UPDATED: Before Bush Donor Takeover Of MSNBC, Network Selectively Applies Rules To Suspend Olbermann
by Lee Fang
UPDATED: We have been notified that Comcast has not yet officially taken over MSNBC/NBC Universal. Although Comcast has tentatively finalized a deal to purchase a majority stake in NBC, Comcast awaits final approval of the takeover from the Justice Department and from the Federal Communications Commission. A statement from Comcast reads: “The joint venture between Comcast and GE has not yet received regulatory approval. Comcast is not in any way involved with decisions made currently by NBC News.” However, once Comcast gains final approval from federal regulators to move forward, Comcast COO Steve Burke, a Bush fundraiser, will be placed at the helm of MSNBC and other NBC companies. Our original post inaccurately asserted that Comcast’s Burke was involved in the decision to fire Olbermann. We apologize for the error.
Earlier today, MSNBC declared that it would be suspending progressive host Keith Olbermann because he violated NBC’s ethics rules by donating to three Democratic candidates for Congress. As many bloggers have noted, conservative MSNBC host Joe Scarborough has donated to Republican candidates for Congress while promoting the same candidate on air, but has never been disciplined. Moreover, Gawker notes that MSNBC has been exempt from the formal NBC ethics rules for years. It is still a mystery why MSNBC selectively applied NBC’s ethics rules to Olbermann. However, it important to realize that MSNBC has undergone a fundamental change in leadership in the last two months.