Keith Olbermann: The New Isaac Jaffee
Much has already been said around the blogosphere of the striking similarity between the rise of Senator Barack Obama and the rise of fictional Senator Matthew Santos of “The West Wing.” Jamal Simmons of the Politico has done so most eloquently. Or if you prefer, watch the embedded Slate V piece do the same thing with more background info. (The common denominator? David Axelrod.)
So today I continue the theme.
Watching Keith Olbermann of “Countdown” passionately plead with Senator Clinton to change the tone of her campaign, I couldn’t help but notice the similarity between his MSNBC editorial and that of fictional sports managing editor Isaac Jaffee of the critically-acclaimed TV series Sports Night. In an episode entitled “The Six Southern Gentlemen of Tennessee,” Jaffee’s character (played by the inimitable Robert Guillaume) pleads via on-air editorial with his own network’s owner to stop flying the Confederate flag during games.
In both speeches are recurring themes of appearances, of appeals to decency and integrity, and to being proactive about curbing the purveyors of racism, with the alternative being silence that is tantamount to assent.
Want some more delicious irony?
Olbermann became famous in the late nineties by teaming of with co-anchor Dan Patrick on ESPN’s flagship broadcast, “SportsCenter.” They even co-wrote a book together about their experiences called The Big Show.
It was this ESPN broadcast that so entertained and impressed Aaron Sorkin during his days writing his first feature film, “The American President” that he later decided to write a fictionalized version of it — thus, “Sports Night.”
Olbermann inspires Sorkin. Sorkin inspires Olbermann.
It’s the circle of life, I tell ya.
Anyway, enjoy the videos. If you want to get right to the “Sports Night” editorial, FFWD to the 5:27 mark.
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