Isaac Newton once observed, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” The truth of that is seldom seen more clearly than in the rough and tumble of American politics. And so it was this week as Tea Party activists launched candlelight vigils to return Keith Olbermann to the airwaves.
MSNBC’s unexpected removal of Olbermann from its prime time lineup is seen by many as a direct attack on Conservatives, and in the words of one Atlanta, GA protester “a damned dirty trick.”
While others are publicly taking a calmer ‘wait and see’ approach, consternation seems unanimous on the Right. “This totally changes the 2012 election outlook” said author Bradley Milton in remarks this week during a Heritage Foundation awards dinner.
“Though never having a large viewership, Keith’s been a strong factor in advancing Conservatism. His brand of seething, incoherent rage really peps up our base. My fear is MSNBC will put an upbeat, rational sounding Liberal in that slot. Hopefully it’s just a publicity stunt, and Keith will soon be back listing fellow Americans as ‘worst people in the world’ while most of us understand ‘the world’ includes Mexican drug lords and child traffickers.”
Experts seem unwilling to assign lasting importance to MSNBC programming decisions, suggesting instead the reaction will be a valuable indicator of sociological trends. Yale’s Professor Janet Bryce-Flaverhaven summarized the academic consensus in a recent panel discussion.
“Sore losers have been part of American politics since 1800. We’re seeing now the emergence of ‘sore winner’ syndrome. What we have is a climate where most of the energy is concentrated at opposing extremes of the spectrum. If you’ll forgive a rather ‘state college’ analogy, it’s like a rubber band stretched really tight. When energy is released at one end, the band pops the other side in the forehead.”
MSNBC, parent company NBC, and grandparent company GE refused to comment on the Olbermann exit, but thanked Keith for his years of courageously attacking greedy corporations.