News broke last Friday, after the shut down of the Warming Glow presses, that Keith Olbermann had been fired from his position at Current TV, a network that no one has ever watched. The official reason for the firing was “breach of contract,” because Olbermann missed too many days (he was absent for about half of his telecasts this year) and because he failed to promote his own show. The real reason, however, is because Keith Olbermann is a pain in the ass. He was a pain in the ass on MSNBC, he was a pain in the ass the first time he was on MSNBC, and he was a pain in the ass when he was on ESPN. He’s a news desk diva, and while it was refreshing for a hot minute to have a liberal version of Glenn Beck in the news world, at a certain point, his contribution to the marginalization and polarization of cable news was as egregious as his counterparts on Fox. It doesn’t hurt that Olbermann is also an insufferable twit.
As though to bolster his own image as an arrogant douche, Olbermann went on David Letterman last night to explain his ouster, taking full blame in the most back-handed way imaginable. “I screwed up,” he said. How, you ask?
“I thought we could do this. It’s my fault that it didn’t succeed in the sense that I didn’t think the whole thing through. I didn’t say, ‘you know, if you buy a $10 million chandelier, you should have a house to put it in. Just walking around with a $10 million chandelier isn’t going to do anybody a lot of good, and it’s not going to do any good to the chandelier.’ And then it turned out we didn’t have a lot to put the house on to put the chandelier in, or a building permit, and I, I should have known that. And it is, it is my fault at heart … Now, I’ve been in situations in my lifetime where the second I agreed to something, I got that sinking feeling in my stomach and I said to myself on those occasions, ‘Holy goodness, I’ve just made a huge mistake.’”
Basically what Olbermann is saying is that he’s awesome, and that Current TV couldn’t contain that much awesome.
To borrow a phrase from Olbermann, that analogy is deep and I don’t think it’s playable. The very fact that Olbermann sees himself as a $10 million chandelier is the problem: He needed to be the foundation for the network. The guts. The $10 million brick and mortar. He was hired to build the network, not to hang above the table uselessly and look pretty. Plus, how are you supposed to light a goddamn home when the chandelier is broken half the time? You can’t.
The good news, at least, is that with Beck and Olbermann out of television news for the moment, maybe we can head into the general election with a touch less divisiveness on both sides.
Here’s the clip from Letterman.