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(Update: Make sure to check out the thank yous in Forrest Brown's diary too. And keep up the momentum!)

Wow... less than 24 hours since we posted this at Left Action, and already more than 10,000 people have written thank-you letters to Keith Olbermann.

And I must say, there are some pretty incredible ones there (you can read them here -- look just below the form in the right column).  

I don't think there's a whole lot I can add, but... wow.  10,000 in less than 24 hours?  Holy cow.

In terms of my own "thank you" to Keith, well... it's just below the fold.  I can only hope it's half as eloquent as some of the ones others have already written.

(cross posted from Left Take)

Hi folks.  John Hlinko here, aka, "Leftake," aka, "guy who runs Left Action," aka, "guy who started that petition for people to leave messages of support for Keith."

Nice to meet you.

So MSNBC and Keith are parting ways. "Countdown" is being cancelled, and pretty abruptly so.  We're still waiting for details on exactly WTF happened, thre are all kinds of rumors flying, but...  right now, I'm feeling pretty darned sad.  And if it turns out that he was pushed out... I'm gonna feel pretty darned mad.   As in "rally activists in a big way" mad (peacefully, of course, something that sadly needs clarifying these days). 

So why am I sad?  Well, I've been watching Keith for years.  Like, way before Countdown.  I always thought he was funny as hell, incredibly perceptive, and... well, really friggin smart.  Hell, I even loved watching him when he was doing sports... even for sports I didn't care about (what can I say, I'm a baseball guy, and the others... not so much). 

Here's what I love about Keith:

  • He assumes his audience is smart, and treats them accordingly.  This is an extreme rarity in an era when the news increasingly caters to the least common denominator (i.e., morons).   Watching Keith has always been a welcome respite from the dumbed-down stories, chirpy talking heads, inane back and forth small talk, etc.

  • He isn't afraid to speak his mind, and to be a journalist, not just a reporter.  That is, he doesn't just throw out facts or let his guests spout crap unchallenged -- he actually thinks, analyzes, and when necessary, calls people on their BS.  Do I always agree with him?  Hell no.  But does he always make me think, even when I believe he's wrong?  Hell yes.

  • He uses his brain to challenge people.  Rush, Beck, and other clowns challenge people by avoiding facts.  Keith challenges them by presenting facts.  

  • I feel smarter when I watch Keith.  Look, I consider myself a pretty smart guy.  But I'm not so full of myself that I can't admit that if I were sitting alone at a table, and he joined me... the average IQ would bump up at least a tad.

Yeah, yeah, I'm ranting, but... serioiusly, he was one of the few people in the on-air news business who practiced actual journalism, and who didn't treat the audience like they were morons.  That's a scarily rare thing.  And if Keith goes off the air, I'm going to miss it a heck of a lot.

So where does this leave us?  Well, for now, we start by wishing Keith well, thanking him for what he's already done, and letting him know he has our support

And if it turns out that Keith was wronged here, and action is needed, well.... there are a heck of a lot of us willing to take action on behalf of quality journalism, reason, and a crazy little thing called the truth. 

That's my two cents.  Consider it a down payment.  



Originally posted to Hlinko on Sat Jan 22, 2011 at 03:00 PM PST.

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