|MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann: Yahoo News|
MSNBC suspended "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann Friday after the news that he donated to three Democratic candidates.
"I became aware of Keith's political contributions late last night," MSNBC President Phil Griffin said in a statement. "Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay."
Politico reported Friday that Olbermann gave the maximum individual donation of $2,400 to three candidates in Tuesday's election: Arizona Reps. Gabrielle Giffords and Raul Grijalva and Senate hopeful Jack Conway, who lost in Kentucky to Republican Rand Paul. (Grijalva appeared on Olbermann's "Countdown" on Oct. 28, the same day the host donated to his campaign; Conway was last a guest in May).
Olbermann, in a statement to Politico, said that he "did not privately or publicly encourage anyone else to donate to these campaigns nor to any others in this election or any previous ones." Also, Olbermann said he had not "previously donated to any political campaign at any level."
But the revelation raised clear ethical issues.
Olbermann, a liberal commentator, gives his opinions each night on the air. But NBC News editorial staffers -- like journalists at most news organizations -- are forbidden from giving to political candidates. Also,
Olbermann anchored election coverage Tuesday night without disclosing that he'd given to candidates who were running for office.
By punishing the network's biggest star, Griffin showed how little tolerance there is for hosts to make undisclosed political contributions while covering those political races.
(Click here to read the full story on the Yahoo News website.)