Rachel Maddow spent a few moments of her show tonight paying tribute to the work of her friend and now former colleague Keith Olbermann. Interestingly, Maddow made it clear that Keith and MSNBC decided to end the show and Comcast had nothing to do with it.
Here is the video:
Maddow called Olbermann a pioneer, “I wouldn’t have this show without Keith directly nudging the network to give me a try and without Keith clearing space for the liberals among us in this country to identify ourselves as such as liberals even on primetime cable TV. The way Keith cleared that space was not only by voicing his own opinion but by really being freaking successful while he did it. If you want to be a pioneer don’t just be the first person like you to do something. Be the first person like you to do it brilliantly. That’s how you change the world so other people like you get chances, too.”
Without mentioning them by name, Maddow also addressed the rumors that Comcast forced Olbermann out and is going to move MSNBC to the right, “We are all sorry that Keith and MSNBC decided to end his run here. I can also tell you that decision has no effect on the editorial independence that makes it possible for me to do this work. We are here. We are not going anywhere.”
Well, that should put an end to that. From the beginning it made no sense that Comcast forced Olbermann out. Comcast is a corporation, and corporations exist to make money. Comcast could care less what Olbermann’s politics are as long as he added to the bottom line. I understand that the flashy way to get cheap hits was to appeal to the paranoid left with stories about evil Comcast firing poor little Olbermann, but the real story is much more boring.
Olbermann and MSNBC parted ways because of the problems between Keith and Phil Griffin. It is that simple. The whole notion that Comcast is going to come in and change MSNBC to fit ownership’s political ideology was another bit of dark fantasy. Comcast is not going to come in and mess with one of the few areas of NBC that is actually making money. If anything, they are going to beef up MSNBC in an attempt to make the network even more profitable.
Rachel Maddow isn’t going anywhere. She made it clear that her show is still going to have the independence that it needs to do its thing. Rachel Maddow is now the face of MSNBC. She is in line for a big promotion, and a whole lot more attention, but she and all the other talent owe Olbermann their gratitude for his paving the way. However it is time for the next generation to take over, and build upon what Keith Olbermann started.