Friday, November 5, 2010
Clown Keith Olbermann Suspended
The statement from Phil Griffin, President of MSNBC:
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 host Keith Olberman made campaign contributions to Democrats, one of whom appeared on his program, "Countdown with Keith Olbermann."
Olbermann donated the maximum allowable amount to failed Democratic Senate candidate Jack Conway in Kentucky and Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona. Olbermann donated to the Arizona lawmakers on Oct. 28 - the same day Grijalva appeared on Olbermann's show. Grijalva won another term, while Giffords appears to be leading in her race for re-election. Conway lost his Senate bid to Republican Rand Paul.
In a statement to Politico, Olbermann said, "One week ago, on the night of Thursday October 28 2010, after a discussion with a friend about the state of politics in Arizona, I donated $2,400 each to the reelection campaigns of Democratic Representatives Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords. I also donated the same amount to the campaign of Democratic Senatorial candidate Jack Conway in Kentucky." Olbermann went on to say he "did not privately or publicly encourage anyone else to donate to these campaigns, nor to any others in this election or any previous ones, nor have I previously donated to any political campaign at any level."
The news comes in the wake of Olbermann's harsh criticism of Fox News parent company News Corp., which donated to Republican-leaning groups. MSNBC president Phil Griffin also issued an open challenge in light of the News Corp. donations, saying to The New York Times in October, "Show me an example of us fundraising."
Olbermann's personal donations may violate NBC's ethics policy. The network, which declined to comment for Politico's report, has a rule against "anyone working for NBC News" donating to political campaigns without the permission of the president of NBC News or his designee. It is unclear whether NBC News president Steve Capus granted that permission to Olbermann.
Olbermann started as host of "Countdown" in 2003 and, since then, has steered the show to the ideological left. It has tripled MSNBC's ratings at 8 p.m., and the cable network has followed Olbermann's lead, drifting further to the left in its commentary.
The news of Olbermann's donation has been met with a relative yawn by at least one conservative. Ed Morrissey of Hot Air writes, "Let's not pretend that this somehow proves Olbermann's bias. Despite NBC's insistence on calling Olbermann a news anchor, he's one of the most obvious opinionaters in the cable news industry."