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An equitable split for Olbermann, Matthews

Much has been made of the tension between MSNBC anchors Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews during the Democratic National Convention in Denver last week.

“Infighting boils over,” noted the Huffington Post.

“Brawling Anchors on MSNBC,” read the Page Six headline in The New York Post. The story went on to detail not only Olbermann and Matthews’ infamous oil-and-water chemistry but a DNC dustup between anchor David Shuster, who earlier this year was suspended for saying that Chelsea Clinton was being “pimped out” on the campaign trail, and Republican congressman cum pundit Joe Scarborough.

So perhaps conspiracy theorists could be excused for reading something into NBC News’ decision to redirect Olbermann from St. Paul back to New York for the Republican National Convention this week.

“You shouldn’t read anything into that,” said Steve Capus, president of NBC News.

Chief White House correspondent David Gregory will take Olbermann’s place at the anchor desk with Matthews during the abbreviated convention.

Olbermann is in New York to help direct the network’s coverage of Hurricane Gustav, explained Capus.

“Keith is particularly strong at being the quarterback for this kind of coverage and that’s why we’re pulling him back.”

With Gustav downgraded to a category two, Brian Williams will nonetheless remain in New Orleans for the time being. Tom Brokaw meanwhile will have a bigger part in St. Paul.

Capus chalked up the on-air disagreements as the inevitable theatrics of opinionated people working in a highly charged environment.

“You’re bound to get some disagreements,” he said. “I think you’ve seen little things blown out of proportion.”