This morning I watched Johnny Cash's America, a two hour biographical film on A&E. It traced the highs and lows, the demons and triumphs of the life of this American original. Many of us old enough can remember the zenith of Cash's career in the early 1970's when he had a weekly TV show that appealed not only to his country music base, but to the Baby Boomer generation; on any given JOHNNY CASH SHOW you could find Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, or Stevie Wonder, often jamming with Cash and Carl Perkins and the Tennessee Three.
But ten years later Cash's career spiraled downward. By the early 1980's Columbia Records, Cash's label for nearly 30 years, unceremoniously dropped him. Some friends said that the money Cash generated in record sales built Columbia's Nashville headquarters, and the suits showed their gratitude by giving him the boot.
I'm telling this little story because I couldn't help but think of the departure of Keith Olbermann from MSNBC last Friday, and the similarities it had to that of Johnny Cash being tossed by Columbia three decades ago. In my eyes, time should be marked at MSNBC as "BKO" for the years before Olbermann took over COUNTDOWN, and call whatever follows the "Left Turn Era". Keith Olbermann was THAT important to the branding of MSNBC, which before the emergence of Olbermann and COUNTDOWN was deeply mired in third place among the three cable news networks.
To be frank about it, MSNBC had no identity before COUNTDOWN. The Right had Fox News, and CNN was "the Original Recipe", the first cable news station, the one for the rest of us. Yes, MSNBC did have Don Imus in those days; many have now forgotten in the wake of the flap of his remarks about the Rutgers Women's Basketball team is that Imus would have left leaning guests on his show, not because Imus was a liberal (he was a registered Republican), but he only had guests on his show that he liked. And that included members of all political ideologies.
But it was Keith Olbermann's emergence as the most prominent liberal.....if not the only....voice in cable news that began the re-branding of MSNBC as a progressive alternative to the FOX NEWS juggernaut, and the bland neutrality of CNN. At a time when it was still fashionable for The Right to use the word "liberal" as a pejorative, Olbermann was unapologetic for his progressive views. While war raged in Iraq and Afghanistan, and any criticism of the wars was deemed as unpatriotic by the Right, Olbermann showed that dissent from popular opinion at risk to one's own position may be in itself the highest form of patriotism. The emergence of his progressive voice began a process that saw more liberal voices coming out of the woodwork and seeking a platform. Not only did Keith Olbermann set a tone for what came to follow at MSNBC, but his voice may have been responsible for spawning hundreds or even thousands of others in the media or in the blogesphere.
And for that, we owe him a collective "thank you".
We may never know all of the reasons for Olbermann's departure from MSNBC. Some conspiracy theorists say that COMCAST was behind the termination...I don't buy that, and yes, I am aware of the situation involving Bill O'Reilly, COMCAST, and former COMCAST broadcaster Barry Nolan. You don't show your biggest star the door when you depend on ratings for advertising dollars. It's business, and it's still always about money.
Keith is rich, and will return to TV even richer. And maybe this is a good time for him to step back and take some time for himself. In the past two years he had to bury both of his parents, and saw a politician he financially supported (resulting in his suspension) shot in the head. And maybe in this time when media and politicians are being asked to tone it down and heed the call of the "new civility" Keith Olbermann just decided to step away, and just watch what will happen next.
Real journalists continue to lose their jobs as newspapers cut staff in record numbers. And while this is happening hucksters like Glenn Bec...
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Ten From Nick Drake
Welcome To My Neighborhood!
Its called "Useless Trivia and Mindless Rants". That's because I adhere to the principle that you can't please everyone, nor should you try to please everyone....so before anyone else rips this blog for being a waste of time or having faulty logic, I thought I'd beat them to the punch, and zing just a bit of self deprecating humor into the title....hey, some people think that's an endearing quality.
Seriously....I hope to entertain and maybe inform, and even teach the reader about a few subjects. And don't be alarmed by the political trappings you may see here. I'm upfront about my political beliefs and affiliations, but I don't wear my politics on my sleeve, and have and always will refuse to be locked into a rigid dogma. This is not really a political blog; its just disguised as one.
My model is probably CBS SUNDAY MORNING, a magazine format. I'll talk about news, sports, TV and films, about music, literature and pop culture, and about the famous and the infamous....and about some people who are out there trying to make a difference in a world that seems to get just a little tougher everyday.
Oh yes...there will be some politics as well.
So pour a cup of coffee, cut a piece of cheesecake.....and stick around for a few minutes.
Occupation- If you believe my conservative friends, I'm a pinko commie socialist out to destroy the very fabric of America's core beliefs.
Liberals think I'm an old school moderate Democrat, and that a guy my age needs to get his hair cut more often.
Just put away that broad brush....
I'm just a "Blue Jersey Guy" who happens to "Bleed Scarlet".