Patterico's Pontifications


Continuing Fallout From Olberman’s Suspension

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 10:44 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; send your tips here.]

Via Howard Kurtz, now writing at the Daily Beast, we learn that a lot of infighting had broken out behind the scenes at NBC/MSNBC, over Olbermann’s political donations:

The crisis erupted without warning. On the evening of Nov. 4, when Politico was first working on the story of Olbermann’s donations, Griffin told Price that he hoped MSNBC wouldn’t have to suspend his client. Together with MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines, they went over an Olbermann statement confirming—and defending—the contributions, with Griffin suggesting several deletions.

Early the next morning, Griffin sharpened his stance. He was hearing from everyone at the network. Zucker was irritated. Capus was quite upset. Brokaw had weighed in. This was now about NBC News. Griffin told Price he would have to take Olbermann off the air indefinitely. Olbermann’s team balked, insisting on a definite return date….

In a flurry of weekend calls among Griffin, Price, and Kahn, the sticking point remained Olbermann’s statement of apology. There were even discussions about Olbermann’s plans for a Twitter message as his liberal base rallied to his side. The tweet said: “Greetings From Exile! A quick, overwhelmed, stunned THANK YOU for support that feels like a global hug.”

On Monday, Nov. 8, MSNBC still hadn’t approved the apology statement, but Olbermann’s team gave it to The New York Times and other outlets anyway. Olbermann said he was sorry for the “unnecessary drama” and “for having mistakenly violated an inconsistently applied rule” in making the $7,200 in donations.

He offered a similar on-air apology at the end of Tuesday’s program. The lack of a bow toward his colleagues rubbed salt in some very raw wounds, with some executives saying that Olbermann was trying to tarnish NBC and others saying the commentator had made it all about him.

After the show, Olbermann called an hourlong staff meeting to try to clear the air. Some members of his own team confronted him, saying that his actions had hurt the network.

Hmmm, how do you hurt a corpse, anyway?  Still, as they say, read the whole thing.

Now I agree that it is more than farce to pretend that Olbermann is not invested in the success of the far left causes.  The only suspense in the question of whom he supports is whether he goes with the Democrat or the relevant Green Party candidate.  And it’s not the dumbest payment ever made in political history, either.  But at the same time, let’s remember what he has said about his own conduct and the conduct of his colleagues…

For instance, he told the ladies of The View in 2008 that he didn’t vote, as a symbolic gesture, to prove how objective he was.  But donating is actually worse than that because then you are openly demonstrating support (instead of just voting and keeping who you voted for to yourself), and then you are putting your own money on the line.  I mean that is almost like gambling on the election.  Yes, he doesn’t get any money back if his preferred candidate wins, but it can make the difference between whether he will feel like his money was wasted, or not.

Oh, and by the way, in 2004 Keith Olbermann was opposed to gambling on the elections:

From:   Olbermann, Keith (NBC Universal, MSNBC)

Sent:   Sunday, October 31, 2004 12:27 PM

To:     @MSNBC Countdown with Keith Olbermann; @MSNBC Scarborough

Subject:        RE: Pool on [who] wins the elections…

Actually, not to be a spoilsport, but on behalf of Countdown, I’ve always thought stuff like this gives a clear appearance of a conflict of interest, if not a practical conflict.

Countdown staffers will thus recuse themselves from any wagering on the election.


And that is forgetting about the hypocrisy of criticizing Fox News for supposedly fundraising for candidates, when he himself had engaged in the exact same conduct—and doing so even after Rachel Maddow had been called out for doing exactly the same hypocritical thing. All in all, this is truly a case where it isn’t the underlying conduct that makes it bad, but the sheer hypocrisy of it that hangs him.

In other vaguely “Keefe” related news, Phawker was punked by Tucker Carlson.  It’s funny, but Phawker comes out of it looking reasonable.  It’s the kind of impersonation where the funny part is the impersonator, and the victim is only funny in the everyman sort of way.  And finally, Pat Sajak has a dark confession to make.  This might be really hard to forgive.  Not the least because of that unforgivable facial hair.

But its still not as bad (or hilarious) as the Springer clip above.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

18 Responses to “Continuing Fallout From Olberman’s Suspension”

  1. Voting and contributing to political campaigns are political rights, and pretty fundamental ones at that. Somehow, I don’t see giving up such rights as a condition of employment as being enforceable in court. Even the military doesn’t ask you to give up those rights. So NBC’s policy is stupid, at best. Now, keeping it clear that your personal politics are personal, and separate from your employer, that would be resonable.

    Aaron’s right, it’s Olbermann’s rampant hypocrisy that’s the real issue, here.

    LarryD (f22286)

  2. My tears are falling like rain over this situation.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  3. daley

    tears of laughter, or what?

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  4. What’s most satisfying is knowing that as soon as the new owners take over, this whole cast of cretins will be summarily thrown off the deep end…with an anvil. And your point about NBC news being a corpse is spot – on; once they lost Russert they lost the last link to any credibility they had. Brinkley and Huntley have already rolled over in their graves numerous times at this point.

    Dmac (498ece)

  5. BTW, that news network team was the only one that truly tried it’s level best to not appear biased – compared to Uncle Walt and that idiot Frank Reynolds, those guys were awesome.

    Dmac (498ece)

  6. Plus, if Olbermann touches my junk, I’m going to have him arrested.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  7. It is so pathetic watching these morons run around their little orwellian rules on admitting they aren’t all that objective.

    With Keith, it’s hilarious because his democrat support of so over the top, but it’s pathetic all around the entire MSM. This ‘I’m not a partisan… why, I don’t even vote!’ crap is specifically aimed at deception.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  8. Dustin

    Well, either he is lying to us, or to himself.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  9. This would actually be interesting if I cared about what happens behind the scenes of MSNBC – or any network.

    Like who was going to get the front-row seat after Helen Thomas retired, the only ones who care are the ones in the news industry.

    JEA (50ec23)

  10. You think it’s easy to mine that rich vein of crazy,
    it’s like panning in the Klondike in 1897

    narciso (82637e)

  11. Well, at least the likelihood of having Olbermann serve as a moderator for a GOP debate in 2012 is diminished.

    JVW (eccfd6)

  12. The most hilarious line of all was Tom Brokaw worrying that Olberman’s political donations might harm NBC’s reputation for being unbiased.

    These dudes live in their own reality–shared by few.

    Mike Myers (0e06a9)

  13. #1, I see no reason why such a contract should not be enforceable. NBC is not Congrefs.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  14. I would hate to be on an airplane with MSNBC staff if it ever crashed over the Andes.

    Torquemada (a8a9b2)

  15. They would only eat each other.

    AD-RtR/OS! (e9ff94)

  16. This is going to be so entertaining when the profit-conscious management at Comcast take over. They are going to look at Olbermann’s salary, the revenue from advertisers for a program that struggles to attract an audience, and say “What’s wrong with this picture?”

    The days of GE subsidizing money losing news programs in the name of the “public’s interest” are GONE.

    As will be Olbermann.

    shipwreckedcrew (96a8a6)

  17. OMG…his ‘Special Comment” tonight was idiotic.

    Ted Koppel did Iran in 1979. You’re a big meanie!

    Iran hostages = OJ trial

    MunDane68 (54a83b)

  18. GE is one of the top defense contractors.

    It is also a big contributor to Democrat politicians.

    That’s called covering all the bases.

    Reconciling that is called business as usual.

    Maybe things will change with the Comcast merger if Comcast really cares about a return on its investment in MSNBC.

    They can only suspend Olbermann a few times before that ratings-booster ceases to exist.

    Being bombastic can attract viewers, but it only works when you say things that actually matter in a manner that is watchable.

    Ag80 (827a00)

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