Here we go again, another Juan Williams Story about a journalist being fired but that as about as close as they come to comparison. Juan Williams were fired by NPR when the final straw of him making offensive comments about Muslims on Fox News. Keith Olbermann was fired for making campaign donations.
“MSNBC suspended “Countdown” host Keith Olbermann Friday after the news that he donated to three Democratic candidates.” “I became aware of Keith’s political contributions late last night,” MSNBC President Phil Griffin said in a statement.” “Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay.” “Olbermann gave the maximum individual donation of $2,400 to three candidates in Tuesday’s election: Arizona Reps. Gabrielle Giffords and Raul Grijalva and Senate hopeful Jack Conway, who lost in Kentucky to Republican Rand Paul.” “(Grijalva appeared on Olbermann’s “Countdown” on Oct 28, the same day the host donated to his campaign; Conway was last a guest in May).” “Olbermann, in a statement to Politico, said that he “did not privately or publicly encourage anyone else to donate to these campaigns nor to any others in this election or any previous ones.” “Also, Olbermann said he had not “previously donated to any political campaign at any level.” “But NBC News editorial staffers — like journalists at most news organizations – are forbidden form giving to political candidates.” “Also, Olbermann anchored election coverage Tuesday night without disclosing that he’d given to candidates who were running for office.” (Calderone, Michael, 11/05/2010, Yahoo Upshot, MSNBC suspends Olbermann over political contributions, Retrieved from firstname.lastname@example.org).
While I am a strict connoisseur of rules being the rules, I do not believe that suspending him indefinitely was the appropriate response to making those donations. I am very much aware that it was a stipulation in his contract and for as long as he was with MSNBC; I can only assume that he knew about this policy. I think that this being the case, it would warrant a suspension and even a suspension without pay but indefinitely is a little too much. For the sake of disclosure, I looked forward to Olbermann’s “Countdown” every week day and found it to be full of information that is rarely seen anywhere else. It had always been informative and enlightening. I believe that MSNBC President had more reasons to suspend him indefinitely than is being told because just for donating to Democrats sounds a little much like “over-kill”.