Let me start by telling you how I feel about Keith Olberman. The man is an ass. He is a clown who says things for the purpose of making headlines rather than giving any opinions of actual substance. He is a pompous, arrogant, egomaniac who would rather correct peoples grammar or attack their personal traits than have a debate worth any merit. He has made his bones on condemning those who speak their minds and give harsh opinions, when he himself wants the freedom to do exactly that. He is a hypocrite who calls for the firings of his colleagues in the media whenever one of them makes a statement that doesn't jive with the character he plays on television. Having said all of that, it would be a tremendous shame if he lost his job at ESPN.
After Olberman ended his stint as one of the more popular Sportscenter anchors of the 90's, he became a personality on MSNBC. He's since crawled back to ESPN with his tail between his legs after his abysmal failure in the world of newsertainment. But he did not come back as an anchor. ESPN wanted him back to host a show, that runs late at night, where people can get Keith's harsh and usually foolish takes on the wide world of sports. But as ESPN has made a habit of doing, when one of these silly remarks makes mainstream headlines, they cower to special interest groups and show no loyalty to their talent. Olberman's twitter rant about Penn State was no different from the dozens of nonsensical twitter arguments he gets in with people on seemingly a weekly basis. Right here in Boston, Olberman called for the firing of WEEI's Kirk Minnihane for his comments on Erin Andrews. I wonder how Keith feels about that now. I hope he regrets it. I hope he realizes that Kirk said something he may not agree with, but differing opinions shouldn't warrant firings in opinion based media. Due to the characteristics listed about, I seriously doubt he's thinking that way. But nonetheless, Keith should not be punished for doing what ESPN pays him far too much money to do.
Some of you reading this may say that ESPN has every right to fire an employee that they feel doesn't represent their brand. You're right. I'm not saying that what the mothership is doing is or should be illegal. And I realize that, in literal terms, this is not a 1st Amendment issue. The government is not silencing Keith Olberman. But as a society that eats up nonstop news coverage on every mundane current event, a society that live-tweets every award show and sporting event, a society that will destroy the self-esteem of a 13 year old girl because she made a mediocre song, we should chant Keith Olberman's name from the roof tops. He did nothing different than we all do. Keith Olberman just had the balls to do it for all of us to see. He did not incite a riot. He didn't put anyone's life in danger. He made a few off the cuff remarks about a school that covered up child molestation for over a decade. Olberman is paid very well to get people riled up. He shouldn't be penalized because this one rant annoyed the wrong people.
Every critical remark hurts someone. It could be an individual. It could be a group. It could even be a race or an entire nation. I truly fear living in a world where hurting someone's feelings is a crime akin to true racism, sexism, homophobia, or any other sort of hate mongering. George Carlin made a living joking about the pussification of America. I'm sure he's rolling over in his grave about how all too real it's gotten. Olberman made comments that I don't agree with about Penn State. People all across the country, from President Obama to the 16 year old who serves me at Dunkin Donuts say things I don't agree with all the time. I do not believe that any of them should lose their jobs for that. It amazes me the amount of people who aren't just satisfied with changing the channel. If you hate Keith Olberman, like I do, don't watch his show. Don't follow him on Twitter. Any time you hear his name, don't watch, listen, or read any further. I think that is a much more fair compromise than this childish need to abolish thought that doesn't line up with what is absolutely socially accepted.