Question for Chris Matthews: Would this qualify as a “Stalin-esque purge”?

A week-long anchoring stint on MSNBC by Donny Deutsch ended abruptly on Wednesday, and four people briefed on the decision said the cancellation stemmed from an unflattering mention of that channel’s No. 1 anchor, Keith Olbermann, a day earlier.

Mr. Deutsch had labeled his hour on MSNBC “America the Angry,” and Mr. Olbermann was shown briefly in a series of clips of media bloviators during a segment that pondered what role the media plays in fomenting the public’s anger. The four people briefed on MSNBC’s decision said Mr. Olbermann’s anger about the segment prompted the cancellation of the weeklong “America the Angry” series…

Mr. Olbermann’s detractors have repeatedly claimed in the past that he has refused to host his show on occasions when he was unhappy with management…

“The segment did not go unnoticed and we’re dealing with it internally,” said Jeremy Gaines, an MSNBC spokesman.

Says Philip Klein, “So Olbermann was really angry about being called angry?” TV Newser is hearing the same thing as the Times, but only the Times has the fun detail about Deutsch’s executive producer being sent home after the show. And who is his producer? Gresham Striegel, who joined MSNBC in January after working for 13 years at … Fox News. Hmmmm. Oh, also: Turns out Olby will be off the air for the next two nights too, allegedly due to a routine colonoscopy, although those cynical scamps at Mediaite can’t help questioning the timing. Double hmmm.

It was also Mediaite, incidentally, that showcased the Deutsch segment yesterday, which all but forced MSNBC management to deal with it. Given their running feud with Olby, I suspect Dan Abrams is giving out high fives around the office. Exit question: When do Joe and Mika get to join Deutsch and Shuster in Siberia? To the gulag with all of them.

Tags: Fox News