Keith Olbermann Returns to Countdown; Maddow Defends

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MSNBC Countdown host Keith Olbermann returns from a short suspension after it was revealed he made personal political contriobutions to candidates this election cycle without the approval of his employers. This prior approval is how “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough was able to make political contributions to Republican candidates without being suspended.

Faster than you can say “Liberal Media Bias,” appropriately named “Hot Air” blogger Michelle Malkin, who does contributes to Chip Hanlon’s Red County, launched a full on assault of MSNBC and Olberman.

Malkin writes: “Unlike Fox News (pay attention, Media Matters Soros-bots), NBC ethics guidelines (yes, they do have them) bar their employees from making political contributions. (FNC’s real-world, pro-free speech rules allow donations as long “as long as the activity does not interfere with or impair the performance of the employee’s duties for the Company.”)”

And it’s in Malkin’s last line that’s the rub.  Fox News is a full on Republican fundraiser and endorsement engine for the Republican party and Republican candidates.  And what matters more, why aren’t there any form of standards on this for Fox News like MSNBC has?

Malkin rails on Olbermann for making a contribution to the campaign of Rep. Raul Grijarlva after hosting the candidate on an MSNBC program. Of course, Malkin left out the hypcritical notion that Fox News host Sean Hannity has contributed to Rep. Michelle Bachmann after having interviewed her multiple times.  Fox News host Glenn Beck asks on the air how he can help raise money for Republican candidates. 

Rachel Maddow defended Olberman by exposing multiple examples of Fox News hosts making political contributions, hosting fundraisers or making endorsements that Republican candidates then used to make money.

Maddow: “Keith is a liberal, so am I. There are other people on this network whose political views are shared openly with our viewers. We are not a political operation. FOX is. We are a news operation. The rules around here are part how you know. Keith Olbermann attracted the ire of the right-wing and raged against what he saw as the errors and sins of the previous administration. Keith was also the one who brought to light FOX News’ water-carrying role for the Bush administration…I understand the rule. I understand what it means to break it. I believe everyone should face the same treatment under that rule. I also personally believe that the point has been made and we should have Keith back hosting Countdown”

And Olbermann is back.

The right wing blogspohere has gone ballistic over this.  The right wing NewsBusters site and Andrew Breitbart’s “Big Journalism” sites are calling Maddow’s defense of her colleague as “lame.”  But Maddow is right.  There’s a stark difference between Fox news and MSNBC, and truth usually has a liberal bias to it.