The Business On... Keith Olbermann, Presenter, MSNBC
Wednesday 10 November 2010
Didn't he just get fired?
Suspended. For all of three days. Last night, the outspoken liberal commentator was back on air at the Democrats' favourite cable news channel.
What was the fuss?
Mr Olbermann gave $2,400 (£1,500) to the campaigns of three Democratic Party candidates in last week's midterm elections, something that his employer decided broke rules about the impartiality of its hosts.
Who thought Keith Olbermann was an impartial host?
Precisely no one. His show, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, is 60 minutes of unabashed rightwinger-baiting, a liberal answer to the likes of Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck over on Fox News. This is a show that, until recently, had a regular segment identifying the Worst Person in the World – often Fox hosts or members of the Bush administration.
So an overreaction, then?
Critics attacked MSNBC for having a partial host fronting its election night coverage, but in the end an online petition of 300,000 Countdown fans spoke louder.
Is our host being gracious?
No, he is being Keith Olbermann. In a message to fans, he skewered MSNBC for inconsistently applying a rule he hadn't ever even been told about.
He'll get himself fired talking like that
It wouldn't be the first time. He is explosive, snarky and he feuded with two of his previous employers, ESPN and Fox Sports, back when he was a feted sportscaster. But he is also MSNBC's biggest star. Clips of his on-air monologues often go viral on the internet, where his most famous is probably still his impassioned castigation of the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina. He is pretty close to unsackable.
So is the matter closed?
It is, and it is Mr Olbermann who gets the last word. He thanked viewers for an outpouring of support he described as a "global hug", and apologised "for having precipitated such anxiety and unnecessary drama". Except, of course, that's what he does.
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