Keith Olbermann Says He’s Very, Very Sorry — to His Viewers

MSNBC’s “Countdown” host says viewers demonstrate power to “correct injustices great or small”

Last Updated: November 9, 2010 @ 4:59 PM

Keith Olbermann says he's very, very sorry – but not to MSNBC.

The host of MSNBC's "Countdown" said Monday in an open letter to viewers, first reported by The New York Times, that they were responsible for his scheduled return to the network Tuesday. He also apologized "to you viewers for having precipitated such anxiety and unnecessary drama."

Read Olbermann's statement here.

Olbermann, whose show is MSNBC's most watched, was suspended for two episodes after revelations that he had contributed to three Democratic candidates in last week's elections.

He said the network had created an “inconsistently applied” policy on political contributions and that he had not known of the rule's existence. He also said viewers' support after his suspension “should remind us of the power of individuals spontaneously acting together to correct injustices great or small.”

"You should also know that I did not attempt to keep any of these political contributions secret; I knew they would be known to you and the rest of the public," Olbermann wrote. "I did not make them through a relative, friend, corporation, PAC, or any other intermediary, and I did not blame them on some kind of convenient ‘mistake’ by their recipients. When a website contacted NBC about one of the donations, I immediately volunteered that there were in fact three of them; and contrary to much of the subsequent reporting, I immediately volunteered to explain all this, on-air and off, in the fashion MSNBC desired."

Olbermann's suspension created an odd conflict-of-interest case: Reporters aren't supposed to give money to campaigns they cover, but Olbermann isn't a normal reporter. MSNBC repeatedly goes to the popular personality to fill the traditional role of the non-partisan anchor.

But the one thing no one has ever accused Olbermann of being is secretly partisan.