November 5, 2010

Keith Olbermann Suspended Without Pay by MSNBC

NBC president Phil Griffin indefinitely suspended Keith Olbermann.  Griffin wrote,
Became aware of Keith’s political contributions late last night. Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay.”
Olbermann acknowledged to NBC that he donated $2,400 apiece to the campaigns of Kentucky Senate candidate Jack Conway and Arizona Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords.  He didn't think it was a big deal because he never told others, either privately or publicly, to make donations.

However, Olbermann didn't get prior approval for the donation.  NBC News prohibits its employees from working on, or donating to, political campaigns unless a special exception is granted by the news division president -- effectively a ban. Olbermann's bosses did not find out about the donations until after they were made.

The policy seems stupid.  There is nothing illegal about making a donation ... so why should an employee be penalized for doing so.

On another level, it seems hypocritical because one of the major news networks (Fox) gave $1 million dollars to the Republican Governors Association without any consequence.   Yet, a major news network is suspending, without pay, one of their commentators for giving $2,400 to three candidates?

Progressives took a shellacking during the mid-term elections on Tuesday.   Now it appears that some progressives are being eaten alive in the aftermath.

If this isn't resolved quickly then I don't see how or why Keith Olbermann comes back to the network.   Like Conan or Juan Williams ... it seems likely that another network may make a lucrative offer to Olbermann.

In the meantime, the call for a boycott of MSNBC has already been made by at least one progressive organization.


Reggie said...

I'm quite sure that Mr. Olbermann was well aware of the network's policy.

Big Mama said...

I signed a petition yesterday, and
put this on my FB page. MSNBC is biting a hand that feeds them! He
is a such a special journalist.

Unknown said...

I must agree the policy itself is idiotic. Our job should not infringe upon our rights to be active citizens. Yes, as a journalist he is required to be balanced and fair that's his job. Forbidding journalists from donating or as the article cites voluntarily refraining from voting does not make them less biased. We are all biased but professionals are able to do their job without bias hindering them.

Unknown said...

The only bad part about this is that they got to get rid of Olbermann for something like this and not just because 1. He’s the “worst person” on tv and 2. His ratings are horrible.
But if that keeps his smug countenance from making any guest appearances on Sunday Night Football, I’m a happy guy!
I wonder if Rachel Madcow and Chris Tingle will stand in solidarity?

Unknown said...

Reggie - Olbermann indicates that he was unaware of the network's policy ... also that he was suspended without a hearing from the network.

Iya - Your voice was heard. Keith is back!

Karen - One thing that I've never thought was Keith Olbermann as being UNbiased. He is as obviously biased towards his end of the political spectrum as Glenn Beck is towards the other end. Anyhow, I'm glad that Keith is back on the JOB!

Bryan - Keith is BACK and Rachel Maddow stood in solidarity for him while he was under suspension.