OK, so Keith Olbermann donated to three liberal candidates, and he shouldn't have: But the episode underscores exactly how common an occurrence political donations are in the realm of cable news. Politico takes its investigation a step further and finds that Olbermann is far from the only offender: Fox analysts Sean Hannity and Mike Huckabee have given $20,500 this year to GOP candidates, while Olbermann's MSNBC cohort Joe Scarborough made a network-approved $4200 donation to a 2006 congressional race in Oregon, and apparently slipped another candidate $5000 in April.
The difference between Olbermann and Scarborough? “That contribution was made in accordance with (network) policy,” says MSNBC spokesman. “Joe sought permission in advance." Rachel Maddow goes deeper, Huffington Post notes, and skewers Fox for running "as a political operation," noting, "Hosts on Fox News raise money for Republican candidates. They endorse them explicitly, they use their Fox News profile to headline fundraisers." Fox has no rules against employees' political activism, she notes, and shows clips of anchors helping candidates raise money on-air. Watch the video in the gallery above.