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Posted at 9:15 AM ET, 11/10/2010

Updated: Chastened Olbermann returns to MSNBC, a sadder but wiser man

By Lisa de Moraes

Returning to MSNBC after a two-day suspension after violating a company rule about making political donations, Keith Olbermann explained to his viewers that that rule was "probably not legal."

One day earlier, in preparation for his scheduled return afer a two-day suspension, Olbermann issues the following long-winded statement to the press:

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.


One day earlier, MSNBC president Phil Griffin announced to the press:

[A]fter several days of deliberation and discussion, I have determined that suspending Keith through and including Monday night's program is an appropriate punishment for his violation of our policy.

Meanwhile, a clearly chastened Olbermann had tweeted:

Greetings from Exile! A quick, overwhelmed, stunned THANK YOU for support that feels like a global hug & obviously left me tweetless

And so ends -- we think -- the riveting two-day suspension imposed on MSNBC star Olberman after being suspended by the cable news network last week when news broke that he'd contributed about $7,000 to three Democratic candidates in October.

By Lisa de Moraes  | November 10, 2010; 9:15 AM ET
Categories:  TV News  
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Next: Lou Dobbs heading to Fox Business Network


I'm not sure how Lisa arrived at the conclusion that Olbermann is "sadder but wiser" for this episode. He knew he was breaking the rules and now he's back. As Rachel Maddow said Friday night, NBC enforcing this rule sends a clear message that this network has journalistic standards and the people at Fox do not. But anyone with half a brain knows that already.

Posted by: GreybirdK1 | November 8, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I am not sure this publicity stunt will garner more viewers for Mr. Olbermann. I actually hope he continues with his personal attacks on conservatives, it just makes him look like a pipsqueak and a loser, who is on a loser cable network.

Posted by: tcdifla | November 8, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

I suspect that some of the Fox and MSNBC commentators have a few drinks before their shows. This would certainly account for a lot of their bizarre behavior. We could do without that.

Posted by: mmurray2 | November 8, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

This was a brilliant publicity stunt. Well done!

Posted by: gth1 | November 8, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Who cares? He is a loser commentator on a loser network nobody watches.

Posted by: johnd6 | November 8, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Glad to hear KO will be back in the saddle on Tuesday night. At lease, NBC has ethical standards and has their host/anchor/on air commentators stay true to the standard. Whereas, FOX doesn't, won't or ignores ethics altogether!

Posted by: janetal2004gmailcom | November 8, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

What a joke...all for publicity. The show is misguided but the wackiness of Keith is thoroughly entertaining.

Posted by: JohnRice | November 8, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Cute headline, but what are you talking about? That was the world's shortest indefinite suspension. The only one sadder but wiser was probably Griffin who found out for sure from enough angry viewers who made and owns MSNBC and his last name does not begin with "G."

Posted by: SarahBB | November 8, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

It's difficult to imagine that he's any wiser!

His "schtick" is partisan shill. Nothing more, nothing less.

People need to look elsewhere for news or informed commentary.

Posted by: postfan1 | November 8, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

"As Rachel Maddow said Friday night, NBC enforcing this rule sends a clear message that this network has journalistic standards..."


I guess they didn't, really, did they?

Posted by: postfan1 | November 8, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I knew my letter to the president of MSNBC to have Mr. Olbermann back would be effective.

Posted by: truth1 | November 8, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

So sorry to see this wackos return to the airwaves, but it won't bother me much, I don't watch the idiot anyway.

Posted by: cokedispatch | November 8, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

That leftist nut belongs on MSNBC. . . he is the epitomizes NBC.

Posted by: rplat | November 8, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I wonder what Rachel Maddow thinks now of MSNBC's "journalistic standards" -- that will say a lot about her. I liked Olbermann's show, but I think he should have been fired. Not gonna watch him anymore -- don't have time to waste on hypocrites.

Posted by: Kathy8 | November 8, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I am delighted Keith will be back tomorrow night! I love sitting down and watching 4 or 5 hours without changing channels...didn't like Keith being missing right in the middle of that. Whoever who blogged that MSNBC didn't research was so wrong. At least they did not report that the President's trip to India was going to cost 2 million per day like Fox did. Can't believe any network would sound off like Fox did and never even think of checking the facts. They sure did look stupid! Welcome back, Keith.

Posted by: beccajo | November 8, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I understand other talking-head news types also contributed to individual campaigns, but since their's went to republicans instead of democrats it was apparently okay.

I guess the growth of commercial network TV will finally finish off the free press - as soon as the conservatives manage to end funding of that commie left-wing liberal PBS.

Since PBS is only watched by thinking people (the fastest disappearing class in America) it won't be long now.

Posted by: loyalsyst | November 8, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

I understand other talking-head news types also contributed to individual campaigns, but since their's went to republicans instead of democrats it was apparently okay.
True indeed.
Notice the vailed reference to Scarborough in his statement. '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.'
Which were the excuses that Mika gave for Joey S's contribution and fund raising activities on Friday.
I think we need to have a new rule, if KO or any other progressive commentator is called 'partisan' all of the commentators of Fox should be addressed the same way. I'm fine with such a label for all. Just calling him one implies that he is the exception instead of the rule.

Posted by: priceisright | November 9, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

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