[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; send your tips here.]
Via Howard Kurtz, now writing at the Daily Beast, we learn that a lot of infighting had broken out behind the scenes at NBC/MSNBC, over Olbermann’s political donations:
The crisis erupted without warning. On the evening of Nov. 4, when Politico was first working on the story of Olbermann’s donations, Griffin told Price that he hoped MSNBC wouldn’t have to suspend his client. Together with MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines, they went over an Olbermann statement confirming—and defending—the contributions, with Griffin suggesting several deletions.
Early the next morning, Griffin sharpened his stance. He was hearing from everyone at the network. Zucker was irritated. Capus was quite upset. Brokaw had weighed in. This was now about NBC News. Griffin told Price he would have to take Olbermann off the air indefinitely. Olbermann’s team balked, insisting on a definite return date….
In a flurry of weekend calls among Griffin, Price, and Kahn, the sticking point remained Olbermann’s statement of apology. There were even discussions about Olbermann’s plans for a Twitter message as his liberal base rallied to his side. The tweet said: “Greetings From Exile! A quick, overwhelmed, stunned THANK YOU for support that feels like a global hug.”
On Monday, Nov. 8, MSNBC still hadn’t approved the apology statement, but Olbermann’s team gave it to The New York Times and other outlets anyway. Olbermann said he was sorry for the “unnecessary drama” and “for having mistakenly violated an inconsistently applied rule” in making the $7,200 in donations.
He offered a similar on-air apology at the end of Tuesday’s program. The lack of a bow toward his colleagues rubbed salt in some very raw wounds, with some executives saying that Olbermann was trying to tarnish NBC and others saying the commentator had made it all about him.
After the show, Olbermann called an hourlong staff meeting to try to clear the air. Some members of his own team confronted him, saying that his actions had hurt the network.
Hmmm, how do you hurt a corpse, anyway? Still, as they say, read the whole thing.
Now I agree that it is more than farce to pretend that Olbermann is not invested in the success of the far left causes. The only suspense in the question of whom he supports is whether he goes with the Democrat or the relevant Green Party candidate. And it’s not the dumbest payment ever made in political history, either. But at the same time, let’s remember what he has said about his own conduct and the conduct of his colleagues…
For instance, he told the ladies of The View in 2008 that he didn’t vote, as a symbolic gesture, to prove how objective he was. But donating is actually worse than that because then you are openly demonstrating support (instead of just voting and keeping who you voted for to yourself), and then you are putting your own money on the line. I mean that is almost like gambling on the election. Yes, he doesn’t get any money back if his preferred candidate wins, but it can make the difference between whether he will feel like his money was wasted, or not.
Oh, and by the way, in 2004 Keith Olbermann was opposed to gambling on the elections:
From: Olbermann, Keith (NBC Universal, MSNBC)
Sent: Sunday, October 31, 2004 12:27 PM
To: @MSNBC Countdown with Keith Olbermann; @MSNBC Scarborough
Subject: RE: Pool on [who] wins the elections…
Actually, not to be a spoilsport, but on behalf of Countdown, I’ve always thought stuff like this gives a clear appearance of a conflict of interest, if not a practical conflict.
Countdown staffers will thus recuse themselves from any wagering on the election.
And that is forgetting about the hypocrisy of criticizing Fox News for supposedly fundraising for candidates, when he himself had engaged in the exact same conduct—and doing so even after Rachel Maddow had been called out for doing exactly the same hypocritical thing. All in all, this is truly a case where it isn’t the underlying conduct that makes it bad, but the sheer hypocrisy of it that hangs him.
In other vaguely “Keefe” related news, Phawker was punked by Tucker Carlson. It’s funny, but Phawker comes out of it looking reasonable. It’s the kind of impersonation where the funny part is the impersonator, and the victim is only funny in the everyman sort of way. And finally, Pat Sajak has a dark confession to make. This might be really hard to forgive. Not the least because of that unforgivable facial hair.
But its still not as bad (or hilarious) as the Springer clip above.
[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]