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It was an odd moment when the time rolled around for MSNBC's "special live edition" of Countdown on election night at 10:00 pm. Because show host Keith Olbermann wasn't there. A hasty pre-recorded Olby tossed it to Lawrence O'Donnell, who proceeded to update viewers on the elections for about 20 minutes, then a rerun of the 8:00 pm showing of Countdown was joined in progress. The first apparently official explanation from MSNBC or from Olbermann came from mediaite:
We hear Olbermann was visiting his dad in the hospital...
But why did MSNBC promise a live Countdown, if they knew they weren't going to air one? For that matter, why did Olbermann himself claim that he would be back at 10:00 pm?
Lawrence O'Donnell and I will be back with the latest on the votes in New York 23rd, Virginia and New Jersey at 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific. Until then, I'm Keith Olbermann...
There was one thing that changed between 9:00 pm and 10:00 pm: the Corzine loss in New Jersey. Keith already had to endure the victory of Bob McDonnell in Virginia, whose electoral chances he had previously dismissed with a sneering: "Good-bye, Mr McDonnell". He would then have to report another Republican victory at 10:00 pm. If he stuck around.
Was his father's condition so serious that he had to bail on his responsibilities at MSNBC and skip the 10:00 pm show? If so, there was a miraculous recovery because less than 24 hours later KO was merrily blogging at Yankee Stadium, snapping pics and cracking wise. Remember, Olbermann has a pattern of ducking his job when there's news he doesn't want to report. After all there's a reason he's called "bathtub boy". Just ask John Gibson.
Most telling of all is how flimsy and ephemeral the hospital excuse turns out to be when you look at it more closely. Mediaite's only reference is "we heard"...exactly what you would expect when someone is tossing out a BS excuse but doesn't want to get caught having done so. Why wouldn't Olbermann, or someone from MSNBC, say this on the record? To Mediaite's credit, they did try a second time. And MSNBC's non-response speaks volumes:
Mediaite's Steve Krakauer reported that he "heard that Olbermann was visiting his dad in the hospital, which accounted for his absence." When asked for confirmation of this an MSNBC spokesperson provided no comment.
Isn't it time for MSNBC and/or Olbermann to address this , and do it on the record?
Discuss, resolve, and recap. Comments are open!