Reading satire written years before, it turns out, can mean that what was once topical is no longer memorable.
Do you remember what Current TV was? Probably not. There’s a decent chance you don’t recognise Keith Olbermann, who, to a British audience is probably best described as a real world equivalent of The Newsroom’s Will McAvoy. You can view a sample of his work on youtube – he later left MSNBC to start a new news channel, which is where I (fictionally) came in.
Here, thanks to the Wayback Machine, is the piece in it’s original context, while you can also read it below.
Keith Olbermann’s Wife Forces Him to Help out Around the House, Named as ‘Worst Person in the World’
“I’m working on a new TV station with my friend Al Gore – it’s going to be totally badass!” Olbermann said, as he welcomed me into his house, while wearing a backwards cap. “The idea is to reinvent the industry, and to correct the distorted, right-biased, America-centred view the mainstream media presents of the world.”
I informed Olbermann how appreciative I was of being in the company of such an intelligent and dedicated mind, one focused on setting right the wrongs of the world. “But, if you don’t mind me asking…why are you at home, sat on your settee eating Cheerios in your pajamas at three o’clock on a Wednesday afternoon?”
Olbermann looked at the bowl that he was clearly in the middle of when I arrived, and an expression of embarrassment spread across his face.
“Yes, well, it turns out that Current TV is operating on a somewhat smaller budget than I’d imagined. I mean, the title of Chief News Officer sounds impressive, but apart from my one hour-long programme a week, the news team is three camera men who take it in turns to go in front of the camera and read the evening news. It’s…. It’s a work in progress.”
Olbermann laughed, with the enthusiasm of a man used to taking on big challenges, a titan used to facing down the might of the spin-doctors of federal government single-handedly on a weekly basis. Seeking another angle, I asked his wife how Keith has been adapting to his career change.
“I asked him to help me out with DIY, washing, and chores round the house, if he’s going to be at home so much. He launched into a long-winded seven minute rant about how my demands were inhumane, indecent and insincere,” she smiled. “He was very convincing though.”
I asked Mrs. Olbermann how she felt about her husband’s dramatic career shift.
“Well, I support him… It’s good that he’s idealistic. But… But Keith was earning $7.5 million at MSNBC. The money was pretty helpful in looking after the kids.”
She looked at a picture of her husband and their two children, taken at the MSNBC studios last year, a wistful glint in her eye. “I was really hoping he wouldn’t have a midlife crisis.”
I asked Keith Olbermann when the new channel hits the airwaves.
“The channel went on the air in March 2007. My show started on June 2011.”
“You didn’t know? You haven’t been watching?”
“I… I think it must have slipped past me.”
He smiled, looked at me curiously for a moment, for a sign that I was pulling his leg. Then, abruptly, his face dropped.
“Oh God, I’ve thrown away my career, haven’t I?”
At this point he broke down, and sobbed wildly.