Olbermann Thanks Viewers for ‘Ground-Rattling Support,’ MSNBC Taken to Task

November 9, 2010

(ChattahBox US News)— Keith Olbermann is riding a groundswell of support from his fans leading up to his triumphant return to his “Countdown” perch tonight. After MSNBC announced Olbermann’s “punishment” for making political contributions without permission would end Tuesday, the outspoken host released a statement thanking, as well as apologizing to his viewers for “having precipitated such anxiety and unnecessary drama.” But no apology was forthcoming for his bosses at MSNBC, whom Olbermann took to task for suspending him without notice and having to learn of his punishment from the media.

This whole episode looks more unfavorably on MSNBC president Phil Griffin than it does on Olbermann. Griffin not only acted hastily and harshly towards his network’s top ratings grabber, but his actions also backfired. Hundreds of thousands of fans signed a petition demanding Olbermann’s return and it was revealed that MSNBC’s Morning Joe host, Joe Scarborough had made political contributions to Republican candidates and made an appearance at a fundraiser. Scarborough apparently received permission for his donations, except for one made just this year, that he claimed should have been made in his wife’s name. Uh huh.

As a result, Olbermann is said to have demanded an apology from MSNBC before he would agree to return. And he reportedly extracted a promise from the MSNBC brass to review the current political donation policy.

In his statement, Olbermann also took a subtle swipe at Scarborough. And he blasted the current policy that he says he “knew nothing about” and in any event, it was “inconsistently applied.”

Now that the drama has just about ended, Olbermann can expect out-of-the-park ratings tonight.

Read Olbermann’s entire statement below:

by Keith Olbermann

I want to sincerely thank you for the honor of your extraordinary and ground-rattling support. Your efforts have been integral to the remedying of these recent events, and the results should remind us of the power of
individuals spontaneously acting together to correct injustices great or small. I would also like to acknowledge with respect the many commentators and reporters, including those with whom my politics do not overlap, for their support.

I also wish to apologize to you viewers for having precipitated such anxiety and unnecessary drama. You should know that I mistakenly violated an inconsistently applied rule – which I previously knew nothing about – that pertains to the process by which such political contributions are approved by NBC. Certainly this mistake merited a form of public acknowledgment and/or internal warning, and an on-air discussion about the merits of limitations on such campaign contributions by all employees of news organizations. Instead, after my representative was assured that no suspension was contemplated, I was suspended without a hearing, and learned of that suspension through the media.

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, and I did not blame them on some kind of convenient ‘mistake’ by their recipients. When a website contacted NBC about one of the donations, I immediately volunteered that there were in fact three of them; and contrary to much of the subsequent reporting, I immediately volunteered to explain all this, on-air and off, in the fashion MSNBC desired.

I genuinely look forward to rejoining you on Countdown on Tuesday, to begin the repayment of your latest display of support and loyalty – support and loyalty that is truly mutual.


Photo Source: MSNBC official portrait


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