The last ‘Count Down’ with Keith Olbermann aired yesterday night – unexpectedly, and somewhat abruptly. There are conflicting reports as to why Olbermann and MSNBC have parted ways, but given his tumultuous relationship with his bosses (he was suspended last year for not disclosing donations to Democratic candidates), it isn’t completely surprising. The network was also recently acquired by ComCast, so the decision to get rid of him may have come from corporate heads way up the food chain. Either way, progressives have lost an important and powerful voice in the cacophony of cable news, and he will be sorely missed.
While Olbermann was rarely tactful in airing his opinions, he always spoke his mind regardless of the consequences. He refused to allow conservative loud mouths like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly dominate the airwaves with their relentless lies and fear mongering, and provided a refreshing antidote for liberals who were sick of feeling bullied.
Olbermann taught progressives that it was ok to fight, ok to speak their minds, and ok to be proud of their liberalism. He championed those without power and without a voice in a dangerous cat and mouse game inside corporate America. Olbermann was never supposed to speak the truth, but he was so talented, no one could stop him.
But now it looks like corporate power has won.
But knowing Keith, he will find a way of fighting back. Because that is what he does best.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.