Keith Olbermann suspended from MSNBC over Democratic donations
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.