Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Olbermann Affair

I feel true sympathy for the few thousand people in this country who actually depend on Keith Olbermann for their news, or even on MSNBC for that matter. For obvious reasons, that pity is derived from the fact that those people will now be deprived of their beloved bloviator. For peripheral reasons, it is because they have been so misinformed over the course of his career.

Olbermann has been suspended without pay indefinitely from the floundering cable network for violations of the corporation's rules regarding political contributions. Already the Liberal Progressive machine is mobilizing, ready to defend Keith with every lie and obfuscation in their play book. These modes of defense will be coupled with the obligatory "the other side is doing it too" excuse.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has fired the first salvo. Sanders, an Independent (cough, cough) has written a brief letter published by Politico demanding the immediate return of Olbermann to the airwaves, and his salary. And he employs the predictable plaintive wails usually reserved for children deprived of candy and equally devoid of reason. In his letter, Sanders makes the claim:
"At a time when the ownership of Fox News contributed millions of dollars to the Republican Party, when a number of Fox commentators are using the network as a launching pad for their presidential campaigns and are raising money right off the air, it is absolutely unacceptable that MSNBC suspended one of the most popular progressive commentators in the country."
Imagine Sanders' outrage had it been announced that FOX's Sean Hannity had made the maximum individual contribution of $2,400 to three different Republicans. Ah, but Sanders didn't mention that, he cleverly used a much larger figure - "millions of dollars" - as News Corp's contributions as a whole. This serves two purposes; it indicts an entire organization while giving his intended audience a comparative source of outrage, one they would never think to question.

That's why I'm here.

First, News Corporation is free to make political contributions, just as are major airwave networks and competing cable networks. Keith Olbermann was an employee of one such entity who was found to have violated one of its rules. And while Olbermann's own network took him down, the commentators of FOX News have been under constant attack by the competition who have repeatedly demanded that they be silenced. Big difference.

Sanders got his figures from the recent disclosure that News Corp. contributed a million dollars to the Republican Governors Association, a fact that the Left viewed as a perfect "gotcha" moment despite CNN's having reported on it in August. Sanders saw an opportunity to paint FOX as a purely partisan organization based on the disparity, as did the very network that just canned Olbermann. That being said, if Bernie Sanders wants to play the "who's worse" game by attempting to portray Olbermann's contributions as small and insignificant in contrast to those of all of News Corp., I say "my serve".

While Democrats - holding hats in hand - complain bitterly about the possibility of "anonymous corporate donors" , they seem to have no problem spending the money of the workers they claim to champion, nor the money - by extension - of taxpayers. News Corp. has donated a few million dollars to Republican candidates and PACs. But the three largest unions in the country have donated more than $150 million to Democrats. (Most of that money is derived from the dues of union members, which is supposed to pay for benefits and retirement).

Barack Obama was the largest beneficiary of campaign contributions from BP Oil, not only a large corporation in the oil industry, but a foreign corporation to boot. Yet the Democrats complain of corporate financing influencing our elections.

Back to the point, though. Liberal interests and politicians have been scheming for years to somehow get FOX News shut down and silenced. Now they are allegedly outraged over one lunatic getting suspended for breaking his employer's rule. Media Matters is already whining that Sean Hannity and Neil Cavuto made contributions to Republican organizations, thus fulfilling the promise of the "they're doing it, too" excuse.

One small problem with that argument, however; News Corp. doesn't ban the practice. Neither do some large broadcast companies, whose employees donate to all kinds of causes, politics included. Olbermann hasn't been silenced, as Bernie Sanders intimates, he's been disciplined. It happens all the time in the grown-up work place. If Keith has a beef with that, perhaps he should take it up with his shop steward.

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1 comment:

carmar76 said...

Thank you, for pointing out what I thought was obvious when I read about this suspension - but apparently ppl don't get. This man broke the rules of his workplace and is being reprimanded for it. He's not a victim, altho I do think there are background things in play, and that this particular punishment is too harsh for the rule that was broken, but that's just my opinion. The point, however, is that he broke a rule and is paying the consequences. That's no one's fault but his own!