Some of you may have heard about the suspension of Keith Olbermann from the MSNBC airwaves indefinitely without pay.
I’d provide a link, but there is very little unbiased writing happening on the subject. It’s a common Google search (will pop up when you type in “Keith O”), so check there and read several sources if you are interested in the background.
In short, Keith was found to have donated around $7,200 to three political candidates in the most recent election. MSNBC evidently has a policy against this.
So, they suspended him presumably until they can figure out a proper form of action.
Good for them. If they have a policy for their employees not to get involved politically, they should hold their employees accountable.
Here’s my question: Why the policy?
There is another cable news network that labels itself as “Fair and Balanced” and are anything but. They have received lots of criticism, including some from Olbermann, regarding the financial contributions that they and their employees have made to the Republican party. Hasn’t seemed to phase them.
MSNBC has benefited immensely from the ratings of Olbermann’s show, “COUNTDOWN”, and he is widely known to be the voice for liberals in America. He is very outspoken on his show about the problems with conservative America. No one doubts his political leanings.
So, why the policy? Perhaps because journalism isn’t supposed to be biased.
But Olbermann is about as biased as the come. Something tells me that he can’t be out under the same policy as Brian Williams who simply does strict reporting. If Brian donated money to a political campaign, there would be a question as to whether or not he was remaining balanced in his reporting. But for Olbermann, the balance isn’t even in the picture. When you turn on Countdown, you know what you are going to get. And…it’s not journalistic reporting. It is an opinion piece. That’s ok, but you must understand what it is.
The reality: everyone in this country (or most) have political leanings, whether or not they act on them. Even those in journalism. A good school of journalism would teach that those who report on politics should simply report, and therefore have their hand out of the pot. But a good school of journalism wouldn’t call Olbermann’s show a “news broadcast”. Because it isn’t.
The best argument to be made here isn’t whether or not Olbermann should have donated money, it is whether or not Olbermann should be considered a reporter. He is a TV personality, and he exists on the schedule to entertain and draw in viewers. Not to give the account of what happened. To quote Jon Stewart, “this is theater, not debate.”
Seems to me that if MSNBC were to embrace this, their policies would at least be consistent with their practices. And THAT would differentiate them from Fox News.
If the TV thing doesn’t work out though, Olbermann could just start a business, steal from the government, become extremely wealthy, get caught, plead the fifth, leave his company, start another one, defraud the government again, make more money, decide to run for public office, not be honest about his wrongdoings, say that he-the CEO- is not to blame, talk about how much the government has it wrong and that social needs must be privatized because they make money, spend a large amount of his own fortune on his own campaign, buy out tons of commercials, claim the conservative voice, become the name everyone knows because of commercials, and win the election for Governor.
Seems to have worked for some people.