I’ve loved Countdown and have watched Keith Olbermann since his days on ESPN SportsCenter with Dan Patrick. As much as I’m a fan of his work, and as much as I think MSNBC mismanaged its relationship with Olbermann, I also know that Olbermann can be emotionally volatile and holier-than-thou (though mostly in a good way). That kind of employee can and does grate on staff after a while, no matter how much they understand the person they’re working with. Keep in mind, Keith Olbermann’s other stops — ESPN, FOX News — also ended abruptly. Like many large personalities, especially smart ones, Olbermann became impatient in the form and restrictions that came with his work, and wanted to continue to push the envelope. It stands to reason that Olbermann’s departure was almost inevitable, even if there had been no turmoil between him and MSNBC’s muckity-mucks.
But there’s a larger issue here. Where does MSNBC go from here? I like Lawrence O’Donnell, but his personality is rather milquetoast compared to Olbermann’s. Rachel Maddow is great, incredibly sharp and snarky, and with Chris Hayes (has anyone ever noticed how he he could sub as the lead singer of Green Day if he put on eye liner, or is it just me? – I digress), the best thing to Countdown. In any case, MSNBC has no good alternative beyond the usual media suspects — older, male & White — and Maddow to compete in this new, old corporatized media world.
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