Inside Keith Olbermann's Ouster
Apparently, there is finally enough proof that Keith Olbermann is biased in favor of liberals. So much so, that MSNBC has suspended their marquee host indefinitely and without pay.
The official reason for punishing Olbermann, according to MSNBC brass, is that he violated rules by donating $2,400 to each of three candidates.
The donations, made Oct. 28, went to Arizona Representatives Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords and Kentucky candidate for senator Jack Conway. Conway lost to Rand Paul, Grijalva won and the Giffords race was so close it hasn't been called yet. All three recipients of Olbermann's money are Democrats.
Around the time Olbermann was giving him money, Grijalva was a guest on "Countdown With Keith Olbermann." Among the topics: favors for political donations.
Olbermann is aware that the mere appearance of a conflict of interest can be harmful, which is why he doesn't vote, much to the chagrin of the ladies of "The View."
"I don't vote," he said while a guest on the show two years ago. "It's the only thing I can do that suggests even that I don't have a horse in the race."
But Olbermann's show is all about criticizing conservatives and promoting progressives, so it probably doesn't bother his audience that he also supports them monetarily. It does, though, bother MSNBC president Phil Griffin.
"I became aware of Keith's political contributions late last night," Griffin said. "Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay."
But journalists make political donations all the time, according to a msnbc.com investigative report. Its list contains the names of 143 professional journalists who made campaign contributions for a three-year period ending in 2007. Eighty-seven percent of the donations went to Democrats.
MSNBC host Joe Scarborough is on the list, as is a correspondent for Dateline, a senior editor with TodayShow.com and others at NBC.
NBC said Scarborough had permission beforehand and that, since the study, "we have recommitted ourselves to following these important standards."
A spokesman had no comment about the other NBC journalists on the list, nor would he discuss recent political donations from Larry Kudlow and other CNBC personalities that were made after NBC "recommitted" themselves to stricter guidelines.
Anyway you slice it, chatter that MSNBC is being inconsistent with its policy because it is looking for an excuse to yank Olbermann off the air is inevitable.
Olbermann has been controversial on numerous occasions during his so-far seven-year-run as host of "Countdown."
Most memorable, perhaps, are his rants against News Corp. head Rupert Murdoch and his on-air feud with Bill O'Reilly, who says on a regular basis that Olbermann is destroying the NBC brand.
That feud peaked last year when Jesse Watters, an ambush journalist with "The O'Reilly Factor," infiltrated the shareholders meeting of GE, NBC's parent company. Once inside, Watters zeroed in on an episode of "Countdown" where guest Janeane Garofalo maligned Republicans, and he asked GE chief executive Jeffrey Immelt to condemn the "hate speech."
Olbermann's suspension comes as Comcast gets ready to take control of NBC Universal, and some insiders have speculated that Comcast isn't happy that Olbermann has become the face of MSNBC. The suspension, therefore, is a first move in lessening the leftward slant of the network.
O'Reilly, a competitor, even broached the subject during his show Wednesday, saying: "Comcast takes over soon and I think they're gonna change that whole thing over there. That's what we hear."
During that same segment, guest Bernie Goldberg, formerly of CBS News, said that MSNBC had "jumped the shark" with its Tuesday election coverage from "five liberal commentators... having some fun at Republicans' expense."
"I thought I was watching 'The View' without Elizabeth Hasselbeck," Goldberg said.