"Which Of These Hosts Will You Be Seeing Tomorrow?"
(UPDATED BELOW WITH OLBERMANN STATEMENT)
After being suspended by MSNBC’s President Phil Griffin over campaign donations he made to Democratic candidates, it was announced yesterday that Keith Olbermann will return to “Countdown” on Tuesday night.
Griffin issued the following statement:
From Phil Griffin, President of MSNBC:
After several days of deliberation and discussion, I have determined that suspending Keith through and including Monday night’s program is an appropriate punishment for his violation of our policy. We look forward to having him back on the air Tuesday night.
This comes after the Progressive Change Campaign Committee issued a petition asking that Olbermann be put back on the air, which got over 300,000 signatures by Sunday night.
From the PCCC website:
EMERGENCY PETITION TO MSNBC:
“Keith Olbermann made your network a success. If you want your viewers to keep tuning in to MSNBC, put Keith back on TV now!
SIGN ON THE RIGHT! (We hit 300,000 — keep the momentum going!)
Background:Huffington Post reports: “MSNBC has suspended star anchor Keith Olbermann following the news that he had donated to three Democratic candidates this election cycle.”
NBC policy does not prohibit employees from donating to political candidates — but MSNBC president Phil Griffin wants to give “prior approval” first. Meanwhile, Republicans Joe Scarborough and Pat Buchanan also gave political contributions, but are not suspended. We’ve had enough insanity this week — America doesn’t need more with Keith kicked off the air.
On the Open Secrets website, Joe Scarborough is listed as having given donations to Republican Derrick Kitts in 2006. The same website shows Pat Buchanan gave numerous donations to Republicans Richard Mountjoy, George Allen, Paul Schiffer, Walter B. Jones Jr. and to America First National Committee.
Olbermann himself responded briefly on Twitter shortly before it was announced that his suspension would be lifted Tuesday.
At least that’s one win for our side.
As Democracy Now points out, the owner of MSNBC, GE, made over $2 million in Political Donations in 2010:
While Keith Olbermann’s donations became front-page news, little attention has been paid to the massive amount of political spending by MSNBC’s parent company General Electric, one of the nation’s largest military contractors. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting reports GE made over $2 million in political contributions in the 2010 election cycle. The top recipient was Republican Senate candidate Rob Portman from Ohio. The company has also spent $32 million on lobbying this year and contributed over $1 million to campaign against a California ballot initiative aimed at eliminating tax loopholes for major corporations.
Olbermann released the following statement Monday night:
by Keith Olbermann
I want to sincerely thank you for the honor of your extraordinary and
ground-rattling support. Your efforts have been integral to the remedying of
these recent events, and the results should remind us of the power of
individuals spontaneously acting together to correct injustices great or small. I
would also like to acknowledge with respect the many commentators and
reporters, including those with whom my politics do not overlap, for their
I also wish to apologize to you viewers for having precipitated such anxiety
and unnecessary drama. You should know that I mistakenly violated an
inconsistently applied rule – which I previously knew nothing about – that
pertains to the process by which such political contributions are approved by
NBC. Certainly this mistake merited a form of public acknowledgment and/or
internal warning, and an on-air discussion about the merits of limitations on
such campaign contributions by all employees of news organizations. Instead,
after my representative was assured that no suspension was contemplated, I
was suspended without a hearing, and learned of that suspension through the
You should also know that I did not attempt to keep any of these political
contributions secret; I knew they would be known to you and the rest of the
public. I did not make them through a relative, friend, corporation, PAC, or
any other intermediary, and I did not blame them on some kind of convenient
‘mistake’ by their recipients. When a website contacted NBC about one of the
donations, I immediately volunteered that there were in fact three of them; and
contrary to much of the subsequent reporting, I immediately volunteered to
explain all this, on-air and off, in the fashion MSNBC desired.
I genuinely look forward to rejoining you on Countdown on Tuesday, to
begin the repayment of your latest display of support and loyalty – support and
loyalty that is truly mutual.
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