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Posted at 3:06 PM ET, 11/19/2010

MSNBC suspends Joe Scarborough for campaign contributions

By Lisa de Moraes

Joe Scarborough on MSNBC. (AP Photo/NBC, William B. Plowman)


Here we go again!

Little more than a week after MSNBC star Keith Olbermann returned to his show, following a two-day suspension over political contributions made in violation of his employer's policy, MSNBC anchor Joe Scarborough has suffered the same fate.

"This morning Joe Scarborough informed me that he made eight contributions of $500 each to local candidates in Florida between 2004-08," MSNBC president Phil Griffin said Friday in a statement sent out to the press.

"In my conversation with Joe two weeks ago, he did not recall these contributions. Since he did not seek or receive prior approval for these contributions, Joe understands that I will be suspending him for violating our policy. He will be immediately suspended for two days without pay and will return to the air on Wednesday, November 24th."

In what is fast becoming a tradition among suspended MSNBC anchors, Scarborough issued his own statement. He said it had only recently been brought to his attention "that I had had made political contributions over the past several years that were not consistent with MSNBC's rules and regs on the subject."

"These contributions were to close personal friends and family members and were limited to local races," Scarborough continued, adding that "despite the fact that these races were local and not relevant to my work at MSNBC," he had been told they violated the cable news net's policy.

Scarborough said he gave $500 contributions to his brother and three "longtime family friends" which were "nothing more than simple acts of friendship" from which "I gained nothing personally, politically, or professionally."

Because the contributions involved local, "non-competitive races" he said, and because they were given for "personal rather than political reasons...I mistakenly believed I did not need approval from MSNBC."

"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," Scarborough said in his statement, adding, "I apologize to Phil Griffin, [NBC News president] Steve Capus, and my colleagues. This will not happen again"

Just 10 days earlier, Keith Olbermann returned to MSNBC after a two-day suspension for violating a company rule about making political donations, and explained to his viewers that that rule was "probably not legal."

One day before that, in preparation for his scheduled return after his two-day suspension, Olbermann had issued the following long-winded statement to the press:

I want to sincerely thank you for the honor of your extraordinary and ground-rattling support. Your efforts have been integral to the remedying of these recent events, and the results should remind us of the power of individuals spontaneously acting together to correct injustices great or small. I would also like to acknowledge with respect the many commentators and reporters, including those with whom my politics do not overlap, for their support.

I also wish to apologize to you viewers for having precipitated such anxiety and unnecessary drama. You should know that I mistakenly violated an inconsistently applied rule -- which I previously knew nothing about -- that pertains to the process by which such political contributions are approved by NBC. Certainly this mistake merited a form of public acknowledgment and/or internal warning, and an on-air discussion about the merits of limitations on such campaign contributions by all employees of news organizations. Instead, after my representative was assured that no suspension was contemplated, I was suspended without a hearing, and learned of that suspension through the media.

You should also know that I did not attempt to keep any of these political contributions secret; I knew they would be known to you and the rest of the public. I did not make them through a relative, friend, corporation, PAC, or any other intermediary, and I did not blame them on some kind of convenient 'mistake' by their recipients. When a website contacted NBC about one of the donations, I immediately volunteered that there were in fact three of them; and contrary to much of the subsequent reporting, I immediately volunteered to explain all this, on-air and off, in the fashion MSNBC desired.
I genuinely look forward to rejoining you on Countdown on Tuesday, to begin the repayment of your latest display of support and loyalty -- support and loyalty that is truly mutual.

--K.O.

We warned you it was long-winded!

Anyway, one day before that, Griffin had announced to the press that, "after several days of deliberation and discussion, I have determined that suspending Keith through and including Monday night's program is an appropriate punishment for his violation of our policy."

At around the same time, a clearly chastened Olbermann had tweeted:

Greetings from Exile! A quick, overwhelmed, stunned THANK YOU for support that feels like a global hug & obviously left me tweetless
XO.

And so ended the riveting two-day suspension imposed on MSNBC star Olbermann after being suspended by the cable news network when news broke that he'd contributed about $7,000 to three Democratic candidates in October.

Read more from the Washington Post:

MSNBC ends suspension of host Keith Olbermann

Live chat: Keith Olbermann suspension lifted, returns to MSNBC

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann suspended for contributing to 3 Democratic candidates

By Lisa de Moraes  | November 19, 2010; 3:06 PM ET
Categories:  TV News  
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Comments

BRING BACK IMUS!!!

Posted by: mcdy01 | November 19, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

MSNBC needs to rewrite its policies regarding political donations. Neither of these gentlemen are reporters. Both of them are pundits paid for their opinions. And you know they're only suspending Scarborough out of some misplaced sense of "fairness" after having suspended Olbermann--what they really need to do is come up with a sensible policy for pundits that's separate from their policy for bona fide journalists.

Posted by: dkp01 | November 19, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Dose anyone really care what MSNBC the last place loser is doing? This is probably just a publicity stunt in attemp to attract viewers to their crappy station...

Posted by: dforce | November 19, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

BRING BACK IMUS!!! Who's with me?

Posted by: mcdy01 | November 19, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Quote"In my conversation with Joe two weeks ago, he did not recall these contributions."

"Hey Joe! We really got a debacle going with the Olberman stuff. Now, you didn't make any political contributions, did you?"
"Me? What? Political contributions? Let me think. No, no, not me, no sir."

Today:
"OOOOhhh. Oh yeah. 500 bucks. To a few good buddies. I just completely forgot."
"All right Joe, this contribution stuff is good for ratings. Two nights off. And I want to see a tan when you're back!"

Posted by: kls1 | November 19, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Conservatives: oh i can not recall......oh I did?......well I thought cause we were "friends" that the rules didn't apply

Always with the excuses; how bout some personal responsibility mornin Joe?

Posted by: theobserver4 | November 19, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

CNN, Fox, MSNBC - Dead, Deader, Deadest.

Posted by: eezmamata | November 19, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Joe Scarborough is a pretty reasonable but also opinionated commenter on MSNBC. He was a Republican member of Congress. At least one of his $500 contributions was to his brother.

His show always has a variety of opposing points of view represented and Scarborough generally presents a conservative point of view, but he is often critical of politicians from both sides. His views are not predictable and he generally has an interesting, complex opinion.

He doesn't seem to be either an investigative journalist or a news reader. Just for reference, I'm not a conservative.

MSNBC has gone overboard and needs some new policies and rules.

Posted by: dcc1968 | November 19, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Why Imus? So he can call Michelle Obama a nappy-headed ho?

Posted by: ozpunk | November 19, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Hey ozpunk...lighten up. Show some respect for people who deserve it (Michelle). And show some respect for people who acknowledge they were wrong (Imus) and be critical of those who don't.

Posted by: mcdy01 | November 19, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

BRING BACK IMUS!!! Who's with me?

Posted by: mcdy01 | November 19, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

----------------------------------------

Imus is back, just not on MSNBC.

I think he's on some Fox News channel now.

Posted by: Gladiator2008 | November 19, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I don't agree with the suspension. I am sure he gave to Republicans--I as a Dem am not happy but everyone knows what teams these guys play for. No surprise.

Posted by: CultureClub | November 19, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

He'll back on Wednesday, Nov 24, 2010 in time to talk Turkey on Thanksgiving Thursday!

MSNBC suspensions last 3 days max!

Posted by: Whispers | November 19, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Gladiator2008...Yes, he is on FoxBiz...But MSNBC can use him more!!! Forgiveness is a wonderful thing.

Posted by: mcdy01 | November 19, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

The MSNBC rules are a travesty...the one conservative on that poor excuse for a station should be given special dispensation. Olbermann should have A) BEEN FIRED and then B) PUT TO AN EXTREMELY PAINFUL DEATH at the hands of Glenn Beck. Happy Thanksgiving to all - and a very Merry Christmas. A Happy New Year is guaranteed now that we are back in control. Join me in wishing the new Republican House of Representatives bon appetite as they eat Pelosi's lunch. Relax, libs, 'tis the season...

Posted by: ddnfla | November 19, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

MSNBC is like soccer... Who Cares?

Posted by: rg019571 | November 19, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Hey - he is a former representative!! He cannot read and he cannot be held accountable!!
BRING BACK IMUS!!!

Posted by: thornegp2626 | November 19, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Under no circumstances should the cowboy-hatted Don Imus ever return. He is a cabaret act at best.

Posted by: JohnRice | November 19, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Scarborough is the dumb-downed version of Conan O'brien of morning talk shows-immature, silly, hyper, and not very smart. Mika deserves a medal for putting up with him.

Posted by: BBear1 | November 19, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

GOP falsehoods "fuel the debate", when they are published in an unchallenged and uncorrected manor, for their sensational value to that outlet. ("reported earlier on Fox News"...)

But shortcutting journalistic standards - not vetting stories for factual validity first (...read, "WMD, Iraq!") - is not a free move.

Eventually the discerning public, which is some of it, downgrades your credibility.

We have reached a point where a few principals amongst the media, need to step up and initiate reversal. Persons more concerned with posterity than salary.

No Mas, to the blatant propaganda regurgitations. Someone needs to take a stand, as Cronkite did on Vietnam.

First they came for Acorn, then Sotomayor, Van Jones, New Black Panthers, Sherrod, mosques - and I said nothing...

- Balkingpoints / www

Posted by: RField7 | November 19, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Why 2 days?

Olbermann not only donated $7,000 to his candidates, he put them on-air and publicized them 4 or 5 times each on his show (this was tens of thousands of dollars of free MSNBC publicity.)

If Olbermann got 2 days, their other violator, Scarborough, should have gotten about a 15-minute suspension.

Posted by: llrllr | November 19, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse


I am shocked, shocked that former congressman Joe Scarborough (R-Fla.) is a Republican.

Posted by: screwjob22 | November 19, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

I won't hold my breath waiting for MSDNC to suspend Mika for her work with the White House on their BP oil spill talking points.

Contributions are one thing and apparently forbidden; actually working with the White House to draft talking points and get them out as 'news?' Well, I guess that's acceptable.

Posted by: egdusa | November 19, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Just the joos in charge letting their minions know who's in charge. Nothing to see here folks, lets move along, it's all over lets move along.

Posted by: TRACIETHEDOLPHIN | November 19, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

This is kind of stupid. The guy is a former republican congressman. He's not a 'journalist.' He's a host of a politically oriented morning talk show. His political leanings are well known by anyone who has any kind of brain. And while I don't particularly care for his brand of politics, I don't really care that he or even the bozos from Fox Noise make political contributions to republican candidates. Their political ideology is well known and that's the reason that I don't watch them, not that they are not 'objective journalists.' Although I find Joe at least somewhat fair in allowing opinions that are not in sync to his. I cannot say the same for the Fox conservative propaganda machine.

Posted by: dlpetersdc | November 19, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

It is truly amazing how gullible media dupes are.

These staged suspensions are nothing more than a transparent publicity stunt designed to boost ratings for a mediocre cable network with a sparse audience.

Posted by: dcn1 | November 19, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Joe, Chris, Keith, Rielly, and Beck are among the most stupid programs going. MSNBC and Fox puts them up to be stupid as a way to fight each other and draw viewers.
They are all pitiful.
But I have to admit that Joe looking down his nose at Mika is better than Elloit and Kathleen on CNN. They have to be the worst. I am now refusing to watch any of the clowns and wonder how anyone can stand this.
Diane Sawyer and Brian do a great job and so does Wolf. So for news and professionalism that is where you will find it not with Chris getting tickles up his leg when he see Prez Obama.

Posted by: fd09102 | November 19, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Goodness, gracious. I can recall when Olbermann was suspended, the righty bloggers on this list trumpeted how MSNBC was a tool of the (cringe) liberal left. And now, one of your own gets the same treatment for the same offence. Isn't it shameful?

Actually, I'd say this was evidence that was known before KO got KO'd for two days and that someone was playing favorites and got caught with pants down.

Or, dear righties, do you think that JS got treated unfairly?

Posted by: GaryD3 | November 19, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Scarborough is channeling his idol, "I cannot recall" Ronnie Reagan.

Posted by: cile92 | November 19, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

This is kind of stupid. The guy is a former republican congressman. He's not a 'journalist.' He's a host of a politically oriented morning talk show. His political leanings are well known by anyone who has any kind of brain. And while I don't particularly care for his brand of politics, I don't really care that he or even the bozos from Fox Noise make political contributions to republican candidates. Their political ideology is well known and that's the reason that I don't watch them, not that they are not 'objective journalists.' Although I find Joe at least somewhat fair in allowing opinions that are not in sync to his. I cannot say the same for the Fox conservative propaganda machine.

Posted by: dlpetersdc | November 19, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

-----
MSNBC is at least as biased as FNC maybe more. From 5 to 11 pm msnbc has nothing but left wing dem support shows. On FNC, right wing shows run at 5, 8 and 9. Regardless, they both are biased. Msnbc does not have objective journalists at least in the 5 pm and later slots.

Neither suspension makes any since...dumb.

Posted by: sagedutch | November 19, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Oh naughty naughty naughty.

Posted by: eaglehawkaroundsince1937 | November 19, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Joe may not have known he was listed on the contribution reports. Such reports reveal who is backing a candidacy, and one or two folks may have felt just listing him there would be beneficial to the campaign.

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Posted by: dsfgsdhfsd | November 19, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm guessing you aren't too familiar with Olbermann's series of Special Comments if you think that press release is long-winded...

Posted by: gmarasco | November 20, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

I use to think Joe was a fair "journalist"
but, I had to stop watching MSNBC because
he, along with his "Drama Queen, Mika" have
gotten SO BIASED (& I'm a DEMOCRAT!). The
straw that broke the camel's back to me
\was this past week when his Producers did
a distorted clip showing Pres. Bush making
comments that were SO demeaning and false,
that I was just disgusted Joe could go that
low. He lowered himself & the show when
he went along and laughed about that clip.
It was disgusting. However, I believe as
others do, that both Olberman and Joe's
political "contributions" were only a
way for MSNBC to try & get more viewers.
Joe lost my support that day; sorry to say
he has lost his perspective & my respect.

Posted by: pguymumzi | November 20, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

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