The more I learn of the sudden unraveling of Keith Olbermann’s often tempestuous employment at MSNBC, the more obvious it becomes that Keith Olbermann, bright and clever though he is, has the temperament of a child. A spoiled child at that. Olbermann has always come off childish, even back in his days at ESPN where he was often unable to contain his glee at whatever cute quip he had just made. Simply put, Olbermann has alway been and always will be smitten with himself. But it’s not Olbermann’s self-crush that gets me. Nor is it his anti-establishment views that put me off. In fact, I’m often in 100% agreement with him.
Instead, it’s the fact that he mistakes himself to be every bit as important as the news on which he opines which has always bothered me about the smug anchor. And that’s what my children often do. Misconstrue how they fit into any given situation, often exaggerating their role to a disruptive degree.
You see, like Olbermann, my children need rules. To keep them in line. To help them learn that they are but only a tiny part of this great big world — a world which they may be shocked to find does not revolve about them.
I’m proud to say that my kids are starting to get it. Especially my 9-year-old. Olbermann, on the other hand? Not so much. And that’s a big reason why he finds himself (temporarily) without a job. The Wall Street Journal had this to say about the sudden parting of ways:
Executives have said tensions between Mr. Olbermann and the network have been running high since their spat in November, when the host was suspended for making three donations to Democratic candidates without seeking approval beforehand.
Mr. Olbermann missed two broadcasts during his suspension. MSNBC asked Mr. Olbermann to make a public apology for running afoul of its ethics rules before reinstating him, according to a person familiar with the matter. But Mr. Olbermann resisted so long as MSNBC kept him suspended, the person said.
Olbermann, whether he agreed with them or not, failed to respect the rules set forth for him. Like a child, he misconstrued his relative importance and considered himself above said rules. And now, like a child, Olbermann must be punished.
Whenever my children get in trouble for breaking a rule, I always remind them that my wife and I don’t make rules because we’re mean. We make rules because we love them. Rules, whether my kids realize it or not, are designed to keep them safe. For if they follow them, they are far more likely to stay out of harm’s way and find the happiness and success we want for them.
But Olbermann doesn’t have time for rules. So he could never possibly imagine that by breaking them, he’d be doing himself any harm. He’s too busy looking in the mirror practicing his next big rant.
His last one was vintage Olbermann. In what can best be described as an arrogant brand of humility, the former “Countdown” anchor summarized his situation with MSNBC in very broad terms. As he is prone to do, Olbermann wore his considerable intelligence like a cheap cologne, littering his monologue with words like profundity, before laying down the martyr card. And in laying it down, he gave himself one last backhanded compliment on his way out the door.
“All that surrounded the show, but never the show itself, was just too much for me. But your [the viewers'] support and loyalty, and might I used the word insistence, ultimately required that I keep going.”
Might you use it? You just did, my sanctimonious and self-aggrandizing friend.
On Thursday, the Huffington Post ran a piece about Olbermann’s rant on outgoing Senator Joe Lieberman. “Good riddance” and “delusional liar,” were two of the phrases he used.
How prophetic. Another childish moment in which Olbermann allowed his own vitriol to obscure the actual story, only this one filled with language which, just 48 hours later, can be turned around and used on him.
Because aside from the “liar” part, his own words pretty much sums up what I have to say to Mr. Olbermann. Goodbye, self-smitten one. And good riddance. Like a child who fails to understand the rules by which he or she must abide, you, my friend, are delusional.