The Corner

Olbermann Suspended ‘Indefinitely’

The word from MSNBC:

Msnbc TV host Keith Olbermann was suspended indefinitely on Friday for making campaign donations to three Democratic congressional candidates, apparently in violation of NBC News ethics policy.

The announcement came in a one-sentence statement from msnbc TV President Phil Griffin: “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.”

From NBC’s policy on the matter:

Like most news organizations, NBC News, parent of msnbc TV, prohibits political contributions by its journalists without prior approval of the president. ( is a joint venture of NBC News and Microsoft.)

“Anyone working for NBC News who takes part in civic or other outside activities may find that these activities jeopardize his or her standing as an impartial journalist because they may create the appearance of a conflict of interest,” it reads. “Such activities may include participation in or contributions to political campaigns or groups that espouse controversial positions.  You should report any such potential conflicts in advance to, and obtain prior approval of, the president of NBC News or his designee.”

Will this be temporary? Permanent? Unclear.

UPDATE: Lots of intriguing things going on over this. Bill Kristol comes out in defense of Olbermann (along similar lines as Jonah). Kristol points out that MSNBC’s parent companies make plenty of political donations, and wonders — a bit conspiratorially — whether NBC, in the midst of a potential mega-merger with Comcast, was quick on the draw in an effort to curry favor with the new Republican House.

Also, Olbermann’s replacement tonight? Chris Hayes of The Nation. Josh Gerstein notes that Hayes gave at least $1750 to progressive Alabama congressional candidate Joshua Segall in 08-09, and $250 to Illinois Democrat Tom Geoghegan, who lost a Democratic primary to replace Rahm Emanuel in the House.

UPDATE II: Mediaite: “Insiders we’ve talked to say Olbermann won’t be back. The question is whether he’ll leave or MSNBC keeps him off the air.”

Daniel Foster — Daniel Foster is a former news editor of National Review Online.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Making Sense of the Iran Chaos

One would prefer that correct decisions be made according to careful, deliberate plan. But a correct decision made impulsively, through a troubling process, is still nonetheless correct, and so it is with Donald Trump’s decision to refrain from military action against Iran. The proposed strike would represent a ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Pro-Abortion Nonsense from John Irving

The novelist has put up a lot of easy targets in his New York Times op-ed. I am going to take aim at six of his points, starting with his strongest one. First: Irving asserts that abortion was legal in our country from Puritan times until the 1840s, at least before “quickening.” That’s an overstatement. ... Read More
Politics & Policy

New Deal . . . Conservatives?

I am second to none in my admiration for William F. Buckley Jr., but on matters of electoral politics his judgment was not exactly infallible. For example, he floated the idea of having former president Dwight Eisenhower join Barry Goldwater’s ticket as the vice-presidential nominee, which was possibly ... Read More