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Earlier this evening I was aghast to hear about Keith Olbermann being suspended by MSNBC. Once I recovered (and kvetched with fellow FOO Diogenes), I knew that we had to mobilize beyond the petitions and phone calls. E-mails will make an impression when they overwhelm an inbox. So I offered to write up a civil but firm letter that can be used as a template. Below is that letter....

Mr. Griffin:

I am writing to register my extreme displeasure at the suspension of Keith Olbermann. Your reaction to his so-called transgression was drastic and over-the-top. According to your own rules, checking with management first is not a requirement:

"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."

The bolded word is "should" which is not the same as "must." Suspension for quiet donations, donations made without a fanfare or any exhortation for his viewers to follow suit, is an over-reaction.

It also appears to be selective. Joe Scarborough donated to Republicans during this very campaign cycle. Why hasn't he been suspended indefinitely without pay? And the excuse that "he is not a news reporter" does not hold water; neither is Mr. Olbermann.

Please re-instate Keith Olbermann immediately. Until he is behind his desk where he belongs, I am boycotting MSNBC. I am asking my friends to do the same. Mr. Olbermann is an important voice in this current political milieu as he speaks for those of us who can't. If you take our voice away, we will desert you. Of that you may be sure.

This is offered as a template so you can change things up if you wish - I'm no prima donna. Let's fill that inbox so that by Monday morning, Phil griffin will be sick of hearing about it. Get going, Kossacks!!!

Originally posted to The Way The Wind Blows on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 09:24 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  If Keith has to report his private donations... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Purple Priestess, Larsstephens

      ... then so does Scarborough and any of the other personnel who work for networks throughout corporate media.

      IMHO, ALL media corporations and ALL corporate media honchos ought to be forced to report their donations to ALL politicians and political organizations.  If they then turn around and advertise on those networks, there is likely a conflict of interest.  (I'd call it money laundering since money only changes hands back and forth.)

      The recent SCOTUS decision gave corporations personhood rights of free speech per the First Amendment, including via the political (and presumably religious) corporations, and all of those things need to be divulged to We The People so we can make up our own minds about how much we think it's influencing media anchors.

      I, for one, refuse to watch Nightline because of that idiotic religious segment they have.  Religious belief is a personal and private thing and ought to be discussed only at home or at one's place of worship - yes, I firmly believe in a total and absolute separation of church and state as President Kennedy mentioned in the early 1960s.  What someone else believes is of no interest to me whatsoever, and I resent having someone else's beliefs shoved down my throat via politicians, media, or in person.  I most assuredly do not want to vote for a politician who uses his twisted religion to justify his/her political decisions, or who thinks some supreme deity is telling her/him to run for public office.  That's just utter insanity.  People who hear voices are supposed to be admitted to mental hospitals....

      They're asking for another four years -- in a just world, they'd get 10 to 20. ~~ Dennis Kucinich

      by NonnyO on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 05:55:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Don't forget to also boycott the (9+ / 0-)

    ADVERTISERS as well.  It's the pocketbook.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 09:28:15 PM PDT

  •  excellent! (10+ / 0-)

    I will use it for sure (with a few mods so it doesn't seem too co-opted)

    thanks, purple.... you hit the nail on the head.

    :)

    now come on people, let's get KO back where he belongs!

    "Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle." -Helen Keller

    by ridemybike on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 09:29:48 PM PDT

  •  Thanks, Purple Priestess. (4+ / 0-)

    I will probably use some of this when I write an email also.  

    If I'm not an activist, would that make me a pacifist?

    by pensivelady on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 09:43:39 PM PDT

  •  E-mail address: (6+ / 0-)

    phil.griffin@nbcuni.com

    and his boss:

    jeremy.gaines@msnbc.com

    I can learn to close my eyes to anything but injustice...

    by Purple Priestess on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 09:50:04 PM PDT

    •  Done and Done (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Diogenes2008, Purple Priestess

      Signed some petitions earlier too.

      Thanks for the email addresses.

    •  My letter to Mr. Gaines (4+ / 0-)

      with the subject line:  What was Phil Griffin thinking?

      Dear Mr. Gaines,

      Honestly, it's pretty clear that Americans don't have enough diversity of thought or plain old investigative journalism based on FACTS in our media choices today.
      So, why would Phil Griffin "suspend" one of the most popular voices for fact-based reporting, and one of the few remaining liberals?

      Was this a business decision because we've just seen the Supreme Court give the most liberal rights to corporations to support whichever politicians
      they want and whoever they think they can buy.  How can MSNBC think suspending one of the hosts who give use the meager liberal fare we get
      from the media would not create the firestorm it has created?

      If nothing else, this action shows that there just aren't that many progressive voices or opinions on the air because, why else would you get the outcry
      you're getting.  I've signed two petitions already and if this is the way MSNBC wants to go, then I will just no longer watch any of it.

      When most networks take their cues from Fox (which isn't a news station) and then repeat those lies over and over, the only place for progressives
      to find the facts that support our worst suspicions is on a few shows on MSNBC.  I never watch CNN anymore, so losing MSNBC is just the final
      nail in the coffin of cable news shows.

      When Comcast takes over, we can kiss MSNBC goodbye anyway.

      Thanks for listening

  •  Sponsor list: (7+ / 0-)

    Alcatel
    Anheuser-Busch
    Ann Taylor
    Avon
    Banco Nacional de Mexico
    Cambridge Technology Partners
    Catalyst
    Champion International
    Chase Manhattan
    Choice-Point
    Chubb Corporation
    Coca-Cola
    Community Health Systems
    Dell Computer
    Delphi Automotive
    Fiat
    Home Depot
    Honeywell
    Illinois Tool Works
    International Speedy
    Internet Security Systems
    Invemed
    Morgan Chase & Co.
    Kellogg
    Kimberly-Clark
    Knight-Ridder
    Microtune
    Morgan Gauranty Trust
    National Service Industries
    New York Stock Exchange
    Oglivy & Mather
    Penske
    Planet Hollywood
    Scientific Atlanta
    State Street Bank and Trust
    Sun Microsystems
    Texaco
    TIAA-CREF
    Total Systems Services
    TRICON Global Restaurants
    Unifi
    Unilever
    WinStar

    I can learn to close my eyes to anything but injustice...

    by Purple Priestess on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 10:12:02 PM PDT

  •  my 2¢ (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    luckylizard, Purple Priestess

    okay, i’ll be the bad guy here, and everyone can hate on me. i think that everyone has made way too much of this. number 1, ko hasn’t been fired, he’s only been suspended. the guy who filled in for him and rachel said so on the air, so there’s no chance the bosses would be stupid enough to fire him. number 2, he signed his contract. now, i know that people are claiming that there is a clause in his contract that says that he should ask for permission to make campaign donations, not that he must. that might be the standard contract for all nbc employees, but i would bet that ko’s contract was drawn up specifically for him, under the watchful eye of his attorneys, and i doubt that we really know what it says. in addition, you can be sure that msnbc has lawyers who were consulted before ko was suspended. it’s been noted all over the internets that squinty scarborough has gotten away with donating to candidates and even appearing with them. we don’t know what his contract says or whether he got permission from tptb first. number 3, ko broke his own rule. i remember a few years ago, i was watching countdown, and ko said that he doesn’t vote, because he doesn’t want to have even the whiff of bias in his reporting. i always remembered that, because i thought that he was really committed to his profession if he would go so far to make the sacrifice to not vote (and i do think it would be a sacrifice to give up my vote). that was before the special comments and when he wasn’t as open as he is now about where he stands on issues. maybe his contract was signed back in the day when he was more journalist than opinion-giver, and the clause in his contract about campaign donations didn’t bother him at that time, because he didn’t think he’d be making any donations.

    all that said, i’m not quite sure where i stand on the issue. don’t get me wrong, i watch countdown every day, and i would be pissed if ko was fired. i’m still bristling over david schuster getting the boot. i can understand news organizations wanting their reporters to appear unbiased. however, nobody can be totally unbiased, and i think i’d prefer journalists being able to exercise their first amendment rights and donate to any candidate they wish to support. however, it should be noted that the journalist is supporting a candidate, if they are reporting on them. i’d rather know that they’re biased so that i could factor that into how i process their reporting.

    i think i’ll wait to hear ko’s side of the story before i get outraged or not. okay, you may fling tomatoes at me now.

    p.s.  purps, that was still a very fine email, and i think phil griffin is an asswipe, but that doesn't make him wrong.

    I didn't get Jack from Abramoff...I'm not a Republican!

    by nonnie9999 on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 11:08:36 PM PDT

    •  I understand your measured opinion... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NonnyO, Purple Priestess, Actbriniel

      but I wonder why someone would have to report that they have donated money to a campaign when they have kept that donation private and have not campaigned for the person.

      If Keith had requested the right to donate, and he was turned down, what would that mean?  Would it mean that Phil Griffin gets to decide who is worthy of Keith's support?

      If, on the other hand, this "asking permission" is just a formality, then why have the rule in the first place?

      If it is meant to keep tabs on who is receiving donations and whether they are being unduly promoted on Keith's show, I think that is fair.

      But Keith never promoted any of these candidates on his program, so he never violated the intent of the rules.  I don't think he should be suspended over this.  

      Phil Griffin undoubtedly tried to exert his authority over Keith in a way that violated Keith's sense of right and wrong, and Keith would have none of it. I'm sure that this is just a power-play by Griffin to put Keith in his place.

      Keith left ESPN for similar reasons.  I hope he stays on MSNBC, but I don't think that they are worthy of him.

      •  this is what i think went down (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        luckylizard, Purple Priestess

        campaign donations from individuals aren't private, and someone found out that ko made them.  phil griffin was made aware of it, and he could have chastised ko and that would have been the end of it.  however, you know that the rightwing blogosphere and faux news would have made a big deal over the donations, and they would have said that this is proof that msnbc is no different than faux news.  they'd say that ko is always bitching about murdoch's donations to the rethugs, and this proves he's a hypocrite.  i don't belive that it proves anything like that, but that's the argument they'll make.  for all we know, ko agreed to be suspended.  maybe he'll come back, act a bit remorseful, and that will be the end of it.  maybe griffin thinks he was protecting his brand with the suspension.  jon stewart drew a parallel between faux news and msnbc.  i think the comparison was patently unfair (although i adore jon stewart), and maybe this is griffin's way of making it clear that msnbc is not the mirror image of faux.  

        i don't disagree with any of your arguments.  i think journalists should be allowed to donate to anyone they want without asking anyone's permission, but i think that they should disclose to whom they donate.  the fact is, though, that ko signed the contract, and we really don't know what his contract says. i think we should wait and see what ko has to say about what happened.      

        I didn't get Jack from Abramoff...I'm not a Republican!

        by nonnie9999 on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 12:09:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  well (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Purple Priestess

      he's likely a republican, so that does make him wrong.  In my book anyway.

      "The job of career politicians is to convince you that you have a perfectly free choice to hit yourself on the head with a brick or a baseball bat."

      by lisastar on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 11:43:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Fair enough (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nonnie9999

      I'm still pissed off about Schuster, too.

      I can learn to close my eyes to anything but injustice...

      by Purple Priestess on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 12:17:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I sent my notice of boycott email at 4 p. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NonnyO, Purple Priestess

    Sadly, I doubt it will make a difference.  They do not care about their viewers.  Keith does, Rachel does, Lawrence does, Ed does.  

    MSNBC and Comcast... not in a fraking millions years.  Their only god is money.  The members of the US Chamber of Commerce will reward them well.  Why, they'lleven get 'exclusives' with President Palin (or Romney or whoever US, Inc. buys) in 2012.

    Oh, and of course, this proves 'liberals just can't compete in the news business' doncha know!

    Disgusting.

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