The Mouth That Roared is suddenly silent. When MSNBC host Keith Olbermann put his money where his mouth is, he also bit the hand that feeds him.
The episode has caused the latest of many KO-inspired media feeding frenzies where he calls former President Bush bad a “fascist” or compares conservative star Michelle Malkin to a “mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it.” Olbermann was suspended indefinitely without pay because he gave new meaning to the idea of pay for play. He gave $2,400 each to three Democratic candidates – all while claiming he’s not “liberal” and complaining Fox News was supporting the GOP.
Even the most lefty network in the universe had to swallow its pride and suspend him. NBC execs claim KO violated journalistic standards that no one – left or right – felt applied to him because only NBC actually considered him a journalist. Actually, few even considered him sane, luckily not a job requirement at MSNBC. His nightly bile was so laughable that he was a self caricature. When “Good Will Hunting” star Ben Affleck lampooned Olbermann on “Saturday Night Live,” he couldn’t muster rants near as outlandish as the real thing. It was such a sad exercise, Affleck made himself laugh.
Now, Olbermann’s many targets get the latest if not the last laugh. The question that remains might not be when does he leave, but where next? Can the tempestuous (fancy term for screaming loon) host ever find a network to call home? He’s played for more teams than a journeyman utility infielder or even Lady Gaga. From local TV outlets to CNN, ESPN, Fox Sports Net, ABC Radio, baseball and football and not-so-finally MSNBC. To give you a hint of how prickly he is, in 2002, he wrote a 2,000-word “mea culpa” about his “tumultuous” departure from ESPN. Next up, a mama mea culpa, I guess, about his latest disaster.
Lefties have gathered 135,000+ signatures for MSNBC to keep him and predictable libs from Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi to Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, have risen in his defense. But he remains on thin ice. Without the combination of Olbermann’s biting wit and MSNBC’s audience that will swallow anything, the question may be which one will bite the dust first.
Still it’s also true that you can count him down, but don’t count him out just yet.
Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. His column appears each week on The Fox Forum. He can also be contacted on FaceBook and Twitter as dangainor.