Olbermann returns after two nights off on Tuesday
posted at 8:48 am on November 8, 2010 by Ed Morrissey
So that makes the suspension equal to, what — 40 minutes of air time for every unapproved political donation? MSNBC will put Keith Olbermann back on the air after two unpaid days off following the admission that the anchor broke NBC’s ethics rules designed to protect their staff’s “standing (cough) as an impartial (cough cough) journalist (cough cough cough cough cough)”:
MSNBC says Keith Olbermann will be back on the air Tuesday, ending his suspension for violating NBC’s rules against making political donations after two shows.
MSNBC’s chief executive Phil Griffin said late Sunday that after several days of deliberation, he had determined that two days off the air was “an appropriate punishment for his violation of our policy.”
The left-leaning cable network’s most popular personality acknowledged donating $2,400 apiece to the campaigns of Kentucky Senate candidate Jack Conway and Arizona Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords. NBC News prohibits its employees from making political donations unless an exception is granted in advance by the network news president. In this case, Olbermann’s bosses didn’t know about them until being informed by a reporter.
“We look forward to having him back on the air Tuesday night,” Griffin said in a statement.
Look, the application of the rule to Olbermann is absurd in the first place. If NBC’s ethics rules really apply to MSNBC, then their entire prime-time lineup should get canned after the Election Night fiasco. No one cares whether Olbermann, Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, Larry O’Donnell, or Ed Schultz contribute to Democrats. Donations could not possibly tell us any more than even a first-time viewer wouldn’t glean in the first five minutes of their shows.
Obviously, ethics had nothing to do with it. Why did Griffin go through this little farce? He wanted to use it to supposedly position MSNBC as somehow more journalistically pure than Fox News, and to give the channel’s defenders a talking point after one of the most embarrassing displays in American telejournalism on Tuesday night. Olbermann, who kept oddly quiet during his hours in the wilderness, presumably knew better what was happening than the “Free Keith” contingent who demanded that Griffin reverse his decision and who worried that Olbermann’s right to free speech was somehow threatened.
Basically, this was nothing more than a farcical publicity stunt, and a pleasant long weekend for the supposed perp/victim.