Memo to Keith: Come Home to MSNBC
by Deacon Blues
I'm not the first to say this, but I've been thinking this for about a year now: Keith Olbermann needs to come back to MSNBC immediately.
Olbermann's contract at ESPN isn't going to be renewed, and they've been sending signals for a while that he wasn't in their plans. Why? Because they've now decided to cut costs and don't want him to express his opinions, which can endanger their kiss-ass access to sports leaders. Asking Keith to not express his opinions renders him useless for the type of fawning journalism that ESPN and Disney want, yet it's exactly what MSNBC needs.
For its part, MSNBC's ratings are tanking and have been ever since Phil Griffin and Olbermann parted company several years ago when Griffin embarked on his "Cool Kids" approach. With Comcast now apparently wanting Brian Williams to rehabilitate himself at MSNBC, the channel has the opportunity to rebrand itself as a serious news and opinion outlet for the center-left demographic. Griffin and Andrew Lack have the opportunity to put the zing back into the network when Olbermann was there and almost single-handedly created it.
It isn't a stretch for example to envision Williams hosting a nightly MSNBC news program that would anchor the rest of the prime time lineup, capped by Olbermann resuming his perch at the other end of the lineup with "Countdown". Right now, there is little reason for progressives who want news and opinion to sit down and watch MSNBC each night unless they want to see the same talking points spun by Matthews, Hayes, Rachel, and then O'Donnell. It may work for the sheeple who watch Fox News, who wouldn't know an original thought or argument if it bit them in the ass, to watch the same trash night after night that confirms their sense of victimhood. But the demographic that Olbermann first brought to MSNBC wants more than a mindless progressive version of Fox, and instead wants real news with a worldwide perspective along with smart and sometimes witty progressive interpretations on that news. For example, tonight both Chris Hayes' "All In" and O'Donnell's "The Last Word" wasted their first 42 minutes on more useless drivel about Donald Trump. Really? Do we really need more drum-banging Mr. Griffin about the Donald or the Confederate flag? Why do I have to get something meaningful about the Greek/EU crisis from "Charlie Rose" when you have all those minutes and that megaphone during the day being wasted on more crap from your talking points?
We're already facing a presidential election cycle largely without Letterman and Jon Stewart, at a time when the GOP field screams out for a sharp news focus, and when necessary derisive commentary. Having Williams start each night with a solid news program, setting up some of MSNBC's remaining hosts (Rachel at least) for an evening capped each night with "Countdown" is the network's road to salvation, if they will only take it.