November 9th, 2010
10:35 AM ET
11 years ago

Olbermann says sorry to viewers, but not NBC

(CNN) – At the end of a two-business day suspension for contributing to three Democratic candidates last month, Keith Olbermann is apologizing – but not to his bosses.

Back on the air Tuesday night, the liberal talk show host said in a statement released Monday evening that he was sorry to his fans "for having precipitated such anxiety and unnecessary drama."

But the MSNBC host sounded clearly frustrated with the way his network has implemented its policy of banning employees from donating to political campaigns and the insinuation he was attempting to hide his actions.

"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," he said.

"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," Olbermann also said in the statement

In the statement, Olbermann went on to accuse NBC of "inconsistently" applying its policy and suspending him without first hearing his side of the story.

I was suspended without a hearing and learned of that suspension through the media.

Olbermann was suspended Friday after Politico reported that he had donated to three Democrats seeking federal office.

Olbermann gave $2,400 - the maximum individual amount allowed - to each of the campaigns of Kentucky Senate candidate Jack Conway, and Arizona Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords.

Conway lost his bid, while Grijalva and Giffords eked out wins.

Filed under: Democrats • Keith Olbermann
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    unnecessary drama."
    Murky network policy at best.
    Your own personal monies within the maximum contribution guidelines.
    Liberals tripping willy-nilly trying to avert losing the THREE conservatives on their viewers roster.

    Much ado about nothing indeed.
    Welcome back you crazy nut you, we missed you!

    November 9, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  2. AEJ

    Welcome back Mr. Olbermann, I miss you and I am so excited to see you come back. You are my 8-9 p.m. special!!!!

    November 9, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  3. ex-sarge

    Olbermann has less to hide than the PACS.

    November 9, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  4. Lucas Breen

    Keith, we love you and gladly cheer you on every night.

    However, you broke the rules of your employer. You knew what they were and you broke them anyway. Man up, pal. You were wrong. So cut out the drama and let's move on. NBC is not FAUX News. Welcome back.

    November 9, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Tactlessly handled by MSNBC. Guilty until proven innocent. In the wake of htis terrific scandal have they bothered to re-define the outrageous contributions by NETWORKS to PACS and political candidates, or does the free-for-all still stand for the Big Boys with deep pockets?
    Just wondering......

    November 9, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  6. No worries

    NO need to apologyze Keith! we love you! find another network to work for! or create another one...these networks are becoming way too intrusive! You speak FACTS AND TRUTH on your show, and we appreciate the work you do!

    Welcome back!

    November 9, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  7. Phlyphisingphreak

    As long as Fox News operates the way it does I think MSNBC commentators should be able to donate as much they legally can.

    November 9, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |

    I think MSNBC made a huge mistake the way they handled this situation, I am a Democrat, and I never understand why Democrats cower under the slightest pressure, don't they ever lear from the Repugs, even though their party is in the Toilet they do not shut up, Dems, go get a backbone and stand up to the opposition if you know you have done something good, Keiith was very much like and enjoyed by millions, he was one of the few Dems that I know who had a backbone and called it the way it was, and now he is gone, MSNBC, I will never tune in to your stattion again

    November 9, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  9. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    We forgive you Keith. I don't see why you can't donate money, when all of these undisclosed conservative donors can.

    November 9, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  10. Right Leaning Independent

    MSNBC and Olbermann are getting their tails kicked by Fox News. More than likely this whole situation was a stunt to try and get better ratings. It will work for a week or two and than he will be towards the bottom of the ratings once again. Liberal news and radio programs suffer from dismal ratings because the majority of Americans do not lean left. Most Americans do not submit to their way of thinking and therefore tune out.. It drives libs crazzzzy.......

    November 9, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  11. Carol - Midwest

    Considering Joe Scarborough from Morning Joe has done the exact same thing this year, contributing even more without getting his mother may I permission, and did so without repercussions; MSNBC should be apologizing to Keith for their selective use the clause.

    November 9, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  12. Me

    I'm just glad he's back
    Keith Olberman and Rachel Maddow are great.
    Rachel Maddow is really great...more so than Keith...
    I SAID IT!!!

    November 9, 2010 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  13. DIANA

    We're behind you Keith. Fox blatenly endorses, campaigns for, and contributes to their candidates on air. Keith was just excercising his right as an American. He never did it on behalf of MSNBC.

    November 9, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  14. Yolanda

    He was suspended without a hearing for breaking (known) company rules. Juan Williams was fired without a hearing for being honest. Great country.

    November 9, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  15. Keith Fan in Utah

    I missed your “Fridays with Thurber” – WELCOME BACK, Keith!
    We were all set back one hour but hope your return brings us forward five hours or more ... Republicans have set us in REVERSE – please continue to DRIVE us FORWARD.
    Please bring back “Worst Persons” – you can list MSNBC management/executives as #1.
    COUNTDOWN & TRMS are the best NEWS shows.

    November 9, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  16. Sniffit

    It's fun watching the same people who defended Juan Williams "freedom of speech" when he violated his contract by spewing clearly islamaphobic nonsense on the air (and then unapologetically signed a $2M deal with Faux within the hour) now attack Olberman, who just got punished for violating his contract by making private, unpublicized (until some media hack got his hands on it) political donations constituting political speech, one of the most sacred and protected of all. No no no, NPR is not public and it wasn't "government action" just because NPR applies for an receives grant money, so you can let go of that littel farce of an argument too. The reality is, NBC ignored Scarborough making donations to Republicans, because, well, IOKIYAR. NBC was probably afraid that the right wing spin machine would kick into high gear and scream and rant and rave like the lunatics they are if they similarly punished Scarborough. If Olberman wanted to, he could probably have himself a nice tidy case for unfair business practices based on bad faith on NBC's based on unequal treatment of an employee under the same/similar contract and policy. Personally, I think he should, but he'll probably let the sleeping dog lie.

    November 9, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  17. Hank

    He's just another media clown. Beck, Maddow, Hannity, Limbaugh etal. Anyone who takes any of these entertainers seriously has credibility issues.

    November 9, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  18. Cat

    Welcome back Keith.

    November 9, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  19. Dan J

    This is just a desperate, elaborate attempt for struggling MSNBC to paint themselves as the network with credibility and accountability. Rachel Maddow had to say they weren't "the liberal Fox News," and after the election night coverage criticisms, they had to prove it. Slapping Olbermann on the wrist was their solution.

    November 9, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  20. Granny Griper

    Good for you Keith.
    On a recent posting someone said you did not tell the truth on your program nor did you back up the things you said, I have to disagree totally with them. you have always presented the truth and backed everything up with the facts. Too bad some people only see what they want to see.

    November 9, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  21. Lou

    Olbermann is the biggest clown on TV along with skinny Chris Matthews. Its not even news really – just your dose of political spin if you lean that way. Its the Hannity of the left with more vitriol. I quit watching MSNBC except for Morning Joe where you actually find some people in the logic phase of life with different opinions.

    November 9, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  22. stufthis

    Glad Keith is back. After all the crap that Fox does for republicans, and only republicans, maybe MSNBC needs to take a second look at their policy.

    November 9, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  23. Willy Brown

    Truth be known; Keith went back on his hands and knees pleading for his old job back because ESPN didn’t want him and Mickey Dee’s had all the drive through window employees it needed.

    November 9, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  24. ja

    nbc is full of it

    November 9, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  25. Indie Woman in Denver

    Clearly, Phil Grifin, et al. at NBC need to make more coherent policy and then implement that policy in a more consistent manner. The fact that they mishandled this situation so badly is one reason why people hate corporations, and the fact that corporations appear to have more rights than individuals doesn't help.

    November 9, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
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