Mea Culpa: I Put Keith Olbermann on National TV

This YouTube video reminded me that I was the person who introduced Keith Olbermann to America.

Keith was a sportscaster at the local CBS affiliate in Los Angeles at the same time I was doing a talk show for that network. I thought Keith was pretty funny on the air, and I suggested we have him come on the show and talk sports. This was the first of several appearances he made on the show, and he always did a nice job.

Keith tended to wear out his welcome at stations and networks, and he bounced around to several places before he found his niche at MSNBC. When he first went on the air there, he was actually quite entertaining. He was wry and amusing, and he looked at the news at a kind of cockeyed angle that I enjoyed.

I’m not sure how he morphed into the bitter-sounding, hate-mongering name-caller he’s become, but I’m sorry he did. I liked the guy, and he was always a good guest. Maybe it’s just show business and trying to find a place in it and building an audience, but I don’t know. We were never friends away from the show, so I can’t even guess what drives him.

I do know that to whatever extent the political well has been poisoned, Keith has dumped more than his share of venom into the water. I’d like to think he knows that and maybe even regrets it. I liked the Keith Olbermann of 1989. This tape reminded me that I miss him.

(h/t Kenneth)

>

More From Pat Sajak

How to Communicate Legislative Success in 140 Characters or Less

Do We Really Need Public Broadcasting?

  1. Misthiocracy

    It’s a cliché to say it, but that’s not going to stop me: All his talent and common sense was stored in his moustache.

  2. Kennedy Smith

    This is why I never shave.

    College roomie (aka, Kim Il Sung) was on that show. Well, he was in the audience, but did take pictures.

  3. Kenneth

    Is there such a thing as an unforgivable sin?

    Theologians: want to weigh in on this one?

  4. Good Berean

    I think we can forgive you, Pat. As long as you bore no malice, that is.

    As to Keith and his “evolution”, although there is truth the statement that bad company corrupts good morals, I have found that as people age and become more self assured they tend to project more of their true selves. In other words, he is just revealing his inner jerk.

  5. Good Berean
    Kenneth: Is there such a thing as an unforgivable sin?

    Theologians: want to weigh in on this one? · Nov 10 at 8:04am

    There is no unforgivable sin. However, forgiveness is conditional. The conditions for forgiveness are true repentance and restitution. So Pat, assuming that you are repentant, what are you going to do for restitution?

  6. Aaron Miller

    You had a talk show?

  7. Dave Roy

    Back when Olbermann and Dan Patrick were on ESPN, I loved him (and Dan too). They had a way of giving us the sports highlights that I really enjoyed. Whether it was wit, sarcasm, or just some of the mannerisms that they had.

    I was so disappointed when I saw what he became.

    Thankfully, when he was on Sunday Night Football, it was mostly politics-free (other than the politics of NBC, anyway). But his presence was just such a turn-off, bleeding over from his MSNBC role, that I couldn’t watch him.

  8. Michael Tee

    From downtown….BANG!

    That’s the Olbermann I miss.

  9. Whiskey Sam
    David Roy: Back when Olbermann and Dan Patrick were on ESPN, I loved him (and Dan too). They had a way of giving us the sports highlights that I really enjoyed. Whether it was wit, sarcasm, or just some of the mannerisms that they had.

    I was so disappointed when I saw what he became.

    Thankfully, when he was on Sunday Night Football, it was mostly politics-free (other than the politics of NBC, anyway). But his presence was just such a turn-off, bleeding over from his MSNBC role, that I couldn’t watch him. · Nov 10 at 8:26am

    Exactly the way I feel. The Olbermann-Patrick Sunday night Sportscenter was must-see TV in my household. Very disappointing to see the guy with a great sense of humor about sports turn into a shrill demagogue on politics.

  10. Louie Mungaray (Squishy Blue RINO)

    I vaugely remember that guy, the Groucho eyebrows and sarcasm really stood out back then. I simply will not watch him now, I cannot abide the intensity of his invective.

    What little I have seen of him recently (in clips on posted NRO) makes me worry about his mental health. What color mood dot indicates you’re fixin’ to shoot up a Denny’s?

    If it’s an act then it has an Andy Kaufman-like vibe to it, and Andy was not a model of healthy role playing.

    No Mea Culpa needed, you gave a promising young man a shot, who knew he would turn out so mean?

  11. Carsten Stroud

    Setting aside the Olbermann Enigma for a moment – we may have to wait for the psych report to get an answer – I am always surprised and delighted to hear a decent man say decent and generous things, although, lately, when it’s Pat Sajak speaking on Ricochet, it’s more or less simply what I have come to expect.

    Thanks for being a decent man, Pat.

    Carsten Stroud

  12. David Cavanaugh
    Aaron Miller: You had a talk show? · Nov 10 at 8:25am

    And someone thought it be worth it to record it. . .

  13. Karen

    It was worth watching just to catch a glimpse of Dan Miller. Journalism could use more folks like him. A truly decent man. He never got the recognition he deserved and left us too soon. I wonder if Olbermann knew how out-classed he was on that set.

  14. River

    Very true, Pat, Olbermann can be funny, and he has good presence; the camera likes him. His sports reporting – from what I saw on Sunday Night Football – is also very good and even witty at times. He saddens me, though, because he’s very intelligent. It’s his judgment that’s so distorted and twisted.

    Someday – I trust – we’ll have an answer for this most baffling and ironic conundrum, this plague on our age.

  15. Michael Pate

    A bit of promotion for Ricochet: Pat Sajak ‘Mea Culpa’: ‘I was the person who introduced Keith Olbermann to America’

    But where he comes up the idea that Pat “has it in for Keith Olbermann” is beyond me. Describing Keith as a “bitter-sounding, hate-mongering name-caller,” isn’t being critical, just accurate.

  16. Pat Sajak
    C
    Carsten Stroud: Setting aside the Olbermann Enigma for a moment – we may have to wait for the psych report to get an answer – I am always surprised and delighted to hear a decent man say decent and generous things, although, lately, when it’s Pat Sajak speaking on Ricochet, it’s more or less simply what I have come to expect.

    Thanks for being a decent man, Pat.

    Carsten Stroud · Nov 10 at 9:41am

    One of the nicest compliments I’ve ever received, Carsten. Thanks.

  17. Jimmy Carter

    Olbermann on ESPN’s highlights:

    “That was a 5-4-3 double play if you’re scoring at home….. or alone.”

    Yeah, David, that “green week” really grated Me. That was so asinine. They told Me to “save” energy by turning off electricity, so I started by turning off NBC.

  18. Diane Ellis
    C

    Kenneth: Is there such a thing as an unforgivable sin?

    Theologians: want to weigh in on this one? · Nov 10 at 8:04am

    Kenneth, your comment made it into this NY Daily News article.

  19. Pseudodionysius
    Diane Ellis, Ed.

    Kenneth: Is there such a thing as an unforgivable sin?

    Theologians: want to weigh in on this one? · Nov 10 at 8:04am

    Kenneth, your comment made it into this NY Daily News article. · Nov 10 at 4:52pm

    Incredible.

  20. MBF

    Michael Pate: A bit of promotion for Ricochet: Pat Sajak ‘Mea Culpa’: ‘I was the person who introduced Keith Olbermann to America’

    The best part about a random internet site like that (random to me, anyways), is the comments section.

    Some guy called Off2SeeTheLizard left this gem:

    “Sajack is a bitter, right-wing apologist who is livid that his only claim to fame is a stupid game show.”

    So, Pat, did this guy nail you, or what?

Want to comment on stories like these? Become a member today!

You'll have access to:

  • All Ricochet articles, posts and podcasts.
  • The conversation amongst our members.
  • The opportunity share your Ricochet experiences.

Join Today!

Already a Member? Sign In