This might be more exciting if it was the result of MSNBC’s abysmal ratings or embarrassment over their journalistic bankruptcy. As it is, MS-NBC has apparently suspended David Shuster indefinitely for disloyalty, the only standard the cabler has left. Mediaite’s source says the suspension is “indefinite”:
Mediaite has learned David Shuster has been suspended from MSNBC, effective immediately.
This comes on the heels of a report Friday he had filmed a pilot for CNN – for which MSNBC said he would be “punished appropriately.” He met with MSNBC President Phil Griffin yesterday afternoon.
An MSNBC spokesperson tells Mediaite: “David has been suspended indefinitely.”
Shuster has been suspended from Twitter as well, after MSNBC deemed his exchange with James O’Keefe inappropriate. He was also suspended for two weeks in 2008 for his “pimped out” comment about Chelsea Clinton. With his contract up at the end of 2010, we’ll see if Shuster ever returns to the MSNBC line-up.
Assuming this is true, it would seem to confirm that Schuster shot a pilot with rival CNN. How anyone with even the most basic understanding of contract law could do that is beyond me. Most on-air talent work under contract, as do plenty of writers, and most of those contracts include explicit provisions against working with competitors, at least without permission from their employers.
Even without such language in a contract, a move to make a pilot with CNN shows a tremendous amount of disloyalty. One has to wonder about CNN’s motives, too. After all, their own talent works under contract with them. Would they blithely shrug off a similar attempt by one of their anchors to do a test shoot with Fox News Channel?
Again, working on the assumption that this is true, it’s hard to see how Shuster recovers from it. It’s one thing to get fired for low ratings; practically everyone in the entertainment business has that happen. It’s another to get suspended indefinitely for failing to meet the standards of conduct for MSNBC.
Update: I changed MS-NBC to MSNBC.