Friday, November 5, 2010

If NPR was right to fire Juan Williams, should MSNBC fire Keith Olbermann? UPDATE: Olbermann suspended

We’ll see how this shakes out, but if Keith Olbermann can directly and deliberately violate NBC News policy on campaign contributions and keep his job, it shows an incredible hypocrisy on the part of the media.

MSNBC host Keith Olbermann made campaign contributions to two Arizona members of Congress and failed Kentucky Senate candidate Jack Conway ahead of Tuesday’s election — a potential violation of NBC ethics policies.

Olbermann, who acknowledged the contributions in a statement to POLITICO, made the maximum legal donations of $2,400 apiece to Conway and to Arizona Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords. He donated to the Arizona pair on Oct. 28 — the same day that Grijalva appeared as a guest on Olbermann’s “Countdown” show.

You will recall that NPR fired Juan Williams for merely stating an honest opinion about his feelings towards Muslims when getting on a plane.  NPR’s problem with Williams was apparently not what he said, but where he said it—on a Fox News broadcast of the O’Reilly Factor.

Olbermann’s transgression appears much more severe.  NBC's policy on political contributions is clear.  You don’t do it unless you get clearance from the top.  Olbermann apparently didn’t.

Should he keep his job?

UPDATE: Indefinitely Suspended