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Keith Olbermann releases statement on suspension: "I mistakenly violated an inconsistently applied rule"



olbermann.jpgThe odd case of MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann's suspension keeps getting stranger, as the cable news star released a statement Monday criticizing his bosses at NBC News for inconsistently applying rules about political donations.

Why Olbermann wouldn't think to give his boss a heads up about last-minute political donations sure to become public was not addressed. Or why he would bother giving $7,200 to three candidates in the closing days of a tough midterm election -- he probably gave enough to buy drinks for the victory/concession parties.

What is obvious: combined with the criticism MSNBC got for its overtly partisan coverage of the midterm election results, NBC seems to be struggling to reconcile the opinion-centered presentations of MSNBC's biggest stars with the longtime, old school journalism standards of its broadcast news division.

I can't wait to see what Olbermann has to say when he returns to his show tonight after a two-day suspension for unauthorized donations to three Democratic candidates. And perhaps, for Olbermann's bosses, the promise of a ratings bump is the silver lining in the middle of this distracting controversy.

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 olbermann-comment.jpgthrough 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

[Last modified: Tuesday, November 9, 2010 10:07am]


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