MSNBC Suspends Olbermann

When I heard that Keith Olbermann had made several campaign contributions this year, it bugged me, but I sort of pushed it aside. Ah, he’s a pundit, I figured, it’s not like we don’t know where he stands. But it looks like he has run afoul of his bosses this time (or rather, once again…).

“I became aware of Keith’s political contributions late last night,” Phil Griffin, President of MSNBC, said in a statement. “Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay.”

OK. But this next quote seems to illustrate why this may be a bit of trying to stuff the cat back into the bag after allowing it to grow to beastly and feral proportions.

“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,” it says. “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.”

My emphasis. I’ll leave the issue of fairness aside–that’s totally subjective. But does anyone who is aware of him mistake Olbermann for an impartial journalist? Certainly the cable network that employs him has never lived by that illusion.


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