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Journalists talk about Olbermann suspension

By Cody Combs, CNN
  • MSNBC suspended Keith Olbermann for violating the company's policies
  • He made three political contributions earlier this year
  • Journalists weighed in on the suspension Sunday on CNN's "Reliable Sources"

(CNN) -- The controversy surrounding MSNBC's suspension of prime-time host Keith Olbermann had journalists chiming in with opinions Sunday as the issue took center stage on CNN's "Reliable Sources."

MSNBC announced Friday that Olbermann has been suspended indefinitely for violating the ethics policies of his employer earlier this year when he donated to three Democrats seeking federal office.

"I think he should be suspended, but...first of all, the policy may or may not be smart," Matt Lewis, political analyst for, told "Reliable Sources" host Howard Kurtz.. "It may be that if you host an evening show, and you obviously have a point of view, as Olbermann does, that you should be exempted from the policy, that's something to look at."

Joan Walsh, editor in chief of, took more a big-picture look at the Olbermann controversy and suggested it may be a case of media overkill.

"This story is part of the reason why people don't like the media," said Walsh. "We're sitting here naval-gazing about this very wealthy man, respected by many of us, reviled by others, who is going to be fine whatever happens, while people across the country are getting thrown out of their jobs."

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann suspended
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Olbermann's show, "Countdown," has been a staple of MSNBC's prime-time programming, and It has some of the highest ratings on the network.

New York Times media writer David Carr talked about the resiliency of both Olbermann and his show in the long run.

"I don think anybody who watches him would be stunned that he put his money where his mouth is," said Carr. "In terms of, did he injure his relationship with his viewers? I really doubt it."

Host Kurtz took time at the end of "Reliable Sources" to talk about the man responsible for Olbermann's suspension.

"MSNBC President Phil Griffin stepped up to the plate by suspending his star, rather than letting him off with a slap on the wrist," said Kurtz.

In what was apparently his first public comment since his suspension was announced, Olbermann wrote Sunday on his Twitter page: "Greetings From Exile! A quick, overwhelmed, stunned THANK YOU for support that feels like a global hug & obviously left me tweetless XO."