Greg Mitchell and Howard Kurtz on Olbermann’s Countdown: Can Journalists Make Political Donations?

Greg Mitchell and Howard Kurtz on Olbermann’s Countdown: Can Journalists Make Political Donations?

Greg Mitchell and Howard Kurtz on Olbermann’s Countdown: Can Journalists Make Political Donations?

In light of the controversy surrounding Olbermann’s campaign donations, should journalists be barred from being involved in politics?

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Keith Olbermann, who returned to MSNBC on Tuesday after his two-show suspension for donating to Democratic candidates, invited The Nation’s media blogger Greg Mitchell and The Daily Beast‘s Howard Kurtz to debate whether networks such as MSNBC should ban journalists from making donations.

According to Kurtz, Olbermann "made a serious mistake," arguing that "there has to be some sort of line between journalists…[and] partisan players. I would put giving money to politicians on the wrong side of that line. If you cross this line, you’re no longer one of us, you’re one of them." 

Mitchell takes a step back to review the context of Olbermann’s suspension, pointing out that the debate actually started several years ago "when straight news reporters…were encouraged by their editors to blog, to do online chats, to express their opinions. This line that Howard has talked about and written about has blurred a long time ago." 

Olbermann emphasizes that he made no attempts to cover up his donations, even though he could have "gone the corporate route" and avoided the controversy altogether.

—Joanna Chiu

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