Americas & Beyond
|MSNBC Suspends Keith Olbermann Indefinitely Over Political Contributions|
Doug Thompson - Capitol Hill Blue
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November 06, 2010
MSNBC Friday suspended Keith Olbermann, the volatile host of “Countdown,” indefinitely and without pay because the “news anchor” contributed to three Democratic candidates.
|(AP/Mark J. Terrill)|
MSNBC President Phil Griffin said he became aware of Olbermann’s contributions late Thursday and suspended the anchor because the contributions violated NBC‘s “news policy and standards.”
Olbermann expressed no regret and did not offer any apologies for his actions.
“I did not privately or publicly encourage anyone else to donate to these campaigns, nor to any others in this elections or any previous ones, nor have I previously donated to any political campaign at any level,” Olbermann said.
Olbermann contributed the maximum allowed by law for individual donations — $2,400 — to Kentucky Senate Candidate Jack Conway — who lost to Rand Paul — and to Arizona Democrats Paul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords. His donations to the Arizona candidates came on Oct. 28 — the day Grijalva appeared on “Countdown” as a guest.
NBC prohibits contributions by employees to political campaigns without prior approval. Most news organization prohibit contributions outright while Fox News allows its talking heads to give without restrictions.
Olbermann was also one of MSNBC’s anchors for election night coverage — a choice that has come under fire not only from network critics but also from employees within NBC.
Olbermann has openly criticized Fox News owner Rubert Murdoch for his political contributions.
While some at the network expressed shock over Obermann’s suspension, others say it is long overdue. NBC insiders tell Capitol Hill Blue that Olbermann has been “cruisin’ for a brusin’” because he thinks he is above the rules of the network.
It is widely known within the network that Olbermann and MSNBC President Griffin clash often and some view the suspension as a move by Griffin to try and bring his stars ego under control.