Saturday, November 6, 2010

Opinion: KOed.... MSNBC or Keith Olbermann?

by Christine Maginnis

Keith Olbermann of MSNBC’s Countdown has been suspended indefinitely without pay due to political contributions. According to Politico, Olbermann made three separate donations of $2,400 to three different Democratic candidates.

This move on the part of MSNBC has the same corporate, underhanded stench that reeked when NBC fired Conan O’Brien from the Tonight Show. Phil Griffin, the head of MSNBC said in a statement released late Friday afternoon, "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."

Who’s buying that? Anyone? K.O. is MSNBC’s biggest star. It’s just too convenient that this news was released late on a Friday afternoon at the end of the news cycle, heading into the weekend of less coverage. There’s more to this story; I am certain of that.

If it looks like a rat, and smells like a rat….

Olbermann sat behind the camera of MSNBC’s top rated show (he tripled the ratings of his 8:00pm time slot). He is well known for his liberal leanings as well as his acerbic criticism of many, including Phil Griffin, the executive who suspended him.

What’s that I smell? Eau de rat? Other MSNBC employees have made political contributions, including Republicans Joe Scarborough (Morning Joe) and Pat Buchanan, and, ironically enough, Chris Hayes who MSNBC announced would be filling in Olbermann’s time slot.

That bears repeating: The guy filling K.O.'s shoes did the very same thing. (Note, since first writing this piece, MSNBC executives yanked Chris Hayes at the last minute). These pundits make no bones about their political leanings and that’s why people follow them. I would expect Olbermann to support Democrats in the very same way that I would expect Scarborough to support Republicans.

A larger, and far more disconcerting Constitutional question arises: Can a company, even a news network, tell its employees to whom they can or cannot donate their private funds? Doesn’t Olbermann have the same rights as every American, whether Republican, Democrat, liberal, conservative or anarchist?

Tim Russert must be rolling over in his grave. I miss him, truly, and I will miss Countdown, but I will not miss NBC or MSNBC, as I plan to boycott both networks until Olbermann is once again Counting Down.

Of one thing I am certain, Phil Griffin is NBC/MSNBC's all-time Biggest Loser.

click here to sign petition to restore Olbermann of MSNBC's Countdown


  1. Agree. 100%. When will they suspend Scarborough and Robertson, who are just as blatantly biased as Olbermann? For the record, I don't see any of these people as "journalists", I see them as celebrity commenters.

  2. If you are so inclined, let MSNBC know how you feel. There are a number of ways. One is to email Phil Griffen, the man who suspended KO at:

    or HIS boss:

    You can call MSNBC directly and let the company know how you feel: 212-664-2456.

    Or you can simply go online and sign the emergency petition to get Mr. Olbermann reinstated at: (Over 150,000 people have already done so!)

    But please, do something.
    Christine Maginnis

  3. Well said! A rule limiting (or preventing) contributions from media reporters seems unfair, but enforcing it along political lines definitely is wrong!