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July 13, 2010
(Page 12 of 21)

Keith Olbermann

A lot of people are talking about Keith Olbermann's suspension from MSNBC so I've decided to weigh in.  Olbermann, the host of Countdown, was suspended for making political donations to three Democratic candidates without permission from the head of the news division.

My opinion is Olbermann broke the rules and should be punished.  The left is complaining because Sean Hannity, a host for FOX News, has apparently donated thousands to Republican candidates and hasn't gotten into trouble.  FOX News does not discourage such donations.  MSNBC does and so it's clear Olbermann broke the rules.  Even if he didn't violate any policy, Olbermann should have disclosed on the air that he made those donations, especially because he interviewed some of the recipients on his show.  I feel Sean Hannity should also be made to disclose his contributions if he interviews his recipients on his show.

As journalists, it's a big no no to get involved in politics whatsoever.  I don't donate to political campaigns.  I don't go to political rally's, unless I am working.  You will never find a political sign outside my home.  You could make an argument that Keith Olbermann and Sean Hannity are not journalists.  They are talk show hosts/commentators.  I don't think anyone is surprised that Olbermann is a liberal, or Hannity is a conservative.  The problem is Olbermann has anchored MSNBC's election-night newscasts so it wouldn't surprise me if people confuse Olbermann as a journalist.  To FOX's credit, the network does not allow commentators like Hannity or Bill O"Reilly anchor on election night.  The lines are so blurred these days.  That is why I think Olbermann's punishment was appropriate.  He should have known better.


October 25, 2010

Juan Williams vs. NPR

I've watched with amusement the coverage of Juan Williams' firing from NPR.  A little over a week until the election, and this is getting all the media's attention?  Really? But it is getting a lot of play and a lot of people are talking about it so I am going to weigh in.

Williams is the commentator/journalist who was fired from NPR after he made some comments on FOX News.  Williams said he gets worried when he boards an airplane and sees people dressed in Muslim garb.  I see Williams' point to a degree.  If I boarded an airplane, and saw someone wearing Muslim garb I think it would cross my mind.  I am not saying it is right but it's how I and a lot of Americans feel.  Williams was quick to point out it's not like he leaves the plane.  While I agree with Williams somewhat, let me turn the tables on him for a moment.  How would he feel if someone went on the air and said I cross the street when I see an African American walking my way because I am afraid they are going to rob me?  Imagine the outrage.  

Williams feels NPR fired him mainly because he works for FOX News.  I agree with him.  NPR says he didn't follow the rules.  Williams was apparently a journalist covering hard news for NPR.  He was a commentator/analyst for FOX News.  The problem is the lines have blurred considerably over the last few years.  A decade ago, a journalist would rarely give their opinion.  Today, a lot of them blog.  It's expected of them.  Hey, look at me.  What am I doing?  I am blogging.  FOX News also helped create this movement.  Look at Bill O'Reilly.  He does commentary/news.  A lot of people consider him to be a traditional news anchor.  So when NPR says it fired Williams because he didn't follow the rules I don't buy it.  Something tells me a lot of people at NPR could be fired for giving their opinions.

This whole journalists giving their opinion thing has created a slippery slope.  On the one hand, our business has encouraged journalists to give their two cents.  And then our business turns around and fires Helen Thomas and Rick Sanchez for giving their opinion.  I am not defending those two.  What they said was out of line.  But I think may be we should go back to journalists just reporting the news/facts and stay away from giving their opinion.  

The bottom line?  I don't think NPR should have fired Williams.  If NPR felt he was wrong or out of line, couldn't executives just pull him into an office and give him the riot act?

October 19, 2010

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