Are Progressive Audiences Tired of MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann?

In an interesting blog post today, Harvard Business professor, and Obama voter Bill George argued that MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann is hurting America. George said, “Olbermann cheapens discourse. He touts easy solutions. He speaks in truculent soundbites. His invective is hurting America!” This leads to the question are progressives sick of Olbermann?

Here is how Mr. George described Olbermann’s MSNBC program Countdown, “An uncompromising megaphone of partisan rancor, Olbermann perpetuates the single-mindedness and inflexible partisanship that now roil the country, both on and off Capitol Hill. His rants against former President Bush, former Republican politicians, and shock-media rival Rush Limbaugh contribute little to constructive debate about how we can fix today’s true problems. And his soapbox forays in such segments as the “Worst Person in the World” – a daily lambast of often unsavory, but many just politically conservative characters – have made Mr. Olbermann the news day’s political alienator and ire-monger of choice for the partisan left.”

Before anyone gets the idea that his post is a one sided attack on Olbermann, this is what he had to say about Fox News, “Granted, his rivals at FOX News drum up discord just as effectively and dangerously as Mr. Olberman. But the President has called time and time again for our country’s leaders to rise above pettiness and assume the mantle of dispassionate, consensus-centric leadership. I agree wholeheartedly that this culture shift is the only means by which we can hope for a return to prosperity, and must acknowledge that any effort counter to that is harmful to America.”

George’s larger fear is that people like Beck and Olbermann hurt the political discourse in this country, by stressing partisanship over the issues. I think his larger point is right on, but it presents a chicken or egg question. Is cable news driving the partisan divide, or is it only reflecting the current state of American politics?

I believe that the cable news environment is simply a reflection of the hyper partisan state of our national politics. If we could wave a magic wand so that Beck and Olbermann’s programs were more balanced, it wouldn’t change the underlying political climate. Blaming primetime cable news for this is giving them too much credit.

Olbermann’s ratings seem to have peaked out. Olbermann will always draw his 1-1.3 million total viewers a night, but his show has not been growing. In fact, his show has seen slight declines in audience share, while the program that follows it, The Rachel Maddow Show has been growing.

Have progressive viewers gotten tired of Keith Olbermann? At this moment, the answer is no, but his aggressively partisan show has ceiling on its growth. Personally, I have gotten tired of Olbermann’s nightly outrage, and continued griping about the Bush administration. Someone needs to tell Keith that the Democrats won, and it is ok to move past the Bush years.

Olbermann has the kind of show that works best when it is reflecting the opposition voice. It was perfect for the Bush years, but today, his program is very one sided, and I think that it could benefit greatly from having some opposing voices on.

I hear from readers from time to time, who express some Olbermann fatigue. The problem for Keith is that sometimes he begins to sound like a broken record. I think his show could use some reorienting and freshening up, or else Rachel Maddow may pass him as the face of MSNBC.

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14 Replies to “Are Progressive Audiences Tired of MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann?”

  1. i love keith olbermann and mike malloy. they have balls and they have a spine unlike 99% of pussy democrats/progressives who are scared to say anything offensive, don’t want to fight for what they believe in, and capitulate to the conservatives at the first sign of potential conflict. these PUSSY dems/progressives are COWARDS…thank god for KO….

    to all those pussy dems/progressives who are getting scared of all the mean things keith says that may hurt republicans’ feelings and who just want to play nice with the republicans: GO TRIM YOUR PUSSY HAIRS AND THEN GO TO HELL!!!!!

  2. I love him, nobody can rant like him. He calls out the hypocrites and is spot on. He sure beats Chris Mathewson, who won’t let people talk and fires off rapid questions, trying to catch them being an extreme right winger.

  3. How do you think KO’s ratings would change if he wasn’t on at 10:00 also? after RM? I don’t always watch at 8:00 because I know I can watch at 10:00.

  4. MSNBC announced today that since the Countdown rerun’s rating have been beating CNN at 10 pm, they are not going to add a new program to that slot. They were talking about dumping the 10 o’clock replay and going with new programming, but now that is not going to happen.

  5. He lost his mother earlier this year, and now his father has been gravely ill, and at one point was not expected to survive. Olbermann explained that he has taken the time off to be at his father’s bed side.

    Last he commented on it, his father was making a slow recovery. So cut him some slack on that; regardless of politics.

  6. As a progressive Democrat, I say “go get em Keith”. Does this professor actually think Fox News is going to tone it down for the sake of the country? The whole goal of Rupert Murdoch and his media outlets is to perpetuate the GOP party line.

    I’ve never seen anyone on Fox News call out one of their own or a Republican for being less than honest or hypocritical.

    Keith Olbermann goes after ALL politicians and hate mongers, it doesn’t matter what party they are affiliated with.

    I say “Thank God for Keith Olbermann” American is a better place because of him.

    Jeff Thurman

  7. Most Americans are not only tired of him but are just fed up with his hateful antics. Look at the ratings that says it all. Never facts just BS

  8. As a Democrat I’ll be glad when NBC/MSNBC dump that petafile——and then maybe we can deal with real news and get off the clowns at Fox, thats all he talks about anymore

    Marvin in Montana

  9. u saying KO is a pedo phile?…someone needs to hold fox accountable and delievr the news with s factual based truth..not lies and bs…

  10. You are an illiterate ignoramus.

    I doubt you know what the word pedophile means. You clearly cannot spell it properly. Perhaps you should become a Republican. Your spelling is similar to their math and ignorance-only sex ed.

  11. Hey; Dog Gone I spent 35 yrs working sex crimes in LA I know your boy Olbermann—- is that all you have is name calling………….

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