Keith Olbermann, News and Current Events, People, Television

Keith Olbermann

Does anyone have any information about why MSNBC and Keith Olbermann have ended their contract?

25 thoughts on “Keith Olbermann”

  1. Comcast, of course!

    Interesting… tried to Google info on conservative Comcast and the info has all been joggled to be friendly to Comcast.


      1. Of course, it could be I’m an incompetent Googler, but I’ve noted a trend in not being able to access the sort of information that was easily accessible time before.


      1. The conservative activities of Comcast. I’ll try a combo of right wing and Comcast and see what that yields.


      2. Karen, here’s a quote from the LATimes media blog Company Town that may shed a little light:

        “Olbermann is a lefty and it is no secret that Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and his No. 2 Steve Burke (who will run NBC Universal) have donated to Republicans on occasion.

        “However, David Cohen, a top Comcast executive and the man who guided the deal with NBC Universal through the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department, held a huge fundraiser for President Obama in 2008. Comcast’s Roberts has also often donated to Democrats.

        “When it comes to politics, many corporate chieftans are more pragmatic than ideolological [sic]. They grease the wheels that need to be greased to help their bottom line regardless of political affiliation, and often hedge their bets by donating to both parties. Since Republicans tend to favor less regulation, media companies often back them.”

        It makes sense to me that Comcast execs would be greatly relieved that they weren’t going to have to deal with Olbermann, but the idea that they would have insisted MSNBC fire him because of his political views just when Comcast was about to take control doesn’t add up. If Comcast wants to pull MSNBC back toward the center, they’re much more likely to do it incrementally so it won’t be quite so obvious. They don’t want to alienate the audience that has lifted MSNBC’s ratings above CNN’s if they can help it; that would be killing the goose that laid the golden egg. They’re much more interested in MSNBC making money than in turning it into a second-string Fox.

        I’m no fan of Comcast, but I just don’t think it computes to make it the villain of this piece. Let’s wait and see what happens to MSNBC’s other liberal commentators. If they seem to become less stridently opposed to the GOP over time, we probably can pin that on Comcast.


  2. FWIW,’s “Slatest” feature has an item on Olbermann with links to a bunch of different articles on this. The consensus seems to be that Comcast didn’t have anything to do with it; Olbermann had decided last April that he wanted to leave MSNBC, and negotiations to that end had been taking place on and off ever since. He recently signed up with new representation and began negotiating in earnest with MSNBC several weeks ago, well *before* Comcast was given the go-ahead for the merger.

    Olbermann is notorious for having difficulty getting along with management and has walked out on several previous gigs.

    Conspiracy theories are always fun, but this one, more than many, just doesn’t fit the known facts very well.


  3. Grassroots Support? Or Astroturf?
    by Sam Gustin Feb 26 2008
    Comcast acknowledges that it hired people to take up room at an F.C.C. hearing into its practices.
    FCC hearing
    Two men apparently sleeping during an F.C.C. hearing at Harvard on Monday. Comcast acknowledged that it paid some people off the street to hold places in line for its employees, but denied they took seats in the hearing room.

    Read more:

    And, I still think that Comcast is behind the Olbermann firing.


    1. Karen, here’s an interesting quote from an article in The New York Post. The article was heavily slanted against Olbermann (suprise! It’s the Post, after all), but it nevertheless included this:

      Olbermann’s ouster comes just three days after government officials gave clearance for Comcast Corp. to take over NBC Universal. Last May, Comcast Chairman Brian Roberts was asked what he would do, once he took over, if Olbermann badmouthed any Republican members of Congress.

      “Let’s have that conversation in 12 months, when we’re playing with live ammo,” he said darkly.


    2. But Olbermann wasn’t fired. Comcast may be “behind” Olbermann leaving, but in the sense that Olbermann may well have decided he didn’t want to have to deal with what he foresaw would be inevitable hassles once Comcast took over, and arranged to get out while he could still make an amicable arrangement with MSNBC.


      1. SL, like you, I tend towards the view Olbermann was not fired, and yet, I’m not completely certain at this point of the actual facts.

        I expect there to be much new information coming out in the next few days. And if that indeed happens, then I’m uncertain that information will change anything, but it could.


  4. An interesting sidebar:

    January 21, 2011
    Spotlight From Glenn Beck Brings a CUNY Professor Threats

    On his daily radio and television shows, Glenn Beck has elevated once-obscure conservative thinkers onto best-seller lists. Recently, he has elevated a 78-year-old liberal academic to celebrity of a different sort, in a way that some say is endangering her life.

    Frances Fox Piven, a City University of New York professor, has been a primary character in Mr. Beck’s warnings about a progressive take-down of America. Ms. Piven, Mr. Beck says, is responsible for a plan to “intentionally collapse our economic system.”

    ….The Nation, which has featured Ms. Piven’s columns for decades, quoted some of the threats against her in an editorial this week that condemned the “concerted campaign” against her.

    One such threat, published as an anonymous comment on The Blaze, read, “Somebody tell Frances I have 5000 roundas ready and I’ll give My life to take Our freedom back.” (The spelling and capitalizing have not been changed.)

    That comment and others that were direct threats were later deleted, but other comments remain that charge her with treasonous behavior.


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