Because we needed a loud asshole to fight for us.
Keith Olbermann, host of MSNBC's "Countdown..." announced abruptly last Friday he would be leaving MSNBC. It has caused a total shakeup in the Left community. People have been seeking answers, myself included, but both MSNBC and Olbermann are mum. The only thing we've been able to ascertain is that Keith's contract bars him from going on television news for a year. One thing is for sure, he will be missed sorely and the network has lost a very important piece of their programming.
With his departure has come accusations and conspiracy theories from his fans and his haters. It can be no doubt that his exit has at least in some part to do with the MSNBC merger with conservative corporation Comcast. Was he forced out or did he leave? Olbermann has been uncharacteristically quiet about the matter. Or did he feel it was just time to go? Answers, no matter how late they come, I'm sure with a guy like Keith we will have them eventually.
Keith Olbermann garnered a reputation as well...an asshole. But what is so wrong about that? He spoke his mind as as Russel Simmons wrote in his Huffington Post piece, he focused on facts. What he spewed wasn't paranoid fantasy or left-minded opinions: they were facts. He's even known for openly correcting himself when he makes an error. The enemy to all Fox pundits, Keith was the one guy you knew would throw down. Sometimes his pieces lacked some taste, but he was always honest. And frankly we needed him. We have the brilliant scholar Rachael Maddow, the compassionate Ed Shultz, the hilarious but reasonable John Stewart, etc, to be moderate and fair. We needed someone who was just as angry as we all were, who would yell back at us when we felt deafened under the maddening cries of idiocy from Fox and it's supporters. He was an echo in our weakness that gave us strength. He's like the Biden of liberal hosts: he's not going to be president, but you definately want him on your side in a fight.
This isn't the end of MSNBC's liberal focused shows necessarily. Rachael seems to be safe, especially since she has become the voice of the New Inteligentsia. Ed still has radio, God forbid, and Lawrence O'Donnel's soothing-voiced news coverage seems to hardly to be a recognized threat by conservatives. If more of these hosts begin to leave, we will really know that the conspiracy theorists are right and it's a conservative shakedown, but until that happens we must wait and watch.
As if to tempt us further, Keith Olbermann has been tweeting randomly since 5PM PST last night and has promised to tweet live during tonight's State of the Union address. Will it be something to fill the loss of "Countdown"? This liberal hopes so.
Here is one of my favorite "Countdown Moments", featuring not only an attack on O'Reilly and more importantly the angry defense of murdered American veterans, but the voice of Seth McFarlane as Stewey, a George Orwell reference and history fact checking (about WWII) that made me proud as a historian.