MSNBC President Phil Griffin released a statement Sunday, Nov. 7, announcing that the network’s suspension of Keith Olbermann will be lifted after Monday. The host of MSNBC’s Countdown was suspended Friday after POLITICO reported that Olbermann had made personal donations to three candidates leading up to the 2010 midterm elections.
STATEMENT REGARDING KEITH OLBERMANN – SUNDAY, NOV. 7
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.
The announcement comes after a weekend of sharp criticism from supporters of Keith and his show. A Progressive Change Campaign Committee petition accumulated over 300,000 signatures since Friday, demanding Olbermann be put back on the air. Keith broke his Twitter silence, begun Nov. 5, in order to express his gratitude:
@KeithOlbermann: Greetings From Exile! A quick, overwhelmed, stunned THANK YOU for support that feels like a global hug & obviously left me tweetless XO
For more on Olbermann’s suspension and the myriad of media reactions to the news check out Greg Mitchell’s report at TheNation.com.
There is one reaction that I feel is worthy of special mention. Perhaps, the most anticipated opinion regarding the controversy, by Keith’s fans and detractors, alike , was from fellow MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.
Rachel saved her remarks for her final segment, Friday, and explained MSNBC’s rule against political contributions. She also expressed her personal belief “that the point has been made and we should have Keith back hosting Countdown.”
More importantly, though, was the broader theme of Maddow’s closing segment, taking advantage of the unfortunate situation and resultant elevated level of attention to illustrate the distinction between MSNBC and Fox News.
(via The Maddow Blog, emphasis added)
… the larger point, though, that’s going mysteriously missing from the right-wing cackling and old media cluck-cluck-clucking: I know everyone likes to say, “Oh, cable news, it’s all the same. Fox and MSNBC — mirror images of each other. But if you look at the long history of Fox hosts not just giving money to candidates, but actively endorsing campaigns and raising millions of dollars for politicians and political parties — whether it’s Sean Hannity or Glenn Beckor Mike Huckabee – and you’ll see that we can lay that old false equivalency to rest forever.There are multiple people being paid by Fox News to essentially run for office as Republican candidates. If you count not just their hosts but their contributors, you’re looking at a significant portion of the entire Republican lineup of potential contenders for 2012.
They can do that because there’s no rule against that at Fox. Their network is run as a political operation. Ours isn’t. Yeah, Keith’s a liberal, and so am I. But we’re not a political operation — Fox is. We’re a news operation. The rules around here are part of how you know that…
Watch below, or read the transcript. More after the jump.
Incidentally, my Nov. 6 post, highlighting Rachel’s “Home of the Whopper” segment from Nov. 5 illustrates how Fox News manufactures the outrage that makes its “political operation” so successful.
For more, visit: Media Matters Research – “Voice of the opposition”: How Fox News won the 2010 election” – 2 November 2010 – MMFA’s lengthy research page on FOXPAC’s fundraising and candidate advocacy.
Olbermann image via Flickr.com