In a format similar to his television shows, former MSNBC and Sportscenter anchor Keith Olbermann launched his new podcast Countdown With Keith Olbermann Monday.
In the final portion of the episode, Olbermann began a segment entitled “Things I Promised Not to Tell”, describing his ultimate demise at MSNBC. He detailed how his first show with the network in 1997 was the first to produce profit, before returning to the network in 2003 to launch Countdown. Profits for the political program ballooned to $100 million, Olbermann claimed.
But after the death of Tim Russert, things changed at MSNBC according to Olbermann. He said NBC News was then in the hands of “cowards and bullies” like Tom Brokaw and Joe Scarborough.
“By August of 2008, the Republicans were threatening Brokaw that if he did get me fired from MSNBC coverage of the Presidential election, John McCain would not show up for the debate Brokaw had inherited from the late Tim Russert,” Olbermann said. “So Brokaw went in and threatened –and that’s a nice euphemism — NBC management on behalf of the GOP just to get to host one more debate. Then he boasted about it in The New York Times.”
Olbermann said one of the contract stipulations offered to him to remain with MSNBC, rather than jump ship to CNN, was a position on NBC’s Sunday Night Football. The role would pair him with his former ESPN cohort Dan Patrick. But a meeting with the network’s Jeff Zucker before the 2010 season removed him from the show, and ultimately was a deciding factor in him leaving the network.
“The following portion is a pure hypothetical, which is really better designed for a college course in contract law,” Olbermann said.
“But, if in a case like this hypothetical, the guy doing, let’s say a hypothetical football show wasn’t actually being paid to do the hypothetical football show. If doing that hypothetical football show were a perk, if it were a non-cash payment or it were an incentive to sign a contract rather than to go to some other hypothetical network like CN-hypothetical-N, well then when that hypothetical announcer is taken off that hypothetical football show, the people who hypothetically took him off that football show have hypothetically breached his hypothetical contract and all the sudden the hypothetical company’s hypothetical lawyers are asking the hypothetical announcer how much money it would hypothetically cost them to hypothetically cure a hypothetical breach.”
Later in 2010, during the race to the mid-term elections, he was on the phone with now Senator Krysten Sinema (D-AZ) and she mentioned a few candidates running for office in Arizona who had appeared on Countdown had received death threats and were spending their campaign finances on security. Olbermann was asked if he could donate to the campaigns, so he did. He was suspended by the network. Former Vice President Al Gore, who owned cable channel Current, offered Olbermann a $50 million contract, plus bonuses and an ownership stake in the network, to move Countdown.
He then said, on the record the first time, he wasn’t fired from MSNBC, the show wasn’t cancelled, but he had been negotiating a settlement with MSNBC for breach of contract, while concurrently negotiating with Current.
Olbermann also made other revelations in his podcast debut. Borrowing a segment from his television shows, Olbermann listed off the Worst Persons In The World, including a nugget about the genesis of the Countdown brand at MSNBC.
“In 2003, MSNBC had decided on a new show called Countdown because the President of NBC News (Neal Shapiro) loved the name, and thought it would be cool to start with the least important story and build up to the most important story,” Olbermann shared. “Like, 57 minutes later — because that way — everybody would watch the whole hour.”
Olbermann then revealed he wasn’t the original host Shapiro had in mind for the Countdown brand.
“He was not going to give up on the idea that the perfect host for Countdown was… (former ABC News reporter/anchor) Sam Donaldson. There was an NBC contract with Donaldson’s name on it in circulation when MSNBC executives found out that ABC News had been trying to get out from under their contract with Sam Donaldson.”
MSNBC — Olbermann says– in a way to subvert the will of Shapiro, brought together a focus group put together by political and television consultant Frank Luntz to show the “other guy”, not Donaldson, was the best choice for the show.
“Now how do I know that? I was the other guy!” Olbermann revealed. “Presto! Frank’s focus group somehow came back with that exact conclusion. The offer to Donaldson was withdrawn. Coincidence, no doubt.”
Countdown with Keith Olbermann is a daily podcast partnership between Olbermann and iHeartMedia.
Bill O’Reilly: ‘Unholy Alliance’ Between Liberal Media and Government Officials
A recent effort by citizens to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon is O’Reilly’s point of contention.
On Monday’s episode of The O’Reilly Update podcast, during the “message of the day” Bill O’Reilly focused on the ties between liberal media outlets and government officials.
“There are unholy alliances in play,” O’Reilly said. “That is press agencies advancing the fortunes of leftists seeking power, while at the same time ignoring injustice. Let’s focus on a very vivid example: the Los Angeles Times. Like its namesake in New York, the LA Times is a liberal outfit. Nothing wrong with that, if an attempt is made to provide straightforward news coverage. Unfortunately, that’s not what’s happening. While crime is devastating LA and other California cities, the newspaper is desperately trying to save progressive law enforcement agents who are directly responsible for the death and destruction.”
A recent effort by citizens to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon is O’Reilly’s point of contention. He claims homicides are up 94% since Gascon took office in December of 2020. Shootings are up 54%, and O’Reilly pins those numbers on Gascon’s policy of criminal justice reform. O’Reilly used recent editorials from the California newspaper saying “the notion that a D.A. can make crime rise or fall over a period is absurd” as an example of this “unholy alliance”.
“What is absurd is that newspaper not processing the violent crime it reports on every day. That’s absurd,” O’Reilly argued. “The truth is the progressive movement believes the American criminal justice system is racist and wants to destroy it. The LA Times is part of the progressive movement. It has allied itself with that. And so, death in the streets of blighted neighborhoods really doesn’t matter for the greater good of criminal justice reform.”
Axios, Cox Enterprises Reach Agreement on $525M Sale
The new deal will also include an additional investment of $25 million in Axios’ media branch
Axios has new owners as the company announced Monday that it agreed to sell to its most recent primary investor, Cox Enterprises. Furthermore, the agreement between the two companies is for $525 million.
The deal is structured to secure investments that will continue to pour into local news after the company began providing coverage in 2020 after initially focusing on politics, tech, and business when it was founded in 2016.
“A big part of this investment is to expand the number of local markets we serve. Local watchdog journalism is so important to the health of any community, and no one is more focused on building that out nationally than Axios,” Cox chairman and CEO Alex Taylor said.
The new deal will also include an additional investment of $25 million in Axios’ media branch to assist the company in growing across its local, national, and subscription news products.
“This is great for Axios, for our shareholders and American journalism. It allows us to think and operate generationally, with a like-minded partner — and build something great and durable that lives long after we are gone,” Axios CEO Jim VandeHei said.
Eduardo Razo is the Assistant Content Editor for BNM, which includes writing daily news stories on the news media industry. He can be found on Twitter @eddierazo_ or you can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elon Musk Offers Twitter CEO Debate On Bots
“I hereby challenge @paraga to a public debate about the Twitter bot percentage. Let him prove to the public that Twitter has <5% fake or spam daily users!"
Billionaire Elon Musk challenged Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal to a public debate on the subject of fake accounts and spam over the weekend.
Musk and Twitter are currently in legal proceedings over a $44 billion takeover offer from the Tesla and SpaceX executive. Musk filed a bid with Securities and Exchange Commission to purchase Twitter in April. After both parties agreed to the deal, Musk made the decision to terminate the deal, accusing Twitter of providing him with incorrect numbers in regards to the amount of daily users that are not spam or bot accounts. In retaliation, Twitter sued Musk to ensure the deal would go through.
A Twitter thread by Andrea Stroppa detailed the allegations made by Musk. Musk replied by saying “Good summary of the problem. If Twitter simply provides their method of sampling 100 accounts and how they’re confirmed to be real, the deal should proceed on original terms. However, if it turns out that their SEC filings are materially false, then it should not.”
Musk later asked followers whether they believed less than 5% of Twitter’s daily users were bots or spam. He later tweeted “I hereby challenge @paraga to a public debate about the Twitter bot percentage. Let him prove to the public that Twitter has <5% fake or spam daily users!”
According to a report from CNBC, a source close to Twitter said a debate “is not going to happen outside of a pending trial”.