Friday, January 16, 2015

COMMENTARY: Olbermann Showing His True Colors

Keith Olbermann is back in the spotlight today, after launching a series of unprovoked attacks on NASCAR, its competitors and fans.

The host of the creatively named late-night program Olbermann on ESPN2 and Canada’s TSN2 has long been known for caustic commentary, an intolerance for views other than his own and a propensity for placing himself at the center of every storm.

Olbermann is a sports fan, but no fan of NASCAR. Earlier this week, he took aim at the sport once again, delivering an on-air commentary on the Kurt Busch/Patricia Driscoll court case that mocked both parties and compared them to the Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie spy movie, “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.” He made additional comments on social media, mistakenly identifying Kyle Busch as the subject of Driscoll’s abuse allegations (rather than older brother Kurt), then referring to Driscoll as Kurt Busch’s wife, rather than his ex-girlfriend.

Immediately called on the carpet by NASCAR fans, Olbermann characterized his mistakes as “typos,” urging NASCAR Nation to “Settle the eff down and be happy something interesting happened in your simplest of sports.”

Thursday, Olbermann named Jeff Gordon as the second “Worst Person in the World” after the former Sprint Cup Series champion took part in an exhibition tricycle race at halftime of an NBA basketball game, to promote next month’s Daytona 500.

“It’s like having Hank Aaron blowing bubbles to promote the baseball all-star game,” huffed Olbermann, before taking yet another shot at NASCAR fans.

“Why would I make that up,” he asked, with mock incredulity. “No, I don’t like NASCAR, and some of its brainier fans are freaking out on the Twitter because we did the Kurt Busch `paid assassin’ story yesterday. But why would I make this up?”

Olbermann’s comments also earned the ire of six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, who took to the Twittersphere Thursday evening to say, We get it @KeithOlbermann, you're not a fan. That's your prerogative. For the benefit of all, spare us, go away. Thank you. #NASCAR

Olbermann responded in typical fashion, tweeting, And you are who, sir?”

None of us should be surprised.

After all, this is the same Keith Olbermann who has bounced from network to network over the years, doing time at MSNBC, ESPN (twice), TBS, Fox Sports Net, NBC, Current TV and CNN, among others. A brilliant commentator, Olbermann is unfortunately shackled by his own nasty demeanor and inability to play well with others; qualities that have cost him numerous high-profile jobs over the years.

In 1997, the then-ESPN SportsCenter anchor was suspended for two weeks after appearing on Comedy Central's The Daily Show With Craig Kilborn and referring to ESPN’s hometown of Bristol, Conn., as a "'Godforsaken place.” He made an acrimonious departure from ESPN later that year after burning bridges with network management, later admitting, "I couldn't handle the pressure of working in daily long-form television. And what was worse, I didn't know I couldn't handle it."

He quickly landed at FOX Sports, but was fired in 2001 for reporting that Rupert Murdoch, owner of FOX’s parent company, News Corp, was attempting to sell the Los Angeles Dodgers Major League Baseball franchise. Murdoch ultimately owned the team for three more years, and said of Olbermann’s departure, "I fired him. …He's crazy.”

Olbermann was canned from MSNBC’s presidential election coverage in 2008, after making a series of partisan political statements. He once donned a mask of rival Bill O'Reilly and gave a Nazi salute at a television critics' convention, raising the ire of the Anti-Defamation League.

 In 2010, he was suspended without pay for violating network policy and making undisclosed political contributions to three Democratic Congressional candidates. Also that year, Olbermann described a candidate for Massachusetts state office as "an irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, Tea Bagging supporter of violence against women, and against politicians with whom he disagrees.” After being roundly criticized for those comments by many of his fellow MSNBC commentators, he issued an apology of sorts, saying, "I have been a little over the top lately. Point taken. Sorry.”

In 2012, he was fired by Current TV for what the cable network called his failure to honor the values of “respect, openness, collegiality, and loyalty to our viewers.”

To say Olbermann has a track record of abusive behavior would be an understatement. Over the course of his career, he has displayed a hair-trigger willingness to insult, demean and belittle those he disagrees with, or does not understand. There is only one opinion in Olbermann’s world, and it is his.

His resume also shows a clear preference for being the news, rather than simply reporting the news. His latest tiff with NASCAR and Jimmie Johnson is just one more example.

Olbermann castigates his political opponents for intolerance, but has no trouble shouting down NASCAR and its fan base, simply because he prefers baseball to stock car racing. Big deal.

Olbermann criticizes Jeff Gordon for demeaning himself in an effort to promote the Daytona 500, despite having appeared no less than 10 times on Hollywood Squares in 1999, to promote his own show.

But let’s give Keith the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he’s not as hypocritical as he appears to be.

Maybe he’s just a big fan of Paul Lynde, Rose Marie and Charlie Weaver.

Photos: SportsGrid.com, ashleyweston.com

25 comments:

  1. well said Dave!!! Olbermann has to stop wearing my tablecloths!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. The only question Olbermann should be contemplating is whether he should be on Adderall or Ritalin.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous3:58 PM

    Does anyone actually watch Olbermann anymore? Why?

    ReplyDelete
  4. There is one thing Olbermann does really well. Flare his nostrils. He does that at will better than anyone else on TV. Or maybe he just does it more.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous5:21 PM

    Actually, the whole Driscoll paid assassin thing is funny and sad at the same time. A self-made (?) woman in a man's industry getting an order of protection against a race car driver. The problem here is everyone needs to take a breath and not get pissy. NOT EVERYBODY likes NASCAR and the current hi-jinks which aren't their fault. Please, the Congress is trying to take disability payments away from over a million veterans and you all are pissed at Obersquat? Let him have his moment in the sun.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Better to sit and look like a fool than open his mouth and remove all doubts

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous11:35 PM

    Who the hell is Keith Olbermann? Never heard of him? Sounds like some kind of Rush Limbaugh wannabe? This know name asshat probably hasn't come close to donating and raising money for charities like Jeff Gordon has. And he puts him down.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Olbermann's derangement has been a running problem in broadcast media since his first meltdown in 1997 and his hatred of NASCAR infamously led him to maliciously promote the conspiracy theory - broadcast in April 2001 on his FOX Sports show The Keith Olbermann Evening News - strongly intimating NASCAR deliberately cut Dale Earnhardt's seat belt to in effect frame him for the crash that killed him. I never thought it a coincidence that show was cancelled after that broadcast.

    If Olbermann does not like NASCAR, then at least have some kind of reason why. That he doesn't give a reason is because of the disease nicely analyzed by historian Paul Johnson in his late-1980s book Intellectuals - Olbermann is the kind of guy whose only love is for himself and he takes it as a personal insult that people don't follow him or actually ask him for some kind of credible justification for his views.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous1:09 AM

    "Driscoll did not refute testimony in court" about Busch's statements.



    Hmmmmmmmm

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous6:28 AM

    Olbermann is all the things you say, Dave. But I happened to see the piece on KB/PD the other night and KO portrayed it pretty much as I view the sordid affair. A personality clash between a couple of confirmed nut jobs.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anonymous10:11 AM

    "Brilliant Commentator"? We are talking about Keith Olbermann aren't we? How about "Self-absorbed blowhard with not ounce of commonsense" instead. There is nothing brilliant about Olbermann, ever.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Come on don't be so thin skinned. Busch's "paid assassin" defense is ludicrous to the point of being jokes around the water cooler. (of course every assassin wants to appear in court right?) Not every action by Nascar and its participants needs to be, or can be defended.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Anonymous10:20 AM

    I think that Keith Olberman secretly wants to be a NASCAR driver, but knows he has absolutely no talent for it. So he belittles the sport and its drivers out of jealousy.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Anonymous10:30 AM

    Who is this Olbermann, sir?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Relax Dave, the Jeff Gordon comment was really tongue and cheek. Hank Aaron or major league baseball are not offended, neither should Nascar. As far as Kurt Busch, well, the ridicule is well deserved. Time after time Busch has been the maker of his own idiocy. He should not have put his hands on that woman. Repeat Dave, he should not have put his hands on that woman. You never put your hands on a woman. Everything that is happening with Busch in the news, the critics, the smart comments is all because Busch put his hands on that woman and gave her all the ammunition to do what she is doing. So, Olberman may be a moron, but Busch is an idiot who in a couple of weeks might be a criminal idiot who will be charged with domestic abuse and be out of Nascar forever. At some point Dave, you have to come down from the 3rd turn billboard your calling the race from and look at things from the other side of the catch fence.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anonymous1:32 PM

    Olbermann is an under educated over the top Socialist, who cannot make arguments based on fact and makes his living with name calling diatribes instead. NASCAR nation should be laughing at this clown each time he opens his pie hole and inserts his big toe.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Bob Who3:32 PM

    Keith who ?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Anonymous6:15 PM

    Does anyone actually watch ESPN or this idiot.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Anonymous1:19 AM

    BILL WEBER WOULD BE PROUD!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Better to ignore someone who is completely ignorant of the world around him as Keith O is. Consider the source and move on.

    ReplyDelete
  21. An intolerance for views other than his own... It's the pot calling the kettle black... I'm sure Olbermann has a blog also and only posts the comments saying " I agree Keith,well said......" Hilarious..!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Anonymous2:17 PM

    ...and just who is Keith Olbermann?

    ReplyDelete
  23. Anonymous2:19 PM

    I’m not surprised he wrote about the Kurt Busch drama…it was low hanging fruit, and from his other works…it shows he doesn't put much effort into his craft. He is an opinionated hack. Who cares about his opinion? And really who calls on him for insight into anything?
    In the words of the immortal Kurt Busch “He is not a has been, he is a never was”.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Anonymous8:54 PM

    Well done Mr. Moody!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Anytime someone says something negative about NASCAR, I always think of something Gene Simmons once said about KISS, "Some people love us, some people hate us, but nobody ever ignores us."

    ReplyDelete