MSNBC Lifts Suspension, Olbermann Able To Return Tuesday

MSNBC President Phil Griffin released a statement Sunday, Nov. 7, announcing that the network’s suspension of Keith Olbermann will be lifted after Monday.  The host of MSNBC’s Countdown was suspended Friday after POLITICO reported that Olbermann had made personal donations to three candidates leading up to the 2010 midterm elections.


From Phil Griffin, President of MSNBC:

After 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. We look forward to having him back on the air Tuesday night.

The announcement comes after a weekend of sharp criticism from supporters of Keith and his show.  A Progressive Change Campaign Committee petition accumulated over 300,000 signatures since Friday, demanding Olbermann be put back on the air.  Keith broke his Twitter silence, begun Nov. 5, in order to express his gratitude:

@KeithOlbermannGreetings From Exile! A quick, overwhelmed, stunned THANK YOU for support that feels like a global hug & obviously left me tweetless XO

For more on Olbermann’s suspension and the myriad of media reactions to the news check out Greg Mitchell’s report at

There is one reaction that I feel is worthy of special mention.   Perhaps, the most anticipated opinion regarding the controversy, by Keith’s fans and detractors, alike , was from fellow MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.

Rachel saved her remarks for her final segment, Friday, and explained MSNBC’s rule against political contributions.  She also expressed her personal belief “that the point has been made and we should have Keith back hosting Countdown.”

More importantly, though, was the broader theme of Maddow’s closing segment, taking advantage of the unfortunate situation and resultant elevated level of attention to illustrate the distinction between MSNBC and Fox News.

(via The Maddow Blogemphasis added)

… the larger point, though, that’s going mysteriously missing from the right-wing cackling and old media cluck-cluck-clucking: I know everyone likes to say, “Oh, cable news, it’s all the same. Fox and MSNBC — mirror images of each other.  But if you look at the long history of Fox hosts not just giving money to candidates, but actively endorsing campaigns and raising millions of dollars for politicians and political parties — whether it’s Sean Hannity or Glenn Beckor Mike Huckabee – and you’ll see that we can lay that old false equivalency to rest forever.There are multiple people being paid by Fox News to essentially run for office as Republican candidates. If you count not just their hosts but their contributors, you’re looking at a significant portion of the entire Republican lineup of potential contenders for 2012.

They can do that because there’s no rule against that at Fox. Their network is run as a political operation. Ours isn’t. Yeah, Keith’s a liberal, and so am I. But we’re not a political operation — Fox is. We’re a news operation. The rules around here are part of how you know that

Watch below, or read the transcript.  More after the jump.

Incidentally, my Nov. 6 post,  highlighting Rachel’s “Home of the Whopper” segment from Nov. 5 illustrates how Fox News manufactures the outrage that makes its “political operation” so successful.

For more, visit:  Media Matters Research – “Voice of the opposition”: How Fox News won the 2010 election” – 2 November 2010 – MMFA’s lengthy research page on FOXPAC’s fundraising and candidate advocacy.

Olbermann image via


Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman7 years ago

Noted. thanx

Marianne C.
Marianne C7 years ago

I'm glad Keith is back. And I'm another of those 300,000 nobodies who signed the petition.

One liberal guy who's angry for the right reasons is worth an entire network of party-line ideologues who pretend to be angry over things they just made up five minutes before air time.

Tori W.
Past Member 7 years ago

so I'm guessing that political indifference and unbiased opinions are no longer considered important in reporters. Interesting. And if everyone thinks this is such a fine thing, I have no problem. I do think that when reporters have a personal opinion on a candidate or a party, then it should be clearly stated at the very beginning of every show they are on. I think that is only fair if they want me to listen and accept their opinions, I'd like to know the bias and basis of those opinions.

Geynell Eskite
Geynell Eskite7 years ago

Hugs and kisses Keith.

Hope S.
Hope S7 years ago

It's so easy to "talk down" to Republicans who think anyone who is intelligent is "elitest.

anne C.
anne C7 years ago

Patricia S.. you forgot Rachel Maddow who fits in really well with the Most Stupid News Broadcasting Channel, ( I like your terminology for MSNBC) the Tiresome Trio of MadCow, SuperMouth, and LegTingles is the reason the channel has a diminishing, as we speak, viewing public..

Keegan Allen
Keegan Allen7 years ago

I was so ready to be angry about this and get all beside myself. And then Rachel Maddow calmed me down. I'm so happy that she's beginning to become a sort of celebrity figure. She's a fantastic journalist; fearless and incredibly articulate and she deserves all the success she can get.

Patricia S.
Pat S7 years ago

Welcome back, Keith. You need to be on MSNBC, the Most Stupid News Broadcasting Channel. You fit in so well with all the rest of them!

Bill Costley
Bill Costley7 years ago

I assume Olbermann would have been censured for contributing a shiny Roosevelt FOX.

Charlene R.
Charlene Rush7 years ago

His return was inevitable, sooner rather than later. His humor would be sorely missed, if he didn't return.