Where’s Olbermann’s extra backbone now?


Last month when I was so sick, I really didn’t pay attention to politics as much as I normally would, since I didn’t feel up to taxing my mind so much. On the plus side, this did get me to stop reading the Huffington Post, which I had basically just come to "accept" as a site to keep me marginally informed on certain issues but I’d always openly loathed for caving in to the political centre time and again. Doubtless I’m missing all number of anti-Ralph Nader blog entries right now as everyone there at once bemoans the Democrats potentially nominating Hillary Clinton for President while simultaneously warning readers that a vote for the Green Party is a vote for the Republican candidate. I’ve since tried to make due with other Websites to get the pulse of the American left (as well as those who continue to falsely claim to be liberals), but apart from the Green Party’s own Website, I’m not having much luck.

Countdown with Keith Olbermann is another of those outlets that I think is portrayed as being far more left-leaning than it really is, but I continue to catch it on a regular basis. Not only does it help keep me informed on certain aspects of the political scene, but I’ve been a fan of Keith’s from his days with Dan Patrick on ESPN, and I like his wit. That being said, I was somewhat shocked late last week when Olbermann announced that this Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate on MSNBC would be the first debate that was between just Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards. Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel are both still in the race, of course, and a quick trip to Kucinich’s Website reveals that both had been invited earlier, but that NBC News, specifically Chuck Todd, recinded that invitation last week, presumably for the sake of being able to market this upcoming debate as the first between the "Big Three" Democratic candidates.

My anger at Kucinich (and to a lesser extent Gravel) being excluded from yet another debate should go without saying. However, after Olbermann has campaigned so hard against keeping our troops in harm’s way in Iraq, after not only ripping the current administration’s Iraq policies but also lambasting the Democrats for caving in to last year’s Iraq funding bill — going so far as to compare Harry Reid’s explanation for his vote to Neville Chamberlain’s "peace in our time" proclamation — the question begs to be asked of just where Olbermann’s voice is now, now that his own network is excluding from their debate the only two Democrats who are promising to pull our troops out of Iraq in their first term of presidency. For all of Olbermann’s legendary personality clashes with his places of employment, he has always prided himself on showing backbone, and not just because he was born with an extra lumbar vertebra; in one famous instance he wrote a one-thousand word memo to his employers to complain about the poor treatment of lower-paid workers at that network. If Olbermann does not now take his own network to task for excluding the two demonstrably consistent anti-war candidates from their debate for the sake of marketing, then my viewing of Countdown may well go the same way as my reading of the Huffington Post.

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