NEW YORK (AP) — Keith Olbermann apologized to his fans — but not NBC News — on Monday for the “unnecessary drama” surrounding his two-day suspension for making political donations.

The “Countdown” host complained that he was being punished for mistakenly violating an inconsistently applied rule that he had known nothing about. He said he learned he was being suspended from the media after being assured that form of discipline wouldn’t be taken.

Olbermann was suspended without pay Friday by his bosses at MSNBC, a suspension they announced two days later would be lifted. The left-leaning cable network’s most popular personality acknowledged donating $2,400 apiece to the campaigns of Kentucky Senate candidate Jack Conway and Arizona Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords.

NBC News prohibits its employees from making political donations unless an exception is granted in advance by the network news president. Olbermann’s bosses said they didn’t know about the donations until being told about them by a reporter.

“Certainly this mistake merited a form of public acknowledgement and/or internal warning,” Olbermann said in a statement, “and an on-air discussion about the merits of limitations on such campaign contributions by all employees of news organizations.”

Instead, he was suspended “without a hearing,” he said.

An MSNBC spokesman did not immediately reply to a request for comment on Olbermann’s statements. Phil Griffin, the network’s chief executive, has not spoken publicly about the issue.

Olbermann said he did not attempt to keep any of the donations secret and offered to “explain all this, on air and off, in the fashion MSNBC desired.”

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee took on Olbermann’s suspension as a cause, starting an online petition drive for his reinstatement that gathered more than 300,000 signatures.

Olbermann thanked viewers for their “extraordinary and ground-rattling support.”

“Your efforts have been integral to the remedying of these recent events, and the results should remind us of the power of individuals spontaneously acting together to correct injustices great or small,” he said.

Olbermann has a long history of clashes with bosses, both at MSNBC and at ESPN in the 1990s. His role at MSNBC is an important one, and the network has molded much of its lineup philosophically by following his lead.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (14)
  1. Terry Wiebe says:

    Right on Keith good to have ya back good buddy

  2. Dan Heron says:

    He apologized to all 6 of his fans??

    1. tim says:

      Uhm…Did you miss the part about 300,000 people? Oh..must be a tea partier..ignore the facts

      1. Mufon says:

        Yes, that 300k number has to be a fact, the Progressive Bunch of People who… what was that group’s name again? But I’m sure they wouldn’t fudge the numbers.

  3. Dave says:

    Who the hell watches msnbc anyways??

  4. R. Shanks-Beliz says:

    I love Keith, since Tim Russert passed away, there has been no-one with courage to take on the right wing crazies that believe the freedoms we enjoy are only for them and their buddies. Keith is bright, and witty and knows exactly what is going on in this county. Thank heaven we have him.

  5. bee cee says:

    Russert disagreed with dignity. Olberman comes across as an egomaniac that becomes less believable the longer you listen to him. His attitude and neanderthal backwards thinking disguised as progressiveness makes any moderate hate the left, He almost single handedly ruined the election for the dems.
    But that would be giving him way too much credit.

  6. Jill Bones says:

    You can’t spell Olbermann without O-B-A-M-A. Coincidence?

  7. alex says:

    Welcome back keith, haters should shut up. The guy is a good guy, a better human being than those ignorant dumb ass republicans

  8. Mufon says:

    Publicity stunt? “Suspend him indefinitely,” then bring him back after four days? It made the news. The supporters’ comments are funny, though, taking someone to task for not fact-checking, while assuming the 300k figure is an absolute fact, coming from an organization of which no one knows. Also amusing about how his supporters are so big on telling us what a great, smart guy he is, while telling those who oppose his view to “shut up.” You people are no better than Faux News, you need to get information from a real source, not smackdown TV..

  9. rjsmitty says:

    I never heard of this guy ?

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