Nation editor Chris Hayes will not be subbing for Keith Olbermann after all. I posted earlier that he was disinvited but, that was incorrect. Hayes tweeted: "OK: I'm not filling in on Countdown tonight because I didn't feel comfortable doing it given the circumstances."
MSNBC announced that Hayes would be filling in for Olbermann, then a few hours later it announced that he wouldn't be subbing after all. Somewhere in the interim, the Village Voice Runnin' Scared blog reported that Hayes had also given to campaigns. The Voice still maintains that Hayes was suspended.
Olbermann ostensibly got suspended because NBC News bars its employees from political giving. Hayes is a frequent guest on MSNBC and he has subbed for Rachel Maddow, but it's unlikely that he's a network employee. If not, his previous political giving is irrelevant. Looks like we have our answer: Hayes also tweeted, "My not hosting tonight has *nothing* to do with several donations I made to two friends *before* I ever signed an MSNBC contract".
It appears that MSNBC's rules are enforced selectively. Conservative MSNBC host Joe Scarborough donates with impunity, ostensibly because he's a commentator rather than a journalist.
An unnamed source told Gawker that MSNBC doesn't hold its hosts to NBC News rules anyway:
"The standards department has told us that MSNBC doesn't answer to NBC News standards," the insider said. "They don't have coverage over MSNBC. They used to, back before MSNBC went political, but at some point it became too hard and MSNBC was taken out of their portfolio. As far as I know, there are no ethical standards at MSNBC. And if NBC says MSNBC is supposed to be living up to the NBC News standards, that's a preposterous lie." [Gawker]
It's an anonymous source talking to Gawker, so take it with a grain of salt. But it's hard to imagine how MSNBC could have been holding Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow to NBC News standards of impartiality all this time. Like Hayes, Olbermann and Maddow are proud opinion journalists.
[Photo credit: Lindsay Beyerstein]