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Al Gore Fires Keith Olbermann From Current TV

Al Gore Fires Keith Olbermann From Current TV

Just a little over a year after Keith Olbermann’s strange dismissal from MSNBC, it seems that the Countdown host is once again out of work. Early Saturday morning, the New York Times’ Brian Stelter broke the news that as of tonight, Olbermann’s show on Current TV (the network co-founded by Al Gore) will be replaced by “Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer.”

From the information that’s available so far, it appears that faltering ratings combined with Olbermann’s complaints about internal network issues, are to blame for the sudden dismissal.

Olbermann, who will not get the opportunity to bid his loyal viewers farewell on the air, elaborated on the circumstance in a series of Tweets after the announcement, writing:

“I’d like to apologize to my viewers and my staff for the failure of Current TV. Editorially, Countdown had never been better. But for more than a year I have been imploring Al Gore and Joel Hyatt to resolve our issues internally, while I’ve been not publicizing my complaints, and keeping the show alive for the sake of its loyal viewers and even more loyal staff. Nevertheless, Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt, instead of abiding by their promises and obligations and investing in a quality news program, finally thought it was more economical to try to get out of my contract.

“It goes almost without saying that the claims against me implied in Current’s statement are untrue and will be proved so in the legal actions I will be filing against them presently. To understand Mr. Hyatt’s “values of respect, openness, collegiality and loyalty,” I encourage you to read of a previous occasion Mr. Hyatt found himself in court for having unjustly fired an employee. That employee’s name was Clarence B. Cain. http://nyti.ms/HueZsa

“In due course, the truth of the ethics of Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt will come out. For now, it is important only to again acknowledge that joining them was a sincere and well-intentioned gesture on my part, but in retrospect a foolish one. That lack of judgment is mine and mine alone, and I apologize again for it.”

Current TV, on the other hand, claims that a series of unathorized absences, a failure to promote the network, and disparagement both of Current as a network and of its executives individually, are the contract violations that led to their decision.

Whatever the real reasons may be, it’s the viewers who will suffer. Olbermann earned my respect and admiration through his deft and fearless coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement from its very inception. When the major news networks were ignoring the protests, regurgitating opposition rhetoric, and turning a blind eye to police brutality, Olbermann reported the facts on behalf of the 99%.

He’s human, and therefore destined to make mistakes. I’m certainly not privy to the backroom dealings of Current TV, and it’s quite possible that the accusations against him are true, and the punishment deserved. I’m not concerned for Olbermann’s future, although he has burned quite a few bridges of late. I’m more concerned that the media has lost yet another bold, progressive voice. And we don’t have many to spare.

Related Reading:

Newsweek, Democracy, And The Future Of Media

Is The Sun Setting Over Murdoch’s Media Empire?

Right Wing Media Infiltrates Occupy Wall Street To Discredit It

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74 comments

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9:24PM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

Keith is one of the more intellectual commentators. We need his voice, his wit, his factual accounts, and his voice of reason.

6:45PM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

Keith is missed...again. I think he may have cooked his own goose...again, although I expect the 'upstairs' may not have handled one huge talent well. I want to know where Keith ends up so I can continue to revel and enjoy his sharp witted knowledgeable factual and opinionated retorts to those right wing blathering blithering lying 2-faced psychotic paranoid brainless wonders of faux and friends. Perhaps HBO? Perhaps an internet station? Put him either before or after Real Time with Bill Maher, and I will have a great 2 hours of edification and expansion.

6:06PM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

I do not know who was right and who was wrong in this case. What I do know is that we need muckrakers like K.O. When he was wrong, he apoligized. When he was right, he stayed true. He contributed quite a bit of money to those free clinics. That is not the sign of a bad person. All I can say is land somewhere sothat we can see and hear your diatribes again.

2:04PM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

not clear

1:04PM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

FREE SPEECH TV WELCOMES KEITH !!!!!!! THANK YOU!!M I CAN AFFORD TO SEE HIM NOW!!!!!

11:35AM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

Free Speech TV is his obvious destination.

And more people will be able to see him than on premium cable.

9:55AM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

I agree with James K's assessment of the situation.
Olberman is actually a decent investigative reporter, therefore he finds more stuff to get mad about. Some of the stuff he's uncovered is so obscene that anyone who didn't get blazing mad about it has a morals problem.

9:54AM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

I agree with James K's assessment of the situation.
Olberman is actually a decent investigative reporter, therefore he finds more stuff to get mad about. Some of the stuff he's uncovered is so obscene that anyone who didn't get blazing mad about it has a morals problem.

8:34AM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

He is gone, again, because he is an arrogant, condescending ass. He makes stuff up, but because, like Obama, has a special talent for delivery style, some people appreciated his drivel.

Why, I will NEVER understand. I found him abrasive, narcissistic and of little benefit except to rally his few followers to despise the same things he did, which typically were anything he didn't agree with, like HIS opinion was so much better than anyone else. He displayed little or no journalistic talent, and I found him hard to listen to for any period of time.

7:44AM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

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