rhetoric also drew a sharp response from Joe Scarborough, MSNBC’s house conservative, who called his fellow host’s attack on Brown “reckless” and “sad.” The exchange (and a few earlier, similar incidents) inspired network president Phil Griffin to issue a stern memo admonishing his charges: “We do not publicly criticize our colleagues. This kind of behavior is unprofessional and will not be tolerated.”

Olbermann, a one-time sportscaster and pitchman for the faltering Boston Market restaurant chain, has bounced from network to network, alternating between sports and political commentary. He hosted a nightly MSNBC show that focused on the Monica Lewinsky affair during the Clinton years then left for a brief return to sports broadcasting with Fox before returning to MSNBC to bash the Bush administration.

Writes Mark Memmott for National Public Radio:

MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann strongly disagrees, but one of the memes of the day seems to be that Countdown with Keith Olbermann isn’t doing so well ratings-wise and might soon be history.

“Keith has a habit of flaming out,” says one NBC producer. “It’s happening again.”

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78 Responses to "Is Olbermann a liability for MSNBC?"

  1. leslie  March 1, 2010 at 12:43 am

    Jerry..I Sorry I ruffled your…feathers. And in fact your response is based upon…nothing of substance in terms of my life. I am not a Democrat, I do not watch a lot of television, I am not a Liberal….I am educated, I have travelled the world, I have lived in “foreign” countries, I have never relied upon another person or entity for financial support since I left home in 1966, in fact it has been the opposite. I am on Social Security …do you consider that a socialist hand out…? My working full time for 50 years is not enough perhaps? Judging from your rather heated response I cannot help but wonder where you do your research? I know for a fact that President Obama’s stimulus plan is working in the world of higher education, science and medicine. Many proposals were solicited & are being funded, people are being hired, supplies are being ordered, overhead is being paid, and students are able to perform much needed research for their UG and Graduate theses. Keith is Keith, obviously he upsets you as much as the shock jocks upset me when they spew hatred and twisted “facts..”….President Obama is taking the heat for 8 years of corruption, disloyalty, and financial mismanagement among other more despicable and egregious actions. That is based upon fact, I am sorry to burst your bubble.

    • Pam Smith  March 1, 2010 at 3:51 pm

      You go Leslie! Olbermann always catches heat for exposing right wing-nuts for who they really are. His ratings are solid and he’ll be around long after the tea-baggers run out of hate to spew to the willing crazy-based media.

  2. Calif_56  March 1, 2010 at 1:45 am

    Stopped listening to Keith when he accused Hillary of wanting Obama assassinated. I wasn’t a Hillary supporter, but that was extreme and disturbing (and untrue and unfair). Even the Obama campaign had to go on television that following Sunday to tamp down Keith’s wild rant.

    I would like to see him replaced with Glenn Greenwald or Jane Hamsher: principled liberals that don’t sound like complete psychos (sorry Keith)!

  3. BitterHappiness  March 1, 2010 at 3:56 am

    Of course Keith Olbermann has been losing ratings and possibly be canned – with a black president now in office, white racists all throughout America are beginning to realize what it’s like to have a president who doesn’t look like them and who they can’t identify with, making them insecure and even prejudiced toward him. You can be sure the conservative morons in Faux News are manipulating that sentiment to the best of their abilities and inciting racism among ALL Americans. This isn’t Keith’s fault and his show is the most informative news show on ANY network. White racists simply are too insecure and ignorant to handle the truth and as a result, Keith’s show will fail. It’s sad, but that’s just how racist America is. Lies and slander prevails over REAL news.

    • TheLonelySquire  March 1, 2010 at 4:02 pm

      Let me guess. As an Obama supporter you’re either:

      1. 20 years old and don’t know $hit about how the real world works.

      2. 20 years old and believe stealing from others is okay because you’re too fuc&ing lazy to get a job.

      3. Black… and hope Obamagunpayfoyomogige.

      4. A Frisco homo.

      5. All of the above?

      Either way, after Olby gets the axe you’ll still have the tranny at 9pm to cry for you.

  4. Kevin Olmanshneurmann  March 2, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Keith Olbermann is one of the smartest, decentest and best people on TV. He is the only one really willing to tell the awful truth about those retarded hateful stupid ignorant right-wing nazi racist white racist supremacist moron intolerant bigoted narrow-minded republican rednecks trying to destroy this country and our president! They are such bigots and haters, not to mention racists. And if they want lower taxes and don’t want the presidents health care reform bill, that is just because they are nazi racists. As well as intolerant and narrow-minded bigots!

  5. troy  March 2, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    Nonsense. Keith is a hack.. he doenst fact check.. he lives in an echo chamber and only has guests on that agree with him. His talking points are generated from left wing blogs and he sickly uses his father as a prop for his talking points. what a tool. and Kevin olmanabooga booga.. your hateful rhetoric is an embarrassment. look up the word intolerant..then look in the mirror.

  6. mary  March 3, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Just wondering how many people on here that are defending Keith, watch him? I don’t I watch Fox! I am a Reagan conservative. I am a tea party goer and am no racist but could care less about being referred to as one, while I raise me biracial children just as Obama is. I don’t support Obama because I don’t understand how a president can be so concerned with waterboarding and careless about ripping a fetus from a mothers womb. Personally I want you to get all those terrorists and defend the innocent! I love my country and I believe that Obama is destroying it. While Bush did his part Obama needs to stop crying and take responsibility for the job he applied for… Or get out of the way and let a real man do the job. Personally I could care less if that is a republican or a democrat I say we as Americans stop tearing ourselves apart and down and vote them all out…when the are up they need to be voted out..”D” and “R” If you saw me you wouldnt know who I was but I tell you this Keith is one rednecked hateful S.O.B.

  7. griff  March 4, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Wow. The drive-by whackos are out in full force. No wonder this country is going down the tubes. I’ve never seen so many idiotic, mindless comments.

  8. b mcclellan  March 5, 2010 at 1:28 am

    Leave’m lone…

  9. Paul  March 5, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Olberman is too polarized, the exact flip-side of his enemies. He does expose the extreme right’s issues, but when he lumps people like Scott Brown into their pot he has made a huge blunder. He has no credibility now. Even John Stewart knows that Scott Brown is not right wing whacko. What’s up with all that trash talk about people who drive trucks? That makes no sense at all. Sorry, but Keith is over the edge and will not last long. He is immersed in a sub-personality that lives on outrageousness instead of truth.

  10. Brandon  March 5, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    Good bye loser!!!

  11. LA Medic Guy  March 9, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    As Olbermann’s ratings continue to decline, the executives will have to make a decision as to whether keep him around. President Obama’s poll numbers also continue to decline because the American public is beginning to see through the MSNBC haze and actually look at what the president is doing. America remains a center-right country. I have to say, Keith and Barack are possibly the best thing to happen to the conservative movement in years. Together, they are turning more independents into conservatives everyday. I hope MSNBC keeps Keith on until at least the November elections…That will ensure a massive conservative victory and begin the process of taking our country back.

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