Olbermann Comments on Donation Scandal…

The New York Times’ Bill Carter writes about what appears to be an as yet unseen on air a statement from Keith Olbermann addressing the Donation scandal…

In an aggressive statement questioning the legitimacy of his two-day suspension from MSNBC, Keith Olbermann addressed his viewers Monday night, saying that they were responsible for his scheduled return to the air on Tuesday, following revelations that he had contributed to the campaign funds of three Democrats in last week’s election.

In an open letter to “Countdown” viewers, he blamed NBC for creating a donation policy that was “inconsistently applied,” and said he did not know the rule existed. He also, referring to what he called a “ground-rattling” outpouring of support from viewers, said their efforts “should remind us of the power of individuals spontaneously acting together to correct injustices great or small.”

Update: Full statement here.

Update 2: It’s not clear to me whether this statement will be mentioned on countdown or not? I have an inquiry into MSNBC and will update when/if I hear anything.

Update 3: Digesting the full statement, it’s clear Olbermann’s pissed at MSNBC. So pissed that he put out a statement that, while it goes a long way to soothe his viewers, is going to irk people inside 30 Rock. It’s not to the level of Lou Dobbs angrily sticking a finger in the eye of Rick Kaplan by saying on CNN’s air, “CNN President Rick Kaplan wants us to return to Littleton.” during the Bill Clinton’s speech on the Columbine massacre. But it does carry some of the same tone…

Update 4: This statement was a personal statement from Olbermann and presumably will not be referenced on the air.

18 Responses to “Olbermann Comments on Donation Scandal…”

  1. I thought speaking out against your employer publicly like that can get you fired.

    But he clearly runs that place. A two-night indefinite suspension.

  2. That man…is an IDIOT.

  3. He clearly wants to ratchet this up another notch, doesn’t he?

    When the dust clears, either he’ll still be around or MSNBC’s management will not. Or they’ll be neutered and effectively powerless.

    My hunch: Olbermann wins.

  4. This section in his letter jumped at me and gave me a funny dog look (y’now, when they stare at you and tilt their heads?):

    You should also know that I did not attempt to keep any of these political contributions secret; I knew they would be known to you and the rest of the public. I did not make them through a relative, friend, corporation, PAC, or any other intermediary,

    When exactly was he going to inform the public? We found out after election day. Perhaps before anchoring the election coverage would have been a better time?

    As I understand the campaign laws, it’s illegal to make donations through third parties. Since there are limits as to how much one can donate, using a third party can be viewed as an attempt to get around those restrictions.

    This sounds like a bit of fanny covering, no?

  5. The only person who wins in this whole mess is Keith Olbermann. MSNBC looks bad with its outdated policy. Phil Griffin’s suspension of Keith might cost him his job.

    According to the LA Times, Despite the problems Olbermann’s suspension has created for MSNBC, Meares believes this is a winning situation for the “Countdown” host. “There was a recent study that surveyed the general population about news anchors, and only the minority of the population even knew who Keith Olbermann was,” he says. “Now he’s got the name recognition.”


    Time will tell, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Keith Olbermann gets a permanent boost in ratings from this.

  6. lonestar77 Says:

    Update 5: After Keith’s next b-day, he’ll 15.

    How anyone can like this guy is beyond me. <-And, that statement is beyond politics.

  7. chipsohio Says:

    This episode has KO & ESPN written all over it. Do not be surpised if KO is shown the door within the next 6-9 months when Comcast takes over. John Roberts has a reputation for firing subordinates who do not follow the company line.

    Roberts will chop off mgmt & talent @ MSNBC if they do not follow the company line. It doesn’t matter how much money MSNBC brngs in, Roberts will not tolerate insubordination.

  8. I’m watching MSNBC, and all I see is disfunction and discord. Maybe they think dumping KO was too big a risk, but keeping him – with the audience knowing he’s steering the Titanic – doesn’t sound wise to me. I have no interest in watching a bunch of unhappy people, and I’m pretty sure that’s what I’m seeing. Turning the chanellll..now.

  9. missy5537 Says:

    No question that Keify is running the place.

    And Steve, this one’s for you:

  10. It will all be better by Thursday. Patience.

  11. ^ Not with me, Fred. I’m sure I’ll watch the “comeback” show, but the MSNBC I liked – including the KO I liked – has been eroding bit by bit for a couple years now, and I’m getting fed up. There was a glimmer of hope when Shuster left and Jansing came back, but KO has gone off the rails, Rachel is getting weird, and last week was a disaster. Tucker, Abrams, Scarborough, and a saner Matthews and Olbermann was a pretty good night. Thisone…not so much.

  12. I’m with fred; by the weekend we will have some new crisis in cable news to deal with and by next week this will all be just a memory.

    My guess for the next big cable news story something to do with John King. His show has been getting worse ratings than P/S and is even harder to watch. I think CNN will have to do something soon.

  13. Silly me, I like John King. Guess it is a part of my being in the “wierd” club.

  14. mlong5000 Says:

    I wonder what KO would have to do to get fired..he can now ignore every rule MSNBC has from attacking fellow on air host to the donation thing..hell he’s even allowed to compare a Jewish lawyer to a Nazi with nothing said…the irony of that one was Floyd Abrams(Dan Abrams father by the way)was attacked by KO for representing corporations for donating money to political candidates on First Amendment grounds.

    Oh well I said he shouldn’t have been canned for that but still just what else can KO do that others at MSNBC can’t and still get his job?,,one things for sure giving KO that much power is going to bite MSNBC in the butt big time.

  15. John Roberts has a reputation for firing subordinates who do not follow the company line.

    I didn’t know the co-anchor of CNN’s American Morning wields power over the decisions at Comcast. Interesting. 🙂

  16. Jack Shafer over at slate makes some really good arguments why MSNBC should just call Countdown and other MSNBC shows opinion shows.

    He goes back to the influence of the long departed fairness act as one of the reasons why NBC doesn’t allow this to happen.

    This is one of the better pieces on this affair that I’ve read. Might even deserve it’s own post. And it has an easy to copy url too!


  17. ^ ‘fairness act’ should read ‘fairness doctrine’

  18. imnotblue Says:

    missy5537 Says:
    November 8, 2010 at 7:27 pm


    fritz3 Says:
    November 9, 2010 at 5:34 am

    I agree… but isn’t that what we were talking about yesterday? MSNBC has their opinion programs, but refuses (as well as their hosts) to acknowledge them as such. They really believe they’re doing something different than other FOX hosts… but they’re not! It’s just a different opinion!

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