Keith Olbermann, long-time host of “Countdown” on MSNBC, was “suspended indefinitely without pay” on Friday, November 5 2010.
Note: I did not provide many definitions of terms, explanations of my opinions, or links to media corporations in this post--on purpose. If you are a Progressive and regular viewer of MSNBC at night, I'm talking to you and you know exactly who and what I'm talking about.
His infraction: unabashedly liberal-leaning and Progressive Democrat Keith Olbermann, a private citizen who was hired as a commentator and entertainer to provide a nightly deliberately liberal-leaning and Democrat-focused television show, donated his personal funds ($2400.00) to three Democratic candidates. Keith was never presented as an objective journalist for his show. It is said that Keith did not ask for permission to donate his personal funds beforehand, he interviews Democrats on his show, and that is why he was suspended. But there is more to the story.
MSNBC is now owned by Comcast, whose chairman gave $50,000.00 to a 3rd party organization that campaigned against Democrats this last election. One of the Democrats targeted by this organization was also one of the Democrats who received $800 of Keith’s personal money. Coincidence?
According to Dr. Rachel Maddow, who is also a liberal-leaning and Progressive Democrat with a TV show on MSNBC right after “Countdown”, said that “the point has been made” and that “Keith should be re-instated”. More importantly, there is a BIG difference between Fox “News”, which is a total media organization for the Republican party, and MSNBC, which is a true news organization with hosts with more than one political point of view (are you listening Jon Steward?). Also MSNBC does not itself directly donate to political parties as does Fox. In addition, MSNBC deals with facts, while Fox continually dishes out faux. When MSNBC hosts make a mistake, they actually correct themselves-on air.
While Keith thankfully never has Republicans on his show (that I remember), he will *call out* Democrats when he feels it necessary. Rachel does have Republicans on her show--those Republicans who have the courage to face her. She is presented as a *journalist* and just won the Walter Cronkite Award for Journalism. Keith also recently won a major award for one of his famous commentaries.
For those of us who are very upset about this, it is more than the fact that we really like Keith. It is about selective punishment. It is because Republican-leaning Comcast was looking for an excuse to *get* Keith; just like they did with David Schuster. Just as we know that Joe Scarborough is a Republican, we know that Keith Olbermann is a Democrat. Keith was hired to do a Democratic show. Keith is one of only a very few truly progressive hosts on a major media outlet.
There are some progressives who think that our outrage is overblown, that there are more important things going on in the world than Keith getting suspended.
Of course there are. Many people in Pakistan were blown up by suicide bombers while at Friday prayers. A hurricane is descending on Haiti; people are still living outside because of the January earthquake. There are landslides and murders and people are still unemployed and John Boehner will probably be the next Speaker of the House. Fox “News” is reporting as fact that the President’s trip to India and other parts of Asia will cost $2 billion a day, that he will use all 504 rooms of the “Taj Mahal Hotel”, and that he will deploy half of the U.S. Navy to accompany him. And the Teabagger people believe that garbage! Geez. Keith Olbermann is rich while the “99ers” ran out of benefits long ago. (If you watch the five progressive hosts on MSNBC, you know who the 99ers are; if you watch anyone else, you’ve probably never heard of them.)
We are angry about Keith's suspension because it is another case of a Republican corporation silencing a progressive voice on very thin charges. We are angry because David Schuster is still on “indefinite leave” from MSNBC because he said something the Republicans didn’t like. We are angry because the Republicans have a whole “news” organization that openly supports them on air and financially and all we have are Ed, Keith, Rachel, and to a lesser extent Chris and Lawrence standing up for the Progressive agenda on a major media outlet every day. (I'm still mad at Lawrence for fawning all over Tom DeLay last week. Tom DeLay: now there's a real criminal for you.)
So yes, many of us are very angry about what happened to Keith. Of course it is not as important in the great scheme of things as some of the other things that happened in the world on Friday, but it is important.
MSNBC already decided that Markos would be blocked from appearing on the network. Now Keith. We have to get our message out and past the entire Fox organization who works every day for the Republican Teabaggers, the Fox millions of dollars donated openly to the Republican Teabaggers, the millions of dollars of the shadow corporations who were declared to be people by the SCOTUS and are trying hard to silence us. The Progressives have Ed, Keith, Rachel, The Nation Magazine and one billionaire: George Soros (sometimes).
We not only love Keith, we need Keith.
This was not the week for MSNBC to make progressives angry. We have a lot of fights on our hands, and getting Keith back on the air is another fight we are ready for.
“Sidebar”: MSNBC asked Chris Hayes of The Nation to sit in Friday night; Chris often sits in for Keith and Rachel. Chris, to his credit, declined.
“Sidebar 2”: You may be thinking: this is the “Black Liberal Boomer” blog and except for Tamron Hall, MSNBC doesn’t even have any Black hosts. I know. That is another post and another fight. Van Jones, maybe? On MSNBC? Yeah, right. Don’t hold your breath. Meanwhile, I’ll fight for Keith. This is the "Black Liberal Boomer" blog.