Opinion: Keith Olbermann, Worst Person in the World, suspended by msnbc


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Keith Olbermann has been suspended without pay indefinitely. (UPDATE: On Nov. 7, MSNBC announced the suspension would end after Olbermann’s Nov. 8 show.)

9) The jolly, evening TV salesman for wacky political causes was suspended by msnbc, a cable channel noted for the immense size of its commentators’ heads. Olbermann’s disciplinary trouble stems not from hiding his political beliefs in today’s increasingly wide-open piehole commentary competition for viewers’ ears and readers’ eyes. Nor was Keith Olbermann suspended for being a lifelong Yankees fan or for constantly losing in that viewership competition to a fair and balanced network across the dial featuring a suave, savvy and prescient fellow named Bill O’Reilly, who writes best-selling books and donates to charities. (See warm, intelligent photo to the right.)

8) Keith Olbermann was suspended because he donated a total of $7,200 to three political candidates who had been on his program or supported by his comments. Worse, two of them were from Arizona. And most offensive of all, the entire trio are Democrats.


7) Politico discovered the political contributions by broadcast’s Big O during a check of donors’ names filed as required with the Federal Election Commission. Asked for comment about political donations that violate the rules of its NBC corporate parent, MSNBC immediately replaced KO indefinitely with....

...Chris Hayes, editor at The Nation. But then it canceled that choice upon discovering, oops, that Hayes too has donated to politicians. 6) In a written confession, the host of ‘Countdown with Keith Olbermann’ admitted:

5) One week ago, on the night of Thursday October 28 2010, after a discussion with a friend about the state of politics in Arizona, I donated $2,400 each to the reelection campaigns of Democratic Representatives Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords. I also donated the same amount to the campaign of Democratic Senatorial candidate Jack Conway in Kentucky.

4) Olbermann also said he wasn’t using his influence to solicit other donations for candidates. This is probably true, given Olbermann’s influence and the demographics of his several dozen viewers killing time until the overnight infomercials begin. But Olbermann is an interesting fellow who draws a lot of attention from friends and fiends, not as much as, say, Sarah Palin, but still pretty good for msnbc.

3) The funniest part of the incident is that Olbermann has been a critic of News Corp., corporate parent of the leading Fox News Channel. News Corp., which doesn’t feel compelled to follow NBC’s rules, donated the sum of $1 million each to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Republican Governors Assn,, apparently surmising that pro-business officeholders might somehow help the climate for their businesses.

2) In his soft-spoken way Olbermann appeared to object to such donations and last month queried at least one powerful Democratic member of Congress if there was something legislatively that could be done to stop such self-interested donations to the Republican side. Not that the known liberal would limit any disagreeable freedom of speech rights. And not that the Democratic member of Congress is powerful anymore, given the new Republican House majority.

1) Making Keith Theodore Olbermann today’s Ticket Worst Person in the World.

(UPDATE: Politico’s Mike Allen reports in his Sunday Playbook that Olbermann was suspended because he refused to apologize on-air.)


-- Andrew Malcolm

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