Welcome back, Keith!
Keith Olbermann, the talented, arrogant, self-righteous progressive scold whose “Countdown” show on MSNBC managed to make Sean Hannity look fair and balanced, returned to the tube yesterday on Al Gore’s nascent, and apparently shameless, new TV news commentary channel, Current TV. Olbermann, who despite his rhetorical gifts is unwilling to brave dissent or ideological balance on his show (something that cannot be said, for example, of Fox News bloviator Bill O’Reilly or even Hannity), did manage to make himself seem reasonable by comparison by welcoming and fawning over guests Michael Moore and Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas, neither of whom ever met a progressive agenda-bolstering lie they didn’t like.
But never mind: Keith locked up his Ethics Dunce by re-introducing his “Worst Person in the World” segment, which he had solemnly, if unnecessarily, jettisoned on MSNBC to demonstrate his new commitment to civility in the wake of Rep. Giffords’ shooting in Tucson. Olbermann did this while joining the disgraceful mob trying to link conservative rhetoric and graphic metaphors to a madman’s apolitical rampage, realizing that as a voice on the left that seldom exercised any restraint, fairness or civility, he was firmly in pot -assaulting-kettle territory. Under these circumstances, the WPITW bit was a necessary casualty. Of course, the routine of picking various conservative targets who had made asses of themselves and calling them “the Worst Person in the World” was satirical commentary, and neither dangerous nor inflammatory. Olbermann, however, couldn’t maintain this while thundering that Rush Limbaugh’s barbs literally, rather than figuratively, put liberals in the “cross-hairs.”
Well, Olbermann’s “Worst Person” list was back last night, so predictable that it could have been a generic model. Sarah Palin and Fox News? Really? Keith doesn’t like them? Wow—this new “Countdown” will be full of surprises.
If you can’t mount the integrity to stick with a show-boating “principled” decision devised to be consistent with a bias-driven criticism that was misguided and unfair to begin with, then the reversal must be accompanied by an admission that the criticism was wrong. But not Olbermann. His official position is now that harsh conservative rhetoric is dangerous, while harsh progressive rhetoric is simply true. Or, as is more likely the case, popular with his audience, so to hell with consistency.
Welcome back, Keith!