Victory for Keith Olbermann Fans: The Host Will Return on Tuesday
After being suspended "indefinitely" on Friday for making a handful of political donations without the approval of network management, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann will return to the airwaves Tuesday evening.
MSNBC president Phil Griffin sent out an email Sunday evening:
After several days of deliberation and discussion, I have determined that suspending Keith through and including Monday night's program is an appropriate punishment for his violation of our policy. We look forward to having him back on the air Tuesday night.
As you're no doubt aware, Olbermann's suspension at the end of last week caused an immediate uproar; a petition to get Olbermann back on the air received at least 250,000 signatures over the weekend, while the "Let's Bring Keith Back" Facebook page got nearly 7,200 "likes."
Many journalists and progressive activists rushing to point out the hypocrisy of MSNBC's actions. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, MSNBC parent company General Electric hired more than 550 professional lobbyists this year, spending over $17.8 million to influence policy. Furthermore, it was pointed out that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough and contributor Pat Buchanan have both contributed to Republican political campaigns, and no action was taken by the network.
And of course, then there's Fox News, whose hosts routinely fundraise for and endorse conservative candidates. Olbermann's fellow MSNBC host Rachel Maddow chimed in on that front:
I know everyone likes to say, "Oh, cable news, it's all the same. Fox and MSNBC -- mirror images of each other. But if you look at the long history of Fox hosts not just giving money to candidates, but activelyendorsing campaigns and raising millions of dollars for politicians and political parties -- whether it's Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck or Mike Huckabee -- and you'll see that we can lay that old false equivalency to rest forever. There are multiple people being paid by Fox News to essentially run for office as Republican candidates. If you count not just their hosts but their contributors, you're looking at a significant portion of the entire Republican lineup of potential contenders for 2012.
They can do that because there's no rule against that at Fox. Their network is run as a political operation. Ours isn't. Yeah, Keith's a liberal, and so am I. But we're not a political operation -- Fox is. We're a news operation. The rules around here are part of how you know that.