MSNBC suspends Olbermann over political donations

Fri Nov 5, 2010 5:17pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Daniel Trotta

NEW YORK (Reuters) - MSNBC suspended liberal television host Keith Olbermann indefinitely on Friday for giving money to three Democratic politicians, violating NBC News' policy against such donations without prior approval.

Olbermann makes no pretense of being impartial but apparently was subject to ethics standards that apply to NBC News journalists.

"I became aware of Keith's political contributions late last night. Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay," MSNBC President Phil Griffin said in a statement.

In a statement to the website Politico, Olbermann acknowledged making contributions of $2,400 each to Jack Conway, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Kentucky, and to two members of the House of Representatives from Arizona, Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords.

Olbermann is clearly a liberal partisan on his show "Countdown With Keith Olbermann," in which he often rebuts comments made by conservative media figures such as radio host Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly of Fox News -- often by attempting to imitate their voices while reading back their own words.

He has helped make MSNBC something of a liberal alternative to Fox News, which is decidedly conservative, and MSNBC has featured Olbermann in ads promoting the cable network.

Olbermann had criticized Fox News' parent company, News Corp, for donating $1 million to the Republican Governors Association.

NBC News policy says that employees taking part in political activity such as campaign donations "may find that these activities jeopardize his or her standing as an impartial journalist," according to a 2007 story on   Continued...

<p>Keith Olbermann, host of "Countdown with Keith Olbermann", takes part in the NBC News Decision panel at the NBC Universal summer press tour in Beverly Hills, California July 21, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>