January 21, 2011

Vas iz der meaning ub der Olbermann shooting execution at MSNBC? Let me consult my corporate-speak decoder ring.

Illo by Moonbattery via Diogenes' Middle Finger.

Originally written and published on November 5th, 2010 and more right now than it was then.

Maddow and MSNBC President Phil Griffin: "He's Making a List and Checking It Off"

Now nonoperative: Keith Olbermann suspended over political donations - Politics - Decision 2010 - msnbc.com

Msnbc TV host Keith Olbermann was suspended indefinitely on Friday for making campaign donations to three Democratic congressional candidates, apparently in violation of NBC News ethics policy.

Now operative: Keith Olbermann FIRED for being too much of an asshole for even MSNBC to stomach a second longer than it had to.

Msnbc TV host Keith Olbermann was finally fired definitely on Friday for making a ratings-sucking violation of NBC News / Comcast profits policy.

The announcement came in a one-sentence statement from msnbc TV President Phil Griffin: “I became aware of revolted and disgusted by Keith's lower standards of mental and physical hygiene political contributions late last night. , and his inability to keep his ratings higher than a gnat's scrotum. Mindful of what will be the new Comcast/NBC News policy and standards regarding profitability, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay fired his ass permanently.”

State of play today [November 2010]: GE owns MSNBC.... but not for long. It's unload[ed] this black hole of ratings on Comcast around year end.

Comcast is a profits-driven enterprise that does not easily tolerate the loss of a dollar. (Don't think so? Subscribe and watch your sweet cheap new customer deal slowly inflate upward over a year or so.)

Axes have been honed and held ready at Comcast for some time: Communications Chief to Depart NBC Universal - NYTimes.com

NBC Universal [and universally loathed] Jeff Zucker announced he was departing as chief executive, Allison Gollust, the executive vice president of corporate communications, has told her staff she too will be leaving the company when the takeover by Comcast is completed.

When Comcast takes control there will be blood for the sake of profits and ideology won't matter a hoot.

What does matter [as was shown today, January 21, 2011] is who exactly gets to keep their jobs at MSNBC, Will it be a loss leader like Olbermann [NOPE] or a conscientious executive like current President Phil Griffin [YES] who is "aware", acts quickly, and is "mindful"? "Without pay" is good corporate-speak too. It show's that Griffin is ready and able and willing to make the cuts where it counts. Olbermann makes somewhere around $4,000,000 a year. Even if he's just suspended for a month that sends $308,000 straight to the bottom line. [Bottom line now improved by around $4,000,000 a month which, especially in this day and age, buys A LOT of television news resources in people and reportage.]

It's not about Olbermann's job. It's about Griffin's.

Well played, Phil.

Update: Don Surber has this most tersely as "Fool. Money. Parted."

Update: Van der leun to Olbermann 1/21, "Door. Ass. Bang."

Update: Spend six minutes here with Jon Stewart as he chain-saws and parts out Olberman last year on the Daily Show:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Special Comment - Keith Olbermann's Name-Calling
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Posted by Vanderleun at January 21, 2011 11:57 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

NBC News has an ethics policy? Who knew?

Posted by: DC Juggler at November 5, 2010 1:48 PM

Olbermann has dared them before, threatening to quit. They just called him on it.

Posted by: Mike_K at November 5, 2010 1:49 PM

Absolutely. A few months ago, when I heard some of teh details of the Comcast/NBC deal, my first though was how would they deal with Olberman, Schulz, O'Donnell, maybe Maddow---and get a more balanced (politically and emotionally) organization in place to try and make some money.

Posted by: Marty at November 5, 2010 1:51 PM


Posted by: Scout at November 5, 2010 1:57 PM

The question is whether Comcast-owned MSNBC will try to be a serious competitor for FNC with all the editorial redirection that would entail.

Posted by: Donald Sensing at November 5, 2010 2:09 PM

OK, Comcast's service areas (overview). Compare to recent red/blue maps.

I've been saying it ever since Rosen still possessed a shred of integrity: Righties won't pay for leftoid propaganda, leftoids don't have to because they get it free. That's what's killing the MSM. The Internet? Gave an extra push -- but the newspapers and networks started out with the advantage of a shoe-leather infrastructure that could have been leveraged, and p*ed it away.

I despise Comcast and all who sail in her, but if their management has figured that out, more power to them. Fortunately I can't get Comcast service where I live.


Posted by: Ric Locke at November 5, 2010 2:21 PM

Ethics Policy, the appendix of the MSNBC operation: you never know it's there until it blows up on you

Posted by: Steve Two at November 5, 2010 2:31 PM

We are considering dumping our Comcast service for either Dish or Direct. It's too damn expensive. I'm looking into Roku, but still not sure how it works.

Posted by: Jewel at November 5, 2010 2:36 PM

He'll take his 15 viewers and go to Public Access!

Posted by: mojo at November 5, 2010 2:38 PM

Olbie is a tool, but I believe that if he is struck down, he will rise up more powerful than MSNBC can imagine.

Yesterday he was just a blowhard doofus with a little watched TV show.

Now, he's the honored dead.

Posted by: BLBeamer at November 5, 2010 3:45 PM

Olbermann is a serious tool, but it was wrong of the network running the "Lean Forward" PSAs, a series of laughably disguised contributions-in-kind, to suddenly develop an isolated case of ethical enforcement.
They would have been better off simply saying that they no longer wished to broadcast him or the horse he rode in on.
Anyway, I am sure that serious journalists Olbermann and Maddow already have corner offices at NPR, just waiting for this day. They can join Nina Totenberg in wishing AIDS on Republicans.
I don't care for Olbermann, but this firing is pathetic.

Posted by: Haakon Dahl at November 5, 2010 4:12 PM

It would be economically stupid of Comcast to NOT change their editorial policy.

Olbe violating the clearer-than-NPR policy is a great excuse to fire him, really really cheap.

Maybe Griffin will keep his (overpaid?) job.

Posted by: Tom Grey at November 5, 2010 4:30 PM

His ratings on Tuesday night must have been horrendous.

Posted by: Fat Man at November 5, 2010 4:44 PM

That moron makes around $4,000,000 a year?!?! MSNBC ought to donate $3,999,995 of it to charity. Let him keep the 5 bucks his "commentary" is actually worth.

Posted by: Pete at November 5, 2010 5:10 PM

Liberal news media must support the false distinction between their published opinions (their free speech) and evil political money (the other guy's free speech).

Olby could rant and rave against conservatives (good) but must not give any money, even to the Liberal cause (money is evil). Preserving their political near-monopoly (everyone but Fox), and their view that money is evil (except as a salary) is more important than preserving Olby.

Posted by: Andrew_M_Garland at November 5, 2010 5:54 PM

We have a broadcast HD antenna on a mast inside and it gets over 80 digital channels, I'll never pay for TV.
I've never seen Olbermann, and only heard about him from other blogs, I've never actually heard anything about him from anybody walking around and breathing.

Posted by: DirtCrashr at November 5, 2010 6:31 PM

Perhaps a lot of those journalists not happy about this should know that most corporations have legal departments that make you pre-clear any donations. This is cleared over rank, over policies that may look as though the employee is paying off the politician who might be partial to their company's business...all sorts of things. Yes, Keith should be suspended or fired. I have to follow rules, so should he.

Posted by: Catherine at November 5, 2010 6:37 PM

We have Comcast. We figured out they were overcharging us and after several months of "negotiation" they agreed. We got a month of free service and a discount on an upgraded package. And slowly over the last year our charges rose. Up $15 a month from the renegotiated package.

I guess it is time to look into the bill again. Figure out what "services" they have added and start a new negotiation.

The actual services are not bad. 250 GB per month and 15 Mbs (peak). But they are always changing the deal.

Posted by: M. Simon at November 5, 2010 7:01 PM

I'm still trying to absorb the pic of Rachel Maddow at the top of the page. Was she separated at birth from "Pat Riley"? You decide.


Posted by: at November 5, 2010 8:20 PM

That moron makes around $4,000,000 a year?!?! MSNBC ought to donate $3,999,995 of it to charity. Let him keep the 5 bucks his "commentary" is actually worth.

Posted by: Pete at November 5, 2010 5:10 PM
You really think Olbey's commentary is worth that much?


Posted by: davis,br at November 5, 2010 11:57 PM

It is fitting that Mr. Olberman be terminated. MSNBC has struggled mightily to develop its sterling reputation for fair and objective reporting. It must not permit that reputation to be unjustly tarnished over a moment of indescretion by such a well-loved television personality.

Posted by: willis at November 6, 2010 4:48 AM

One thing to keep in mind though is that many of the Comcast execs are big Democrat party contributors. Comcast's David L. Cohen is a big shot in Philadelphia Democrat politics.

Posted by: Joe at November 6, 2010 5:40 AM

re Olberman, in DEUTCH MEINT DAS overman, and whoever gave him that moniker made a serious error. He was born deformed but took the name seriously. He was underrated and still is, and rightfully so, because he has absolutely nothing to back up anything he says. Where will he go? How will he earn a living? Wherever his voice can intimidate, that's how, and where, who knows.

Posted by: at November 6, 2010 12:56 PM

I wonder if they gave any thought to cash value of all the free plugs they give to Democrats and free attacks on Republicans. Fox does much the same in reverse, but they don't have any hypocritical policies over donations by journalists to people they support.

If they really think that Olbermann's contributions really gave away some secret about his political leanings, they must have a lower opinion of their audience than the rest of us do.

This was obviously a pretext for getting rid of an expensive employee who wasn't performing in the ratings. I think there'll be a lawsuit, and jurors will have to weigh the flimsiness of this pretext against how much of the remaining $15 million they think Olbermann's worth. (Just kidding.)

I wonder if any of the other 'talent' was getting paid that much.

Posted by: flataffect at November 8, 2010 2:17 PM

Jeez, that Rachel Maddow is an ugly bastard, isn't he?


Posted by: jwm at January 22, 2011 7:01 AM

Other than a few days around 9/11 I havent watched any TV going back probably into the 80's, and even then not much.
In my travels around the web today I came upon a site that had 10 or more commenters decrying the loss of "the only balanced viewpoint on television".
I've read, on this site and others, about the biased viewpoints that Mr. Olberman espoused (see today's clip about Scott Brown for instance), but are all the other media personnel that much more blatent? Or is it possible that the left wing of American politics today is so delusional that they actually believe he was giving a balanced perspective? I fear that I already know the answer to my own query.
Pray for America.

Posted by: Roger Drew Williams at January 22, 2011 6:13 PM

"He'll take his 15 viewers and go to Public Access!"

Which was what UHF was twenty years ago.

In other words - the only thing left is to go overseas and do a Carradine in a hotel closet. That'll get the ratings spike.

"I don't care for Olbermann, but this firing is pathetic."

No, they fired the pathetic. There is a difference.

Posted by: Mikey NTH at January 22, 2011 7:12 PM