(Alternative title: Keith was set-up, Rachel should watch her back.)
Despite having the highest-rated show on his network, Phil Donahue got sacked by MSNBC because of his liberal philosophy. MSNBC replaced him with a right-wing bigot, Michael Savage.
Well, MSNBC apparently didn't deliberately acknowledge that was the reason, but internal documents (below the flip) leaked to the press confirmed what was obvious to all. The official reason given by the network is lost to time.
The network seems unwilling to make that mistake a second time, so a cause was invented. The networks goal is just as clear now as it was when Donahue was fired, if there is any doubt it is put to rest with the reality that conservative commentators are permitted to make political contributions, but their progressive counterparts are
fired suspended indefinitely, without pay, for the same behavior.
The study went on to claim that Donahue presented a "difficult public face for NBC in a time of war......He seems to delight in presenting guests who are anti-war, anti-Bush and skeptical of the administration's motives." The report went on to outline a possible nightmare scenario where the show becomes "a home for the liberal antiwar agenda at the same time that our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity."
A source close to Donahue claims that while he wasn't aware of the specific study, the tone and outcome aren't surprising.
"It's not a coincidence that this decision comes the same week that MSNBC announces its hired Dick Armey as a commentator and has both Jesse Ventura and Michael Savage joining the network as hosts. They're scared, and they decided to take the coward's road and slant towards the conservative crowd that watch Fox News."
Edited to add this, from slinkerwink the comments:
Check out the fine print of what NBC policy said, as of 2007, about political activities on the part of NBC employees:
"Anyone working for NBC News who takes part in civic or other outside activities may find that these activities jeopardize his or her standing as an impartial journalist because they may create the appearance of a conflict of interest. Such activities may include participation in or contributions to political campaigns or groups that espouse controversial positions. You should report any such potential conflicts in advance to, and obtain prior approval of, the President of NBC News or his designee."
Keith was supposedly impartial?
Second edit, from PatriciaVa in the comments:
Six months ago.
Comcast is in line to acquire control of NBC Universal, once regulators sign off on the $30 billion deal. Mr. Chernin asked Mr. Roberts how he planned to handle daily editorial control of such an immense news operation. "Are you saying that you’ll never interfere?" he asked.
Mr. Roberts blanched slightly at the question, which included a hypothetical situation that had Keith Olbermann, an MSNBC host, attacking a couple of Republican congressmen just as the approvals were being finished.
"Let’s have that conversation in six months or 12 months," Mr. Roberts said.