Main | Friday, November 05, 2010

NBC News Suspends MSNBC Host Keith Olbermann Over Campaign Donations

NBC News has indefinitely suspended MSNBC host Keith Olbermann over political donations his employers say he made in violation of their 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.” The donations were first reported by the Politico website earlier in the day. Olbermann acknowledged the donations in a statement to Politico, saying he gave the maximum legal donation of $2,400 to Arizona Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords and Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, who waged an unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate against Tea Party standard-bearer Rand Paul.
According to Politico, Olbermann's donations to Grijalva and Giffords came on October 28th, the same day both candidates appeared on his show. NBC's ethics policy reads:
"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. 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."
Olbermann notes that he has never urged anybody, publicly or privately, to make campaign donations to any candidate.

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