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Posted at 2:05 PM ET, 11/19/2010

Joe Scarborough suspended from MSNBC for political donations

By Melissa Bell
Joe Scarborough (Kimihiro Hoshino/AFP/Getty Images)

Updated 3:45 p.m.

MSNBC said on Friday that it was suspending Joe Scarborough, a co-host of the popular "Morning Joe" show, for donating to political campaigns in violation of network policy.

Scarborough will be out for two days for contributing a total of $4,000 to candidates in Florida. MSNBC does not permit its journalists -- including overtly partisan commentators -- to make political donations without prior approval, a policy that resulted recently in a two-day suspension for Keith Olbermann, host of the prime-time program "Countdown."

In a statement, Scarborough apologized and acknowledged that he had acted without the approval of MSNBC. But he said the donations involved "local, non-competitive races" in which he supported his brother and three family friends.

"These contributions were nothing more than simple acts of friendship. I gained nothing personally, politically, or professionally from these donations," he wrote. "To be blunt, I had no interest in their campaigns other than being kind to longtime friends."

Politico, which broke the story, said it sought comment from the network after finding evidence that Scarborough "gave at least five previously unknown $500 contributions while serving as an MNBC host - all to Republican candidates to whom he was close who were running for state legislative seats in or near Scarborough's hometown of Pensacola, Fla."

Scarborough's suspension quickly reignited a debate over whether a policy intended to protect the integrity of MSNBC's journalists should be applied to commentators who are valued precisely because they are opinionated.

Here is the policy set by MSNBC's parent company, NBC:

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.

Early this month, when Politico broke the news that Olbermann recently contributed a total of $7,200 to three Democratic candidates, Scarborough came under scrutiny because of a donation he made to a Republican candidate in Oregon. The New York Times reports that he had asked permission for that donation.

In a statement, MSNBC President Phil Griffin said Scarborough told him Friday morning that he had made eight contributions of $500 each to local candidates in Florida between 2004 and 2008.

"Since he did not seek or receive prior approval for these contributions, Joe understands that I will be suspending him for violating our policy," Griffin wrote. "As Joe recognizes, it is critical that we enforce our standards and policies."

Scarborough will be back on air Wednesday, November 24th.

Here's Scarborough's full statement:

It was recently brought to my attention that I made political contributions over the past several years that are not consistent with MSNBC's guidelines. These contributions were to close personal friends and family members and were limited to local races.
Despite the fact that these races were local and not relevant to my work at MSNBC, I have been told they violated MSNBC guidelines.
I recognize that I have a responsibility to honor the guidelines and conditions of my employment, and I regret that I failed to do so in this matter. I apologize to MSNBC and to anyone who has been negatively affected by my actions.
I gave a number of $500 contributions to my brother and three longtime family friends. These contributions were nothing more than simple acts of friendship. I gained nothing personally, politically, or professionally from these donations.
To be blunt, I had no interest in their campaigns other than being kind to longtime friends.
Because the contributions involved local, non-competitive races--and were given for personal rather than political reasons--I mistakenly believed I did not need approval from MSNBC. I also apologize for that oversight.
After learning of this situation, I called Phil Griffin and agreed with Phil's immediate demand of a two-day suspension without pay.
I am proud to work for the NBC News family. There is nothing more important than maintaining the integrity of its highly respected brand.
I apologize to Phil Griffin, Steve Capus, and my colleagues. This will not happen again.

By Melissa Bell  | November 19, 2010; 2:05 PM ET
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MSNBC is a joke. The network has ZERO credibility. Joe Scarborough is the only thing they have that's worth watching, and they suspend him. He should quit and run for office...preferably President.

Posted by: usmc53 | November 19, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Republicans have the absolute worst memories on the planet.

Posted by: FoundingMother | November 19, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

You can write the article, but you can't be bothered to check the spelling?

Posted by: thitt | November 19, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

MSNBC suspends Democrats and Republicans from doing what they should be allowed to do - yet Fox news blantantly promotes stupidity and hatred from their hosts and encourages them to donate to the Republican Party - go figure...both MNSBC and Fox News should just go away.

Posted by: KevinDunne | November 19, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Two day suspension? That's more like a long weekend vacation than a punishment. What a joke!

Posted by: JoStalin | November 19, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah MSNBC with their bendee straw backbone made another token suspension. What a lame flipping network. No wonder you have no viewers.

Posted by: Desertdiva1 | November 19, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

usmc53 wrote:
MSNBC is a joke. The network has ZERO credibility. Joe Scarborough is the only thing they have that's worth watching, and they suspend him. He should quit and run for office...preferably President.

Please tell me what networks have credibility? Just curious.

Posted by: Nemesis | November 19, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

FoundingMother, You know it! They absolutely deny anything happened before Obama. Nothing existed. There was nothing. It is very convenient for repubicans to simply pretend their policies didn't exist...that everything that has happened is to be blamed on Obama and Democrats.

Posted by: fmamstyle | November 19, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

At least MSNCB HAS ethical guidelines that prohibit news correspondents from making political donations.

FOX doesn't even PRETEND to have any ethics on this issue.

Posted by: DROSE1 | November 19, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Maybe NBC should announce the suspension of Phil Griffin for two months without pay. What a clown this guy is!

Posted by: fgominho | November 19, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

usmc53, the only neo-con on MSNBC, and he is the only creature you can relate to? Holy crap, buzz-cut. Semper-Fi, huh?

Posted by: fmamstyle | November 19, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

This will matter to the 14 viewers who watch MSNBC.

It's like some blog by a kid in his parent's basement.

Posted by: drjcarlucci | November 19, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Who cares if they contribute to a campaign? It's no secret who supports which side of the coin. Let them have the same rights as the rest of us. Thinking not allowing them to do so so as not to "bias" themselves is naive.

Posted by: jckdoors | November 19, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

scarborough is a failed leader, failed talk show host, fail, fail, fail.

Posted by: NObama_In_2012 | November 19, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Joe and Mika should both be fired. They have
taken a great show and ruined it with their
own opinions on everything from politics to what we should eat. What I eat is none of Mika's business. And the fact that I am a
Democrat should not allow Joe to come down
on me. But it happens every day with those two. The idea of the show is great. But the
two hosts stink up the show. The show was ten times better when both Joe and Mika were on vacation.Give them both a permanent vacation and hire a different host. Come on MSNBC give us a break!!!!

Posted by: dbmagmen | November 19, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Scarborough is not a neo-con. He has spent a ton of time on the air criticizing neo-cons, and rightfully so in my opinion.

Posted by: usmc53 | November 19, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse


If you think Scarborough is a neo-con, read his book, "Rome Wasn't Burnt in a Day." I'm guessing you haven't read it.

Posted by: usmc53 | November 19, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

OMG !!! Don't tell me they are going to leave Mika there alone for two days.. She is a mindless Progressive who plays "Mommy" to the boys frat club on the air. Everything offends her.... You could brain wash her in a thimble....She is on only because of her fathers muscle.... It is painful watching and listening to her..She is so overpaid. I like Joe because he keeps things moving..The show has dismal ratings. Its hard to believe that fluff Fox has on from 6 to 9 has 4 times the viewership of "Mornin' Joe..

Posted by: james_m_reilly1 | November 19, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see Phil Griffin offer "Morning Joe" over the air - on the digital subchannels of NBC affiliates.

Posted by: mattintx | November 19, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse




Posted by: bsbuster | November 19, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

So who thinks Joe & Mika are fooling around? Just me? Anyway this is so typical, the right applauded Keith O's suspension. Now they are whining like babies! Some Americans are so predictable. As the world was waiting to see with the election of Obama. Nothing has changed!

Posted by: minco_007 | November 19, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Well, I will admit that I like Joe's show a lot more when he is not there, but again, I think this is ridiculus.

I don't consider any of the MSNBC shows I watch News.

Joe, Rundown, Andrea, Dylan, Hardball, Ed, Countdown, Rachel, and the last Word, in my opinion are all political Commentary.

I like the range of opinions you can find on all these shows, I don't want to bath in my own beliefs, but want to shower in the wide range of opinions I hear.

I know Joe is a Republican, I know that Keith is a Democrat, I know Lawrence is a Socialist, I watch for their varied opinions.

From Pat Buchannan to Cenk Uygur it is the diversity that I like.

BUT, I for one believe in their right to put their money where their mouth is.

Chuck, Savanah, and Andrea and the other real(?) news folks are the ones that should be covered by this ridiculus ban.

If MSNBC is worried about this they should put a disclaimer in each opinion show that labels the show as an opinion show, focused from one slant or another.

My local newspaper has a rating next to all the columnists that they carry, strong right, right, weak right, neutral, weak left, left, strong left.

As I said, I won't miss Joe much, but MSNBC's silly rules are depriving me of my daily dose of arrogent, opiniated, elite, righty talk, and as a viewer, I won't become a better human being without it!

Pat Bucchanan better be their both days, although it won't be the same because he is one of my favorites.

Seperate Opinionators from Newscasters MSNBC. Quit the games, we know the difference between you and Fox. (I wach a couple of their shows too!)

Posted by: daveg000 | November 19, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

This has to be a joke! News organizations that have partisan journalists should not have such rules. I don't watch these shows for their unbiased reporting, they all are biased. MSNBC is no different. I find greater offense in partisan reporting than on political donations. This is just ridiculous!

Posted by: EGGArgost | November 19, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

What's an "MSNBC"?

Posted by: illogicbuster | November 19, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

So who thinks Joe & Mika are fooling around? Just me? Anyway this is so typical, the right applauded Keith O's suspension. Now they are whining like babies! Some Americans are so predictable. As the world was waiting to see with the election of Obama. Nothing has changed!

Posted by: minco_007 | November 19, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Olbermann and Scarborough were very professional about their suspensions.

Which says a lot about them..

Too bad they are an embarrassment to the Neocon's, right wingers

because they apologized.


Posted by: vettesport | November 19, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

If it wasn't such a ratings booster, these guys would have sued for suppression of Freedom of Speech.

Posted by: pjohn2 | November 19, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse




Posted by: bsbuster

Is it the Koolaide or TEA??


Posted by: vettesport | November 19, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse


The Constitution protects citizens against the government, not a privately owned network, infringing upon one's freedom of speech.

Learn the law.

Posted by: usmc53 | November 19, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I guess having a rule against political donations makes MSNBC not biased.

Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, Chris Matthews are not biased at all because they aren't allowed to make political donations.

The network has turned into one continuous Saturday Night Live skit.

Posted by: drjcarlucci | November 19, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

If this is to be believed, it happened 2 to 6 YEARS ago. Why the wait? Why is it the only people who have the guts to stand up to F-X trash get hit when the do the things WE ALL do for OUR candidates?
Joe, hurry back, we NEED you.
Nicholas Carton USMC

Posted by: cartonnt | November 19, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it horrible how low ethical standards have fallen? Two biased 'journalists' get a two-day suspension for donations, and Charlie Rangel gets a hand-slap for dozens of crimes.

It's open trough season in Washington and the media. Gorge yourselves at the expense of the nation.


Posted by: diesel_skins_ | November 19, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Can we make this suspension permanent? This guy needs to move to Fox.

Posted by: allan3 | November 19, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Joe Scarborough...The only reason he and his crew are on in the morning is because Imus screwed up!!! Heck, even some of Joe's regulars on his show were regulars with Imus. BRING BACK IMUS!!!

Posted by: mcdy01 | November 19, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Who cares? People ike Scarborough, Olbermann, O'Reilly, Beck, Maddow, etc, etc. are not "correspondents."

They all host editorial shows.

Posted by: loux24 | November 19, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

USMC wrote:

MSNBC is a joke. The network has ZERO credibility. Joe Scarborough is the only thing they have that's worth watching, and they suspend him. He should quit and run for office...preferably President.


No, actually he should be on FIXED NEWS, which like him, has absolutely NO credibility. He's the only "anchorperson" who I DO NOT WATCH on that network and he should pack his bags and go over to FIXED NEWS ASAP!!!

Posted by: dc1020008 | November 19, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I like how the conservative ownership of MSNBC gives Scarborough a two-day suspension just after they gave Keith Olbermann an indefinite suspension that was SHORTENED to two days because of the outcry from his viewership and the progressive community.

I seriously doubt the conservatives out there would be clamoring for Joe Scarborough's immediate reinstatement had he been given an INDEFINITE SUSPENSION!

Posted by: dc1020008 | November 19, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

If you are going to have these rules, then FIRE the violators....left-wing,righ-wing, no-wing...FIRE THE BUMS. They took the job knowing that this was Company Policy.









Posted by: Roja | November 19, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

more pre kabletown takeover bootlicking by empty nbc suits who fear for their corporate salaries.

welcome to bushworld nbc execs.

Posted by: xxxxxx1 | November 19, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

FIXED NEWS??? YOu mean the NY Times and their "any news that will fit in print"???

Posted by: Roja | November 19, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

TO THE WEAK-KNEED REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRAT…..TO ALL THE COMMUNIST IN THE IG,FBI,CIA,AND U.S. Senators and the left wing media outlets…..Wake up america!!!! This goverment is the most corrupt we have had in years. The good old boy network is very much in charge.Mr. obama and pelosi are the puppet masters.How many of their good friends benefited by the agreement ” what a farce. All of the u.sSenators voted for this. I am ashamed to say I voted for the these corupted self serving politicians.With good reason they picked an out of towner to be president.All u.s departments need an overhaul. We need to rid ourselves of the puppet masters and the dept heads that bow down to obama and pelosi.I am sick of the lip service I have been getting from these dummies over violations, their friends are getting away the goverment . Barack Hussein Obama , threatens friends and bows to Mmslim.
INPEACH OBAMA ,GOD OPEN YOUR EYES.===For us there are only two possiblities: either we remain american or we come under the thumb of the communist Mmslim Barack Hussein OBAMA. This latter must not occur.=== I love communist obama.will you , aka red ink obama.===.Is Barack Obama pushing forward dangerous policies that are bringing the United States closer to a socialist dictatorship. Are you even aware?
Repost this if you agree,===Mmslim Barack Hussein Obama people have no idea of the extent to which they have to be gulled in order to be led." "The size of the lie is a definite factor in causing it to be believed, for the vast masses of the nation are in the depths of their hearts more easily deceived than they are consciously and intentionally bad. The primitive simplicity of their minds renders them a more easy prey to a big lie than a small one, for they themselves often tell little lies but would be ashamed to tell a big one." "All propaganda must be so popular and on such an intellectual level, that even the most stupid of those towards whom it is directed will understand it. Therefore, the intellectual level of the propaganda must be lower the larger the number of people who are to be influenced by it." "Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way around, to consider the most wretched sort of life as paradise.==="pelosi don't see much future for the Americans ... it's a decayed country. And they have their racial problem, and the problem of social hate ...obama feelings against Americanism are feelings of hatred and deep repugnance ... everything about the behaviour of American society reveals that it's half LIES, and the other half RACIAL. How can one expect THE USA to hold TOGTHER.They include the angry left wing bloggers who spread vicious lies and half-truths about their political adversaries... Those lies are then repeated by the duplicitous left wing media outlets who “discuss” the nonsense on air as if it has merit� The media's justification is apparently “because it's out the

Posted by: mjski56 | November 19, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

more pre roberts/kabletown takeover bootlicking by the empty suits at nbc.

let the kabletown purges begin.

fcc. failed again.

Posted by: xxxxxx1 | November 19, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse


He's at the wrong network, FOX be glad to take him, and this registered Voter/Vet USAF, be glad to see MSNBC get rid of him!

..."He's a Republican who's at the wrong network!

Posted by: ztcb41 | November 19, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to know what a "suspension" means in terms of punishment. Is it a docking of two days pay? Is there any set of standards --- say $20K in donations gets you five days "suspension?"

Isn't it more or less a grown up "time out" which only denies you a chance to BS with Mensa candidates such as Mika Brzezinski, Mike Barnicle, and a long string of liberal idelogues? I'd hardly call that punishment.

I'd call it a gift.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | November 19, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

thitt, what is not spelled correctly?

"Correspondent" appears in the article and that is correct.

Posted by: HughBriss | November 19, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

He probably didn't even give to some of them. Somebody said they could use Joe's name on their contribution list to make it look like a quiet endorsement.

Posted by: blasmaic | November 19, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

The policy of "permission" is what needs to be suspended.

Posted by: rlj1 | November 19, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

They suspend Joe Scarborough for making some lightweight contributions to some friend (who cares) but they allow him to bully his guests and Mika throughout the show. I maintain that this guy is a bully - if you disagree with him he talk louder and louder all over top of everyone. He has a very negative attitude toward anyone who holds another opinion. In short, he's a jerk - get rid of him altogether. The show would be great without him.

Posted by: bluedogdem1 | November 19, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

How and why is it that FOX news and that evil Murdoch character can be the water carriers and financial supporters first for the Bush administration (at least free propaganda) and then the Tea Party but someone is suspended (regardless of their political leanings) for donating to the party of their choice from their own salaries? What happened to this being a free country?

I don't get it. I also don't get the flaming idiots here who are blaming Obama for this or even invoking his name. This has nothing to do with him and everything to do with MSNBC's bad policies.

You don't see FOX news suspending or firing Palin or Beck and they're the ring leaders for the Anarchist Tea Party!

Posted by: davidbronx | November 19, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Why doesn't MSNBC suspend for at least two years those radical leftist guests they have on so often that obviously contribute to the lying mytholody of the extreme progressives - ie, Adrienna, Tom Brokaw, Mika's dad.

I watch Joe everyday and love his show but there are far too many "lefties" that lie, mislead, misquote .... thereby "contributing" to the undermining of American knowledge about their politicians.

Posted by: maxandmurray | November 19, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Publicity stunt. Get some ink for the program, ratings must be slipping. I sort of like Joe's Politics and watching Mika's moves. It is the only 2 way gig on MSNBC. By contrast, fox does show some lefties.

Posted by: Pooper3 | November 19, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

There may be a moral high ground to be sought out here, but sometimes being that anal is ludicrous. All politics is local, at least a legendary Congressman thought so, so what is the beef with giving a couple of local races a little support?

The other networks give air time to those candidates and are proud of it.

Posted by: ronjeske | November 19, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

maxandmurray...what in the lord's name are you drinking, you need to step away from the computer and go see a doctor, cause man you have lost your mind..lefties that lie all the have been lied to all your life that is why you cannot or will not realize the Republican's or not only liar's but THIEVES also...they just stole the heart of the Tea Bagger's and Now will continue to kick them to the've been had my friend.

Posted by: janetmramos | November 19, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

MSNBC is a joke. Joe and keith are nothing more than entertainers masquerading as commentators. We don't watch this station anymore PERIOD !!!!!!

Posted by: Nancianne | November 19, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

2 day suspension? Is this a joke? It would probably have been more appropriate to spank his hand so he would at least feel it.

Posted by: ShadowDude | November 19, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Keith and Joe.....go straight to MOTHER SUPERIOR and then to confession. Puhleeze!

Posted by: jaugen | November 19, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

This is inane and silly, we are destroying our world and we should worry about this? Insanity is spreading like a virulent virus... most of us have become zombies... WOW, Bow to the new deity, networks, but trust the news?
Thank you.
J Davis

Posted by: joanne_dvs | November 19, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Scarborough is one of the most pompous jackasses in television. For some has been, who was in the Congress nearly a decade and a half ago, he really thinks he's the cat's meow. He's not. He's a pompous guy who is probably also a bipolar in need of medication on a regular basis. His biases against Obama are blatant. And he comes to this superior knowledge how? I guess if he believes in himself, and Mika Brezinski does, too, then all's well. His coterie of lackeys is also sad. But, along with Andrea Mitchell, he ties down the Republican side of MSNBC, so it can say it's a balanced network. That's more than FOX news has, so ... perhaps that's understandable. But, at least MSNBC doled out the same punishment for Scarborough as it did for Olberman.

Posted by: zennheadd | November 20, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Wow. A lot of anger out there, but I wouldn't miss 'Morning Joe' for anything. He is honest, balanced and open about his biases and positions. Unlike many commentators who yell and pontificate, Joe is open to both sides even when he is by principal likely to lean to one side. He is one of the few commentators left who refuse to be rabble rousers. His response is characteristic of him. Keep up the good work Joe, Mika and crew.

Posted by: wdonahue | November 20, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

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