By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Maddow on Olbermann and the Fox money machine

Let Rachel explain it to you. Brilliant stuff.

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Olbermann dives into a steaming vat of hot water


Olbermann to return on Tuesday


  1. Sheri Joyce

    RACHEL MADDOW ROCKS!!! Bring Keith back…MONDAY! Rachel, I have so much respect for how you can take what we are all feeling and put it into words so eloquently. THANK YOU AND KEEP UP THE FANTASTIC WORK. Thanks also to Keith Olbermann, Ed Schultz, Lawrence O’Donnell and all those who fill in…you bring us the truth, no matter how people try to spin it elsewhere.

  2. Lou Gawab

    Is MSNBC trying to measure up to the standards of Fox? I thought they are trying to be something OTHER than the same as Fox (albeit from the Left.)

    So, pointing out “Well, Fox does it!” isn’t a valid response.

    The other problem with MSNBC hosts is they are part of the NBC News Umbrella. Fox doesn’t have that situation.

    So, if Fox has low standards….that makes it OK for employees of NBC News to meet the same standards?

    Not so brilliant…..

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Lou and @Sheri: Both of you missed the point of Maddow’s commentary. She clearly stated that Olbermann had made a mistake. Yes, she said he should be allowed to return (and I agree), but she also explained how he had violated NBC News policy, and why that policy is important. She made exactly the point that I and other defenders of management have made: that this has nothing to do with Olbermann’s objectivity, but, rather, his independence.

      Maddow then went through the whole litany of Fox News hosts who made political contributions, speak at Republican fundraisers and the like — not to assert that if Fox does it then it’s OK for MSNBC to do it, but to demonstrate the difference between Fox and MSNBC. As she said, MSNBC is not the liberal mirror image of Fox. MSNBC is a liberal news-and-opinion channel. Fox is a partisan Republican operation that has nothing to do with news.

      Consider that when Fox News began, its signature personality was Brit Hume. Today it’s Glen Beck. Talk about reverse evolution.

  3. Steve Stein

    Thanks Dan. I was just about to post this link on the comments thread on your last article, but I saw that you beat me to it.

  4. Karin Pisiewski

    Saw this last night but several sites including daily kos, huffing ton and your least favorite gawker are reporting that msnbc personalities are not covered by the NBC news policy. The key words seem to be “impartial journalists” of which one can hardly place olberman. And what about cnbc and people like Larry kudlow? Given that Joe s. Not only gave numerous donations but also headlined an event in Alabama, this smacks more of Phil griffin not liking that olberman gave money to democrats than anything else.

  5. Laurence Kranich

    I agree with you that journalists shouldn’t be making contributions. Keith Olbermann violated the policy and was duly punished. But now, it makes more sense for MSNBC to redefine Olbermann’s job description rather than try to make him fit the role of a journalist. I agree with Rachel Maddow that MSNBC management has made their point and they should put Olbermann back on.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Laurence: Yes, Olbermann should be allowed to come back. But central to Maddow’s argument is that the policy serves a purpose, and that his punishment was necessary. I say give him a week off without pay. I just hope he can keep his considerable ego in check and not do something stupid – like quit.

  6. lou gawab

    **Fox is a partisan Republican operation that has nothing to do with news.**

    And with this episode of Olberman’s……it has proven that MSNBC is no different.

  7. Bill O'Donnell

    Please God and responsible journalism. let’s keep more than an arm length distance between Fox and its Agit-Prop operation and MSNBC and it’s up-front lefish agenda — but Keith Olbermann should not be donating to any politicians or parties.

    It’s dangerous stuff when you start acting like & smelling like the FRP on air (Fox Republican Party) and your so-called “independent commentators” seem mostly & shamlessly
    merely incipient GOP presidential candidates. Where is Fox taking us? And should we go quietly? Never!

    And may Rachel Maddow’s flag wave proudly says this New Englander who envies that wondrous Maddow mind and wishes her full voice in separating the wheat from the chaff in
    the political battleground/

  8. Cassie Bristol

    She is not as brilliant as you give her credit for Mr. Kennedy.
    MSNBC and FOX are EXACTLY the same.

  9. Rick Peterson

    @Cassie: remember, this is MA
    Charlie Baker(R) runs healthcare firm and makes lots of money: BAD
    Jim Roosevelt(D) does the same thing at Tufts Health Plan:
    Doing God’s work.
    Some of the animals are more equal than others.

  10. Cassie Bristol

    I watched The Rachel Maddow show last night expecting her to address the issue again, I suppose she didn’t see that little video or article pointing out the similarities between FOX and MSNBC regarding political cheer-leading.
    Oh well everything is back to normal in Cable news and opinion land.

  11. Lou Gawab


    I’m surprised that Dan hasn’t responded to the video…

  12. Cassie Bristol

    I would rather hear what Ms. Maddow thinks of the video.
    I’m not holding my breath for a response either way.
    For the record, I don’t think highly of either MSNBC or FOX News, they are both noise machines for their political views and I would never rely on what either channel reports without double checking it.

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