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MSNBC Suspends Keith Olbermann for Contributions to Democrats

MSNBC host Keith Olbermann has been suspended indefinitely, without pay, for not disclosing contributions to the campaigns of three Democrats:

Olbermann "'I became aware of Keith's political contributions late last night. Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay,' MSNBC president Phil Griffin said in a statement."

Politico reported, earlier:

"MSNBC host Keith Olbermann made campaign contributions to two Arizona members of Congress and failed Kentucky Senate candidate Jack Conway ahead of Tuesday’s election — a potential violation of NBC ethics policies. Olbermann, who acknowledged the contributions in a statement to POLITICO, made the maximum legal donations of $2,400 apiece to Conway and to Arizona Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords. He donated to the Arizona pair on Oct. 28 — the same day that Grijalva appeared as a guest on Olbermann’s 'Countdown' show...NBC has a rule against employees contributing to political campaigns, and a wide range of news organizations prohibit political contributions — considering it a breach of journalistic independence to contribute to the candidates they cover."

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Comments

  1. Oopsie.

    Posted by: anon | Nov 5, 2010 2:17:59 PM


  2. Hmm... So Fox News and its parent company (which owns about a gazillion newspapers, too), can literally donate well over a million dollars to the Republican Governor's Association -- one of the biggest, if not the biggest, corporate donations to the organization -- and Keith Olbermann can't make a donation to a few candidates?

    Don't get me wrong... It was pretty stupid on his part, he must have known he wasn't allowed in his contract... but I just think the day and ages of looking at places like MSNBC and Fox News as straight news has loooooong since passed. It's advocacy journalism on MSNBC and full-on propaganda on Fox News. Let's just be honest with ourselves.

    Posted by: Ryan | Nov 5, 2010 2:20:42 PM


  3. I wonder whether it would still be a big deal is he had contributed to republicans...

    I understand that MSNBC tends to be more liberal/progressive/democratic, but aren't they still owned by General Electric? And isn't GE run by conservatives/repugs?

    Posted by: MikeInSanJose | Nov 5, 2010 2:22:57 PM


  4. PS: Pat Buchanan has given a half-dozen political contributions, while maintaining his position on MSNBC.

    As KOS gets on Daily Kos -- this is all political kabuki by the head of MSNBC News who a) dislikes Olbermann and b) is jealous of Olbermann's sway at (MS)NBC News.

    Posted by: Ryan | Nov 5, 2010 2:23:29 PM


  5. I agree with Ryan. And I think that this will be resolved without Olberman having to find another outlet.

    Posted by: Jon Mitchell | Nov 5, 2010 2:24:03 PM


  6. I hate "indefinate suspension." Either set a time limit, set some conditions that he has to meet in order to come back, or fire him (although I do not wish for the last option).

    I wonder if Cenk can pick him up for an interview (or possibly a position) on The Young Turks.

    Posted by: ravewulf | Nov 5, 2010 2:24:45 PM


  7. i'm sorry this happened, but i have to admit it was inevitable. perhaps a temporary rather than indefinite suspension would be more appropriate under the circumstances.

    one would only wish that faux news had similar standards instead of hiring future and past elected officials to be fair and balanced news commentators.

    Posted by: just bill | Nov 5, 2010 2:25:32 PM


  8. I don't like skewed news shows, and I consider Olbermann the Bill O'Reilly of the Left. While Olbermann has violated a company rule, it seems clear that that rule was intended for journalists who at least make a show of objectivity in their reporting. The Countdown has never made any pretense of its favoring Democrats, so faulting the show's host for backing his opinions with the money he earns from them seems silly. Condoning biased reporting and punishing the actions that result from it sends a mixed message.

    Posted by: Kuhnsy | Nov 5, 2010 2:27:21 PM


  9. Move Bashir into Keith's slot and free up 3pm for Thomas Roberts

    Posted by: CDNAttackBeaver | Nov 5, 2010 2:28:04 PM


  10. I think this makes MSNBC look really stupid. Keith Olberman is one of the few news people who tell it like it is. I can't stand FOX NEWS and if Keith is gone I will probably stop watching the news all together.

    Posted by: Lane | Nov 5, 2010 2:28:25 PM


  11. I think it's a good policy to have. It just looks bad when he's ridiculing fox for their contributions even though it's not even close to being the same thing.

    Even if everyone knows MSNBC is left leaning, they have an integrity to their reporting that Fox does not and I don't want them to become the Fox of the left.

    Fuck, he may be sort of an arrogant ass at times, but we need his voice out there.

    Posted by: IAN F | Nov 5, 2010 2:32:49 PM


  12. uh Andy dont contribute to the misinformation ... he was suspended for not disclosing the contributions to his bosses - not for making them.

    Making them is ALLOWED.
    He donated $5.5 Thousand.

    Do you know how many thousands there are in a MILLION DOLLARS ???

    That is how much the Owner of Fox News gave to Republicans.


    Posted by: tony x | Nov 5, 2010 2:36:12 PM


  13. Agree with Tony X -- other sites are reporting that MSNBC employees are allowed to donate so long as they get notify their bosses first. Your info/headline seems misleading.

    Posted by: dave | Nov 5, 2010 2:41:50 PM


  14. People still watch MSNBC?

    Posted by: Name: | Nov 5, 2010 2:49:43 PM


  15. @TONY X Thanks for clarifying that. Olbermann failed to disclose that he made contributions to his employer, not that he actually made the contributions. Of course, the right-wing-nut media universe is going bananas over this, jumping on it like a duck on a June bug. Keith Olbermann was combative, confrontational, opinionated (factually opinionated), and one of the few voices during the height of the Bush horror show to speak out loudly and forcefully against Bush, Cheney and the rest of the republicon criminal class. I don't know what "indefinite" means to MSNBC, but they will be cutting off their nose to spite their corporate face if they leave Keith off the air for too long. It was a great triple-play: Olbermann, Maddow and O'Donnell. And, then, it was off to work, with a small sense of comfort that at least three people in the increasingly rightist media world were not afraid to tell the truth.

    Posted by: mike | Nov 5, 2010 2:50:50 PM


  16. Yes, it was the fact that he didn't disclose. It would be fine since he is an opinion commenter/pundit and not an objective journalist. Joe Scarborough (Morning Joe) donated money to a candidate in 2007 and was not suspended.

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Nov 5, 2010 2:51:35 PM


  17. Bad business decision. And it's not that "we" need his voice--it's that msnbc has nothing to fill the airtime with. Of course MSNBC is trying to ham handedly play catch up in distancing itself from fox news as a propaganda machine as per its marching orders from the faux middle of the aisle, but one wonders if that's not just an excuse to play out a personal conflict at the expense of the network.

    Posted by: TANK | Nov 5, 2010 2:55:42 PM


  18. Damn it, Keith! BAD!

    Posted by: Paul | Nov 5, 2010 2:58:18 PM


  19. What would be hilarious is if msnbc fired olbermann because they wanted to replace him with a more conservative pundit. It's like watching a cripple on wet ice.

    Posted by: TANK | Nov 5, 2010 3:03:13 PM


  20. @KUHNSY "I consider Olbermann the Bill O'Reilly of the Left." Nice false equivalency there. You're a shithead but you knew that: http://www.youtube.com/user/scarletbetch

    Posted by: WordsMatter | Nov 5, 2010 3:03:34 PM


  21. Good for Keith for doing what's right and contributing to the correct party. Fuck MSNBC and their hypocritical bullshit.

    Keith, go rogue and expose them for the assholes they are.

    Posted by: Bobby | Nov 5, 2010 3:07:38 PM


  22. he should not be suspended indefinitely...if he did something wrong he should pay a price but WE WANT HIM BACK!!!.. do we have to start a campaign for his reinstatement???? Should we investigate all the Fox News anchors??? lets be real! I smell something fishy here!!

    Posted by: luis | Nov 5, 2010 3:20:51 PM


  23. I'm sure that HBO or SRIUS would love to have him if NBC is going to go ape shit over it.

    Posted by: Chris | Nov 5, 2010 3:57:25 PM


  24. This is why I thought the Rally to Restore Sanity was a dumb idea from the start. Fox News and the Republicans are playing gutterball with fuck-em-hard-and-fuck-em-fast street rules and MSNBC, the Pres and little Stewie are debating whether its cricket to use the digest version of the revised Cambridge rulebook.

    Power and naked aggression, not politesse, win in politics. Which is why, as soon as the hope and change afterglow wore off, the Rethugs were positioned to take it all back.

    Posted by: Christopher | Nov 5, 2010 4:23:05 PM


  25. That MSNBC spectacle on Tuesday night went beyond the pale. Unlike Fox, which had news anchors covering the election and invited commentators to speak, MSNBC showcased four commentators as their sole coverage.

    I'm sure Mathews, Madow and the other guy are all letting messages go to voicemail today.

    Posted by: Tom | Nov 5, 2010 4:28:42 PM


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