Good Night, and Good Luck

I got the news about Keith Olbmerann’s firing today in a rogue Tweet on my iPhone as I was at my day job, which is actually more of a night job. I messaged the news to Papa Bonk. So incensed was I that I constructed the previous entry on my iPhone and blogged it on the spot.

All during break time. Of course.

But. I have been steaming about it ever since and could not wait to get back to my home office here and hit the release valve. Not that the news is surprising, as Olbmermann seems to have a penchant for getting fired, and as there have been recent news stories about his scuffles with his newly adopted network.

What a stupid mess. What a stupid, incompetent mess. Which is sad because when Al brought on Keith, it seemed a master stroke, a move meant and initiated to quantify and solidify a cable station with heretofore a rather nebulous broadcast identity.

I’d never heard of Current until they got Keith. Had you?

And the move would have been to build the station around Keith and Countdown, to give the man everything he wanted that you could possibly achieve, to take the stupid brown M&Ms out of the bowl. Keith had the gravitas and the method by which to anchor that whole entire cable network. And his show was good, better, some argue, than in his waning days at MSNBC. I always enjoyed it when I got to sit down to watch. The show wasn’t lacking in quality, and Keith was showing up for work.

So, what. Keith is prickly? Is that the problem?

DUH. How many news stories have been written about Keith Olbermann being a huge pain in the ass to work with? Ya didn’t know this when you dialed his number in the first place, Mister Vice Preznit?

I am annoyed because this little network was just showing signs of being a decent liberal media bastion, sort of like the old Air America effort. And, just like that failure, this one is making the unbelievable step of axing its most valuable asset, the property that should be its anchor programming.

Eliot Spitzer, by the way, is an insulting choice as a replacement. He’s not a broadcaster. He’s not even a radio broadcaster. The least ya’ll could do is put someone in the slot who’s actually been a broadcaster for a while. Cenk has a show with Current; Stephanie Miller has a show with Current; neither of them is a scintilla of the broadcaster Keith is (sorry, Mama), but at least they don’t look into the camera like it’s their first prom date.

Ooooh, I’m annoyed at this one. Just for his initial Special Comment about Rumsfeld’s fascistic statements about Iraq, Olbermann should be holding court as head altakaka at Al Gore’s stupid network.


Current TV: Firing Olbermann ‘Part of a Broad Strategy

Producers at Current TV say today’s firing of well-known and popular
liberal firebrand Keith Olbermann is part of a larger strategy: Irrelevance
and unwatchability.

Current insiders said Olbermann’s “Countdown” flew in the face of the
channel’s programming strategy, running long, drab shows about miserable
social issues halfway around the world, as well as programming showcasing
America’s drug trade, and bride trafficking. And “An Inconvenient Truth.”

“The big boss was becoming concerned that there was one hour per day when
people were actually watching the network,” said channel producer Lou
Grant. “There’d be meetings where Al [Gore] was like, what are we going to
do with this Olbermann and people actually watching us? The next thing you
know, we’ll be expected to sell advertising.”

Olbermann’s visibility also detracted from others of Current’s strategies:
To hire every former Air America Radio host to put them on TV while still
being annoying and unwatchable even to liberals who walk around frothing at
the mouth.

“Liberals were used to tuning in to Countdown for 8 p.m. for
years. It was a time-tested program with a guy who had consistently shown
that he could deliver the audience,” said another producer. “Liberals adore
Olbermann and remember him fondly as the lone broadcaster who first stood
up to the rogue tyranny of Don Rumsfeld and the Bush administration. Why in
hell would we want to have anything to do with that?”

President of the World

If you watch the same general news programming nightly that we do here at the imaginary think-tank Crack Whores for Good Government, you’ve seen the promos for the latest Chris Matthews joint, “President of the World,” a piece that looks like it’s going to be a flattering portrait of one William “J.J.” Jefferson Clinton.

It looks as if the special will tack toward focusing on Clinton’s post-presidency, which has, one must admit, elevated the art. Clinton works on global causes and strives to rise above meager politics on the ground, raising billions of dollars among NGOs annually.

As the current president might say, now, look. I adored the Clinton presidency, but I know that Clinton didn’t always do the right thing. And I’m not talking about the BJ; I could give a rat’s ass about that. I’m talking about “THE ERA OF BIG GOVERNMENT IS OVER.” I’m talking about signing DOMA. I’m talking about free trade agreements. And so on, and so on, and so forth.

You can argue all you like about the policies perpetrated by that administration. But. There is one thing with which you cannot argue: Bill Clinton Is Awesome.

I’ve shaken the man’s hand. True story. He spoke at an event I attended for my day job a few years ago. I got to sit in the front row. It was awesome. When our executives were up on stage yentering it up, you can bet that every word was prompted on a screen. When Clinton spoke, friends, the prompter went dark. He spoke off the top of his head. And it was genuinely extemporaneous. He spoke specifically to our industry. Specifically. With numbers and examples as to how it fit in to the grander scheme of things. He was not just brilliant. He was brilliance. And only the most jaded, un-objective partisan would have thought otherwise.

Of course, immediately after, one of the most outspoken Republigoats on our staff spoke up and suggested otherwise. Said Clinton didn’t really have anything new to say. Said it was a pretty mediocre speech.

It was as if we were in different cities.

We have just suffered through yet another salvo in the considerable effort being made to to deify, rehabilitate, and appropriate the history of one Ronald Reagan. A hell of a fuck of a lot of work has gone into that effort. And it’s been quite necessary. Reagan was certainly not nearly this beloved when he exited his post.

Bill Clinton’s story has not required such an effort. It doesn’t need it. Clinton is as awesome as they would like Reagan to have been. He doesn’t need the whitewashing. We don’t need to chant his name throughout presidential debates, and we do not need to attempt to name every building, street, mountain and light pole after him. He is just is that damned good.

And right wangers, like my friend there, they hate that. They despise it. They hate it so much that it makes their teeth clench and the hockey-dad vein in their foreheads bulge purple. Bill Clinton is awesome. And right wangers despise this fact.

And that makes me very happy.

“President of the World: The Bill Clinton Phenomenon” airs on MSNBC at 10 p.m. Monday, February 21.

A Special Special Comment

For a long time, our man Keith did everything he could to wear out his signature bit, the “special comment.” I suspect that his handlers were impressed with the ratings they bore and egged him on, to the point where for a while he was making a nightly “quick comment.” Either at that point, or at the point where he dedicated an entire hour to a “special comment” on health care reform, or at the point where it was nearly successfully lampooned by Ben Afleck on Saturday Night Live, the thing really jumped the shark.

You’ve got to remember how awesome the original Special Comment was. We were in the throes of the stupidest war ever. And the Secretary of God-Damned Defense had just come out and said that anyone who disagreed with the administration’s stance on this stupid war was somehow um, morally or intellectually confused. Keith tore the living hell out of that, and a star was born.

Luckily, the K-Man has given the Special Comment a bit of a respite as of late, at least comparatively. That is the right move. That “Special Comment” logo should only be dragged out when you’ve written something truly inspiring about something that’s truly and legitimately pissed you off, brother. How to tell when that occurs? You’ll know it when you’ve written it.

Like last night. I was concerned when the man started by comparing this Shirley Sherrod thing to the Dreyfus Affair. But man what the hell happened after that was really something.

In case you missed it:

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He tears Fox “News” a new asshole of course, though he isn’t dishonest about the thing; he agrees that media in general failed on the Sherrod incident. He also rips into the White House, as they deserve. The killer is the ending, which I’m not giving away for you. It’s lovely.

And of course, Howard K. Kurtz is in the fucking Washington Post today inexplicably apologizing for Fox “News.” Kurtz claims that Fox “News” actually did its homework on this thing actually actually. Howie. Baby. We’ve seen the tape dude. Does Murdock sign your checks as well?

The Lawrence O'Donnell Show

A few years ago, this blogger had fairly accurately predicted within some proximity that Noted Lesbian Rachel Maddow would become a television star. Now it is with utter cheer that I can report that my prediction in that vein regarding one Lawrence O’Donnell were completely wrong.

I have always predicted that O’Donnell seems to be more of a jack-of-many-trades kind of guy. But now, as has just been breaking on The Huffington Post, we know that O’Donnell will indeed host his own television program at 10 p.m. on MSNBC.

O’Donnell is a POWERHOUSE of a broadcaster and a shrewd analyst. Watch him eviscerate Buchanan.

This is going to be TEH AWESOME.

Ugly Poo-Poo

I’m not sure why the ongoing fever pitch of ugly behavior in these Untied States of America is causing any sense of surprise among anyone who’s been paying attention.

The reactions and the stories you’ve been seeing of late are not new and they are not random or accidental. The spitting on a congressman and the gay and racial epithets hurled as reported last weekend, you don’t think that’s the same force that drove James W. von Brunn to make his way to the Holocaust Museum in June 2009? You don’t think the same force that caused Congresswoman Louise Slaughter’s Rochester office to get pelted with a brick is the same force that caused Raymond Hunter Geisel’s arrest for allegedly threatening to assassinate then-candidate Barack Obama in August 2008?

There is an ugliness brewing in America. It is a nebulous, corrupted, churning cloud of poo-poo. And it is billowing. It is not random, and it is not by accident, and it is not merely driven by racism, though that is one of its most powerful currents. Paranoia, fear, anti-abortionism, ignorance, economic despair, there are so many ingredients in this shit-storm that Martha Stewart would have trouble divining a recipe from it. But it’s there, and I emphasize that it is not there by accident.

Remember this?

Remember, then-candidate Obama had been a child when Bill Ayers was blowing shit up. And yet, Prudence Palin was one of the most out-front and most unspoken when it came to America’s newest “ism.” In fact, I’d say that in this, the post-Dubya era, she was the pioneer of talking as ugly as you can to whip up a frenzy.

Guess what she’s doing today?

She’s campaigning for John McWeirdsmile in sunny Arizona.

Despite John Boner’s lame protestations of late, his party is one that does not take this ugly cloud seriously. But, as our good friend Rachel Maddow pointed out to us, such firing up by our political leaders can have horribly tragic consequences. Go on, watch it, and be sure to perk up your ears at 3:45.

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