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.
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: