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Keith Olbermann is a giant baby: We watch, because we’re paid to

Ruth Graham Contributor

On Wednesday afternoon around 1:45 p.m., the New York Times reported that Keith Olbermann had petulantly forced the abrupt cancellation of MSNBC’s weeklong series “America the Angry.” On Wednesday afternoon around 1:47 p.m., Olbermann suddenly tweeted that he would be undergoing a colonoscopy that would prevent him from hosting Wednesday and Thursday’s shows.

This raises three questions:

1.    What kind of colonoscopy takes two days to perform?
2.    Would a giant baby who has a documented history of “refus[ing] to host his show on occasions when he was unhappy with management“ be more susceptible to colon problems than a normal person?
3.    Could a colonoscopy remove a stick that has been lodged in the colon area for several decades?

Former CNBC host Donnie Deutsch was hosting the “America the Angry” series, which was intended to run every afternoon this week. Deutsch was filling in for David Shuster, who was suspended from the network abruptly in early April. MSNBC’s 3 p.m. slot has seen more turnover lately than the Baghdad IHOP. Zing!

Anyway, Tuesday’s “America the Angry” installment focused on the role the media plays in stirring up anger, and Deutsch briefly implied Olbermann was among the angry angerers, along with his angry nemeses Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Bill O’Reilly. According to the Times’ sources, these allegations of anger made Olbermann so angry that, in a fit of anger, he insisted the series be cancelled immediately.

After announcing his 48-hour colonoscopy, Olbermann began attacking the New York Times, tweeting that the story was a “complete fail” and insulting the reporter by name: “Sad to say, @BrianStelter was an innovative and hardworking blogger. He’s in over his head where he is now.”

So petty and nasty! Not to mention angry.

Now, let’s look at the abbreviated week in Keith Olbermann.

FRIDAY, APRIL 16: Tonight, Olbermann attacked Sarah Palin for coining the phrase “death panel” exactly two years ago. In doing so, the phrase “death panel” was repeated a whopping 10 times – once every six minutes – over the course of the show. Interestingly, he also complained tonight about the influence of Republican pollster and communications expert Frank Luntz, who has preached the effectiveness of repeating catchy phrases — “death tax” and “Contract with America” among them — over and over as a way to embed them in an audience’s consciousness. If Luntz is right about that, Keith Olbermann has done just about as much to promote the idea of “death panels” as Palin has.

Two weeks ago, Olbermann closed his Friday show by reading a single story by humorist James Thurber. Last week, he read two. Tonight, he read four. I did the math, and if he keeps going at this rate, on Friday, August 20, Keith Olbermann will read 1,048,576 short stories by James Thurber on air.

The high point on Friday: the Daily Caller’s Tucker Carlson was named one of the Worst Persons in the World. Congratulations!

MONDAY, APRIL 19: And now, presented without comment, your out-of-context Keith Olbermann quote of the week: “When I was 10 years old I went to a World Series game for the first time.  We went through the Times Square subway station and got run over by ‘hell, no, we won’t go’ Moratorium Day protesters. And I went, ‘I’m really confused,’ and it hasn’t stopped since. It’s been 41 years now.”

TUESDAY, APRIL 20: Tuesday’s “Countdown” aired just a few hours after the controversial afternoon show that would see Donnie Deutsch dismissed the following day. In the lead-up to a totally unrelated segment, Olbermann bragged mysteriously about spending the day “cleaning up the office here.” (He had also tweeted Tuesday afternoon that it was a “busy day in the office.”) Was he claiming responsibility for Deutsch’s dismissal? If so, why did he huffily write to the New York Times on Wednesday, saying “Your account is entirely untrue. Your e-mail is the first I am hearing of any of this. What I know of what happened is this: [MSNBC president] Phil Griffin phoned me yesterday enraged at what was on that show and I didn’t disagree with him.”

So, which is it, Keith? Did you passively receive a phone call, or did you actively maneuver to have Deutsch removed? And if you simply received a call from your boss, then what did you mean by “cleaning up the office”? If you have any cleaning tips, please pass them my way. I’m having a tough time keeping the tile in my shower mildew-free and could really use your expertise.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21: The long-suffering Lawrence O’Donnell took over tonight’s show, and he held his own with his usual Olbermann Lite aplomb. He ended the night by spending at least five long minutes simply replaying a “Daily Show” bit making fun of Fox News. I guess that’s the kind of thing you have to do when you’re preparing an hour long show on the fly because the usual anchor has suddenly decided he needs to get a colonoscopy, which he couldn’t find time for on a weekend, or when he skipped work last Thursday, or during his absence the entire month of March.

Keith, I hope your freshly examined rear end is back in the “Countdown” anchor chair as soon as possible. I enjoy making jokes about your butt, but I really prefer making you the butt of the joke. Anyway, you need that thing in fighting shape so you can get back to talking out of it every night. Well, not EVERY night, obviously – just on the rare occasions when you’re not too angry to get off it and come to work.

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