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I Don't Usually Do This, But You MUST Watch This Keith Olbermann Segment from MSNBC's "Countdown"
February 27, 2010  | By David Bianculli

I've seen lots of captivating TV the past few days -- Olympics skating, curling and hockey, ABC's Lost, and so on -- but nothing quite so riveting, and unforgettable, as Keith Olbermann's passionate commentary on Wednesday's Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC...

Normally, I would spend a few hundred words describing just why it impressed and moved me so much. But this time, I'd prefer to let the entire 13-minute piece speak for itself, as Olbermann speaks, clearly from the heart, about a very personal subject.

Television like this, and honesty and passion like this, is as rare as it is impressive.

When I saw it, it blew me away. If you haven't seen it yet, click HERE and watch "An American Cry for Help" to see the clip in its entirety -- then let me know YOUR reaction.




Lianne Reynolds said:

Now how do we arrange for everyone in our country to see this?

Comment posted on February 27, 2010 1:12 PM

Noelle said:

Wow. Thank you for sharing this. My mother never had a "life panel" discussion with her doctor and the consequences were horrible. Her doctor refused to answer his pager during the last few hours of her life as my father struggled to understand what was happening and what he should do.

I'm so glad Keith Olbermann is sharing his story. It is important to remember this is about people's lives, not just politics.

Comment posted on February 27, 2010 4:20 PM

Mary Prodger said:

We start by emailing the link to everyone we know!

Thank you David. I rarely watch cable news,except when the initial crisis occurs, perhaps I should.

BTW, I always check your site, and really appreciate you sorting through all the minutiae out there.

Comment posted on February 27, 2010 6:33 PM

Ed Q. said:

Heart wrenching, informative & captivating- Olbermann on his best even while clearly at his wits' end. It is a shame that this commentary will be dismissed by most Americans as just words since it came from a "liberal bloviator.". It would be wonderful if not only the Congress in Blair House last Thursday or on the Capitol everyday but all the talking heads on MSNBC & Fox News would listen and take this cry for help to heart & get something done.

But I'm a realist so I am just sad for Mr. Olbermann

Comment posted on February 27, 2010 8:25 PM

Rich said:

Compelling to say the least. At least he didn't blubber and breakdown like Glenn Beck. I thought it was passionate and detailed.

Keith confuses me though. He sounds like he's 100% in favor of the health care he Father has been receiving (the CURRENT system)- so much so he wants everyone to have it available should they need it. His Dad is receiving such care because it's NOT Gov. run and it's privatized. Wouldn't his Dad have died months ago if he had to 'wait in line' under a Socialized Medicine circumstance? I don't know Olbermann's personal situation so I won't comment any further.

I myself have witnessed three 80+ Grandparents die in nursing homes in the last 6 years. My Brother was the estate planner for 2 of them. It can be a long drawn out ordeal. I do agree with Mr. O about having 'That Conversation' with those you hold dear. Like Keith said the Doctor (NOT a Gov. Panel) should give you advice...but what if the Doctor is now controlled by the Gov for his only paycheck?? Where will his loyalty lie?

I personally pray that NO one (Me, Keith, TWW readers) has to experience the waiting list of "Socialized Medicine" and is left alone in a hallway of a hospital or clinic mouthing: "Help, Help, Help, Help".

Comment posted on February 28, 2010 2:07 AM

Mac said:

I'd never paid attention to Olbermann as a sports reporter. It took a while for me to warm up to him doing stuff outside of sports. Sports people involved in politics can be a deadly mixture of power and ignorance. Sure,Jim Bunning pitched a perfect game for my team (Phillies over the Mets, Father's Day, 1964), yet this week alone, as US Senator, he struck a major blow against the unemployed by blocking additional public monies to keep them afloat. I paid some attention to Olbermann when I found that his "Worst Person" award is taken, as I thought, from a Bob & Ray routine. Any fan of Bob & Ray is OK by me. His recounting of reading Thurber to his Dad, and, well, I'm hooked.
Both of my parents had slow, long term disabilities that eventually killed them. Keith is going through a torturous time, and yet he finds a moment to tell his audience to prepare for these worst times and also to ask our nation's leaders not to act as the "Worst Persons" they can be when big money pulls them away from their sworn duty. I hope everyone is listening. As Keith states,i t is his Dad's Medicare and some supplemental insurance that is keeping the price of all of this care a non-issue. You know, Medicare, that government-run... oh, please, can we get it right this time? Can we do the right thing?
By the way,you may want to follow the reaction about Keith's commentary by following various blogs around the web. Good, bad and ugly. Keith's own blog, Daily Kos,has about 600 comments as of this moment and many are heart-wrenching.

Comment posted on February 28, 2010 2:00 PM

david winner said:

In regards to Rich's comment, Mr. Olbermann did mention that his father is covered by Medicare and a supplemental insurance policy. Medicare is government run. It is available to all citizens age 65 and older.

Comment posted on February 28, 2010 2:59 PM

Ben said:


1. Keith Olbermann's father has Medicare. So, when he asks why can't every American have the same level as his father, he is talking about Health Coverage.

2. Nothing coming out of Congress or the White House has had anything to do with "Socialized Medicine". Everything has been, and is about, Government provided *health insurance*... like Medicare.

I personally don't see what is so radical or crazy or scary about that. But that's just me.

Comment posted on March 1, 2010 1:43 AM

Gregg Wolff said:

Thank you for the posting. I have passed the link around

Comment posted on March 1, 2010 1:50

Rich said:

@ Ben & David:

Yes, everyone can and most likely will get the same care as Mr. O's father- When they're 65 & over. I stated I have seen the system work for 3 elderly grandparents in the last 6 six years.

My confusion is that Oberman leaves out the simple 'Math' of the issue. If their are "X" number of Doctors (who take Medicare & such) today (Right Now!) then you dump 10-20 million people on to the same coverage base in a year or so and still have the same number of doctors you will be forced to either: Ration, lower standards, or pick & choose over who gets what.

His Father gets attention he needs such superior care because it's available (Now!) if he's waiting in line for treatment or on a "Life Panel" (as Mr. O called it) the people with the purse strings will make those choices - NOT the Doctors. It's simple math.

Reform is needed yes! but at what cost? Will it even be available by the time Mr. O reaches his fathers age? I'm just being pragmatic and looking towards the future. To radically change the system could mean no one gets his fathers level of care. I was confused, But this isn't a political debate as I am only commenting on Mr. O's passionate video.

Comment posted on March 1, 2010 4:56 PM

David said:

Keith is a liberal version of Beck, but I emailed this link to my friends. It is heart breaking and a difficult conversation to have with loved ones, but it is neccessary. Kinda crosses the line when he points out Palin for calling it gd death panels. Still, a very powerful message that rarely gets seen on the TV.
Thanks David.

Comment posted on March 2, 2010 9:31 AM
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