Free Markets, Free People
Just as I thought NPR was wrong for firing Juan Williams, I’m of the same opinion about suspending Olbermann, at least for the reasons stated. If MSNBC thinks there is anyone anywhere that doesn’t know Olbermann is a liberal pundit then I’d have to wonder about them. Pundits, no matter how vile, are expected to have a bias. Those that report hard new aren’t (even if they do). What Olbermann’s contributions have to do with anything is beyond me. Actually, it wouldn’t surprise me, nor would I care, if he gave the legal limit in donations to every one of those on the Democratic side running for re-election.
On the other hand, if you know the employer you are going to work for prohibits this sort of thing, and you sign the contract with that understanding, then they have every right – despite my disagreement – to do whatever they choose to do. It would be hard for me to believe that Olbermann didn’t know about that rule.
So while I don’t agree with the rule (it seems a bit anachronistic given MSNBC basic declaration of a liberal news outlet – “lean forward”) it is their rule. Whether or not it has been applied rigorously and consistently is unknown to me although I’ve read that others who’ve made similar contributions have been ignored.
If that’s the case then this enforcement on Olbermann is arbitrary and there is probably something more behind it. I think NPR was looking for an excuse to cut Williams loose and the same may be happening with Olbermann. He’s nasty piece of work and certainly not a ratings bonanza for the network. So there may be more to this than the donations.