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Keith Theodore "How Dare You, Sir" Olbermann (born January 27, 1959) is an American political analyst and
former current former sportscaster who might just hate Bill O'Reilly, but don't quote us on that. In a time where the people have lost almost all faith in politics, Olbermann keeps alive the important art of political journalism in the form of fast-paced speech, witty comparisons that mock popular conservatives, incoherent judgmental ramblings, and a tiny pair of horn-rimmed glasses.
On MSNBC, Olbermann hosted the fair, balanced, and thought-provoking news program Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Unfortunately, he was later suspended for donating to political campaigns without telling his bosses. After failing to revive Countdown on another network, Olbermann was back to square one, hosting his own late-night show on ESPN2... until he was evicted from said show due to cash flow issues.
Olbermann was born in New York City in 1959, near the tail-end of the coveted baby boom generation. His birth was unusual, as he emerged from his mother with the normal body of an infant and the head of a cocky middle-aged male with horn-rimmed glasses. Baby Keith refused to take off his horn-rimmed glasses, even during bathtime and naptime.
Olbermann's close relationship with his mother, with whom he still lives with, has been viewed as somewhat unusual by the media. He sleeps in the same bed as her, and once during a "Special Comment" remarked that her birthday suit "is a cross between the Hogwarts Whomping Willow and Neptune's moon Triton."
Prior to Countdown, Olbermann gained recognition as a sportscaster for CNN and, later, ESPN. From 1998 to 2001, he covered major league baseball for Fox Sports, but was fired for spreading rumors about Rupert Murdoch selling the Dodgers. He moved on first to ABC and then to NBC.
edit Political commentary
Countdown with Keith Olbermann was launched on MSNBC in 2003. Within its first year on-air, Olbermann had firmly established his rivalry with Bill "Papa Bear" O'Reilly and competing program The O'Reilly Factor. Throughout the feud, Olbermann's intense partisanship (which appealed to college stoners looking for news programs that shared their ideology), frothing diatribes, and a newly-instated "Republi-dumb" segment helped boost his ratings and popularity.
Originally a mild-mannered, neutral-to-center-left observer of soft news, Olbermann became increasingly loud and self-righteous during the Iraq War, styling himself as the heir to Edward R. Murrow and even signing off each episode with "Good night and good luck," Murrow's catchphrase. (His original sign-off was "Keep your knees loose," a good rule of thumb for any occasion.)
Countdown notably featured a "Worst Person in the World" segment which highlighted three people, labeled "worse", "worser", and "worst", who had made some sort of comment or some sort of action that Olbermann viewed as shameful or just plain rude. Bill O'Reilly was often featured in this segment which fueled the rivalry. Other figures criticized in this segment include George W. Bush, Rupert Murdoch, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Dick Cheney, Sean Hannity, John McCain, Sarah Palin, Donald Rumsfeld, and various other token Republicans.
In 2010, Olbermann was suspended by MSNBC for donating money to Democratic candidates. As his contract was already close to expiring, Olbermann packed his bags in shame and moved his show to Current TV, where it ran for a grand total of one season. It was canceled due to Olbermann's repeated absences and office politics within Current; in fact, there was a point where second-hand substitutes hosted Countdown more than Olbermann, despite his name being in the show's title.
edit Return to sportscasting
After leaving MSNBC, Olbermann returned to his roots and brought his signature style of ranting back to ESPN, hosting his own eponymous late-night sports show on ESPN2.
On the July 8, 2015 episode of his show, Olbermann spent the whole hour staring angrily at the camera, saying nothing. His stare was only interrupted by commercial breaks and an occasional blink. Less than a minute after the show went off air, he tweeted "I think I made my point...". Shortly after this episode aired, Olbermann was abruptly let go from ESPN along with Colin Cowherd and Bill Simmons. Executives claim this decision was due to "money problems", though fans suspect it was due to the stare incident.
Mike Lupica (author of Behind the Glasses: The Unauthorized Biography of Keith Olbermann), argues that "the stare" was a reaction to Chicago Cubs pitcher Jason Hamme benching himself due to a simple hamstring injury. However, Keith Olbermann historian Dan Patrick claims to have decoded "the stare" as Olbermann's reaction to a new flavor of Toaster Strudels, and felt that a good, long awkward stare was the best way to get his view across.
edit Work for GQ
After another failed stint with ESPN, Olbermann took a new job in political commentary with GQ just in time for the 2016 election, where he appeared in a webseries called The Closer several times a week. After Donald Trump took over (something Olbermann repeatedly warned against), The Closer was ended and replaced with The Resistance, with Olbermann — in typical hyperbolic fashion — styling himself the leader of the "resistance" against Trump's regime.
edit Other work
Olbermann is famously a lifelong baseball fan, and was interviewed in "10th Inning", the epilogue of Ken Burns's 2010 PBS documentary on baseball. He also has recently portrayed Tom Jumbo-Grumbo, a whale parody of a cable-news pundit, on the Netflix animated series Bojack Horseman.
Olbermann has been criticized for being the liberal counterpart of O'Reilly, and for generally acting like a foaming lunatic about everything imaginable. Critics consider him to be equally obnoxious and rude as the aforementioned Fox News host. Olbermann is known for engaging in ad hominem attacks against his opponents. However, people who agree with him tend to find his diatribes extremely funny and - as opposed to Billo - he has frequently apologized on air when he got things wrong or went over the line.
edit The Great Terror
The Great Terror was a series of campaigns of political repression and persecution inside the NBC studies orchestrated by Keith Olbermann from 2008-2009. Olbermann, who steadily rose to NBC's number one position, sought to eliminate what he considered "Bushist" elements characterized by widespread police surveillance, widespread suspicion of "saboteurs", imprisonment, and killings. Estimates of the number of deaths associated with the Great Terror run from the official NBC figure of 3,000 to nearly one million.
- The first trial was of 10 members of the so-called "Bushist Ten", held in August 2008, at which the chief defendants were Joe Scarborough and Lawrence Kudlow, two of the most prominent former Bushist inside NBC. Among other accusations, they were incriminated with the assassination of Tim Russert and plotting to kill Olbermann. All were sentenced to death and executed.
- The second trial in October 2008 involved 17 lesser known figures including Rebecca Quick, Chuck Todd, and Brian Shactman. Thirteen of the defendants were eventually shot. The rest received sentences in labor camps in Montana where they soon died.
- The third trial, in January 2009, included 21 defendants alleged to belong to the so-called "Bloc of Capitalists Bushists", led by Jim Cramer, former host of Mad Money. He was executed on the orders of Olbermann.
- There was also a secret trial of all people associated with CNBC, which Olbermann accused of promoting a pro-capitalist agenda. All remaining CNBC talent were sent to the labor camps inside Montana.