This article was posted on The Huffington Post on Tuesday, Jan 25. click on link to read it on HuffPost.
There was a deafening silence across the land, then a rising cacophony!
In a sudden and bold move on Friday night MSNBC delivered a big blow to free speech. Within seconds of the end of Countdown the internet was atwitter with news of Keith Olbermann’s sudden curtain call at MSNBC.
The news surprised Countdown’s audience and shocked the media.
There have been many stories written since the Friday night announcement; attempts to explain possible reasons for Olbermann’s departure. They included his recent suspension, his stormy relationship with NBC management, the merger with Comcast, and his liberal voice.
None of it will become clear until the termination of any non-disclosure agreements between Keith and MSNBC.
Olbermann had become the voice for liberal media—the counter balance to the bias of Fox and NewsCorp.
Vilified by the right for his passionate liberal views, his popularity with progressives became the model for MSNBC’s prime time line-up. That popularity helped bring voices like Maddow, Schultz, O’Donnell, and Ratigan to the public.
Olbermann’s Countdown was gaining market share in the same time slot as Fox’s Bill O’Reilly, and with it came more vitriolic attacks from fans of Fox. On the Thursday before Friday’s announcement Countdown attracted over 1.1 million viewers. He aggressively called out Fox hosts for their lies and hypocrisy which in turn drew accusations of hypocrisy, and lies from his detractors.
Those attacks were unfounded given the fact-based reporting on Countdown, a model that is evident throughout the MSNBC line-up and generally non-existent on the comparable shows on Fox. There seems to be no interest in presenting information based in fact at Fox and the chastised main stream media is reluctant to point that out.