Thursday, November 04, 2010

Remains To Be Seen

Responding to the "Rally to Restore Sanity" two days earlier in Washington, Keith Olbermann suspended on November 1 his daily "Worst Person in the World" segment. Although Olbermann argued "It is not for ratings and it is not 'get angry first and find a reason later,'" he concluded

It's just that today, given the serious stuff we have to start covering tomorrow, we think it's the right time to do it short-term and then we'll see what happens. And we'll also see if anybody else on TV or radio will do something similar.

Not surprisingly (and as KO probably suspected), there has been no similar attempt at lowering the volume of partisan discourse at the GOP's house organ, FOX News.

Politico had discovered in a federal election commission filing that Olbermann had made a campaign contribution to a U.S. Senate candidate (who was defeated) and to two U.S. House candidates (who were re-elected). Simmi Aujla writes

MSNBC President Phil Griffin said in a statement Friday: “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."

Olbermann made campaign contributions to two Arizona members of Congress and failed Kentucky Senate candidate Jack Conway ahead of Tuesday’s election.

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.

Grijalva, a prominent liberal who was just declared a winner in his race Thursday night, was in a tight contest against tea-party-backed candidate Ruth McClung when he appeared on "Countdown" — one of several appearances he made on the show.

NBC has a rule against employees contributing to political campaigns, and a wide range of news organizations prohibit political contributions — considering it a breach of journalistic independence to contribute to the candidates they cover.

Olbermann is not alone in his generosity. As Justin Elliot wrote for on September 23

Fox News host Sean Hannity gave $5,000 to the political action committee of conservative hero Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., in August, and his wife, Jill, gave another $5,000, Federal Election Commission records show.

The donations were given on Aug. 31 to MICHELEPAC (that's an acronym for Many Individual Conservatives Helping Elect Leaders Everywhere).

Besides being a conservative radio and TV host, Hannity's ties to the Republican Party are well known. Earlier this year he was the keynote speaker at the annual fundraising dinner of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

We've reached out to Fox for comment on this, and we'll update this post if we hear back.

Elliot blogged at 9:53 this morning that no comment yet had been received from Fox, which appears to be a part of the GOP's fundraising apparatus. As Media Matters noted in September, Sharron

Angle has been fairly consistent in touting Fox News as part of her national fundraising push. On September 10, Angle wrote that she would appear on Fox News' Hannity as "part of our push" to raise $1 million online; she previously told Fox News reporter Carl Cameron that she needed the press to be her "friend" and allow her to give out the address of her website; and in July, Angle suggested that she frequently appeared on Fox News -- the home of softball Angle interviews -- because they allow her to make fundraising appeals to viewers.

But it's not only Angle. The Washington Post reported in August that Fox News' parent, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., made a $1 million contribution to the Republican Governors Association. In October it made a $250,000 donation to the RGA. Between those two contributions, Newscorp gave $1 million to- wait for it- the United States Chamber of Commerce. That would be the same Chamber which solicited money from foreign- and state- owned companies to run attack ads against candidates, most of them Democrats, who have worked to discourage offshoring of American jobs.

If Jon Stewart is right, all of "cable TV" has the same policy and standards and head(s) will roll at Fox News. If not, we will, finally, understand that there is one liberal cable network and one which is little more than an arm of the Republican Party.

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