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. Spidey18052

    They got rid of Olbermann because he's d-bag! No one watches him or Maddow. There're just a coulple of un-funny jokes! It was just a convienent way for MSNBC to ax him. How can anyone pick on FOX? Just 1 pro-Republican show against 5 pro-Democrat. How's that fair! But Fox wins all the time because they make sense! Catch a clue all you Democrats, your just WRONG!

    November 6, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  2. Carlos

    MSNBC is not a political operation? Rachel are you kidding me? It's the most biased, political, venomous and one sided cable channel on television. There is only one non biased person on your channel and its Joe Scarborough. Its amazing that with a PHD you can't just say that none of the supposed news channels are non biased. Big money runs the news. When the news stopped being reported after it occured and you stopped letting the viewer make his or her decision of how it effects them it terms of their own political views, the whole concept of tv news became a fraud. MSNBC is a far left wing channel, FOX is far right, CNN is left and so are ABC, CBS and NBC. Who just reports the news. Not the bloggers, Drudge is right and Huffington and Politico are left. Grow up stop having an agenda about everything and use that PHD education to inform the masses not incite the masses.

    November 6, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  3. Ken Netzel

    How amusing for Ms. Maddow to preach about news. She is the most ridiculous excuse for a journalist that I have ever seen. The garbage that she spews out is in no way "news". The best thing that could happen is for her to join Olberman on the sidelines. Take the moron Ed Schmidt with her.

    November 6, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  4. Sylvia Feldman

    "Maddow said any attempt to EQUIVOCATE Fox News with MSNBC....." Somehow I doubt that Rachel confused "equivocate" with "equate." CNN, don't you have any proof readers?

    November 6, 2010 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  5. Porky

    I am a conservative, and I don't particularly like Keith . But I support his right to participate in, and support, the political process. He didn't try to hide his contributions, and he didn't deny them. The prohibition against donations is censorship in its most asinine form. Nobody is surprised he supported democrats, and frankly, I don't think anybody cares.

    He should have informed his producers, and for not so he deserves some form of punishment – make him interview Sarah Palin – but not for making campaign contributions.

    November 6, 2010 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  6. matt

    Last time I check Fox News was beating CNN and MSNBC in rating lol I guess CNN thought it will see a spike in rating since Keith got canned

    November 6, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  7. Tom

    Olbermann broke employment rules, don't like the rules, don't work there! Make no mistake about it – MSNBC, FOX news, Limbaugh, Air America, Olbermann, Maddow, O'Reilly, Hannity are ALL THE SAME! They preach intolerance and divisiveness. Comprimise is defined by all of them as (and only) complete agreement to their position and ideas. They DO NOT foster debate, discussion nor comprimise!

    November 6, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  8. Gary MO

    The vast majority of comments here show a basic lack of understanding (or disregard) of Ms. Maddow's comments. Yes, she & Olbermann are liberal, but MSNBC has STANDARDS, and enforces them. FOX has an entirely different agenda. FOX personalities consistently do what Olbermann did, with no repercussions. FOX thoroughly understands its mission, and is a very well run machine. MSNBC & other "mainstream media" hold on to the notion that they should have official policies regarding impartiality. Because of these self-imposed restrictions, MSNBC is unable to compete with FOX. MSNBC should take off the brakes & become an unabashed DNC machine. It is very clear that "calling out" FOX will do absolutely nothing.

    November 6, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  9. Be

    hey, did you just change the word INGENUOUS to UNFAIR in your second paragraph and then change it to DISINGENUOUS? "On her show Friday, Maddow said any attempt to equate Fox News to MSNBC is disingenuous, "

    please, was i seeing things? at least you have wordcheckers on your stories....good for you....but in any case, please tell me if the above is what happened. thanks-i want to know!

    November 6, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  10. hillcrester

    One difference is that Faux News, as company policy, donated one million dollars to the GOPhers–and their programming actively supports the GOP (e.g., Hannity: My job is to bring down Obama; softball interviews with Palin, O'Donnell, etc.).

    November 6, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  11. Johnny Five

    Maddow is being rather foolish. Everyone knows that all the networks are political in one form. No need to turn the lights on other organizations. The bottom line is each organization has rules. So for FOX, perhaps its ok in their corporate regulations. Who cares? Everyone is so divided, they'll watch what they feel is "truth" to them. I fail to understand why no one singles out CNN. They aren't moderate or nonpartisan.

    November 6, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  12. Jay

    Get over it Rachel. MSNBC is Fox for the left. None of you are "fair and balanced" – so, don't pretend to be. Each station is playing to base. People who want their news with a slant. Wait, I have an idea! How about objective news coverage? Gee, what a concept!

    November 6, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  13. bonish bonishov

    Disagreeing with Keith Olbermann because he is a liberal is just fine if you happen to a Republican in principal or let's say a right leaning independent. But the man is spot on when it comes to reporting facts and and calling Fox News and its groupies on their obvious lies and misinformation. "$200 million/day and 34 navy war ships for the Presidents trip to India..." such absurdity would never be repeated on his show and the congresswoman and any reporter who repeated this obvious lie would be a candidate for "The Worst Person in the World" segment on Count Down. Despite is overt Liberal position, he does not make stuff out of thin air the way talking heads on Fox News do and sadly fool a great deal of people...To my Republican Fox News viewers, do a minimum of research on the majority of what is covered on Fox, and you will find out you duped more often than not.

    November 6, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  14. ChumBucket

    The argument against Fox is stupid.

    Folks, Fox News apperently doesn't have the same rules MSNBC does, and since they don't, why are you comparing the 2?

    Olberman broke the rules of his network, why is that so hard for you to understand?

    But no, since he's a liberal, you want to give him a pass on breaking the rules, par for the course for democrats/libtards.

    November 6, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  15. cathstar

    I'm a Keith Olbermann fan, but MSNBC had no choice but to suspend him indefinitely. Since he constantly rails about Fox's Republican contributions, he can't be donating to Democrats at the same time. That's pure hypocrisy.

    November 6, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  16. CNN Instigator

    For some reason, I watched this Maddow show for 5 mins the other day and all she talked about was Fox News. Does MSNBC put her on the air to talk about that network for an hour every night? For what? What type of audience are they trying to keep? No wonder their ratings are far behind FOX. Hey Rachel, did you see the election results last Tuesday? Ever since you were allowed to have your stupid shows, you and Keith criticize the GOP and look what happened? Enjoy CNN but you too are far behind in the ratings.

    November 6, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  17. Concerned

    The interesting omission in many of these posts is the fact that Olbermann broke company policy. I am sure he signs a code of conduct agreement each year (as do many of us) and clearly know the rules when it comes to electronic communication, sexual harassment, political contributions. If he violated company policy several times (three in my book is several) then he needs to be terminated. Policy is policy end of story.

    Now MSNBC vs FOX right vs what! Watch what you want to watch. These folks (Maddow, Hannity, ertc) are not journalists, they are entertainers. My goodness wake up people.

    November 6, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  18. randy

    she (whoever she is) is right, MSNBC is no Fox, nobody watches MSNBC. MSNBC should stop worrying about FOX and Sarah Palin and worry about what are politicians are doing. I would like to MSNBC go after Obama, Biden, Pelosi, Reid, Waters, Frank and all the stupid lies they say. That would be news.

    November 6, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  19. Steve

    I feel nasty every time I accidentally see this “women” on TV. Her opinion has no value to me. Hope and Change will come soon to MSNBC.

    November 6, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  20. BobInIrvine

    @great move: I think you meant "I wish Fox News would hire journalists..." 'cuz their aren't any on that channel.

    Agree with Rachel Maddow that the fact Olberman was suspended by MSNBC is in deep contrast to Fox's corporate complicity with the GOP.

    November 6, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  21. riley

    Maddow is a HATER. She is the most arrogant, meanspirited person on TV. I cannot stand to listen to her. Wish she would be fired. But, then again, nobody really watches her anyway.

    November 6, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  22. Keith

    Beck and Hannity contribute to the Republicans?!?!?!? That's completely foolish. The Republicans should be paying Beck and Hannity... and everyone else at Fox except MAYBE Wallace.

    Chris Wallace: Fox's sole claim to "fair and balanced". Chris could have evolved into a highly respected journalist. Too bad he sold his soul to the devil instead.

    November 6, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  23. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Keith should be reinstated immediately and if he's not he should sue the pants off NBC, it's clear they have overstated their so-called "policies". No one should treat their employee in such a manner.

    November 6, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  24. phoenix86

    MSNBC is certainly no Fox. Fox reports the news, MSNBC rants and spits out left fringe bile and hate.

    Keith, Rachel and Cris are pathetic excuses for intellectual thought. All three should be canned.

    November 6, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  25. George

    No one I know watches Fox News. They have minds of their own.

    November 6, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
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