Turns out there’s some been some actual news lately being broadcast by MSNBC. 90% of it has been on Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

It’s a nice find. As of right now, it’s definitely my favorite television news hour. That said, however, it doesn’t make the situation good. I’ll be a bit generous and say that this show is news about 50% of the time.

The first 15-20 minutes are topics #5 and #4, and they are usually great. Olbermann and his guests often discuss the wars and Congressional hearings. He also interviews members of the military and Constitutional scholars (note the “discuss” part of that. It’s not a shouting match).

After that, the middle of the show is a little hit or miss. Sometimes the show keeps going strong. Other times, topics #3 and #2 will be “he said/she said” Democrat vs. Republican stories, which are complete wastes of time. If you care, he’s a pretty reasonable guy, which lately means he’s been siding more with the Democrats. Topics #3 and #2 are also where you would find an OJ case or a JonBenet Ramsey revelation.

Then there’s Oddball, which is absolutely not newsworthy, but is really fun to watch. This is where the strange Japanese game show challenges, dumb kids running into stuff, and sports mascots gone wild hang out, and I must admit, I throughly enjoy these.

The Worst Person in the World segment is towards the end of the show and is usually good for the exposure of some blatant hypocrisies. Bill O’Reilly is a frequent winner.

But the last 10-15 minutes or so, the #1 in the Countdown, is always total garbage. It’s irrelevant, high school, “Mean Girls” garbage. This is where you get your Brittney Spears, Paris Hilton, and Lindsay Lohan updates, complete with the shredding of these girls to pieces. They cover American frickin’ Idol almost daily for months at a time. And guests at the end of the show are often just mean people. It’s painful for the soul to watch sometimes. This segment is occasionally good for a “laugh at others because you don’t like yourself” type of laugh, but in general, you’re better off changing the channel.

The show would be solid if they changed the topic of #1 to sports.

Overall, the first half hour of the show is worth watching daily, but consider back up programming towards the end. This is also a good strategy for completely avoiding Dan Abrams, whose show is on after Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

Avoiding Abrams is essential to maintaining sanity.

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