The latest skirmish in the war between Keith Olbermann and News Corp. comes by way of Rupert Murdoch himself. According to TVNewser, at The Wall Street Journal’s “All Things Digital” conference last night, a reporter asked the Fox overlord if he would ever hire Olbermann. “No, I fired him five years ago,” Murdoch replied. “He was crazy.” Olbermann wrote a lengthy response to TVNewser, explaining the circumstances of his departure. It turns out that back in 2001 when he hosted baseball programming for Fox, Olbermann discovered that Murdoch was thinking of selling the Los Angeles Dodgers. Before reporting the story (which he had on good authority), he checked with Murdoch’s PR man. Explains the MSNBC Countdown host:
I said, in short, this is your candy store, if you don’t want me to run this, I’m not running it, and I’m not leaking it, but at minimum you should know the story’s out there. And the guy’s answer was, thanks for thinking of us, here’s our official denial, please report it and whatever your sources tell you, just please make clear that none of your sources are within the company (baseball was, and is, extremely touchy about when a team is, or isn’t, “officially” for sale, and woe betide the owner who makes a deal before the “officially” kicks in). So I ran the Dodgers-Are-Unofficially-For-Sale story (with the “the sources aren’t NewsCorp” caveat taking almost as long as the story itself) and everything was swell.
Needless to say, Olbermann was fired shortly after. He later heard that it was because of the Dodgers story. Not one to miss a good jab, though, he ended his e-mail to TVNewser with a classic self-referential thrust. “As to the ‘crazy’ part, he had to pay me $800,000 for the rest of 2001, and lord knows how many tens of millions I’ve helped MSNBC take out of his pocket ever since,” he writes. “So: who’s crazy?”
Eh, we bet Bill O’Reilly could have come up with a better kicker.
Olbermann Responds to Murdoch’s “Crazy” Remark [TVNewser/Mediabistro]