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Keith Olbermann offered $3 million/year job by Fox News

Well, actually, no.

Keith Olbermann was suspended indefinitely without pay from his job on MSNBC for donating money to political candidates.

Well, actually no, again. Although I’ve seen plenty of headlines saying this.

If truth be told, MSNBC does not prohibit employees from donating to political candidates, but it does require them to obtain prior approval from NBC News executives before doing so. This is the first time Olbermann has violated this rule. Actually, it is the first time he has ever donated money to any political campaign, ever.

So, where is the outrage? Didn’t the Supreme Court rule that money is protected speech? Isn’t MSNBC stomping on Olbermann’s first amendment rights?

Well, actually no, but that didn’t stop people from saying the same thing about Juan Williams when he was fired from NPR for repeatedly violating the terms of his contract with them. Even supporters of NPR said the firing was poorly handled. Where are the same comments about MSNBC and Olbermann? After all, MSNBC didn’t even give Olbermann a warning.

Seriously! Fox News is Fair and Balanced. They told me so themselves. Shouldn’t they offer a job to Keith Olbermann? Just like they did to Juan Williams? Isn’t that fair?

Isn’t that balanced?

In fact, not only does Fox News allow its journalists to contribute money to political causes, they have allowed Republican candidates to do fundraising on their programs. Heck, they even gave over a million dollars to Republicans themselves!

When NPR fired Williams, conservatives kept pointing out that George Soros had just donated money to NPR. If Fox News doesn’t offer Keith Olbermann a job, shouldn’t we keep pointing out that the second largest owner of Fox News is a Saudi prince, terrorist-sympathizer who has bragged about getting Fox News to change stories for him?

UPDATE: Rachel Maddow on the suspension of Keith Olbermann:

UPDATE 2: In 2006, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough donated $4,200 to a Republican candidate without permission. MSNBC ignored it, because Scarborough “hosts an opinion program and is not a news reporter”. Even though Olbermann also hosts an opinion program, MSNBC seems to hold him to a different standard, or is it because Olbermann donated to the wrong party?



  1. Ahahahahaha ahh. Yeah.

    Is there no mention of this on Fox at all? Not even attempting to put a spin on it that makes both MSNBC and Olberman bad?

    Friday, November 5, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Permalink
  2. Iron Knee wrote:

    Now, what would be really ironic is if someone attacks me for defending Keith Olbermann! Even though I specifically pointed out that MSNBC did not stomp on his first amendment rights.

    Friday, November 5, 2010 at 6:10 pm | Permalink
  3. Bard wrote:

    2,400 Dollars from Olbermann to three individual candidates is a controversy.
    A Million Dollars from Rupert Murdoch to the Republican Party is just business as usual.

    Friday, November 5, 2010 at 7:52 pm | Permalink
  4. patriotsgt wrote:

    Well, at least now that he’s free to openly pursue his passion, Sarah Palin. Look out Todd, just joking, I couldn’t resist.
    There had to be some combination of reasons for them to let him go and not fine/punish him. I thought Politico was his friend? Maybe CNN will hire him to replace Sanchez. Oh sorry Keith, client #9 and Parker did that.
    Did they speak to him face to face or wimp out and use the phone like other management losers?

    Friday, November 5, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Permalink
  5. libhomo wrote:

    FAIR already has exposed the facts on this. GE, NBC’s current owner has gotten caught making political contributions. So has incoming NUB owner Comcast.

    Saturday, November 6, 2010 at 1:41 am | Permalink
  6. PatriotSGT: Hey, at least he didn’t get fired by email, right? (That actually did happen to me.)

    Saturday, November 6, 2010 at 5:11 am | Permalink
  7. starluna wrote:

    Wow. I don’t like Olbermann. I like him less than Juan Williams. But needing permission to make political donations goes a bit too far. Even being required to report donations would go too far in my view.

    Thank you for adding to my increasingly long list of reasons not to watch these channels.

    Saturday, November 6, 2010 at 7:15 am | Permalink
  8. Jonah wrote:

    Starluna, why would you place olbermann at a higher dislike level than juan williams. I’m just curious why that is. I’m not a big fan of either but to me olbermanns exaggerations are less harmful ie bush is hitler because he sends young americans to die for a needless war, while juan william is islamaphobic.

    Saturday, November 6, 2010 at 8:09 am | Permalink
  9. starluna wrote:

    Olbermann’s hyperbole provides support to the unthinking right wing nutcases who would like to believe that all progressives or liberals think that Bush is Hitler and other such craziness. I think he is part of the polarization of politics.

    Islamophobia is a widespread problem in the U.S. and Williams simply admitted that he is part of it. Lots of people are uncomfortable with or afraid Moslems right now. However, most liberals and progressives are actually not as extreme in their views of conservatives, Republicans, or Christians as Olbermann.

    Olbermann was way more influential than Williams, which makes the way he presents his views more problematic for me.

    Saturday, November 6, 2010 at 8:23 am | Permalink
  10. Jonah wrote:

    Olbermanns influence on the left wing is not something I actually thought about. I mostly used to watch him during the bush years and I learnt to filter out the BS but I realize that not everyone is willing to do that. I really haven’t heard or read about olbermanns exaggerations leading to anything violent and calling a president, who regards kanye west calling him a racist a worse moment that sending troops to iraq, anything extreme is ok in my book.

    As for williams, what he said or failed to say could cause more harm than all of us realize. For extremists like faizal shahzad who are already in the US, views like the ones williams only gives them an incentive to go ahead with they want to do. I realize shahzad happened before williams but the DC metro bomb guy was afterwards. NPR made things worse by totally screwing up the firing which in turn upped the islamaphobia by firing up the conservatives.

    Bottom line, to me at least, what williams started and NPR made worse could end up doing more harm than what olbermann’s hyperbole has ever done.

    Saturday, November 6, 2010 at 8:55 am | Permalink
  11. patriotsgt wrote:

    Hey Jonah – I somewhat disagree with you about Juan. Not the firing piece, I don’t really care about that. His personal admission though has merit and warrants much further discussion. Like it or not people will have for some time an anxiety at some level when confronted wit muslims. It is not wrong or right wing and I would venture to say all of us including yourself would feel some level of anxiety if you borded a plane and there were also 6 muslim males age 18-25 dressed in more traditional muslim garb. If your awareness and defense didn’t go up alittle then your either dead, superman, or a fool.
    Here’s another sterotype situation we would all feel a level of discomfort in. Your walking by yourself or one other person down a dimly lit city street. 3 young black males dressed in hoodies cross over to your side of the street. If your anxiety doesn’t got up I’d again say your either dead, superman, or a fool.
    To sum up we all have phobias, preferences, prejudices and we can’t help it. The best remedy is to talk about it, meet some of these folks, invite them to dinner, and diminish our anxiety to where say our feeling about the japanese or Germans are today, 60 years later. Americans worked hard to overcome strong dislikes. Also though, the Japanese and German people worked hard to help others overcome there fears by condemning and prosecuting there war criminals and adoprting constitutional prohibitions against repeating there past mistakes. I don’t think the Muslims communities have come out against extremeists loud or hard enough to ease world fears yet.

    Saturday, November 6, 2010 at 11:04 am | Permalink
  12. Iron Knee wrote:

    I’ve been on planes with Muslims dressed in traditional garb and didn’t feel any anxiety, and as far as I can tell I’m not dead, although there is some debate between superman or a fool. NONE of the 9/11 suicide high-jackers were wearing traditional garb, and if someone was going to try to pull something funny, they certainly wouldn’t be wearing traditional garb. Right?

    Saturday, November 6, 2010 at 11:12 am | Permalink
  13. Jonah wrote:

    pgt, i think both of us are waaay different the way we view people. I don’t think i’m a fool so while i’m cognizant that there are people who would try to blow up planes i don’t think anyone would be idiotic enough to dress up in traditional muslim garb attract attention and then try to blow themselves.

    Also when I walk down a dimly lit street I get cautious about literally anybody be it while,black brown and more recently orange.

    Finally while i know no one’s as perfect or tolerant as i am, as a journalist williams should have been more critical of himself. Never was he contrite for feeling that way and this coming from a black guy who was probably regarded the same way he regards muslims dressed in traditional garb. I guess now that he’s on fox and getting paid more than the avergae black guy he no longer feels black.

    Saturday, November 6, 2010 at 11:21 am | Permalink
  14. Iron Knee wrote:

    I would like to be clear about something. I don’t think what Juan Williams said was racist or bigoted. Having feelings like that is not what makes us bigoted, it is what we do with those feelings and how we act toward people who don’t look like we do that defines if we are racist.

    Saturday, November 6, 2010 at 11:42 am | Permalink
  15. patriotsgt wrote:

    Exactly IK. That is my point. If we get anxious, scared, excited or have really any emotion it doesn’t make us *.phobes or racists. It is how we act on the emotions that determines who we are.
    Perhaps some of my anxiety of Muslims in traditional garb comes from those that tried to blow me up or otherwise kill me and my Soldiers (I have several close friends buried in Arlington) during tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. But on the other hand I had many local friends in both countries who wore traditional Muslim dress and I had no fear. So I guess for me as I said before we need to get to know these other people. I would dine with them, sit in their house, provide medical treatment to their kids and got to know them.

    I’m glad Jonah you (and perhaps many others) don’t possess the same anxieties and concerns that I have. I have seen many horific things both abroad and here working with Federal and Local law enforcement that shades my view. As a Soldier I was taught and teach my Soldiers to be vigilent and aware and suspicious because it could save your life or someone elses. For me and others like me it is necessary to stay alive, I hope you can understand where I am coming from.

    Saturday, November 6, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Permalink
  16. starluna wrote:

    Social scientists would disagree with your description of racism, IK. The feelings that Williams described would be defined as prejudice. Discrimination is acting on those prejudices to treat different people differently. Racism involves prejudice, but more importantly includes the belief that one group is inferior to another. The key distinction is that racism, as a form of prejudice, is an attitude. Acting on that racism or prejudice is discrimination. One may be prejudiced but not necessarily believe that one group is inherently inferior to another, as is seen in ethnocentrism. One may also be prejudiced without having the ability to act on it, which is why anti-discrimination laws are important.

    PatriotSGT correctly describes the implicit biases (unconscious prejudice) that even non-racists very much hold. There has been lots of research on this phenomenon. Even those of us who believe in equality/equity and behave in a tolerant manner have these prejudices that we are not even aware of. They are based on implicit associations that are fostered throughout our culture. Currently, there is an active effort to create implicit associations between traditionally dressed Moslem men and “danger.” This is no different than the persistence of the association between “black man” and “danger” as PatriotSGT describes, as well as “fat person” and “lazy.” It takes an active effort at the individual and social level to overcome these biases.

    Harvard has provided an online tool for people to get an idea of the direction of their implicit biases. I use these as exercises in my courses. You should check them out but be warned that you may not like the results you get. And don’t complain that the test was somehow biased. There is a margin of error and there is no claim to complete and total accuracy. But these tests have been vetted by different researchers and institutions and have been determined to be reliable.

    Sunday, November 7, 2010 at 10:31 am | Permalink
  17. starluna wrote:

    To be clear, Williams’ comments were, as you said, not necessarily racist or bigoted. However, racism is not determined by acting on the prejudice..

    Sunday, November 7, 2010 at 10:35 am | Permalink
  18. BTN wrote:

    Juan was not fired for his views, he was fired for breaking NPR’s policy and disobeying his supervisor’s after being given warnings. The story was a spin job.

    Olberman also disobeyed his company’s policy, hence a ~1 week suspension. It just so happens that MSNBC’s policy sets a higher bar than Fox’s where political donations are concerned. This doesn’t seem like big news, either. If he was FIRED, then that would be noteworthy to me.

    Also, I would like to point out something concerning the “three, young black males walking down the street” scenario. I would theorize that it has little to do with actual race in most cases. Imagine these alternate sceanrios :

    2) The same generic YBMs walking in business suits.
    3) Three young white males dressed in the “urban/street” fashion that you imagined for the original scenario.

    Which group seems more threating to you?

    Sunday, November 7, 2010 at 10:52 pm | Permalink
  19. patriotsgt wrote:

    BTN -your exactly right. Pick any scenario, we all have our biases and preconceived notions based on skin color, dress style, car type, job, etc. These are not because we are racists or bigots its because a wide and complicated set of learning variables. I picked the scenarios probably because of my own preconceptions.
    In law enforcement its called profiling, that ugly word that everyone was screaming about concerning the Arizona law. Yes, we all profile at what does not, or what does fit into a scenario. It could be 3 white grungers in a middle class neighborhood that “look” out of place, or 2 black hip hoppers entering a red neck southern bar. We constantly profile, now what we do with that information is what makes the difference.

    Monday, November 8, 2010 at 7:01 am | Permalink
  20. starluna wrote:

    BTN – as several of my young, black male professional friends will tell you, they are apparently threatening enough to be frequently stopped by police officers even while wearing business suits. I have personally witnessed white women move to another, more crowded, side of the train car when a black male professional in a business suit sits next to her. I have had students who work dispatch in upper middle class white suburban police departments tell me about phone calls from white people calling to report that there are black people walking down their street, who happen to be Mormon evangelicals who always wear business suits when they do their proselytizing.

    The research in the US on the role of race in attitudes and behavior is really clear on this: race matters. It matters a whole lot more than it should.

    Monday, November 8, 2010 at 8:26 am | Permalink
  21. Bert wrote:

    It may be an irrelevant issue, but psychologists who studied Vietnam-era post-traumatic stress identified the amygdala as creating these stresses. People associate everything they identify with the time and circumstances of the issue, whether related or not. So Vietnam veterans may get stressed from an unusually sunny day, the sound of a dog, or a phrase someone makes. Following 9/11, we may be doing the same thing with Moslem. No, it doesn’t make it right. Just thought I’d throw it in for some reason.

    Monday, November 8, 2010 at 9:25 am | Permalink
  22. patriotsgt wrote:

    Yet all is not lost! We have many positive examples of how these biases and prejudices can be overcome. Look a the differnce in the way we look at Japanese, Germans, Irish, Chinese, Vietnamese, etc. Some day, hopefully, Muslims, Middle Easterners and all people will fall into that category. Then we’ll have to wait on aliens to have someone to hate, fear or loathe. 🙂

    Monday, November 8, 2010 at 9:37 am | Permalink
  23. Iron Knee wrote:

    Reminds me of “The Lathe of Heaven”

    Monday, November 8, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Permalink
  24. BTN wrote:


    I didn’t mean to imply that racism doesn’t exist in the US. I would find a broad study of it interesting when other factor such as dress, accents, education levels, and socioeconomic c lass are accounted for.

    Also, as PSGT stated, I agree that racism is more defined by your actions than thoughts. Clearly many of the people you described have strong racists streaks.

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 9:20 pm | Permalink