NEW YORK (AP/CBSNewYork)– MSNBC says it’s suspending morning host Joe Scarborough for two days without pay for making political contributions to four Republican candidates.
MSNBC president Phil Griffin said Friday that Scarborough’s eight donations for $500 apiece violate NBC News policy. He says Scarborough will return to the “Morning Joe” anchor desk Wednesday.
In a statement, Scarborough apologized to the network. But he added that because the contributions were for local Florida races, he had not understood the NBC News policy appliedHe said that the donations, which were discovered by Politico.com, were made to “close personal friends and family members and were limited to local races,” and that they were “given for personal rather than political reasons.” (The donations went to his brother and three “longtime family friends.”) He therefore believed he didn’t need approval from MSNBC, according to Politico.
Scarborough notified Griffin as soon as he realized he had crossed the network’s standards, he said.
Scarborough is a former Republican congressman from Florida. His suspension comes on the heels of a two-day suspension of fellow MSNBC host Keith Olbermann last week, also for making political contributions.
Olbermann, the left-leaning cable network’s most popular personality acknowledged donating $2,400 apiece to the campaigns of Kentucky Senate candidate Jack Conway and Arizona Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords. NBC News prohibits its employees from making political donations unless an exception is granted in advance by the network news president. In this case, Olbermann’s bosses didn’t know about them until being informed by a reporter.
Liberal groups had taken on Olbermann’s suspension as a cause. An online petition calling for his reinstatement, run by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, had exceeded 300,000 signatures Sunday, and Michael Moore had tweeted his support. The committee’s Adam Green said Griffin was repeatedly e-mailed updates on the petition drives.
“Progressives proved that when one of our own are targeted, we will have their backs,” he said.
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