MSNBC Suspends Olbermann for Political Donations
Primetime host suspended indefinitely without pay
By Andrea Morabito -- Broadcasting & Cable, 11/5/2010 2:48:00 PM
MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts hosted his show, Countdown With Keith Olbermann, Friday night at 8 p.m. For a brief time earlier in the day, there had been speculation Chris Hayes, Washington editor of The Nation and an MSNBC contributor, would be replacing Olbermann for the night. However, the MSNBC spokesman said while Hayes had been asked to do it, he ultimately didn't. Hayes went to Twitter saying: "OK: I'm not filling in on Countdown tonight because I didn't feel comfortable doing it given the circumstances. <1/2>."
The network had no comment on a permanent replacement.
Olbermann reportedly made contributions to the campaigns of three Democratic candidates this fall, an apparent violation of NBC News policy, according to Politico, who first reported the story. Politico said Olbermann admitted he gave the maximum legal donation of $2,400 to Arizona Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords and Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, who ran unsuccessfully for a senate seat against Rand Paul.
"I became aware of Keith's political contributions late last night," said MSNBC President Phil Griffin in a statement Friday. "Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay."
Olbermann is the highest profile personality on MSNBC. He hosts Countdown Monday through Friday at 8 p.m. and was one of the anchors of MSNBC's election coverage Nov. 2.
Late Friday, The Progressive Campaign Change Committee, which pushes progressive causes and candidates, announced its launch of an online petition drive to try and get Olbermann reinstated.
Stephanie Robbins contributed to this report.
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