MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann announced Monday that he was suspending his well known “Worst Persons in the World” segment until further notice with the hope of toning down the vicious rhetoric on cable news.
The MSNBC host was on the defensive after Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart compared him to hosts at Fox News during the “Rally to Restore Sanity” Saturday.
“It wasn’t a big shark but Jon Stewart jumped one just now,” Olbermann tweeted following the rally.
Even as he had objections to what he called Stewart’s “false equivalence,” Olbermann still took a lesson from the rally.
“The overall message that the tone needs to change, was not lost on any of us,” Olbermann said on his Monday show.
“The anger in this news hour was not an original part of it, nor was it an artifice we added to it. It was a response to a threat to this democracy posed by Mr. Bush and now by his lineal descendants,” Olbermann continued.
“But there is an institutionalization of it that may no longer be valid. That is the ‘Worst Persons in the World’ Segment,” he said.
“Its satire and whimsy have gradually gotten lost in some anger, so in the spirit of the thing, as of right now, I am unilaterally suspending that segment with an eye towards discontinuing it. We don’t know how that works long term. We might bring it back. We might bring back something similar to it, might kill it outright, and next week we will solicit your input. ”
But not everybody is happy to see the segment suspended.
“Sometimes it is okay to get angry,” wrote Mediaite’s Tommy Christopher. “One of the things that propelled Countdown to the popularity it now enjoys was Olbermann’s often righteous, sometimes self-righteous, anger. The premise that he rejects in announcing the retirement of ‘Worsts,’ that fighting Goliath isn’t the same as being Goliath, demands that anger, properly focused, appropriately unleashed. Bring back ‘Worsts.’”
This video is from MSNBC’s Countdown, broadcast Nov. 1, 2010.