Ken Vogel of Politico:
MSNBC suspends Scarborough for campaign donations
MSNBC said Friday that it is suspending “Morning Joe” co-host Joe Scarborough for two days after he acknowledged giving eight previously unknown $500 contributions to friends and family members running for state and local offices during his tenure at the network, a violation of parent NBC’s ban on political contributions by employees without specific permission from the network president.
“I recognize that I have a responsibility to honor the guidelines and conditions of my employment, and I regret that I failed to do so in this matter,” Scarborough said in a statement. “I apologize to MSNBC and to anyone who has been negatively affected by my actions,” said, adding that after he was made aware of some of the contributions, he called MSNBC president Phil Griffin “and agreed with Phil's immediate demand of a two-day suspension without pay.”
POLITICO had sought comment from the network after finding evidence that Scarborough gave at least five separate previously unknown $500 contributions while serving as an MNBC host – all to Republican candidates to whom he was close who were running for state legislative seats in or near Scarborough’s hometown of Pensacola, Fla. After being contacted by POLITICO about the donations, Scarborough voluntarily disclosed three other $500 contributions to a friend running for county office in Florida.
This whole suspension business is pretty stupid -- it's not exactly a shock that Joe Scarborough is on the right and Keith Olbermann is on the left, and their suspensions for making private donations without first asking for permission doesn't do a single thing to enhance MNSBC's reputation.
In the end, MSNBC comes out of this looking like it has a corporate culture straight out of a Dilbert cartoon. It was already public knowledge that Scarborough had donated to Republicans, addressed Republican fundraisers, and even campaigned with Bush, so that's not what he's being suspended for. Instead, he's being punished for not having asked for permission to do something that he'd have been allowed to do -- and more importantly, to make it look like MSNBC is being fair and balanced in the wake of the Olbermann suspension.
The funniest thing about this is that in the wake of the idiocy of the Olbermann suspension, Griffin and Scarborough bent over backwards to explain why what Scarborough had done was different from Olbermann and why he didn't deserve a suspension. Can you say "Busted?" And now with egg on his face, Scarborough's line is that he was unaware of his own contributions until contacted by Politico. But that's impossible to believe, especially given that two of the donations were to his own brother. It seems pretty obvious Scarborough was hoping to ride this thing out, content to see Olbermann get suspended without taking his lumps too.
I guess there's a saying about throwing stones and glass houses, but that doesn't do justice to how silly this whole affair is. Sure, Scarborough looks bad -- perhaps even unethical -- for sitting silently while Olbermann got suspended for doing the same thing Scarborough did, but it's a stupid policy. Scarborough's real sin was that he defended the policy without admitting that he was in violation of it.
But in the end, as with most things Scarborough, maybe the only real question that matters is this; who gives a damn? After all, how many people would sign the petition to keep him on the air? 2? 3? Perhaps 4?