Today MSNBC indefinitely suspended Keith Olbermann, the host of the cable network’s Countdown program, after it learned that Olbermann had made contributions to three political campaigns — all for Democratic candidates.
I applaud MSNBC management for acting promptly to safeguard the network’s hard-earned reputation for objectivity and balance in its coverage of American politics. It is hard to believe that Olbermann, who is one of the paragons of temperate commentary and unbiased reporting in the new media, would not have understood that contributing money to political candidates was grossly inconsistent with MSNBC’s high standards of journalistic integrity. After all, it is not as if the network would allow news show hosts to routinely describe political figures of particular viewpoints as “the worst person in the world,” or to regularly launch harshly worded, mean-spirited attacks in an effort to drum up better ratings.
I’m sure that MSNBC’s other prime time news show hosts, Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow, have never provided any support, financial or otherwise, to any political party or movement. Both Matthews and Maddow are universally recognized for their even-handed treatment of political news and have contributed tremendously to high esteem which every rational person must feel for MSNBC and its fair and credible treatment of opposing viewpoints.