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. truth

    Some of the ignorant comments on this blog is exactly why Keith is needed. The Republicans have done a good job at convincing uneducated people that the Republicans care about the average person. Keith was a voice that represented the majority of Americans even those who are too ignorant to realize that the rich are buying this country. In fact the media is owned by filthy rich greedy individuals who recruit bigots and racists who not only hate minorities, they too hate poor and average class whites. The problem is that too many whites are so filled with hatred for Democrats they fail to realize that they too are target. I for one am smart enough to know that Olbermann and Maddow represent the majority of America. You poor people who are speaking ill of Keith are too dumb to realize the truth. MSNBC needs to bring Keith back NOW!

    November 6, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  2. Lance Sackless

    Maddow is an insult to rational liberalism everywhere and a prime example of why they got served last Tuesday...quit trying to spin the facts: MSNBC has rules, Keithy violated them...ergo, suspension. No matter how much of a conservative-boot-licking workplace Fox News is, it's completely irrelevant in this instance.

    Cry some moah...

    November 6, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  3. Ed Peters

    MSNBC was correct to suspend Keith, as MSNBC is a news organization.. I hope the suspension will be relatively short (perhaps a week). I truly look forward to his and Rachel's "reporting", even if it is with a liberal slant.. At least what they say is the truth and contains facts!

    November 6, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  4. NVa Native

    Maddow is great at using intelligent and thoughtful commentary based on facts. Plus she scares the ba-jesus out of the radical right because she doesn't back down while addressing their nonsense the whole time. And she won't tollerate bullies, which is all their right-wing fringe is.
    Like this issue with Olberman – she is 100% right and used this issue to focus on the misdeeds and slimey tactics fox media uses to blatantly promote Repub/tea-bagger propoganda while providing them with MILLIONS of dollars. Compare Maddow to the right-wing/fox flakes like Phailin, O'Donnell, Duschie, Hannity, and Bachman and you will quickly see why they fear her – she is a power house who will be around a look time tormenting them with their own twisted logic.

    November 6, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  5. Neutral

    If you have ever watched more than 30 seconds of "The Ed Show" on MSNBC, you realize that Maddow has no credibility when she claims that MSNBC is Journalistic enterprise. It is impossible to be a journalist if your agenda is anything other than finding and reporting the facts. MSNBC and FOX focus on "the truth", which rarely has anything to do with facts.

    November 6, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  6. JM in NH

    As was pointed out on CNN yesterday, the fact is that Olbermann is a huge hypocrite. The other talking heads from rival networks certainly gave huge donations, too, but they did them publicly; Olbermann on the other hand had vehemently chastised their political support. Olbermann violated his own contract, AND was sneaky and two faced. THAT is the issue, but it was entertaining to see Maddow blow smoke last night and try to distract people's attention from the issue. And it was hilarious when she kept a straight face as she called her incredibly biased and fact manipulating reporting "journalism."
    Olbermann might entertain the fringe left, but MSNBC will never have credibility among it's own relatively sane Democratic base with him on board.

    November 6, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  7. Gerry from Montana

    Rachel Maddow is the most intellectual, clearest thinking, most literate commentator on cable. She articulates, with precision, the stark difference between Fox and MSNBC. As former Bush cronies have said, "we thought Fox was working for us. Actually, we're working for them."
    Rachel and Keith are the collective conscience which America has lost. It's easy to read the comments above and see where the rednecks and wackos are lined up. In the bigger picture, this is why Obama has to take the fight to them.
    Rachel, if you're reading this: you are my beacon. Thank you.

    November 6, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  8. La Piovra

    One individual privately giving a campaign contribution within the limits of the law is not, either, the same as a financial and propaganda daisy chain from Murdoch's network to the Chamber of Commerce to Rove's machine to Koch-funded teabaggers and across and back again. As for the broadcast networks... for years and years, their version of "fairness" is that if one side says the world is round and the other says is flat, well, perhaps it's disk-shaped. No broadcast network is free-standing any more; all belong to huge corporate conglomerates. That in itself dictates that there are no "liberal media". Add to that the constant fear of being accused of such a bias and the fact that major news figures are quite well-paid, and what you get is what you see: far more "guest appearances" by right-wing shrieking heads than even by centrist voices; far harsher criticism of Democratic campaign ads than right wing ones; far more rigid discipline towards liberal commentators, or those perceived as such. The truth is that real Democrats stand up for all kinds of people deemed uncool: wrong-color, wrong-surnamed, wrong-collared, wrong-gendered, and the poor, including children who must make do with public school. Everyone wants to *lick the cool dudes these days, and for all the right-wing yapping about "liberal elites" (by which they mean anyone who can read, write, spell, and reason), liberal constituencies are not the cool people.

    November 6, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  9. DiogenesDebunks

    Keith Olberman has served truth and MSNBC well. MSNBC should refrain from draconian methods and allow Keith to return to the fold. This way MSNBC upholds it policy, its commitment to being an impartial news organization, and civil as well. The new order calling for chopping of heads is not correct, civil, nor a smart human resource management approach. Society needs to remember true true civility. President Barack Obama, Rick Sanchez, Juan Willliams, and now Keith Olberman are recent examples of the eradication of men-of-conviction, and this as a misguided execution of connectedness. Yet the real danger is to enable people to speak nicely but carry bad intent in their hearts. Greed is central to many who speak like angels but belong to fraternities devoted to money making at all cost including promoting hate, disinformation, and divisiveness. Keith and every person should be allowed a chance at redemption otherwise we are pretending that perfect humanity is inborn and the task of society is to chop the heads of the unworthy.

    November 6, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  10. Keith Fan in Utah

    I agree 100% with Dr. Maddow. Bring Keith back quickly before next Friday – I am waiting for Thurber stories.

    November 6, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  11. andy

    The GOP is all about "goosestepping" in line with purity statements and right wing dribble that sets the United States back 200 years to racial and social inequality, all supported and funded by the FOX propaganda channel. There is no "news" presented on FOX, only slander and fiction are broadcast daily. Keith Olbermann's suspension is unfortunate. I agree that the suspension is warranted but I do not believe he should be fired. MSNBC does not contribute to political candidates just as true news organizations should not. FOX is not NEWS – FOX is purely a propaganda machine funded by Saudi's and an Aussie, Both are not Americans yet buy into our government through Republican cronyism.

    November 6, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  12. Mike

    Keep the maddow mantra: MSNBC is a news organization.......... MSNBC is a news organization.......... MSNBC is a news organization.......... MSNBC is a news organization.......... MSNBC is a news organization.......... – It is almost like she is hypnotized.

    November 6, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  13. jeff, alabama

    Rachel Maddow, have you ever watched one of
    your shows ????
    You are not a political arm for the democrats ????????
    You have emotional difficulties Rachel.
    You are bogoted, racist, narrow minded, unfair,and
    you are hateful toward any republican you have ever covered.
    What a hypocrit.
    Your picture should be beside liberal elitist in Webster's .

    November 6, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  14. Larry

    Keith, again a genius in how he gets the world to listen just a little better to the corruption going on around all of us

    I feel his plan is going exactly as he hoped it would

    See you back in the chair soon

    And thank you again for your courage in standing up to such a loud, disgusting group, as is the TEA / Republican party

    November 6, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  15. LearnToFish

    The real truth lies somewhere between MSNBC/CNN/Comedy Cental/ABC _and_ Fox News. There is no major news agency that can be relied on for truth or fairness in reporting. Everyone should look at all news sources to figure out what's really going on. Don't just rely on John Stewart and Olberman to tell you what going on in the world, just like a conservative shouldn't just rely on Hannity and Rush.

    November 6, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  16. Joshua

    I agree with Olbermann's views most of the time. But, yes MSNBC is the liberal Fox News. No doubt about it. I wish MSNBC and Fox would both just admit this... or go away.

    November 6, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  17. nita

    keith is a good person who tell it like it is in the real newsi give the man a break he just recently lost his father. the president of msnbc wz wrong to suspend keith indefintely he is a big star. we demand that you reinstate keith immediately mr president. and give him his pay back tooi. if you dont you will find msnbc ratings dropping like flies. so what he broke a stupid rule still you nd to work with him sir. give the man a break sir. people break rules all of the time and still their bosses work things out as such a write up in their personnel file. get that? fox sucks and they hv donated millions of dollars to the party of no the gop.

    November 6, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  18. gues

    Let's see who has donated all the secret money to this election campaign and suspend them too. Nevermind Republicans voted down disclosure.

    November 6, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  19. Olbermann is a fool

    I was in a hotel room on election night and left with limited choices to watch the election coverage (seriously, no CNN!). I watched MSNBC and thought that the Democrats had won a huge victory. The coverage of Harry Reid's race in particular was laugh out loud funny - when it was projected Reid was the winner, Maddow and Olbermann went on and on about how Reid's victory was a rebuke to the tea party and the Republicans. You wouldn't have known that Republicans gained 60 or so seats in the House, including Pres. Obama's former seat.

    Olbermann was good way back when he was on ESPN, but since he's moved into political reporting, he's become a complete blowhard and an absolute joke. For him to even criticize anyone else for being biased is the height of hypocrisy.

    November 6, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  20. Sarah McCarthy

    Faux news followers want to believe lies.It gives them an excuse to be bigots,homophobes,liars,cheats,crooks and scammers like Madoff and Rush.Check facts people,its easy.They also wanted to believe Rush about the 2 billion dollars a day for Obamas trip.They just make stuff up.I check the FACTS,not like the little teenie boppers on here with a computor.

    November 6, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  21. Jean

    The only people that need to be suspended from television is Oreilly, Hannity, Beck, Limbaugh (radio), Joe Scarbrough, and other sheetless Klans who are out to divide the American people for the sake of greed. Keith and Rachael are two of the most intellectual people on television. They have facts to back up their assertions. Whereas, people such as Anderson Cooper and others on CNN lie about stating the facts. When Limbaugh, Beck and Hannity makes up such vile lies people defend them as if they speak the gospel. The sooner that people realize that hatred has no boundaries the sooner America can become a unstanding nation again. Otherwise the country is just going to hell and fast.

    November 6, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  22. John from TX

    Anyone who objectively watched election night coverage knows who the "fair and balanced" networks were. Fox had a mix of Left and Right journalists, as did CNN. MSNBC, on the other hand, stacked their coverage with 4 self professed liberal commentators and a left wing Pulitzer Prize winning "journalist". Now, I ask, "who are the shills for whom?"

    November 6, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  23. Jenn

    Why is an individual (even a journalist) not allowed to donate to a campaign? The donation was a personal donation, not a donation made on behalf of MSNBC. I'm a Democrat who loathes FOX "news," but I wouldn't complain about an INDIVIDUAL'S right to donate to any campaign as long as it's not made by or on behalf of the organization itself. Are journalists somehow exempt from having the right to donate as individuals? Keith Olbermann works for MSNBC. If I worked for Macy's and Macy's was seen as a "liberal" organization, would I not be allowed to contribute to candidates of my choice? This is not a rhetorical question. I would like very much if someone could explain this to me, preferably in a DIGNIFIED, non-partisan manner....not like some of the previous comments please.

    November 6, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  24. Mike B

    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 Rupert Murdoch be "suspended" for giving $1,000,000 in Republican 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 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  25. ken

    Faux news not only contribute to their campaigns, they will give them a job to promote themselves.

    November 6, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
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