MSNBC host Rachel Maddow closed her program Friday night with a segment about the suspension of her "colleague and friend Keith Olbermann," arguing that the suspension underscores the difference between MSNBC and Fox News.
Maddow ran down a list of Fox News hosts' and contributors' political donations and fundraising activities, ranging from Sean Hannity's political donations to Glenn Beck's on-air fundraising to Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin's political careers.
Maddow argued that MSNBC's suspension of Olbermann in light of his political donations (without prior network approval) showed that it is a real news organization, as opposed to Fox News, which allows its hosts to engage in political activity without consequence.
"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," she said. "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 News raise money for Republican candidates. They endorse them explicitly, they use their Fox News profile to headline fundraisers. Heck, there are multiple people being paid by Fox News now to essentially run for office as Republican candidates....They can do that because there's no rule against that as Fox. They run as a political operation; we're not."
Maddow continued by saying, though she and Olbermann are avowed liberals and others at MSNBC make their political beliefs known, MSNBC is "not a political operation," while Fox News is.
"We are a news operation and the rules around here are part of how you know that," she said.
Maddow also praised Olbermann, saying he took on the Bush administration "before it was politically safe to do it," and that he was "the one who brought to light Fox News' water-carrying-role for the Bush administration."
"Now, weirdly, it is Keith who is illustrating the difference between what he does on TV, what we do here at MSNBC, and what goes on across the street" at Fox News.
Maddow did acknowledge that Olbermann broke an NBC News rule, adding, "I understand this rule, I understand what it means to break this rule. I believe everybody should face the same treatment under this rule."
But she called on her MSNBC bosses to end the suspension, saying that the point had been made.
"I also personally believe that the point has been made and we should have Keith back hosting 'Countdown,'" she said.
Maddow also referenced "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough's political donation to a Republican friend in 2006, though she did not reference Scarborough by name.
"You can [donate] if you ask in advance and management tells you OK. That's what I understand happened with our morning show host's political donations in 2006, under previous management," she said.
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