Dana Milbank of The Washington Post, who notified us today that after four years appearing with us, he had accepted another television offer.
This saved your crack Countdown staff an increasingly difficult decision.
For nearly a week we'd been waiting for him to offer a correction or an explanation for his column from last week in which he apparently reported an Obama quote without a full context turned the meaning of the quote inside-out.
Then he called criticisms of his column "whines" even though the dispute was over whether Obama said the self-deprecating: "It has become increasingly clear in my travel, the campaign -- that the crowds, the enthusiasm, 200,000 people in Berlin, is not about me at all. It's about America. I have just become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions" -- or only the part about "I have just become a symbol..."
We had decided not to have Dana on this news-hour again until this was cleared up, and, sadly after some very happy years, he's apparently chosen to make that cloud permanent.
Olbermann himself writes of Milbank's departure:
It was quite a surprise conclusion, obviously, and I'll take it (before anybody tries to take it back).
I'm sure that wasn't his intention, but often one's best work is inadvertent. I'm just as sure his version of the provenance of the original version of the quote the Post's source provided was accurate. What happened thereafter was the problem.