February 2, 2010
The Fat Lady Sings for Keith Olbermann
"It ain't over until the fat lady sings."
The fat lady is doing more than singing for Keith Olbermann. And, like most of the other women in the life of MS-NBC's premiere leftist sexist, she's not interested in dating him. Rather, she merely wishes to see his well-padded bottom fade into the distance.
In sports broadcasting, where Olbermann worked for twenty years, the phrase -- picked up from opera -- signifies the end of the game, the last minutes when hope of revival is past and fans head for the exits. The viewers of "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" have been heading for the exits for the past year as part of a general exodus from MS-NBC.
By the end of 2009, media observers were noting the "abysmal" state of Olbermann's ratings. And now the thirty-day moving average of ratings shows him steadily sinking as Bill O'Reilly leads the charge of FOX News to the top. The FOX blowout of Keith and friends during the State of the Union this past week prompted National Review to ask, "[A]t what point does MSDNC pull the plug on its all-Left format?"
And so the fat lady is not just singing for Olbermann and MS-NBC: Rather, she is belting out an aria that rushes Katrina-like past the designer finery of Old Media grandees in the audience of Manhattan's Metropolitan Opera, rattles the Swarovski crystal chandeliers above their heads, hurtles across Central Park, and pierces the floor-to-ceiling windows of Olbermann's $4.2-million 40th-floor Trump Palace roost.
It is from here that Olbermann leads the progressive media battle on behalf of America's downtrodden, joined by neighboring New York Times staffers and mainstream media executives, fighting their self-described war on privilege from foxholes developed by Donald Trump. The various Trump Towers dotting upper Manhattan are, collectively, a progressive Pentagon, headquarters for the media war on Middle America...with Olbermann among the most polished of its brass.
...That is, until America began paying attention. The result: The audience of Countdown has sunk to roughly 20% of FOX News-viewers led by Bill O'Reilly. And now the fat lady is howling her delight as she joins a decades-long string of females in Keith's life -- beginning with his mother, who thought her son needed psychological help -- whose fist-bumps will come when he has exited their lives.
Olbermann does not like women, especially attractive and/or accomplished women. Nor is he particularly fond of men. He is forever the awkward, angry teenager of his high school days who mystified psychologists, the überdork whose cruel taunts of the athletes he covered as a sports broadcaster were legendary, even as he yearned to be thought of as the stud that covers studs. Give it up, a Philadelphia Inquirer sports columnist suggested after watching Olbermann ridicule the appearance of an overweight athlete. He noted that the hefty lefty is "so bloated he looks as if he swallowed Dan Patrick [his ESPN co-anchor] back in 1997."
And so the venom drips, and the ratings sink. Olbermann is cruel to all who, as a class, have rejected him, such as joyful people and women...or people of faith and women...or people with traditional marriages and women...and those with well-adjusted relationships and women. Did I mention women?
Women are anathema to Olbermann. He delights in demeaning them, and the more attractive or accomplished they are, the more malicious he gets. Conservative Congresswoman Michelle Bachman, who relishes her role as policymaker and mother, is a frequent object of his anger; columnist Michelle Malkin is a "big mashed up bag of meat with lipstick" because of her intelligence and traditional values; Sarah Palin is a moronic "Bush in a skirt"; and there's nothing wrong with Hillary Clinton -- who had the nerve to oppose Barack Obama in the Democrat primaries -- that a good beating won't cure.
Even MS-NBC is concerned The last-place cable network decided two years ago that Olbermanns "women problem" was costing it viewers and ordered him to find -- and not beat -- his inner woman. His inner woman turned out to be Martha Stewart, on whose show he baked a cake, savaged Sarah Palin, and extolled the virtues of gay marriage -- all of which did nothing for his mushrooming gender gap.
Meanwhile, Olbermann's personal problems with women -- including his mother -- are legion and well-publicized. Never married, he is a 51-year-old eggplant of a man whose dates begin and end with the first. His romantic failures have even played out in the pages of the New York Post, which has since taken down the Page Six item that peeked in his bedroom and described him as "boorish," declaring that "Keith Gets Low Ratings in Bed."
And the gossip sites had a field day with his newest girlfriend, a twenty-five-year-old California girl he brought to New York, insisting that the on-air job he arranged for her through NBC had nothing to do with her decision to join him in the Trump Palace.
Sex and the Single Olbermann. What is it about this confused man and women...and men, for that matter? If Sigmund Freud were not white and dead, he might be invited by MS-NBC to consult. Odd, isn't it? Hostile towards women, issues with his mother, oft-expressed rage over conventional male/female relationships, serially simpatico with Village Voice critic Michael Musto (of "Michael Musto's Gay Chelsea" fame). As his former colleagues at ESPN often say about an athlete's inappropriate behavior, "Aw, c'mon, man!" And so ratings give way to rage.
Rage. When Olbermann left ESPN, "he didn't burn bridges here -- he napalmed them," as one male colleague described it. And when co-anchor Suzy Kolber attracted attention for her stylish sports reporting, a jealous Olbermann attacked her with such venom that she simply sat down and cried.
Rage. Massachusetts elected "a bad joke" in Senator Scott Brown, "an irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, teabagging supporter of violence against woman and against politicians with whom he disagrees." Even an MS-NBC colleague recognized Olbermann for what he has become -- "sad and pathetic" -- while New Yorker magazine, which sympathizes with his politics and whose executives participate in life at Trump Towers, headlined its profile of him "One Angry Man."
In the end and in Olbermann's eyes, life is what it has always been: hostile. The viewers are disappearing, and all that remains is a Krakatoa of rage, of poisons spewing forth from a shell of a man on a shriveled network into the homes of a shrinking audience.
And he reacts as always with howls of rage, the chief wannabe on the wannabe network: I wannabe an athlete, I wannabe a power, I wannabe a stud, I wannabe Bill O'Reilly, I wannabe loved, I wannabe the center of attention...a deranged diva who has yet to decide whether his jockstrap is half-empty or half-full.
Stuart H. Schwartz is on the faculty at Liberty University in Virginia.