Saying sorry can be hard to do. Whether you ultimately failed to hold down the fort as speaker of the House, slept with Jenny Humphrey in order to feel better about yourself, or broke network policy by donating money to Democratic candidates and failing to disclose it, it's often easier to say, "I'm too good for this, that's why I did that questionable thing I did!" It seemed Keith Olbermann was suddenly and unceremoniously suspended for the last of those offenses, but now Politico's Mike Allen says the suspension actually could have been prevented:
Network sources tell Playbook that Keith Olbermann was suspended because he refused to deliver an on-camera mea culpa, which would have allowed him to continue anchoring Countdown. Olbermann told his bosses he didn't know he was barred from making campaign contributions, although he is resisting saying that publicly. Olbermann may not hold as many cards as he thinks. He makes $7 million a year and MSNBC's prime time is not as dependent on him as it was before the addition of Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell, who make considerably less.
We don't know all the facts just yet, though we suspect they'll slowly but surely leak this week. But, as Runnin' Scared points out, "Olbermann does not seem like a man who enjoys taking orders or admitting he's wrong." If Olbermann felt he has the right to make private donations — that this is a battle worth fighting — perhaps he could have said that on the air. If he didn't know he was breaking MSNBC policy (and, whether you believe he should be allowed to make political donations or not, he is still an employee who did in fact violate a company policy), then perhaps he could have added that as a footnote in an apology. But, instead, this might evolve into another case in which defeat is only the beginning.