Posted on | April 2, 2012 | 8 Comments
The arguments escalated for months, with Olbermann directly appealing to the former vice president on three or four occasions, until relations had become so poisoned that, on Friday, Current fired Olbermann for breach of contract. He has vowed to take the matter to court and questioned the ethics of [Al] Gore and [Joel] Hyatt.
Some of the disputes are fundamental—such as missing days of work—and some sound petty, but they add up to a portrait of a dysfunctional alliance that was doomed from the start. Where Current management viewed Olbermann as a chronic complainer who had clashed with the bosses before leaving his previous jobs at MSNBC and ESPN, the liberal commentator came to believe that he had joined a rinky-dink operation, even if the channel was committed to paying him $50 million over five years.
Of course, both points of view are arguably true: Olbermann is a chronic complainer and Current TV is a rinky-dink operation.
It is also true, however, that communicating by e-mail is a poor substitute for sitting down face-to-face to discuss a problem. Even a phone call is a more humane means of communication. So the very fact that the “relationship” turned into a series of back-and-forth e-mails between network executives and Olbermann’s manager was probably a big part of the problem.
Also, as several people have pointed out, Olbermann’s status at Current seemed to go downhill once the network hired former CNN executive David Bohrman as their new president. That may be coincidental, or maybe not. If Olbermann was used to dealing directly with Gore and Hyatt, and suddenly he had to deal with Bohrman as the go-between, you could see how that might lead to trouble.