I caught the last two minutes of Keith Olbermann's show Wednesday evening and couldn't turn away. Here was a man ranting, visibly shaking and, toward the end, near tears. He was blasting Republicans in general and John McCain in particular about their use of the images of 9/11.
Maybe he is still upset that the brass at NBC did not like his snide remarks at the Republican Convention, and that Tom Brokaw and company decided to let adults handle the election coverage. So Olbermann gave us a tirade that the 9/11 tribute was "not a tribute to the dead of 9/11, nor even a tribute to the responders, or the singularity of purpose we all felt. The Republicans gave us sociological pornography, a virtual snuff film."
Keith was excellent as a sports anchor with Dan Patrick on ESPN's SportsCenter. Maybe he should go back to that. Oh, wait. He can't. As one of his former colleagues at ESPN once said, "Keith didn't burn bridges here. He napalmed them." Just a guess here, but Olbermann had a temper tantrum at ESPN when he couldn't get his way. Now he had another Wednesday night, resulting in him nearly tearing up.
There's no crying in journalism. Did Walter Cronkite cry when he announced John F. Kennedy was killed? Did Jim McKay cry when he told the world eleven Israeli athletes were "all gone" at the 1972 Olympics? No, they did not. They did not because they were serious journalists, something Olbermann will never be. I know he wants to be be taken seriously. But he does nothing to work towards that goal. Yes, he is very popular among those who post on liberal websites like Democratic Underground, who believe freeway blogging (graffiti on overpasses) is a form of prose. But his ratings show he is not taken seriously by the rest of the television-watching population.
Maybe next time he will stomp his foot and hold his breath until people really listen to what he has to say.