Saturday, November 06, 2010

Olbermann Suspended!?? Spin Circus!

So it's at the top of the tickers: Keith Olbermann, MSNBC's counter to Bill O'Reilly, is suspended on ethics charges. Hmm. Don't know where to begin. I'm a professor, if people don't like where I put my money outside of work, tough tartare. It shouldn't prevent me from doing my job. One could say this about hundreds of other jobs, too. But the analogy doesn't even hold. Olbermann is not a journalist, any more than Bill O'Reilly or Rush Limbaugh is. He's a daggum commentator, dagnabit. What is this spin circus? Stop the world and let me off.

Matt Taibi of Rolling Stone, says it pretty well.

ust quickly: I just found out about the suspension of Keith Olbermann for making political contributions. NBC apparently has some policy prohibiting journalists from donating to candidates, so they suspended him indefinitely without pay.

I went online and read the news and found the inevitable commentary by ostensible experts on journalistic ethics, who are all lining up to whale on Olbermann. One quote I found in this Bloomberg piece:

"Journalists who work for a news organization have an ethical responsibility to honor their guidelines and standards," said Bob Steele who teaches journalism ethics at Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida. "If NBC and MSNBC spelled out those guidelines clearly and Olbermann violated those guidelines, then he should pay the price."

He should pay the price? Is Bob Steele kidding? What the hell is wrong with people?

We had a whole generation of journalists who sat by and did nothing while, for instance, George Bush led us into an idiotic war on a lie, plus thousands more who spent day after day collecting checks by covering Britney's hair and Tiger's text messages and other stupidities while the economy blew up and two bloody wars went on mostly unexamined ... and it's Keith Olbermann who should "pay the price" for being unethical? Because, and let me get this straight, he donated money, privately, to politician." Read on

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