Keith Olbermann, we demand details: We watch, because we’re paid to

Ruth Graham Contributor
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FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3: “Countdown” viewers witnessed a small but historic moment tonight when Keith Olbermann tacitly admitted he is a giant pain in the Keith Olbmermann. The admission came during his nightly “Tweet of the day” segment, when he reads aloud Twitter postings that are either funny (to him) or flattering (to him). Tonight’s tweet addressed his tiff last week with Bristol Palin: “Aww, Keith, Bristol is pissed at you,” a woman named Sabrina Brown wrote. “To Ms. Brown and Ms. Palin, I worked for ESPN for a total of seven and a half years,” he replied on air. “‘Bristol is pissed at me’ is my default setting.”

I’ll translate: ESPN is headquartered in Bristol, CT. Olbermann left in a huff in 1997, not long after he called Bristol a “godforsaken place” during an unauthorized Comedy Central appearance. Also, everyone who works under, above, and with Keith Olbermann loathes him. Therefore “Bristol” was pissed at him for his entire tenure at ESPN.  Well, at least he’s self-aware.

MONDAY, DECEMBER 6: Keith was “out sick” again today, for the second day in two weeks. Why, Keith, why? He tweeted the he’ll “spare [us] the details,” but I demand details. Point to the place on the doll where it hurts, Keith. Tonight’s substitute host was a gentleman named Sam Seder, former Air America host and Sex and the Cityactor, and current host of the political podcast “The Majority Report.”

Ever since regular substitute host Lawrence O’Donnell got his own show at 10 pm, it’s been a revolving door around here: Chris Hayes, Cenk Uygur, now Seder. I feel like the child of a single mother who’s dating a different guy every week. I need a real father, Keith. Pick one!

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 7: Keith Olbermann is mad as hell and he’s not going to take it anymore! Well, he’ll probably keep taking it. But he doesn’t have to like it. Tonight, a fiery Special Comment on President’s Obama tax compromise with Republicans. (You can read the DC story about it here.) He said Obama is “god-damned wrong” to compromise and then compared him to Nazi appeaser Neville Chamberlain: “I will confess I won’t fight if anybody wants to draw a comparison between what you’ve done with our domestic politics of our day to what Neville Chamberlain did with the international politics of his.”

It wasn’t so long ago — May 15, 2008, to be precise — when Olbermann was indignant that President Bush had compared then-candidate Obama to Neville Chamberlain. “The president of slander, the commander-in-chief of sleazy politics,” Olbermann said at the time, blasting Bush for a speech he made at the Israeli Knesset that suggested a comparison between Obama and appeasers including Chamberlain. Olbermann also blasted Senator McCain for chiming in with apparent support for the comparison between Obama and Chamberlain. “Neville Chamberlain, who,” Olbermann pointed out indignantly, “like Senator McCain was a conservative.”

Tonight, two and a half years later, Olbermann would make the same comparison himself. Then again, maybe the only real surprise is that it took this long. Heres a list of Keith Olbermann’s top 10 Nazi-related quotes and comparisons.

The man sure does love to talk about Nazis. And do you know who else loved to talk about Nazis? HITLER.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 8: Tonight, amid reports on Wikileaks (Keiths a little paranoid) and more complaints about tax cuts, an error so appalling it’s a wonder the show wasn’t shut down immediately. (Note to whoever’s in charge over there: Please shut the show down immediately.) He called the “Sesame Street” character Snuffleupagus an elephant. Snuffleupagus is a shaggy creature with a long tail who lives in a cave! He is a snuffleupagus, not an elephant. For shame, sir. For shame.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 9: Another night, another angry tear. Keith went off on the Republican senators who voted to block a bill that would have provided health benefits for 9/11 first responders. He read all 42 of their names aloud, calling them “the worst kind of frauds: fake patriots” and accused them of forgetting about 9/11. Harsh stuff! But that qualified these senators to be only the second-worst people in the world, according to Keith’s measure. Yes, the #1 Worst Person in the World is Luke Scott, a Baltimore Orioles player who questioned in an interview with Yahoo! SportsBig League Stew” whether President Obama was born in the United States. Because in Keith’s moral universe, actively withholding health care benefits from universally acknowledged American heroes is one thing. But saying something dumb in an interview with a blogger? Now you’ve really gone too far.

But Keith isn’t just mad at baseball players and senators. He’s also still very angry at President Obama. Tonight he played, at great length, a tape of machinist union president Tom Buffenbarger’s vicious 2008 speech in support of Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. Buffenbarger called Obama’s supporters “Birkenstock-wearing trust fund babies” and called Obama “a poet, not a fighter.” After happily playing the the tape, Olbermann invited the man on as a guest, and invited him to say “I told you so.”

Hey, remember when Democrats proudly elected a man who said over and over and over that he believes in compromise and pragmatism? They have now become apoplectic at the man’s compromises and pragmatism. Similarly, I am very angry that every time I tune into “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” the show features a person named “Keith Olbermann” performing a “countdown” of some sort. Give me something different than exactly what I was promised!

When Olbermann finally passed the baton over to Rachel Maddow for her show at 9 pm, he inexplicably called her “Doorbell.” She laughed, said it was a private joke, and then called him “Peaches.” And that, thank god, is all we have time for this week.