Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Olbermann to Fans: "Thanks"; Olbermann to MSNBC: "Bite me"

Keith Olbermann returns to his Countdown perch this evening, so it looks like the long national nightmare of his suspension will finally come to a close.  But before we put a pin on the story, there's one more bit of business worthy of mention.  Yesterday, the host issued a statement of gratitude to the folks who've expressed solidarity during his long spell of uncertainty for the past four days, and he also took the chance to lob a few spitballs at his bosses.  For the record, I think he's correct in his criticisms of MSNBC's handling of this, but I also find it hard to get too exorcised over someone who makes $7 million a year missing two days of pay.  The original statement is here, and I've gone ahead and posted it below:
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.
Think this'll warrant a "Special Comment" tonight?

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