Friday, November 5, 2010
Keith Olbermann, the MSNBC anchor and a leading liberal voice, was suspended indefinitely Friday for making campaign donations to three Democratic congressional candidates. The donations violated NBC News ethics policy.
The announcement came in a one-sentence statement from MSNBC TV President Phil Griffin:
“I became aware of Keith’s political contributions late last night. Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay.”
The donations were first reported by the Politico website earlier in the day.
Olbermann acknowledged the donations in a statement to Politico, saying he gave the maximum legal donation of $2,400 to Arizona Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords and Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, who waged an unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate against Tea Party standard-bearer Rand Paul.
Politico noted that the donations to Grijalva and Giffords were made on Oct. 28, the same day that Grijalva appeared on Olbermann’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” show. Grijalva won re-election on Tuesday, while Giffords on Friday was clinging to a narrow lead over Republican Jesse Kelly in a race the Associated Press has not yet called.
In his statement to Politico, Olbermann said he did not encourage his viewers or other staff members to donate to the candidates.
Editor note: I learned this afternoon, “The standards department says that MSNBC doesn’t answer to NBC News standards.” So, why did Phil Griffin suspend Olbermann without pay, indefinitely? One word: Comcast.