MSNBC On Air Tension: Insider Predicts “Blow Up” While Griffin says “Don’t Make More of This Than it Is”

By Chris Ariens Comment


TVNewser has been tracking several on-air incidents among MSNBC anchors during the first couple of days of the DNC. (Read about them here, here and here.) Now MSNBC management is speaking out.

MSNBC president Phil Griffin told Variety the Olbermann-Scarborough, Shuster-Scarborough, and Olbermann-Matthews clashes (some more tension-filled than others) have no significance.

“Look, it happens,” Griffin said. “Everyone is working hard here, and people are passionate about their feelings, and this is the rough-and-tumble world of politics. It wasn’t the first time and probably won’t be the last. The main thing is, this does not define us. Don’t make more of this than it is.”

Meanwhile, a “high-ranking MSNBC journalist” tells Politico’s Michael Calderone, “The situation at our channel is about to blow up.” Calderone adds, “Two other MSNBC sources said some of the testy on-air exchanges between Keith Olbermann and other network personalities were a public glimpse of much more intense behind-the-scenes turmoil.”

As for the criticism that MSNBC continues to move heavily toward the left of the political spectrum, which may only be adding to the behind-the-scenes and on-air tension, Griffin says, “Look, when Keith anchors, he plays it straight down the line. This is our team. They’ve served us well. We love ’em, and we’re going to be at the Republican convention, and it’s going to be great. And I don’t have any hesitation.”

> More from The WSJ: Connie Chung weighs in. “My reaction to that is: ‘Grow up!’ They have to just grow up.”