"This will be the last edition of your show," MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, on the air, claimed he was told by management. What to make of Olbermann's abrupt departure, an apparent firing?
Did post-Tucson concern over "vitriolic rhetoric" cause Comcast, MSNBC's new owner, to recoil at Olbermann's greatest hits? They include, but are by no means limited to:
Calling opposition to ObamaCare the equivalent of "terrorists ... killing 45,000 people every year"; blaming Rush Limbaugh for the Oklahoma City bombing; calling the tea party-backed Republicans racists who would bring back "Jim Crow ... bread lines ... robber barons" and "hanging union organizers"; calling now-Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., a "homophobic, racist, reactionary ... teabagging supporter of violence against women"; accusing columnist and Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin of engaging in "morally bankrupt, knee-jerk, fascistic hatred without which (she) would just be a big mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it"; accusing President George W. Bush of "urinating on the Constitution" and of committing "panoramic and murderous deceit"; exclaiming about Bush, "You're a fascist!"; asserting that Bush "lied us into a war and, in so doing, needlessly killed 3,584"; calling Fox News' Chris Wallace "a monkey posing as a newscaster"; and saying of the then-Whitewater prosecutor, "It finally dawned on me that the person Ken Starr has reminded me of facially all this time was Heinrich Himmler ... a persecutor as opposed to a prosecutor."
Whatever version Comcast puts out -- "We don't interfere with the businesses we just paid a boatload of money to take over" -- is likely to be crap, mostly crap or partially crap. And whatever version Olbermann or his supporters/defenders put out -- "He's not in it for the money" or "He wouldn't stand for any control over his show" -- is likely to be crap, mostly crap or partially crap.
Maybe it's as simple as this. Lawrence O'Donnell, who held down MSNBC's 10 p.m. slot and who frequently and ably guest-hosted for Olbermann, now takes over. O'Donnell once repeatedly screamed "liar!" at Swift boat veteran John O'Neill and had a shouting match with a former Bush speechwriter over O'Donnell's accusation that Bush condoned "torture." O'Donnell is a self-described "socialist" who wants to "ban all guns in America" and "make Medicare available to all."
Olbermann reportedly made $7 mil a year. It's a safe bet that O'Donnell earns a fraction of $7 mil and that the new management foresees no appreciable drop in ratings. Addition by subtraction -- with no change in content or volatility.