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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)

Isn't it about time for GE to pack up MSNBC by now?

Their ratings have always been a disaster and their on-air commentators sound like ranting village idiots. It "cheapens the brand".

Back when NBC was the Number ONE network (Cosby, Miami Vice, Cheers, etc.) they didn't put on a freak show. They just made money hand over fist.

very sad and i'm very upset over this...how dare msnbc take off olbermann!...truely believe this was an internal political thing...msnbc just lost a bunch of viewers with this decision....can easily turn off that channel and watch cnn...maybe keith could go there?...cnn could use a kick in the ratings and that would help immensely...love ya keith!

Does he refer to our President as "The Annointed One" like Sean Hannity? Does he call him a "racist" like Glenn Beck? Did he openly endorse these candidates on the air? Did he make it clear that he supported them? NO! If he'd given $12 million to a 'Patriotic' 527 would that have been okay? Yes. MSNBC is way out of line on this. Olbermann is among their best. If MSNBC starts acting like this, where is freedom of anything?

P.S. Is MSNBC afraid of the new House?

Could not happen to a better guy. This is the second best news all week. I refuse to listen to him anymore. He is a pompous bore and I know how he feels. He is right and the rest of the world is wrong. I want to congratulate the people that made the decision to suspend this ignorant evil man.

NBC is owned byComcast now. Thank God they are wising up. Just about ALL media are democratic and liberal. They cut and tear down all conservatives. Olberman is one of the worst on air. Joe Scarborough is the best they have on MSNBC<

Now that MSNBC has "put Keith Olbermann in his place", all I can say is watch your back Rachel because you are next! Olbermann made MSNBC and look what they did to him. They will suffer the consequences as viewers turn away!

Carrie B.

I remember this clown as an obnoxious sports guy - now he not a sports guy just plain obnoxious

Jeff Heiss, you got the words right out of my mouth. It amazes me how these networks operate on totally different standards. MSNBC, CNN, etc. are all expected to stay neutral, not contribute to campaigns, etc. but those working for Fox "news" can do anything they want, including lying stealing and cheating and its not a problem. I'd love to know why the FCC doesn't go after Fox "news". Probalby because they've been bought and paid for by them.

Why doesn't MSNBC stop taking $ for political advertising? They can lead the way since they are so "pure".

KO is not a journalist or a reporter, he is a commentator -- the same as you would find on the editorial page of the newspaper. Why has he been singled out? Personally, I think that this is the new owner of NBC -- Comcast -- who made this decision to silence the far left. Shame on them!!

Mr Olbermann stunk as a sportscaster in this town. As an journalist, he's worse! Don't let the door hit you on the way out Keith!

Most rightwing nuts despise him. Where were these people eight years ago when the country was being hijacked by the Bush and Cheney administration?

MSNBC should suspend Phil Griffin--I for one have suspended viewing MSNBC (all programs--sorry Rachel, Ed, Chris and Lawrence) until Keith is back on the air.

Kieth who?

Who is Olbermann? And what is this thing called MSNBC? Why should be care?

Just tuned in to him the past few days post the election. He is the only counter balance to the severe right wing tilt to all else on the media! Bring him back!
He was especially exemplary during the debate on health care and is adept in flushing out the likes of Limbaugh and Beck better than a can of Raid on roach a colony....

I will not be watching MSNBC until Kieth is reinstated. We watch him every night and consider him the counter-point to conservative commentators on other media outlets. At least he is up front with his political contributions.

Keith who?

So tell me how this works again. MSNBC as a company thanks to the Citizens United decision can give millions to 501c4s and Fox News can shill all day long for the Tea Party but Olbermann can't make a few thousand dollars in political donations because that would compromise his objectivity.

Olbermann is a partisan hack. He was fired from KTLA ( Tribune owned ) and now this. His on-the-air antics over their "coverage" of the election night made them the laughing stock of the industry. The good news is that Comcast, when the acquisition is complete of NBC, won't have to do the dirty work and fire the weasel then. Next on the block is Matthews ( body fluid, or tingle running down his leg), who's as much as incompetent idealogue as his pal, Olbermann. Oh and too bad for all the libs here at the Times that their arch enemy, Fox News, ran away with all the ratings on election nite...they even beat the networks...LOL.

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