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. mane

    Bring Keith back now !This is another example of why this country has shifted to the insane. This holier than thou attitude of the left is killing the middle class because their voices can't be heard with the noise coming from fox(fake news) Did you hear the right wingnuts saying president Obama's visit to india will cost $200million a day and 34 warships? Who is gonna counter that? Even the pentagon found it disgusting to come out and shoot the falsehood down in a press conference. We need Keith and I'm already having a withdrawal syndrome from not watching him yesterday. Bring him back now or shut MSNBC down.

    November 6, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  2. Jean

    The only people who relate to Maddow and Olbermann are intellectual, educated or wise people. Liars, haters, bigots, and people who have been hypnotized by Fox will never seek the truth. There are people on here who are brainwashed saying fire Maddow. Are you kidding me? Hatred will be the downfall of many uninformed Americans.

    November 6, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  3. Rick Geary

    MSNBC and FOX News are propaganda TV. Both exaggerate truth and lies for political reasons. It is my opinion, that inlelligent individuals watch neither except for comic relief. I prefer CNN and the ABC, CBS and NBC National News for accurate, un-biased reporting.

    November 6, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  4. Drew

    Keith and Rachel don't have to make any donations to reveal which camp they are in. Spend two minutes watching them and you'll know without a doubt. Olbermann's tirades and vitriol get old real fast and I'll bet that's why his boss got rid of him. Shoulda stayed with ESPN Keith!!

    November 6, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  5. bob

    i stand by rachel maddow.

    name one other talking head on the boobtube with more journalistic integrity. she is the gen-x walter cronkite.

    November 6, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  6. John D

    Maddow is so full of crap. Her like the rest of you socialist entitlement crowd are just whining because you lost AGAIN! All I can say it couldn't of happened to a better bunch of morons than you. We will never forget this and we will stay engaged. You will never, ever get this far again. LMAO to you dirtbags!

    November 6, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  7. Pat

    It's a joke to for MSNBC to pretend it's a news operation. It's almost all one-sided political opinion and commentary with little balanced discussion. Guess what...the same is true for Fox, although I think they offer a few more liberal guests than MSNBC offers conservatives. The reality is that both stations are designed to make their targeted viewers feel good about their themselves and their one-sided views. If anyone wants news, they should go to the PBS Newshour. And, I think CNN does a decent job of trying to have balanced commentators on their shows.

    Get off your high horse Rachel...oh, you too Bill O'Reilly.

    November 6, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  8. KathyC in Minnesota

    FOX is NOT a news network. FOX is a showplace and funding arm of the GOP!!! They have made that perdectly clear!!

    I watched Rachel Maddow last night. She is CORRECT!!

    Reinstate Keith!! Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, Ed Schultz, and Lawrence O'Donnell are the REASONS I watch MSNBC. They present the FACTS that FOX fails miserably to do!

    November 6, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  9. John in Sacramento

    I support Olbermann and couldn't agree more with Rachel's analysis of the situation. MSNBC may have a liberal slant, but they are a REAL news organization and not a propaganda machine for the GOP like Fox.

    November 6, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  10. Janet

    Well, well...seems someone or something is out to get Keith. A simple reprimand would have sufficed. And thank you, MSNBC, for giving Fox Noise more fodder and lies and distruths to yap about in the coming weeks. What a joke....We love you Keith and Rachal – the only voices for those of us that like to have our minds stimulated and actually like to think! I won't watch MSNBC until Keith is back (except for Rachel)

    November 6, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  11. cek

    I support Keith Olbermann and would like to see his immediate reinstatement, Msnbc was right to take the action, but I think the point has been made.

    November 6, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  12. SrNanny

    Come on NBC, put Ke ith back on the air. He won't do it again, unlike the Faux News people, who work for a network which should be called FRN – Fox Republican Network!

    November 6, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  13. Just Bob 54

    Ok let me make sure I've got this right.
    Olbermann is fired for making contributions to the political party he openly supports daily on his show and Arizona's law that requires proof of citizenship to register to vote is declared void by 9th Circuit.

    Yep this is why I find modern politics ........................empty.

    November 6, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  14. PinkFlam

    I doubt that one could find a bigger bunch of hypocritical losers than msnbc anywhere on the planet. These are people who go out of their way to insult my intelligence with their out-and-out, bald faced lies. Sometimes I watch them just for the amusement value in seeing them writhe, sort of like watching snakes mating at the local serpentarium. Most of the time, I'll pass, thanks.

    November 6, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  15. Stumped

    Why does anyone care what Rachel Maddow thinks? Only about 100,000 people watch her show compared to the millions who watch any given Fox program. MSNBC is a joke.

    November 6, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  16. AnaHadWolves

    I've had the honor and the pleasure of working with Rachel Maddow when she and I were working with AirAmerica Radio. She is the same off-air as she is on-air: charming, warm, funny, hyper-intelligent, intently-focused and profoundly-analytical. She has a PHD and she is well-educated. She is, in fact, a total pro.

    So, when Rachel Maddow comes to the defense of Keith Olbermann, I take what she has to say as coming from a person who gets it, who knows the news business inside and out and who is, unlike Faux News, truly fair and balanced. IMHO, I agree whole-heartedly with Rachel; Keith got a raw deal from MSNBC. Whether he knew that contributing to a candidate without the specific permission of the parent company was against the "rules", in light of the faux News "anchors" practically shilling for candidates from the wacky right-wing on-air day after day, Keith's "sin" is miniscule.

    MSNBC should immediately put Keith back on the air, with apologies to him. Rachel should also get an atta-girl for her principled stance on the issue. Both of them are true journalists...who deserve better than MSNBC treated them.

    November 6, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  17. Just Say No to Socialism

    The difference between Sean Hannity and Glen Beck vs. Blow Hard Olberman is Fox doesnt present Hannity and Beck as impartial news shows. YOu know goping in what you are getting, that is why those town dont do national coverage or newscast like the election. MSNBC tries to present Blow Hard as an unbiased newscaster and we all know thats a joke. Plus we know that CNN and MSNBC are very jealous of fox's ratings. MARCO RUBIO!!!

    November 6, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  18. Al in Chesapeake

    Olberman got what he deserved and Maddow should keep her mouth shut. She is such a far left liberal I am surprised she hasn't fallen off her chair. If these two would only show a little honesty and not their hate for anyone that is conservative then maybe MNBC would have more viewers. Maybe she doesn't like it that MNBC actually stood up and enforced the policy that they both signed when hired.

    November 6, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  19. llihacsumaes

    yes – Rachel is "left" – not because she is "full of crap". But because she believes in understanding anythng thrown at you – that is what "higher ed" gives you" – the ability to use your intelect -

    November 6, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  20. Oklahoma S

    they are both part of a plan that is succeeding to divide and conquer. It is like championship wrestling, they fight on air, but laugh about how they fool some when it's after hours. You people deserve what the racist supremicist jews are doing to our country, the fed reserve, pharma, military fake terror industrial complex and cheney and israels mossad who brought you 911. They never go against israel because the king of the world with all the money is the rothschild clan. They own 85% of israel. Don't you get it? The congress and pres. is ceremonial. I'm speaking the truth. You must stop this press, who is owned by the roachilds from robbing us and getting us into war after war and taking our money. Wake up please, I love you all, do you think that the rothschilds love you? Stop being fooled. They are working a plan on you with unlimited money. YOUR MONEY. They use your kids blood, your tax dollars. Please wake up. I'm about to start a website that will show, without a doubt that will prove all I say. Only the facts that are backed up by their own words and actions. Stay tuned. I raise a family in america, i'm from a large middle class fam in america, who knows and cares about you, Myself or the foreign cabal.

    November 6, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  21. Rocky

    MSNBC should really reconsider their policy, especially given that they clearly endorse and support the liberal viewpoints of their most popular hosts. Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann are not journalists, and should not be held to the same standards of journalists.

    However, to Rachel Maddow's complaint about MSNBC being equated to Fox News: baseless. Being a less powerful and/or effective political factory than Fox News does not make MSNBC any less of a political factory. As a matter of fact, I can tolerate Fox News because their conservative hosts generally, and at least, have liberal counterpoints as guests. This is non-existent on either Rachel Maddow's show or Keith Olbermann's.

    When I want news reporting that is serious and non-biased, I turn to CNN.

    November 6, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  22. Michael

    Why doesn't Fox have a similar agreement with their hosts? At the least they should have a reading equivalency test. I believe Palin could pass if she spent a little time studying

    November 6, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  23. markiejoe

    I also support Keith Olbermann. I want him reinstated.

    But what I'd like even more is if Olbermann and particularly Maddow would run for Congress and win. Both of them could do it in their districts and the country would be better having them as representatives. Al Franken can't be the only one.

    November 6, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  24. AZ DEM

    Rules are rules and regardless if they arent the most ideal they have to be followed and its unfortunate thta Olbermann was suspended for his actions. My biased opinion says I'm glad he contributed to those campaigns especially considering 2 were in MY state and Giffords and Grijalva deserved to be re-elected and I'm happy that they both were. I hear Rachel's point however but MSNBC's problem is that they ARE the lefts version of Fox News as far as their clearly biased reports AND THATS FINE. I just don't like that they try to pretend that they aren't.

    November 6, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  25. Ball Mahar Molests Little Boys

    MSNBC is to news what MTV is to music videos

    November 6, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
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