It appears NBC has put Olby in time-out for the time being, citing contributions he made to political candidates as the blatant violation. In their statement they say:
“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,” it says. “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.”
If there was anyone in the country who thought Olbermann was “an impartial journalist”, they probably still have an 8-track player in their car. You would have to be living under a rock to have any lingering doubts about his leanings.
NBC is well within their rights to fire or suspend Olbermann, I think they should have done it long ago. But cut him loose because his ratings suck, or because he is odious, because he is wrong way more often the not, because he is a bloviating ass, because he alienates a majority of the potential American viewing audience, leaving you squarely in last place.
But because he made above board donations to candidates that share his worldview? Ridiculous – and almost as offensive as Olbermann himself.
UPDATE: I do buy the “He knew the rules and chose to violate them – therefore he knew the risks” Absolutely. As I said, well within their rights to punish him, but to make some claim that these donations somehow blew his cover, or theirs, as impartial is ludicrous.
UPDATE: It seems Bill Kristol agrees – somewhat