And Now A Moment Of Silence Over This Whole Matthews-Olbermann Thing

Posted by: Jon Fine on September 9, 2008

I had ridiculous computer problems yesterday, which prevented me from weighing in on this in a timely fashion. But, speaking strictly as a viewer, the news that MSNBC will replace Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews as anchors of live political events means that we’ll go without some of the most entertaining television of this year.

I’m serious. They were a riot. The chemistry between Olbermann and Matthews was so patently unstable, so clearly off—and Olbermann’s body language so frequently seemed to telegraph serious discomfort--that you had the sense that anything could happen. You just had to sit around and wait for the smoke to gather and, then, finally, for something to explode. Which it did, often. I wondered a few weeks back on Twitter when they’d come to blows on-air. I doubt this a terribly original thought, or even particularly possible, given the genteel confines og a news set. But then I’d just seen this, which in the context of a news channel is a bit jarring:

Olbermann-Matthews was a sports talk radio thing dressed in political clothes: two hosts, apparent mutual antipathy, arguments, a jagged edge to the simplest interactions. And, by the way, I’ve got no problem with such a set-up, given that we’re talking about what’s essentially color commentary. Like sports, everyone on live political TV is working off the exact same fact-set, which is revealed to everyone at the same time.

I know, I know, Olbermann and Matthews will still be involved with MSNBC’s live political coverage, and frankly, good luck with trying to muzzle either while they’re on-air. Still, somehow, having the more sober-minded David Gregory in the driver’s seat means it Won’t Be The Same.

Ah well.

At least, you’ll still be able to watch Matthews say, on-air, whatever comes into his head at any given moment.

Reader Comments

polly

September 9, 2008 7:15 PM

countdown with KO and CM was the best
show on t.v...now i have nothing left
to watch on t.v. and as for "equal
air time " to both candidates..obama
is out.

Barb

September 9, 2008 7:35 PM

Well the right wingers have won haven't they. They have succeeded in silencing the only voices thay have not been drown out but the conservative lunatics! GREAT JOB MSNBC! Who will speak for us now! I think I will start planning my move to Canada!

EWILSON

September 9, 2008 7:54 PM

KIETH OLBERMAN AND CHRIS MATTHEWS ARE THE SMARTEST AND BEST POLITICAL ANALYST ON TV. iF THEY ARE REPLACED YOU WILL LOSE ME AS A DAILY VIEWER OF YOUR NETWORK.

William C. Steele

September 9, 2008 8:08 PM

Well, the Conservatives have done it again. You have buckled to their demands.
K.O. & C.M. were a breathe of fresh air.While I did not always agree with them, I appreciated their honesty. Why you would remove them when Fox allows nothing but conservative views on their network.
Correct your mistake and bring them back.

DNolan

September 9, 2008 8:44 PM

Barb-

Hasta la vista, eh?

janice

September 9, 2008 8:51 PM

Barb...

Go. Where can we contribute to your moving expenses. Please, go.

jamie

September 9, 2008 8:54 PM

They didn't get fired, they just won't be anchoring politic debates!! Nor should they, having them on to give opinion is fine, but pundents should not do the anchoring, and before u say fox does it too, they at least keep their line up changing with different ppl. I would argue though fox shouldn't do it either. Oh asfar as right wingers, most of the press is bias toward liberal or middle of the road, so if anything, conservatives have more to complain about!! In fairness though this is their right, they trying to attract an audience, nbc and cnn has as much right to broadcast to liberals as fox does to conservatives!

Jeff

September 9, 2008 8:55 PM

Corporate media is and will always give in to the fascist right, since their stock price depends on towing the right wing party line. It's OK to have a national media overrun by foreigner Rupert Murdoch, but without the Fairness Doctrine or the old Telecommunications Act in place, quality reporting, indeed, investigative reporting doesn't stand a chance. Olbermann is the best thing to happen to cable news in years, let him off the leash!

Rick

September 9, 2008 9:05 PM

Barb,

Please do move to Canada. Good news Barb, you won't have to wait in line. Don't talk, do.

Rick

Doug

September 9, 2008 9:06 PM

Enternaining? That is not my concern when I am seeking information. There are other venues for entertainment. It used to be "facts, nothing but the facts." Sadly, anymore, it seems to be about agendas.

deb

September 9, 2008 9:07 PM

I was soooo happy to hear they got rid of those tow left wing morons!!!! I wish the whole channel would go off the air.

Michael Utsey

September 9, 2008 9:24 PM

The republicans are right...NBC is in fact weak. NBC is so concerned about the republicans...the democrats will never get fair coverage anymore. This really sux. Fux News sits over there and destroy and trash everything the democratic party stands for while we sit on our thumbs worried about what the republicans will say, think or feel. You may as well change your name to Fux News as well. I guess we as democrats will have to tune into the internet or some other news channel to get any positive information on the democratic party. It's official....NBC is spindless.

Chris

September 9, 2008 9:34 PM

Barb- You've got to be kidding me. I'm a registered independent and likely will vote for Obama, but very few news organizations are right wing. Their notoriously left wing. Dan Rather comes to mind! Another thing don't threaten a move to Canada unless you really mean it. I hate it when people pull that card.

Ken

September 9, 2008 10:27 PM

Wrestlemania turns into Ego-mania. Ah, the human condition is alive and well.

RITA ANDERSON

September 9, 2008 10:29 PM

BAD MOVE MSNBC KEITH AND CHRIS ARE THE BEST GUYS ON TV. I NEVER MISS EITHER ONE OF THEM. THEY ARE GREAT AND THEY BOTH HAVE HONEST OPINIONS AND VIEWS THAT THE PUBLIC NEEDS TO HEAR. IT WON'T BE THE SAME.

steve

September 9, 2008 10:38 PM

Too Bad...waaaaaaaa
The usual Liberal whining. Olbermann is a classic nut case! If you need any help packing, Barb, there are a lot of us "right wingers" who will be glad to help ya out!

Bath Tub Boy

September 9, 2008 10:57 PM

Barb,

Be sure to use MapQuest. I don't want you to get lost on your way to 'nationalized healthcare'!

Bath Tub Boy

September 10, 2008 12:03 AM

Gee, another 'vast right-wing conspiracy'? I don't think so. If the right wanted MSNBC shut down, they would have done it a long time ago.

This is really about ratings and responsible journalism. MSNBC is the lowest rated cable 'news' channel, and low ratings mean low revenues from advertisers. Low revenues is a major problem, especially since Air America has already tapped out all available funding from local children's charities.

Finally, word has it that Tom Brokaw himself told NBC brass that this change had to be made in light of their recent on air behaviours by Olbermann & Matthews. Fact is, these two boys can't play nice in the same sandbox, so they each had to be sent to 'time out'.

Also

Barry Marcus

September 10, 2008 12:08 AM

Barry

Olbermann and Matthews color outside the lines. So sometimes things aren't all neat and tidy. Like most of life they are messy. When Keith is on fire and on target you can feel his pulse and his heartbeat. Not Superman, but a larger than life Clark Kent speaking truth to power (with a little hyperbolics for dramatic effect) on behalf of us all. The two don't always get along but neighter did Ebert and Siskel and they did a great job reviewing films. Maybe MSNBC could have just called it as is was "color commentary, analysis and opinion." The best, brightest and sharpest there is on tv and not demote or apologize for the results. Oh, and one further note on Mr. Olberman. He is not just a shouter. He is a very bright,
engaging, promoter of liberal arts as well as politics. His sharp and self efacing humor and genuine regard for his guests shows another side of his compassion. Yes, I like him...I really like him.

Jannybabu

September 11, 2008 8:31 PM

Keith Olbermann is the reason I watch MSNBC, period. He is a breath of fresh air in a polluted nation and if MSNBC decides to "muzzle" him further, they will lose this viewer. Keith is honest in his opinions which is a change from the usual politically correct garbage being spewed by others. - information CAN be entertaining folks. It's time for hostility toward anyone not Republican be stopped.

Kid Kitt

September 12, 2008 2:31 PM

I nrver thought MSNBC would go like
FOX NEWS Strictly Republican but you did.
I will look for another station.

Dan Johansson

September 23, 2008 3:18 PM

Olbermann&Matews removed ? Why not ? Telling the truth it hurts some political a..........hls

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