Friday, November 05, 2010

Cognitive dissonance

Schadenfreude alert
Statement from Phil Griffin, President of MSNBC:

I became aware of Keith’s political contributions late last night. Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended [Keith Olbermann] indefinitely without pay.

A couple of (occasionally contradictory) thoughts:
  • Keith Olbermann is as loathsome a person as there currently is in the media industrial complex. It's difficult not to feel real satisfaction in his being removed from the air, particularly for a self-inflicted wound like this one.
  • One of Keith's hobby-horses recently has apparently been the fact that some employees of NewsCorp, the parent company of Fox News, have made contributions, and how inappropriate that is. It's impossible not to feel real satisfaction in his being removed from the air.
  • The idea of him getting suspended for making monetary contributions to Democrats has a kind of Alice-In-Wonderful quality about it. Does MSNBC think that he's somehow revealed something that people didn't know beforehand? Has he let the mask slip? Has he ruined his reputation as an impartial journalist? I don't think so.
  • So he clearly violated a rule of his employer. The rule, in this case, is silly. It's nonsensical that he can give an in-kind contribution to Democrats with an hour of partisan info-tainment every single night, doing his best to support Democrats and ridicule Republicans, but actually giving less than $10K in real money is beyond the pale.
  • There is no first amendment argument here. MSNBC is not the government. Keith can do or say whatever he wants, but if he's going to use MSNBC's studios and bandwidth to do it, he's got to play by their rules.
I haven't watched MSNBC, and I'm not going to watch it now. I think that, given the way that they approved of him running his show, the infractions for which he's being suspended are silly. But I sure do enjoy the situation in which he's found himself...

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