Journalists have long been told to report the story, not become the focus of them, including disclosure of their political affiliation, beliefs and contributions. This week, a member of the media has been disciplined for not following the ethics and responsibilities of journalism.
According to the New York Times, “Countdown” host Keith Olbermann was suspended indefinitely from the network Friday, Nov. 5, for making campaign contributions to three Democratic candidates in the midterm elections. Olbermann had acknowledged giving donations of $2,400 to the campaigns of Representatives Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona and Attorney General Jack Conway of Kentucky, who ultimately lost the election to Rand Paul. Olbermann is one of the most liberal journalists on MSNBC and he has a lot of liberal support behind him, which might raise some eyebrows.
My concept of journalistic objectivity is that no member of the media should be allowed to contribute to one campaign or another. I believe that to be an honest and unbiased journalist, you should not be allowed to make your personal political opinions known through donations.
It is common knowledge that each channel on television sways a certain way, such as MSNBC for the liberal and Democratic Party and Fox is more Republican and libertarian. Although each news channel and member of the media is to a degree biased, the donations to a campaign cross another line.
Journalistic objectivity means that you can tell the news and the story like it is without spinning it for your own personal or political appeasement. It is hard to find true journalism anymore because people are so quick to make their opinions known, whether it is through false reporting or donating to a certain political group. The belief that a journalist will be 100% true and unbiased is just not going to happen in the media today, but we should try to keep our own feelings out and instead report only the facts.
Olbermann’s apparent transgressions against MSNBC policy seem to not fit into what they are trying to accomplish. It has long been known that MSNBC is trying to battle with Fox News for ratings, and this will hurt their campaign of being more fair and trustworthy. Fox News has had a problem in the past with Sean Hannity and Neil Cavuto donating to Republican campaigns, so MSNBC is trying to differentiate them from that. This news about Olbermann donating to the campaigns of a few people just puts them right on the level of Fox News and everyone else.
At a time when ratings for MSNBC are falling, Olbermann needs to be terminated for people to take the network seriously for its journalistic integrity. I do think that the network was justified in suspending their top anchor, and believe he should be fired. Olbermann is one of the most well-known journalists at MSNBC, but he often says things that are untrue or biased, it is really obvious to see. Olbermann has often hated on Glenn Beck over at Fox News and sometimes what he says about Beck could be taken as hate speech or threats. Olbermann makes his opinion known when it comes to politics, which is something that a true journalist would not do.
I think if MSNBC really wants to try to show people they are better than Fox News, they should fire Olbermann as an example of how truthful they wish to become. Otherwise, if they just suspend Olbermann, it makes them look just as biased and guilty as they claim Fox News is toward the Republican Party.
Brian Stelter and Bill Carter, “Olbermann Suspended From MSNBC For Campaign Donations,” New York Times