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Archive for the ‘Keith Olbermann’ Category

“The other argument they made us well—it will be a distraction.  The notion is that, and it‘s really hot, you have these brave young men and women.  And they can stand on the firing line.  They can be shot at.  They can see their best friends blown up. But the sight of a lesbian would disarrange them and freak them out.  I think they underestimate these young people.  And we‘re going to finally get to—the distraction is the policy.”

– Rep. Barney Frank, on Republicans and repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

From “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” 12-16-10


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Two weeks after MSNBC suspended Keith Olbermann for making donations to Democratic candidates in apparent violation of the network’s policy, MSNBC President Phil Griffin has now suspended Joe Scarborough as well after it was discovered that Scarborough violated the policy by making eight more contributions, this time to Florida candidates between 2004 and 2008. The donations were for $500 each.

Olbermann was suspended for two days for making three contributions to congressional candidates. MSNBC’s policy is that its employees cannot make political donations without notifying Griffin beforehand and getting permission. In Olbermann’s case he mistakenly violated the rules, which he says he knew nothing about.

At the time of Olbermann’s suspension, donations made by Scarborough were discovered. Two donations of $2,100 each were made in 2006 to Republican Derrick Kitts. After those donations came to light, Scarborough’s co-host on his show Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski made a statement:

That contribution should have been in the name of Scarborough’s wife, Susan Scarborough, according to Scarborough’s co-host on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski, as well as John R. McGregor III, a representative from the Scarboroughs’ Pensacola, Fla., bank. POLITICO was provided a copy of the bank transfer, which was dated April 9 and signed by Susan Scarborough.

“The Scarboroughs expect John Merrill will amend his campaign report to accurately reflect that reality,” said Brzezinski. “If he does not, I will recommend they file an ethics complaint against him.”

However, Joe Scarborough is listed as the only donor on the Open Secrets contribution website. When Obermann’s suspension was lifted, he released a statement explaining what actually happened and why he was unaware of the policy:

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 media. 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.

As for the first two original donations made by Joe Scarborough, MSNBC justified them this way:

 

 

That contribution was made in accordance with (network) policy,” said MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines. “Joe sought permission in advance. Since 2007 we have recommitted ourselves to following these important standards.”
At the time MSNBC also made this distinction for Scarborough’s donations:
Joe Scarborough, host of the “Morning Joe” talk show and the evening newscast “Scarborough Country,” (gave) $4,200 in March 2006 to Derrick Kitts, Republican candidate for the House from Oregon. … A spokesperson for NBC, Jeremy Gaines, replied to questions sent to Scarborough. “Yes, he did make a donation to Derrick Kitts. Kitts is an old friend of Joe’s. Joe hosts an opinion program and is not a news reporter.”
So when all these earlier donations were revealed, and Olbermann was suspended for two days, I think it’s safe to say that Joe Scarborough certainly understood the rules well enough, right?
Right. So why a couple of weeks later is Joe Scarborough himself suspended over yet more campaign donations he gave to candidates without seeking prior approval? If you ever watch Morning Joe, then it’s certainly not a stretch to assume that he might feel the rules don’t apply to him, or that he is somehow above the rules. He’s not exactly an open-minded person on Morning Joe, where he’ll pontificate non-stop how he is “rarely wrong” about anything, and when one dares to disagree with him, he just drowns them out, or he’ll “stop you right there” and cut to a commercial (Lawrence O’Donnell). Heck, he’ll even get Phil Griffin to ban you from other shows and the network altogether (Markos Moulitsas) even if you never appear on his show. A mere viewer having a different viewpoint than his is grounds enough to get them blocked by Scarborough on Twitter.
In spite of that, surely he’ll have a good explanation for not disclosing those additional donations, don’t you think? After all, you may have heard: He was in Congress once upon a time!
This morning Joe Scarborough informed me that he made eight contributions of $500 each to local candidates in Florida between 2004-08. In my conversation with Joe two weeks ago, he did not recall these contributions.
Seriously? The “man with all the answers” doesn’t recall making campaign contributions? C’mon Joe, can’t you do better than that?

It was recently brought to my attention that I made political contributions over the past several years that are not consistent with MSNBC’s guidelines. These contributions were to close personal friends and family members and were limited to local races.Despite the fact that these races were local and not relevant to my work at MSNBC, I have been told they violated MSNBC guidelines.

I recognize that I have a responsibility to honor the guidelines and conditions of my employment, and I regret that I failed to do so in this matter. I apologize to MSNBC and to anyone who has been negatively affected by my actions.

I gave a number of $500 contributions to my brother and three longtime family friends. These contributions were nothing more than simple acts of friendship. I gained nothing personally, politically, or professionally from these donations.

Who said anything about Joe “gaining something from the donations?” What does that mean? He also sounds as if he just heard about the guidelines now, not a couple of weeks ago, but they’re just donations for “friends and family” anyway.
To be blunt, I had no interest in their campaigns other than being kind to longtime friends.
Wow. How arrogant do you have to be to say “you may be my friend, or my brother, but quite frankly, I have no interest in your campaign? I’m just throwing you a bone bro’.”

Because the contributions involved local, non-competitive races–and were given for personal rather than political reasons–I mistakenly believed I did not need approval from MSNBC. I also apologize for that oversight.

After learning of this situation, I called Phil Griffin and agreed with Phil’s immediate demand of a two-day suspension without pay.

After learning of the situation, (contributions he made years ago) he still manages to make it sound as if he was the one to take charge, make the call, and come to an agreement over his own suspension with his boss.

Odd too, isn’t it, how similar his statement almost mirrors Olbermann’s. (You can read the rest of it here.)

So Joe will get a couple of days off next week. Plenty of time to make the explanations even better. Knowing how Scarborough operates, by the time he comes back the entire thing will probably be Phil Griffin’s fault.

 

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"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.

Welcome back!

UPDATE I

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.

UPDATE II

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
support.
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
media.
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.

–K.O.

 


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It’s THAT simple.

They’ve been telling you this all along, and they mean it. The extremist wing of the Republican Party, Tea Party, want to “take this country back.” While they’ve been rallying all over the country rounding up those who are easily fooled into voting against their own self-interest and will proudly don hats with Tea Bags dangling from the brim, they’ve distracted them from their real agenda. They want to take the country back…and away from you, and sell it to the highest bidder.

As if eight years of the Bush Administration weren’t damaging enough to the country, the Republicans are hell-bent on gaining power back in next week’s election for an even bigger and more destructive “fleecing of America” and they’ll do ANYTHING to get there. If you don’t believe that, take another look at the video of the “head-stomping” of a 23 year old woman in Kentucky for merely holding up a protest sign at a Rand Paul debate.  And that’s not the only time it’s happened. The silence from the Republican Party speaks volumes: they condone it.

They are serious. They want to take the country further back than you can imagine and replace the flag with this one, while they wrap themselves in it and call themselves “patriots.”

While the “stomping” may or may not have been designed to scare voters, it should. Fearful voters should head to the polls to make sure that “takeover” doesn’t happen.

Last night Keith Olbermann illustrated this point extremely well, and he showed many of the players along with their extreme views, and they aren’t pretty. There were a few I had never even heard of and chances are I’m not the only one. But Olbermann ended with the so-called “darling” of them all, who said the following concerning immigration:

“There are millions of people in America that hate our country, so why can’t we just do a trade? We’ll send you Sean Penn, Janeane Garofalo and Keith Olbermann, and you can send us people that actually love this country and want to help us build it.”

Who said this? Florida’s U. S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio, himself the son of immigrants. Rubio “loves his country” like he loves a meal ticket. Just look at his record so far in Florida. He’s leading in the polls right now. If you don’t vote he could very well win, and he could be “doing a trade” with anyone who doesn’t share his views, just for starters. I haven’t heard him condemn the head stomping of that young woman either. Have you?

If you haven’t seen it, watch these videos, or read the transcript, and then GO TO THE POLLS AND VOTE. Because we can’t afford two more years of obstruction, much less putting government on hold so the Republicans can take back the White House in 2012. That pie in the sky is NOT sustainable, and the very people that want to be back in charge are either clueless about that or they don’t care.

Either way, as Olbermann said: “if they win, America loses.”

Part 1

Part 2

Transcript.

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I am getting so sick of turning on the television and waiting for the so-called “media” to start doing their job.

Because so few of them do anymore, when it comes to cable “news” I have stopped watching most of it. I have NEVER watched FOX for obvious reasons. I gave up on CNN long ago, and I hear it’s just as bad as FOX these days, more recently when they hired a right-wing blogger who I’ve read spoke of his ideas about dealing with Census workers that involved guns.

The only cable “news” I watch anymore is MSNBC, and with a few exceptions, they aren’t much better. I’ll mention those exceptions here because I think they deserve credit for standing up and doing the right thing rather than selling out for ratings, or whatever the reasons the others have, or that motivates their rhetoric. (I’m only mentioning those that I watch, so if there are other examples who I’m leaving out it’s because I’m unaware of them.) The MSNBC hosts with standards and morals are: Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann and Ed Schultz.

That being said, again, is it too much to ask that the others start doing their jobs? Specifically I’m talking about the recent incidences where people are out there inciting violence. Instead of calling them out on it, these members of the “media” are all but glorifying it. When is enough, enough for these people?

I’ll give you a mild example. Last night I turned on Hardball. Here were Chris Matthews and his “BFF” Pat Buchanan (why Buchanan is still given a voice on MSNBC is beyond me, but that’s another post entirely) singing the praises of Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin who were campaigning together yesterday. Matthews was absolutely giddy as he described them as “dazzling” and kept repeating over and over again that they were the “new faces of the GOP.” The two of them were in such a celebratory mood that I half expected them to pop the cork on some bubbly before they were finished.

But that champagne wasn’t the only thing that was missing. Did Matthews make any mention that, as a “new face of the GOP” Michele Bachmann says things like she wanted the people of Minnesota “armed and dangerous” to “fight back” over President Obama’s plans to reduce global warming? No?

Or how about when Palin once again repeated her don’t retreat, “reload” comment while fully aware that members of Congress have been threatened and arrests have been made in some cases, at least one of which was listed on her SarahPAC map of “targets.” You know, the one with the crosshairs on each targeted office. Did Matthews mention this, or any of her other countless hateful comments that hint at violence? No?

Mind you, these aren’t Tea Baggers holding up signs in protest while wearing funny hats with tea bags hanging from the rims. These are former and current elected officials making these comments. Granted, Palin did quit to become a performer on FOX, but that didn’t stop Bachmann from introducing her as “Governor Sarah Palin” and Palin is still holding herself out as a person of authority, and of course these members of the “media” are only too happy to oblige, enabling her along the way as she rolls out her campaign of hate.

Does Matthews condone hate speech and threats of violence? Is this what he wants as ‘the new face of the GOP?” Sure sounds like it.

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For those of us who were counting on hope and change after our last Presidential election, the past year has been a big disappointment. We’ve come to the sad realization that some things may never change.

Of course I’m talking about the farce of the “Liberal Media” and their continuing role as the enabler of the GOP. The role they played with the Bush Administration for eight years, including rolling over while Bush and Cheney moved ahead with their war of choice (and profits) being one of the worst examples, sadly has continued since the election. In my opinion, it’s gotten even worse.

There are a few exceptions. There are still a few members of the media who call them out, like Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann to name a couple, who aren’t afraid to call out Obama and the Democrats as well when they see fit, and rightfully so. We could use a LOT more like them. Instead, we get more of the same.

Instead of pointing out what progress was made in the past year, what are we getting from the media? Just a parade of GOP talking points, and the infamous “blame game” that we weren’t allowed to play when Bush was in charge, which is now up and running again at warp-speed. Everything bad that has happened in the last nine years is now magically all Obama’s fault. As for the positive things he’s done in the past year? “What positive things?”

Crickets……

The most recent evidence of this nonsense has been the stimulus. The GOP, courtesy of the “media” tell us that it was very bad, created no jobs, and was a complete failure bordering on the apocalypse! Unless you were watching those exceptions to the media rule, you would have missed the part where all these GOP hypocrites were busy little beavers writing letters asking for the very same funds for their states, while happily skipping back home to their districts just in time for a photo-op with a giant check presentation, and taking all the credit for jobs saved. But make no mistake, the stimulus didn’t work!

Get ready for of the same this week with the upcoming health care summit, no doubt they will just pick up where they left off before the bill stalled. While you may think you want health care reform, you are wrong! Really! The Grand Obstructionist Party will be all over the airwaves this week telling you that you DO NOT want health care reform! What you DO want is tort reform. You also have no interest in health care reform because you want jobs! Of course, when it comes time to work on a jobs bill, then you will want something else. You are just so demanding, and yet so needy! Rest assured, the GOP will help you just as Bush did before, just as soon as you put them back in control three years from now! Help is on the way!

Below is a preview of what I think we will probably see more of this week. The GOP will play the media this way, just like they always do. For those of you who watch Morning Jackass Joe and his parrot Mika, I know this could almost be mistaken for a clip from that show (except that this “Joe” is attractive). I suppose it could be, but this is just what I think of when I see just about any daytime cable “news” show along with their GOP “guests and experts” on any given day. This week it’s health care. Next week, who knows.

So without further adieu, I give you the GOP and the “Liberal Media Rag”:

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The Republicans have made it clear from the start: They want Obama to fail. They were blunt about this fact right from the beginning, when those very words were shouted and spewed forth by Dick Cheney’s friend, his hate-mongering puppet and the “leader” of the GOP, Rush Limbaugh. By doing so, the Grand Obstructionist Party also wants America to fail. To these greedy, power-hungry Congressmen, it’s a small price to pay. In their ignorance they are willing to all but destroy the country in their pursuit of power, and we, the American people are merely getting in the way.

We’ve seen what they did and are still doing to kill health care reform. But before they’ve finished that task, now they’re moving on to the next target: financial reform and the bank problem. Never mind that the U.S. economy was nearly destroyed in the past year dragging the world economy with it. No, they’re not finished with that just yet. Finance reform must be killed as well, and to do that they plan to use the same tools they used in the attempt to obliterate health care reform. One of those tools they’re using, and oh what a tool he is: Frank Luntz. He is the chief tool, and the fool of the “Buzzword” industry. Some may recognize him from GOP-TV FOX “News” where he leads low information voters in focus groups to let the rest of the FOX viewers know that what Obama and the Democrats are doing is wrong, and to exactly what degree of wrong they are.

What some may not know is that Luntz had a large role in the Newt Gingrich “Contract For America,” after which he built up a large “buzzword” business which boasts:

“It’s not what you say, it’s what they hear.”

He used that business, and that motto, to give the GOP its talking points and strategy to oppose health care reform, words they in turn used and repeated like trained parrots before the cameras every time they’ve needed an anti-health care sound byte in the past year or so. Luntz, the self-proclaimed “Word Doctor” writes the words, and they try to sell them to you and me. Along with their own made up claims and scare tactics. Whatever works.

So now “Frank Luntz: Word Doctor” (enter superhero music here if you like) is back to do his best to kill finance reform along with the GOP, a job probably made even easier now thanks to the recent Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United. He’s written the talking points that the GOP will use (you can read a copy of the report for yourself here.) dumbed down just for them, written in bold, contained in boxes throughout the report entitled “Words That Work” and apparently he saved the really “big” words and phrases for the last page where you’ll find a big RED box called “Words to Use” for the particularly challenged congressmen who can’t or is too lazy to read the rest. Phrases like “RED TAPE”, “BLOATED BUREAUCRACY”, “HARD WORKING TAXPAYERS” and “NEVER AGAIN.” All phrases that we will, no doubt, have memorized within a month or so if we spend any time watching the news or reading the paper. Yes, thanks to idiots like Luntz and the Grand Obstructionist Party, and The Supreme Court, if the Democrats don’t step in and stop it somehow, we will soon be The Corporate States of America.

Last night on Countdown, Keith Olbermann had a great report on the Luntz memo:

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