On Friday, NBC News suspended firebrand anchor Keith Olbermann after learning that he had violated the network's ethics policy by donating $2,400 each to three Democratic candidates (Jack Conway, Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords) during the midterm election cycle.
"I became aware of Keith's political contributions late last night," Phil Griffin, president of MSNBC, said in a statement. "Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay."
As word spread of Olbermann's punishment, several commentators and news colleagues weighed-in with thoughts.
At the liberal blog Talking Points Memo, David Kurtz asked whether others might also be let go as a result of the policy:
At the Washington Monthly, meanwhile, Steve Benen points out that compared to Fox News' contributions to Republican candidates, Olbermann's donations seem a tad paltry:If MSNBC president Phil Griffin is going to suspend every on-air personality who violated the company's policy against making political contributions, we may be seeing a lot of new faces on the air.
Over at the right-leaning website Hot Air, Ed Morrissey got a chuckle over the news that Olbermann was being suspended.But before Olbermann's critics get on their high horse, a little context seems appropriate. The MSNBC host donated a total of $7,200 in checks to help three candidates. He did so in his personal capacity; he disclosed his contributions; and did not encourage others to support these campaigns.
At the same time, News Corp. made multiple undisclosed donations to the Republican Governors Association, totaling at least $1.25 million, in addition to a $1 million contribution to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for its pro-Republican election-year activities. Fox News has helped GOP candidates raise money on the air; Fox News personalities are featured guests at Republican fundraisers; while other Fox News personalities continue to help generate financial support for Republican candidates now, even after the elections.
Meanwhile, on Twitter "Keith Olbermann" quickly became a trending topic, and the tweets flew fast and furious about the man who fashioned himself as a modern-day Edward R. Murrow.The more I think about this, the more ridiculous it gets. MSNBC offers the most ridiculously biased [television] coverage of politics possible, crowning it with Election Night coverage that had people wondering if NBC needed to hire grief and anger counseling for the entire on-air staff. And now, because Olbermann contributed to three Democrats last month, suddenly Griffin suspends him because "these activities jeopardize his or her standing as an impartial journalist because they may create the appearance of a conflict of interest"?
As if Keith Olbermann needed *another* reason to get sanctimonious.
Tonight on "Countdown Without Keith Olbermann," MSNBC will countdown its primetime ratings to zero.
@msnbc What part of Keith Olbermann is a liberal escaped you all this time? You have no right to control an employees private life.
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