After his ouster from Current TV last Friday, Keith Olbermann spent much of the ensuing three days bickering with Twitter users who mocked his firing. Mr. Olbermann also got into an extended discussion with The Politicker about why he thinks Twitter feuds are worth his time and energy. Mr. Olbermann told us Twitter is a way for him to have “batting practice” with detractors and to say thanks to
As of last night, Mr. Olbermann has sent 20 messages since his firing was announced last Friday hurling insults at Twitter users who cracked jokes at his expense or linked to rumors his firing was due to his difficult behavior. Mr. Olbermann’s Twitter tirades came to our attention after he entered into an exchange with Florida Congressional candidate Joe Kaufman, who’s running a longshot campaign against Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Mr. Kaufman earned Mr. Olbermann’s ire by suggesting the ex-host could find a new job with socialist Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez.
“@KeithOlbermann Hey Keith, forget about @current. You could always go to #Venezuela & become #Chavez’ spokesman,” Mr. Kaufman wrote.
Mr. Olbermann replied by calling the candidate a “moron.”
“@joekaufmanusa Dear Moron Who Is Going To Lose To Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Hate to tell you this, but none of us like Chavez either,” Mr. Olbermann retorted.
Mr. Kaufman jokingly responded another foreign leader who might be a better fit with Mr. Olbermann.
“@KeithOlbermann Did I say #Chavez? I meant #Ahmadinejad,” he said.
Thus far, Mr. Olbermann hasn’t responded to Mr. Kaufman’s final Tweet, but he did respond to Twitter messages from The Politicker after we asked him whether engaging in Twitter tiffs might not be the best way to prove the rumors of his difficult disposition are exagerrated.
Mr. Olbermann initially claimed not to understand our question.
“Your question is way too hip for me. Translation?” he asked.
We clarified the question by writing, “Your detractors over the years say you’re difficult to work with. Doesn’t engaging in Twitter beefs enhance that impression?”
“Twitter is not work. Re: detractors, it’s batting practice,” Mr. Olbermann wrote. “And for my viewer/friends it’s a quick way for me to say thanks.”
He also refuted the idea he should be working on a new career move rather than fighting on Twitter by saying Current made their move rapidly.
“Uhh…they made their move Friday. I’m supposed to have a new job today?” Mr. Olbermann said, adding, “Your assumption that I cannot do both is childish.”
We pressed the point and told Mr. Olbermann, who has sent many of his messages in the span of a single hour, that it seemed more productive for him to “devote energy on the next move than what seems to be a substantial amount of time on Twitter”
“How much is ‘substantial?’” asked Mr. Olbermann.
Since we had him going, we asked Mr. Olbermann about his testy exchange with Mr. Kaufman.
“Who is Joe Kaufman?” Mr. Olbermann wrote.
We reminded Mr. Olbermann of his back-and-forth with the Congressional candidate from a few minutes prior.
“Guy insults me on Twitter. I respond. This is not a dispute. This is Twitter. Welcome,” he said.