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MSNBC's president vowed to fire Keith Olbermann after he threatened to take his case to other networks. Howard Kurtz on the civil war that has NBC brass - and his own staff - fuming.OlbermannWatch was launched in 2004 as a warning that Keith Olbermann was bringing on a series of left-wing kooks with all manner of conspiracy-theorists spinning fantasies about how President George W. Bush and his minions rigged the election to beat Sen. John Kerry. At the time we borrowed a line from Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan that Olbermann was defining deviancy down and setting in motion the destruction of the NBC News brand. Sources at NBC News dismissed what they perceived to be hyperbole and fear-mongering pointing out that Chris Matthews was the face of MSNBC and that the focus in the news division of NBC was Tom Brokaw turning over the anchor chair to Brian Williams.
If so, it was a war that had spread beyond the principal combatants to many of the journalists who work at NBC and MSNBC. From the moment Olbermann was found to have donated money to three Democratic candidates, there has been a deepening sense of anger and frustration among his colleagues, according to interviews with eight knowledgeable sources. These sources, who declined to be quoted by name because of the sensitivity of the situation, say that several of NBC's front-line stars, including Tom Brokaw, have expressed concern to management that Olbermann has badly damaged MSNBC's reputation for independence...Network staffers use phrases like "scorched-earth policy" and "totally narcissistic response" to describe how Olbermann has dealt with criticism of his political donations. A recurring theme is that he has made it impossible for MSNBC to argue that it is journalistically different from Fox News...
The filibuster stretches back not merely to Jimmy Stewart in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," but to the presidential administration of Franklin Pierce 152 years ago. And, as a last measure of the defense of the minority, it has had many supporters over the years...Does nobody in politics at all ever worry any longer about being called a flat-out hypocritical fraud?Needless to say, the GOP move to eliminate the filibuster for judicial nominees was forestalled, and Olbermann went on the air to exult that 'The filibuster is safe', before tossing it to Chris Matthews for a one-hour special on how the Republicans failed to do away with the filibuster. What will Olby say tonight about the filibuster? Something that will reveal him as a flat-out hypocritical fraud? Comments are open!