The New York Magazine article that was supposed to lionize whiny MSNBC ranter Keith Olbermann as a "Limbaugh for Leftists" and the hero who brought down the Republican congress, instead displays Olbermann dredging up new depths of wussiness. There's almost too much material.
I give you Keith Olbermann, liberal action hero.
"I got beat up by girls all the time,” says Olbermann. “They literally posted a sign-up sheet and would take turns. I think that’s why I’ve always been such a fan of Mencken’s line, ‘Afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.’ I’ve been afflicted.”
Graduating at 16, Olbermann shipped off to Cornell as the school’s youngest freshman. It wasn’t much fun. His parents went to extreme lengths to make his dorm room the only one in Ithaca with cable TV. Between tearful calls home, Olbermann sat alone and watched the tube. “Thank God for Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” says Olbermann. “Or I might not have made it.”
“Of all the people I’ve known inside and outside of the business, he was the unhappiest,” recalls a SportsCenter staffer. “Sometimes, at the end of the night, I’d leave early just so I wouldn’t have to give him a ride home. And it wasn’t out of my way.”
That Labor Day weekend found him in the Hamptons along with then–Today-show producer Jeff Zucker and Phil Griffin. The weekend was going well until news came in that Princess Diana’s limo had crashed inside a Paris tunnel... Zucker and Griffin began dialing their cell phones furiously while Olbermann panicked, alternately chanting, “We’ve got blood on our hands” and “I’m not going to be able to do the show.”
“All the yelling on the show reminded me of a part of my childhood that I didn’t want to relive,” recalls Olbermann. “I just couldn’t deal with it.”
In May 1998, Olbermann gave the commencement address at Cornell. “There are days now when my line of work makes me ashamed, makes me depressed, makes me cry,” Olbermann told the assembled graduates.
That summer, Olbermann was a man without a broadcast. He moved back to New York, and was working on a novel when he had a dream in which JFK appeared before him on a bus, his head wound dressed with plaster of Paris. In the dream, JFK had just one question for Olbermann: “Why did you leave SportsCenter?” (The novel was never published.)
Eventually, Aaron Sorkin would base his sitcom SportsNight on the duo. (Olbermann once claimed that both characters were based on him.)
Once a recurring “Page Six” figure for his dating escapades, Olbermann recently moved in with his girlfriend, Katy Tur. Yes, she’s a 23-year-old 2005 graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, but the relationship marks his first attempt at cohabitation.
...I don't know about you but I can just see a profile in courage coming here.