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Did Keith Olbermann even violate NBC policy?

By Greg Sargent

Check out the fine print of what NBC policy said, as of 2007, about political activities on the part of NBC employees:

"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."

Emphasis mine. This is a bit difficult to parse. But this does seem to say that those who are worried that their "standing as an impartial journalist" would be jeopardized by political activity should report it. Last time I checked, Keith Olbermann doesn't pretend to be an "impartial journalist."

Likewise, neither do Joe Scarborough or Pat Buchanan, both of whom have also given political contributions. It seems possible that none of these three would have thought they were violating company policy.

Odder still, an anonymous NBC insider told Gawker that it's common knowledge within the organization that MSNBC's left-leaning personalities aren't necessarily required to follow NBC News rules. That makes sense, since MSNBC is pushing the envelope politically in a way NBC, obviously, isn't.

Again: We don't know yet what happened here. MSNBC's P.R. department is not responding to inquiries about whether Scarborough or Buchanan notified MSNBC brass before making their contributions. But it's certainly fair to ask, if they're axing Olbermann.

The fact that it's not even crystal clear that Olbermann violated NBC policy suggests that this could be a pretext for getting rid of him because he has difficult relations with management, or worse, because MSNBC is terrified of critics who claim it's becoming the lefty version of Fox News.

Until we learn more, the network's case against Olbermann is looking increasingly tenuous.

UPDATE, 6:55 p.m.: More updates on the Olbermann/MSNBC mess right here.

By Greg Sargent  | November 5, 2010; 4:25 PM ET
Categories:  2010 elections, Political media  
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Comments

Phil Griffin has hated Olbermann for a long time, and it looks like he may have jumped the shark in an effort to try and get rid of him.

Remember, this is the same Phil Griffin that banned Kos from appearing on the network AT ALL because he angered Joe Scarborough, who is Griffin's pet project at MSNBC.

I can't stand KO these days, but this thing is flimsy like tissue paper. And it seems like it's going to get real ugly...

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | November 5, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

@PolarBearMadness: "Kevin's program is causing the computer to run really, really slow."

I'm dubious that's the problem, but . . .

Then turn it off. In Firefox using Greasemonkey, just click on the monkeyhead in the lover righthand corner. It's small, but if you click it, it goes gray, and then Greasemonkey is off.

In Chrome, click on the wrench next to the URL bar. Select "Tools -> Extensions" and disable WaPo Troll Hunter.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 5, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Keith has pissed someone off at NBC. I don't believe for a minute that his political donations has anything to do with his suspension. David Schuster was also indefintely suspended in April, and he's still in some NBC gulag. Probably where KO is going as well.

Posted by: filmnoia | November 5, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Until we learn more, the network's case against Olbermann is looking increasingly tenuous.

*****

Well, their case is looking silly, tenuous though?

If Olberman were a wingnut his defenders would be saying that MSNBC violated his first amendment rights, but that is stupid. MSNBC can fire their employees for no reason whatsoever. Olberman may have a contract that allows him to sue MSNBC for wrongful termination, but MSNBC is not violating his first amendment rights.

Should MSNBC fire Olberman for this? No, no more so than Juan Williams should have been fired by NPR. I can't stand Olberman, and would love his time spot to go to someone I enjoy and respect, but firing him for this makes no sense.

I maintain that there is probably far more to this than meets the eye. If this sticks (which I doubt) it will probably come to light that Olberman had problems with management.

Posted by: nisleib | November 5, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Yes.

He also made his boss look really dumb:

MSNBC president Phil Griffin had issued an open challenge in light of the News Corp. donations, saying to The New York Times in October, "Show me an example of us fundraising."

LOL!!!

Posted by: JakeD2 | November 5, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Jake, that's funny. You just proved that Griffin wasn't told about Scarborough's donation!

Thanks for that.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | November 5, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Phil Griffin must be bucking for a job with Fox news?

Posted by: dozas | November 5, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Greg - I think you need to put a boot to your tech departments behind; your blog is locking up in a big way.

Posted by: nisleib | November 5, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Latest update to Troll Hunter, only one change. It now converts links like this:

http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/89140

If you were using the latest version of Troll Hunter, you'd just be able to click on that link up there.

Into live, clickable links that open up the link in a new window or tab, depending on your browser.

That make is much easier to follow links that commenters post to see what the heck it is they are talking about.

How cool is that?

Also, this update fixes a tiny little bug that would prevent you from seeing other WaPo blogs (only Plum Line) while the Troll Hunter was abled. Oops. Apologies to anybody who ran into that.

Now, unless the spirit really moves me, I think that's it. I might ad a parser that would turn something like:

link:darkwizard.wordpress.com/

Into clickable links, because, if I recall, the WaPo comments section won't let you do more than 1 or 2 http: links at a time. Hadn't done that. Just thinking about it. Enjoy!

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 5, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Greg:

Griffin didn't have to be told in 2006. "Check out the fine print of what NBC policy said, as of 2007 ..." (Emphasis Added). It's easy math.

Posted by: JakeD2 | November 5, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

"How cool is that?"

VERY!

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 5, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

BTW, Troll Hunter Link Conversion will convert links with a *return* before and after the link. Something like this:

Hey, everybody, check out http://www.tron-sector.com !!

Will not convert.

I could add bold and italics, but, alas, whatever tags I used wouldn't work for other people. Thought about that, too.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 5, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: There was a time when Olbermann and Matthews were anchoring election night coverage. Back in 2008 "MSNBC argued that Olbermann and Matthews could serve as dispassionate anchors on political news nights and that viewers would accept them in that role." That didn't work out so well and they were eventually replaced by Gregory. Looks like MSNBC tried again with their midterms coverage and the ratings and reviews show it was a complete failure. It would be fine to have Keith commenting on the elections if MSNBC would put an actual impartial journalist in the anchor seat. That's what FNC does. Let Keith keep his opinion show, let him make contributions, just don't let him anchor anything that is supposed to be objective news.

Posted by: sbj3 | November 5, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a fan of Olbermann, but it sure seems to be that he's getting a raw deal.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | November 5, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Here's what the vast right-wing conspiracy was trying to cover up by getting Olbermann canned:

http://crooksandliars.com/susie-madrak/guess-where-karl-rove-was-after-elect

Posted by: JakeD2 | November 5, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

http://crooksandliars.com/karoli/what-role-did-comcast-play-keith-olbermanns

Posted by: JakeD2 | November 5, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

http://www.911truth.org

Posted by: JakeD2 | November 5, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Kevin

Now that you've added live links, which some of us have begged for since the move here, there's really no reason for anyone not to install Troll Hunter. Commenters name at the top, optional ignore button with a troll count, and live links, get outta here!!!!!!!

Jake

I read that C&L piece from the last thread, just another reason I'm grateful I live in CA. Someday all you guys will come around when we lead the way into the future with new technology, someone's gotta do it. The polluters wings are clipped here which opens the door for new industries.

And the people in PA better stock up on bottled water.

Posted by: lmsinca | November 5, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Very cool, Kevin! I clicked on Jake's links and it was just so much faster than having to highlight them, open a new tab, copy and paste the URL. . .

;-)

Posted by: Michigoose | November 5, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

We are moving back to San Diego next week.

Posted by: JakeD2 | November 5, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Waiting for someone to get Keith Olbermann on the record, to discuss the timeline, what he knew, what he did, why he did it, etc.

Keith's a standup guy and either he wanted to flout the rules or he didn't think they applied to him.

I really hate it when the newscasters BECOME the news.

Posted by: benintn | November 5, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

We are talking about corporations here and the power vested in them by the Supreme Court to rule America. The news corporations have driven the meme for months regarding a GOP take over in the House. Corporate money funded the takeover. Keith has been a voice against the corporate ownership of democracy so naturally he has to go. Ed Schultz and Rachel Maddow are next.

Posted by: bobwmendon | November 5, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

That's funny cause when I think of MSNBC, left leaning doesn't even come to my mind. :P

Posted by: Prahga | November 5, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

filmnoia:

At least David Schuster will have a cell-mate now.

P.S. this news was a great way to end an already superb week. Maybe we will get even better news from over the South China Sea next week!

Posted by: JakeD2 | November 5, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Kevin, you truly are spoiling us now with live links. But, please continue! :o)

Posted by: suekzoo1 | November 5, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

@lmsinca: "Now that you've added live links, which some of us have begged for since the move here, there's really no reason for anyone not to install Troll Hunter. Commenters name at the top, optional ignore button with a troll count, and live links, get outta here!!!!!!!"

Yeah, I actually wasn't using it much (because I usually browse in Safari), but now that I've added live links . . . I want to use it just for that, and on Ezra Klein's blog (sorry for anyone else who crosses blogs--apparently some iterations of the Troll Hunter wouldn't display other WaPo blogs. I think that's fixed, though). Live links are much more convenient. May add italics and bolding and blockquoting, just for kicks.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 5, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Prahga:

Perhaps you missed election night coverage with Lawrence O'Donnell, Eugene Robinson, Chris Matthews, Keith, and Rachel Madcow?

Posted by: JakeD2 | November 5, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Oh, yeah, Ed Schultz was out in the field too.

Posted by: JakeD2 | November 5, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Whoo boy--just sailed over to msnbc's website to see how things were looking; they're taking a beating on this comment thread:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40028531/ns/politics/

Posted by: Michigoose | November 5, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

"May add italics and bolding and blockquoting, just for kicks."

Okay

Posted by: lmsinca | November 5, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

"Such activities may include participation in or contributions to . . . groups that espouse controversial positions."

"Controversial positions" in what context? Let's take membership in a church, mosque or synagogue as an example. If that "group" has a creed that is rejected by a large portion of humanity, is that a "controversial position"? "Jesus is the only begotten Son of God." "Jews are God's chosen people." "There is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is His Prophet." All are controversial positions, without even getting into issues such as abortion, homosexuality, dietary restrictions, etc.

So all you NBC employees had better get your religious affiliation and any contributions to your churches approved by the President of NBC . . .

Posted by: bearclaw1 | November 5, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Really good read -- if you like tax policy -- over at Ezra's place:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/05/AR2010110502471.html

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 5, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Haha, Republicans are simply too much. @benen:

"Karl Rove told the attendees at a shale-gas conference this week that the incoming Republican House majority "sure as heck" won't pass legislation to limit greenhouse pollution from fossil fuels. "Climate is gone," Rove said. Somehow, I fear that sentence is correct in more ways than one."

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_11/026504.php

"Climate is gone," he says.

As Joe "Sorry BP" Barton takes the House energy chair. Unreal.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 5, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Was Keith Olbermann part of journ-O-list?

Posted by: JakeD2 | November 5, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

We are moving back to San Diego next week.

Posted by: JakeD2
+++++++++

I think you are taking Linda McMahon's loss too personally . . .

Posted by: bearclaw1 | November 5, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

I haven't tried troll hunter yet, mainly as I'm not into fiddling with my browser. Yes, I know, I'm a web luddite. Can it keep up with 37th's rapidly morphing identities? It's worse than HIV.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | November 5, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

If it was common knowledge that the NBC News rules didn't apply over at MSNBC, and both Pat Buchanan and Joe Scarborough had openly donated to political candidates without running into trouble for it, then it's entirely possible that Keith Olbermann saw no violation of his contract when he made his small donations.

Joe Scarborough has been openly out on the campaign trail for GOP candidates. Keith has never set himself up as an impartial journalist. He openly blogs over at Daily Kos -- again without running into any apparent trouble with the MSNBC top brass.

Does this mean that the fix is in for Keith? Or is Phil Griffin just the stupidest man in broadcasting? It's likely both, I'm afraid.

I don't like the "indefinite suspension" part. Olbermann has been on 2-week suspension before, hasn't he? The fact that this was left open-ended is disturbing.

Let's just stop pretending that this was about the appearance of a "bias" on Keith's part. If NBC and MSNBC really cared about journalistic integrity, they would impose a rule that forbids any of their employees from making any political donations, period. And it would also apply to the corporate execs....oh, but wait a minute......

Posted by: elscott | November 5, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Ethan2010:

Soon-to-be Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is being pressed by taxpayer groups to slash the salaries of House lawmakers.

Cutting member pay would show voters the new GOP majority in the House is going to lead by example in their efforts to rein in spending and start with their own wallets, say officials with three prominent taxpayer advocacy groups in Washington, D.C.

...

Democrats would be compelled to support such a bill, he said, especially because Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) sponsored a measure in this Congress that would have cut member salary by 5 percent. The legislation received 34, mostly Democratic, co-sponsors.

After taking back the House for Democrats, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) — a staunch environmental advocate from San Francisco — banned smoking from the Capitol halls and established the chamber’s environmentally friendly “Green the Capitol” program, which included compostable cutlery and a carbon offset program.

http://thehill.com/homenews/house/127879-boehner-pressed-to-cut-pay-of-lawmakers

Posted by: JakeD2 | November 5, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

bearclaw1:

She wasn't my candidate anyways.

Posted by: JakeD2 | November 5, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

BB, two words: DO IT

You will be astonished.
Open this, press install.
That is all you have to do.

http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/89140

Posted by: shrink2 | November 5, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

HotAir says it first: "Grayson to replace Olbermann?"

Posted by: sbj3 | November 5, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

After they cut their own pay, the GOP need to start cutting the Executive branch. We taxpayers spend more than $2 BILLION per year to run the White House, and Obama keeps using Air Force One, etc. to excess during an economic "crisis". Can we really afford these costs anymore?

http://theintrepid.blogspot.com/2008/11/how-much-does-it-cost-to-operate-white.html

Shouldn't he show some fiscal leadership and stay closer to home while REAL Americans are suffering?

Posted by: JakeD2 | November 5, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Kevin

So many people are using your program that it is messing up the Washington Post blogs.

Today, they all slowed to a crawl - and appeared like they were about to crash.


.

Posted by: PolarBearMadness | November 5, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Remember this photo op:

http://static.cbslocal.com/station/wcbs/img/flyover.jpg

You libs weren't even upset about Obama flying Air Force One to Iowa to "celebrate" Earth Day.

Posted by: JakeD2 | November 5, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

PolarBearMadness:

I doubt that it was Kevin's download.

Posted by: JakeD2 | November 5, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

OT: Beta additions to the Troll Hunter, once you update:

http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/89140

double parentheses for italic

double square brackets for bold

double braces for a block quote

Of course, you don't see the formatting without the latest version of Troll Hunter. This is just goofing around. If you don't like it, don't use it. If you do, use sparingly. May or may not leave in.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 5, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Obama doesn't get the message of the election

Obama ignored the American People after Scott Brown - and he is ignoring them again.

So Obama's response? A super-expensive Asian trip - 10 days in Asia instead of comprosing and working with the other side, like the American People wants.


AND then Obama says that "it's not the policy, is the communiciations" But what is Obama communicating when he takes off on a $200 million a day trip ???

All fair points.


.

Posted by: PolarBearMadness | November 5, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

"Again, we don't know what happened here". Yes, we do! General Electric, NBC's owners, and the Chamber of Commerce folks picked up the phone and demanded Olbermann be suspended. They will go after Rachel Maddow next.

Posted by: BBear1 | November 5, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

"earth" day? wtf is that? I think every day is earth day, more proof I'm not liberal.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 5, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

"I haven't tried troll hunter yet, mainly as I'm not into fiddling with my browser. Yes, I know, I'm a web luddite. Can it keep up with 37th's rapidly morphing identities? It's worse than HIV.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade"

Yup, and it does it beautifully. It takes about ten seconds to add a new name to the list. 37th can't keep up with that. I have one of the first versions and it's still really easy. I think the latest version is even easier.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 5, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

HotAir says it first: "Grayson to replace Olbermann?"

Posted by: sbj3
++++++++++

Please, please, no. Our civic discourse can do without a one-term Florida congressman who loves nothing more than the sound of his own voice.

Posted by: bearclaw1 | November 5, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to try that one more time, this time without using the "Preview" option, as that apparently clears out things like double brackets, double braces, and double parentheses. ;)

((double parentheses for italic))

[[double square brackets for bold]]

{{double braces for a block quote}}

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 5, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Ddawd

It does the same thing to your false charges of racism


.

Posted by: PolarBearMadness | November 5, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

ALOHA: hope i find everyone well, it is GREAT that keith got suspended, i am sick and tired of people telling the truth on TV! it is a great wasteland of garbage and crap and unreal "reality" shows, and idiotic situation comedies, except for seinfeld and MAUI TALKS-TV!. now we can all listen to FOX and learn what is really happening in the world. i miss keith on espn talking about sports.... and NOW, maybe, people will wake up!. a moderate such as president obama is attacked as a SOCIALIST!!... we need radical, progressive changes in our society and government and keith was one of the only voices. however, he was/is an entertainer... and with his suspension, perhaps we will be more involved, the democrats have become a moderate political party, as the republicans move to the extreme right... we need a progressive, radical political party, such as the green party! don't forget, even rand paul, a nut-case tea partier, who is NOW a United States SENATOR!, is correct that the federal reserve NEEDS to be investigated, aloha from the northshore of maui. ;o}

Posted by: NIKHILANANDA | November 5, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

@DDAWD: You've got the version with the ignore button, right? You just press a button. It don't take any 10 seconds. It takes 1 second and you wait for the page to refresh. ;)

Plus, live links and now formatting (limited). You should [[try it out!!]]

Those square brackets make it bold in the latest version. If you were running it. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 5, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

DDAWD,

The newest troll hunter is SWEET! You get to ignore who you want. There is an ignore button for each poster. No more adding to a list. Plus, there are now live links.

Go download the update!

Posted by: suekzoo1 | November 5, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

@NIKHILANANDA:

Try hitting the return key occasionally. Punctuation is your friend.

:)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 5, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Democracy yeah sure MSNBC you ought to be ashamed for singling out Olbermann for what every journalist did quietly Give me a break. The Supreme Court would say you are stifling free speech

Posted by: Bryan_Claire | November 5, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Here's a great link for you all:


http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,727235,00.html

.

Posted by: PolarBearMadness | November 5, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

((italics)

[[bold]]

testing..testing..testing..

Posted by: suekzoo1 | November 5, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

@suekzoo:{{ There is an ignore button for each poster. No more adding to a list. Plus, there are now live links.}}
Indeed there are. Also, formatting (like blockquotes, up above, if you just downloaded the very latest version from here):

http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/89140

Which is a live, clickable link if you're using the latest version of Troll Hunter. ;)

Just click "install" to update.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 5, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

"PolarBearMadness:
I doubt that it was Kevin's download."

Hmmm, talking to unseen others...

Posted by: shrink2 | November 5, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

shrink2:

April 22nd is a day that is intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's natural environment. Earth Day was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in who chose that specific day in order to maximize participation on college campuses (he determined the week of April 19–25 was the best bet; it did not fall during exams or spring breaks, did not conflict with religious holidays such as Easter or Passover, and was late enough in spring to have decent weather. More students were likely to be in class, and there would be less competition with other mid-week events -- April 22, 1970, was the 100th anniversary of the birth of Vladimir Lenin. Time reported that some suspected the date was not a coincidence, but a clue that the event was "a Communist trick").

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_Day#Significance_of_April_22

Posted by: JakeD2 | November 5, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

@suekzoo: use sparingly. If someone someone opens a tag, then doesn't close it, it gets closed later (my post after yours looks strange for that reason, because of the open italics tag (single rather than double paranth).

But that's still very beta. Still working on that. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 5, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

kevin, yeah, saw those and ((tried))[[them out]].

Posted by: suekzoo1 | November 5, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

I could "stop talking" to you too, if you'd prefer.

Posted by: JakeD2 | November 5, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Go download the update!

Let's see if this works.

Posted by: lmsinca | November 5, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Kevin,

Maybe we need a version that can either eliminate any words that are in all caps, or leave only the words that are in all caps (because that must be what the commentor wanted us to notice). For example:

ALOHA GREAT TV! MAUI TALKS-TV!
FOX NOW, SOCIALIST!!
NOW SENATOR!
NEEDS
NIKHILANANDA

It's our own Plum Line Poetry Slam!

Posted by: bearclaw1 | November 5, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Oh, wow. This is really pretty.

You would think the WaPo techs could have done this themselves. It would have saved Chris C's blog (though I don't think Chris C really gave a crap about his comment section)

Posted by: DDAWD | November 5, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Just remember that Obama is giving "bags of money" to Karzai in Afghanistan.


AND Obama is allowing the Iranians to give Karzai "bags of money" as well.


Just to update you on Obama's foreign policy.


The American People believe the faster Obama is out of office, the better.


Does Obama have a visa to get back in the country? Just asking - it would be great if somehow Obama was denied re-entry into the country.


.

Posted by: PolarBearMadness | November 5, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Kevin, will do on the "sparingly." The ignore button and the live links are just the greatest thing. Thank you so much.

Wear your [[HERO OF A LIBERAL BLOG]] medal proudly!

Posted by: suekzoo1 | November 5, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Kevin

Everything's showing up in italics now.

Posted by: lmsinca | November 5, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Bryan_Claire:

ALL journalists contributed $7200 to the same three Democrats?! WOW! That is news.

Posted by: JakeD2 | November 5, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Hilarious. Thanks Jake.

"late enough in spring to have decent weather"

wouldn't want celebrate the earth on a rainy day

"Communist trick." Wow. Now that you mention it, I have an old memory trace of this. I think I went streaking across the Harvard quadrangle that day, no wonder its hard to remember.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 5, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

[[

Posted by: JakeD2 | November 5, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

I've been expecting MSNBC to swing back to their favorite place, on the right. This is a repeat of the firing of Phil Donahue so they could kowtow to the new boys in town.

Posted by: BlueSquareState | November 5, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

DDAWD (not sure if you saw my previous post or if you are using "Troll Hunter" on me):

Congrats on defeating Rep. Cao (R-LA). Did you hear what happened to Rerp. Etheridge (D-NC)?

http://nonprofitnewsgroup.com/ellmers-narrowly-edges-etheridge-recount-likely-bob-and-tom-update/02554

Posted by: JakeD2 | November 5, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

"Oh, wow. This is really pretty.

You would think the WaPo techs could have done this themselves. It would have saved Chris C's blog (though I don't think Chris C really gave a crap about his comment section)"

Isn't it pretty? By chance I happened by the day Keith put it up and was an early adopter, have not left. The clicker said it had been installed like ten times and...it rocked my world. Now it is up near 350. I asked Keith if he is a genius and he said no.

He said anyone willing to deal with the pain in the neck/boring/efforting part could have done it. So back to your point, maybe they just didn't care.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 5, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

The Supreme Court would say you are stifling free speech

Posted by: Bryan_Claire
++++++++++

That has to be one of the funniest and most off-the-mark comments on Supreme Court jurisprudence I've ever seen. Thanks for the chuckles. Hint: the First Amendment says "Congress shall make no law . . . ."

Posted by: bearclaw1 | November 5, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

This is somewhat absurdist. The "critics" who claim that MSNBC is the left-wing version of FOX all appear on FOX but deny that FOX is biased.

Posted by: ctown_woody | November 5, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Kevin

I don't care for the all italics all the time. Can I go back to the way it was before or is that impossible?

Posted by: lmsinca | November 5, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

@kevin: Just a note about your plug-in. If one is NOT using it, then we still see the double brackets and such - not very pleasant.

Posted by: sbj3 | November 5, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Obama went to Connecticut last weekend - and all of a sudden bags of ballots are mysteriously found all over the place:

______________________

In what has become one of the stranger twists in an already bizarre Governor's race, a bag of uncounted ballots was found in Bridgeport Thursday night.

Republican officials were approached by Democratic operatives and told about the surprise ballot bag, according to Bridgeport GOP Chairman Marc Delmonico.

“It adds to the inconsistencies from the Democratic Party in Bridgeport. It just keeps adding to it,” said Delmonico. “There’s nothing odd about it; there’s certainly nothing missing about it,” said Ed Maley, a representative for the Democratic Party.

Posted by: PolarBearMadness | November 5, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

I'm a regular viewer of MSNBC, including their whole primetime lineup. But let's not lose sight of an important point amid all the parsing.
Whether or not what Olbermann did was technically a violation of policy is secondary to what troubles me. Keith prides himself on being an honest (if admittedly partisan) broker.

Many comments today, here and elsewhere, have noted that he he is an opinion journalist and not a traditional anchor. But I recall many occasions when he has lambasted Fox (deservedly) for ignoring journalistic ethics, noting that "we don't do that here because we're an actual news organization." (despite the quotes, that's me paraphrasing)
Olbermann does seem to believe he is distinct from the Hannitys and Becks of the world. And he is, at least in that he actually reports the news amid his comments. Heck, he HOSTED MSNBC's election coverage on Tuesday night.

My point is this. Keith prides himself on being different from the Fox folks. Saying they do this too or Buchanan or Scarborough do it too is not an excuse.

He cannot attack Fox for giving money to the Republican Governors Association or the Chamber of Commerce and then do the same thing himself. And then not reveal it. And make one of those donations to a guy you had on your show that very night. And not reveal it.
Those acts ruin his ability to credibly comment on the same behavior at Fox or anywhere else. His actions may or may not be worthy of a suspension, but they diminish him terribly as a believable, trustworthy (if opinionated and volatile) voice in the public square.

The fact that he doesn't seem to see that he did something wrong, ethically, if not techncially, is what troubles me most.

I would put it to Greg- you have a clear political perspective but you are a journalist.

Could you comfortably give money to a candidate you uncritically interviewed that day even while repeatedly attacking another opinion journalist for the same behavior?

I suspect that whether it violates Post policy or not, you'd consider it to be inappropriate and dishonest. I certainly do. And when he gets a little distance from this, I think Olbermann will admit that he probably does too.


Posted by: sydla | November 5, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Im putting Kevin's software on ignore


Maybe that will make posting comments faster

Posted by: PolarBearMadness | November 5, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Shrink, I posted a comment on the Fix's last post. Can you see it?

Posted by: DDAWD | November 5, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Im putting Kevin's software on ignore


Maybe that will make posting comments faster

______________________________

Obama denies the $200 million a day cost figure for his vacation.

However, he will NOT give a real cost figure.


The smart thing is to CANCEL the trip, but it's not like Obama went to Harvard or anything like that.


.

Posted by: PolarBearMadness | November 5, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

PolarBearMadness:

LOL!!!

Posted by: JakeD2 | November 5, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

All, Happy Hour Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/11/happy_hour_roundup_123.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | November 5, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

DD, yes, I replied.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 5, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

DD, yes, I replied.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 5, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Funny,

Former "Worst Person in the World" recipients circuiting petition to reinstate Keefum's.


http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/252678/wpitw-petition-keith-olbermann-kevin-d-williamson

Here's the thing, this is from National Review, the cornerstone of bernielathams rightwing propaganda machine. Does this mean Olberrman is in on the "propaganda"? Has anyone seen Bernie? Is he ok with this revelation? Has anyone seen what's tattooed on Keiths right butt cheek?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | November 5, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Cool, thanks.

Saw your last post on the Clinton page. I disagree with some of it, but I didn't really have anything more to add.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 5, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Holy Moly. Just downloaded Kevin's gizmothingey and behold! the last election results are overturned and there is peace in the world (and I think my bum is cuter too).

Well done, Kevin. I didn't have a need to make troll disappear (I could scroll and wanted to observe behaviors unimpeded) but the html and other text functions were precisely what I'd wanted to see the site set up. So, again, thank you. It's so refreshing to have a conservative who actually contributes something positive to the world. I'd been told by my grandmother that this might happen one day.

Posted by: bernielatham | November 5, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Keith gives a damn. Most people listen to how stupid people are getting from getting gang foxed and think somehow half of the country will see through the nonesense. MSNBC is being pushed around by a Gay (and i have nothing against gays) Aussie and shoould have either matched the Fox contributions or dedicate themselves to the exposure of said dedication. Keith is a soldier. I hate to say it, but, we are some weak assed Democrats.

Posted by: c2river1 | November 5, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Keith gives a damn. Most people listen to how stupid people are getting from getting gang foxed and think somehow half of the country will see through the nonesense. MSNBC is being pushed around by a Gay (and I have nothing against gays) Aussie and shoould have either matched the Fox contributions or dedicated themselves to the exposure of said dedication. Keith is a soldier. I hate to say it, but, we are some weak ass Democrats.

Posted by: c2river1 | November 5, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

MSNBC is not becoming the lefty version of Fox News. It is the lefty version of Fox News. The station long ago left behind any pretense of journalism, and now it does little more than advocate on behalf of liberal, progressive positions and candidates.

For me, the big issue is not so much that Olbermann donated. Olbermann has no pretense of being neutral in politics, and so I don't think donating compromises whatever it is that he does since what he does is not properly journalism. It seems almost backwards that the propagandist is barred from spending money on elections.

What bothers me, though, is that Olbermann donated to people who visited his show. This opens up all kind of potential for quid pro quo behavior. If Olbermann starts bribing people with donations to be on his show, or if politicians start demanding donations in order to appear, then this utterly corrupts the politics and the job that Olbermann is doing. Were Olbermann's donations tied to the appearances of the same candidates on his show? Perhaps, and perhaps not, but the potential for such a conflict is very high, and as a network, I wouldn't want to risk such scandal.

Posted by: blert | November 5, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

If you want to challenge NBC lawyers go right away. Looking the other way is what some people do the best. Or they try to find some word to excuse what Olbermann did. An out of control big mouth who donates cash can't be excuse because he's a big mouth on MSNBC can he? Is that what you want. As long as your a big mouth and constantly bashing the Tea Partiers and the Republicans excuses their wrong. Is that what you want. Standards are standards. Even the left has standards don't they?

Posted by: houstonian | November 5, 2010 11:29 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how much money has GE/UNIVERSAL given to the GOP this year???????????????

Posted by: corintonic | November 5, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

"Becoming" the liberal version of Fox? They already ARE!

That's what makes this whole thing so absurd. MSNBC trying to pretend it's objective? Give me a break!

Posted by: fgoodwin | November 5, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

@lmsinca: {{Everything's showing up in italics now.}}

I'm in the process of fixing that now. Also testing blockquotes again. I'm specifically changing how it processes stuff so I can get less offensive characters in for italics and bold.

I'm thinking _for italics_ and *for bold* and __for underline__ and --for doing strikethru-- which is always good for "here, let me fix that for you" type things.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 6, 2010 12:28 AM | Report abuse

1) Cancel my Comcast subscription and signing up for satellite TV.
2) Sign petition at http://saveolbermann.com/
Numbers count.

Posted by: quackquack | November 6, 2010 2:23 AM | Report abuse

Calling Olbermann a journalist is like Bush saying he was 'a uniter, not a divider'. It's like the Sanchez thing, there's a lot more to this.

Posted by: 21stCenturyCaveman | November 6, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I am not surprised. Look. There really is no responsible news source for the American people anymore other than NPR and PBS and trust me, they are going after them constantly.

The mainstream media has become nothing more than hand maidens to the same corporate lobbies that politicians are. America is flat out doomed because if Fox News really wants to talk about treason and the lack of patriotism in the country, that is where they should be focused. But then, Fox News is completely owned by one of the wealthiest, most corrupt corporate hacks in the entire world.

Most of us out here who are really interested in objective news and truth in what is happening in the world are now being isolated to a handful of sources that can be trusted and trust me, NBC, CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, even this very news paper, isn't it.

I will no longer be watching MSNBC. I have already dropped CNN and of course Fox News is just out of the question.

Look folks. Don't just think this is partisan ranting. Look at America's stats, the things that define what sort of country we are. We are falling further and further behind other modern nations and it does take a genius to figure out why.

Posted by: jaxas70 | November 6, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

could not have happened to a nicer guy.i bet the 12 people who watch his liberal mud slinging show are not going to very happy,but nbc is going to save money by getting rid of his salary.

Posted by: SISSD1 | November 6, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Corporate rules that require employees to get permission from their bosses before exercising their rights as citizens must be opposed and abolished. Even soldiers on active duty are allowed to make political contributions.

And how about the rule that MSNBC employees must even get prior permission before engaging in civic activities? The is another example of why Corporate Goliaths pose one of the greatest threats to our civil liberties.

Those who believe that rules must be obeyed merely because they are rules have not achieved the Post-Conventional stage of moral development, which is characteristic of full maturity. See Kohlberg's research on moral development online to learn more.

Examples of people who have achieved such a stage include Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, Mohandas Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Nelson Mandela.

Even more to the point, our nation was founded by individuals who opposed unjust rules.

Rules are rules, and I was just following orders -- I recall hearing that argument elsewhere.

Posted by: borisbakunas | November 6, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

KO probably pissed off that old hater Brokaw. I think the election night coverage was a litle over the top but that shouldn't prompt NBC to suspend KO.
I agree that companies should not control how a person expresses themselves in their private lives. Company rules should be complied with but those rules should not apply when you clock out.

Posted by: priceisright | November 6, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Well, maybe this is why illegal aliens don't think they should have to follow the rules. Nobody else does.

Posted by: kurttj2002 | November 6, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Did someone invent rules against ignorant commentary and moronic statements? If they did, he's in trouble.

Posted by: georgegarrett | November 6, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

This is so sad, so very sad! I mean, now, when I flipped over to MSNBC to get a few laughs for the evening, there is one less comedian to make me giggle and and feel all tingly on my leg.

Posted by: georges2 | November 6, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

"MSNBC is terrified of critics who claim it's becoming the lefty version of Fox News."

Well, I have to ask.

WHY is MSNBC "terrified" of the critics...? Wotthehell is so TERRIBLE about being practically the only legitimate factual albeit liberal cable news service?

In that description alone ("factual") there's no way MSNBC can ever be compared to Fox Not-News, lib vs. right-wing or by any other measure of comparison.

Why should our opinions be shaped by pundits instead of our own intellect, and why should critics instill fear into the hearts of network executives?

My God, "man up" as those gentle, feminine teasipping ladies would say...

Posted by: kayjay503 | November 7, 2010 1:03 AM | Report abuse

Now the rule that MSNBC employees simply get prior permission before engaging in potential conflicts of interest is tantamount to Nazi Germany and the Holocaust?!

Posted by: clawrence12 | November 7, 2010 5:49 AM | Report abuse

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