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Keith Olbermann suspended from MSNBC over Democratic donations

Olbermann "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann has been suspended from MSNBC over recent donations he made to three Democratic candidates.

The website Politico called the cable network Thursday night and began asking about the contributions of $2,400 apiece to Democratic Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona and Democratic Senate candidate Jack Conway in Kentucky. Conway lost, while Grijalva has declared victory; votes in the Gifford race are still being counted.

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

In a statement, Olbermann said he had made the Arizona contributions on Oct. 28 after a discussion with a friend about that state's politics. "I did not privately or publicly encourage anyone to donate to these campaigns nor to any others in this election or any previous ones, nor have I previously donated to any political campaign at any level," the host said.

Newsgathering organizations generally frown on journalists openly supporting political candidates or causes, but Olbermann's partisanship — on full display in "Countdown" — has gotten MSNBC in trouble in the past. Although he anchored the network's election coverage Tuesday, critics complained about his lack of objectivity back in 2008, when he was temporarily replaced by David Gregory.

Friday's "Countdown" will be hosted by Chris Hayes, a familiar "Countdown" guest. An MSNBC representative said he had no information on when Olbermann might return to air.

— Scott Collins (Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT)

Photo: Keith Olbermann. Photo credit: Peter Kramer / Associated Press.



Comments () | Archives (138)

Cripes! So when will Fox"News" suspend any of their people for obvious "contributions," like Glenn Beck and the Chamber of Commerce? When pigs (or Rush Limbaugh) flies!

What? Why? Is working for NBC like working for the military? You know under the UCMJ military personnels are prohibited from expressing their political leanings at the least when they're in their uniform. In my honest opinion that was too excessive and ridiculous, it amuses me how liberals can make a mockery of themselves sometimes (a lil too often).

Not a huge Olbermann fan, nor at all a fan of O'Reilly on the right, but if Olbermann had fully disclosed this, I would have no problems. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt and call him a political journalist (in reality he is a political entertainer, much like O'Reilly). Does anyone truly believe that the political journalist have no biases? Is it time that we stopped believing the illusion that of an unbiased press? I think the FOX News on the right and MSNBC on the left have proved that there are biases. Let's put it all out in the open and stop having this argument all of the time.

journalistic standards? in cable news media? too little too late!!

His ratings are horrible which I suspect is part of the problem

He needs to be fired and replaced by a "real" journalist.

This is really stupid! I can't say that I like Keith Olbermann, he's a loud pompous bore, but EVERYONE knows his political leanings. He makes no secret of it. MSNBC has paid him for years knowing full well what his views are, and continually puts him on the air, allowing him to campaign for Democrats before the camera, so why suspend him because he made a couple of donations? The political donations were the LEAST of Olbermann's objectivity offenses, so why make a big deal about it now? Sounds like MSNBC was looking for an excuse to ditch Olbermann and used the donations as a convenient excuse. What a joke!
If MSNBC is now claiming that it wants to avoid the appearance of partisanship, it needs to get rid of crazy Matthews, stammering Schultz and loud Lawrence O'Donnell too. Maddow is the only one who even makes an attempt to be "balanced" on MSNBC's evening line-up. MSNBC is often very unwatchable, morning and night...too much opinion and too little news.

Its about time that journalist especially on tv, get the message about being partisan in political campaigns, Olbermann has been doing this for some time, as well as others.

I regret that Mr Olbermann has been suspended. Since when can't an American citizen give money to the candidate of his/her choice. I don't remember him asking anyone to vote for any of these candidates. It's not like he gave millions secretly!

Olbermann could be replaced with Max Headroom and no one would notice.

I think that this should be a sad day at MSNBC. This is partially whats wrong with the Democratic party today. It is okay for other stations to fully show their support for a candidate. But when it comes to Democrats, they want to keep thier lips sealed and remain neutal. Look at what this approach got them in 2010. Keith Obermann should not have been let go for his personal contributions to his political party of choic.

There is a God!!-Let's hope they keep him off the air-Idiot!!!-Vote Independent!!!

Yeah but MSNBC didn't do the same to Morning Moron Joe Scarborough for doing the same thing

SCARBOROUGH, JOE PENSACOLA,FL 32503 MSNBC/HOST 3/31/06 $2,100 Kitts, Derrick (R)
SCARBOROUGH, JOE PENSACOLA,FL 32503 MSNBC/HOST 3/31/06 $2,100 Kitts, Derrick (R)

yes, by all means, nbc, all the other networks, news organizations, et al





Has anybody ever claimed that Olbermann is objective? He clearly has very liberal views which is what makes him great. It's not like he pretends to present impartial news coverage. He has more effect on political campaign outcomes as a pundit than he ever could as a donor. So should we just take him off the air too?

this suspension is SO ridiculous.

As a long time news broadcaster I know company policies restrict participation in groups or political activities which might appear to create bias. MSNBC acted correctly.

While every citizen can participate in politics to the extent he/she wishes, certainly MSNBC has no policies on how its employees can vote. The law allows employers to set rules of conduct for its employees regarding public activities which reflect on the company. Every employer has an obligation to inform its employees of its policies at the time of hiring or when the policies change.

Let me know when MSNBC puts Keith Olbermann back on the air. He is one of the best reporters on TV. A great balance to the junk that is on Fox News.

KO was in over his head when he was doing the local sports in Los Angeles.

Let me get this straight…..GE “the parent company of MSNBC” can donate as much as it wants, to anyone it wants, because ( per the Supreme Court) companies are people. The owner of Fox news can donate $1 mil to the RNC but Oberman can’t privately donate to ANYONE? I sure he is the ONLY member of the news media, left or right, who donated money this year.

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