On Tuesday’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” the political commentator opened up about being fired by FOX News boss Rupert Murdoch — and allegedly being blackmailed by the exec.
“Why do decent people work for Rupert Murdoch, and why are they afraid to report or whistle-blow the truth about Rupert Murdoch? Why does almost nobody tell on Murdoch?” Olbermann wondered aloud, before providing a possible explanation.
He explains that when he worked as a sports reporter for Fox Sports Network, he caught wind of a story about Murdoch allegedly looking to sell the LA Dodgers. Given the fact that Murdoch was technically his boss (though he never met him), the story put him in a difficult position. “Journalistically I’m obligated to try to report the story,” he explained, and he was assured that as long as he went through the proper channels, Murdoch would not try to “interfere” with the news.
Unfortunately, Murdoch was on a trip to Asia when all this was going on, and when he returned, Olbermann was fired from his position at Fox. Years later he was asked if he’d ever re-hire Olbermann, and he replied, “No, I fired him years ago. He was crazy.”
Olbermann notes that in June of 2001, he became sick, and was ordered to slow down at work. Instead of reducing his schedule, FOX pulled him off the air entirely, demanding a doctor’s note to assure them he was well enough to work.
Olbermann says that when he obtained the note, they used it for nefarious purposes. “Since they had a document that said I was well enough to return to work, they were now going to change my schedule. Instead of anchoring 6 days a week in the Los Angeles studio, they were going to have me anchor 4 days, and then fly to and from… other cities two different times per week,” he says, claiming they were trying to work him “into the hospital.”
The only alternative they offered him was to cut his work schedule down to 3 days and cut his salary by 60%.
Later in the show, Olbermann did one of his “Worst Persons In The World” segments. He once again named rival Bill O’Reilly as the top dog — noting that in 2008, O’Reilly “may inadvertently have called for the prosecution and handcuffing of Rupert Murdoch.” Watch the video segment below for more.