Goodbye, Keith. Hello, Madness.

When news broke last that night that MSNBC fired Keith Olbermann, my first reaction was to think back to his last episode of SportsCenter — which, incredibly, was the last time SportsCenter was relevant. We should have known that Dan Patrick botching his lines (“You’re now a newsman…now”) was a terrible omen both for the program and for where Patrick’s career was headed.

My second reaction was that I need to avoid the Internet for an unspecified period of time, because there’s no doubt that right-wing blogs are reacting to Olbermann’s axing the way that Jihadists reacted to the Twin Towers collapsing. There was much dancing in the streets and general merriment last night in Flyover Country. (Do they have streets in the places where right-wing bloggers live? And can you really dance to jug bands or Tim McGraw?) Much moonshine was had in Kentucky, I’m sure.

Olbermann is a polarizing figure, even among liberals. There’s no doubt his ego is massive and he can stretch the truth at times, but his nightly TV show served several purposes:

  • Giving liberals a legitimate media voice to counteract the bile of Fox News
  • Showing that an opinionated, biased commentator could actually do research and get facts correct on occasion
  • Acting as a lightning rod for insane right-wingers, giving them a place to focus their hatred and distracting them from any real action

My resolution to avoid the Internet lasted about 12 hours. I successfully avoided rightist blogs, but I stumbled across this article from someone called Paul Mulshine at The Star Ledger — an actual newspaper.

Writes Mulshine:

Has there ever been anyone on television who sucked up to big government more than Keith Olbermann?

Hmmm….out-of-control hyperbole right off the bat. Mulshine is either a Republican or a writer for Pop Culture Has AIDS.

Did Olbermann ever once oppose the Beltway consensus on the necessity for big government to get even bigger?

Yep. Yep, he certainly did. Just off the top of my head, I would offer up The Patriot Act as an example of Olbermann opposing big government getting bigger.

You see, Mulshine equates “Beltway consensus” with “liberal establishment”: which a) is not a thing that really exists, and b) if it did exist, it was still utterly without power from 2001-2009, which almost exactly coincides with Olbermann’s run on MSNBC. To people like Mulshine, the idea of “big government” equates to old Reagan propaganda of liberal taxing-and-spending. In reality, the W administration did more to expand government’s reach than any Democratic administration in U.S. history. The only exception is that Bush and his crew of bandits left corporate America untouched and unregulated — and look how well that turned out for all of us. Republicans, right-wingers and Tea Partiers are misguided on a lot of things, but their misunderstanding of the idea of “big government” is the most pervasive and the least likely to ever change.

What Mulshine is really saying is that if Olbermann disagrees with him, then Olbermann is not anti-establishment. Someone needs to take a course in basic logic.

Note his above screed against the tea parties. Every line echoes the Beltway establishment paranoia about people in the hinterlands attempting to take power back from Washington.

OK, please take a moment to click the link above and then watch the video on that page — Olbermann’s special comment about the Tea Party. Olbermann’s speech has nothing to do with paranoia about down-home yokels running the government (this is where Keith and I differ — I really am a liberal elitist and I actually demand that people with some level of intelligence and education be in charge of our fate), and everything to do with basic political differences. He speaks against Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh — though Republicans would have you believe otherwise, men like this are firmly positioned in the D.C. establishment. They hold immense power. Somehow, even when Republicans hold the White House, Congress or both, writers like Mulshine would have us believe that America is run in a backroom somewhere comprised of liberal Jews who graduated from Harvard and hate Two and a Half Men. (Would that this were true.)

The best example of this was the way in which Olbermann has ignored the single most anti-establishment politician on the national scene, Ron Paul.

HA HA HA HA HA! The proof is in the insane pudding. Because Olbermann didn’t support a politician Mulshine likes, then he’s pro-establishment. Again, off to logic class with you, pal. Well thought out. Good argument. Also, good grammar. Just all-around good writing, I’d say.

And to think, idiots like this guy get to celebrate just because fucking Kabletown took over NBC. Because Jeff Zucker is incompetent.

Out of morbid curiosity, I looked through Mulshine’s Star-Ledger archive. I won’t link to the articles, because I don’t want to drive up this tool’s hit count, but here’s what I learned:

  • He thinks that when it snows, it’s proof that global warming doesn’t exist.
  • He actually wrote these words: “If there’s a rock-and-roll heaven, Cat Stevens will spend eternity in hell, leapin’ and hoppin’ over hot coals – right next to John [sic] Stewart and Charlie Rose.”
  • In article claiming Joe Lieberman is a liberal(!), he also said this: “trying to shut down the press has always been a trait of left-wingers.”

Rational dude. It’s nice to get this reminder that not everyone in New Jersey is as awesome as Bruce Springsteen, the Gaslight Anthem and Titus Andronicus. Makes me feel better about living in Chicago.

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Filed under Politics Has AIDS, Television Has AIDS, The Dilemma

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