The latest casualty of the Tuesday’s election is,… Keith Olbermann?
Seems Olbermann violated NBC’s ethics rules by donating money to political candidates, Democrats, of course. Olbermann gave $2,400, the maximum contribution allowed for an individual contribution to a candidate, to Representatives Raul Grijalva, Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, and Attorney General Jack Conway of Kentucky.
Olbermann, who acknowledged making the donations, has been suspended indefinitely.
“Keith Olbermann, the pre-eminent liberal voice on American television, was suspended Friday after his employer, MSNBC, discovered that he made campaign contributions to three Democrats last month.”
“The indefinite suspension was a stark display of the clash between objective journalism and opinion journalism on television.”
“The MSNBC president, Phil Griffin, issued a statement saying: ‘I became aware of Keith’s political contributions late last night. Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay.’ ”
I am certainly not a fan of Mr. Olbermann, that being said, I find myself in the unfamiliar and uncomfortable position of having to defend him. The fact of the matter is that NBC’s ethics policy is presumably in place to protect NBC’s image as an unbiased and objective news organization. Very few individuals are so blind as to think of NBC’s news reporting as ‘objective and unbiased’, and certainly no one could make that claim on Olbermann’s behalf and maintain a straight face.
News Corporation, the parent company of Fox News has made substantial donations to the GOP, but they have also donated substantially to Democrats. Fox News allows its employees and contributors, as private citizens, to donate time and money to political campaigns and causes, why shouldn’t Olbermann be allowed the same freedom?
If NBC is concerned about the public perception of its journalistic objectivity, perhaps they should stop trying to appear unbiased and objective, and actually be unbiased and objective. Perhaps then they will be able to allow their employees to act according to their own conscience as private citizens.