Keith Olbermann was my hero a few years ago. I had a small TV in my room that was always tuned to MSNBC. Late at night, my two favorite things came on the air: Countdown with Keith Olbermann, followed by Lockup: Raw. Great programming.
Olbermann was my favorite of all the pundits, perhaps besides John Stewart. In fact, Olbermann was basically just a wordier and less funny John Stewart, but I appreciated that. His long winded rants and brilliant orator skills were captivating to a young me. He had a look of sleek professionalism and great delivery in his prepared speeches. His background in sports showed through with how well he paced himself when talking. He thought like I did, told me things I wanted to hear, and gave me reasons to believe what I already believed.
It’s been years since I heard about him, and now as an adult with a voter registration card and a ‘Make American Great Again’ hat, I watched his premier episode of GQ out of a long-held respect.
It’s exactly what it looks like. Keith Olbermann stepped out of retirement to make his own YouTube series where he basically just rants about Donald Trump and loves the shit out of Hillary Clinton. Now, I’m an adult. I can handle dissenting opinions, and I was going to give a man I trusted the opportunity to change my mind. If anyone could do that, surely, Keith Olbermann was it. I listened to his video and had to stop after about 2 minutes in.
He opens by comparing Trump to the 1930s Nazi sympathizer Charles Coughlin, then goes on to call him an “Oompa Loompa”. I held Olbermann up as some sort of MENSA hyper-intellectual with profound persuasive skills, yet here he is committing ad hominem attacks right off the bat. The very first minute of the very first show and already I have no investment in seeing it ever again or listening to another word out of Olbermann’s mouth.
These opening remarks are also a particularly poor idea if you’re trying to dissuade a proponent, which made me wonder: what is this for? His point is definitely “we must defeat Trump!”, but at the same time, how does he hope to accomplish that with his video? If his goal is to convince Clinton supporters not to like Trump, I’m pretty sure that fight is already won. A hardcore Clinton supporter who goes out of their way to watch a 16-minute diatribe praising her and admonishing Trump is not the voter that flip-flops the week of the election. It’s just junk food for the brains of demagogues.
By minute two, he’s into an emotional tirade, rattling off perceived wrongdoings. The one that made me sigh and give up was the impotent and pathetic claim that a 6-pointed star in a Trump advertisement is the “Star of David”, alluding to the “Juden” badges worn by Nazi interment camp prisoners. I am certain that Keith Olbermann is smart enough to know what a Star of David looks like, so I take this to be lying to my face. The answer to the question “is this evil or just stupid?” is definitely evil.
You find these geometric shapes all over the place. They’re on uniform badges, the Microsoft word geometry tool, Disney coloring books, and more. It’s just a star. Yet, Keith Olbermann expects me to believe this is Donald Trump attempting to subtly announce his antisemitism or his plans to commit genocide. It feels like a slap in the face: an insult.
I held this man up as a role model when I was a kid, and now I’m left wondering: What other lies did Keith Olbermann tell me that I still think is true?