I feel sympathy pangs for MSNBC's vituperative character assassin Keith Olbermann about as often and as strongly as I feel the urge to pay the IRS more than it's demanding in taxes. But when he got into trouble for making political donations to Democrats earlier this month, I couldn't help butcatch a sniff of hypocrisy in the journalistic air.
I don't mean Olbermann's, either, though he reeks of it. Two years ago, during a visit with the Chatty Cathies of ABC's The View, Olbermann loftily proclaimed himself such a rigorously objective journalist that he doesn't even go to the polls on Election Day. "I don't vote,'' he said with his usual mix of self-righteousness and condescension. "It's a symbolic gesture.''
Purely symbolic, now that we know he was writing checks to Democrats: $7,200 to three candidates in this year's congressional races. MSNBC suspended him for two days when it found out about the donations, which violated company rules. Funny, because Olbermann's bosses didn't see any problem with their own $2.2 million in political donations. Read my full op-ed column in Tuesday's Miami Herald.
By the way, it seems the situation at NBC is heating up. The Dailly Beast reports that Olbermann's disregard for the rules, coupled with his imperious comportment (staffers aren't allowed to speak to him, only leave notes at his office) has left him without a friend in the building. The piece suggests it's even money whether Olbermann will quit or get fired in the near future. On the other hand, it also reveals his "suspension" was actually a vacation: NBC paid him for the time off.