I really don't know what to make of it all. I could just decide to blame Comcast, or whatever. But I think I'll leave his sign-off as is, 'cause really, that's all I concretely have got.
Transcript of the main parts:
OLBERMANN: "I think the same fantasy has popped into the head of everybody in my business who has ever been told what I've been told: that this is going to be the last edition of your show. You go directly to the scene from the movie 'Network,' complete with the pajamas and the raincoat. And you go off on an existential other-worldy verbal journey of unutterable profundity and vision. You damn the impediments, and you insist upon the insurrections, and then you emit Peter Finch's gutteral resonant ... 'So...' And you implore, you WILL the viewer to go to the window, open it, stick out his head and yell...
Well, you know the rest.
In the mundane world of television goodbyes, reality is laughably uncooperative."
When I resigned from ESPN 13 and a 1/2 years ago, I was literally given 30 seconds to say goodbye at the very end of my last edition of Sportscenter. As good is my witness, in the commercial break just before the emotional moment, the producer got in my earpiece and said 'uh, could you cut it down to 15 seconds, so we can get in this tennis result from Stuttgart?'
So I am grateful that I have a little more time to sign off here. Regardless, this IS the last edition of Countdown. It is just under eight years since I returned to MSNBC. I was supposed to fill in for the late Jerry Nackman for exactly three days. Forty-nine days later, there was a four-year contract for me to return to this nightly 8 p.m. time slot, from which I had fled four years earlier.
The show gradually established its position as anti-establishment: from the stagecraft of 'Mission Accomplished,' to the exaggerated rescue of Jessica Lynch in Iraq, to the death of Pat Tillman, to Hurricane Katrina, to the nexus of politics and terror, to the first Special Comment, the program grew and grew thanks entirely to your support, with great rewards for me, and I hope for you, too. There were many occasions, particularly in the last 2 and 1/2 years, where all that surrounded the show, but never the show itself, was just too much for me. But your support and loyalty, and if I may use the word, insistence, ultimately required that I keep going.
My gratitude to you is boundless, and if you think I've done any good here, imagine how it looked from this end, as you donated $2 million to the National Association of Free Clinics, and my dying father watched from his hospital bed, transcendentally comforted that his struggles were inspiring such overwhelming good for people, he and I and you would never meet, but would always know.
This may be the only television program, wherein the host was much more in awe of the audience then vice versa. You will always be in my heart for that, and for the donations to the Kranick family in Tennessee, and these victims of governmental heartlessness in Arizona, to say nothing of every letter and email and Tweet and wave and handshake... and online petition.
Time ebbs here and I want to close with one more Thurber story - it is still Friday. So let me thank my gifted staff here, and just a few of the many people who fought with me and for me: Eric Sorenson, Phil Alongi, Neil Shapiro, Michael Weismann, the late David Bloom, John Palmer, Alana Russo, Monica Novotny, my dear friends Rachel Maddow and Bob Costas - and my greatest protector and most indefatigable cheerleader, the late Tim Russert.
And now let me finish by turning again to this ritual of reading Thurber stories to you... This one is called The Scottie Who Knew Too Much.
- snip -
'Moral: It is better to ask some of the questions, than to know all the answers.' The Scottie Who Knew Too Much by James Thurber.
Chris Hayes filling in for Rachel Maddow on The Rachel Maddow show is next. Again. All of my greatest thanks.
Widen the shot out a bit so we can do one of these one last time. Thank you, Brian.
Good night. And good luck."