Former sportscaster turned liberal news anchor Keith Olberman has been suspended indefinitely from MSNBC for making campaign contributions to Democrats, one of whom appeared on his nightly program, "Countdown with Keith Olbermann."
MSNBC President Phil Griffin issued the following statement: “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.”
Olbermann donated the maximum allowable amount to failed Democratic Senate candidate Jack Conway in Kentucky and Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona. Olbermann donated to the Arizona lawmakers on Oct. 28 - the same day Grijalva appeared on Olbermann's show. Grijalva won another term, while Giffords appears to be leading in her race for re-election. Conway lost his Senate bid to Republican Rand Paul.
In a statement to Politico, Olbermann said, "One week ago, on the night of Thursday October 28 2010, after a discussion with a friend about the state of politics in Arizona, I donated $2,400 each to the reelection campaigns of Democratic Representatives Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords. I also donated the same amount to the campaign of Democratic Senatorial candidate Jack Conway in Kentucky." Olbermann went on to say he "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."
The news comes in the wake of Olbermann's harsh criticism of Fox News parent company News Corp., which donated to Republican-leaning groups. MSNBC president Phil Griffin also issued an open challenge in light of the News Corp. donations to The New York Times in October, "Show me an example of us fundraising."
MSNBC host Keith Olberman made campaign contributions to Democrats, one of whom appeared on his program, "Countdown with Keith Olbermann."