The Keith Olbermann suspension has MSNBC facing backlash. But after its Keith Olbermann suspension was announced, it wasn’t just liberals who complained. Even pundits on the right took MSNBC to task, although they were expected to cheer. After all, the most popular liberal on cable news was taken off the air, for making political contributions to fellow liberals. Yet the circumstances and message from the Olbermann suspension are spreading bipartisan concern.
The MSNBC pundit/host is now off the air for an indefinite amount of time. This wasn’t due to some kind of wild, controversial statement on the air, but due to his action off it. MSNBC disclosed that the Countdown host made donations to three Democratic candidates before the midterms, which supposedly violates his objectivity.
Since the Olbermann suspension was about him being not objective, many were taken aback. After all, he is called many things, but objective is not one of them. Over the years, he has made his name as the most outraged anti-Republican voice on cable news, making him known as the anti-Bill O’Reilly.
Republicans have reveled in making him the face of the liberal media, and this story would appear to be proof of that. However, criticism over MSNBC’s decision has been more widespread, as liberals and conservatives each had a reason to object.
For liberals, they see the Olbermann suspension as unfair, since they think many other media figures are unobjective – especially on FOX News. For conservatives, they see it as a first amendment issue, and another excuse to bash MSNBC.
Even Bill Kristol wrote that MSNBC was “ludicrous” pointing out that Olbermann gave out money to candidates, but didn’t take any from them. In any case, since he hosts an “opinion” show and not a hard news program, Kristol saw this as a case of putting “his money where his mouth is.”
Before the Olbermann suspension, he had already made headlines over the last several days. Days before the midterms, he made his longest “Special Comment” yet in denouncing the Tea Party. Earlier this week, he announced he was dropping his “Worst Person In The World” segment, after Jon Stewart’s “Rally To Restore Sanity” took him to task.
Now his entire show is being dropped, although he is technically still employed by his network – unlike Rick Sanchez and Juan Williams after their scandals. Since Olbermann is one of the symbols of MSNBC, they may not be able to fire him, especially after this backlash.
There is no word on how long the Keith Olbermann suspension will be, although his fans are working to get it cut shorter. An Internet petition to get him back already has 160,000+ signatures, and should have more by Monday.
Entertainment Weekly- “Keith Olberman unites conservatives and liberals: Does anyone besides MSNBC think he should be suspended?”
Huffington Post- “Keith Olbermann Suspension Criticized By Reporters, Conservative Pundits”
Bold Progressives- “Petition: Put Olbermann Back On The Air NOW!”