Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Saturday, November 6, 2010


Keith Olbermann was suspended from his MSNBC "Countdown" program for donating to three Democratic candidates in the last election.  He donated to these candidates without first clearing it with his bosses at MSNBC.  That is in violation of his contract, therefore, the suspension.  As Maddow points out in her comment from last evening, MSNBC is a NEWS organization and, as such, has a policy concerning political donations for its employees.

Contrast this with FAUX News and Sean Hannity's, among others, donations to GOP candidates, in addition to FAUX News' open support (Murdoch's million dollar donations)  and promotion of the GOP and its candidates for public office.

MSNBC is a news organization, with five of its evening programs that have a liberal point of view.

FOX NOOZ is the propaganda arm of the GOP.  As my last three posts point out, FAUX perpetrates and promotes blantant lies, not to mention sloppy mistakes in identification of people and places.  There are plenty of sites on the internet that documents this fact.

If you're watching FAUX NOOZ, your watching the GOP spreading it disinformation and lies.  Good luck with that.

Here's Rachel Maddow's view on Olbermann's suspension, from today's NYTimes that contrasts MSNBC with the embarrassingly fake FAUX NOOZ:

“He made three personal political donations to candidates in this last election cycle,” she said. “The reason that resulted in Keith’s suspension is that, here at MSNBC, there is an explicit employee rule against hosts making contributions like that. You can do it if you ask in advance and management tells you ‘O.K.’ That’s what I understand what happened with our morning show host’s political donations in 2006 under previous management. But if you do not ask in advance, you are bound by the rule.”

She said, “I understand this rule. I understand what it means to break this rule. I believe that everybody should face the same treatment under this rule. I also personally believe that the point has been made and we should have Keith back hosting ‘Countdown.’ ”

Ms. Maddow said the following point had been missing in much of the coverage:

Let this incident lay to rest forever the facile, never-true-anyway, bullpucky, lazy conflation of Fox News and what the rest of us do for a living. I know everybody likes to say, “Oh, that’s cable news. It’s all the same. Fox News and MSNBC, mirror images of each other.”

Let this lay that to rest forever. Hosts on Fox raise money on the air for Republican candidates. They endorse them explicitly; they use their Fox News profile to headline fund-raisers. Heck, there are multiple people being paid by Fox News now essentially to run as presidential candidates. If you count not just their hosts but their contributors, you are looking at a significant portion of the whole lineup of Republican presidential contenders for 2012. They can do that because there’s no rule against that at Fox. They run as a political operation. We’re not.

Yes, Keith’s a liberal, and so am I, and there are other people on this network whose political views are shared openly with you, our beloved viewers. But we are not a political operation. Fox is. We are a news operation. And the rules around here are part of how you know that."

Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) issued a statement on Olbermann's suspension:

“It is outrageous that General Electric/MSNBC would suspend Keith Olbermann for exercising his constitutional rights to contribute to a candidate of his choice. This is a real threat to political discourse in America and will have a chilling impact on every commentator for MSNBC.

“We live in a time when 90 percent of talk radio is dominated by right-wing extremists, when the Republican Party has its own cable network (Fox) and when progressive voices are few and far between.

“At a time when the ownership of Fox news contributed millions of dollars to the Republican Party, when a number of Fox commentators are using the network as a launching pad for their presidential campaigns and are raising money right off the air, it is absolutely unacceptable that MSNBC suspended one of the most popular progressive commentators in the country.

“Is Rachel Maddow or Ed Schultz next? Is this simply a ‘personality conflict’ within MSNBC or is one of America’s major corporations cracking down on a viewpoint they may not like? Whatever the answer may be, Keith Olbermann should be reinstated immediately and allowed to present his point of view.”


Anonymous said...

MSNBC is a "NEWS" organization? LMAO!!! Are you freaking kidding me? LMAO!!!yeah right. i would rather get my "news" from the Disney channel if MSNBC is a "news" channel.

TAO said...

So, it isn't really that you cannot make political contributions as an employee of just have to make ones that NBC approves of...

libhom said...

NBC employees who give money to Republicans are good, as far as management is concerned. Have you seen this Action Alert from FAIR?

If Olbermann's Donations Are Bad, What About GE's?? It also addresses Comcast's political contributions.

Leslie Parsley said...

Anon Ass aside (where do these asshats come from?), I've been ambivalent about this whole episode. At first I applauded NBC, then supported KO - but not totally - but I'm back in NBC's corner 100 percent. Hell, if Independents can do it, so can I.

Had this guy simply gone to management and received their blessing, the whole Blogosphere wouldn't be in an uproar. He broke a rule, period. Worst of all the news outlet he has been so critical of for this very thing can now make fodder out of him.

Given KO's flair for theatre, I'm getting suspicious of a PR stunt, as Menopausal Stoners implies.

As Rachel says, NBC's decision to suspend KO is what separates them from the chicanery and lies at FOX.

Charlene said...

KO broke the rule or his contract, whichever hyperbole you believe, and he'd gone [temporarily] and will be back. I watch him a couple times a week. I only watch him in that time slot, so if we're stuck with some one else acceptable to the former fund raiser for GW [Comcast boss], I'll be reading a book until Rachel comes on at 9 p.m.

As to anonymous ass hats, let them skulk about pretending to be something they are not. No one cares about anonymous opinion, do they?

Anonymous said...

This is completely overblown! Keith has every right under the constitution to contribute money to whomever he wishes - #1.
#2 - If he does not openly express his contribution to the public or anyone, then it shouldn't be anyone choice as to whether he should or should not - it's his decision.
REINSTATE KEITH! He brings clarity, open and honest input in a time when the GOP radio stations everywhere (and theres more of them than liberal by far) spread their lies, untruths and injustifications throughout our country; hence planting their "fear seed" in those who listen to them.
Keith, Rachel, Ed are all upstanding people, ready to dig into the truths about stories, rather than creating news (to benefit their cause no doubt) like FAUX NOOZE.

Leslie Parsley said...

Anon II - maybe. You are simply wrong. Contracts are binding and he doesn't have the right to break one anymore than anyone else. If, as some have hinted, this is a PR stunt or manufactured news, then he's really out of bounds. Not only is it entirely unethical journalistically, he's sinking to the level of FOX News. Our rights do not come without responsibilities.

Shaw Kenawe said...

To Anon I,

If you can link to a report showing that MSNBC deliberately reported a lie and passed it off as news--this is what FAUX NOOZ did on the nonIndia trip story-- please come back and show us here. I challenge you.

I've heard Maddow and other correct themselves when what they've reported has been found to be inaccurate.

I've NEVER seen them report a rumor as news.

FAUX just did that again. A news organization doesn't do that. FAUX is not a news organization.

"Terrorist fist bump" remember that idiotic "non-biased" report by some blond airhead on FAUX?

And the Sherrod fiasco that FAUX kept pushing as news until they were forced to admit that Breitbart's tape was dishonest and the real story on Sherrod was exactly the opposite of what FAUX was trying to push as true?

Either you're brain dead or just unable to engage in critical thinking. IOW, a typical FAUX NOOZ fan.

Arthurstone said...

Journalism quote of the day. Editor to reporter.

'We dont care if you f**k the elephant as long as you don't cover the circus.'

dmarks said...

Anon: "This is completely overblown! Keith has every right under the constitution to contribute money to whomever he wishes - #1."

And MSNBC has the right to fire him for it. However, I think the contract should not have been signed by Olbermann. Who let this one slip through? Why would Olbermann be stupid enough to sign a contract and break it? Don't worry. Soon enough he will be back on the air with his lies, untruths and injustifications, and such stupidity as calling people "the worst person in the world" for defeating him in the ratings, while mass murderers and despots never make the list.

Anon said:

"MSNBC is a "NEWS" organization?"

You and Shaw like to claim that news organizations are not news organizations if they don't slant your way. By the way, if you get your news from ABC, you ARE getting it from the Disney Channel.

As for the terrorist fist bump, I remember it mainly being promoted on the cover of the New Yorker magazine: which is hardly like Fox (which is bashed for not having the left-wing bias of CNN, MSNBC, etc)

K. said...

I wonder where Anon gets his news? Please tell me it's Fox so that I can write "Fox is a 'NEWS' organization? LMAO!!! Are you freaking kidding me? LMAO!!!yeah right. i would rather get my "news" from the Disney channel if Fox is a 'news' channel."

I wonder about the legality of the clause, but I'm no lawyer.We all sign contracts and agreements with clauses that are legally unenforceable. For example, anyone getting surgery waives a right to sue, but that's never stopped a a judge from hearing a case or a jury from making malpractice awards.

Morally and practically, the clause is lame. Since the Supreme Court has allowed unrestricted corporate campaign donations, the clause in effect permits NBC to make contributions while preventing its employees from participating in what the SC says is the democratic process. That's flatly wrong, and to the extent that Olberman's actions fall into the civil disobedience camp they are totally justified.

Plus, Anon has a point, sort of: While MSNBC might be able to lay claim to being a news organization, Keith Olberman can't and wouldn't. An official policy that claims otherwise is an obvious sham that undermines MSNBC's credibility.

I'm looking at the big picture: An articulate voice of liberalism has been muffled for doing something that millions of his fellow citizens (and businesses) have the right to do and that foreign corporations probably do do. MSNBC, man up and put Keith back on the air.

dmarks said...

K, you do make a pretty good point. The recent Supreme Court ruling which once again made it legal for people to criticize those in power does have implications, so maybe that contract was not legit. But did Olbermann sign it knowing it might not be legit, or did he just kind of fluff it and sign it without knowing what was in it?

K. said...

It has never been illegal for people to criticize the government.

A corporation is a paper entity whose existence depends on the will of the people. It has no inalienable rights: If the American people wished it, corporations could be legislated out of existence tomorrow.

A corporation is not sentient and has no awareness of its existence. It cannot be conceived in any biological sense, nor can it perish in any biological sense. It has no ethical sense nor any means of acquiring one.

Politically, it has no voting rights nor any prospect of obtaining them. There is no possibility that a corporation will act in any interest other than its own: A corporation cannot be relied upon at any time under any circumstances to set aside its interests on behalf of the nation.

And no matter what the free marketeers say, corporate interests do not by definition align with the national interest.

I have worked for several corporations, two of which are great companies by any definition. I had a successful career and appreciate the benefits of capitalism. That being said, nothing in my experience would lead me to confuse a corporation with a human being.

Look at it this way: The Supreme Court has also agreed that a woman has a right to an abortion at any time during the first six months of pregnancy. Yet few would disagree that a zygote has a closer relationship to humanity than British Petroleum.

dmarks said...

K said: "It has never been illegal for people to criticize the government."

Actually, it has, The overturned campaign "finance" laws did just this.

Under these laws, people were censored, in flagrant violation of the First Amendment, if they had membership in corporations or unions. The censorship was applied inconsistently. The New York Times, after all, is a corporation, and yet there were no restrictions on the members of this one from speaking out.

I disagree with the part of the ruling that speaks of personhood for corporations. I agre wholeheartedly with the anti-censorship part.

K. said...

I just received this:

Statement To The Viewers Of Countdown

I want to sincerely thank you for the honor of your extraordinary and ground-rattling support.

Your efforts have been integral to the remedying of these recent events, and the results should remind us of the power of individuals spontaneously acting together to correct injustices great or small.

...I also wish to apologize to you viewers for having precipitated such anxiety and unnecessary drama. You should know that I mistakenly violated an inconsistently applied rule – which I previously knew nothing about -- that pertains to the process by which such political contributions are approved by NBC.

Certainly this mistake merited a form of public acknowledgment and/or internal warning, and an on-air discussion about the merits of limitations on such campaign contributions by all employees of news organizations.

Instead, after my representative was assured that no suspension was contemplated, I was suspended without a hearing, and learned of that suspension through the media.

You should also know that I did not attempt to keep any of these political contributions secret; I knew they would be known to you and the rest of the public. I did not make them through a relative, friend, corporation, PAC, or any other intermediary, and I did not blame them on some kind of convenient 'mistake' by their recipients.

When a website contacted NBC about one of the donations, I immediately volunteered that there were in fact three of them; and contrary to much of the subsequent reporting, I immediately volunteered to explain all this, on-air and off, in the fashion MSNBC desired.

I genuinely look forward to rejoining you on Countdown on Tuesday, to begin the repayment of your latest display of support and loyalty - support and loyalty that is truly mutual.