Saturday, November 6, 2010

MSNBC Moves to Silence Olbermann

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

It was a hard week for lefties, though not Armageddon by any means.  A handful of certifiable idiots managed to get themselves elected to Congress, and while the presence of people like Rand Paul and Vicki Hartzler will only serve to pull the image of Congress further into the pig slime, it could have been so much worse.   We will not have to suffer the legislative insanities of Senators Angle, O'Donnell, Buck, and Miller - praise Allah!

But even before the dust from the election had settled, MSNBC shocked the country by suspending its most outspoken political commentator, Keith Olbermann.  His crime?  Keith made political contributions to three Democratic candidates without first receiving the permission of his network overseers.  That's right.  MSNBC apparently has a corporate "rule" that calls for its news people and commentators to get permission before exercising their First Amendment right to "speak" through political donations.

Of course Keith has a right to donate to political candidates.  He could have crossed an ethical line when he interviewed (on air) at least two of the candidates to whom he gave money.  If those donations were made before the interviews, then he should have declared that - also on the air.  But, as of yet I haven't seen that claim made.  The offense seems to be simply that he made contributions to political candidates without seeking corporate permission.

Two other MSNBC commentators have also contributed to political candidates without a subsequent public flogging by their corporate masters.  Joe Scarborough and Pat Buchanan both gave to Republican candidates.  MSNBC said that Scarborough, a former Republican Congressman, got permission before making a donation in 2006.  Problem  is, he also made a large donation to another candidate this year - and he was a headliner at a Republican fundraising event.
And then, of course, there are the necessary comparisons to Fox News, the radio and television arm of the Republican Party.  Fox commentators routinely give to Republican candidates and even allowed them to pitch for donations on their programs.  Two Fox commentators, Palin and Huckabee, are already making noises about running for President in 2012.

I think it would be wonderful if news could be presented without a political slant - dare I say it, news that is "fair and balanced!"  NPR comes the closest to doing that, and the right wing wants to defund it - or sell it to Fox.  The days of unbiased news, if they ever existed, probably died during the Eisenhower administration.  Getting news, like buying a car, calls for careful shopping.

MSNBC is owned by General Electric and will soon be controlled by Comcast.  The head of Comcast was a fundraiser for our sadly inept - and most recent former President - George W. Bush.  Was Keith's suspension a legitimate concern for fairness in news, or in this case "opinion," or a scary portend of things to come as the nation's largest corporations secure their stranglehold over mainstream news sources?

We are in for scary times.  Long live NPR and the free Internet!

A petition demanding the MSNBC do the right thing and reinstate Keith Olbermann is on-line at   It currently has nearly a quarter of a million signatures from people who want to hear more than the Fox News slant on things!

1 comment:

Carla Brown said...

Wondered when you would react to this. Took you a while! I agree with you -- expat status is becoming more attractive every day.