Sunday, January 23, 2011

Keith Walks, Rachel Stands, & The Twitterverse Explodes: My Friday Night Wrap-Up

 Thanks, Keith, for fighting the good fight.

Since my last post, Comcast has taken over NBC/Universal, Keith Olbermann has exited MSNBC, The House has voted to repeal HCR, Maddow's been on Real Time, and I've been down with a bout of bronchitis. Since today is day one of feeling somewhat human, I thought I'd try to get some thoughts down on paper. Or a digital derivative thereof...So if I am off my game, Kids, have mercy on a sick woman. (Now, now, no comments from the peanut gallery...)

Normally Friday is a slow news day, a news dump, with the powers that be knowing that no one reads the Saturday papers. Which is why I love the Friday MSNBC lineup - they pick up the stories that politicians try to hide. So, I am happily watching Countdown last night, starting to feel a little better for the first time in a week. The Hubby and I are settling in, ready to catch Chris Hayes standing in for Maddow and after that, Maddow on Real Time with Bill Maher. Little Man is animating his latest Lego movie and Tweenie is contentedly using seventeen various technologies at the computer, none of which involve actually talking on a phone, which I still find any case, all's right with the world. Or so it seemed, until Keith Olbermann went into a break with the offhand comment that this would be his last broadcast of Countdown, more info after the break. Huh? At first I thought he was joking. "Yeah, this ought to be good, very funny."
Yet, this is what followed:

And then, the twitterverse exploded. Needless to say, viewers were stunned. There was no apparent reason why, but there were lots of theories. Keith was forced out by the Comcast merger (which is bad news for everyone, especially The Fourth Estate). Maddow is next, another theorist posed. And being the research junkie I am, I went looking for answers to tweet to the twitterverse. Shortly thereafter, Maddow was on Real Time with Bill Maher, and I tweeted the word to my followers who were without HBO. Here's what she had to say on the topic:

Always the consummate professional, she stated only the facts. (Although she kicked some serious conservative booty later in the show - more on that below.) So, somewhere in the last few weeks, he and the company had decided to part ways, and the negotiations had been ongoing. The New York Times later said the following:
For the last several weeks, Mr. Olbermann and the network have been in negotiations to end his successful run on MSNBC, according to executives involved in the talks who requested anonymity because the talks were confidential. The deal was completed on Friday, and Mr. Olbermann made the announcement on his final “Countdown” hours later.

Friday’s separation agreement between MSNBC and Mr. Olbermann includes restrictions on when he can next lead a television show and when he can give interviews about the decision to end his association with the news channel.

The executives involved in the discussions confirmed that the deal carries limitations for Mr. Olbermann in terms of when he can next work on television, though he will be able to take a job in radio or on any forum on the Internet. The deal also prohibits the host from commenting publicly on the deal, the executives confirmed.
Ironic, don't you think, that negotiations came about right around the time Keith was suspended for not letting MSNBC know about his political contributions? Word came out shortly thereafter that the agreement stated that Olbermann was not to have a tv gig for a year, but that radio and internet venues are fair game, and that talking about the agreement was, of course, off-limits. People were blown away, as were The Hubby and I, that the strongest voice on the left of the news spectrum would no longer be there to argue our side. It's a huge loss...Keith was his usual, classy self, and it was a great farewell speech. I can only hope that he finds a way to make his voice heard. It is a strong and necessary presence in our political landscape, and it pains me to see such a staunch defender of our liberty and a stalwart of the free press silenced in such a manner. We all know it's the doing of MSNBC's conservative head honcho and his sidekick Scarborough who got the ball rolling, and the new corporate conservative Comcast who struck the final blow. But the big question now is, will they continue to lessen commentary that leans left until we have no media outlet that serves anything but right wing nutjobbery? God help us if that's the case.

With the Comcast merger, which, even by some of the members of the FCC panel, in no way serves the public interest, we will now have a multi-conglomerate that owns, delivers and profits from the control of a full sixth of our media in this country. This isn't what the Founding fathers meant by a free press. And as long as the GOP has a media arm, known as Faux News, there will be that uneven bias in the press. People are dying for true leadership in the media. And in the lack thereof, they will clamor desperately toward whatever seems to fill the void. Thus Faux's success. When we undermine the empirical facts and call Fox a news station, it is a travesty, and just a lie. Meanwhile, the MSM eliminates folks like Keith, who clearly have a perspective and make no excuses for it. There's something implicity wrong with that.

"Nuff said. All the best to Keith Olbermann and his amazing team, and may they still have their voices heard, because we need them. Later that evening, as I said, Rachel Maddow was on Real Time with Bill Maher, opposite a very interesting guest, a Reagan Republican named Davis Stockman, for whom I have the greatest respect, and a GOP putz of a mouthpiece, the snickering, idiotic Steve Moore. Why Bill continues to have him on must simply be to rile things up. He's rude, condescending, and has no concept of arguing with empirical facts. Enter Rachel, who finally got so fed up at his lack of consideration and lack of debating skills that she, well, she tried raising her hand, to no avail, and then, stood up, smoothed out her pantslegs and made her point, loudly and clearly, above all the distractions. Brilliant. Beautiful move. Here's a link, 'cuz HBO doesn't quite have their video act together. Stop now and watch it, it's great. I'll wait here...
Wasn't that fabulous! She handed him his hat, and did so in a strong yet still civil tone. That's why I watch Maddow, in any forum: she's the smartest kid in the room, and as one of my twitterpals, @leolabeth pointed out, also "the most considerate kid in the room." Gotta love it. Man, you'd think by now the right wing would get it: debate with Rachel means debate, with facts, civility and incredible intelligence. Not only will she out-argue you, in a very nice way, but she can be so nice that you look like a complete idiot by the time she's done. That made for a heck of a second act for a Friday night. Poor Chris l. Hayes, subbing for Rachel on The Rachel Maddow Show. Once Keith made his announcement, no one heard a word he said, and then once Rachel was on fire on Real Time, well, his admirable performance for the night was long-forgotten. Thanks, Chris, for taking one for the team, Buddy!

Punditry aside, in politics this week, the Rethugs passed a repeal of health care bill in the house, a purely pedantic exercise and a phoney-baloney show of keeping the promise that only 18% of voters want them to keep anyway. They knew, as did everyone else, that it will go nowhere and hasn't the votes to go further, but now they can tout to their whack-job, wing-nut base, "Hey, we tried..." Silly, silly GOP. Tricks are for kids...Simply, the number of folks who are all for the health care reform laws that passed continues to steadily increase, as now folks can keep kids under 26 on their insurance policies, children have no preexisting conditions and there's been an increase in the number of small businesses that can afford to provide health care for their employees. It's only going to get better from here, folks, so good luck with that, GOP...

Of course, now they will resort to underfunding the provisions of the law, because, remember, the goal is to make Obama a one-term president. And as our dear friend Keith Olbermann used to say, "Mr. Boehner, where are the jobs? Good night, all, and good luck."

So, my fellow Politicos, any ideas on the exiting of Olbermann? What did you think of the Maddow Real Time appearance? How are you feeling about the health care laws these days? Speak out here on Momma Politico! (And many thanks for all your well-wishes on twitter and via email. Much appreciated, friends.)