Or if you’re by yourself.”Olbermann’s tenure at ESPN was characteristically contentious.
One of his co-anchors, Suzy Kolber, has said that Olbermann was sometimes so overbearing that she would lock herself in the bathroom and cry.
President, turning to the biggest issue of all, Iraq. President, you haven’t been golfing in recent years. I feel I owe it to the families to be as—to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. when somebody asks you, sir, about your gallant, noble, self-abnegating sacrifice of your golf game so as to soothe the families of the war dead. The jeremiad against Bush was a signature Olbermann effort, the sort of stylized, mocking tirade that has lately made him a cable-news sensation, the Edward R. Olbermann was pleased with the script, and the next day, before going on the air with it, he posted excerpts on the liberal blog Daily Kos, which is a fairly good representation of the Olbermann fan base. (“You excoriated the bloodyhanded, warmongering imbecile.” “This country cannot survive without you.” “Dude, you’ve got a pair of steel ones!
Various people and various candidates talk about pulling out next year. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal. And, sir, if you have any hopes that next January 20th will not be celebrated as a day of soul-wrenching, heartfelt thanksgiving, because your faithless stewardship of this presidency will have finally come to a merciful end, this last piece of advice . ” “I’m gonna print it out, hang it up and memorize it.”)At MSNBC, the feedback was slightly more cautious.
When he was twenty-three, he told Bill Mac Phail, the former CBS Sports executive who had overseen the introduction of instant replay, that Mac Phail didn’t know anything about television sports.
In an argument with one of his supervisors at UPI, he so forcefully advocated his position (“God damn it, this is the minor leagues here,” he said, “and it’s things like this that are keeping us the minor leagues’’) that he was fired that afternoon.Another colleague, Mike Soltys, has said that when Olbermann left the network, in 1997, “he didn’t burn bridges here—he napalmed them.”Olbermann was glad enough to be leaving the grind of full-time sportscasting behind.His new job brought him out of the toy department and into the news side of broadcasting, with a show on NBC’s new cable-news channel, MSNBC.His agent sent his highlight tapes to stations around the country, but most station managers didn’t quite know what to make of him.“The standard response,” he says, “was ‘I like him, but is Baltimore ready for him?“He thought that was going to compromise his objectivity and reporting,” Wald recalls.“I didn’t know at the time that he didn’t like to fly, but I think that he was probably right in his reasons.”In 1992, Olbermann joined ESPN, where his erudite, wise-guy style flowered into an artful, full-blown satire of the cliché-ridden form: “That’s a six-four-three double play if you’re scoring at home.If we were to pull out of Iraq next year, what’s the worst that could happen, what’s the doomsday scenario? Olbermann suddenly had another sensation, unrelated to neurology—a feeling, he later recalled, that was “like being hit by lightning.” He sat down at his computer and began to write. Olbermann’s original script identified the “cold-blooded killers” as everyone at the Pentagon and in the Bush Cabinet; when a colleague noted that that would include such relative moderates as Colin Powell and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Olbermann modified the line.: Doomsday scenario of course is that extremists throughout the Middle East would be emboldened, which would eventually lead to another attack on the United States. After an hour, he had the first draft of a lacerating indictment of Bush, a twelve-minute-long (eighteen pages in teleprompter script) , addressed personally to the President.“Mr. D.s were imagined, Iraq was laid waste, and American freedoms were trashed. Phil Griffin, the senior vice-president in charge of MSNBC (“Phil thinks he’s my boss,” Olbermann says), raised the matter of tone.(The Wire Service Guild stepped in and saved his job.) His three-year career at CNN was, he says, “a continuing pitched battle.” He moved to a television station in Boston, and lasted a few months.At the age of twenty-five, he moved back home, a flameout, with few prospects.