Poised to return to work Tuesday night, Keith Olberman apologized to his viewers – though not his bosses – thanking them for playing a key role in his return to his MSNBC post following his suspension after his contributions to three Democrats running in last week’s election were disclosed.
In a four-paragraph “Statement to the Viewers of Countdown,” he called their support since news of his situation broke last Friday afternoon “ground-rattling,” and wrote, “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.”
On Monday, NBC said Olbermann had been punished enough.
Acknowledging colleagues who also sided with him, “including those whose politics do not overlap with mine,” Olbermann said he was sorry for causing 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,” he said.
“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.”
Olbermann added that he was immediately forthright as soon as he was asked about the contributions.
“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.”
How do you feel about Olbermann’s apology? About his return? Even more, do you think he’s the lone commentator to make political donations? Would you be surprised to learn of more? Would this bother you?”