In my opinion, Keith Olbermann is the Emile Zola of our time. He has been the conscience of the United States over the last eight years, daring to criticize the powerful more than any other well known public figure in America.
I am wondering why the departure was so abrupt. When Conan O’Brien departed, it was announced two weeks in advance and his last two weeks got colossal ratings, his best ever at NBC. There was no secrecy involved. Everybody knew the reasons for his departure and the conditions.
I wonder most about the secrecy. Generally reasons are given for popular shows being taken off the air — low ratings, high production costs, the star is tired, etc. Here we get nobody saying anything. Why?
MSNBC is a news organization. This is the biggest political story of the year — one of the most popular and thoughtful political commentators suddenly loses a show after eight years. — so why no news about it?” The more than 1,000,000 people who watch his show every night deserve an answer.
The Comcast Statement
Comcast issued this statement (http://blog.comcast.com/2011/01/comcast-response-to-questions-about-msnbc-and-keith-olbermann.html)
Comcast has not closed the transaction for NBC Universal and has no operational control at any of its properties including MSNBC. We pledged from the day the deal was announced that we would not interfere with NBC Universal’s news operations. We have not and we will not.” Sena Fitzmaurice, Comcast spokesperson.
To instigate the firing of Mr. Olbermann, Comcast would not need “operational control.” Simply suggesting that the deal would not be made unless Mr. Olbermann was fired would be enough. The statement of not interfering with NBC Universal’s news operations brings up the question if Comcast considers the “Countdown” program as an NBC news operation.