Former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann personally wrote President Bill Clinton a letter in 1998 apologizing for his network’s coverage of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Politico reports, which was revealed when the Clinton Library released new files.
The letter, which was sent in October 1998, was quoted in an email exchange between Clinton aide R. Scott Michaud and another aide discussing how to respond to Olbermman, who reportedly said in the letter that he was sorry for “whatever part I may have played in perpetuating this ceaseless coverage (of the Lewinsky story).” He also told Clinton that he planned on returning to sportscasting, writing, “I’ll be heading back to my previous career in sports as quickly as possible.”
In a commencement speech in 1998 at his alma mater, Cornell, he said his tenure at MSNBC during that era gave him “dry heaves,” and it would “make me ashamed, make me depressed, make me cry.”
Michaud also emailed other White House aides an E! Online article about Olbermann’s conversation with then-MSNBC President Andrew Lack about his frustration with MSNBC’s Lewinsky coverage and that he wanted out of his three-year contract.
After consulting with his colleagues, Michaud decided to send Olbermann the generic response “for support letters to the President.” That email read, “Dear Keith: Thanks so much for your kind message. I’ve been touched by the many expressions of encouragement and support I have received from friends across the country. I’m grateful you got in touch with me, and I send you my very best wishes. Sincerely, POTUS.”
Olbermann left MSNBC for Fox Sports Net not long after his letter to the president. He returned to MSNBC in 2003 and until 2011, when he abruptly left in what an NBC Universal exec described as a mutual parting of the ways, but others speculated he was fired. He now has his own show, “Olbermann,” on ESPN2.