Bill Kristol Supports Olbermann

And he actually makes sense:

MSNBC’s suspension of Keith Olbermann is ludicrous. First, he donated money to candidates he liked. He didn’t take money, or favors, in a way that influenced his reporting. Second, he’s not a reporter. It’s an opinion show. If Olbermann wants to put his money where his mouth is, more power to him. Third, GE, the corporate parent of MSNBC, gives money to political organizations. GE executives and, I’m sure, NBC executives give money. Why can’t Olbermann?

Perhaps Olbermann violated NBC News “policy and standards.” But NBC doesn’t have real news standards for MSNBC—otherwise the channel wouldn’t exist. It’s a little strange to get all high and mighty now.

He's right.

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    Doesn't contract law (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Cream City on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 04:22:25 PM EST
    mean something? at least, here?

    NBC's contract required adherence to NBC's (i.e.,  SPJ's) code of ethics -- although NBC has a process for requesting an exception.  Olbermann did not even use that out.

    Instead, his bosses had to be surprised by Politico.
    And the number-one rule in the code for getting bye with bosses is: no surprises.

    Now, when bosses use contracts and codes to deal with employees can be arbitrary and capricious, but a smart employee does not give a boss the goods.

    NBC standards (none / 0) (#11)
    by IndiDemGirl on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 04:31:49 PM EST
    and code of ethics apply to NBC and do not apply to MSNBC or its new division.  Or so says some of the news stories.  

    Well, they could find (none / 0) (#12)
    by Cream City on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 05:09:10 PM EST
    the February 2007 news release on his current  contract as easily as I found it.  What does it tell you?  NBC issued the news release that says NBC, quoting NBC's president, saying that it covers not only KO's MSNBC show but also work for NBC, etc. . . .

    "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann and NBC News agreed to an extension of his contract through 2011.

    "It (Countdown) is obviously an incredibly important franchise for us," NBC News President Steve Capus said.  "It is something that has really put MSNBC back on the map."

    In addition to his nightly newscast -- which counts down the day's top political and entertainment stories with Olbermman's signature wit -- the MSNBC host will contribute occasional "essays" to the "Nightly News with Brian Williams" and host two "Countdown" specials a year on NBC. . . .

    If it is not found in the Olbermann (none / 0) (#25)
    by MKS on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 08:34:24 PM EST
    contract itself but in some other written policy that pertains to NBC (or even MSNBC), Katie bar the gate.....

    Olbermann could have a valid lawsuit...


    Even so, employment contracts (none / 0) (#36)
    by Cream City on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 11:38:01 AM EST
    usually have, do they not, standard boilerplate about obeisance to corporate policies, etc., etc.?

    Boilerplate not always that helpful (none / 0) (#41)
    by MKS on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 12:08:00 PM EST
    Really? Interesting (none / 0) (#43)
    by Cream City on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 12:27:29 PM EST
    as I have seen it used by lawyers against colleagues.  But maybe the colleagues lost because they ran out of money first.

    It will always be used (none / 0) (#56)
    by MKS on Mon Nov 08, 2010 at 10:38:59 AM EST
    The question is how effective is it and is their a way around it....

    Contract Law if Fine (none / 0) (#13)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 06:03:04 PM EST
    But why didn't Scarborough get even a slap on the wrist for donating about twice as much this year to people on his program ?  

    Olbermann should not be donating money to people on his program, or at the very least it should be disclosed.  Ditto for all political media persons.

    This is the same network that employed Dobbs, who donated heavily and if memory serves me right, even campaigned for a couple of folks.

    It's my understanding that Comcast is in the process of acquiring MSNBC, they are waiting for government approval.  Comcast donates heavily to R's and I suspect that Comcast had far more to do with the suspension than anything else.


    "But mom, he did it first!" (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Cream City on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 08:13:36 PM EST
    Uh, yeh.  Never worked on me when my kids tried it, but go ahead and give that line to Keithie.  

    It works.... (none / 0) (#23)
    by MKS on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 08:21:11 PM EST

    It goes to interpretation of the contract....Were others fined instead of suspended....


    Is it a material breach? (none / 0) (#24)
    by MKS on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 08:28:16 PM EST
    or just a ticky tacky thing....

    Would Griffen have given Olbermann permission if he had asked?  There is no good answer to this given the Scarborouugh precedent.

    Yes, if he had asked, I would have given him permission, so I am just on a power trip.

    No, I would not have given him permission.  In which case, the next question is why not, given the Scarborough prededent...

    If they fire Olbermann, they could get sued....

    They hire an opinionated talk show host, and fire him for this?  Trivial breach?  

    Non-lawyers are often more in love with legal technicalities than judges or juries.   The issue in most lawsuits boils down to is it fair?  The rest often just rationalization.

    I would not want to be GE right now...


    Of course, Keithie on the stand (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Cream City on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 08:41:18 PM EST
    would have to explain his hypocrisy.  I would think that NBC might just have in its vault the video of Keithie preaching about how horrible it was that Murdoch did . . . exactly what Keithie did.

    Picture the cross-examination, as the pontification about ethics is parsed into question after question for Keithie to explain why he's so special that the same ethics don't apply to him.


    Not seeing the hypocrisy (none / 0) (#30)
    by waldenpond on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 11:00:12 PM EST
    He plays a liberal with a liberal show.  He donated to liberal candidates.  He would have brought negative attention to his network if, on the other hand, donated to conservatives.

    Not seeing an 'ethical' violation either.  If he been giving secretly like conservatives hide their money in CoC?  Sure.


    Look up that KO lecture (none / 0) (#40)
    by Cream City on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 11:47:54 AM EST
    as I did and imagine what lawyers could do with line after line, is all I'm saying.  The bottom line is that it's evidence that neither KO nor NBC would want to be courtroom fodder, I suspect -- so his lawyers can use it as well to negotiate now.

    Maybe (none / 0) (#42)
    by MKS on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 12:11:56 PM EST
    If MSNBC is using a trivial issue (if they would have given permission to Olbermann had he asked, and they really should as he is an opinion person) to fire Olbermann, then there could be problems....

    If it was known at NBC or MSNBC (none / 0) (#26)
    by MKS on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 08:40:46 PM EST
    that Scarborough made the contributions, then the legal doctrines of waiver and estoppel could apply....

    So, yes, if the company acted differently under the same contract provisions with a different person, that could be big problem....


    Yes, NBC has 'splaining to do (none / 0) (#37)
    by Cream City on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 11:40:22 AM EST
    if Scarborough continued donations after his contract.  So far, I've seen concrete evidence only that his donations were pre-MSNBC.

    Now, I would think that even those pre-contract donations ought to have precluded his hiring -- but clearly, on this blog, that's just me.


    2 things (none / 0) (#15)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 06:39:29 PM EST
    1.  The stipulation was that he had to inform his boss of his donations.  Maybe Scarborough did.

    2.  Dobbs worked for CNN.

    Exactly. Pesky facts. (n/t) (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Cream City on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 08:14:07 PM EST
    File this one under (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by scribe on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 04:24:19 PM EST
    "Blind squirrel finds acorn."

    hes right (none / 0) (#1)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 03:38:54 PM EST
    and he wants Olby to stay right where he is Im thinkin

    or (none / 0) (#3)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 03:39:30 PM EST

    He is right (none / 0) (#2)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 03:39:06 PM EST
    but, life isn't fair.

    He is wrong (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Cream City on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 08:15:05 PM EST
    but, so was Keithie, and life still isn't fair.

    So, we can disagree (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 08:50:03 PM EST
    I won't watch KO under any circumstances, but he is not a journalist. His opinions and political beliefs are why he had the show to begin with.

    We do agree, then, that (5.00 / 3) (#29)
    by Cream City on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 08:57:52 PM EST
    he's not a news journalist.

    Sportscasters are trained not in journalism ethics but in sophomoric boosterism.  The ethics codes never seem to apply to the ridiculous rooting for the home team.  Keithie took his sophomoric boosterism from sports to politics and either didn't get the difference in donating to his home team -- or deemed himself above following the requirement to request an exception first.


    The one thing I'll say for him... (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Thanin on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 05:20:57 AM EST
    was that he did give attention to some situations that would never seen the light of day on a national level otherwise.  

    Like the ice storms and blizzards that ravaged reservations in South Dakota, causing power outages, water, light and heat were cut off for weeks in some areas.  Thanks to Olbermann about 185,000$ were donated in the span of 24 hours.  Lives were saved that might never have been without him.


    Oh, agreed that he did good things (none / 0) (#38)
    by Cream City on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 11:42:27 AM EST
    and more than that instance.  His extremism was understandable and needed in the context of the Bush years, but he needed to adapt afterward.

    And any employee has to get along with the bosses, not just the public.


    fighting fire with fire (1.00 / 1) (#48)
    by jondee on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 02:19:29 PM EST
    if there hadn't already existed a veritable army of vociferous, dirty-fighting demagogues, whose memes command a wide circulation, over on the right side of the aisle, it's highly likely that no wild-swinging Olbermann would've ever come to the fore on MSNBC. The explanation is as simple as actions engendering equal-and-opposite reactions; in the basement dog fight that American politics all-too-often degenerates into.

    And, I still can't help but suspect that these threads would only be about half as long if only Olbermann and Maddow had been wholeheartedly  behind Mrs Clinton from the beginning of the primaries.      


    Probably right (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by Yman on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 09:24:32 PM EST
    And, I still can't help but suspect that these threads would only be about half as long if only Olbermann and Maddow had been wholeheartedly  behind Mrs Clinton from the beginning of the primaries.

    Get rid of all the silly fairy tales and "suspicions" about the motives of other posters and reading-between-the-invisible-lines of their posts, and it would save a lot of space.


    Thanks (1.00 / 1) (#54)
    by jondee on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 11:28:19 AM EST
    but I think I'll stick with free speech and calling 'em as I see 'em, rather than agreeing to having every thought vetted first by our local Brothers Grimm archivist and St Hillary's avenging angels.

    Just a suggestion (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Yman on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 12:41:49 PM EST
    No one's infringing on your "free speech", ...

    ... just laughing at your complaints.


    And (none / 0) (#49)
    by squeaky on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 02:40:38 PM EST
    And, I still can't help but suspect that these threads would only be about half as long if only Olbermann and Maddow had been wholeheartedly  behind Mrs Clinton from the beginning of the primaries.    
      God forbid Hillary won, and we were in the same place, which is more than likely.

    Nary a peep would be heard... lol


    I suspect that there'd be a few peeps: (none / 0) (#51)
    by jondee on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 03:20:57 PM EST
    the overall thrust of which being that the majority of the current difficulties were the result of the actions of obstructionist blue dogs, CDSers and reactionary repubs.

    When I want news and unbiased reporting (none / 0) (#50)
    by Politalkix on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 02:43:14 PM EST
    I watch PBS and CSPAN, listen to NPR and read news in the internet (articles and not blogs in NYTimes, Washington Post, BBC). When I want "opinion", I turn to NBC (Olbermann, Maddow).
    I do not watch Fox at all, once in a while I go to Drudge Report for entertainment (I am strong at heart, I will not recommend it to everybody

    Save Olby! (none / 0) (#4)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 04:00:29 PM EST

    What's the fuss?  Olby was a commentator and anyone with at least much sense as god gave a turnip knew that Olby was in the tank for the Dem left.  IMO, he should not have been fired.  

    He was only suspended a week (none / 0) (#14)
    by Harry Saxon on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 06:10:39 PM EST
    not fired.

    Try to stay to the facts of the case here, it makes for an easier discussion.


    Suspended indefinitely (none / 0) (#19)
    by sallywally on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 08:03:47 PM EST
    is what I've heard.

    Whatever the term used (none / 0) (#35)
    by Harry Saxon on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 08:13:30 AM EST
    he isn't fired, yet.

    He's being given time (none / 0) (#39)
    by Cream City on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 11:43:43 AM EST
    to apologize, perhaps?  Or to be allowed to resign.  It is an odd interregnum and shows, I suspect, some discord within MSNBC on this.

    We shall see (none / 0) (#45)
    by Harry Saxon on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 01:03:07 PM EST
    If they wanted to make it a firing offense, they have to deal with Morning Joe and his partisan activity as well.

    Now you're getting it (none / 0) (#46)
    by Cream City on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 01:35:47 PM EST
    I suspect that NBC is reeling from the FEC findings and is buying time to investigate further before it gets surprised again.  

    It could be an improvement to the industry and to the viewing public if NBC is buying time to come up with new types of contracts that recognize that it and others in cable have changed the industry and profession, rather than recycling the previous type of contracts that worked half a century ago.


    Well (none / 0) (#47)
    by squeaky on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 01:51:53 PM EST
    It does not appear that he wants to get along with his bosses.

    There is no question in my mind that he set this confrontation up knowing what would come of it.




    I doubt that Olbermann set them up (none / 0) (#53)
    by Harry Saxon on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 06:59:17 AM EST
    but the Morning Joe "My wife gave in April 2009, but not me" won't help matters much.

    Remember what happened to Dan Rather? (none / 0) (#7)
    by mogal on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 04:22:30 PM EST
     After Bush became POTUS(I refuse to say elected) he was fired. Seems KO may have become a little to truthful and the winners needed some red meat.
    As for GE, doesn't anyone remember their sponsorship of Ronald Reagan?

    Ronald Reagan's ties were the (none / 0) (#33)
    by Amiss on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 12:39:48 AM EST
    first thing I thought of.

    Yes. He is right. And (none / 0) (#8)
    by jes on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 04:23:13 PM EST
    now it seems Chris Hayes will not be subbing tonight. Seems he made campaign contributions. No word yet on who will host. (twitter comment)

    This is really getting funny.

    \Nannygate, followed by (none / 0) (#10)
    by oculus on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 04:27:18 PM EST
    taxesgate, followed by Whitmangate, followed by Juan Williamsgate, followed by . . . .

    Someday therebhas to be a gategate (none / 0) (#16)
    by ruffian on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 06:44:36 PM EST
    But not this time.

    Insufferablegate? No, too long.


    Have a great ... (none / 0) (#18)
    by Yman on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 07:35:45 PM EST
    ... trip.  Sounds incredible.

    Fantastic! (none / 0) (#31)
    by ruffian on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 11:19:21 PM EST
    And congratulations to you and Mrs. Donald from Hawaii!

    THe problem (none / 0) (#32)
    by Left of the Left on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 12:33:41 AM EST
    if there really is one (since I highly doubt this is anything more than MSNBC dropping the hammer for having found out by a third party), is while everyone knows the bias, Olbermann and to a lesser extent Maddow tries to pass himself off as a serious, conflict of interest free journalist, simply telling it like it is. Goodnight, and good luck. Why should he be allowed to have it both ways?

    "Goodnight, and good luck." (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Cream City on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 12:30:46 PM EST
    Exactly.  But you will get a 1, too, for pointing out that Olbermann put himself forward as the new Murrow -- and the problems for him in that (as well as for NBC, of course, which is fascinating and heartening, if this foretells some part of the industry finally facing up to its problems -- but that deeper discussion is to be found on other blogs).