Keith Olbermann to return Tuesday
Reporting from New York — Keith Olbermann will return to MSNBC on Tuesday, marking the end of a short suspension from the network for making unauthorized political donations.
“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,” MSNBC President Phil Griffin said in a statement released late Sunday. “We look forward to having him back on the air Tuesday night.”
The host of “Countdown With Keith Olbermann” was suspended for only two work days. On Thursday, the website Politico called MSNBC and began asking questions about Olbermann’s contributions of $2,400 apiece to Democratic Reps. Raul M. Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona and Democratic Senate candidate Jack Conway in Kentucky. MSNBC acted quickly, putting Olbermann on indefinite suspension the next day.
In a statement, Olbermann said, “I did not privately or publicly encourage anyone to donate to these campaigns nor to any others in this election or any previous ones, nor have I previously donated to any political campaign at any level.”
Many critics objected to the network’s decision, including Olbermann’s colleague Rachel Maddow.
MSNBC made its move just weeks after National Public Radio fired commentator Juan Williams for making remarks deemed objectionable to Muslims, and Olbermann’s suspension soon ignited another national debate over journalistic objectivity. A Facebook page appeared, urging fans, “Let’s Bring Keith Back.” The advocacy group Progressive Change Campaign Committee reported that a petition demanding a reversal of Griffin’s decision drew 55,000 signatures by early Friday evening.
Olbermann has become a public face of liberal politics for the network, and he’s widely credited for helping MSNBC battle with CNN and Fox News Channel for ratings.