MSNBC has placed anchor David Shuster on “indefinite” suspension after network executives learned, via a New York Observer story that Shuster had taped a pilot for a potential CNN show with NPR’s Michel Martin as his co-anchor.
It’s not unusual for news organizations to audition on-air talent. But it is highly unusual and almost always a contract violation if a news anchor under contract at one network agrees to an audition at a competing network. Shuster’s contract with MSNBC is not up until December.
What was Shuster thinking? Perhaps he was angling for an early summer vacation? Could he have possibly been under the illusion that his dalliance with CNN would not leak out?
Shuster has been suspended before - in 2008 for his comments about the Clinton campaign “pimping out” Chelsea Clinton. The Clinton campaign made an issue of Shuster’s remarks. And since Shuster’s unfortunate characterization came in the run-up to a planned presidential debate to be hosted by MSNBC, the network found itself backed into a corner.
He served a two-week suspension then. This one will be much longer. ”Indefinitely” could stretch into ”permanently.”