MSNBC suspends another host for political gifts

Fri Nov 19, 2010 3:42pm EST
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By Daniel Trotta

NEW YORK (Reuters) - MSNBC television suspended conservative morning host Joe Scarborough for two days for giving money to political candidates, meting out the same punishment given to liberal host Keith Olbermann two weeks ago for a similar offense.

Scarborough said the donations went to his brother and three longtime family friends and he wrongly believed the personal nature of the gifts exempted him from the NBC News policy on campaign contributions.

"This morning Joe Scarborough informed me that he made eight contributions of $500 each to local candidates in Florida between 2004-08," MSNBC President Phil Griffin said in a statement.

"Since he did not seek or receive prior approval for these contributions, Joe understands that I will be suspending him for violating our policy."

Scarborough will return to his "Morning Joe" program on Wednesday.

The policy is adopted from that of NBC News, MSNBC's broadcast partner, which attempts to protect the news organization's image as unbiased.

But MSNBC has become a mostly liberal counterpart to conservative rival Fox News, especially during the evening lineup of news shows in which Olbermann serves as the face of the cable network and often criticizes Fox, as he did when Fox's parent company, News Corp, donated $1 million to the Republican Governors Association.

Scarborough is a moderate conservative voice and host of the less politically skewed "Morning Joe."   Continued...

<p>Joe Scarborough, host of "Morning Joe", takes part in the NBC News Decision '08 panel at the NBC Universal summer press tour in Beverly Hills, California July 21, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>