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November 06, 2010

I'm Getting a Shirley Sherrod/Juan Williams Feeling About This Olbermann Thing

There are two camps on this that I can see, not counting genuine Olbermann viewers who are so alien to me I can't meaningfully describe their minuscule brain activity.

Camp One is made up of folks who think that Olberdouche is a horrible person --- and bad at his job, to boot --- and conclude therefore that bad things that happen to him, especially job-related bad things --- like getting suspended or fired --- are good. The end.

Camp Two is made up of folks who also think that Olbermann is bad at his job and not all that good a person, but think that he shouldn't be suspended or fired just for giving monetary contributions to people that everyone already knew he supported.

Camp Two people object to the pretext. They'd be cool with it if Olbermann were fired because he's bad at his job. But it's just not fair if he gets fired based on the silly idea that he was supposed to be impartial.

William Kristol is in Camp Two:

MSNBC’s suspension of Keith Olbermann is ludicrous.

First, he donated money to candidates he liked. He didn’t take money, or favors, in a way that influenced his reporting.

Second, he’s not a reporter. It’s an opinion show. If Olbermann wants to put his money where his mouth is, more power to him.

Third, GE, the corporate parent of MSNBC, gives money to political organizations. GE executives and, I’m sure, NBC executives give money. Why can’t Olbermann?

Kristol ends with a rousing call for Republicans to show they support free expression and "Keep Keith."

So how much of a pretext is NBC's firing? Details, details:

On Friday, MSNBC announced that Nation editor Chris Hayes would temporarily replace suspended host Keith Olbermann on its prime time “Countdown” program. Then it learned that Hayes, too, has given money to political campaigns. Oops.

The reality is that quite a few cable news opinionators have given money to political campaigns, including several who host shows owned by NBC, including MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and CNBC’s Larry Kudlow. Fox personalities, including Sean Hannity and Mike Huckabee, have done it too. Is this a problem? Not really.

It looks to me like NBC pulled the trigger on Olbermann before they even examined how common it is for commentators to make political monetary contributions aside from their obvious nightly political expressive contributions. Which puts this in the Shirley Sherrod --- "rush, rush, fire her before the teabaggers react" --- category. If they really have a rule that applies to a commentator like Olbermann, it's a stupid rule. We already know he supports libtards. Duh. I hate to break it to the NBC execs, but no one expects journalistic integrity from Keith Olbermann and no one's is upset that he doesn't have any.

Which also puts his suspension and possible firing in the Juan Williams category. They were looking for a reason to ditch Olbermann. Could be his low ratings, his embarrassing on-screen behavior, or his treatment of others at NBC. Could be a combination of all three. But its probably not his support for Democrats. That was obvious before.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 11:00 AM

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