Keith Olbermann’s Suspension From MSNBC Is A Raw Deal

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The dream week for Republicans continues. First the Republicans cleaned House on Tuesday night at the General Election thus ending Nancy Pelosi’s reign as Speaker of the House. Then news came out today that Keith Olbermann, the host of “Countdown” on MSNBC has been suspended indefinitely without pay for making campaign contributions to three political candidates. All told he donated $7,200 total to the three candidates including Jack Conway who ran against Tea Partier Rand Paul in Kentucky.

Not only is MSNBC’s decision to suspend Keith Olbermann an abomination, but it’s hypocrtical as well. Fellow MSNBC host Joe Scarborough has donated to Republican candidates for Congress while promoting the same candidate on air, but has never been disciplined.

Added to that, Comcast, who is purchasing NBC, is run by none other than Brian Roberts, who donates money to political campaigns like Pete Rose placed bets on his own team.

Furthermore, Alabama state campaign finance records show a $5,000 contribution in April from Scarborough to Alabama state legislative candidate John Merrill. Moreover, Scarborough happens to write a weekly column for Politico – the same website which “exposed” Keith Olbermann for his political contributions.

This is a case where a network is conveniently choosing to exercise a policy. Perhaps it’s because it’s now en vogue to be Republican and no so cool to be a Democrat.

Or, as Mediaite.com points out, maybe MSNBC doesn’t “need” Keith Olbermann anymore now that Rachel Maddow and other anchors have equalled or surpassed him in ratings.

Face it, Keith Olbermann and just about every other political talk show host is anything but impartial. For MSNBC to even attempt to invoke an impartiality clause is dishonest. Olbermann is not an impartial journalist. In fact, he’s the furthest thing from it. A writer from the LA Times was in favor of Olbermann’s suspension because they need to show independence. This is a fallacy because Olbermann is not a journalist. He’s a commentator and injects his opinion into every topic he covers.

One would have to be naive to think the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilley, Chris Matthews, or even Wolf Blitzer aren’t donating to political campaigns in some way, shape or form.

MSNBC’s suspension of Keith Olbermann is an injustice, abomination, and a disgrace. Hopefully, MSNBC will do the right thing and allow Olbermann to return to the air as soon as possible. Otherwise, this will go down as the biggest injustice in broadcasting since Howard Stern’s firing from WNBC in the 1985.

Contact Dennis Bakay at dbakay@philly2philly.com

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