The Keith Olbermann Saga's Starting to Get Kind of Sad

Keith Olbermann looks like he's made nice with his bosses at Current for now, but his war with The New York Times is scrappy as ever.

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Keith Olbermann looks like he's made nice with his bosses at Current for now, but his war with The New York Times is scrappy as ever. The Countdown host took to Twitter in familiar fashion on Sunday night first to announce that he'll be "running the election coverage on Current, after New Hampshire" and immediately lit into Times writer David Carr who, Olbermann said several times, "got his facts wrong" in his latest column. After Olbermann's tussle with Carr's coworker and Page One co-star Brian Stelter last week, it would appear that he's particularly obsessed wit the New York Times media desk.

The news itself is pretty mundane. After crossing his arms and refusing to cover the Iowa caucuses for Current -- the startup network's technical troubles were the cause of the protest -- Olbermann will lead the election coverage from here on out, at least after Tuesday's New Hampshire primary. While the cable news star took Stelter to task over the adjective "disgruntled", it's the distinction between the verb "participating" and "running" that's upset Olbermann's this time.

Carr's column suggests that Keith's future at Current is still unclear:

(Over the weekend, both sides said that progress had been made, and that although Mr. Olbermann will not be in front of the camera on Tuesday, he will be involved in Current’s election coverage on future nights. He confirmed as much on Twitter late Sunday. Earlier Sunday a spokeswoman for the channel said, "He's told us he will do upcoming special election coverage, we hope he does and we would love for him to do it.")

The Hollywood Reporter uses the same quote from the spokeswoman but leads with Olbermann's tweet about running the campaign coverage.

With all due diligence to facts, figures, adjectives and verbs, it is a bit of a mystery what will happen next at Current. As Carr suggests, the network's been boxed out of Olbermann's court, "left to check his Twitter updates for indications of his mood, which is usually not very good." They've also been talking to his lawyers, which is definitely not very good given that the estimated $50 million the network is paying Olbermann to be Current's chief news officer for the next five years. (Olbermann also has equity in the company.) Then again, nobody's really surprised that Olbermann's acting up. Similar spats between the host and his bosses predicated to Olbermann's departure from CNN, Fox and MSNBC. This time around, the situation just seems kind of sad. Current executives, journalists like Carr and most especially, Olbermann's fans, have been quick to commend the star's talent and quicker to sound hopeful that he'll collect himself and anchor the network's election coverage very soon. The top commenter on Carr's piece Karen Garcia -- she gets a little green checkmark for being so astute -- offers a pretty intriguing suggestion. If he's upset by the network's technical problems, maybe Olbermann could act like a network co-owner that he is and fix them:

The disconnect between Olbermann's championing of the Occupy movement and his reputed one percent-ish behavior is indeed strange. I for one could care less about the optics and glitziness (or lack thereof) of his production. …Olbermann, unlike so many of his peers, knows when to shut up and listen to true eloquence.…Olbermann would go down in public advocacy journalistic history if he took a pay cut and invested some of his millions in his own station. Or, he could retire. His choice.

Update (11:30 a.m.): Keith Olbermann's not doing himself any favors on Twitter. Perhaps in an effort to seem more human than jerk, the star explained (complained?) that he would be working through his vacation, which he perplexingly scheduled during one of the biggest political news weeks of the year so far:

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.