MSNBC recently suspended Keith Olbermann indefinitely, without pay for an ethics violation. According to the CBS News, he had donated money to three democratic candidates which violated the rules of NBC. Now, MSNBC has announced that Keith will be returning to work after two missed days of airtime. What was the real point of his suspension?
“Countdown with Keith Olbermann” is a left-leaning television show on MSNBC. As host, Keith does not hide his agreement with Democrat ideologies. Any person who watched his television show would be aware of his views. In fact, much of his popularity is based on the fact that he doesn’t attempt to hide his feelings.
NBC does have a rule prohibiting political donations by employees. Employees of NBC are able to make donations for political purposes if they receive prior approval. These rules are in place for most news organizations, and Olbermann would have been aware he was violating these guidelines. The rules exist to keep news outlets impartial.
“Countdown with Keith Olbermann” is not an impartial show, however, and it would come as no surprise to his viewers (and those who disagree with him) that he would support the democrats. Given his clout, the amount of money donated was not extremely high. The uproar over his suspension came from both his supporters, demanding he be returned to his position, and those who disagree with him, hoping he would be off the air for a long time.
Now that the suspension is over after such a short and insignificant time, it doesn’t appear as if Keith received any real punishment. In fact, with all the media attention surrounding his suspension, “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” is poised to get a strong ratings boost. The suspension may result in an increased interest in his program.
Olbermann did violate an ethics violation by NBC, but the rules appear to be outdated. Many current news programs are based on the host’s views and do not, in any way, attempt to be impartial. NBC would have already realized the changes present in the news genre. The suspension may have just been an easy way to gain publicity for his television program.
Wikipedia Keith Olbermann
CBS News Keith Olbermann Suspended from MSNBC
MSNBC NBC: Olbermann Suspension Ending Tuesday