By suspending and then un-suspending Keith Olbermann over last weekend, MSNBC committed an epic fail. They claim to be objective, but after this stunt, I don’t think any one will believe them.
Olbermann broke the rules by donating to political campaigns. He’s a broadcast journalist, reporting on the news (trying to be objective) and this is a slap in the face of MSNBC’s perceived objectivity. But what I din’t get a chance to ponder over in my Chronicle Column is whether there should be a distinction between Olbermann the average citizen and Olbermann who goes on air every night. The only problem is that political donations are public record. Anyone can request that info, so Olbermann’s donations would be easy found by his viewers. While he might be objective on air, his donations would say something different. However should he be denied a chance to donate just because of his job? I can see the argument going both ways.
This experience should at least teach MSNBC something about it’s ‘objectivity. Call me a cynic, but I think objectivity in journalism is a dying practice. It’s been dying a slow death ever since the rise of the 24 hour news cycle and the network news that went along with it. Whenever we are told information or news we need to carefully examine who is giving it to us and why or else we are too easily misled.