Keith Olbermann: Should Serious People Take The Guy Seriously?

Written by Steve Pauwels on October 15, 2020

So … has Keith Olbermann officially morphed into a cartoon character?

Three weeks before November’s elections, the sports commentator cum political pundit cum loopy Lefty has ducked out of his most recent stint with ESPN – the third time he’s departed the entertainment behemoth, by the way – in order to devote himself, undistracted, to influencing the big vote.

On the October 8 offering of his new YouTube gig (“The Worst Person in the World”) – only his second broadcast – the former Sports Center host went full Trump-derangement.

Tagging the President “barely human” and his supporters “morons” and “terrorists”, he declaimed:

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Trump can be, and must be, expunged … The terrorist Trump must be defeated, must be destroyed, must be devoured at the ballot box. And then he, and his enablers, and his supporters, and his collaborators, and the Mike Lees and the William Barrs and the Sean Hannitys and the Mike Pences and the Rudy Giulianis and the Kyle Rittenhosues and the Amy Coney Barretts must be prosecuted and convicted and removed from our society while we try to rebuild it and to rebuild the world Trump has nearly destroyed by turning it over to a virus.

In the same screed, Olbermann further maligned the President as “demonic” and – surprise! — “fascist”

Ahem.

Quite understandably, one might be tempted to dismiss the erstwhile MSNBC regular as engaging in parody. The grandiloquence! The bombast! The smoldering indignation! Is this his satirical take on the self-inflated media blowhard persona? A more caustic, twentieth-first-century version of Ted Baxter? Perhaps a real-life Ron Burgundy?

If one’s followed Mssr. Olbermann for the past several years, that explanation doesn’t wash. More likely, he’s being anything but puckish here; he’s seethingly serious; he really believes all this overwrought bafflegab. Even MSNBC anchor Chuck Todd somewhat transparently referred to his former colleague as “somebody from the very far left in media world”.

And what about that drudgerous “fascist” accusation?

It’s kind of bemusing – in a chilling sort of way – hearing the sixty-one-year-old blabbermouth training the “he’s a fascist” finger on DT.  Particularly in the context of this specific tirade. Who’s the one, after all, ranting about “expunge”, “prosecute”, “convict”, “remove from society”? If that combo isn’t fascistic jargon I’m not sure what is. What it definitely, self-evidently ain’t?  The level-headed ruminations of a sober political analyst or reflective critic.

Along with “fascist”, Olbermann apparently favors that other “f”-word when disparaging the Chief Executive: A favorite calumny used to be that he’s a “racist f*-k“. In 2017, he authored a book titled, “Trump is F*–ing Crazy: (This is Not a Joke).”

Note the “not a joke” intensifier. Again, no satire intended in any of this…

So, to answer the query that launched this column: No, Keith Olbermann is not a cartoon character. He’s a guy on social media who means to be taken with utter gravity. For crying out loud, he resigned from his latest – presumably lucrative – gig so he could invest himself, full time, pre-election, in Trump-bashing.

Not a cartoon character, not a joke – although sensible folks would be forgiven for mistaking him for either.

 

Steve Pauwels is pastor of Church of the King, Londonderry, NH and host of Striker Radio with Steve Pauwels on the Red State Talk Radio Network. He's also husband to the lovely Maureen and proud father of three fine sons: Mike, Sam and Jake.