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. Mike

    Rachel Maddow definitely made a valid point! I'm aware that Rachel Maddow and Keith Olberman are both liberal but at least they are honest. They are also held to a way higher standard than Fox News. I hope Keith Olberman returns to MSNBC because he is a great reporter, and I love his delivery style!

    November 6, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  2. German,IrishAmerican

    Butch Maddow is just another hate-filled liberal. GE, the parent company of MSNBC donates tens of millions to Democrats in each election cycle, but yet they claim inocence of bias. Anyone watching the election coverage Tuesday could plainly see the difference between Fox coverage in 2008, when Republicans took a beating, and the rampant hate talk by Maddow, Mathews, and Olbermann during this election when their Messiah took a "shellacking". There were a few times where you could actually see foam coming out of Mathews mouth when he was on a hate-filled rant. It's amazing the hate President Obama incites in his, "thrill up my leg" followers . Suck it up Maddow, your radio show went bankrupt because people didn't want to listen to your hate speech, and you are the lowest rated talk show host on TV. Must suck to live your life full of hate and have no one take you seriously.

    November 6, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  3. Jay

    People, relax! her point is Fox has several potential 2012 republican candidates that can freely speak without opposition to promote themselves and get paid all the way up until they announce their candidacy. Fair? no. does MSNBC do the same thing? No. Olberman, Maddow, or Matthews will not run for the Democratic presidency.

    And to say they don't have republicans on but Fox doeshave democrats is only because republicans refuse to talk to any of them. They have tried time and time again to get a republican on and are so excited when one is crazy enough to break ranks and speak to someone who will actually ask a legitamite question.

    Rachael is right and I applaud her and support her. Someone needs combat the smear channel and CNN has begun to lean further right, which is disheartening as I relied on CNN to balance the absolute insanity of hannity.

    November 6, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  4. Jake

    Olberman is either stupid for not knowing the terms of his contract or untrustworthy in that he deliberately violated his contract. What is he, stupid or untrustworthy?

    November 6, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  5. A

    There are two grammatical errors in paragraph 3 – "equivocate" should be "equate," and "ingenuous" should be "disingenuous."

    November 6, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  6. Alfred

    The difference, Rachel, is that Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and Mike Huckabee are commentators. Keith Olbermann is supposedly a "journalist." While most of us know that this is not the case, he charades as one so he should be held to the standards of a journalist. This includes the rules set out by MSNBC for their supposedly impartial journalists. Compare apples to apples. MSNBC still can't match FNC.

    November 6, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  7. aps

    "any attempt to equivocate Fox News with MSNBC is ingenuous"

    Where are the editors when you need them – or do the writers at CNN really not know the definitions of equivocate and ingenuous?

    November 6, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  8. Michael

    She is almost as vile as Keith-they are both Democratic Donkeys of the first order. And not a political operation. They are the most bias blabber mouths I have ever seen. Can't believe MSNBC would even put them on.

    November 6, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  9. palmflood

    Maybe Keith's in India for a big announcement.

    November 6, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  10. Indie Woman in Denver

    Viewers can vote with their remotes - we can watch Fox, or MSNBC, or CNN - but do we really have to spend all out time berating the folks who watch the other channels? What a waste of time and energy, and it surely keeps the country polarized when we need to be working together. That being said, MSNBC should bring KO back on air before you lose your all your viewers. It's a sad day when corporations & Morning Joe have more rights than the rest of us.

    November 6, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  11. Scott A

    Big difference between liberals and conservatives: Liberalism is the opposite of conservativsm correct? Being a liberal means you're generous, caring, decent, and open-minded. What is the opposite of all of that? FOX News.

    November 6, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  12. Time Grows Short

    FOX is in fact "fair and balanced". The issue that the dead enders like Maddow, Pelosi, Olbermann and the vast majority of the Progressive/Dem left is that FOX actually DARES to present the counter arguments to the mindless Obamist bullcrappery. The left first began to destroy journalism when they worshiped at the feet of Uncle Walter Cronkite. Now, finally, a counter weight is added to the likes of MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, and PBS and the left is in full spasm mode.

    November 6, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  13. seebofubar

    You can't compare MSNBC to Fox, mature adults with more than one brain cell watch Fox. Only single celled pot smoking nimrods watch MSNBC.

    November 6, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  14. Red by Choice

    The networks and majority of papers have been so far left for so long the liberals are numb to it. When Fox came along and actually was right of center liberals nearly convulsed with shock that any broadcast outlet would dare to run counter to their agenda. Obamajama was so incensed that he specifically attacks the network. Considering that Fox's ratings are blowing away every liberal outlets and are continuing to grow, I'd say they are meeting an unmet demand in the market place. So to you liberals, if Fox is so offensive, don't watch it.

    November 6, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  15. bigdoglv

    The pot calling the kettle black. MSNBC is by far the most biased network out here. As far a s Kieth goes, he broke the rules, deal with the consequences. Why is it that every time someone steps out of line the excuse is "well, the other guy did it". Reminds me of grade school.

    November 6, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  16. Sara

    I really hate to be the one to point this out, but CNN needs to change "equivocate" to "equate" in the 3rd sentence.

    November 6, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  17. vic nashville tn

    Now we know keith Oldermann donated to three Democratic candidates do we know where American Cross road got the money No

    November 6, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  18. rdepontb

    Keith had already done one act of contrition, in a sense, by suspending his "Worst Person in the World" segment, partially in response to the Rally to Restore Sanity. That he gave $2,400 to each of three candidates is no great shakes, given his stated position as a LIberal. Suspend him for a few days, a week if you want, for crossing policy (it's not a rule, not a law, but policy-what NBC would like to hold as behavioral guidelines).

    As for Rachel's response: I cannot see that it is any kind of attck against her employee. It is to set the public record straight, that Fox and MSNBC are not the same kind of operation. She details the differences-millions given to AND raised for Republican and Tea Party candidates, ostentatiously so at rallies and every single day on the programming. All in the name of their favorite slogan, "Fair and Balanced!" Keith, Ed, and Chris, Rachel, Lawrence are those who examine both sides (in increasing levels). When they have invited both sides but one doesn't show, they make that known, and do not hesitate to play devil's advocate to their more liberal guests. We know where they're coming from - they tell us right out, making no "Fair and Balanced" kind of BS claim, making not misdirection. These are fine people; this was a long mid-term campaign. Now, everyone back to work!

    November 6, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  19. Mike

    An intelligent voice on MSNBC News has been silenced, allowing the cesspool of right-wing media hacks (read "Fox & friends) greater control over the half -truths, innuendos, and lies they feed us as "news". Our constitutional right to a free, honest media is in danger of being taken over by conservative activists who DO NOT represent the majority, who DO NOT tell the truth, and who will stop at nothing to warp news to their own specific purposes. If we allow this to continue, we are failing in our duties to protect our First Amendment rights to a FREE PRESS. Either Keith should be reinstated immediately, or Rubert Murdoch be "suspended" for giving $1,000,000 in Rebublican campaign contributions (139 times as much as Keith donated). Don't be silent and fearful: Stop the right-wing media from taking control over your news, your lives and your future before it is too late.

    November 6, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  20. Jon in Madison

    If MSNBC is not liberally biased, then why is it only syndicated on progressive talk radio channels? Why don't you ever report how bad of a job Obama is doing? Why don't you come down on the current administration when it fails to uphold its promises?

    November 6, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  21. JR Peterson

    What a joke… a farce… to believe that ANY of these cable channels are actually News Organizations. Can you say Bilderberg and Sheople? To support Olbermann, Hannity, Cooper or ANY of the buffoons on these political organizations is ludicrous. America and the world would be much better off if MSNBC, NBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, and FOX’s quasi news programs were ALL suspended indefinitely. Maybe then… our citizens would begin to think for themselves instead of engaging in the mindless followership that is dominant in the modern American culture.

    November 6, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  22. MD

    Olberman, Maddow & Matthews are bad as Sean Hannity – they all need to go. I listen to FoxNews to get the other side of the story. If it was not for FoxNews, we would all be worshipping Obama by now.

    November 6, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  23. Bill

    I watched Olberman when he did sports and decided he is certifiably nuts. I doubt he changed when he gravitated to MSNBC but then, I don't watch him. The man needs help. I don't care about his politics but the man does need professional help. Who is Rachel Maddow?

    November 6, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  24. Tim from NC

    No conservative is saying Olbermann can't contribute to anyone he wishes. He however has a contract and somewhere in that contract, he agreed that if he donates to a political cause, he is to inform and seek permission from his employer. He broke the rukes he agreed to, so please explain to me why are all you liberals having a fit???? He chose to break the rules and is now paying the price.... Would you be this upset if it happened to a conservative... I doubt it.... Liberals are such hypocrites...

    November 6, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  25. Steve851

    From a corporate point of view, Maddow has a point. However, from a journalistic point of view, MSNBC beats FOX on propaganda, hands down. I rarely watch either channel during prime time, but frankly, Olberman makes MSNBC unwatchable, period. He's like Hannity on steroids. Chris Matthews has to be totally embarrassed to appear on camera with him. Olberman has virtually destroyed NBC's credibility as a news organization single handedly. When Olberman's gone for good, I can tune in again. Until then, no way.

    November 6, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
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