MSNBC host Keith Olbermann announced last night that he was benching his “Worst Person in the World” segment. The announcement came at the beginning of the night’s #1 story, about Jon Stewart‘s “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.”
Olbermann was critiquing the rally, but also said that some of what Stewart complained about in his speech rang true:
The overall message that the tone needs to change, the volume needs to change was not lost on us. The anger in this newshour 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. The anger happened, it will still happen, it is not for ratings and it is not “get angry first and find a reason later.”
But there is an institutionalization of it that may no longer be valid. That is the “Worse Persons in the World” Segment. Which started, of all things, as a way of defending Tucker Carlson. 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.
Its just that today, given the serious stuff we have to start covering tomorrow, we think its the right thing to do short term and then we will see what happens.
The decision to bench “Worst” is a big move for Olbermann. The segment had become a staple of his show, and was even the name of a book the cable news host wrote.
Will it last? Will anything new take its place? Only time will tell.