MSNBC host Keith Olbermann made campaign contributions to two Arizona members of Congress and failed Kentucky Senate candidate Jack Conway ahead of Tuesday’s election — a potential violation of NBC’s ethics policies.
Olbermann, who acknowledged the contributions in a statement to POLITICO, made the maximum legal donations of $2,400 apiece to Conway and to Arizona Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords. He donated to the Arizona pair on Oct. 28 – the same day that Grijalva appeared as a guest on Olbermann’s “Countdown” show.
Grijalva, a prominent liberal who was only declared a winner in his race Thursday night, was in a tight contest against tea party-backed candidate Ruth McClung when he appeared on Countdown – one of several appearances he made on the show.
NBC has a rule against employees contributing to political campaigns, and a wide range of news organizations prohibit political contributions – considering it a breach of journalistic independence to contribute to the candidates they cover.
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Friday, November 5, 2010
Journalists and Political Involvement
In our chapter on mass media, we talk about how people in the news business sometimes take a direct hand in politics (pp. 369-70). But there are limits on what working journalists can do, especially when it comes to politicians that they are covering. One may have breached those limits, as Politico reports: