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MSNBC Re-Signs Keith Olbermann

Posted on Feb 16, 2007

MSNBC has asked Keith Olbermann to stay on as the host of “Countdown” for at least four more years. The left-leaning broadcaster is the network’s golden boy, with a ratings jump of 85 percent over the last year, thanks to his unique synthesis of Edward R. Murrow-style commentary and a wicked sense of humor.

As part of the deal, Olbermann will contribute occasional essays and prime-time specials to NBC proper.


Much to Bill O’Reilly’s annoyance, Keith Olbermann will be a two-term news host on MSNBC. At least. NBC News announced Thursday that Olbermann had agreed to four more years at the MSNBC prime-time show “Countdown.” He began the show in 2003, and his contract was due to expire in March.

Besides feuding with Fox News Channel’s O’Reilly, Olbermann has become a liberal hero. He has seen his ratings increase since launching a series of anti-President Bush commentaries late last summer.

Olbermann’s viewership in January was up 85 percent over January 2006, according to Nielsen Media Research. He’s still in O’Reilly’s shadow: the Fox show has averaged 2.4 million viewers so far this year while Olbermann, in the same time slot, has averaged 672,000.

“Countdown” has “put MSNBC back on the map,” said NBC News President Steve Capus. “It is as creative a broadcast as there is going today.”

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By Bukko in Australia, September 28, 2007 at 2:10 am Link to this comment

Right you are, Var. I saw this one coming on Nov. 3, 2004—the day I knew President Cheney had stolen another four years in power was the day I began working on emigrating. Good luck, you people who are left behind. Start considering what you’ll do when bombing starts and the clampdown happens.

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By var, September 27, 2007 at 4:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

.A war with Iran would make the current conflict in Iraq pale by comparison, and would detrimentally impact the whole of America, not just certain demographics.

  By Scott Ritter
  Thursday 27 September 2007
  fact-based assessment. In the days and weeks that have since passed, two things have become clear: Neither Congress nor the American people (including the antiwar movement) have a plan or the gumption to confront President Bush in anything more than cosmetic fashion over the war in Iraq. The administration continues its march toward conflict with Iran unimpeded.
  The bottom line is that the troop levels in Iraq keep expanding, as does the infrastructure of perpetual occupation. The Democrats in Congress are focused on winning the White House in 2008, not stopping a failed war, and as such they not only refuse to decisively confront the president on Iraq   Here’s the danger: While the antiwar movement focuses its limited resources on trying to leverage real congressional opposition to the war in Iraq, which simply will not happen before the 2008 election, the Bush administration and its Democratic opponents will outflank the antiwar movement on the issue of Iran, pushing forward an aggressive agenda in the face of light or nonexistent opposition.
  Of the two problems (the reality of Iraq, the potential of Iran), Iran is by far the more important. The war in Iraq isn’t going to expand tenfold overnight.    The United States continues to hold the Iranians prisoner, Their release any time soon is unlikely, given the impact a de facto admission that the Bush administration got it wrong would have on the overall case against Iran it is trying to build. The fate of Farhadi is likewise up in the air. None other than Kurdish President Jalal Talabani, a staunch pro-American, condemned the detention of Farhadi by U.S. military forces, noting that the Iranian was a well-known businessman who was in Iraq as part of an official trade delegation. Talabani heads. Such is the reality of modern Iraq.
  But this reality is nowhere to be found in the White House. The president himself has led the charge,  This attack, in which insurgents dressed in U.S. military uniforms, drove vehicles similar to those used by the U.S. military and sported U.S. identification documents and weapons, has been linked to Iran by many in the U.S., citing nothing more than the level of sophistication involved as proof.
      From speculation to speculation, the case against the Quds Force by the Bush administration continues to lack anything in the way of substance. And yet the mythological Daqduq has become a launching platform for even graver speculation, fed by the media themselves, that the highest levels of leadership in Iran were aware of the activities of Daqduq and the Quds Force, and are thus somehow complicit in the violence. Not one shred of evidence was produced to sustain such serious accusations, and yet national media outlets such as The New York Times and The Washington Post both ran stories repeating these accusations. Politicians are formulating policy based upon such baseless accusations, and the American public continues to be manipulated into a predisposition for war with Iran largely because of such speculation. No one seems to pay attention to the fact that the U.S. military itself has subsequently contradicted its own briefings, noting in July 2007 that no persons had been captured by the United States that can provide a direct link between insurgents in Iraq and Iran. Again, in August of 2007, the U.S. military stated that it had yet to catch anyone smuggling weapons into Iraq from Iran.
  A war with Iran would make the current conflict in Iraq pale by comparison, and would detrimentally impact the whole of America, not just certain demographics.

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By C Howell, February 18, 2007 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment
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MSNBC seems to spend more time talking about Fox News than about news worthy topics.  Hey…maybe that means Fox News is news worthy.  Works for me.  Bill O for me.

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By DMcD, February 18, 2007 at 1:44 am Link to this comment
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KO is the man—- the ONLY man that has shown the guts to say it like it is. I think he has single-handedly kick-started the long snoozing media back into “doing their damn jobs as guardians of democracy”. He , and Anderson Cooper—- who needs the rest !!

As for O’Reilly’s ratings being higher, I think if you looked closer to his demographics, you’d find that the same fanatical 27% backing Bush, are his same viewers. If true (& reason dictates the same), this 27% concentrated in one area is always going to look like a bigger number as compared to the remaining 73% dividing their viewing between all other remaining venues (in hopes of finding the truth).

Keep it up Keith—KO the bastards—America is in your debt.

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By Spinoza, February 16, 2007 at 11:06 pm Link to this comment
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Sorry for being a naysayer but at times Keith is too breathy.  I would like a slightly slower well thought out commentary and I would like to know his views on other subjects.  I mean you don’t even have to be very liberal to be against Bush.  What are his views on the class struggle? Is he for the top dogs or the underdogs or is he a centrist wishy washy liberal?

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By D.H. Fabian, February 16, 2007 at 8:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I don’t know about this Obermann guy. What he does is dangerous—-he makes people think!

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By Dennis D, February 16, 2007 at 8:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Glad to hear Keith’s coming back - what I can’t understand is who or what is still listening to that windbag O’Reilly. That boat left the dock a long time ago.

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By Alejandro, February 16, 2007 at 7:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you MSNBC for not caving into pressure and resigning Mr.Olbermann.

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By Margaret Currey, February 16, 2007 at 3:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Glad that Keith is the “voice ofamerica” this country needs someone who is honest.

I would like to see a women in the White House but so far Hiliary is not talking straight and this country needs someone who will take the country back, this country was not made by rich people only but it seems as though all the Republicians represent is why America became a country freedomof thepress, compromized,  honesty in government all we get is spin, the troops are just cannon fodder, I find it amazing that wwhen Bushie Boy was in the National Guard he knew he was safe, but come the war and viola the National Guard can be deployed.

I wonder how these people can face themselves in the mirror, but if the Republicians win again or cheat again I wonder what will become of this country, the middle class, and the middle class do go to college, but it takes more than college if the Republicians win it will go to the people with connections.

Margaret from Vancouver, Washington

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By Kellina, February 16, 2007 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hold on, folks, KO still says he believes the gov’t account of 9/11.

He is cute, though, I’ll grant you that. Pity he’s not quite brave enough.

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By Mark @ NewsCorpse, February 16, 2007 at 1:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Olbermann’s renewal is great, but expected given his contribution to MSNBC’s ratings surge. The big news is that he will now also be appearing on NBC Nightly News with occassioanl “essays” (read more at News Corpse). He will will also be doing two primetime specials a year for NBC. This is important because NBC still has a much bigger audience than any of the cable news nets.

As for O’Reilly, he can only stew about it, because the Fox broadcast network doesn’t have a national evening newscast. And they only have a 2 hour primetime block (other nets have 3 hours) so there is no place to schedule him there either.

Suck on it Bill!

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By Quy Tran, February 16, 2007 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bravo ! Keith deserves ! Those who’re against Bush/Cheney and their criminal dysnasty are our golden friends.

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By Chris, February 16, 2007 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment
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I’m glad Keith Olberman is providing intelligence, and an alternative, needed, balance in a media so thoroughly inundated with pap. The fact that his show’s ratings have experienced an 85% jump clearly communicates the hunger in the public for something relevant. His eviscerating, ten minute commentaries are powerful reminders of television at it’s best. However, let’s be honest….his program exists in a sea of mediocrity at MSNBC. All anyone has to do is watch the channel’s promotions for the almost nightly “Doc-Blocks”, along with their lurid themes about “Prison Moms”, profiles of “Serial Killers”, etc., (we’re not talking about the PBS documentary series “Frontline”  here), which permeate his program and you’re reminded that cable news channels have all devolved to a pretty base level, CNN included. And Olberman’s devotion to Anna Nicole Smith’s death in recent days (including leading off with the story on the day of her death), have me re-considering my feelings about watching his program. He’s undoubtedly contributed something of valuable substance (in particular, his commentaries) to the public discourse, but, again, it exists in a sea of mediocrity on MSNBC, and if he doesn’t keep drifting in that direction, his show will gradually become part and parcel of it.

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By LG, February 16, 2007 at 12:01 pm Link to this comment
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By Dale Headley, February 16, 2007 at 11:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Three cheers!  For Keith Olbermann and for MSNBC.  Olbermann is a hero for telling the truth to power.  MSBC, the station that fired Phil Donohue for being too liberal, has seen the light - or perhaps the trend.

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By mary, February 16, 2007 at 10:36 am Link to this comment
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Ok,does anyone agree that besides being one of the most intelligent,he is gorgeous?
How can we get him to grow his hair a little and don’t comb it back so much.

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By bill bigheart, February 16, 2007 at 10:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

HOORAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! for OBERMANN and NBC NEWS.
For yeasrs I was beginning to wonder if anybody or entity had the nerve or “guts” to tell the truth to the American public about the former Republican Congress, the current administration and the raping of our national treasury by the “BIG” money “boys” with the help of the good old party in power (all of whom have put their personal interests above the best interests of our country).  Thanks to Mr. OBERMANN.

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By anonymous, February 16, 2007 at 9:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If you don’t watch Olbermann the terrorists win.

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By Rodney Matthews, February 16, 2007 at 9:39 am Link to this comment
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Keith Obermann is a American hero. He is willing to sacrifice his career for his moral and political beliefs, unlike most of the spindless media who caters to the Bush adminstration. Keep talking Keith America is listening.

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By Bukko in Australia, February 16, 2007 at 7:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is such good news! In my bitter cynicism, I had expected General Electric to axe K.O. as part of the evisceration plan it has for NBC. Maybe they have enough business acumen to see that there’s money to be made from a media personality who’s got a buzz. And I don’t mean the Cheech Marin kind. Isn’t it odd that the weapons manufacturer network allows the only liberal voice on television news, while the kiddie show network, Disney/ABC, has become the fascist propaganda tool?

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