Accuracy in Media

Former MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann is upset with his former colleagues Rachel Maddow and Steve Kornacki for not being grateful enough about how much he aided their careers.

Olbermann, whose MSNBC contract was terminated in 2011 after a brief suspension for donating to Democratic candidates that he interviewed on his show was revealed has struggled to regain the prominence and influence he had while at MSNBC.

He made his feeling s known about Maddow and Kornacki on  a BBC podcast series called “Texting Keith Olbermann.”

Olbermann accused Maddow of being “mad” at him for leaving the network before she could top his ratings.

“The bottom line for me is I contributed to their success and I was correct in my assessment. If I have any animosity toward it, it is that many of them have washed me out of their past in order to make it look like I did not have any influence in getting them to where they are,” Olbermann told the BBC’s Ros Atkins.

“If you acknowledge the degree to which you are beholden to others, you are somehow seen as weak. The Rachel Maddow story was that after I left, she was mad at me for leaving because it meant that she could not pass me in the ratings at MSNBC and prove better than her mentor.”

Maddow did acknowledge Olbermann’s role in her career though.

“I wouldn’t have this show without Keith directly nudging the network to give me a try,” she said on her show after Olbermann was cut loose from MSNBC.

Olbermann called Kornacki, the national political correspondent for MSNBC and NBC News,  and occasional fill-in host “one of the least grateful people” he ever worked with.

“He’s one of the least grateful people. I started him in television. He was my backup guy at Current TV. He’d never done any TV and I was sort of bringing him along,” Olbermann said. “And while he was doing that, he was negotiating with MSNBC. And now he has a show there.”

“What kind of gratitude were you expecting?” Atkins asked.

“Well, let me find out that maybe you’re thinking of not working for me any more rather than letting me read a press release from MSNBC that explains that you’ve been hired, rather than you’re not coming in to be on the show that night. That’s how he did that,” Olbermann responded.

After Olbermann left MSNBC, he worked for Al Gore’s little-watched Current TV, which was eventually purchased by Al Jazeera America and then shuttered in 2016.  Olbermann then went to work for ESPN for a second time, then GQ and is now back with ESPN, where he mostly sticks to sports.

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