November 6th, 2010
10:42 AM ET
8 years ago

Maddow: MSNBC is no Fox

(CNN) – News that MSNBC Anchor Keith Olbermann donated to three Democratic candidates last month is proof to many that the network has once and for all shown itself to be the liberal equal of Fox News.

But not so fast, says Rachel Maddow, a fellow MSNBC anchor.

On her show Friday, Maddow said any attempt to equate Fox News to MSNBC is disingenuous, especially in light of the swift actions MSNBC executives took in suspending Olbermann compared to the activities Fox News hosts often engage in without repercussions.

"If you look at the long history of Fox hosts not just giving money to candidates, but actively endorsing campaigns and raising millions of dollars for politicians and political parties - whether it's Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck or Mike Huckabee - and you'll see that we can lay that old false equivalency to rest forever,” Maddow said Friday.

“There are multiple people being paid by Fox News to essentially run for office as Republican candidates. If you count not just their hosts but their contributors, you're looking at a significant portion of the entire Republican lineup of potential contenders for 2012,” she continued.

First reported by Politico and confirmed by Federal Election Commission filings, Olbermann gave $2,400 – the maximum individual amount allowed – to each of the campaigns of Kentucky Senate candidate Jack Conway, and Arizona Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords.

The donations apparently breached NBC’s policy, which requires employees to seek permission before donating or engaging in political activities. CNN has a similar policy.

"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," MSNBC President Phil Griffin said in a statement Friday.

Maddow agreed Olbermann deserved repercussions for violating a stated policy, but added that the incident's true value is its exposition of the differences between MSNBC and Fox, not the similiarites.

"Their network is run as a political operation. Ours isn't. Yeah, Keith's a liberal, and so am I. But we're not a political operation - Fox is. We're a news operation. The rules around here are part of how you know that," she said.

Filed under: Keith Olbermann
soundoff (248 Responses)
  1. Robert Morse

    I support Keith Olbermann and would like to see his immediate reinstatement. His suspension is hypocrisy of the rankest order.

    November 6, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  2. duckbutter

    keith thought he was beond the boss orders,,, wow i quess he found out he doesnt have his own rules... besides his show is silly and stupid....what a joke.. go to work for air america,,, opps ,,there not on the air...

    November 6, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  3. Sgt Joe

    Fox News is a total GOP funded charade. Actually, they even admit it, so how can they be a credible news program? They're not. I'd take MSNBC anyday for the truth. The Righies hate it because truth is not part of their agenda. So, MSNBC, you proved your point, now bring Keith back. We need his rants to balance the insanity on the dark side.

    November 6, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  4. Max

    Look at this...look at what they make you give.

    May God have mercy on each one of us!

    November 6, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  5. Anonymous

    Maddow is full of crap

    November 6, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  6. demogal

    I have been a Rachel Maddow fan since her days at NPR. I trust her. I enjoy Keith Olbermann tremendously and hope he comes back soon. I also get some real yuks when I can put up with Bill OReilly for a few minutes. Glen Beck and his ilk turn my stomach. There–glad to get that off my chest.

    November 6, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  7. Marie MD

    Right on Rachel. MSNBC REPORTS the news it doesn't make it up or distort it like faux news does, which has at least four of their . . . . . . trying to think of what to call (huckie and the AK bimbo) . . . . . . empty heads who think they can make it to the top in 2012. Good luck on that one.
    One of the owners of faux news is a saudi who just happens to be involved in the NYC mosque that nobody wants. I am sure they took advantage of all that the roberts supreme court gave them as far as campaign contributions by corporations.

    November 6, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  8. Sd

    Maddow can say whatever she wants. She, like the rest at MSNBC are hacks for the Democrat party. By the way, go to and you'll she why they have a station with a political slant. Alternative energy and medical. Hmmmm. Cap and trade and the health care bill. Suspect part of maddow's package includes GE stock.

    November 6, 2010 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  9. Fed Up

    Fox is for Republicans. The other 3 major networks and most of the cable networks are Democrats. What is the surprise there? Did anyone listen to the campaigning before the 2008 elections???? Unbiased??? No way!

    November 6, 2010 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  10. Mike In MO

    Right on, Rachel.

    November 6, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  11. stayintrue

    All I can say is WOW, Rachel , wow. I watch both channels. I find Fox less rapid and one sided in their reporting than you, Olbermann and Matthews. I actually watched you (MSNBC) on election night. I have to say Rachel, you, Keith and Chris were so one sided it was funny. My husband and I kept switching to watch you three "do your thing" and laugh. When Chris was yelling at Michelle Bachman, when she obviously couldn't hear him constantly insult her, I was totally offended. Yeah, that's real reporting. Insulting a candidate when you know they can't hear you. Well done-NOT! Listen woman, Olbermann broke his contract with NBC/MSNBC – NOT FOX. GET OVER IT AND STOP BLAMING FOX FOR YOUR FAILURES.

    November 6, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |

    Mr. Mooney: I find it hard to believe that the always factually-accurate Ms. Maddow would have used the word "ingenuous" when the appropriate word would have been "disingenuous." Please check your transcripts. I'd like to assume that you know the difference between the two words but, given the current sad state of "professional" journalism, I have my doubts.

    November 6, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  13. A True Centrist

    You can not compare MSNBC and FoxNews...people actually watch FoxNews.

    November 6, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  14. Beau

    "Their network is run as a political operation. Ours isn't. Yeah, Keith's a liberal, and so am I. But we're not a political operation – Fox is. We're a news operation. The rules around here are part of how you know that," she said.

    No seriously….I watch MSNBC now and then and there is no doubt that most hosts are intelligent, even brilliant in their own way, which makes the above comment, well, dishonest. FOX gives plenty of time to liberal pundits (far more than MSNBC) and the fact that liberal ideology looses most arguments is what makes FOX right leaning. MSNBC on the other hand is nothing but a propaganda tool for the far, far left which is OK as long as they stop attacking others. Both entities are supposed to be profit driven businesses and the ratings show which approach is working better.

    November 6, 2010 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  15. Willa-PA

    You go Rachel...!

    November 6, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  16. ADittmeier

    Oh, remain so sore over Fox's ratings. Olbermann's actions are also "proof to many" that the network is the redundant equivalent of CNN.

    November 6, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  17. AJ

    MSNBC I don't understand why in the world you still have Rachel Maddow on the air! Her show is a joke, get rid of her as well and start over.

    November 6, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  18. Anonymous

    I agree with Rachel 100%, Fox is a political operation not a news channel. I never watch Fox because the people
    they have on is so out of touch with what really going on. Look how they ran with this story about the cost
    of the President trip, they just run with anything they hear and read never checking it out to see if it true. I think they
    just try to upset their viewer which is so wrong, the viewer deserve better reporting. I an looking forward to Keith coming
    back. Love you Rachel, keep up the good work.

    November 6, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  19. ken

    That is true and thanks for being an honest news network but WAKE UP AND SMELL THE CHANGE. This country isnt what it used to be. Being the only honest man surrounded by liars makes you out to be a better person but only in your own mind. Remember liars wont see you as honest only weak. If you are weak enough not to take advantage then you deserve to die is the motto they live by. So while MSNBC is being pious and still following the rules the right wing Fox is breaking every rule and laughing in your face cause NO ONE is going to do anything about it. They wont be censured, ignored, boycotted, etc...So the left loses a man who has fought valiantly for the people and the right snicker and laugh because of what? 2400 bucks....are you SERIOUS!

    November 6, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  20. Neva Stoltz

    MSNBC showed how stupid their so called news reporters were when they allowed these idiots to cover the election. They need to seriously consider who they call news reporters.

    November 6, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  21. Sane One

    You have to be a moron to say that MSNBC is not the same as FOX News. Fox = Conservative. MSNBC (and NBC in general) = liberal. It's a law of nature. Yes, we deserve fair and unbiased reporting, but that idea was thrown out of the window by the news media a long time ago.

    November 6, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  22. Greg

    I'm sorry. MSNBC is as far to the left (if not further) as Fox is to the right. Both have legit "news reporting segments but they both also have separate opinionated talk shows such as Olbermann/Maddow and Hannity/Beck, etc. The public understands these are opinionated shows just like Rush Limbaugh has a radio talk show -he's not a reporter.
    What is sooo frustrating is that Rachel Maddow somehow confuses herself (Keith O, too) as "reporters" when they simply host their own shows that carry their own agenda. They are ALL opinionated talking heads just like Hannity, Beck and O'Reilly –and that's all ok. We all know where you guys stand –just don't call yourself a "reporter" and you'll be fine. O'Reilly is center right (he likes to say he's independent but he's more center right).
    To say that News Corp is a political operation for the Republicans is laughable given how far and how long the left/democrats have had most/all of the media drinking the same kool-aid such as NBC, CBS and ABC (mainstream liberal elite media).
    Rachel would be much better off and could be taken more seriously if she just said..."the right/republicans have Fox and we, the left/democrats have ABC/CBS/NBC" and be done with it. What is it with far left liberals that can't admit the obvious reality that most/all the mainstream media is left-leaning?? It's delusional.

    November 6, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  23. The Big J

    Any idiot knows Fox gives much moo-lah to the GOP. Yet nobody screams "Conflict!" Fox has Palin, Huckabee, & Rove yapping free as a bee for weird ideas & CNN does nothing to stand up to Fox. Hannity outright gives cash to every right wing politician there is. Nobody says a THING! Olberman does the same thing & the lamestream media has a heart attack. Why does one group have the allowance to get away with whatever it wants, while the other has to play by the rules?

    November 6, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  24. benjamin

    maddow is wrong–MSNBC IS fOX news on the far left. How did she get an anchor job?

    November 6, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  25. kazport

    It amazes me that Maddow can even compare MSNBC to FOX. THey are a punchline and Fox is a legitimate New Organization. You have to seperate Journolism from Commentators. Fox had no resitricitons on employees for donations. MSNBC did. If she doesn't like it then talk to the BOSS and change it. For A Rhodes Scholar Maddow acts like a High SChool cheerleader and their Election nite coverage was an embaressment. When you have 7 million tuning into FOX and 1 mill tuning into MSNBC we can't all be wrong Rachel. MSNBC has become a comedy show and Olbermann being fired I don't beleive it was only because of 3 donations that he made. As the story unfolds I am sue there is more to it. Until then Rachel should stip acting like she matters.

    November 6, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
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