Olbermann suspended from MSNBC after violating network’s policies and standards

Short and sweet. After contributing the maximum allowed ($2,400) to Jack Conway(D), and to Arizona Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Gabrielle Giffords(D-Ariz.), Keith Olbermann – aka Bathtub Boy – has been suspended indefinitely from MSNBC for violating company rules.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air noted NBC rules concerning political donations absolutely applied to commentators as well as journalists at the network. So we were waiting to see what NBC would do. Phil Griffin, president of MSNBC suspended Olbermann indefinitely without pay this afternoon.

Here is the post from the MSNBC website post, that listed newsroom policies concerning political donations back in 2007.

Anyone working for NBC News who takes part in civic or other outside activities may find that these activities jeopardize his or her standing as an impartial journalist because they may create the appearance of a conflict of interest.  Such activities may include participation in or contributions to political campaigns or groups that espouse controversial positions.  You should report any such potential conflicts in advance to, and obtain prior approval of, the President of NBC News or his designee.

Certainly, viewers of Olbermann’s program know exactly where he is coming from, so the donations are not a surprise and quite honestly it does not bother me one bit. MSNBC set the standard for their employees, and by all rights they had to suspend Olbermann or their company policies – all of them, concerning anything – would mean nothing.

Big Journalism and Founding Bloggers also writing.

To add something more to this post … Yesterday, Stu Bykofsky over at Philly.com wrote a column concerning the “fair and balanced” comparison between Olbermann and Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly. Bykofsky took the time to review guests on the pundit’s shows and measure what side of the aisle each of them came from. Guests were rated right, neutral or left.

Granted, this is a one week period prior to an election and compares only one show from each network. But during the Oct. 25 – 29 time frame …

“The O’Reilly Factor” welcomed 20 guests from the right, 11 from the left and seven who were neutral. Left and neutral voices combined almost equaled those from the right.

“Countdown with Keith Olbermann” had 20 guests from the left, two neutral and not a single voice from the right. Zero voices of dissent.

So, if you never want to hear anyone challenge liberal views, lock in on Olbermann. While progressives disdain Fox’s claim of being “fair and balanced,” “The O’Reilly Factor” does present opposing views. O’Reilly will cut them off in midsentence, true, but he even does that to people who agree with him. (Shock therapy might help.) Olbermann seems unable to even listen to anything other than progressive orthodoxy.

If the tea party wants a “theocracy for white males,” as he said, Olbermann could be an imam. He offered a paltry four women among his 22 talking heads, 18 percent. (Wasn’t Joy Behar available?) Only two African Americans got face time.

O’Reilly had three African Americans and scattered 18 women among his 38 guests, for 47 percent. (Don’t expect NOW to give him an award.) O’Reilly had three Hispanic-surnamed guests; Olbermann had two.

When it comes to their sources of news, too many Americans live in “silos,” protected from contrary views. We’d do better, learn a bit more, by listening to some opposing ideas.

You get that from Fox’s O’Reilly, not MSNBC’s Olbermann.

23 replies
  1. winnie888
    winnie888 says:

    rofl hysterically…Glad to see Olbermann finally pegged as the biased jerk-face he is.  And suspended without pay is even better. (humming Cindi Lauper's "true colors" as I type this…:) )


  2. Dimsdale
    Dimsdale says:

    His "standing as an impartial journalist" aside (wait, I have to stop laughing and catch my breath!), can't he understand his contract?  Or can't his agent explain it to him in simple terms?  My union always tells me to consult the contract.


    Maybe he is getting on the "negate contracts" bus with Øbama.  In the front of the bus, of course.

  3. Wind
    Wind says:

    Winnie, Dim…my sides are hurting from laughing.  I have this picture in my head, ( I will have to draw it out) of Olby in his classic burial 3 piece suit on the corner selling pencils and broken Obama memoradelia…hahah..hohoh  oh my ….

  4. TomL
    TomL says:

    I can't stand the guy but he should be able to contribute to whomever he choses. His producers should be making sure he balances his shows with guests from both sides. If the conservatives don't want to then that's their problem.

  5. Tim-in-Alabama
    Tim-in-Alabama says:

    Keith Ogreman is the voice of the D-baggers, First he gets fired from Sunday Night Football and now this. I think he actually was suspended for his boorish, unprofessional behavior election night and his weak ratings overall. There are usually other issues at play when they suspend or fire a D-bagger like him, but this provided a clearcut violation of company policy. Perhaps, too, they hope he quits.

  6. chris-os
    chris-os says:

    Since you bring up Fox News in this blog post, Steve, here is what Maddow has said over this suspension.

    "Hosts on Fox News raise money for Republican candidates. They endorse them explicitly, they use their Fox News profile to headline fundraisers. Heck, there are multiple people being paid by Fox News now to essentially run for office as Republican candidates….They can do that because there's no rule against that as Fox. They run as a political operation; we're not."

  7. djt
    djt says:

    if olberman broke the network rule, which he must have know about, he should have been fired. having said that, its a stupid rule. how is giving $$ much different than cheerleading for them every night.

    the philly.com article included something else of interest from above:"When it comes to their sources of news, too many Americans live in “silos,” protected from contrary views. We’d do better, learn a bit more, by listening to some opposing ideas."

    Talk radio, as well as some cable channels, would be much more informative if it followed that advice.

  8. Steve M
    Steve M says:

    Maddow and Griffin can say all they want about MSNBC not running as a "political operation." It's an absolute lie. Why even pretend to be what they are not? MSNBC hosts promoted liberal candidates pre-election allowing them to ask for donations and promote websites. Maddow's quote puts forward the ridiculous argument MSNBC somehow is "better" than Fox and they don't do what they clearly do all the time. She's insane.

  9. winnie888
    winnie888 says:

    Yeah, Maddow is my choice for accurate reporting…haahahaahhaaaaaaa!

    And ever notice that certain contract rules are stupid to lefties?  That Fox does not include the same rules in their contracts as NPR and MSNBC does not make them a political operation.  Unless of course, that argument applies to all the lefty organizations that actually flaunt their biases.

  10. chris-os
    chris-os says:


    Neither Fox nor MSNBC are "sources of news". the hosts on both networks are advocacy journalists, not reporters. The difference is that Fox tells it's viewers it is news and it is "fair and balanced". And some people buy that!

    You have to watch both networks to see both sides, sadly most don't.

    (I do, ummm with the exception of Beck-I tried-omg, I can't do that show.)

    I agree, he broke his employers rule, he should be fired.

    Fox donated millions of dollars of real money and millions more as in-kind donations via Hannity and others, and neither Murdoch nor any of the commentators suffered any consequences.

    Bottom line, shines a bright light on the difference in the professional ethics of Fox and MSNBC.


  11. NH-Jim
    NH-Jim says:

    Chris, if Olbermann murdered kittens live on stage, you would be in here defending him.  Or, at least, try to redirect the argument toward what tool he used to nix them.


    When a rule is set by a network, by a mandate, by the Constitution, you folks believe that it is moldable after the fact.  <a title="Alcee Hastings – Ain't no rules" href="http://sweetness-light.com/archive/hastings-we-make-the-rules-up-as-we-go&quot; rel="nofollow">"All this talk about rules; we make 'em up as we go along…..Thea ain't no rules around hea, we're tryin to accomplish sumthin."


    You lefties……………..

  12. Dimsdale
    Dimsdale says:

    "You have to watch both networks to see both sides, sadly most don’t."


    See?  You admit there is a reason to watch Fox!!  Now you need to explain why most people stay there.

  13. Steve M
    Steve M says:

    Uhh. chris-os said she thought MSNBC did the right thing by suspending Olbermann. She's complaining about Fox using the "fair and balanced" banner. That argument could go on for ever and ever…

  14. April Lynn
    April Lynn says:

    More of the same blame game, BHO has taught them well, except the majority is not buying what they are selling.  People know the difference of opinion commentary and what reporting news/information should be.  Election night example:

    Fox had anchors Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly instead of opinion hosts.  Fox’s group of left commentators were Juan Williams, Joe Trippi, Bob Beckel, Geraldine Ferraro and Kirsten Powers and others.  MSNBC’s lineup was an ALL out left nightly hosts, Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell.  You can't watch CNN & MSNBC and get other views besides Chris Matthews being arrogant/rude to Republican wins across the country.  I believe a Times reporter said "MSNBC was wearing their "lean Forward" label on their sleeves".  What is going to be funny is the American people proved on election night that Americans want a more "center" view of govt. (except CT of course *ahem*).  I think we will be seeing some of these liberal commentators "leaning center" (meanwhile contradicting everything they have said for the past 2 years). No wonder Jon Stewart has been getting more attention – comedy.

    On election night FOX averaged 6.96 million viewers, while CNN 2.42 million and MSNBC 1.94 million for their election night coverage.  Soros and MSNBC aren't ignoring this as much as they'd like too.

    Olberman should have been fired a long time ago, I imagine he will be the next host on The View, he would certainly fit in.

  15. Randall Avery
    Randall Avery says:

    This action against Olbermann shows how upside down the corporate mind is.  It pays Olbermann millions of dollars per year, and affords him an hour every evening, at a broadcast cost of many additional millions of dollars, to provide FREE, UNQUESTIONING support for any big government Democrat.  To the extent that he is a "journalist," no one can question who's side he's on, as his show is almost exclusively his own personal political and social commentary. 

    So, removing him from the air for making his own personal financial contributions, which themselves alone are necessarily much more puny than the value of his daily hectoring on behalf of socialistic causes, is beyond absurd.  Even Kafka's head would explode trying to understand this form of logic – welcome to the world of American "independent journalism." 

    If NBC is serious, Olbermann can become a college journalism professor!

  16. sammy22
    sammy22 says:

    I find it amusing that Olbermann is getting all this attention. He is the symptom of the "disease" that is afflicting the cable channels and radio shows. It works well to offer up a sacrificial lamb. Then the rest of the "pundits" of any political persuasion can keep on serving up their points of view.

  17. PatRiot
    PatRiot says:

    Keith making donations??   I thought he was paid well – silver coins eh – to spew and spin for the left.

    Of course NBC would have the " no donations" policy.  This is called plausible deniability.  Though the web gets stickier in the omnipresent fact that they overtly spin and fail to journalistically investigate and watch dog.    Personal observation – Dems disguise how they screw us Americans,  Repubs tell us derectly.

    Media, like most elected officials, have squandered their supposed power for a few bucks. 

    See what happens when you put party/money/fame before principle and what works best for America!

    Regarding fair and balanced.  I think liberals understand that their liberal title is being usurped by the progressives.  That progressives do not represent the liberal's – "lets consider all the facts" stance.

  18. RoBrDona
    RoBrDona says:

    I see NBC trying hard to distance itself from MSNBC and its public persona as a Progressive attack dog. I flipped over to watch some of their election coverage and it was truly despicable. Their ratings are in the toilet, and I have to believe that from Jeff Zucker on down, they were looking for ANY reason to deep-six Olbie to lend some vague credence that they are still a viable news organization. The actual offense, as mentioned above, is rather minimal.    

  19. JollyRoger
    JollyRoger says:

    I thought Olbie was completely insane when I saw him ranting for Bush to resign and then he signed off every night with a venomous and paranoid, "Good Night and Good Luck!". I think the insanity is related to advanced Syphilis, bed wetting, incontinence and walking around all day in wet shoes!

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