The Media

Olbermann Off the Deep End

In Olbermann's lawsuit against Current, Olbermann went after Cenk Uygur's show. Via Buzzfeed:

On Cenk Uygur, host of "The Young Turks":

"Olbermann told them he did not believe Uygur would be a good choice. Olbermann opined to Bohrman that Uygur had difficulty separating facts from things he wanted to be true...Of course, Current ignored the advice of Olbermann and hired Uygur to host a program that aired immediately before Olbermann's Program."


In a section titled, "Olbermann Did Not Promote Cenk Uygur's Show Because It Was Demonstrably Substandard":

"It was, therefore, reasonable for Olbermann to decline to be associated with a host with a questionable journalistic standard and a show that was not up to the standards of the "Countdown" audience."(p. 27)

Jeepers creepers. How awful. I actually can't believe Olbermann is admitting to being this petty and childish.

  • villemar

    I am not much of a fan of both Olbermann & Uygur. Uygur for his histrionic firebagger antics, especially over NDAA!!!11!! and telling people to vote against Obama in the Dem primaries, etc.

    Olbermann was a pioneer in the Bush era and finally gave a voice to a lot of us but now that there are many other professional progressive/dem/liberal voices on the airwaves (both tv and radio), but personally I don’t need a steady flow of didactic outrage, to me it’s preaching to the choir and ginning up (justifiable) outrage to no real end other than to be outraged. It just wore me out after a while.

    The right *does* need to marinate in didactic outrage 24/7, because they are pretty much wrong about everything and need to be constantly reinforced that they aren’t wrong at all but in fact 100% right that PBO=The Antichrist, government and liberals are evil, yada yada yada. But do *we* really need a steady flow of outrage? Do people who decide elections in this country (the apolitical third) really need it? I can see someone who avoids politics seeing a (false) equivelence between angry men on the right and angry men on the left. I’m pretty much a yellow dog Democrat at this point, so it’s all basically “talking past the sale” for me.

    My progressive host of choice is Stephanie Miller, yes you get a bead on what the right is up to but the show is absolutely funny as hell. Al Gore and Current did a great job in choosing airing her show live every weekday morning.

    As far as getting my fix for someone dropping knowledge, sometimes I’ll listen to Thom Hartmann, because he’s smart as a razor blade and does a great job in framing things in a bigger picture and putting things into a broader historical context.

    • Gussie Jives

      Sometimes I think we do need outrage. Not at small ridiculous things, but larger cultural and political issues.

      The war on women pisses me off, for example.

      • villemar

        Yeah I agree, within moderation. I think overstimulation of the amygdala has a corrosive effect and causes some people to completely disengage from politics, exactly when we need them to engage!

    • mrbrink

      Seconded on Stephanie Miller and Stephanie Miller and Current. When you talk about the Stephanie Miller Show, you’re not just talking about Stephanie Miller, you’re talking about “voice deity Jim Ward and Chris Boy-Toy Lavoie,” Aisha Tyler, Hal Sparks, John Fugelsang, Lee Papa.

      That’s a tough act to follow.

      I hope this isn’t inappropriate to say, but I really think there’s a pretty great political news, pop-culture, and opinion team that would make for outstanding Current television living right here in the Banter Wire.

      I’ll go with Bob’s sense of humor and temperament and Chez’s life experiences with Osborne segments corresponding from where ever the real shit is going down without broader attention; Ben Cohen doing his thing; Weigant contributing his things; Oliver Willis; Bubble Genius; Got to include Jordan Ashby and I’ll see you at the award-winning ribbon cutting for Awesome.

  • OsborneInk

    Sorry, I’m with Olbermann on this one. Cenk’s show actually IS substandard.

    • Dan_in_DE

      It pains me to say it too, but you’re right Osborne. I just don’t understand it. Shouldn’t there be liberal, aspiring tv-personalities lining up around the block? Yet, even MSNBC can’t seem to find more than one good host with both talent and integrity. There’s Chris Hayes, who’s got the integrity, but he’s an awful host. In addition to the stuttering, he is constantly cutting off guests and rudely waving around his pointer finger in feeble attempts to direct discussion.

      And then there’s Olbermann, himself a substandard representative of angry liberals. He’s obsessed with finding and haranguing on the faults of the most intelligent, progressive and effective president the U.S. has seen in quite a few decades — shooting us all in the damn foot!

      • ranger11

        I used to watch these shows pretty religiously for a couple of years but I just basically gave up on all of them. There’s a tendency to gin up anger about something on a daily basis which I found wearying. Also I didn’t get the semi-anti-Obama slant to a lot of these shows. What…did they prefer a Republican president? Just got on my nerves after a while.

        • jjasonham

          My thoughts, exactly.

        • Gussie Jives

          Maybe it’s a sense of betrayal? I’m Canadian, so he isn’t my leader, but I had hoped that he would at least clean shop on Wall Street and do an about-face on Bush’s security policies. These are not Congress’ fault (beyond Gitmo, which is).

          The lack of action on pursuing the Wall Street fraudsters should get everyone’s piss to a boil.

          • ranger11

            He didn’t run as a populist firebrand. I think I was the only one who read his book and got that fact.

          • Gussie Jives

            No, he ran on Hope and Change. Well, if the system isn’t changing, what was the point?

          • ranger11

            He should have instituted anarcho-communism on day one.

          • villemar

            1) A bumper sticker isn’t a political philosophy of governance and nor was it the extent of his platform.

            2) Things have changed, and there is hope as the economy is turning around, it’s the pace that understandably frustrates people. I lay all pacing complaints at the feet of obstructionist Republicans in Congress and their massive infrastructure of lobbyists, think tanks, billionaires (thanks SCOTUS), and total national bombardment of right wing media.

          • OsborneInk

            You want system change? Great! So quit pretending that one president can change the system on his own, because that’s not the way the system works. Or has ever worked. In fact, it’s not the way you WANT the system to work because it would encourage autocratic behavior.

            The point wasn’t to lose our shpadoinkle and take our ball home like spoiled brats. Look at how well that worked out in the midterm, and what it’s meant for your hope and change. We’re actually retrograde now because people were sooooo disappointed that Obama isn’t Gandalf.

          • OsborneInk

            I had hoped that he would at least clean shop on Wall Street

            Being Canadian, maybe you don’t understand that Congress actually writes the laws? Frank-Dodd, the bill that wasn’t good enough, has already changed Wall Street. In our system, the president executes laws that Congress writes. As far as criminal indictments go, the problem is that almost nothing that happened in the meltdown was actually criminal — thanks to previous legislation.

            and do an about-face on Bush’s security policies

            As I keep trying to explain: he already has. Obama has a war policy because the war is older than the Obama administration. Legally, the United States is at war with al-Qaeda. You may have noticed that this president has maintained a laserlike focus on AQ leadership? Or that he made an effort to reach out to, and negotiate with, the Taliban? Or the way wingnuts scream at the appeasement of the Muslim savage as he engages the Muslim Brotherhood and every other Islamist group that is NOT al-Qaeda?

            Bush said “thank you for the wartime powers” and then expanded the war to Iraq. Obama got the United States the hell out of Iraq and has been trying to finish the war Bush ignored for seven years. Cenk and company whine about a single drone strike where Bush used bombs as pornography (“shock and awe”). These are two completely different directions.

    • Gussie Jives

      What’s with the hate on Cenk from people? Is it the format of the show, the personalities, or the fact that Cenk has the audacity to point out Obama’s shortcomings?

      I mean, let me know if it’s otherwise, but I’m guessing it’s the latter in your case Osborne.

      • villemar

        “the fact that Cenk has the audacity to point out Obama’s shortcomings” <—there's the tell

        • Gussie Jives

          I’m open to other explanations.

          Cenk’s idea to primary Obama was dumb, I agree. But I’ve noticed a tendency to say that hitting the President too often means you’re going to sabotage Obama’s re-election efforts in some capacity. Bob’s talked about smart accountability. Well it starts with pointing out where the President has fallen down on the job, then taking into a broader context. On the aggregate, Obama’s been decent. On certain issues, he has indeed been terrible.

          • villemar

            If we are oversensitive to criticism from the left about PBO it’s because many of us remember the antics of Nader in 2000, and that primarily two individuals (Jane Hamsher & Glenn Greenwald) have attempted to co-opt progressivism itself into an absolutely nihilistic interpretation that puts the highest, exclusionary priority on removing Obama from office before any theoretical progressive change is possible; objective facts, nuance, context & Obama’s aggregate (great word choice) record be damned.

          • OsborneInk

            We must always wait for the more progressive candidate of our fantasies before we vote. Only when the perfect candidate comes along will we vote. The right never has this problem because they treat politics like war; to understand the circular firing squad, examine the leftists of the Spanish Civil War.

          • OsborneInk

            It wasn’t just dumb, it was cliquish. Cenk calling for a primary opponent is exactly like a goth nerd rejecting mainstream society.

      • OsborneInk

        Cenk has a pronounced tendency to see what he wants to see. Take NDAA for example. That wasn’t “audacity” on Cenk’s part, it was plain ignorance of basic civics.

        I’ve pointed out presidential shortcomings myself, but they were fact-based.

        • Gussie Jives

          The NDAA is the only example I’ve seen you make. Even that example seems rather weak to me as Cenk has pointed out the failures of Congress as well. The reason he focuses on Obama is for good reason: he is the leader of the Democratic Party and he has a habit of not standing up for his principles far too often, especially with things clearly under executive purview.

          I don’t see a pattern of Cenk being wrong. In the five years I’ve been watching TYT, maybe three examples where he’s been wrong-headed, the NDAA being one where his focus was incorrect?

          Personally, I’d rather we all rag on Republicans instead.

          • villemar

            I gotta give the guy credit…Cenk seems to have learned from his tussle with MSNBC and has a good thing going with Current, Olbermann obviously did not.

          • OsborneInk

            Cenk has lower standards because MSNBC was the most professional place he’d ever been. I think he got better at MSNBC, but he’s better placed at Current.

          • OsborneInk

            OK, how about this: Cenk is an Armenian genocide denier.


            I use this particular example because the president came into office using the G-word RE: Armenia and no longer does. I understand why, but I disagree with not saying it because I think words are important. Cenk, OTOH, would take exception if he DID say the words “Armenian genocide.”

            he is the leader of the Democratic Party and he has a habit of not standing up for his principles far too often

            That meme is a creation of “progressive” media. Politics is not about principle, but power. For example, the president has executive wartime powers. He has veto powers. He doesn’t have power to write legislation or to make people vote for it. The number one complaint about him on the left is that he doesn’t use the bully pulpit enough, and the number two complaint is that he gives too many speeches. That dissonance shows up in Cenk’s work far too often for me.

            But you’re a loyal fan, I get that. You want to believe that Cenk is primetime ready. Maybe he is, finally, but I don’t see it, and as long as he remains Obama-deranged I shan’t watch him or post his videos.

            You do understand that I write this kind of commentary for the love of progressivism rather than a president, right?

          • ranger11

            Maybe one day the perfect progressive candidate will show up who pounds the podium and calls the Republicans motherfuckers. I doubt they can be nominated or elected but whatever…

  • chris

    cenk is a great dude and works really hard. he also studies a lot of numbers and media output. fuck olbermann, at this point.

  • lib4

    Olbermann is a classic control freak. he was like that at ESPN and MSNBC. Current will be his last shot as he has gotten a rep for being to difficult to work with

    If he is lucky Showtime may hire him as their Maher.

  • xenothaulus

    I have always thought of Olbermann as a leftwing Limbaugh, so none of this surprises me at all.

    • Dan_in_DE

      Yeah.. except, no.

      Limbaugh’s stuff is based in alternate wingnut-reality. Olbermann’s shrill commentary on the Bush Admin. has largely been validated by actual historical fact.

      The mere fact that each of these men really pisses off the other side does not make them equivalent in any other way.

    • pizzmoe

      There is no left-wing Limbaugh, and if there is, whoever it is isn’t on the national airwaves

    • eljefejeff

      Olbermann can be and has been kind of an ass from time to time, but he’s usually spot on. Limbaugh is always wrong and always a total asshole. Big difference

  • Susan Lanktree

    I have been a fan of his for too long to write him off quite yet.

  • JMAshby

    This was probably unnecessary to contain in the lawsuit, however it does seem as though they hired him, granted him the title of “chief news director” and puffed him up as having direct editorial control, but then they didn’t actually give him any control. In fact they routinely did things he didn’t approve of, right or wrong.

    Olbermann has issues, but I don’t think Current is completely without fault either. There’s probably some legal merit in there. I predict both sides will settle out of court.