And later, the cable chief takes charge.
Early the next morning, Griffin sharpened his stance. He was hearing from everyone at the network. Zucker was irritated. Capus was quite upset. Brokaw had weighed in. This was now about NBC News. Griffin told Price he would have to take Olbermann off the air indefinitely. Olbermann’s team balked, insisting on a definite return date.
“What do you want, three months?” Griffin asked, as if that were crazy. If they did this right, he said, maybe the punishment would last a week.
There were more calls back and forth. Olbermann’s agents viewed the suspension as an insane overreaction. “You don’t understand the pressure I’m under here,” Griffin said. He needed a written apology from Olbermann in time for the announcement.
That never happened. While Olbermann was on the phone with Price, the indefinite suspension was made public. The manager later told Griffin that Olbermann was very unhappy. You’ve known the guy for 30 years, and this is how you treat him?
Interestingly, Griffin has emerged smelling of roses in other stories of anonymous source-fueled MSNBC palace intrigue. He came out of last month’s New York cable news cover (for which he was a significant named source) as the man who worked out how to use Olbermann—“Griffin recognized Olbermann’s titanic personality could be channeled his ratings subsequently proved it”—and the man who understands the ratings game and how MSNBC needs to play it. He was also the man not afraid to let a reporter hear what he thought of some of his staff.
When he refers to Ed Schultz as a “used-tire salesman,” his staffers can hardly keep a straight face.
And then there was the time a Griffin-penned memo somehow ended up in the Huffington Post’s hands. Griffin had written the memo on team unity after an online scuffle between Scarbrough and Olbermann. What did it show? Griffin the arbiter looking to keep the peace and show a strong hand.
But that’s just observation—with not even an anonymous source to back it up.
How has Olbermann responded to the Kurtz piece? In very Olbermann fashion: via Twitter. This, from @Keith Olbermann just a couple of minutes ago.
Won’t waste everybody’s time responding to Kurtz’s hysteric source. But doesn’t all this anonymous bashing sound oddly familiar?
Yes, it certainly does.