November 6th, 2010
10:42 AM ET
3 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. conoclast

    My my, the corporations can cynically spend billion$ on influencing our elections process - with utter impunity - while a private citizen gets the shaft for donating a total of $7200?? Doesn't seem quite fair, does it? Sure, Olberman is a public figure, and rules-are-rules. But this comparison is just too stark to be ignored; our whole elections process has become a circus!

    November 6, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  2. Moey is the root

    If money is the root of all evil......The Corporations are the root of govt corruption......I find it funny , knowing these two truths that any of you would vote in the means to your own downfall......If money is the root of all evil, Who spent the most of it this election, where did that money come from? And what are these people now gonna do in return for said money......That's right, more corruption.......The bigger question is why all you god fearing, Christianity taught people are climbing into the political ring when your teachings tell you not too.........Must be more corruption in there....

    November 6, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  3. Steve

    MSNBC has finally shown itself to be the equal of Fox? MSNBC has been hardcore left for quite sometime. No question Fox is on the right, but they at least make the occasional pretense of being neutral by having some democratic opinions expressed. It's amusing how many democrats get upset that there is actually one TV news outlet that favors the right side. Everyone else, NYTimes, CNN, and every other major news organization favors the left to varying degrees. That's why I flip between all of them. Today more than ever, all news coverage is skewed.

    November 6, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  4. Pan

    Somebody call the "Wambulance!" Quite frankly, I can think of about 15 or 16 other "journalists" that need to be canned in order for our media today to start reporting what use to be called the "facts". What we have today is a polarized media, a polarized America, and a more polarizing President. When the media returns to telling the truth, and not advocate for one party or another, our nation will be much better off. And a closing note...Maddow is an example of what's wrong with many people today, namely, low moral standards, the intent to bully people who don't agree with his/her (??) warped agenda, and the tendency to be intellectually and factually dishonest. Maybe he/she needs to go back to rehab.

    November 6, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  5. quiz889

    "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. I have watched time to time all news network and you, keith, and Mathew are nothing but liberal propoganda. Your network does not have check and balances. if you are news organization then you should have fair and balance from both side. Try being journalist once in while.

    November 6, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  6. New Age Independant

    It's does appear that MSNBC consistently slants the news to meet liberal policies; much more so that Fox towards conservative news. Fox also has shows which provides Democrat and Republican point of views, which is very refreshing as those individuals don't need to spew hatred to discuss their perspective. To say that Fox is a political operation again only shows the liberal bias of MSNBC.

    November 6, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  7. t22

    I'm no fan of Olbermann, but I really don't care about the personal political beliefs and biases of the media. It's their professional biases that I worry about. Everyone has a political bias, I think Olbermann's has been pretty clear. My problem with him is that he is so far off the left fringe and really pretty unhinged, so I choose not to watch him. But it has always been possible to have a personal belief and the ability to report news in an unbiased fashion.

    November 6, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  8. Gary Chamberlin

    What a bunch of garbage! Rachel Maddow is no news commentator and is just as far out as Fox News – but to the other extreme, obviously. Does she think no one sees through her silliness? And Rachel, sorry to tell you, how can I break this to you.......... MSNBC is a political operation and you and Keith are the most at fault!

    November 6, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  9. truth

    Suspending Keith is another strike against the middle class. Aside from lying Joe, MSNBC is the only news network that cares about the average working people. Fox and CNN are looking out for the rich. They lie! Anderson Coopers speaks very ill of the president; however, he protects Palin at every given opportunity. The difference with other networks is that many of their listeners are too illiterate to disseminate the truth. Rich Republican goons are behind the suspension of Keith as he stepped on too many toes by exposing crooks. Those of you who are so dumb and criticize Keith need a brain scan. The rich have been in control of American; however, if you all would take a moment and pay attention everything is going up in America but wages, and the people who try to help you poor racist idiots are targeted. Maybe you will begin to understand when gasoline rise again to nearly $5.00 a gallon. It is ashamed that rich whites are so vile and filled with greed that they are willing to destroy what America is suppose to stand for. I for one love Keith and wish for his return.

    November 6, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  10. Anonymous

    Fox has actually dropped any pretense that they are "fair and balanced." Sarah Palin said it best when she advised the Tea Party wing of the GOP to talk to Fox anchors because they won't ask tough, tricky questions like "what newspapers do you read?" and "Are you familiar with the 1st Amendment to the Constitution?" Sean Hannity doesn't even bother with questions most of the time. He just lets the candidate sit there while he delivers what he wants them to say. Beck? Nothing is to outlandish for him to claim and don't confuse him with facts or evidence. 2 minutes of research disproves most of what he says but loyal Republicans repeat it as if it's the Gospel. It's a Tin Hat Convention for the GOP these days.

    November 6, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  11. SurRy

    "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 Sums it up perfectly.

    November 6, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  12. mk1

    There is no question that Maddow and Olbermann are liberal in their beliefs. There is also no question that Fox is even more a mouthpiece for the conservatives and obviously has no ethics agreements with it's people. The $2 million dollars donated by NEWSCORP to Republican campaigns is clear evidence of blatant partisan politics being played out in the guise of news. Maddow is correct that NBC took action immediately when this was made known while Fox lacks the ethics of a true news organization.

    November 6, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  13. Mike from MN

    FIRE BOEHNER! FIRE THE TAN-MAN!

    Fire this man before he wastes more tax money on tanning salons.

    DITCH the double-chin MITCH!

    November 6, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  14. michael Rossi

    To suspend Keith is one thing, to suspend him indefinetly is another. If there is a policy pertaining to donations to political campaigns, then there should be a penalty to go along with it. In todays political environment, it is becoming increasingly harder to have an objective opinion when it comes to who is the right candidate to best represent the middle class. FOX news proves that more and more every day. FOX has no regard for the middle class or their issues, instead they hide behind religion, guns and morality by instilling fear and doom into the minds of their audience as they portray liberals and democrats as the evil party. Keith Olberman represents a strong voice of "middleclass America", he as well as all employees of MSNBC should be able to support whomever they wish without penalty or threat of discipline. Bring him back, or lose a loyal veiwer!!!!!!

    November 6, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  15. Marco555

    MSNBC=Trickery, deceit, sleight of hand............. Just like Fox News.

    November 6, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  16. mensaman

    Maddow has got to learn to separate "pundits" from journalists, and I use the word journalists loosly because they really don't exist anymore. There is a difference between a pundit and a journalist.
    A pundit is Karl Rove, or Sarah Palin or Paul Begala. A journalist is Megan Kelly, Brett Baer, Rachel Maddow or Keith Olbermann.
    Seriously – they are ALL pundits – ALL biased. We need to bring objective journalism back. I didn't know Cronkite was a liberal until he retired in 1984. Even Leftist Bill Moyers held a lid on it till he retired.
    Perhaps pundits and journalists should wear color coded outfits, like they do on aircraft carriers so we viewers know who's who.

    November 6, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  17. Steven Bannister

    I'm a diehard conservative, and frankly, I think BOTH Fox and MSNBC are political operations.

    After all these years, I find that CNN is still the most fair, balanced and reputable networks on television. Yes, I suspect that Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer are liberals – but they don't show it. That's the difference. On CNN, Republican and Democratic administrations are given equal amounts of scrutiny and criticism and all sides are allowed to share their views in an open format. Hell, Wolf Blitzer, who is Jewish, even invited David Duke on his show to be interviewed. I respect that.

    Fox and MSNBC are certainly fun to watch and any true news junkie worth his salt will channel surf among all the news stations at once. But at the end of the day – when a big news story strikes – CNN remains the channel that thinking people turn to for the straight story.

    I hope it always remains that way.

    November 6, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  18. jim

    Fire her too! The five people who watch her will probably miss her but the rest of us won't.

    November 6, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  19. k kelly

    The other big difference between MSNBC & FOX is that MSNBC actually uses FACTS that are substantiated BEFORE they are reported to their viewers. The Faux network just throws anything out there to see if it sticks. Even when their "reports" are debunked by several sources (eg. the $200M/day Obama Asia trip, refuted by Wall Street (which is owned by the same dude who owns Faux)), they still keep spewing the same lies until their sheep are full of falsehoods. What is even more pathetic is that pin heads like hannity & beck don't believe their own crap, but they keep throwing it out there for their sheep because they get a huge power trip knowing that they can so easily convince their viewers. They, along with rush, are laughing all the way to the bank!

    November 6, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  20. Gary P Salmon

    If Rachel wants what the people at FoxNews have, then she should go to work at Fox! She just doesn't get it! MSNBC have their policies and FoxNews have their's. Olbermann broke the policy where he works and was punished for it. What happened to Olbermann would be no different if say a McDonald's employee did something to violate company policy at McDonalds, and that employee's friend said "well they can do that at Burger King!

    November 6, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  21. Chris C

    This wasn't Keith's first problem with MSNBC. I'm sure they were looking to get rid of him that's why they made this an issue. He was a jerk anyway and had no idea what he was talking about. Maybe he'll be hired by Fox.

    November 6, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  22. Monster Zero

    News flash dembulbs, Hot off the MSNBC wire, FOX has within its rank and file both conservative and liberal political pundits and contributors giving their opinion offerings, they are not NEWS reporters as Olberman and Maddow (which one is which?) claim to be, therefore if you purport to report then you must resort from making deposit campaigning a sport!

    November 6, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  23. Miguel

    vitriolic morons on both sides are simply out to enrich their own pockets. The vast majority of Americans fail to realize it does not matter which ideology is in the the drivers seat when both are about to drive off the cliff. An iota of common sense would be welcome instead of unfunded programs and deficit spending. Your money just lost a bit of value this week, and eventually the house of cards is going to collapse.

    November 6, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  24. great move :)

    I applaud MSNBC for their decision with suspending Keith Olbermann. He broke the rules that he said he would adhere to while being employed for MSNBC. He know the consequences for his actions. It is about time people from all classes, especially the upper class, are held accountable for their actions. Rachel Maddow should be support of the company she works for and not for the wrong doing of Keith. No wonder the youth of today feel they do not be held responsible for their actions because everyone else gets away with it... Thank you MSNBC! Maybe Rachel should be fired clearing speaking against her employer. If it bothers Rachel that much...show her the door.
    I wish MSNBC would hire journalist not just talking heads.

    November 6, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  25. johnrj08

    None of the commentators on MSNBC programs which air in the evening pretend to be "news" shows and none of their hosts claim to be politically neutral. MSNBC has been the liberal response to FOX for the last half dozen years. The difference between FOX and MSNBC, other than the former masquerading as "fair and balanced" news, is that MSNBC endeavors to find the truth rather than alter it. MSNBC also doesn't hire right-wing politicians as high-paid commentators. Olbermann, whose comments may often be intemperate, is as passionate about the truth as he is about progressive causes. His suspension from MSNBC was a major injustice and disservice to his audience, in spite of the fact that he violated terms of his contract. It seems a bit disingenuous to me that GE, the parent company of NBC, and NBC itself can contribute whatever amounts they like to any political candidate, but they would forbid one their employees from making a private donation. While Olbermann may exaggerate with his comments, compared to the alleged "journalists" at FOX News, he looks like Edward R. Murrow.

    November 6, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
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