The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

‘A Portrait of a Dysfunctional Alliance That Was Doomed From the Start’

Posted on | April 2, 2012 | 8 Comments

Thus does Howard Kurtz describe the e-mails between Current TV and its recently fired superstar, Keith Olbermann:

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.


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  • John W.

    Regardless of who said or did what, you have to admit the entire mess couldn’t have happened to a more deserving group.

  • Adjoran

    “questioned the ethics of [Al] Gore and [Joel] Hyatt.”

    Oh my!  Questioning the ETHICS of a global warming fraudster and a personal injury lawyer?


    The worst curse I can cast on all three of them is:  “May they get what they deserve.”

  • JeffWeimer

    It’s schadenfreudelicious!

  • JeffS

    You forgot to put danger quotes around “superstar”, Stacy.  ‘Cuz Oblermann is a superstar in his own mind.

  • Adjoran

    Also in the It Couldn’t Have Happened To Nicer Guys Department, GM may leave the Chevy Volt production lines idle for an extra week this summer.  But they are hopeful since March sales hit 2000, it may be a sign of real demand.

    That would translate to 24,000 cars annually.  For comparison purposes, the Corvair was produced for ten years and averaged over 180,000 per year, and was considered a flop and discontinued.

    I think the marketing for the Volt is all wrong.  Currently they use a bunch of chicks and metrosexuals to hype the gas mileage.  But everybody already knows about that, it hasn’t exactly inspired lines at dealers.

    Instead, they should play up the excitement that you never know when, in the normal course of a day, the Volt will burst into flames like a vehicle following James Bond.  Sell the mystery, the excitement:  Are YOU man enough to DARE drive the Volt?

    It’s like advertising judo, turning a weakness into a strength.  Don’t sell the steak, sell the sizzle.  Don’t sell the economy, sell the explodiness.

  • AnonymousDrivel

    “…turning a weakness into a strength.”

    Straight outta the ad team from Crazy People.

  • Adobe_Walls

    There is already a spoof ad for the Volt wherein the owner says that the fact that it might catch fire encourages him to get home more quickly. I think they should stop production entirely the more they make the lower their future value as collectibles will be.