Mediabistro reports "MSNBC Could Keep David Shuster Off the Air Indefinitely."

MSNBC bad boy David Shuster may be on his third strike.

Shuster won't be on the air today for his 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. shows, according to MSNBC insiders. Whether he returns before his contract expires in December is up for debate.

Shuster's last appearance was at 10 a.m. Friday. MSNBC boss Phil Griffin pulled him from his 3 p.m. gig after learning, via The New York Observer, that the anchor had recently shot a pilot for CNN without having informed his bosses.

Griffin, vacationing in Florida, ripped Shuster a new one over the phone, network sources say. A repeat performance is expected today in the office.

It's not the first steel cage match between Shuster and Griffin, but it may be the last.


UPDATE1 (4/4/2010):  I have it from a pretty reliable source that David Shuster has NOT been fired (as of this writing, anyway).  And his bio has NOT been removed, as some had claimed. His "blog" may have been removed, but that could have been due to some unrelated issue.  His MSNBC bio page is still there.


With a few notable exceptions, I've always been a fan of David Shuster.  I like his boyish enthusiasm as he tears into the leg of any guest he knows is full of shit.  After some exchanges with him over the past few months, I can't say I'd be very surprised if he was in fact on the way out at MSNBC, but I've yet to see any hard evidence that this actually happened. 

It's mostly a lot of supposition based on this New York Observer story.

Inside the CNN Stockroom: Network Recently Shot Pilot Staring MSNBC's Shuster and NPR's Martin

Recently, according to CNN sources, the network's in-house team shot a pilot for a news show featuring David Shuster of MSNBC and Michel Martin of NPR as co-anchors.

The NY Times Brian Stelter gets on board, and adds..

“If true, this is unacceptable and David will be punished appropriately,” an MSNBC spokesman, Jeremy Gaines, said Friday afternoon"

Then Mediaite steps up to fan the gossip wires

And in the short term – he’s not anchoring at 3pmET. Shuster has already been trouble with MSNBC for his inappropriate tweeting, and hasn’t used Twitter for months. … An NBC insider tells Mediaite, “Shuster has never been a major player at MSNBC.”

Bringing up the rear, the ever faithful Wingnut Daily, Newsbusters, couldn't pass up a chance to bust General Soros for trying to buy another foot soldier for his Communist News Network (owned by one of the largest media conglomerates on the planet).

Shuster's Twitter account has been silent since January 27, when NewsBusters and other center-right blogs documented his blatant conflict of interest in covering O'Keefe's arrest. Ironically, his last Tweet cites a post from the far-left group Media Matters. Need we say more?

An uncertain period of time after the Observer story dropped, Shuster's website at MSNBC up and vanished.  Hmmm….

So there we have it. On the surface, a lot of hearsay and supposition based on an anonymous "CNN source" that reported a "pilot" that may or may not have happened; that Shuster missed his shows; that there had been prior friction between Shuster and MSNBC; and that a web page disappeared. 

But that's all we know. It's certainly a compelling sequence, but hardly conclusive. It's mostly interesting to me because it illustrates how our new blogger-centric world can play a story in incremental steps, from many bloggers, each with their own world (and industry) view.  

Perhaps David is toast, or perhaps his dog got hit by a car and someone edited his page and broke it. Nobody has made any statements on the record—or supplied any evidence—that says anything to the contrary.

My gut says it's probably true. But mostly because I'd like it to be true. Especially that part about NPR's Michel Martin going to CNN. 

In my view, she's one of the best broadcast journalists working today. If CNN wants me as a viewer again, she'd bring me over in any time slot.

Good luck, Shuster, wherever you are, and wherever you go (or not).