So, the “Countdown” has finally hit zero and the ever uncivil Keith Olbermann has been fired—it’s not the first time. Needless to say, the left is losing it. Apparently, Olbermann’s loss means the end of democracy and the First Amendment. The DC Trawler has put together a compilation of Twitter reactions, many along these lines:
The parallel assertion: Comcast fired Olbermann because they disagreed with his political views. The latter half may be true, I have no way of knowing, but there is no evidence to support the first part of this theory. Comcast may have ultimately called for Olbermann’s termination if he’d still been at the network when they finalized the purchase, but it appears MSNBC spared them the trouble. Yes, the timing is interesting. Olbermann was dispatched just after the FCC approved the network’s sale. This is the only “evidence” liberals rely on to condemn Comcast, but it probably says more about GE than NBC’s next owners. If the merger and firing are related, then it’s more likely that NBC’s management finally felt free from GE’s iron grip. The bigger problem with the “Comcast fired Keith” meme: Comcast spokesperson Sena Fitzmaurice released the following statement:
Comcast has not closed the transaction for NBC Universal and has no operational control at any of its properties including MSNBC. We pledged from the day the deal was announced that we would not interfere with NBC Universal’s news operations. We have not and we will not.
Liberals should also note that this isn’t the first time Olbermann has been fired; it’s not even the first time he’s been removed from a position by NBC. In fact, based on previous tenures, a kick to the curb was overdue. Let’s review a portion of his career. In 1997, Olbermann was fired by ESPN after 6 years with the network. He wasn’t invited to the 25th anniversary “reunion edition,” and he’s banned from setting foot on the grounds of the network’s headquarters. Olbermann then took a job with FOX Sports Network—that’s right, Olbermann worked for Murdoch’s News Corp. He was fired in 2001. In 2007, he became a co-host of NBC’s Football Night in America pre-game show. He was removed from the position before the start of the 2010 season. Countdown was Olbermann’s longest-held TV position. The evidence suggests he finally wore out his welcome, and there wasn’t anyone around to paper over his abrasive character.
Then there’s the ratings question. Olbermann may have had the most viewers on MSNBC, but he also had the best time slot. When compared with the competition, Olbermann’s performance is in line with Chris Matthews and Ed Schultz, well behind Maddow. Olbermann only pulled in 30-40 percent of his competition’s audience. Maddow, on the other hand, pulls in 50-60 percent, even though she generally has slightly fewer total viewers than Olbermann. In a results driven environment, Countdown was a prime candidate for the chopping block.
Finally, it can’t have helped that in early 2010, Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart finally decided it was okay to make fun of Olberman following his ridiculous defense of a vicious rant against Senator Scott Brown.
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