There’s Only One Keith Olbermann–and Thank God for That!

The following has been excerpted from my book, A Slobbering Love Affair, which came out right after Inauguration Day in January, 2009.

[Keith] Olbermann’s critics think he is mentally ill and should be doing his show from a padded cell.  His fans – devotees would be a better word – think he’s the sanest guy in television news, maybe the only one with the guts to speak truth to power.  They see him as the reincarnation of the great, courageous journalist Edward R. Murrow.  Olbermann apparently sees himself the same way.  He ends his nightly broadcast bidding his viewers, “Good night and good luck” – a rip-off of Murrow’s signature signoff.

While this alone would be considered proof in any court of law that Olbermann is, at the very least, a legend in his own mind, Olbermann himself has an entirely different perspective on the matter.  Murrow did news and commentary, both in the same broadcast.  So do I, Olbermann reasons.  Murrow took on the powers of the day, like Joe McCarthy.  Me too, says Olbermann.

Except …

Edward R. Murrow never told a president to “shut the hell up’ in any of his commentaries.  Olbermann gave that “advice” to President Bush in one of his.

Murrow never posed a loaded question like the one Olbermann posed about W.:  “Pathological presidential liar,” Keith wondered, “or an idiot in chief.?”

I didn’t know Ed Murrow.  He stopped reporting for CBS News long before I got there.  But we all knew we were working “in the house that Murrow built.”  And even though I didn’t know him personally, I knew from colleagues who did work with him, journalists like Dan Rather, that Murrow was not only a first-rate reporter, but was also one very classy guy.

Olbermann is something else.


Olbermann reminds me of another angry character who used to work in television – the fictional one from the movie Network, who was “made as hell” and wasn’t “going to take this anymore.”  Keith Olbermann is Howard Beale – without the charm.  (For what it’s worth, this is the Wikipedia reference to Beale:  “During the movie, Howard struggles with depression and insanity, but his producers, rather than give him the medical help he needs, use him as a tool for getting higher ratings.”  Why does the phrase “life imitating art” keep popping into my head?)


I suspect that sometime down the road Keith Olbermann is going to go too far and blow up his lucrative MSNBC career in an outburst of righteous indignation that even the money boys on executive row won’t be able to tolerate.  But I could be wrong.  When it comes to show business, after all, nobody knows anything, as William Goldman, who wrote Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, once said.  He makes money for the network, and that’s all that counts.

So here’s a piece of advice for Olbermann, who goes on the air each night channeling (in his mind anyway) the sainted Edward R. Murrow.  Murrow once said, “just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn’t mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar.”  Think about that, Keith, the next time you go on one of your wild and crazy harangues against conservatives.  And whatever you do, get the anger under control before you sign off.  You wouldn’t want to still be in a rage-induced fog when you lean into the camera the way Murrow used to an inadvertently tell your faithful fans, “Good night and go F yourselves.”

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  • Randy

    Olberman is a mercenary. He acts as self-appointed head of the leftist loony bin only because he can’t match up with real reporters like O’Reilly or Bernie. As soon as this act stops making money for him, he will take a bit of a leave and reappear as a talking head on a sports channel.

  • perry

    Bernie, No one should be compared to Mr Morrow.He was in a class of his own. He did’nt do it for the money, like the rest of these guys do. It’s fear they are selling.This journalistic hype that you get today makes me sick. I don’t believe there’s an honest person among them.
    One note to Mr Burns, abortion is “murder”. Mr Tiller paid for his sin.

  • Ben

    Terence – You seem to have a strange definition of anti-semitic.
    “Here’s a Jewish boy helping send the Jews to the death camps”
    So saying it’s wrong to send Jews to their deaths is anti-Jew? Gotta tell ya, as a Jew I’m pretty disgusted by your defense of Soros (and still would be had he not renounced his religion and Israel as a whole).
    I wonder if Beck’s friend Rabbi Lapin thinks he’s an anti-semite.

    • Terence

      400 Rabbi’s can’t be wrong, baby, and yes, I consider it anti-jew if the quote is false, let’s see Beck prove it.

      • Paul Courtney

        Your 10,000 flies argument not very persuasive. I caught a Beck segment on Soros’ backround, it was as good as A Cooper taking down the “$2 mill-a-day-India-trip” canard. I thought he did prove it, haven’t heard anyone debunk it. I thought your anti-semitism charge was off base, but Ben said it better than I could.

      • Ron Kean

        400 Rabbis can certainly be wrong. Rabbis are people and there are thousands of them. This is not the place for theological discussions about Rabbis or any Jew who supports institutions that provide 2nd or 3rd trimester abortions or support organizations that work to the detriment of the land of Israel and many Jews do.

        Suffice it to say the Glen Beck has a large following of people that you may think are not as smart as you but just may be a whole lot smarter. We see Olberman fading away as is the audience of MSNBC in general because more and more people are recognizing the value of the opinions of Beck and FOX in general.

        Some people can’t see it yet and are willing to go down with the liberal ship. OK. It’s a free country. But as you fight the reality of the larger truths of what Beck (I know you have something that may say the opposite-I don’t care about your arguments) and FOX in general says, why is it necessary for you to annoy us here with your contrary attitude?

    • Terence A. Craig

      One more thought Ben, your selective outrage concerning George Soros is evident here, I’m defending a 14 year old holocaust survivor and you are focused on what the survivor has become in later life. It matters NOT if the 14 year old holocaust survivor went on to become George Soros, Jerry Stiller or Charles Krauthammer. Furthermore, I don’t think it’s for Glenn Beck to use in his petty smear campaign without direct evidence – which is lacking here, hence …the reaction from the Rabbi’s.

      Paul Courtney, I asked for an example of Glenn Beck being MORE viciously attacked when he is “spot-on.” I’m still waiting, (disregarding your deflecting comments) you cite Van Jones and ACORN. Well, Van Jones has some controversial background issues, but I don’t recall a big outcry when he left and with ACORN, it turns out Beck was not so “spot-on” and had plenty of “fudged” facts and the California DA office confirmed this.

      I know, I know, you’re not a regular viewer but you can vouch for his occasional “spot-on” analysis.

      • Paul Courtney

        Beck was called a racist for pointing to Van Jones as a truther (spot on) and unqualified to be green jobs czar (spot on, but that’s a trick-nobody is qualified for that!). Al Sharpton attacked him for scheduling his rally on anniversary of MLK speech, but I won’t hold you to what Al says. Hope Jimmy Carter does aspire to W’s “no bad mouthing my successor” approach, though maybe you meant Obama aspiring to W’s honesty. Thought you could use the laugh.

        • Terence A. Craig

          Thank you Paul Courtney for that “fact free” retort. I must say, you are a glutton for punishment and the sole survivor on the “defend Glenn Beck” parade.

          You gave me unnamed sources and Al Sharpton, well that settles it …. er, not. Seriously, this is getting old and I’m just going to point out one more Glenn Beck lie and you can do your own homework from here on.

          Regarding your “claim” that Glenn Beck was “spot-on” for signing the statement, I’ll show you both sources demonstrating Glenn Beck lied, yes LIED.

          First, watch his claim (you can spare some time by just watching 5:00 to 5:20)

          Then, let’s go directly to the source and see their statement about this matter.

          Not so “spot on” wake up Paul Courtney, I just blew a giant hole in your “truther” trump card. If Glenn Beck lied here, doesn’t it make you wonder what else he may be lying about. The bottom line is, the Van Jones smear campaign was overblown and in many cases … unjustified.

          Feel free to take the last word, but I will not respond unless you produce something that resembles facts to support your argument.

          Have a great day,
          Terence A. Craig

          • Jimmy C

            Terence Beck showed a vid clip of your hero Jones saying he was a truther but dont let the truth get in your way LEMMING

          • Terence A. Craig

            Would you care to provide a link to prove this Jimmy C.

            No, I didn’t think so, if you can read, check my links.

          • Paul Courtney

            Looks like I’m not alone. Watched the entire clip, and response. It confirms what Beck said, the guy signed on (if he didn’t think he had, what was he withdrawing?). Your links show Beck being called a liar when he didn’t lie, he documented that the folks listed Jones as a signer and Jones thought he was a signer until Beck called him on it, when he “withdrew”. You’re convinced this “blows holes”? I’m just as convinced it verifies Beck’s segment. No response necessary.

          • Terence A. Craig

            Yeah, no need to respond, you didn’t cite a single fact or show any evidence.

            Case closed.

          • Paul Courtney

            Citing what your link says is not fact? Guess that’s understandable given the source. Gonna give me the last word, just like O’Rielly? Here’s the point-you said a link shows Beck lied, but Beck reported Van Jones was on a list of 9/11 truthers, and he was on the list. Jones’ claimed it was a mistake, but he was included, confirming Beck’s report. Putting aside that Jones has not denied he agrees with those on the list, and may have verbally assented,you posted a link claiming it proved Beck lied when it proves the opposite. Was it you who posted something to the effect,”if Beck lies here, where else?” Well, where else are you lying? That blowing sound you’re hearing may be the wind, passing between your ears, unobstructed.

          • Terence A. Craig

            Let me get this straight, you’re claiming Beck was “spot on” in reporting that Van Jones had his name on the statement, even though, there is no proof that he signed such a document. Yes, he was listed (at one time, in text, no actual signature), but how is this shoddy journalism “spot on?” I could start a website and put a list of names together. Maybe I’ll do a website about how Paul Courtney likes to wear women’s clothing, does that make it true?

            Bottom line, this is something YOU said Beck was “spot on” about, but in fact – he wasn’t. Do you think it would have been a good idea for someone from his staff to call and get confirmation of his signature? This episode fit his smear campaign so he just aired the false story and you gobbled it up.

            As far as your “lying” statement, facts don’t lie, give me something … anything but empty statements …what say you?

          • Paul Courtney

            So we’ve shifted from “Beck lied” to “shoddy journalism” based on the facts I’ve pointed to. So you’re now admitting Beck didn’t lie? Your own link proves he didn’t, even if the truthers did, what other facts you want from me? Beck does not claim to be a journalist, and it’s not shoddy to quote a written article put out by an organization without calling them to ask them to confirm their own statement. Beck was spot on because he’d shown Van Jones to be an america-hating leftie with Jones’ own stuff, and followed with this. Again, Jones admitted (according to the link YOU showed me) that he was with these truthers, just “verbally”. Has Jones ever said he’s not with them, or did he just quietly withdraw his name?

          • Terence A. Craig

            Sheesh…. shaking my head in disbelief, “spot on” has a new meaning in your narrative. I have some beachfront property in New Mexico, Interested?

  • Wil Burns

    Bernie, Hannity, Beck, O’Reilly still on TV and they fired Keith Olbermann? How crazy is that! BTW, Keith Olbermann never got anyone killed. Remember your buddy Bill O’Reilly… Since 2005, Bill O’Reilly has waged jihad against Dr. George Tiller, dedicating 29 segments of his show to demonizing and dehumanizing Tiller, who he invariably called “Tiller the baby killer.”

    Tiller is no longer with us, now is he. Where is your damned outrage about this?

    • Konrad Lau

      Mr. Burns,
      To connect O’Reilly’s commentary with Dr. Tiller’s murder is the same as trying to connect Sara Palin with the assassination attempt on the Congresswoman in Tucson…disingenuous at best and defamatory and liable at it’s worst. An educated man should know better than to talk that way even if those are his emotional feelings.

      None of the persons you mentioned in your post has ever incited violence against anyone while broadcasting. Perhaps, what you are really upset over is your inability to deal with truthful, reasonable opposition to your ideology. The majority of what Oberman got into trouble with was his unreasoning anger and unbridled name calling in his commentary.

      It seems to me you didn’t get the memo from the President directing us all to be more civil in our discourse.
      Of course, that was then and this is now.

      • Wil Burns

        Bill O’Reilly and Scott Roeder believe that abortion is “murder”. Apart from pulling a trigger, O’Reilly’s belief system is the same as Scott Roeder’s. Bill O’Reilly maintained that Tiller was a “baby killer.” So did Scott Roeder. Connect the dots…

        • Tim Ned

          O’Reilly reported exactly what Tiller was doing. Tiller admittedly was one of the few in this country that performed late term abortions. He used loosely written abortion laws for these questionable abortions by obtaining second opinions from personnel within his own office.

          There is no evidence connecting the actions of these nuts who shoot people to political commentators. The only dots being connected are in the ones your warped perception.

        • James

          So, since you like Olbermann and your belief systems are the same, you must approve of his hair style.

    • Ron Kean

      You keep coming here and annoying us with your off-topic rants and contrary comments. Go somewhere else.

      • Paul Courtney

        Ron: Please don’t send Wil away, he’s gonna win us all over with his sharp insights. See, O’Reilly and I oppose abortion just like the triggerman, so we’re all guilty. And Keith O and Wil oppose the war, which the Tuscon mass murderer thought unconstitutional, so….oh, wait, I forgot it’s a one way street.

    • Bruce A.

      Wil. How many times have I seen people post here telling you to stay off the dailykos? The site is for deranged people.

    • Ron Kean

      My damned outrage is that you’re still allowed to post here.

    • Terry Walbert

      You wrote, Since 2005, Bill O’Reilly has waged jihad against Dr. George Tiller, dedicating 29 segments of his show to demonizing and dehumanizing Tiller, who he invariably called “Tiller the baby killer.”

      Tiller should have changed his last name to Smith. This reminds me of a slave trader named Craver who was called “Craver the Slaver” by abolitionists. Needless to say, he took the hint and changed his last name to Jones.

  • RW Harrington,MD

    Keith Olbermann has a long history of hateful vitriol.Some of you may remember that he has worked at
    ESPN. When he left(was fired)at ESPN,one of his former colleagues said:”Keith didn’t burn his bridges;
    he napalmed them”. Olbermann’s success at MSNBC should inform conservatives about the radical left.
    Lesson #1: the radical left will never,ever admit they were misguided or wrong on any issue. Just as Nancy Pelosi recently said in an interview that the Democrats “reduced the national debt”,so the radical
    left will lie in every way possible way to achieve their socialist goals. Read The TRUE BELIEVER by
    Eric Hoffer. There are many other lessons the conservatives should gain. Now is not the time to gloat
    over Olbermann’s departure. The Marxist/socialists are always there.

  • Ron Kean

    Many of us have been waiting for the fall of the MSM. If it comes one commentator at a time I hope this is the first crack in the wall. I hope this is the start of a media transformation.

    If the MSM is truly interested in making money, it’s just too strange that they don’t imitate FOX. The PJTV crowd could really bring ratings and money to ABC, CBS, or the rest if they want money. The media is business after all.

    Hopefully, NPR and CPB will be the next dominos to fall or hopefully to presage an avalanche of other media if congress does it’s duty.

  • Ellie Velinska

    “I suspect that sometime down the road Keith Olbermann is going to go too far”

    Like being unable to resist donating to democrats political campaigns? Great future guessing!

  • Jay Thompson

    I, like many others, used to watch MSNBC (mostly Matthews and Olbermann) for perspective, and to keep myself from an insularity that is akin to preaching to the choir, or being a choir member in the same chorus. Too many conservatives do so, and unwittingly consider themselves intellectually informed.
    That being said, I have never heard more hatred, vitriolic hemming and hawing, and piercing invectives than I routinely heard from Olbermann. To compare Glenn Beck to him is an affront to Beck, is ill-founded, and does not a Beck-bashing make. While I am not in agreement with Beck a good deal of the time, I consider him fair in the main, and that is substantially more than I can ever say about the caustic caterwauling of Keith Olbermann.

    • Paul Courtney

      Indeed! I’m a conservative who has been watching & reading news, picking apart liberal bias elsewhere, far too long not to see that Fox has it’s agenda. But they do have guests from the other side, and there’s a semblance of balance the networks never had. I also would flip between Keith O and Bill O, to see O’Reilly cover news and Olberman cover O’Reilly. When he got so anti-Bush he became unwatchable (causing a bump up in the ratings! all it took was a few hundred thousand Bush haters who couldn’t get enough from the internet) I stopped watching him and Matthews. I can still stand npr and an occasional A Cooper for some perspective, but just like Dan Rather and the rest, npr and cnn won’t admit to bias, and when exposed, they’ll insist it doesn’t enter their newscasts. Yeah, Beck sometimes passes on bad info, but he gets attacked more viciously when he’s telling well-sourced, undeniable truths. Fox (“faux” news, it’s just as funny the millionth time) is not in Keith O’s league, and we’re all (Terrance and MSNBC included) better off without him.

      • Jay Thompson

        Paul Courtney,

        Well said. Much like you, I had to cease and desist with respect to Matthews and Olbermann. I still check in with NPR and CNN as well, though I agree with you they’d rather choke than admit bias.
        Your point about Beck, that the attacks come more viciously when he is spot on, is a darn good one. I have noticed that as well.

        • Terence

          OK, I’ll nibble, I’m not in disagreement (about the Glenn Beck is MORE viciously attacked when he is spot on), can you please cite an example of this.

          Just curious.

          • Paul Courtney

            Not a regular viewer (I prefer the sport channels at that hour, for real incivility!), but how ’bout Van Jones? Acorn? The real goals of community organizing, going back to its roots? The fact check guys also seemed to confirm that Soros has big money in Brazil Oil which is at least partly locked in by China, but I agree Beck is wrong to lay that on Obama. That rally he had this past summer? He got raked pretty hard for what was a pretty tame (but very well-attended) event. Hey, while you watch for lies on Fox, did you see yesterday’s report re Medicare Actuary testimony? Don’t know if other media outlets reported that. Does it bother you that 2 mighty pillars of health care reform were false? That you were lied to, over and over, though not by Beck, Palin or Bachman?

  • begbie

    Keith was great on Sportscenter and seemed like a guy you could drink a beer with and joke around. But on MSNBC, he dove into this “dark world” of his. The guy really got more and more hateful as time went on and that hurts his credibility.

    I watched his program till the end, along with others, to maintain my own sense of objectivity to the reported facts. But Keith let me down because I don’t conduct my life by throwing insults and sarcasm at people I disagree with. This is the same reason I have trouble watching Beck, the sarcasm is a little too much for me. But Keith Olbermann was over the top, and he was NO Ed Murrow for sure.

    Next up: Ed Shultz!

  • Elias

    Thanks Bernie,

    “For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)

    Life itself imparts justice; whatever we give to others, always come back to us….
    I am sure Mr. Olbermann will learn this good lesson.

  • KrisL

    Terence, please give us some examples of these lies.

    • Terence

      No problem, see below.

  • Ted

    Oberman is gone for several reasons, mostly because he’s a jerk. Who would listen to him outside of TV?

    Bernie didn’t add anything on Beck because Oberman led to being gone from MSNBC, all by himself.

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  • Bruce A.

    I don’t think Keith has any job prospects with Fox News.

  • EddieD_Boston

    Glen Beck is oftentimes named as the conservative Olberman. However, the tone from Beck isn’t hateful and venomous like it is with this loon. Huge difference.

    • Brian

      They are both characters. They are entertainment for the political parties they pander too. One is a former ESPN Sportscenter anchor and the other a former Morning Zoo Crew DJ. They are not real journalists. Who would actually take anything they say seriously.?

      • Paul Borden

        You obviously never listen/watch to Glenn, Brian. I never have seen anybody actually debunk anything he says other than to name call and mount ad hominem attacks on him. As even “Saturday Night Live” stated about Glenn, “He was right about buying gold.”

        • Brian

          I have listened to him. To dismiss the shock value he uses in his show is ridiculous. He himself described himself as a “Rodeo Clown.” His show is mainly for entertainment and he knows it. He is not a mean or awful eprson, but he knows what he is doing. He is making $.

        • Terence A. Craig

          “Never seen ANYBODY debunk anything he says” … really? … so you just believe what he says and never bother to check facts.

    • Terence A. Craig

      It’s interesting you bring up Glenn Beck because Bernie conveniently omitted his name (in both this article and his O‘Reilly appearance.) “Beck isn’t hateful and venomous,” are you serious? What in the world are you smoking? I could easily get into the “they do it too” game by citing Beck’s antics, but that’s getting old, it’s the first thing right-wingers do when they’re called on something.

      Getting back to the original article, Bernie omit’s the dirty little secret that HIS current network has the biggest “Merchants of Hate.” I find it interesting that he wants to retread this passage from his book for the sake of demonizing Olbermann and a feeble effort to say, “I told you so;” but fails to discuss the liars and fear mongers on Faux News.

      Olbermann’s commentaries were sometimes long winded and “over the top” but I would challenge you to find total fabrications like his right wing counterparts. He seemed to take great interest in pointing out “right-wing noise machine” lies and there’s no shortage to choose from.

      Here’s my olive branch to you, if the strong commentary is unacceptable on the left, then the lies, disinformation, fear-mongering and smear campaigns MUST go on the right. All this nonsense is accomplishing is the Divided States of America.

      By the way Bernie, who would be today’s equivalent to Edward R. Murrow? You would be hard-pressed to find any in cable news, however there are “some” good journalists. My personal choices would be found in your “lamestream” media but you know as well as I do, the Edward R. Murrow days are gone.

      • Chris

        Pot calling kettle black alert there Terence! Don’t be the typical lefty and throw a bomb and run away. Put the “Faux News” reporting that you feel they lied about out here for our consumption and we will discuss like adults and judge the merit. Otherwise join Keith at your favorite Starbucks and tell each other how brilliant you are over extra foamy late’s.

        P.S. And stretch farther than the Glen Beck comment on the President being racist. He appologized for that and regrets that he said it as any real man would do. Not true with Olbermann. I believe his appology skills ranked below the Fonz!

        • Brian

          Direct quote from Beck:
          “I’m not a journalist. If I wanted to be a journalist, I would be Charlie Rose and bore the snot out of people and have fourteen people watching me. I am a guy that firmly believes what I believe. I’ve done my homework. I am a student of history. Now, I can either present that to you in a Charlie Rose sort of way, or I can be entertaining.”

          He is entertainment. He uses shock value. Why call for his head?

        • Terence

          Well Chris, I was unaware I had a reputation for “Bomb Throwing and running” but I will be happy to give you (and others) some examples of Glenn Beck lies. It’s unusual to get people to defend Glenn Beck (publicly anyway); here we have several … yikes.

          First, there’s Glenn Beck’s lie that President Obama sent 2 Billion dollars to Brazil’s oil company to benefit China and George Soros. This was proven false, read all about it here:

          Second, Glenn Beck said of George Soros, “Here’s a Jewish boy helping send the Jews to the death camps” in his recent puppet master series. The burden of proof is on Beck here … to validate this comment. I would be careful (if I were you) about defending such an anti-semitic remark.

          Third, Glenn Beck recently jumped on the “noise machine” bandwagon and claimed the President’s India trip was costing 2 million dollars a day with a total of 2 Billion dollars total for the trip, not to mention, 10% of the Navy will be deployed to protect the President, Anderson Cooper did the job here:

          Brian touched on his use of “shock value” and described his show as “entertainment,” which is basically true, however, Faux News does not put a disclaimer at the top of his show (distancing themselves from the content) and people like Paul B. actually think he is factual and reporting news. Faux News bears the responsibility for this “clown” since he appears on their network. I didn’t call for Beck’s head, but I expect him to verify his show content.

          Now back to you Chris, show me some lies from Keith Olbermann, I don’t doubt that you can, maybe you can inform me of some things that I don’t already know. Please spare me the right-wing blog websites, I expect to see facts … and hold the latte.

      • EddieD_Boston

        I’ll say it again…Beck is not hateful. You might not agree with everything he says (I don’t) but he doesn’t snear like Olberman does. Maybe you don’t watch him and but you read the Daily Kook. And stop using the “faux” news foolishness. It’s sooooo tired…and stupid.

        • Terence

          Hmmmmm … “Beck is not hateful” so, I guess anti-semitic remarks are not hateful … using nazi references are not hateful and the most hateful thing he could do, spreading lies that are divisive to this country. Ok, if not hateful, he’s really goofy in a “clown” sort of way and a major LIAR.

          No, I don’t read the Daily Kook, I just don’t allow myself to be fooled by FAUX NEWS, Beck and Hannity nonsense like …”sharia law is going to supplant the Constitution.”

          I guess nobody can refute the Beck lies I posted here.

          • Paul Courtney

            Won’t refute, won’t bother explaining that other times Beck scores, or that “sharia law supplanting constitution” is alarmist. But while you guys are busy picking at these small matters and ignore anything Fox might do well, there are actual guys in middle east who want to impose sharia law, and who (unlike conservatives here) call for killing opponents and incite actual violence. Do you realize Obama is one embassy-hostage crisis from becoming Jimmy Carter?

          • Terence A. Craig

            Let’s just hope he never descends to George W. Bush levels, sorry, too easy.