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Olbermann backs off FNC comments

Yakmeister issues on-air apology

MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann is apologizing for some nasty comments he made about Fox News Channel.

Earlier this week, Olbermann used his cable gabfest to attack the first edition of Internet scribe Matt Drudge’s FNC talker, slamming the show as “worse than ‘The Magic Johnson Hour.’ ” In an early draft of the diatribe, Olbermann even went so far as to describe FNC as “the most irresponsible network in America.”

Olbermann ultimately thought better of the latter attack and chose to edit the “irresponsible” line from his TV tirade and his regular radio commentary.

Unfortunately, the MSNBC yakmeister had already faxed an advance copy of the radio remarks — which included the harsh dig at FNC — to a Web site for the Hotline, a Washington, D.C.-based political newsletter. Several publications (though not Daily Variety) then quoted Olbermann as saying FNC was “the most irresponsible network in America,” even though he never said those words.

Apparently feeling contrite, Olbermann issued a brief apology to FNC at the end of Wednesday’s “Big Show.”

“I did not make that remark, but it did get out over my name,” he said.

Olbermann also sent a letter of apology to FNC chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, sources say.

Meanwhile, Olbermann Wednesday unveiled a new on-air look, appearing without the goatee he had been sporting since last week.