Skip to comments.Wheels Within Wheels: Is Keith Olbermann Kerfuffle Just a Publicity Stunt?
Posted on 11/07/2010 12:08:49 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
Amid the white hot coverage of MSNBCs indefinite suspension of Countdown host Keith Olbermann, speculation furious enough to shame Melle Mels collegial quintet has emerged. Is this Olbermanns Waterloo? Does Keith still have the juice to weather the maelstrom? Does the whole thing scream Comcastic?
One wrinkle that hasnt been explored is an intriguing notion that a colleague of mine floated to me. Could the whole thing be an ingenious part of MSNBCs re-branding effort, a publicity stunt with the dual purpose of drawing a sharper contrast with rival Fox News? Was 11/5 an inside job?
Deliberately or not, the Olbermann suspension is accomplishing great things for MSNBC. First of all, this thing is generating enough publicity to make P.T. Barnum look like Greta Garbo. But more than that, it also appears to have cleverly enlisted its own enemies in a Tom Sawyer-esque fence-painting exercise. Who would have guessed that liberal bogeygal Rachel Maddow would have been beaten to the punch by Michelle Malkin in pointing out the difference between Fox News and MSNBCs ethical standards?
Unlike Fox News (pay attention, Media Matters Soros-bots), NBC ethics guidelines (yes, they do have them) bar their employees from making political contributions.
Then, theres the fact that this publicity supernova comes on the heels of the networks expensive Lean Forward re-branding effort, which, for all the fun thats been had at its expense, has earned the notice of MCNBCs two chief competitors.
What really makes you go hmmm, though, is the fact that, just days before Olbermanns indefinite suspension, the Countdown host announced the indefinite suspension of the Worst Persons in the World segment, in an explicit bid to draw just the contrast that his own suspension has. Were through the looking glass here, people.
Adding fuel to this little can of conspiracy Sterno is the way in which this story broke. Are we to believe that the staff of Politico just happened to be whiling away their lunch breaks on the FEC website, stumbled across Olbermanns donations, and had the tingling Spidey-sense to wonder if they violated NBC News policies?
Or did someone (were looking at you, Phil Griffin) feed the story to Politico on purpose?
My colleague pointed out, though, that lots of organizations employ Google alert-style algorithms that automatically keep a lookout for story seeds across a variety of databases.
Thats the great thing about conspiracy theories, though, isnt it? Even if someone denies it, or refutes it with logic, hell, thats just what youd expect them to do!
Of course, even sane-sounding conspiracies can turn out not to be true. Witness Crooks and Liars, who reluctantly had to throw cold water on its own grassy Keith knoll. Initially reporting that Comcast currently owns MSNBC, and that Comcasts chairman, Phil Anschutz, had donated to an organization that targets Democrats, C&L had to backtrack a little when Comcast released this response:
The joint venture between Comcast and GE has not yet received regulatory approval. Comcast is not in any way involved with decisions made currently by NBC News. We have pledged that when the transaction is concluded, Comcast will abide by the same policies for NBCs news and public affairs programming that have been in place since GE acquired the company in 1986. Comcast is committed to the independence of NBCs news operations.
We hope to acquire NBC Universal in the coming months, but by law we play no role in current operations. Mr. Philip Anschutz is not the chairman of Comcast Corporation, nor is he on its board, or in any way involved with the management of the company.
Of course, as Think Progress notes, that only means that Comcast has no formal control over MSNBC yet. No formal control. Yet. (Finger placed meaningfully to side of nose.)
As for the bigger question surrounding Olbermanns indefinite suspension namely, will he return to the Countdown anchor desk I believe that rumors of his demise have been greatly exaggerated. While it is true that his Murrow-esque pose and diluted strength in MSNBCs lineup cut against him, you dont cut your cleanup hitter loose just because youve added a couple of sluggers to your roster.
Besides, NBCs policy doesnt require Olbermanns dismissal, and it is still unclear whether the policy actually applied to him. A hard wrist-slap will sufficiently mollify MSNBCs legit critics, and might even have the effect of reining in Olbermanns epic ego. Friday nights Countdown may have included a clue to Keith Olbermanns ultimate fate. Ask yourself if theres any chance that this paragraph from fill-in host Thomas Roberts wasnt vetted up and down the line at MSNBC:
(VIDEO AT LINK)
All of you are looking forward to Keiths return, and so are we.
It certainly sounds like Olbermann will be back, stilling the dancing feet of his detractors, and drying the eyes of the faithful. Its a good thing for Keith, too, because in his role as journalistic scold, hes been enough of a prick to people in this business to make it tough for him to land elsewhere.
Just in case, though, Olbermanns supporters should still get themselves a Keith Twibbon. They totally make a difference.
called it on Friday
Maybe we could start the rumor that this is just a cover story to give MSNBC an excuse to get rid of him, so they can hire a conservative commentator to replace him and be more FNC-like ala “fair and balanced”.
Maybe even that Christine O’Donnell is going to replace him...that ought to make a few heads explode ;-)
I think people are overthinking this.
Sometimes, firing a guy with a terminal case of explosive diahrrea of the mouth because he didn’t tell his bosses about his political donations and then had his favored candidates on his show is just firing a guy with a terminal case of explosive diahrrea of the mouth because he didn’t tell his bosses about his political donations and then had his favored candidates on his show. Blues.
I said the same thing. Too coincidental following the Juan Williams news frenzy.
7 million a year for that Bozo? Any loudmouth communist MSM type could do it for 50k.
Comcast is coming in shortly and PMSLSD insiders say there will be clearing the decks of non performers like Olberdork.
I think this is a way to get rid of him without looking bad.
You’d be surprised how little you can stretch 7 mil when you down tranquilizers and anti-depressants like Barney Frank does bacon double cheeseburgers.
Gee whiz and both his fans miss him....
Is he on vacation with the Obama’s???
Everyone knows that second guy died.
What could possibly be funnier than MSNBC disciplining someone for BIAS!!!!
I might watch keith If maybe he sets himself on fire.
It’s probably a publicity stunt. If so, he’ll come back. Who cares?
If it’s not, he won’t come back.
I posted the other day that this was just a pretext for pointing accusing fingers at Fox, Beck, Hannity, et. al.
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