When Americans get frustrated with their media, they often feel inclined to take their gripes to a higher power. That would be the government. Commentators, journalists, pundits, etc., drive news consumers over and over to dial up or e-mail the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) — the better to lobby for relief from all these experts. The Erik Wemple Blog a while back requested a cross-section of complaints and hereby continues a series showcasing the best ones.

In November 2010, a news consumer identified only as “Janette Unknown” wrote to the FCC to complain about MSNBC’s suspension of Keith Olbermann for making unauthorized political donations. The news consumer showed little appreciation for the distinction between employee disciplinary procedures and First Amendment protections. Note: The first and last lines appear to be the consumer complaint; what comes between appears to be the reply from the FCC.

Email Subject: DAY 2 since KEITH OLBERMANN was SUSPENDED / for fans of Free Speech & Free Press

[redacted] wrote on 2/10/2011 11:49:13 AM:


Thank you for contacting the FCC.

MSNBC President Phil Griffin suspended him indefinitely without pay for violating a network policy which required employees to obtain approval from management before making political contributions. An online petition calling for his reinstatement received over 250,000 signatures, and two days after the suspension began, Griffin announced that Olbermann would return to the air starting with the November 9th program.

This appears to be a network policy regarding MSNBC employees.

You would want to contact MSNBC regarding the suspension of Keith Olbermann.

Thank you

11/6/2010 1:43:33 PM – Email Acknowledgement sent to [redacted]

[redacted] wrote on 11/6/2010 1:42:43 PM:

I am very concerned that the suspension is censorship. Freedom of the press should concern you, and I hope you are watching.