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Olbermann Almost Fired: Inside the "War" at MSNBC


New reports of the back-and-forth at NBC News and MSNBC during the days before and after Keith Olbermann's suspensionfor making political donations reveal that negotiations went right up to the brink: Olbermann was told that if he went public with his grievances on a national morning show, he'd be fired. 

Howard Kurtz's gossipy story at the Daily Beast reveals the details of back-and-forth phone calls, hangups, and and yelling as Olbermann and his manager ate seafood and parried blows from the network and requests from the media. Olbermann's reinstatement came as a surprise to him, via a press release, Kurtz writes, while his refusal to issue the kind of apology the network wanted precipitated the "indefinite" suspension.

Everything, even the occasional thank you tweet from Olbermann, was a subject to heated negotiation. "We are at war," MSNBC president Phil Griffin reportedly said. The story suggests  that Comcast, taking over the network, is more "buttoned down" than its predecessors and might not stand for the kind of infighting and outrage a personality like Olbermann generates.

Read Alternet coverage of the Olbermann suspension from Bernie Sanders and more.

Read Kurtz's story at the Daily Beast.

AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at November 15, 2010, 4:44am

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