Keith Olbermann Returns to Air on Tuesday – Liberal firebrand Keith Olbermann was suspended without pay from MSNBC for giving donations to three Democratic candidates, an act that sparked a debate about whether such donations are ethical when it comes from journalists. He will be returning to his nationally syndicated program “Countdown” on Tuesday, November 9.
So what’s the debate? Journalists are supposed to be “fair and balanced”, and are supposed to give the appearance of being objective. Disclosure of what one does in their private life can and will damage the effects of the illusion of objectivity that media outlets want to create. What’s so important about objectivity, you might ask? Well, it’s credibility. Being a credible news organization is the Holy Grail of any news organization.
But Olbermann is a political commentator, and anyone who listens to his show will make the judgment that he is obviously a liberal. And he admits that, too. Political commentators are different than journalists in that their job is to espouse their opinion.
But still, MSNBC wants to show that while this is true, they do have standards that are superior to other news outlets. Fox News, for example, has political commentators like Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, who openly finance the Republican party. None of them have been reprimanded, because Fox News doesn’t have a rule about not disclosing who donates what to whom. That’s a stark difference, if you think about it.
MSNBC wants credibility so badly that they were actually willing to put their most lucrative show on the line. Fox News doesn’t give a damn about credibility because they know that their followers will watch their shows religiously no matter how bad their credibility is.
MSNBC’s other prime time host, Rachel Maddow, actually criticized MSNBC’s decision, by making those exact points about Fox News. This criticism may have helped MSNBC’s decision to reinstate Olbermann, as well as the 150,000 plus signatures from progressives demanding that MSNBC keep Olbermann.