As you all know, that mashed-up bag of gas with pancake make-up on it Keith Olbermann has been “suspended indefinitely” by MSNBC for making and failing to disclose political contributions to three Democrats — including open-borders Democrat Rep. Raul Grijalva, whom he hosted on the same day he forked over a donation.
Unlike Fox News (pay attention, Media Matters Soros-bots), NBC ethics guidelines (yes, they do have them) bar their employees from making political contributions. (FNC’s real-world, pro-free speech rules allow donations as long “as long as the activity does not interfere with or impair the performance of the employee’s duties for the Company.”)
Politico got the scoop on Olbermann’s donations to Grijalva, AZ Democrat Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, and failed Kentucky Democrat Senate candidate Jack Conway by sifting through FEC records.
Bill Kristol is rallying conservatives to support Olbermann.
MSNBC’s suspension of Keith Olbermann is ludicrous. First, he donated money to candidates he liked. He didn’t take money, or favors, in a way that influenced his reporting. Second, he’s not a reporter. It’s an opinion show. If Olbermann wants to put his money where his mouth is, more power to him.Republicans of the world, show you believe in the free expression of opinion! Tell the crony corporatists at NBC—keep Keith!
Pardon my MSNBC-like incivility, but are you freaking kidding me? Hoping Kristol’s tongue is firmly planted in cheek, but plenty of people are taking him seriously.
Olbermann railed against FNC in August for its corporate donations while whitewashing NBC/GE’s:
On the August 17 edition of ‘Countdown,’ host Keith Olbermann used the donations to do the only thing he’s capable of doing: criticizing Fox News.
“We now have another million reasons why Fox News is the Republican news channel, correct?” Olbermann asked Media Matters president Eric Burns.
Olbermann said that GE, MSNBC’s parent company, donated an equal amount of money to both the DGA and RGA. He didn’t mention, however, that according to OpenSecrets.org, in 2008, 100 percent of MSNBC Cable’s donations went to Democrats and 99 percent of NBC’s donations went to Democrats.
Additionally, so far in 2010, 100 percent of ABC News’s donations have gone to Democrats and CBS Corporation’s PAC has contributed $51,000 to Democrats in 2010.
The Media Research Center previously noted News Corp.’s donations favored Democrats and that other outlets critical of the donation, such as Viacom’s Comedy Central, have all given substantial money to Democrats, yet there is no outrage over their political contributions.
Olbermann’s sanctimony and hypocrisy only compound his core failure to disclose the donations before Election Day — especially during the show in which he hosted one of the beneficiaries of that cash.
Here is the full transcript of the Olbermann/Grijalva interview on Oct. 28, the day Olbermann donated the maximum to Grijalva’s re-election bid:
Title: MSNBC “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” – Transcript
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
REP. RAUL GRIJALVA (D), ARIZONA: Good to talk to you, my friend.
OLBERMANN: Is there anything you can tell us about the relationship between these private prisons and the lawmakers who supported this monstrosity of a bill?
GRIJELVA: It is a wonderful I told you so moment. But, at the same time, we”ve been battered for the six months for our opposition to 1070, not just myself but others. And we don”t know how much they”ve contributed to these independent expenditure campaigns, the private prison industry.
But you used the word citizens. It”s disgusting, cynical and disgusting that they were bragging about there”s going to be more women and children detained, so therefore this is a market for us.
And the fact of the matter is Russell Pearce and Jan Brewer made a decision to put this law in effect. It had had nothing to do with border security. It had nothing to do with the security of the state. It had to do with the profit line.
And, you know, I”m glad that NPR did this. I”m glad “In These Times” did that. Finally, it”s catching some attention. But it comes at the end of a campaign when many of us have been battered for six months because of our opposition to 1070.
It is–you used the word cynical. It is past cynical. It is using
a very tough situation in the state of Arizona when it comes to immigration
using it to make a profit and using people, when we should be talking about how you we”re going to reform this law. It”s unbelievable.
OLBERMANN: It”s almost extraordinary to believe that once we got past the original phony reason for it, which was security at the border, when obviously it didn”t pertain to that whatsoever, that the real reason behind that was well, this is to intimidate people of Hispanic descent. Well, it turns out there”s an even more base, cynical reason behind it.
Am I wrong about this? When they talk about making money, it”s not–they”re not talking about people who are going to be in jail because they”ve been convicted of anything. This would be making money off people who are held and then found to have violated no laws, correct? They make money whether something”s guilty or innocent, correct?
GRIJALVA: It”s filling beds and spaces, period. It”s about detention. It”s about building private prisons, filling them, taking a profit from the federal government, and with that profit continuing to expand the bottom line. The advisers for Jan Brewer are part of this. The people that wrote the law for Russell Pearce of part of this. They”re all going to make millions of dollars off of this.
What expense? The division in Arizona, the division across this country. They get to go blithely walk away with their money, leaving behind the kind of social mess they”ve left all over this country. It is for me one of the most corrupt political acts. Because you use people. You use the emotions involved and you make a profit.
OLBERMANN: I can”t insure your house for fire, because legally that would give me a motivation for wanting to see your house catch fire. I mean, the idea of private prisons–suddenly, we see the flaw in that idea, too, that if they”re private prisons run for profit, there”s going to be a motive to put people in prison who don”t belong there.
GRIJALVA: That and the private prison industry here in Arizona has a wonderful test case. Murderers escaped from a private public. They haven”t escaped from a public prison. That”s Jan Brewer”s agenda. That is the extreme right”s agenda here.
I think–I hope people–I think people in Arizona are now seeing through the cloud and realizing that this is not just about immigration. This is not just about border security. There”s an insidious reason we”re involved in this really tough, tough issue. That is that somebody is making money off of it.
OLBERMANN: Lastly, any idea why the governor is going to San Francisco?
GRIJALVA: Well, she hasn”t debated. She wants to avoid the questions that are pressing about her relationship to this private prison industry and why they wrote the law. The people on her staff that are running her campaign and her chief of staff, I”m assuming that she wants to avoid those questions.
OLBERMANN: Congressman Raul Grijalva of Arizona, it”s always a pleasure and an education. I”m sorry it”s always about something like this. Thanks for your time.
GRIJALVA: Thank you.
Olby’s defenders say it’s wrong to punish opinion journalists for supporting candidates and causes.
1) MSNBC has always promoted and allowed Olbermann to preen as an award-winning journalist and broadcaster of Edward R. Murrow’s caliber — above the fray and superior to the rest of us in the print/broadcast media who are open and honest about our political and ideological biases.
2) Whatever NBC’s guidelines may be, it was the basic journalistic failure of the Murrow wanna-be to disclose the donation on the night he hosted one of his cash recipients that seals his fate and undermines whatever iota of credibility his station has left.
Good night and good riddance.
HOW many times over the years have we seen mainstream media elites get on their high horse about their unbending commitment to objectivity?
Wear ribbons after the 9/11 attacks? Heavens, no, the news poobahs swooned. Stacey Woelfel, news director at KOMU-TV in Columbia, Mo., directed his staff to “leave the ribbons at home” to show viewers “that in no way are we influenced by the government in informing the public.”
Display the flag during wartime? Heavens, no, cried the dinosaur networks. ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider told The Washington Post: “Especially in a time of national crisis, the most patriotic thing journalists can do is to remain as objective as possible . . . We cannot signal how we feel about a cause, even a justified and just cause, through some sort of outward symbol.”
And dole out political cash while on the job? Heavens, n-oh, wait a minute. That unbending commitment to neutrality is really nothing but a Wetzel’s pretzel.
Despite all the past protestations about the need to avoid outward signs of partiality, we now learn that journalists in America’s top newsrooms overwhelmingly donate to Democrat causes and candidates (shocker!) – and that they’ve been giving despite clear prohibitions and conflicts of interest.
MSNBC.com’s Bill Dedman found 144 journalists who’d made political donations to candidates, parties and causes from 2004 through the start of the 2008 campaign. Nine out of 10 – 125 in total – gave to Democrats and liberal groups; only 17 gave to Republicans, while two gave to both parties. The donors include war correspondents who gave while embedded or on the war beat, The New York Times’ ethics columnist and several news anchors who crusaded and signed petitions against the war.
Adding insult to self-injury, every single one of these donors – who work in an industry that crusades for openness, disclosure, and transparency – failed to inform their viewers, readers and bosses of their political activities.
So much for “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”
Flashback: The indelible whiteness of MSNBC
Related: MSNBC’s on-air political fundraising.
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