The Daily Beast’s Howard Kurtz has a report on Keith Olbermann’s dramatic MSNBC departure, which still sounds like a firing to me. An excerpt:
At a meeting with Olbermann’s representatives last September, NBC Chief Executive Jeff Zucker and NBC News President Steve Capus said that some of their client’s behavior was unacceptable and had to stop. [MSNBC President Phil] Griffin said that Olbermann’s personal problems were affecting his work and he looked angrier on the air, eclipsing the smart and ironic anchor they had once loved. In November, when Griffin suspended Olbermann indefinitely over the political donations, the two sides engaged in blistering negotiations over how long it would last. Olbermann’s manager, Price, warned Griffin that if the matter wasn’t resolved quickly, Olbermann would take his complaints public by accepting invitations from Good Morning America, David Letterman, and Larry King. “If you go on GMA, I will fire Keith,” Griffin shot back.
At the end of his Aug. 30, 2006 show, Olbermann looked directly into the camera and spoke: “The man who sees absolutes where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning is either a prophet or a quack. Donald H. Rumsfeld is not a prophet.” His blistering takedown of the defense secretary was a viral sensation. Millions of liberals were equally exasperated with the Bush administration; but few could express themselves as exquisitely and powerfully as Olbermann. They asked for more, and Olbermann gladly gave it to them; over the next few years, there would be dozens of “special comments,” each delivered in the same dramatic style.
Here’s a lengthy and newsy New York Times story as well.
UPDATE: Here’s Rachel Maddow, Olbermann’s protege, saying very little about Olbermann on Bill Maher’s show.