The End of ‘Countdown’

Self-proclaimed left-leaning Democrat though I am, I could barely tolerate the angry, mean-talking lefter-more-liberal-than-thou Keith Olbermann, who, for reasons that remain unclear (my bets lie with those who think he was fired), abruptly quit MSNBC last night. With its Dracula organ music, its swift, nasty verbal assaults, and its dizzying graphics, Olbermann’s Countdown was always more performance than politics, more yelling than analysis, and more about Olbermann’s contorted face and impassioned, run-on sentences, which frequently left him out of breath, than about any sort of reasoned persuasion or argument.

Yet for irrational reasons (political leanings, deeply infused by the passions and emotions, are only partly informed by logic, reason, or knowledge), I’ve liked knowing Olbermann was out there balancing the screamers on the Right. During the 2008 Presidential election, Olbermann was a steam valve for a lot of angry liberals like me whenever he would unleash his ferocity on the beautiful, populist Sarah Palin, mocking her for being the penultimate American nincompoop.

When I look around me, I see that save for putative “Independents” (although I’ve yet to meet one, I’m always reading that it’s their vote that determines every election), most people are locked into either being conservatives or liberals by the age of 30. After that, few people know how to genuinely listen to what people with different political views from their own are saying. Instead, mostly we hear only what we want to hear. Watching Olbermann was never any different from watching Glenn Beck or listening to Rush Limbaugh. A pox on all their houses.

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