A lot of people — including me — jumped to certain conclusions about the suspension of Keith Olbermann by MSNBC for making donations to political campaigns. Last night, Rachel Maddow clarified the situation, explained the rules at MSNBC, and also explained why there’s a difference between what is required of the on-air people at MSNBC and other cable outlets.
“Let this incident lay to rest forever the facile, never-true-anyway, bull-pucky, lazy conflation of Fox News and what the rest of us do for a living. I know everybody likes to say, ‘Oh, that’s cable news, it’s all the same. Fox and MSNBC, mirror images of each other.’
“Let this lay that to rest forever. Hosts on Fox raise money on the air for Republican candidates. They endorse them explicitly; they use their Fox News profile to headline fund-raisers. Heck, there are multiple people being paid by Fox News now essentially to run as presidential candidates. If you count not just their hosts but their contributors, you are looking at a significant portion of the whole lineup of Republican presidential contenders for 2012. They can do that because there’s no rule against that at Fox. They run as a political operation. We’re not.
“Yes, Keith’s a liberal, and so am I, and there are other people on this network whose political views are shared openly with you, our beloved viewers. But we are not a political operation. Fox is. We are a news operation. And the rules around here are part of how you know that.”
HT to Steve Benen. Go here for the full transcript.