Crossposted from DemConWatch
In addition to the press release we posted earlier, Keith held a conference call this afternoon. He started out by saying that the practice sessions have gone better than anything related to the 7 start-ups with which he's previously been associated. He then reviewed the list of contributors listed in the press release. He then noted the linkwhere you can find his Current channel, and how to complain if your provider doesn't carry the station.
And then there were a few questions...I was typing as he spoke, so these are not perfect quotes. If there is a transcript, I'll get it posted.
I was lucky enough to ask the first question, which was:
8 weeks ago, I was diagnosed with terminal cancer. $20,000 of tests and 11 doctors later, it turned out that the diagnosis was wrong. There was something wrong, albeit not terminal, which will be another several thousand in costs. I'm well insured, and employed, but if I wasn't, the other thing could kill me. You have been an important, coherent, valuable voice in the fight for health care for all. You put your money where your mouth is, especially in terms of the free clinics. Can we count on you to continue the battle?
Keith said yes, absolutely, and waxed eloquent about his dad's battle, and how he (Keith) was really carrying on in his dad's memory, in addition to his personal feelings, the idea that the one thing they didn't have to worry about during those 7 months was how things would be paid for. He spoke about how the battle for health care for all was so personal for him. He indicated the free clinics would continue, and gave some history on the ones from 2009-2010.
My follow up (and if you know me, you know, oh yes I did) - After the diagnosis, I had to update my will, and write a bucket list. The sole item on that list was "coffee with Keith Olbermann" - do I have a shot?
He said yes, so we'll see.
The next question was: towards the end of your MSNBC show, you had a relationship with netroots. Will that continue?
Keith said yes, his show is trying to do something completely different from what has been done over the last 30 years with television news. Working in old media, but between web presence, exclusive content, we're going to have true interaction plus promoting more and more the people who have made significant names for themselves on the internet -- a foot in each media.
The next question alluded to Keith's thoughts on partisanship in media....with MSNBC on left and Fox on right -- will your show be bridging a gap, or stay on the left?
We are a progressive news organization, Keith said, and we won't shy away from that. But everybody is fair game. On the web and in our practice shows, we took on the president for his role in the Anthony Weiner case. We're not bound by party, we are not going to stick with any stereotypes. This will not be popular show amoung conservatives, but I will be critical of the president, the Democrats in the House, Senate and locally....certain Democrats and liberals who are that in name only. We won't pretend we have a point of view that's someone else's talking points. I won't carry water for anyone. NO ONE is exempt from criticism.
The final question was that your program will be the first of a revision of Current's line up - in any part of the development of further programming will there be a show dedicated to reporting on the media? I know you've always covered that in part, but will there be a regular show on that, perhaps as a kind of combination of Media Matters and Talk Soup?
To some degree, Countdown took, and this show will take on that role, but not on a full time basis. But I don't know. Current relies on daily programming, and there probably isn't a place for a daily media show. But it's an interesting concept. Don Hollenbeck's photo is on our set - he's remembered for being hounded to death by conservative columnists, but also for his show CBS Views the Press. I can't promise you that there will be a daily show, but understand that I keep the pictures there and use Murrow's sign off to remind me what I'm there to do. As is Hollenbeck's photo. What will be in the future is in the future - for now, our show, plus gearing up our coverage for the primaries and the election.
Keith's final comment:
I wanted to mention one more thing - many of you will get a tip from a previous employer of mine, I'll let you guess which one - if you have anything up to and including up to 50 hits a day, about the ratings for the first edition of Current. The way we're looking at it, if we get 10-12 people that first night, we think that will be spectacular.
We'll be sending out information also. Remember that almost all of that will be heavily spun bulls**t, including what we send out, fighting fire with fire. There are some interesting numbers timeline to timeline -- but some might be sending out Countdown data from 2010-2011 and comparing it to 2011 first night Current, and that's not a valid contrast. What will our numbers look like in 2013? That's our goal -- don't worry about it. Even if it's really good news coming from us. Hear from us over the next 2 years...