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Keith Olbermann suspended for donating to Democrats


Politico:

MSNBC host Keith Olbermann has been suspended indefinitely without pay after POLITICO reported that he made three campaign contributions to Democratic candidates.

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.

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.

I find myself in the strange position of defending Olby.

He is a citizen and has the right to support candidates just like everyone else. It’s not like his political leanings were a secret.

There are plenty of other reasons that MSNBC could cite for suspending or firing Olbermann, like the many sexist statements he has made on the air.


More discussion at Memeorandum



Dear Mr. Fantasy…Dreaming of 2012

Relax and let yourself dream

Relax and let yourself dream

This story is a couple of days old; but since I don’t watch TV anymore, I didn’t hear about it until today. It seems that two of MSNBC’s most enthusiastic koolaid-slurpers, Keith Olberman and Eugene Robinson, had a discussion on last Thursday night’s Countdown about whether President Obama could find himself with primary challengers in 2012 if he doesn’t pass a strong health care bill with a public option. Here’s the video:

Rasmussen Reports took note of the suggestion.

Olbermann said the president has “compromised on everything so far and as self-defeating as it may be, the progressive caucus and progressives would abandon him if necessary, if this was to be the policy of this administration into 2012. If it’s necessary to find somebody to run against him, I think they’d do it, no matter how destructive that may seem.”

But just over a month ago, before the president signaled a willingness to give up on the so-called public option element of his health care reform plan, voters were evenly divided over whether Hillary Rodham Clinton would challenge Obama for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2012. Clinton, after all, was a very close second for the party’s nomination last year.

In fact, Rasmussen took a poll. Continue reading

Don’t Expect Apologies From the Dark Minions of the Kool-Aid Kingdom

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Dear Riverdaughter,

There is an interesting parallel between the situation of anti-Obama Democrats and that of the members of the resistance in post-WWII France. Given these parallels, I think it unlikely that we will receive an apology from the dark minions of the Kool-Aid Kingdom, generally-speaking. I think it more likely that they will continue to attempt to diminish us, because our existence reminds them of their failings.

Preventative maintenance requires this rider. I know the situations are not equivalent. I’m noting something they share.

Furthermore, there is no doubt that the vast majority of Obama supporters were not engaged in scorched Earth politics. They are not the object of this analysis.

As France re-made herself after WWII, participants in the Nazi/Vichy structures were embarrassed by the very existence of those who refused to participate under Nazi power. They were even more embarrassed by the existence of those who fought the power. The existence of the Resistance stood in stark relief to those who participated in Nazi-esque collusion.

As establishment people, they overcame their embarrassment in two ways. The first thing they did was to deny and exclude access to the power structure to resistance participants. They also worked to remove resistance participants from the structure, where possible.

The second thing they did was fabricate resistance credentials and attempt to bury their collusion with the Nazis. They created the myth of their integrity. By preventing the possibility of comparison through their exclusionary activities, they safeguarded the myth of their integrity. Their large numbers, tied to the fact of their establishment ensconsement, enabled the myth to become reified.

It is unsurprising that the dark minions among Obama’s enablers, who practised scorched Earth politics within the Democratic party and beyond, continue to assault those who worked against his ascendance. We are living examples of their moral and/or intellectual shortcomings.

They are tied to the power structure of the party. The re-writing phase of their autobiographies is underway. Expect some to engage in rearguard, credential boosting actions, like shearing the hair of the less powerful, more identifiable members of the Kool-Aid Kingdom.

These actions will mean little, however, until the history of the Resistance is co-optively revised. To do so, they will need to make us disappear from the public eye, through means that deny our power or diminish our voice.

I expect no apologies from the dark minions of the Kool-Aid Kingdom. I expect they will attack us because it is the only way for the myth of their integrity to take root.

gandalf

Yours,
Steven

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Barack Obama and General Electric: Why MSNBC and NBC Talking Heads Supported Obama So Vociferously

President Barack Obama and GE Chairman Jeffrey Immelt

President Barack Obama and GE Chairman Jeffrey Immelt

It is starting to look like General Electric is Barack Obama’s Halliburton.

A “Negotiated Settlement” of the Olbermann-O’Reilly Media War

Yesterday Dakinikat wrote a post on the “negotiated settlement” in which Keith Olbermann of MSNBC and Bill O’Reilly of Fox News were silenced by their respective corporate masters, General Electric and News Corp. Here’s a little refresher. From The New York Times:

At an off-the-record summit meeting for chief executives sponsored by Microsoft in mid-May, the PBS interviewer Charlie Rose asked Jeffrey Immelt, chairman of G.E., and his counterpart at the News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch, about the feud.

Both moguls expressed regret over the venomous culture between the networks and the increasingly personal nature of the barbs. Days later, even though the feud had increased the audience of both programs, their lieutenants arranged a cease-fire, according to four people who work at the companies and have direct knowledge of the deal.

GE and News Corp were concerned that the long-running feud between Olbermann and O’Reilly was hurting the parent corporations’ business interests.

Over time, G.E. and the News Corporation concluded that the fighting “wasn’t good for either parent,” said an NBC employee with direct knowledge of the situation. But the session hosted by Mr. Rose provided an opportunity for a reconciliation, sealed with a handshake between Mr. Immelt and Mr. Murdoch.

But like any title fight, the final round could not end without an attempted knockout. On June 1, the day after the abortion provider George Tiller was killed in Kansas, Mr. Olbermann took to the air to cite Mr. O’Reilly’s numerous references to “Tiller, the baby killer” and to announce that he would retire his caricature of Mr. O’Reilly.

“The goal here is to get this blindly irresponsible man and his ilk off the air,” he said.

The next day, Mr. O’Reilly made the extraordinary claim that “federal authorities have developed information about General Electric doing business with Iran, deadly business” and published Mr. Immelt’s e-mail address and mailing address, repeating it slowly for emphasis.

Then the attacks mostly stopped.

Shortly afterward, Phil Griffin, the MSNBC president, told producers that he wanted the channel’s other programs to follow Mr. Olbermann’s lead and restrain from criticizing Fox directly, according to two employees. At Fox News, some staff members were told to “be fair” to G.E.

Reaction from Blogger Glenn Greenwald

Dakinikat also quoted from Glenn Greenwald’s piece in Salon in which he points out that the author of the NYT article quoted above, Brian Stelter, apparently didn’t understand or perhaps didn’t care that he was reporting on censorship of news programs by two giant corporations.

So now GE is using its control of NBC and MSNBC to ensure that there is no more reporting by Fox of its business activities in Iran or other embarrassing corporate activities, while News Corp. is ensuring that the lies spewed regularly by its top-rated commodity on Fox News are no longer reported by MSNBC….

This is hardly the first time evidence of corporate control over the content of NBC and MSNBC has surfaced. Last May, CNN’s Jessica Yellin said that when she was at MSNBC, “the press corps was under enormous pressure from corporate executives, frankly, to make sure that this [the Iraq War] was a war that was presented in a way that was consistent with the patriotic fever in the nation”; “the higher the president’s approval ratings, the more pressure I had from news executives … to put on positive stories about the president”; and “they would turn down stories that were more critical and try to put on pieces that were more positive.” Katie Couric said that when she was at NBC, “there was a lot of undercurrent of pressure not to rock the boat for a variety of reasons, where it was corporate reasons or other considerations” not to be too critical of the Bush administration. MSNBC’s rising star, Ashleigh Banfield, was demoted and then fired after she criticized news media organizations generally, and Fox News specifically, for distorting their war coverage to appear more pro-government. And, of course, when MSNBC canceled Phil Donahue’s show in the run-up to the Iraq war despite its being that network’s highest-rated program, a corporate memo surfaced indicating that the company had fears of being associated with an anti-war and anti-government message.

Why did MSNBC Support Obama So Strongly?

What I’m wondering now is why did MSNBC support Barack Obama so strongly during the primaries, and why did they do everything they could to destroy Hillary Clinton’s candidacy? I admit, I bought into the notion that talking heads Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, and David Shuster were really huge fans of Obama.

In the light of this latest turn of events, I have to ask, were the on-air personalities at MSNBC really that biased, or were they acting on orders passed down from GE Chairman Jeffrey Immelt? Did Immelt know ahead of time that Obama administration would look favorably on GE after they helped him win the nomination and the general election? Is it possible that Clinton wasn’t as amenable as Obama to making commitments to provide financial benefits to GE ahead of the nomination and election? Because Obama’s policies and appointments clearly have been a big help to GE in their current economic troubles. Continue reading

Monday: Stormy Monday

And, no, we’re not talking about Hurricane Ike, although we are sending good thoughts to our Floridian and Gulf Coast Conflucians today.

What we’re talking about is it the newest USA Today/Gallup poll that puts McCain ahead by 10 points over Barack Obama.  This latest poll was conducted from September 5-7, 2008, sufficient time to gauge the Palin Effect and John McCain’s speech.  Darragh Murphy said that the Republicans would finish Obama off by the end of September.  Who knew that the minions working for Obama would be so efficient in speeding things up?  The DNC must be in full panic mode, hoping and praying that Hillary can pull it out for them.  Bastards.

By the way, I finally got a chance to view McCain’s speech in its entirety on my DVR and I have to say that it took me by surprise.  McCain put his own party on notice.  There were many points in that speech when the applause in my house was louder than the tepid response he got in Minnesota.  I sometimes wonder which torture was more painful and humiliating for him.  The Hanoi Hilton or being broken by the Bushies while they trashed the tattered remnants of his own party?

It remains to be seen whether John McCain can deliver on the reform he promises.  But one thing is for certain: there is no doubt who he identifies with as his role models.  He admires Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower.  These are men of integrity, progressivism and moderation.  John McCain’s voting record in the past eight years has not reflected much of any of those three things.  But he *does* have a respectable record on election reform and objection to the earmark system.  It is regrettable that he broke to vote with the Bushies on so many other horrific bills.  Did he compromise his principles in order to survive and fight another day?

In the meantime, the PUMAs may be flexing their muscles. We are real and there are millions of us.  Millions disaffected enough to bump McCain up, whether or not we intend to vote for him.  We got the word out that the Democrats were NOT unified.  We showed up at the MSNBC kiosk in Denver and “marched and shouted slogans” (generic NPR speak for any sufficiently significant band of protestors).  I didn’t mind shouting “Rise, Hillary! Rise!” but felt uncomfortable about calling Matthews a sexist pig.  He did come out at one point and stood on the corner of the stage, a little like a contrite sinner in the stocks, as the goody townspeople hurled nasty epithets at him.  I suppose we should feel happy that Olbermann and Matthews have now been sidelined.

But *why* are they being sidelined?  What possible harm could they do now?  Exactly.  Their job is done.  They took out Hillary Clinton.  Now’s the time to bring in the less overtly vitriolic team to shore up NBC’s reputation and return to the status quo of treating Republicans with kid gloves while covering the Democrats less gently.  The whole mechanism is reconstructed as it is every four years.  The electoral map hasn’t changed significantly, except that now the Democrats are in danger of losing Pennsylvania.  Plus ça change…

We did what we could.  We got the word out as best we could.  We fought off attack after attack.  We tried to warn our own side not to fall into the trap.  But fall it did.

Lord, have mercy on me.

Saturday: Follow-ups

You know, I haven’t been to North Carolina for years. I’ll bet spring is really pretty there. Hmmm, Brook has been saying for some time now that she would like to visit Williamsburg in VA and that’s really close to NC and, heck, I haven’t been to Kitty Hawk since I was 5 years old when my Dad took us to see the Wright Bros. Monument. And the BFF went to school in NC. So many good reasons to visit.

Anyway, I like to look forward, not back. There’s not a lot you can do about the past. You can’t unsay things you regret later. You can only learn from your mistakes and move on. With that in mind, here are a couple of posts from around the blogosphere that reflect on things better left unsaid:

  • Jerome Armstrong has another memo from the other side, this one from an Obama delegate in PA who recaps the fatal mistakes that lead to Obama’s humiliating loss in PA (did I do it right, MABlue?). This one is a doozy. Some of the dumbass things include going to San Francisco and dissing small town voters, debating very poorly and not passing around “street money” in Philly. As to that last one, I know for sure they did it in NJ, but either Obama is watching his spendthrift ways lately or he just takes his African-American constituency for granted (I think it’s a little of both) but he didn’t pass out enough cash to ward leaders and volunteers. Now, I have to pause for a second and say that as far as I know, Clinton’s campaign doesn’t do that. For one thing, the money is very carefully budgeted and there is no waste. I’ve never been offered cash for volunteering and I don’t know of other volunteers who have been offered it either. Yeah, we Clinton supporters are in it for the fame and glory. But seriously, how sad is it that you have to pay your volunteers to GOTV? Shouldn’t they *want* to do this for altruistic reasons, like, maybe they believe in the candidate? But I think the more egregious thing about the street money issue with Obama is the campaign was aware of this custom in Philly and chose to spend its money instead on $11 Million in advertising. As the delegate alludes to in his memo, the Obama PR operation gets paid per ad in a way so that there is an incentive to produce more ads and consequently more money for the PR firm. It’s a racket. There’s probably a cost-benefit analysis somewhere that shows how many ads deliver the greatest punch. Obama’s campaign exceeded this number many times over. And his campaign contributions went to pay the PR firm instead of going into the hands of the volunteers who would have flushed out the voters on primary day. I don’t know about you but the overall sense of the campaign just looks like a racket to make money for some very enterprising individuals connected to David Axelrod. And everyone thought Mark Penn was bad. He might be a loathsome person but at least he knew how to win the big states for Clinton.
  • In Metaphor? No, Murder, Anglachel recaps what she wrote previously about Keith Olbermann’s room scenario. She’s got a point in that Keith’s frustration with Hillary’s tenacity is starting to make him indiscreet and he’s blurting out what he’s really thinking. But Anglachel and I know that while Keith is unlikely to act on that frustration, there will be some listeners who think it’s a great idea. I think Hillary has pretty good secret service protection. I have a feeling their monitoring tools are much more sophisticated than we think. But that’s not to say that someone won’t flip out and try something. She’s not a large woman. And who’s to say that this comment won’t encourage men to let down their guard in everyday situations? This genie is out of the bottle. Keith can’t unsay it and I doubt that any of us can influence the network to take these things seriously. But Obama and other party leaders should step up to the mic and say enough is enough. It’s getting dangerous for women in the public forum when stuff like this goes unchecked.

I have an idea that I hope a couple enterprising readers will take me up on. I’d like to read “on the ground” reports from North Carolina and Indiana so we can live vicariously. Are there any Conflucians that are volunteering for those two states who would be interested in contributing a post or two? Let us know in the comments and make sure your email is the one you actually use to get email so we can contact you. (no, we will not broadcast your address to the world)

Keith, what are we talking about here exactly?

Given the recent behavior of your network regarding inappropriate remarks, I don’t expect that this latest stupid comment will get you much more than a slap on the hand. But I think we all have to examine it in order to understand what it is you actually meant. So, let’s review the tape, shall we?

Ok, so I interpret your statement to mean that you would like a superdelegate to take Hillary Clinton into a room and somehow intimidate her, you don’t specify how, to drop out of the race and that at the end of this process, only one of them, preferably the superdelegate, would emerge.

I find his scenario to be unrealistic. It is much more likely that the superdelegate would find himself won over by Senator Clinton’s intelligence, professionalism and energy. But the question that remains unasked is why would she not be able to come out of that room on her own in *your* scenario? I think the implication is clear here. What is implied is that the superdelegate would work her over physically until she yielded. The result of the beating would leave her incapacitated to exit the room of her own volition. And you are probably going to claim that you were making a reference to some movie on organized crime or corrupt police or something like that, where the subject of the implied brutality is a character that no one likes and who probably deserves what’s coming to them.

Indeed, you may feel like Hillary Clinton is a character that no one likes and who deserves what is coming to her. I assure you that you are incorrect. Many of us like and admire her. But what you said ignores some pretty harsh realities. You may have been on the delivery end of those realities and have one perspective while many of us have been on the receiving end and have quite a different understanding.

It is never a joking matter when a man takes a woman into a room to physically assault her in an attempt to get her to comply to some demand. Those of us who have actually been through the process find your thoughtless remark incredibly damaging to the years of progress we have made in preventing domestic violence, rape, sexual harrassment and other gender related offenses.

But nevermind. You are just a commentator, someone who millions of people listen to and possibly use as an excuse to give into their baser instincts. What you aren’t is a leader. Barack Obama is a leader or is aspiring to be one. And now is the time for him to step up to the plate and both reject and denounce your offensive and socially unacceptable comment. It is time he defend the rights of his wife and daughters and his future female constituents to live and work in peace and safety without fear of intimidation or harrassment. It is time for Obama to condemn this comment and request that you be reprimanded and be forced to apologize to Senator Clinton and the women of this country. It is time for Obama to say that he will not tolerate violence or discrimination in his administration.

We would expect no less from a president.

One more thing: I appreciate the fact that you are willing to take action against MSNBC. But that is not where our leverage is. MSNBC is in business to make a profit. Keith, Tweety and Shuster wouldn’t get away with this crap if it didn’t result in higher profits from increased viewing from their male audience. So, the more you direct your ire against MSNBC, the more likely they are to continue to act out because it gets the MAXIM set all stirred up.
No, you want to direct your attention to Dean and especially Obama because they are doing nothing while a respected member of their party is being trashed. Either they consider us equal partners or they don’t. It is now time to find out where Obama stands on the issue. He either leads and sticks up for her or he’s nothing but an opportunistic politician who is comfortable treating his potential female constituents like suckers.
Which is it? Why don’t we ask him?

Here’s the contact info for Obama:

To reach the Campaign Headquarters by phone, please call: (866) 675-2008

You can contact us by mail at:
Obama for America
P.O. Box 8102
Chicago, IL 60680

Here is the contact info for the DNC:

Mailing Address:
Democratic National Committee
430 S. Capitol St. SE
Washington, DC 20003

Main Phone Number:
202-863-8000

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