This is the most amusing part as Stephen Rodrick captures Olbermann's show in a few sentences.
|Bill O’Reilly has liberal guests on so he can skewer them. Olbermann’s visitors are affable yes-men providing can-I-get-a-witness nods to the latest gem proffered by their all-knowing host.|
|As an employee, Olbermann was his own kind of Worst Person in the World. His sense of superiority and caustic vibe eventually cost him gigs and friends at three networks. How naughty was he? Olbermann was the only former ESPN star not invited back for the sports network’s 25th anniversary (he’s allowed to participate on Patrick’s radio show only because Patrick promised that Olbermann would never set foot on the network’s Bristol, Connecticut, campus).|
....He was fired from his first stint at MSNBC after he denounced his own show in a commencement address at his alma mater. Fox hired him to host its major-league baseball Game of the Week and then sent him home with a year left on his contract simply for being a malcontent.
Still, where some saw a brash breath of fresh air, others saw a self-righteous gasbag. And despite the show’s unprecedented success (Olbermann and Patrick were SportsCenter’s most popular duo), Olbermann was a world-class agitator. He began firing off thousand-word memos to management, lobbying on causes from saner hours for lowly production assistants to profit-sharing for ESPN employees who were helping the network generate billions. Along the way, he won a reputation as a miserable jerk. “Of all the people I’ve known inside and outside of the business, he was the unhappiest,” recalls a SportsCenter staffer. “Sometimes, at the end of the night, I’d leave early just so I wouldn’t have to give him a ride home. And it wasn’t out of my way.”
He still slags off fellow co-workers.
|It’s a couple of hours before his nightly broadcast, and Olbermann is looking through boxes of mail in his Secaucus office. “Maybe this one contains Chris Matthews’s eyebrows,” he says, referring to his fellow MSNBC host. “You see them last night? Did he borrow them from Joe Pesci?”|
....I’m watching from the wings with Jeremy Gaines, an MSNBC flack. “Did you hear that snort he just did?” asks Gaines. “That’s Keith’s imitation of Matthews.” Gaines then bites his lip as if to say “oops.” He tries to respin. “But they really, really like each other.”
|It probably won’t come as much of a surprise that when Keith Olbermann was a kid, he got the tar kicked out of him on a regular basis. And not by the football team. “I got beat up by girls all the time,” says Olbermann. “They literally posted a sign-up sheet and would take turns. I think that’s why I’ve always been such a fan of Mencken’s line, ‘Afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.’ I’ve been afflicted.”|
....That summer, Olbermann was a man without a broadcast. He moved back to New York, and was working on a novel when he had a dream in which JFK appeared before him on a bus, his head wound dressed with plaster of Paris. In the dream, JFK had just one question for Olbermann: “Why did you leave SportsCenter?” (The novel was never published.) That summer, Olbermann spent hours tending to his baseball-card collection, feuding with the L.A. hotel, and generally nursing grudges against the world. Even longtime friends Patrick and Griffin were at loose ends on how to help their friend.
For whatever reason dislikes Anderson Cooper and thinks he could have stopped the ascension of Bill O'Reilly.
|Earlier, for the sheer sport of it, I had asked him about O’Reilly: “It wasn’t until I left MSNBC in December of ’98 that Bill took second place. Seeing what he did with that and the perversions of television he’s created, I felt bad about it. I might have been able to stop this. It must be like the way Gore or Kerry wake up in the middle of the night thinking, I could have stopped this. I carry that around with me.”|
By now we’re at the studio, in a makeup room, and Olbermann starts in on Anderson Cooper. The CNN anchor, Olbermann notes, recently told a Men’s Journal writer that he wouldn’t talk about his private life. “Don’t tell me you don’t want to talk about personal life when you wrote a book about your father’s death and your brother’s death,” says Olbermann. “You can’t move this big mass of personal stuff out for public display, then people ask questions and you say, ‘Oh, no, I didn’t say there was going to be any questions.’ It’s the same thing as the Bush administration saying, ‘We’re going to war, but you really aren’t allowed to know why.’ ”
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