MSNBC has decided to demote its best political analyst.  From here on out, neither the fantastic Keith Olbermann or the mediocre Chris Matthews will be anchoring any political night coverage.

MSNBC said Sunday it is replacing Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews as co-anchors of political night coverage with David Gregory, and will use the two newsmen as commentators.

The change reflects tensions between the freewheeling, opinionated MSNBC and the impartial newsgatherers at NBC News. Throughout the primaries and summer, MSNBC argued that Olbermann and Matthews could serve as dispassionate anchors on political news nights and that viewers would accept them in that role, but things fell apart during the conventions.

Gregory, the veteran Washington hand, will anchor MSNBC’s coverage of the presidential and vice presidential debates and election night, said Jeremy Gaines, network spokesman. The change was first reported by The New York Times.

The tipping point appears to have come during the Republican convention when Olbermann, after the network aired a Sept. 11-themed video prepared by the Republicans, said that MSNBC should not have shown it.

The tasteless “tribute” video that was shown at the Republican national convention and Olbermann’s righteous reaction can be found here.  The rightwing media is having a field day with this one so far.  Josh Marshall guesses that this was the result of Republicans’ and the McCain campaign’s complaints of bias.

The unfortunate reality of this is that the Republicans have won a battle that we never should have been fighting in the first place.  Olbermann has never been afraid to call a spade exactly what it is, and that’s precisely what drives the rightwing crazy–they don’t enjoy being called out for what they really are.

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