The recent dust-up about Keith Olbermann’s unsurprising political contributions, his “suspension” and return to MSNBC had the political blog world in a major tizzy for the past week. I follow a handful of pretty big conservative-based sites on Twitter. From last Thursday through this Tuesday, half the stories I saw posted were about this guy. Yes, exactly, just like this one.
Culturally, we reached the meta media point, where the media topic is the media itself. There is a place for sites like Media Research Center and even Media Matters, because they focus on the content of reported news without actually being a part of CNN, MSNBC or Fox News.
The new media world has now produces programming on their own networks where the primary topic is…themselves. Perhaps they unused air time to fill up. I’d rather see them sell that time to ShamWow pitchmen and get-rich-quick-in-real-estate schemes and actually make some profit. Then I can change the channel without wondering how hard the guests are going to pat themselves on the back during Reliable Sources.
What I fail to understand is why Olbermann even matters. Even Pat Sajak, who’s still in shock over the one-letter-nailed-it girl on Wheel Of Fortune, is jumping on this Olbermann bandwagon. At least Pat’s owning up to his culpability in Olbermann’s actual employment. But in the end, does any of this really matter? I insist it won’t due to one single, unmitigated, uncontroversial fact…read this slowly and carefully folks:
Hardly anyone watches Keith Olbermann’s show. Hardly anyone watches anything on MSNBC.
You can verify this yourself. Just Google “cable news ratings,” and you will receive links to a bunch of pages that track the popularity of the cable news outlets and their individual shows. The late night reruns of O’Reilly, Hannity and Van Susteren get far bigger audiences than Keith does in prime time. I believe Greg Gutfeld’s Red Eye, which appears on Fox News Network at 3:00 AM, has a bigger audience. And while both shows spend a lot of time skewering politicians and the culture, Gutfeld and his guests use humor, which is why people actually stay up to watch it or go out of their way to record it. Can anyone say that Keith Olbermann finds humor in anything anymore?
Personally, I had no issue with Olbermann’s personal, private, using-his-own-money donations to whichever left-wing candidate he chose to support. That’s as much his private business and his right as is my choice to smoke cigars in my backyard, or some other guy’s choice to borrow money from a payday loan shop at confiscatory interest rates or buy his kid a Happy Meal in San Francisco.
But the focus this is getting? Come on, people. Move along now. There’s nothing to see here.