Update: Olbermann’s MSNBC Exit Was Weeks in the Making. The New York Times reports the two sides have been working for some time on an agreement that only came together Friday evening. TMZ made similar claims, as I noted in comments earlier. So what kind of game is he playing on Facebook?
It’s looking more and more like Keith Olbermann was forced out, a lot of speculation out there but most telling is the Bring Keith Olbermann Back Facebook page Keith himself set up where he describes himself thusly:
Mr. Olbermann is the voice for millions of Americans around this country with common sense values and ideas. He must be restored to the airwaves at once.
And also his comments on his Facebook page.
His departure was so abrupt that MSNBC still ran an ad touting his program as part of their new “Lean Forward” campaign a half hour after he said this was his last show. He was noticeably missing from a big NBC News advertising luncheon earlier in the day, last straw perhaps?
Yesterday, NBC News hosted a lunch for advertisers at New York’s Gotham Hall attended by NBC News and MSNBC anchors and employees. Olbermann was conspicuously absent. Comcast’s Steve Burke was seated at the same table as Meet the Press host David Gregory and NBC News president Steve Capus. Today’s Matt Lauer was master of ceremonies for an NBC News-themed trivia game dubbed “Did you know?” MSNBC personalities Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, Chris Matthews and Lawrence O’Donnell – all in attendance – were all subjects of trivia questions.
All in all, he went relatively quietly, perhaps to stay in good graces for rehire or to be more appealing to a new employer. After the show, he went out to dinner with a few friends and/or colleagues at The Gramercy Tavern, “At least I had one nice meal since it happened.” (I should say so, that is quite the menu.)
But there is more to this story, as we shall see.
addendum: Salon has two good articles up, the first gives a rundown of his career, and the second has videos of “his greatest hits” — including the Rumsfeld scalding I personally enjoyed and remembered — and posted here.