As written into his contract with MSNBC which bars political contributions that may indicate a lack of journalistic integrity, for having made $7,200 of political contributions to three Democratic candidates, Keith Olbermann has been suspended indefinitely without pay. This is in marked contrast to MSNBC’s treatment of Joe Scarborough, who in 2006 donated $4200 to a Republican candidate and received no punishment when the fact came to light as Scarborough “hosts an opinion program and is not a news reporter”. It is also in contrast to MSNBC’s chief rival FOX News’ treatment of Sean Hannity for donating $5000 to Mayor Crazy of Crazyland USA, Michelle Bachmann. And it is in contrast to MSNBC’s parent company GE:
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, GE made over $2 million in political contributions in the 2010 election cycle (most coming from the company’s political action committee). The top recipient was Republican Senate candidate Rob Portman from Ohio. The company has also spent $32 million on lobbying this year, and contributed over $1 million to the successful “No on 24” campaign against a California ballot initiative aimed at eliminating tax loopholes for major corporations (New York Times, 11/1/10).
So the message here, from the execs at MSNBC: it’s okay if you’re a Republican, offering money to Republicans, or if you’re lobbying to keep from having to pay taxes (probably roughly the same as the amount you just spent on lobbying, coincidentally enough!) to the government.
Keith Olbermann, however, is held to a different standard. Despite being derided constantly as a “far-left Bill O’Reilly”, and thus nothing better than an opinion show host, by every asshole on the right that thinks there’s some measure of equivalency between the effluence coming from O’Reilly’s mouth nightly, and the occasional moment of actual journalism you get from KO.
Fair.org also provides ways to take action:
Ask NBC and MSNBC to explain their inconsistent standards regarding political donations.
NBC News President
Phone: (212) 664-4444
I don’t have a dog in this fight, as a Canuck. But as an outsider looking in, I have no problem with pointing my American readers in the right direction.