CHICAGO (CBS) – When it comes to politics and journalism, reporters need to be careful not to cross a certain line. MSNBC recently suspended “Countdown” Host Keith Olbermann after he donated thousands to the political campaigns of three candidates.
CBS 2′s Walter Jacobson says he has no problem with that suspension, but he has a big problem with what happened next.
If you rarely watch the cable news channels: CNN, Fox or MSNBC, Larry King or Bill O’Reilly; even if you never watch cable news, you must have heard about what MSNBC did to its most popular personality Keith Olbermann, who covers government and politics, and anchored MSNBC on election night, while secretly contributing nearly $10,000 to three of his favorite candidates running for Congress.
He did not tell his management or his viewers about it, then invited one of his favorite candidates to an interview on MSNBC to serve him up some softball questions.
When Olbermann was found out, he was suspended indefinitely, preached the president of MSNBC, because Olbermann violated journalism ethics, creating an appearance of partiality. The right thing for MSNBC to do.
Good news for the news business, except that in less than one week the indefinite suspension has been lifted.
Keith Olbermann is back on the air Tuesday night, which is bad news for the news business.
It’s no wonder some people don’t trust the media.