With MSNBC president Phil Griffin's announcement that he is lifting Keith Olberann's "indefinite" suspension after just two days, the "riveting" drama over the "Countdown" host's future at the network has ended as abruptly as it began. Olbermann was yanked off the air on Friday after Politico reported he made three undisclosed political donations to Democratic candidates in apparent violation of NBC's ethics policy, but Olbermann will return to anchor seat on Tuesday evening. Did Olbermann's suspension serve any purpose? (Watch Rachel Maddow's take on the suspension)
The punishment was a joke: "This was nothing more than a farcical publicity stunt," says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. MSNBC was embarrassed about its shamelessly biased election night coverage — anchored by Olbermann, a Democratic shill — so Griffin made a stink about Olbermann's donations to make the network appear more "journalistically pure" than Fox News. If MSNBC really wanted to punish Olbermann, it would have done more than force him to take a long weekend.
"Olbermann returns after two nights off on Tuesday"
This will only embolden Olbermann: This "ridiculous episode" was "bound to backfire on MSNBC," says Michael J.W. Stickings at The Reaction. MSNBC is "far less of a network" without Olbermann — as the "outpouring of support" for him demonstrated. It doesn't matter whether network executives thought Olbermann deserved to be suspended, or the whole thing was a trick to boost ratings — this was a fight the company couldn't win.
"The return of Keith Olbermann"
MSNBC was right to back down: Phil Griffin did the "right thing" by reinstating Keith Olbermann, says John R. Guardiano at The American Spectator. But he "and his NBC management colleagues still have a lot of explaining to do." Olbermann and his network are "avowedly partisan," but in today's "free and open" media market that hardly makes them unique. MSNBC has the right to demand that Olbermann do a good job — but, under the U.S. Constitution, the man has the right to put his "money where his mouth and his opinions are."
"NBC News' Phil Griffin still has a lot to answer for"