THE perplexing mystery of why Keith Olbermann acts like a twitchy, hopped-up geek on his MSNBC show has been solved.This explains so much about his weird, impulsive and erratic behavior. Perhaps he needs a long rest at a nice psychiatric facility. Maybe when Barack Obama loses in November, he'll really come unraveled and be carted away by the nice men in white coats.
The New Yorker's Peter J. Boyer reports the TV loudmouth "has been given a diagnosis of Wittmaack-Ekbom's syndrome, also known as 'restless legs syndrome' (and also 'the kicks,' 'Jimmy legs' and 'the jitters'), a neurological disorder that produces a prickling, itching or crawling feeling in the legs."
Known as a women's ailment because it strikes twice as many women as men, the syndrome has stirred controversy among doctors who don't agree whether it's even real or instead caused by various physical and/or emotional factors. Olbermann is uncoordinated - he can't drive, having once smashed his swollen head leaping into a subway car. The concussion permanently upset his equilibrium, he claims.
Another interesting tidbit is the note about how a befuddled CBS, following the Dan Rather fraudulent TANG memo fiasco, nearly hired the crazed Olbermann. Talk about compounding your problems.
The New Yorker also reveals that CBS was so desperate to find a replacement for Dan Rather, it nearly stooped to hiring Olbermann. CBS president Les Moonves and his news chief, Andrew Heywood, held a "secret meeting" with Olbermann, where he said he wanted to "redirect" the last three minutes of each newscast with "his personal touch." After a second meeting, the CBS suits picked Katie Couric instead.Socolow will be the next Worst Person in the World on Olbermann's low-rated screed tomorrow.
It was a major relief to old-school news vets. "Oh, no, no, no, [Olbermann]'s not a newsman. He's not a reporter. I've never seen anything that he's done that was original in terms of information. It's all derivative," said Sandy Socolow, who was Walter Cronkite's final executive producer.