Howard Kurtz: Phil Griffin threatened to Fire Keith Olbermann Over Political Donations

By Alex Weprin Comment

Griffin and Olbermann at Countdown's Fifth Anniversary Party

In a wide-ranging postmortem addressing what happened after MSNBC host Keith Olbermann was found to be donating money to political campaigns, The Daily Beast’s Howard Kurtz reveals a number of new tidbits, including the fact that MSNBC president Phil Griffin threatened to fire the host if he went on any other networks to discuss his suspension.

Olbermann’s manager, Michael Price, told Griffin that if they could not resolve the issue of the suspension quickly, Olbermann would accept invitations to appear on “Good Morning America,”  “Larry King Live” and “The Late Show with David Letterman.”

The possibility of Olbermann appearing on those other shows caused Griffin to make the threat. The situation hasn’t exactly improved since:

Relations are so strained that Olbermann has not spoken directly with Capus or Griffin since the donations controversy erupted. While he is halfway through a four-year, $30 million contract, Olbermann has become, in the words of one staffer, “a man without a country.

The entire story is worth reading, particular the thoughts of some NBC staffers and alumni (like Tom Brokaw) who are not huge fans of the network’s top-rated host. It also retreads some ground, once again noting that with Rachel Maddow, Ed Schulz and Lawrence O’Donnell, MSNBC is not as dependent on Olbermann as it once was.