The angry anchorman in the 1976 movie gets high ratings for a while and, when they drop, network honchos have him killed on camera.
As the Keith Olbermann saga unfolds, the only new wrinkle is doing him in offstage with fine print instead of bullets. In the face of declining ratings, a pending change of ownership and a Republican tide rising, the left-leaning “mad as hell” style is obviously expendable.
Yet, in the cesspool called “cable news,” it’s disheartening to see Fox News and Rupert Murdoch tightening their grip on what passes for journalism but is little more than a political cockpit for venomous opinionating.
In an interview for tomorrow’s New York Times, Olbermann objects to pairing “MSNBC as the lefty version of Fox News” at Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity:
“To present all this as the same is both unfair and injurious to the political system at the moment. One of the big flaws now is that there is all this noise on the right. When I yell there is a reason for it. There is a political and factual discernment behind it. I am not doing it gratuitously.”
Olbermann unwittingly offers his own professional epitaph by quoting Joe Biden when he was still a senator at a lunch with him, “I just come across like I’m angry and out of control, and you seem to focus it and make it look useful and expressive.”
Back then, as now, not everybody would agree with Joe Biden, but this is a sad time to be losing Olbermann’s expressive voice.