As you've no doubt heard by now, MSNBC has suspended Keith Olbermann "indefinitely and without pay" when it was discovered that he donated money to three political candidates in the recently-concluded election.
Supposedly, this was in violation of NBC corporate policy, i.e. journalism-division employees are supposed to ask permission about donations and maintain a sense of impartiality. But then it get's tricky...
According to some, MSNBC's openly-partisan editorial-commentators (Olbermann, Matthews, Maddow, etc) have been "exempt" from that rule for some time. So... what's going on here?
The shortest and simplest explanation is likely to be that MSNBC wants to get rid of Olbermann, and this was the opportunity his bosses decided to take to do so. Also, if the rest of the staff gets "on message" about it it's a potentially GREAT "big move" to differentiate themselves from Fox: "When our guys screw around, they're GONE - so why are you still employing Beck, again?"
The broader story at MSNBC is that the network is having a difficult time getting everyone on the same page as they transition from "flashier version of CNN" to their new identity as "Left-Wing version of Fox" - not all of their employees are going to be as comfortable as others in being seen as "commentators" rather than "journalists." Did you see how angrily/humorlessly they reacted to the "false equivalency" of Olbie's rants mixed in with Beck's at the Daily Show rally?
Ironically, Olbermann is pretty-much the guy who "engineered" his network's transformation; but it hasn't done anything to change his reputation in the business - his ego and short temper are the stuff of legends. One senses that this writing has been on the wall ever since Rachel Maddow guest hosted his show for a month or so, did a better job of it and got her own show right afterwards. You only need to see the two "acts" side by side to see the problem: Maddow is easily the most "partisan" person on the network, but she runs the LEAST blowhardy show (with the added bonus of being one of the best interviewers on Cable, period.) It also doesn't help that "other new guy" Lawrence O'Donnell does the "mournful sanctimony" bit better, too.
It'd be too early to "put money on it," but this seems like it might be the end for Keith, at least as an MSNBC contributor. If so, I can't say I'm broken-up about it: His show had become both obnoxious and redundant... though it'll be a REAL loss if Maddow or others "follow him out" in protest.