Journalism and Politics, a rough combination

November 10, 2010 § Leave a comment

Political columnist Keith Olbermann will return to the airwaves tonight after he was suspended last week from MSNBC for contributing campaign funds to three candidates in last week’s elections.

According to the Huffington Post, Olbermann donated $2,400 each to Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, and to Kentucky Senate contender Jack Conway. Not a lot of money when it really comes down to it.

Olbermann said that he had no knowledge of the rule and that he felt NBC had “inconsistently applied” it in previous cases.

Regardless journalists are, generally, forbidden to donate to political campaigns. And although he is a liberal pundit, many say Olbermann was wrong in doing so.

However, outcry from his fans forced NBC to put him back on the air.

Below is Olbermann’s letter to his viewers. (I hate that they used Scribed, so many better ways they could have went about this.)

This brings up an important question of journalists interaction with their sources. Is it okay for a journalist, even those in Olbermann’s position to donate money The question of where the line has to be drawn is a hard question.

There have been many business reporters who have been pressured to become the rich and famous sources they cover. It is an interesting question that I am not going to even attempt to answer here.

But in Olbermann’s case I can say that he was wrong. No news organization would, or should, ever let their reporters openly support a candidate financially.

-Frank Posillico

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