Is Olbermann taking himself too seriously?

Inspired in part by this thread. Is it just me, or is Keith Olbermann taking himself a little too seriously these days? Or is he just losing his touch?

I was once his biggest fan, but any more, I dunno. His rant on Chertoff’s gut just seemed to go on and on, and I felt like the “outrage” was forced. His show used to leave me kind of breathless, especially when he’d snap out some scathing remark about the Bushies, then turn away from the camera in disgust while spitting out Ed Murrow’s famous sign-off. But then his special commentaries got to be not-so-special, and they went on and on and on. And what’s with the whole week of the year’s past special commentaries?

A couple of other things:

For one, every time somebody goes after NBC, Olbermann makes it clear it’s really him they’re after, as if there’s no other reason to persecute a major corporate network. It’s like the guy’s ego has just ballooned out of control.

And he seems to be reaching a long way sometimes to slam Billo, too. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love nothing more than to see Michael Moore and Bill Oiley talk at each other until their heads simultaneously explode, but most days, O’Reilly doesn’t really do anything all that stupid.

I want the old Keith Olberman back – the smug, smartass sports geek who liked to taunt the bullies but never took himself too seriously. Has he really changed, or am I just becoming jaded?

His ratings go up when he does his rants.

End of story.

Cite? How could the audience know one of his “special comments” is forthcoming?


Yes. Since when is it the job of journalists to question the motives of our government and look out for the best interests of the people? I want to be entertained, dammit!

Not at all. He is acting like a journalist. The problem is, journalists have not been acting like journalists for the past ten or fifteen years, so nobody understands what he’s doing.

On preview, it’s just like CynicalGabe said, an actual journalist should not be buddy buddy with the administration they are covering. A “too cozy” relationship gives us what we have today. Newsreaders who just parrot whatever talking points are offered without followup questions.

An adversarial relationship would challange those talking points. Actual journalist used to ask for a “cite” to use the vernacular of the board. If you were going to spout “facts”, you’d better be able to back them up. Not anymore.

Take Chris Mathews for example. You can actually see him thinking what he’s going to ask next, not really listening to the answer he’s given. So you very rarely have a follow up.

As full of himself as he may be, Keith is actual asking follow up questions, and he let’s the answers dictate the flow of the interview, not the interviewers questions.

Wow, I sound like a grumpy old man, but I am sick to death of the people we have working in the field of journalism, who are in fact, emcee’s who read what is on the prompter, with no actual knowledge of the words after they have scrolled off.

He announces them the day before.

I think he’s absolutely full of himself and I still love watching him. I like how he’s goes after everybody, conservatives, lefties, Dems, Repubs, etc. Of course, it’s more Repubs since in the most recent past, they’ve been ones in more of a position to have negative shit to comment on.

Olbermann is well-informed, rarely reports a story without acknowledging sources and, well, I love his facial expressions.*

He has a “presentation” just like everyone else (what, you don’t?) and, yes, it can get a little tiresome, but it’s mitigated by the fact that he actually usually has something worthwhile to say. It’s like the Britcom, Keeping Up Appearances. For years now, it’s run on the cliched behaviours for each character that everyone found funny in the beginning and now they’ve played them up to the point that each character can do nothing else. Doesn’t make it’s any less funny though.

I love the way Keith always gave Tony Snow shit for his “performances,” and then when Snow was out ill, let him know he was truly empathetic to what he was going through. But now that Snow is back in the saddle, it’s “all bets are off” again.

  • I think he and Bill oughta just go ahead and “do it” and get it out of their systems. But Bill-O started it.

And then MSNBC runs promos for them.

I doubt he’s doing it for the ratings. I think something the Administration did finally pushed him across a mental Rubicon and he decided, “Someone needs to hold these people to account, and since no one on TV is doing so, and I have this bully pulpit handy, I might as well do it myself”. (Alternative Deep Psychological Theory: he’s beginning to think he really is Edward R. Murrow redivivus.)

I saw his Chertoff rant and thought it much overblown. The subject deserved thirty seconds, tops.

Re: his “feud” with Bill Orally - I think Billo started it, and Olbermann is only too happy to return the favor.

I don’t think he’s taking himself too seriously. I think current events (Iraq, the mess in the White House, etc.) are serious and need to be examined.

But I especially enjoyed his ten-minute speculation on how the last Harry Potter novel would end. It seemed to indicate that he’s a fan and has been reading the books.

I agree that it went on too long. But it needed to be done, if only for 15-30 seconds. Whether this is a trend, I don’t know.

So what do y’all make of tonight’s Special Comment on the Edelman letter to Sen. Clinton? He did it up front, which is unusual (I tuned in late and missed the first few minutes, drat it). I can’t find much about the matter online. The Associated Press has the letter, but is being stingy with quotes from it. Sounds to me like it’s just the thirty-fourth verse of the Administration’s Criticism Aids Our Enemies ditty. Maybe Olbermann is getting a bit carried away.
(I have this gut feeling that he already had this commentary pretty much scripted out, and just needed a peg to hang it on.)

If you want to hear it and don’t want to stay up late (and have iTunes–well, you don’t need iTunes, but it makes it easier) you can get the podcast. It’s not the whole show, unfortunately. It is, however, generally the #5 story or the special comment and, let’s face it, that’s the most important story in the entire hour. I think MSNBC has a RSS feed or you can find it through the iTMS.

Sorry; no iPod here (meaning either advancing age is turning me into a technological Luddite, or that I’m just a cheapskate). Alas, it seems to take them a day to post the transcript to their website.

You don’t need the iPod, just iTunes or another MP3 player and to download the file.

In any case, the video is up on the front page. Here’s the url:

Yeah he takes himself way too seriously. I’m glad they type up the rants so I don’t have to watch them when they’re linked on fark or here or wherever. He’s really reaching for topics now, too.

I’ll never understand how Olbermann can go from a 8-minute screed against Bush or another part of the administration one night and be in New York covering the release of the last Harry Potter book the next night.

Though, to be honest, I was kinda hoping for a Special Comment about Voldemort. Hell, just take any of his comments about Cheney, replace “Cheney” with “Voldemort”, and it’d probably still work.

I’d have to say that Olbermann has always taken himself too seriously. That’s a large part, in my opinion, of why he burned out at ESPN and then flaked through a half dozen jobs before finally regaining some solidity with Countdown.

So if his show seems off lately I wouldn’t think that the cause. It could be that you’re just tired of watching the magician do the same trick over and over or he has lost the zone for coming across to you in a strong way. But with him any discovery of self importance is not a new thing.

Not that I don’t really like the guy. I don’t enjoy Countdown because I’ve never found the attempts at humor to be very good but I’ve admired him going back to the days of his written columns for (back before it they called it; I still type to get to