By Carole on Nov 5, 2010
MSNBC host Keith Olbermann may have violated NBC's ethics policy by making three campaign contributions to Democratic candidates without his employer's permission. I don't know what's more shocking, that NBC News actually has an ethics policy or that the man who attacked News Corp's recent donation to the Republican Governors Association is such a blatant hypocrite.
In an August broadcast of his Countdown program, Mr. Olbermann said of News Corp's one million dollar donation, "We now have another million reasons Fox News is the Republican news channel." Just last month, Mr. Olbermann had House Majority Whip James Clyburn, (D-South Carolina) on his show and asked him if there was "a legislative response to the idea that there is a national cable-news outlet that goes beyond having a point of view and actually starts to shill for partisan causes and actually starts to donate to partisan groups of one party?" (source)
Less than a month later, Mr. Olbermann made the maximum legal donations of $2,400 each to the campaigns of Kentucky's Democratic Senate candidate Jack Conway, Representative Raul Grijalva (D-Arizona) and Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona). (source) All three had previously appeared on Mr. Olbermann's program.
In a statement to the Politico website which first broke the story, Mr. Olbermann admitted that, "One week ago, on the night of Thursday October 28 2010, after a discussion with a friend about the state of politics in Arizona, I donated $2,400 each to the reelection campaigns of Democratic Representatives Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords. I also donated the same amount to the campaign of Democratic Senatorial candidate Jack Conway in Kentucky." (source)
NBC, which has so far declined to comment on the Olbermann donations, has a rule against "anyone working for NBC News" donating to political campaigns without the permission of the president of NBC News or his designee. Whether or not that permission was granted in this case is unknown. (source)
But regardless of whether or not Mr. Olbermann violated his employer's ethics policy, he obviously violated his previously stated beliefs. If it was wrong in his opinion for News Corp to make its donation, how can Mr. Olbermann justify his own? Should he now admit we have at least 7,200 more reasons why MSNBC is the Democrats' news channel? Should there be a "legislative response" to the idea that he has gone beyond having a point of view by donating to candidates of one party?
UPDATE: MSNBC has just announced that Keith Olbermann has been suspended indefinitely for violating NBC's ethics policies by donating to three Democrats seeking federal office.
"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," MSNBC President Phil Griffin said in a statement. (source)
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