So what exactly happened at NBC's fabled 30 Rock headquarters during that rocky period?
The Daily Beast's Howard Kurtz has an idea, and he fills in plenty of the gaps, including conversations (and disputes) between Olbermann and the network brass. Kurtz also reports that MSNBC president Phil Griffin threatened to fire Olbermann on Nov. 7 if he accepted media requests from "Good Morning America" and other shows that wanted the host to give his side of the suspension story.
Kurtz's Daily Beast dispatch is chock full of richly detailed scenes, all the way down to the number of oysters Olbermann was eating for dinner. Still, Olbermann questioned the accuracy of the piece on Twitter: "Won't waste everybody's time responding to Kurtz's hysteric source. But doesn't all this anonymous bashing sound oddly familiar?"
This isn't the first time that tension between nonpartisan NBC News staffers and MSNBC's opinionated cable news hosts has spilled out in the press.
Other reports have surfaced recounting how top NBC News staffers — such as Tom Brokaw and Andrea Mitchell — voiced their concerns about the network's left-leaning commentators anchoring political coverage. Such tension between the broadcast network and sister cable channel flared up during the 2008 political conventions and, more recently, this past election night.
Kurtz described the current situation as a "war that had spread beyond the principal combatants to many of the journalists who work at NBC and MSNBC." He goes on to explain:
Network staffers use phrases like 'scorched-earth policy' and 'totally narcissistic response' to describe how Olbermann has dealt with criticism of his political donations. A recurring theme is that he has made it impossible for MSNBC to argue that it is journalistically different from Fox News, which has no prohibition against political donations by such commentators and talk-show hosts as Sean Hannity and Karl Rove. The word hypocrisy has frequently been aimed at Olbermann."
Kurtz actually appeared just last week on Olbermann's show, where he criticized the liberal host's decision to donate to three Democratic candidates. "If you cross this line," he said, "you're no longer one of us, you're one of them."
(Screenshot of Olbermann with The Nation's Greg Mitchell, above, Kurtz, below)
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