Rachel Maddow followed up Friday’s immediate and rather subdued response to Keith Olbermann’s sudden departure from MSNBC with these opening remarks on her show last night, during with she essentially credited Keith with her success at the network.
Maddow is a lone-ish voice in the media wilderness of Olbermann supporters. Lawrence O’Donnell also opened last night with some kind words for his predecessor, but otherwise the chorus of support for Olbermann has been primarily limited to his fans (and Glenn Beck…sort of). A measure, perhaps, both of how good he was at what he did, and how awful he was to work with.
As you may know there is no way I would have ended up with a show on this network had it not been for Keith making me first a regular guest on his show and then his regular guest host when he was away. I wouldn’t have this show without Keith directly nudging the network to give me a try and without Keith clearing space for the liberals among us in this country to identify ourselves as such as liberals even on primetime cable TV.
The way Keith cleared that space was not only by voicing his own opinion but by really being freaking successful while he did it. If you want to be a pioneer don’t just be the first person like you to do something. Be the first person like you to do it brilliantly. That’s how you change the world so other people like you get chances, too. We are all sorry that Keith and MSNBC decided to end his run here. I can also tell you that decision has no effect on the editorial independence that makes it possible for me to do this work. We are here. We are not going anywhere. We’re really glad you are here with us.
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