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TVNewser is reporting that Tim Russert and Chris Matthews are upset that partisan activist and Daily Kos blogger has become the new face of NBC News' political coverage.
"Every Tuesday night Keith is up there as the face of NBC News. That's a problem," says our source. "[Tim] Russert is upset about it. Russert has spent 20 years building credibility. All of a sudden he's taking questions from Keith Olbermann, the Daily Kos blogger?"
The insider says Olbermann's election night partner has reservations as well: "Chris Matthews is quite pissed about it. He knows a lot about politics and he takes it seriously. He's so close to it that he's not that political. He's not an activist -- Keith's an activist. That's the difference."
MSNBC dismissed the report claiming that TVN's source was uninformed. Only problem is that TVN is run by Chris Ariens who has plenty of well-placed sources at MSNBC because before becoming head blogger at TVN he was a producer at MSNBC.
TVN's source says Olbermann's repeated threats to quit MSNBC have frightened his bosses at NBC News. The source calls Olbermann's blogging at Daily Kos "insane".
All we can say here at Olbermann Watch is...told you so!
Olbermann Watch readers will recall that Keith told Bill Moyers that he came close to quitting back in the summer of 2003 when MSNBC hired Michael Savage.
BILL MOYERS: I watched you walk off when you were at MSNBC and they were covering the Lewinsky scandal. And I believe you said, "This is ridiculous."
KEITH OLBERMANN: Yeah.
BILL MOYERS: This is drip, right?
KEITH OLBERMANN: Right.
BILL MOYERS: You walked away.
KEITH OLBERMANN: Yeah.
BILL MOYERS: Would you do it again?
KEITH OLBERMANN: I think probably it won't happen. But I would say that there were circum-- there were circumstances in this show, there was one occasion where I was prepared to go out the door an hour before one of the shows because we had one of those conflicting moments. This is very early on again. This is 2003. When we were all still in that kind of, "Gee, should we suspend our disbelief? What if he's-- what if George Bush is right and this is the kind of threat that he portrays?" He-- it's probably exaggerated because he's a politician, number one. But number two, what if he's right? I think a lot of us were saying, "Well, okay, let's just tread gently." MSNBC hired a guy named Michael Savage. And he came on and did-- not only did he do a show once a week that was basically just spattering invective on people he didn't like and these people change from week to week, but it was terribly produced. I mean, it was an awful show. And he was-- he looked like he was standing in front of a chalkboard somewhere in somebody's basement with a camera. One night I walk in, my boss is out of town. And the guy actually running the show at the point said, at countdown, said-- "We're going to run a Michael Savage commentary. I've got to go now." And he ran away. And I said, "We're not running a Michael Savage commentary. That's in the"-- and he was gone. I called my agent. Now, I'd just gotten back to MSNBC. I left, as you said, under the Lewinsky circumstances. A lot of bridges were burned. Came back. Everybody hugged. It's three or four months in. I'm enjoying it. I think I'm making a difference. I'm getting that little sort of skeptical thing back. And here we're going to have a Michael Savage commentary in the middle of it. So I finally got a hold of my agent. And I said, "I have to walk out, don't I?" She said, "Yep, you do." And I said, "Yeah, I guess so. Well, it was a nice career." I'm going to try to get a hold of my boss in Washington. And I called him and I said, "I can't"-- he said, "Can you find some reason not to run it that doesn't pertain to the politics?" I said, "Are you saying to me if I go and look at it and it doesn't meet production standards we don't have to run it?" "I might be saying that, yes. Just give me something to work with." And I went in and looked at it and the guy repeated himself nine times. So I called the guy back and said-- "It's very badly produced. He's repeating himself. I don't think you should run it." "Okay, good enough." But those things still happen, and I'm sure they'll still happen.