I am very pleased to be able to tell you that Richard Wolffe will be back on Countdown tonight, resuming his role as an MSNBC political analyst.
Here is the official statement - a little background after the jump.
NBC News management has had extensive conversations with Richard and has fully reviewed both his work on our air and for Public Strategies. Based on this review, Richard will continue to be a valued contributor to Countdown and MSNBC.
Firstly, as I said when issues about Richard's other work were first raised in August of this year, he wouldn't appear on the newshour until we straightened them out. I'm confident we've done that now. Among other managers, the broadcast network's very tough practices exec vetted this other job (and as indicated, the work he's done for us), found no interrelation, and believes as I do that the failure was in the area of disclosure.
Thus will his appearances be limited to areas that don't overlap with his non-journalistic work. Those that could even seem to present a conflict of interest will also be off-limits. Each of his appearances will mention his private work and viewers will be directed to the web for fuller elucidation of what he does - and doesn't - do there.
As his biography outlines:
In April 2009, he joined Public Strategies as Senior Strategist at the business advisory firm that serves some of the world’s largest corporations, non-profits and associations.
His Public Strategies work involves offering communications advice to senior executives. He consults on how to manage their relationship to the public and their community in the broadest sense. Public Strategies is led by Democrats and Republicans, and does not have political clients. Wolffe is not a lobbyist for any clients. He does not use his TV commentary or writing to speak for his clients, nor does he use it to advocate for their interests. In fact, he recuses himself from any TV appearances that involve his clients. For more on Public Strategies, please visit its website: www.pstrategies.com.
As I suggested above, not just conflicts of interest, but the mere appearance of potential conflicts of interest, must - and will - be avoided. But to somehow permanently deprive the audience of Richard's insight and analysis, to say nothing of his loyalty to the truth and in particular its meaningfulness to the Countdown audience, would be foolish and unnecessary.
There is a difference between insufficient disclosure, and misleading or skewed journalism or journalistic analysis. Nothing Richard Wolffe has ever provided us has fallen into the latter category, and it is noteworthy that no example has ever been produced that even suggests otherwise.
I'm delighted he's back. We've missed him.