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November 06, 2010

Sanders Blasts NBC over Olbermann Suspension

N05 U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders issued a strong rebuke last night of NBC's decision to suspend MSNBC commentator and anchor Keith Olbermann, after it was revealed that the host had contributed several thousand dollars to Democratic candidates this year.

News of Olbermann's contribution were revealed this week by Politico, which has since found other major cable TV hosts who have given to candidates. Those hosts, however, were said to have donated within the guidelines set by their parent companies.

For example Joe Scarborough, who hosts "Morning Joe" on MSNBC, has donated much more than Olbermann over the years, but apparently within the guidelines set by NBC.

Sanders believes MSNBC is setting a double standard — it's OK to donate to the GOP, but not Democrats.

“It is outrageous that General Electric/MSNBC would suspend Keith Olbermann for exercising his constitutional rights to contribute to a candidate of his choice. This is a real threat to political discourse in America and will have a chilling impact on every commentator for MSNBC," said Sanders in a written statement. “We live in a time when 90 percent of talk radio is dominated by right-wing extremists, when the Republican Party has its own cable network (Fox) and when progressive voices are few and far between."

Sanders complains that if other cable networks and their anchors donate heavily to Republicans, if not actively help raise money for GOP causes, then why can't one lone commentator on MSNBC donate a few thousand dollars to progressive Democrats?

IMG_0591“At a time when the ownership of Fox news contributed millions of dollars to the Republican Party, when a number of Fox commentators are using the network as a launching pad for their presidential campaigns and are raising money right off the air, it is absolutely unacceptable that MSNBC suspended one of the most popular progressive commentators in the country," said Sanders. “Is Rachel Maddow or Ed Schultz next? Is this simply a ‘personality conflict’ within MSNBC or is one of America’s major corporations cracking down on a viewpoint they may not like? Whatever the answer may be, Keith Olbermann should be reinstated immediately and allowed to present his point of view.”

If Olbermann is not reinstated, perhaps former Gov. Howard Dean will fill in?

Dean has filled in on MSNBC before when Rachel Maddow took time off from her show. He even had Sanders on the show to talk about health care policy.

Earlier this week Dean vehemently denied rumors that he was planning to challenge Pres. Barack Obama in the Democratic primary in 2012. For now, Dean will co-chair the transition team of Governor-elect Peter Shumlin.

I agree with Sanders. He's right on in this case. I want Keith back on the air immediately! This is not the time to suspend someone for making personal, small, legal donations to Democratic candidates while Fox News is actively proving that they are a Republican/conservative political organization (but watched as if they are really news media by a vast majority of Americans). Now is the time we need to be fighting back. I am happy that Keith made those donations. I hope everyone at MSNBC with a liberal perspective bombards the executive office with requests to donate. I hope that everyone who watches MSNBC who is sympathetic to liberal causes donates $5 or more to their preferred progressive candidates, campaigns, or PACs in support of Keith and democracy. Hell, maybe we can get NBC to revise his news program and call him a commentator instead of a journalist and just let him raise money for progressives on the air! Fox does that every single day with their so called journalists like Sean Hannity. I mean, what's good for the goose...

I'm so glad we sent Sanders to Washington, to spend his time on fruitful efforts like intervening in private employment disputes based on contracts he hasn't read.

If he's going to get into this kind of thing, he should also write long letters to Theo Epstein demanding that he do everything in his power to sign Cliff Lee this offseason.

Bernie outraged again?! No way! Say it ain't so!

"A private employment contract? What's that? I don't give a fig about that."

Gimme a break. Absolutely everything's "outrageous" with Bernie. He uses the word 25 times a day. The guy spends his entire life in a state of red-faced, screaming "outrage."

Except, by definition, whatever he's upset about is not "outrageous" if only a handful of people care.

I guess that means that anyone on Sen. Sanders staff and bankroll is free to contribute to his opponents in a race. Wonder if the Senator would have a few thoughts on that.
Sen. Sanders needs to spend his time reading the bills he votes on rather than Olbermans contract.
Of course our own state Senators, and members of the legislature do not take the time to read bills before voting either.
I site into fact the question on the senate floor this year concerning the last minute budget. Is their anything in the back of this budget we need to be aware of. The Bartlett Shumlin team indicated no and lo and behold buried in it is the approval of a penned in hunting farm that was snuck in by Bartlett.
Governor elect Shumlins transition team consists of Sen Bartlett.More secrecy on the way in Montpelier.
Shame on each and every legislator that approved the fy2011 budget. You are a disgrace.

I guess you haven't spent much time in DC have you Murph? That's why we need someone like Bernie down there. The city is nothing but outrageous behavior by crooks and thieves. I'm sorry that you are so complacent that you'd rather have Bernie be quiet then express outrage. No wonder this country is in the crapper. People like you would rather shove your head in the sand and accept things as they are then actually take some action. You disgust me and you make a mockery of everything I and my father fought for overseas (Vietnam and Iraq).

Wasn't another one of Sanders' recent rants about Comcast removing a channel from their lineup? Seems like he spends a lot of time sitting around watching TV.

@ Jeff

You seem a little confused. If you think your father fought for some principle in Vietnam, then you should be channeling your anger at Bernie, not me. Because Bernie's political career began in 1971, when he joined the anti-Vietnam War Liberty Union Party in Vermont. (Wikipedia)

Go Jeff! For people who hate Bernie so much, there sure seems to be a lot of attention paid to everything he says.

The attention came in the form of this blog post. It's not surprising at all that 7D are big Bernie supporters - hence, not the slightest mention that it might not be the best use of a US Senator's time to intervene in a private employment dispute.

Then again, maybe we're all just so used to Bernie opining on things that he has no control over that it's starting to seem like that's his job.

Cliff Lee not on the Yankess next year? That would be an outrage!!!

"opining on things that he has no control over"

Ya don't say. . . .

"Go Jeff! For people who hate Bernie so much, there sure seems to be a lot of attention paid to everything he says."

Ah, yes. More drive-by insight.

First, of all, it was Seven Days that decided this rant-of-the-day from Bernie was attention-worthy, not me.

Second, if the Olbermann issue is not only newsworthy, but "outrageous" and "absolutely unacceptable," as Bernie seems to think, howcome you haven't heard a peep on this issue from our other Senator, or from Congressman Welch?

Third, people pay attention to Bernie because Bernie never "says" anything, but rather SCREAMS it. He tries to force us to pay attention to him, even if the subjects of his rants are not noteworthy. When was the last time you heard Sen. Leahy ranting, fuming, or sputtering the way Bernie does every day?

And should we NOT pay attention when our government employees waste our money, and call them on it? Should we simply ignore, for example, what Minority Nitwit Mitch McConnell says, even though it's generally nonsense? Or do you ONLY get agitated when someone questions Bernie?

Mr. Holy Overreaction, the irony here is that it was Bernie who was overreacting. You're just his court jester.

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