MSNBC is Not Fox News: Keith Olbermann Suspended for Political Donations

keith olbermann1 MSNBC announced today that Countdown host Keith Olbermann has been indefinitely suspended by the network for making political donations to three Democratic congressional candidates. Olbermann said that he didn't encourage other to donate, but the network suspended him for violating their policy against political donations. This once again proves that MSNBC is not Fox News where the money flows freely to the GOP.

MSNBC announced today that Countdown host Keith Olbermann has been indefinitely suspended by the network for making political donations to three Democratic congressional candidates. Olbermann said that he didn’t encourage other to donate, but the network suspended him for violating their policy against political donations. This once again proves that MSNBC is not Fox News where the money flows freely to the GOP.

In a statement msnbc TV President Phil Griffin announced, “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.” Politico first reported this morning that the donations were $2,400 max donations to Democrats Jack Conway, Raul Grijalva, and Gabrielle Giffords.

Olbermann acknowledged the donations and said, “I did not privately or publicly encourage anyone else to donate to these campaigns, nor to any others in this election or any previous ones, nor have I previously donated to any political campaign at any level.” If he had never done it before, why did he donate to this one? Olbermann had to have known NBC News’ policy against employees making political donations. He also had to have known that due to candidate disclosure and reporting requirements, he would get caught.

The contrast between MSNBC and Fox News is striking. News Corp and Fox News openly raise and donate funds to the Republican Party. Fox News lets their contributors, like Dick Morris solicit donations on the air. This isn’t including how Sean Hannity acts an on air ATM for Republican candidates and Glenn Beck holding fundraisers for Republican candidates.

The difference between the two networks could not be clearer. MSNBC is a legitimate news organization. When one of their employees crossed the line, he was suspended. Over at Fox News crossing the line in encouraged, and is considered being a team player and helping the Republican cause. It is no surprise that Olbermann was the MSNBC on air talent to cross the line. No one can say that his objectivity was compromised by making the donations, because he was never objective in the first place.

I hope one of the outcomes will be that MSNBC will rethink having Olbermann anchor their election night coverage. Olbermann, Matthews, Maddow etc. are not journalists. They are opinion based hosts. MSNBC should feature all of the analysis that their on air talent can provide, but the coverage itself should be anchored by a journalist. The fact that MSNBC’s Election Night anchor was caught donating to Democrats makes the situation appear even worse.

Unless they want to go down the Fox News route of zero credibility, journalists should not donate to political candidate. Keith Olbermann should have been suspended. It is unethical for him to donate, when he is also an opinion maker. For all the people who claim that MSNBC is just like Fox News, their handling of Keith Olbermann should serve as the biggest reminder yet that the two networks have nothing in common.

Update:: On her show tonight, Rachel Maddow explained why Keith Olbermann was suspended.

47 Replies to “MSNBC is Not Fox News: Keith Olbermann Suspended for Political Donations”

  1. I totally agree with your summary. The paper I write for doesn’t let us write for a candidate, donate, or even put up yard signs during a campaign. I also agree that Keith is not a journalist. He is lucky MSNBC lets him, Rachel, Ed, and Lawrence promote liberal viewpoints.

    It shouldn’t be surprising to anyone that in this political climate, that Olbermann’s boss suspended him. Yes, the other commentators like Buchanan are biased, but they are commentators and their bias is well known.

  2. While I agree that MSNBC should have straight news anchors for their election night coverage, the Olberman suspension is bogus seeing as he is a commentator and not a reporter (hence why he should not help run election night coverage).

  3. I love it! “MSNBC is a legitimate news organization.” That is hysterical. Did the author watch the gaggle factory on MSNBC’s election coverage? It was like watching kids on a playground trying to bully others that were not allowed ON the playground! The author likely did watch and thought it was fair and accurate because of their slant and/or ignorance. The only regulations imposed on contributing to political campaigns are established by individual companies. Time magazine allows donations. Newsweek forbids donations, generally. The New York Times forbids donations. Fox News Channel allows campaign contributions, as long as the money doesn’t come from corporate funds, as that is a violation of federal law. Reuters allows contributions for journalists not involved in political coverage. U.S. News & World Report warns that giving may be a conflict of interest but allows it. ABC News forbids donations. CBS News forbids donations (until September 2010, they were only discouraged).
    It is not ironical but intentional that the author did not mention Olbermann’s previous berating of Fox for their political support though it was allowed by their company policy, while he was doing the EXACT same thing in SECRET in direct violation of his own employer’s policy. Funny, funny stuff! That is exactly why VERY FEW people watch those channels anymore.

  4. Doesnt matter,his ratings have sucked sonce 2009,nbc is under new management and he was going to get fired anyway.Fox owns news ratings 3-1 against everyone. The new owners want those ratings.

  5. No, he was never going to get fired. Keith Olbermann is a draw for MSNBC. He has a loyal fan base.

    Fox News takes all of the conservatives, whereas the independents and liberals are scattered to network news and the remaining cable channels.

  6. The conservatives scream from the mountain tops about how left wing the main stream media is and try to pass Fox News off as being “Fair and Balanced.”

    I don’t have an issue with political commentators donating to the causes they support. I would hope they do, “Put your money where your mouth is!”

    Certainly news people are a different breed and should remain objective. However, the biggest problem is that Fox is trying to pass itself off as being news and commentators. They should be required to be up front that these are the opinions of those people and not FACT!

    MSNBC is doing wrong by punishing Olbermann as he is a commentator and this is known. All of these stations need to be required to put warning messages on their shows to identify commentator opinions vs fact.

    Of course the fact that the Florida Courts of Appeals have ruled that news organizations are NOT required to provide factual news is part of the problem. If you are a news provider, you should be subject to attempt to provide accurate reporting.

    Back when Watergate broke, reporters needed 2 sources to verify a story. Today they can create news out of thin air. No wonder people are so reactionary and pissed off all the time!

  7. “you should be subject to “attempt” to provide accurate reporting.” They should just tell the facts of the situation without embelishments!

  8. Tell me again why Fox News donates directly to the Republican Party if they are “fair and balanced”?

  9. http://thinkprogress.org/
    Is reporting that is most likely political as NBC was taken over by comcast and other people at MSNBC are not being dinged for donating to GOP, Pat Buchanan, Joe Scarbourogh.
    It might even be a violation of his rights! What next will they tell him how to vote like Micky D’s was doing?
    Think about it…!

  10. This author shows his partisan side and his inability to do basic research. Let’s look at MSNBC and NBC. Their parent company GE donated over $3 million dollars to political campaigns in 2010. Let’s look at journalist contributions in 2008:
    The Democratic total of $1,020,816 was given by 1,160 employees of the three major broadcast television networks, with an average contribution of $880.

    By contrast, only 193 of the employees contributed to Republican candidates and campaign committees, for a total of $142,863. The average Republican contribution was $744.

    For this author to assert MSNBC is a news organization and Fox is not, is pure hyperbole lacking any merit? The non-partisan Center for Media and Public Administration has conducted countless media bias studies that show the Fox News shows as being more center than the others. Notice I said news shows, not their opinion shows. Keith Olberamnn was just a more obnoxious version of Sean Hannity. However, Olberamnn claimed to be an objective journalist whereas Hannity claims to be a Reagan Conservative. I personally see them as two extremes. However, any reasonable person without partisan glasses would view the actual news shows on Fox as being fairly well balanced representing both sides with political analysts representing both parties. Noted liberals such as Bob Beckell, Kristen Power, Al Sharpton, Lamont Hill and the list goes on are frequent contributors. Calling NSNBC as news and Fox as opinion is pure hypocrisy from this writer.

  11. Long-time Bush donor Phil Griffin was a long-time Bush contributor. I wonder if his long-time record of donating to Bush had anything to do with punishing a liberal pundit.

    Maddow and the others should walk off the set. Somebody has got to stand up to these thugs.

  12. On Fox, I hear criticism of liberal political views via their numerous conservative commentators. However, I rarely hear name calling, intolerance of those opinions (such as offering that opposing opinions should be supressed), or outright condescension… certainly rarely by the hosts – but sometimes by guests. Beck might fall somewhat into that category (which is why I don’t watch him).

    Criticism, saying “I think they are wrong, and here are the reasons why…” or “This is just a continuation of the political spin offered by the left” or, “this is factually inaccurate. They are misrepresenting the facts” are quite different from Maddow’s “… that’s going mysteriously missing from the right-wing cackling and old media cluck-cluck-clucking”

    One is called reasoned argument… the other is just simply name calling and biggoted elitism.

    It is nasty. They act like nasty, immature people. And, I have stopped watching CNN, MSNBC, et. al. because they have nothing more to offer than playground taunts… just plain old bullying.

    For me, they instantly lose credibility when they express such views… I would be really interested in hearing a well-reasoned, thoughtful defense of the liberal position supported by fact. They might actually introduce new ideas, or different ways of looking at things.

    As far as I am concerned, these people do little but wallow in the mud – and I don’t want to be exposed to it.

    By Fox News’ ratings, I’d guess that a fair number of people feel as I do.

  13. “By Fox News’ ratings, I’d guess that a fair number of people feel as I do.”

    Sorry to break it to you, but you guessed wrong. If you would have guessed “a fair number of people are as stupid and gullible as I am”, you would have gone on to our bonus round and competed for the Guantanamo Bay Family Vacation prize. In fact, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

  14. @ Youro

    Your entire post was dedicated to bashing the previous post and you claim that it was the most idiotic thing you have ever heard. Yet no where in your comment did you provide any alternative to what the previous poster said, as a matter of fact, i would consider it pure incoherence as well. Typical Liberal :L
    (and im an independent)

  15. I guess you just proved my point. I’ve never met a liberal that wasn’t driven by hatred of one thing or another… or who could argue a point without stooping to personal insult.

    Again, I’d love to hear a well-reasoned, thoughtful defense of the liberal position. Perhaps, you thought that “gullible”, “insanely idiotic”, “incoherent response”, “dumber” are words commonly used in reasoning and thought and, in combination with your sardonic tone would be persuasive – to me or anyone else in the world.

    Perhaps in the liberal echo-chamber, they are… but you’ll have to engage in something more than base hatred to even get me to listen to you.

    To be fact-driven, here are cable news ratings for November 4.

    Please notice that for viewers over the age of 2, they beat the other cable networks combined.

  16. Fox leans right, MSNBC leans left. Whatever either says all you’ve got to do is watch both for awhile. Anybody that pretends otherwise is lacking in objective judgement. The more subtle question is what about NBC, ABC, & CBS?

  17. I don’t think that Fox News leans right on actual news coverage (as supported by many independent studies).

    There is no question that Hannity, Beck, Huckabee, et. al. are conservative – but they are not news. I don’t think that you could say that O’Reilly (a strong centerest populist), or Van Susteren lean strongly either way… but they are not news either. The one exception is Fox and Friends… which is somewhat childish – and it is difficult to separate actual news coverage from commentary… it’s more like a variety show than a news show.

    Listen to Shepard Smith, Neil Cavuto, Megan Kelly, Brett Behr, or other news anchors, and there is no leaning one way or the other. Fox appears to go out of their way on analysis to have both sides represented fairly… and by fairly, I mean having guests that are actually representative of the opposing positions, are neither lightweights nor extremists (a strategy I’ve noticed on NPR, MSNBC, CNN and the broadcast networks many times), and are given equal time.

    In fact, particularly in the case Cavuto, in interviews, they don’t throw softball “feelings questions” with pre-supposed premises at the guests. They actually challenge the interview subject – regardless of if it’s Obama or Rove – or anyone in between.

    Usually they only get talking points in response (on either side), but it provides a great contrast (well thought out questions being non-answered) that you don’t see on other networks nearly as much.

    Cavuto many times says “You’re not answering my question, please just answer the question.”

    The only anchor I’ve seen do similar on a regular basis is Blitzer on CNN but in a less agressive way.

  18. Agree with what you say. Still means that Fox leans right when you consider their total format. Nothing wrong with that. I do agree that their news reporting is pretty straightforward, compared to some of the low-key bias on say, NBC.

  19. Fox news didn’t, News Corp did. This practice is not uncommon. Disney and GE (owners of ABC and NBC respectively) have both made campaign contributions, as well as CBS (but appartenly t they don’t anymore). According to campaignmoney.com, News Corp employees actually gave more to the Dems. The parent company doesn’t necessarily influence the actual news station, considering how big these media conglomerates are, any of these stations could have a different owner tomorrow.

  20. Well said and your 100% correct the FOX News shows are more center as based on non partisan research. Their opinion shows are no different than any other network, they convey an opinion of the host. Any resonable minded person without a partisan agenda would objectively view Fox News shows as more center presenting opposing opinions with equal time. That’s the best anyone can hope for. To say otherwise is just partisan rhetoric based on no facts. Countless non-partisan research studies have shown Fox News coverage as more center which Fox has coined, “Fair and Balanced”. Check research studies at Center for Media and Public Administration. However, if your a liberal then you find it biased because they also present both sides of the question from both conservative and liberal analysts which a partisan will find as right leaning sense they are only used to hearing one side from other networks. I’m a Conservative Democrat and find it well balanced but absolutely can not watch Hannity or Beck… Then again I couldn’t watch Beck on CNN when he used to bash Bush daily either. Notice liberals never bring up Beck’s bashing of Bush! Olbermann was Hannity on speed.

  21. There are three types of Americans:

    1. Conservatives that MUST disagree with liberals, regardless of fact.

    2. Liberals that MUST disagree with conservatives, regardless of fact.

    I was once proud to say that I affiliated with one of the political parties (I won’t mention which one specifically, that’s not the point), but now I am just ashamed by both parties. It has turned into a witch-hunt of why our economy is in the tanks. Recently, it has been about trying to prove each other wrong, trying to point fingers.

    Why can we not just give each other ideas, and if they happen to not agree, we can intelligently come up with an alternative answer? Americans are supposed to be together, that is the only way to facilitate ideas.

    Are we about finding new ideas on how to BETTER ourselves? Or are we trying to be the “all knowing”?

    I am sick and tired of hearing people say quotes from founding fathers that are in absolutely no context like “OH well this one time Thomas Jefferson happened to say something like BLAH BLAH BLAH”

    Our found fathers were not “all knowing”. They would be embarrassed if they saw that we were trying to emulate them EXACTLY. That’s why we have amendments people, to correct our founding fathers.

    Times change, that’s why we NEED progression. BTW if you think “progressives” are bad people, you’re an idiot. Progression is how we upgrade ourselves, it’s what fuels intelligent thought.

    I hope people read this and realize it’s not about “wrong or right”. It’s about dropping our differences, trying to find similarities in each other, and using these similarities to find ideas that helps us ALL, not just the top 20 percentile of wealth.

    Please, do not be ignorant. Construct your beliefs from multiple sources, that is the only way to have a wholesome view on everything that’s going on in life.

  22. Keith gets a vacation, MSNBC gains legitimacy, Keith comes back after a short period, apologizes for DONATING money and everyone looks better than good. Not a conspiracy, just how the circus works.

  23. “Why can we not just give each other ideas, and if they happen to not agree, we can intelligently come up with an alternative answer?”

    Politics ultimately boils down to Snake Oil salesmen trying to convince everyone that their particular brand of Snake Oil will cure ALL ills while the other guy’s Snake Oil will give you cancer, kill your dog, make your wife cheat on you, and burn your car. There’s nothing objective, rational or scientific about politics. Politicians are physically incapable of realizing that life isn’t a quadratic equation: it doesn’t have a neat little solution that everyone can agree upon. They will never realize that just like there isn’t a magic Snake Oil that can cure all ills, there isn’t a magic political formula that would make the world a magical, mystical, happy, happy place.

    Sometimes we need to help each other with all we got, because we created this whole “society” thing so we could put together our individual strengths and become greater than the sum of our individual selves, and accomplish things we could never accomplish on our own.

    And sometimes we need to give someone a swift kick in the butt and remind him that the government isn’t his goddamn mommy, who is gonna solve all his problems for him without him having to move a finger. Specially when his problems could be easily solved if he just got off the goddamn couch, stopped whining so much and got back to work.

  24. how do you come to that conclusion? Fox donates money to RGA, they raise money on air and they have politicians running shows! Wake up. There is no network as biased as them because they are not biased. They are a political action committee airing on tvs across America pretending to be news.

  25. Fail. Fox is not considered center by anyone other than Fox watchers who bought that bs which was paid for by the Republican Party. My god you people don’t get out much.

    Compared to network news, Fox is a slimey cable tv network. Its ratings are dog crap compared to network news. Network news is where the center is. America is not Fox News or Obama would never have won by the friggin land slide he did. Fox News is nothing but a paid advertisement for the GOP.

  26. “MSNBC is a legitimate news organization.”

    Speaking of legitimate, read a little read media and news analysis. It is inherently impossible for television to be considered a medium for espousing information for the intent of education. The word “news” or “press” is in the Constitution for a reason, a freedom guaranteed because democracy depends on an informed and educated populous. Since knowledge is largely formed in the mind by two-way discourse and experience (in which television serves neither…again, inherently), to think of MSNBC, let alone an institution dependent on capital and profits, as a “legitimate news organization” not only shows the author’s rather low-level ethos, but the arrogance to make such a claim.

    Have fun wasting your life discussing pointless bullshit.

  27. I disagree with the premise.

    Progression towards what? If you can define the end target, if I agree that it is a reasonable end. I’d be happy to discuss how to get there with you.

    The problem with progressives is not that they want progression, its that they either cannot, will not, or are afraid to define or divulge what that progression leads to.

    Liberals – at the end of their philosophy – believe that the end of human suffering can only be achieved through the ultimate removal of human freedom. Exact equality – economic, social, intellectual and every other kind – is what they are after. They can only achieve this by supressing those who would be different and would use their own value offerred to society to enrich themselves. They see the inherent inequality in human capacities as evil and untrustworthy and something to be removed from the gene pool. When they say “equal”, they mean “identical”.

    Conservatives – at the end of their philosopy – are after the removal of insecurity of the chaos of the masses (what they define as suffering) so that societal order can be maintained, and the injustice of arbitrary authority can be removed. When they say equal, it is in the Hobbesian sense, of being equally subject to the perogatives of the state, and yet allowed within those boundaries to prosper individually.

    Both of these philosophies are inherently authoritarian – and yet diametrically opposed – and have taken over the political realm.

    This is what makes America so unique. It was not founded as either a conservative, or liberal nation, but as a libertarian republic. The founders believed that the end of suffering can only be acheived by the individual, and then only if you allow individuals the freedom to acheive their own end of suffering (the pursuit of happiness) in a framework of government whose purpose is to first of all preserve union of the nation, second, to temper the democratic factionalism that had destroyed all prior democracies (more violently than not) through a republican form of government, and finally, to preserve individual freedom in the form of private property ownership (along with speech, self-defense, freedom from arbitrary govenment intrussion, etc.) by enshrining these “self-evident” necessities for liberty in our Constitution.

    These liberties were so self-evident that there was much ado about the necessity of adding the Bill of Rights at all to the Constitution.

    Fast forward to now… and the factionalism that the founders feared (particularly in Federalist No 9 and 10) is alive and well in our now mature republic. We, as a people, have rejected indivudual liberty in exchange for state control. The only real difference is what is controlled – is it behavior (on the conservative side), or is it our state-determined quota of property (on the liberal side).

    I disagree with you that the founders weren’t so all knowing. They were masters of history, economics, ethics and political philosophy and the law. Jefferson read Plato and Soctrates in the original Greek – and could quote their works extemporaneously. He also played a mean fiddle.

    I dare say that the majority of them were intellectual giants – empirically as judged by the amount of knowledge they posessed – as compared with any political scholar today. Franklin, Adams, Madison, Hamilton, Washington, Jay, Henry, all of them were similar in their mastery of these subjects.

    They not only predicted the state we are in today, but they provided an instruction manual of how to avoid our present conditions.

    Until you’ve actually read “The Federalist Papers” – and then the “Anti-Federalist Papers”, and actually understood why this country was founded, along with , perhaps, some of the biographies of the founders, I would suggest that perhaps you don’t disregard the wisdom of the men who pledged their lives and fortune in the pursuit of an idea – that YOU should be free.

  28. Do you have an alternative to a media driven by free-market demand for the product it produces?

    Ben Franklin became one of the richest men in colonial America by publishing papers, handbills and books (along with his vast array of other commercial endeavors)… and, in fact, it was his “pony express” style newspaper distribution that gave the colonists a large information advantage over the British.

    Is it state-controlled media that you are referring to?

    Is it an oligarchy of the seasoned intellectuals, filtering and dispersing the news for public consumption like in Plato’s Republic?

    Frankly, It’s difficult to imagine why anyone would go through the massive effort gathering news, writing it down, and distributing it (via print, tv, internet or any other means) except to make a profit.

    In fact, I cannot imagine a more suitable way of ensuring that competing views are represented, by their media competing directly in the economic free market – and individuals choosing what to consume.

  29. I consider myself to be a generally liberal independent, and I would love to have reasonable, level-headed political discourse based on factual evidence and logic.

  30. The idea of freedom of press being a means of public education is a misattribution. In the Founders’ time, newspapers were laden with partisan opinion and outright distortion guided by both political and commercial agendas. The idea of an unbiased, fact-based media never entered the Founders’ minds – because no such thing truly existed.

    The idea of a code of journalistic ethics didn’t really take form until the last century with the Lippmann/Dewey debates and onward… and even then, there were various degrees of sensationalism (WR Hearst) and state control of media (especially during WWII). The media has never really been unbiased or completely independent.

    The Founder’s, rather, believed in the principles of John Stuart Mill, that no opinion should be suppressed or go unheard, so as to guide the public towards a rationally considered consensus based on a vigorous debate within the public forum. The press was the mechanism for that vigorous debate.

    So, education, perhaps in a general sense in reference to pressing issues, but I believe they would have responded that unless a citizen is well versed in the classics, history, ethics, civics and political philosophy (an informed and educated populace), they would not have the capacity for forming a legitimate opinion in the first place.

  31. I don’t know why you decided to single out the most unimportant modifier in my entire argument, but just for argument’s sake, I will play you game of ball. I should have expected any response to focus on a vague attack on the “free market;” buzzwords die hard.

    No I don’t think that any person or organization would decide to disseminate news or information if it wasn’t for profit. You know, except for WikiLeaks, likely the only information resource actually fulfilling Franklin’s view of the press. But I tell you what, I don’t feel as if arguing a singular anecdote will do this point justice.

    Speaking of Franklin, it is completely illegitimate to compare Franklin’s dissemination of information with anything on television today. For one, Franklin didn’t have the priming power of today’s press. Yes, he may have made tons of money, but his voice was mixed in with literally thousands of outlets. Today, news, like nearly every other industry, provides the facade of choice, but realistically the information we consume comes from few sources. Even those that believe the Internet is helping this, most of them still get their information (either directly or indirectly) from these sources.

    Furthermore, the news people consumed in early America, by nature of the mediums and time period, allowed the populous time to reflect and discuss important political and social matters with one another, thus forming, at the very least, a more thought out opinion. As popular as Franklin may have been, he still wasn’t a talking head for 24 hours a day. His “papers, handbills, and books” still fell victim to an onslaught of other competing voices and the time and space constraints inherent in print.

    Lastly, just to drive your point about Franklin six-feet under; if you mean to in any way glorify Franklin, you either misunderstand the freedom of the press or misunderstand the time period. The elements of the age stated above (plus about an encyclopedia’s worth of omitted information) allowed Franklin to form his idea of freedom of the press and it’s legitimate existence and what you call a “free market.” We by no means have anything remotely comparable to a free market or the state of the press in the time period that frames your asinine point.

    Oh, and if you think FOX News and MSNBC are competing points, you really need to pay more attention. They are not competing points; they are different markets successfully infiltrated by the illusion of making “different points.” Companies have one ideology: profit.

    Now this is not to say I disagree with profit motive. In fact, the argument either way bores me. Only morons think that free market actually exists and/or socialism is possible. But there is one thing to say that the news industry has to make a profit and quite another to ignore how that motive changes the content in which they disseminate. Thinking “conservative/liberal” is completely remedial bullshit. News, just like the rest of culture and country, has been primed to only accept and actually absorb entertainment. This is not saying people are lazy, but as the country’s culture and way of knowing about itself has moved to a television based epistemology, news has to be entertaining for it to be in any way taken seriously.

    So you asked me a question. Here’s one for you.

    Would Franklin get rich today with his handbills and pamphlets? Could he stay true to his principles regarding democracy and the republic and change his medium to the television?

  32. As far as I could read, there were two main thrusts to your argument, paraphrased: 1) that television news does not offer the back-and-forth intelligent discourse you perceive as required to keep the populace adequately informed, and 2) that because the press is beholden to corporate interests that it will not be able to do so.

    I do not disagree with the first – and will stipulate – which is why I did not single it out. I singled out the second because you did not address the question of what means you would perceive as adequate to fulfill the function of the first, and still have not.

    The point about Franklin was to emphasize that one of the framers and signers of the Constitution was actually a media man himself, and did so for profit.

    Since your original thesis was that the First Amendment was intended for education and information, and that someone doing so for profit could not do so adequately, given the fact that Ben Franklin did so for profit, it would necessarily follow, therefore, that Ben Franklin was not adequately fulfilling the role of the free press in colonial America.

    Since there is great evidence to suggest that such a conclusion is false, then, the thesis has to be discredited at least as pertains to one of its premises: either the intention of a free press or the adequacy of profit-making organizations in fulfilling it.

    I am still wondering what your alternative is.

    In answer to your question about Franklin, although I don’t like to speculate in the hypothetical, if he were to remain Franklin, he would likely be written off by the modern media as an anachronistic, religious right whacko promoting moral values in a society that has repudiated all morality.

    Given, however, that the man was a brilliant inventor and a gifted and witty writer, I would hope that a man of his talents would find a place somewhere in modern society. He might very well be on AM talk competing with Rush’s time slot.

    “We by no means have anything remotely comparable to a free market or the state of the press in the time period that frames your asinine point.”

    “Only morons think that free market actually exists…”

    Although your overall argument is more well reasoned than many others’, please see my points above regarding stooping to personal insults. How can a discussion pertaining to civil discourse be credible when one party fails to engage in it?

    The free market in the plural is merely the aggregate of the choices of free people in the specific. Therefore, in order for the free market to not exist, people would either have to stop being free, or to stop making choices.

    Since, demonstrably, neither has happened, the opposite of your statement is true: “Only morons think that [the] free market does not exist…”

  33. MSNBC will always be famous for this hypocrisy. The fan base (equals network ratings) will plummet unless immediate action is taken by MSNBC. Publicly apologize to Mr. Oberman for their unprofessionalism. BEST CHOICE: Save the network by removing th Mr. Oberman’s suspension and publicly excuse other potential employees who may not have followed MSNBC policy in a similar way or OTHER CHOICE: save their reputation (not network) by auditing finances of all employees required to disclose campaign contributions and suspend all violators.

  34. DC, The only people who view Fox like you are partisans with little room for objectivity. There are countless non-partisan studies that support this position as posted by myself and others. I’m a moderate that votes mostly democrat in elections but see the merits of getting news coverage from various sources. So, Fox doesn’t appeal to you, which is quite alright. A partisan will only seek information that reinforces their own beliefs while rejecting overwhelming evidence to the contrary. I find the news shows fairly well balanced with commentators from all sides of the aisle with respect shown by the news anchors. I will concede that their opinion shows with exception of Alan Colmes express a conservative agenda. Bill O’Rielly is pretty hard on both sides but asks tough questions in an aggressive fashion which garners criticism. Don’t confuse the opinion shows with their news shows, their news shows are “Fair and Balanced”!!!

  35. I guess you negate the many of millions given by other networks to democrats. The fact that 88% of all donations from journalists went toward Democratic candidates. The door swings both ways on that issue. This writer and many on the board with Fox Derangement syndrome seem to overlook the campaign contributions of ABC, CBS, NBC, etc to liberal causes. What about George Soros’ donations to NPR? It pure hypocrisy to cry foul on one but overlook the other.

  36. It’s funny that you would consider an organization funded by Soros, run by Podesta (who was the co-chair of the current administration’s transition team), and that actually believes in supressing free speech (via limitations on talk radio), as a credible news source.

    They are one of the many propagana arms of the Democratic party.

    Perfect example of the liberal groupthink echo chamber.

  37. You are correct Olbermann is a commentator, but then he should never have been given the position in the election coverage. However, I believe people are missing the point of his suspension. Since he was given the anchor position in the election coverage he then had to abide by the no contributions.
    This is why people such as Buchanan and Scarborough do not get suspended from MSNBC which Olbermann did.
    However the final reason for firing Olbermann is since he was the anchor of the election broadcast then he is responsible for the unprofessional attitudes and actions of the whole panel during the coverage.
    If the author of this piece were a honest broker he would never be able to call the election night coverage by MSNBC news coverage in any way. An honest person would see the difference between fair coverage or absolute biased liberal ranting.

  38. What did you consider Fox and Murdoch when he contributed to Hilliary Clinton?
    Murdoch has given his money to many different candidates and most are Republican’s. However he is known to contribute to Democrat’s too.
    Also the corporation and the CEO are not reporting the news or digging up the stories.

  39. Sorry but MSNBC is the only station that is solely for the liberals. The same group which hates Fox News.
    The moderates will watch Fox.
    Olbermann’s loyal fans are a very small amount of the public, and in therefore are not a base to build from.
    I know the left has never and will never understand business, but the advertiser’s will never advertise on MSNBC for their election coverage again. Why would they want to associate their product with hatred and mean spirited people and their actions on election night.
    Olbermann really brings out his hatred of others every time he hits the airwaves and for this he is going to go down the tubes.
    Now a liberal may never get this idea but it is a fact.

  40. Ratings only measure one thing: how many people you can get to sit and watch you. Saying Fox has “better news” because it has better ratings is the logical fallacy known as a non sequitur.

  41. Especially when you consider that part of their “news” is to report things that “folks are saying…” when the ONLY folks saying what they are just about to report are the Fox commentators. Thus, the whole endeavor is one giant circle-jerk.

  42. BillO is most certainly not “center”. Tell me, when was the last time any conservative was called a pinhead? And if he’s so objective, why is he even calling folks pinheads?!

    To really see his hypocrisy in action simply compare his “reporting” on Bristol Palin having a baby out of wedlock to that of Jamie Lynn Spears.

  43. I am sorry for the note from Youro Pinion Issshit, please keep in mind that those of us who disagree with you on a point should give chapter and verse as to why, YPI does neither. I disagree with your points about both the tone and substance of the vast majority of news shown on CNN & MSNBC but don’t have time here and now to do the research to back up my claims so I will just apologize as a liberal for the tone and substance of Youro Pinion Isshit’s comments.

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