Olbermann Contributed to Democrat on the Same Day He Appeared on his Show (Update: Suspended! and More Updates)
[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; send your tips here.]
Update: Olbermann has been suspended indefinitely without pay! Details here!
The blogs are jumping at the news that Keith Olbermann donated to three different Democrats:
MSNBC host Keith Olbermann made campaign contributions to two Arizona members of Congress and failed Kentucky Senate candidate Jack Conway ahead of Tuesday’s election — a potential violation of NBC ethics policies.
The policies discourage such donations and say they must be done ahead of time. We can only guess if he told them he planned to do that. But to me the most troubling aspect is revealed in this paragraph:
Olbermann, who acknowledged the contributions in a statement to POLITICO, made the maximum legal donations of $2,400 apiece to Conway and to Arizona Reps. Raul Grijalva andGabrielle Giffords. He donated to the Arizona pair on Oct. 28 — the same day that Grijalva appeared as a guest on Olbermann’s “Countdown” show.
You got that? So either before he got chummy with him or just after, Keith makes a donation. Creepy.
And shouldn’t Olbermann have actually disclosed these donations to us himself, instead of letting someone else discover them?
Credit goes to Politico for catching this. I would give them a link, but they have been bullying a smaller site and thus no linky for you! You can read more, however, at Hot Air.
Update (II): Bill Kristol makes the case that this suspension is unjust, to Olbermann. I think he makes a lot of valid points, although I still think Olby should have disclosed. But I get the feeling that Kristol’s argument has less to do with Kristol’s sense of fairness, than his unstated belief that Olbermann is harming his own cause. It’s sort of like why I fervently hope Pelosi is kept as minority leader of the House Democrats. Still, read what he has to say and see what you think.
Meanwhile, American Digest makes the very strong case that this is about MSNBC President Phil Griffin’s fears coming into the ongoing sale of MSNBC to Comcast:
When Comcast takes control there will be blood for the sake of profits and ideology won’t matter a hoot.
What does matter is who exactly gets to keep their jobs at MSNBC, Will it be a loss leader like Olbermann or a conscientious executive like current President Phil Griffin who is “aware”, acts quickly, and is “mindful”? “Without pay” is good corporate-speak too. It show’s that Griffin is ready and able and willing to make the cuts where it counts. Olbermann makes somewhere around $4,000,000 a year. Even if he’s just suspended for a month that sends $308,000 straight to the bottom line.
It’s not about Olbermann’s job. It’s about Griffin’s.
Well played, Phil.
Wait, they pay him $4 million? Why? Is he bringing in even half that much in revenue?
Olby’s defenders say it’s wrong to punish opinion journalists for supporting candidates and causes.
1) MSNBC has always promoted and allowed Olbermann to preen as an award-winning journalist and broadcaster of Edward R. Murrow’s caliber — above the fray and superior to the rest of us in the print/broadcast media who are open and honest about our political and ideological biases.
2) Whatever NBC’s guidelines may be, it was the basic journalistic failure of the Murrow wanna-be to disclose the donation on the night he hosted one of his cash recipients that seals his fate and undermines whatever iota of credibility his station has left.
Good night and good riddance.
What she is getting at is the concept of estoppel. They have been pretending he is some kind of journalist. So we can hold them to it.
[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]