Keith Olbermann Suspended for Political Contributions

MSNBC host Keith Olbermann has been suspended indefinitely without pay after Politico reported that he made campaign contributions to progressive Democrats:


Olbermann made campaign contributions to two Arizona members of Congress and failed Kentucky Senate candidate Jack Conway ahead of Tuesday’s election.

Olbermann, who acknowledged the contributions in a statement to POLITICO, made the maximum legal donations of $2,400 apiece to Conway and to Arizona Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords. He donated to the Arizona pair on Oct. 28 — the same day that Grijalva appeared as a guest on Olbermann’s “Countdown” show. [POLITICO]

NBC News forbids journalists to donate to political campaigns. So, I guess they've got Olbermann dead to rights. What was he thinking? These donations are matters of public record. Anyone with an internet connection can find them at FEC.gov or OpenSecrets. 

I hope MSNBC doesn't fire him over this. A brief unpaid suspension and a public apology would be a fair punishment.

Of course, the right wing will howl for Olbermann's termination. The GOP is ascendant and the blood is in the water. 

Firing Olbermann would be a ridiculous overreaction. Nobody is under any illusions that Keith Olbermann is politically neutral. MSNBC hired him to be the liberal host of a liberal show. He's a pundit as well as a newsman.

Update: As kos points out, conservative MSNBC host Joe Scarborough is allowed to give to political candidates because he's classified as a commentator rather than as a journalist. Olbermann is an opinion journalist par excellence. His signature feature is called "Special Comment."

[Photo credit: Sqrpix, Creative Commons.]

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