This evening my friend Keith Olbermann announced that he is leaving MSNBC and that Countdown will end this week. His departure will be a great disappoint for millions of viewers but I have little doubt that Keith will continue his unique brand of commentary and coverage in a different forum. I will personally miss our conversations on and off the program. Keith has been a unique voice in our society and I trust that we have not heard the last of that voice on myriad of issues confronting this nation.
I have known and worked with Keith since the 1990s and his first news show, The Big Show with Keith Olbermann. He has held a number of positions on different networks — all with equal success. The public has always connected with Keith’s wit and often wacky style. He is one of the smartest individuals I have ever known. He also genuinely cares about the issues addressed on his show.
In an age of blow-dried, robotic anchors, Keith gave the public something different and magnetic. He invented his own genre in news — a style later mimicked by others in their own programs.
Keith’s career has always been as unpredictable as his style. The public has always been drawn to him by his refusal to compromise and his fierce independence. Those characteristics that are so central to his success with viewers often led to conflicts with his respective networks. He is the ultimate lone wolf in an industry known for its pack mentality.
There are certain classics in American culture. They include the 67 Mustang, Wrigley Field, and every John Wayne film. For many news junkies, they also include Keith Olbermann. Intense, irreverent and insightful, Keith is unique. For that reason, his fans and friends will not allow him to be gone from the airways for long.
Thanks, Keith, and Godspeed.