Olbermann Versus Gore

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Prior to falling off the radar of cultural relevance when he left MSNBC, political commentator Keith Olbermann featured a segment on his nightly Countdown with Keith Olbermann called “The Worst Person in the World.” This was a mean-spirited label he invariably awarded to targets on the right, such as his Fox News ratings nemesis Bill O’Reilly, with whom he had a longstanding feud, or such formidable political threats as Sarah Palin’s teenage daughter Bristol. Now his latest boss, Current TV’s Al Gore, may be considering applying the label to Olbermann himself.

Olbermann was once MSNBC’s point man for the spewing of progressive lies and hate speech. Even among that network’s stable of leftist attack dogs like Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell, the silver-haired Olbermann was notable for his angry, hyperbolic partisanship. Journalist and former Nightline host Ted Koppel called him “the most opinionated among MSNBC’s left-leaning, Fox-baiting, money-generating hosts,” who “draws more than one million like-minded viewers to his program every night precisely because he is avowedly, unabashedly and monotonously partisan.”

That was then. Olbermann left MSNBC at the end of 2010 for reasons that have never been made clear. Less than 24 hours later, his friend Al Gore reached out to him, and the next February Olbermann brought his – at the time – star power to the Current TV network, run by founders Joel Hyatt and Gore, former U.S. Vice President and tireless promoter of his lucrative An Inconvenient Truth book and documentary. Current envisioned the new Countdown as a valuable primetime “tentpole” program. Olbermann was appointed chief news officer and given an equity stake in the progressive channel that was originally launched in 2005.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Tim Goodwin deemed this a questionable move, calling Current “Al Gore’s Channel That Nobody Watches”: “Olbermann may be going to a cable channel that is in 60 million homes, but roughly 59,975,00 of those homes don’t know they have Current.”  And indeed, Olbermann went on to attract an average of only 177,000 viewers – a steep decline from his MSNBC reign.

Current and Olbermann, who hosted the show Countdown on the network, have been exchanging legal filings since last week after Current fired him for breach of contract. He sued Current right back for “bad faith termination,” saying the network, which he compared to “an unprofessional cable-access show,” was riddled with problems. He lambasted Hyatt and Gore as “dilettantes portraying entertainment industry executives” who “have no idea what they’re doing” and accused the network’s management of “increasingly erratic and unprofessional actions.” He blamed Current’s production quality, or lack thereof, for his show’s “precipitous decline in ratings.” He also claimed he is owed up to $70 million in compensation and the equity stake he was promised. Olbermann then went on David Letterman’s Late Show and pronounced himself to be like a $10 million chandelier while Current is like the owner of an empty lot without any building permits.

Current attorneys shot back with open contempt for, and frustration with, Olbermann in their counter-suit, claiming he “willfully” failed to show up for work and did not help create new programming or promote the network as he’d agreed to do when taking the job. They assert that Olbermann deserves nothing:

Current seeks a determination that it is no longer obligated to pay a dime to Mr. Olbermann who, having already been paid handsomely for showing up sporadically and utterly failing to keep his end of the bargain, now seeks to be paid tens of millions more for not working at all.

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  • MLCross

    I bet Chandelier Boy does OK on Dances With The Stars which is sure to be his next big move. So, you know, he'll have that going for him.

    • Rocky Mountain

      How about having Roseanne as his partner?

  • alexander

    those two clowns, like most of the lib/soc/commies cut themselves off the conservative news and then are surprised and in shock when the truth about, say, ACORN or Fast and Furious lands on their both grey cells.
    Grow up, Flower Children. We did…….now it's your time

  • hdogg

    Here's a guy that lives like a Rockefeller then talks like a reincarnated Bolshevik
    circa 1917, standing on a soapbox in St. Petersberg and denouncing the Romanovs.
    Here's this rich Middle Aged White guy that has gotten fired from every gig that he ever had
    then keeps getting better gigs paying better seven figure salaries all the while
    denouncing how unfair it is for everybody except… you got it, rich Middle AgedWhite guys.
    Those that hail him as the facilitator of the truth…may I ask you why
    does he leave out those two key words LIKE ME? Here's a guy that lives
    in his multi million dollar Upper West Side penthouse and celebrates
    himself as a champion of the mainstream, when besides Bill Maher he is the last
    guy that you would hang out with at your kid's Little League
    game. Here's a guy that fancies himself as a modern day Che Guevara, when
    anyone with half a brain knows that he is Imelda Marcos…SHOES AND ALL.

  • H&R_ Barack

    This is JEOPARDY! – America's Favorite Quiz Show®

    QUESTION: Olbermann Versus Gore.

    ANSWER: Star Wars bar scene.

  • bearone7777

    Ladies, and Gentlemen what we have here is a failure to communicate, and that is a "GOOD" thing. For finally we see this man—[KEITHY-BOY OVER-BITE]–For what he is. A selfish BORE, and a jerk. I am not taking sides with AlBore–[Al Goree]–Here. I just want to make it clear, CRYSTAL if you will if this piece of human waste could not make it at MS-LSD–[MSNBC]–Or he could not make it at Current Tv, what good is he for?? Picking up trash around the sidewalks would be a good start.

  • Chuck

    There aren't words to describe this left leaning egotistical idiot. Opps, there's a few.

  • Dirkster

    His real name is Kieth OldBitterMan. He has nothing to offer the world but his vile bitter personality. He is like watching a monkey at the zoo playing with and then throwing his own poop at the crowd that watches him. It is entertaining for a while but then you come to realize that is his only his only glory. Watching him throw his own crap at his audience grows old, like an OldBitterMan.

  • Maxie

    If you could get an MRI of Liberalism it would be a blurred image of Olbie + Mahre: A picture of vile hypocrisy.

  • Spider

    To the Author: "progressive lies and hate speech" This is bad prose since it a redundant expression.

  • Ghostwriter

    I liked the last part of this article:"So these former progressive icons,like lumbering monsters in an old Japanese science fiction film,have little to do but begin battling each other." I liked it. I thought it was funny.

  • Flowerknife_us

    Keith who?

  • g'night & good luck

    Your article fails in nearly every respect as an objective opinion piece, relying more on hearsay, name-calling, and anonymous "staffer" backstabbing + gossip than on any actual facts. This is precisely the sort of journalism you falsely accuse Olbermann of practicing. And, most of the brainwashed right-wing fools who enjoy piling on Keith Olbermann by [bravely?] kicking him when he's down in comment threads have probably never even watched his show one single time – on MSNBC, or on Current. If they had ever done so – and that assumes at least a couple of them may have actual living brain matter between their ears – they would have seen one of the best news & information shows in the history of television, hosted by an intelligent, well-informed, funny, self-depracting, and well-spoken individual who always call it like he sees it. He backs up his assertions with verifiable facts & stats, calls out and exposes liars & haters, and, despite his Progressive calling card, often nails Dems and President Obama when he disagrees with their policies too. I do not by any means think Olbermann is perfect, nor is he without fault in his firing from Current. He said so himself on the Letterman show. But if one accepts the premise that most network executive types are pinheads – and from what we know about that profession, it is not a big stretch to assume so – it is hardly surprising that Olbermann blows his top and alienates them pretty quickly. He is a tough New Yorker by birthright, prickly in personality, too clever by half at times, and obviously volatile. You refer to this as "diva" behavior, but I would describe it more as a perfectionism complex combined with a little fatalistic narcissism. He is great at what he does, he knows it, and he expects others to measure up in the production of his shows. Not only does he refuse to suffer fools gladly, he exposes them and slaps them right across the face! A psychologist I am not, but if Olbermann were in some other line of work, he would simply be self-employed – many people in our society cannot work for others, but they can hang out their own shingle and get by just fine in life. However, in Olbermann's business he doesn't really have that choice, other than to just start another internet blog site. But now, right wingers everywhere should rejoice. The clearest, sharpest, and most honest Progressive voice in America will now be silenced forever, at least from television and the wide exposure it provides. For surely no network will ever dare to hire him again, at least not any time soon. For me, that is no reason to celebrate. We need all the smart & honest voices we can get out there in corporate media land, not more 'bubble-headed bleach blondes with a gleam in their eye', to paraphrase Don Henley.

    • wctaqiyya

      Hi Kieth! So nice to see you have the time to read real journalism now that you have been sacked for cause. Don't go away mad or bitter old man. Stick around so we can have fun at your expense.

    • Maxie

      " He backs up his assertions with verifiable facts & stats, calls out and exposes liars & haters . . ."

      You mean like accusing Tea Party protesters of spitting on Black Caucus members without a shred of evidence and then lamely recanting that "well, we know it's [hate] in their hearts"

      A good mind gone to waste on the shoals of liberal emotionalism and hypocrisy.

  • Paul

    The worst person in the world, documented the 21th century rise of American fascism accurately.