Is NBC’s suspension of Keith Olbermann for making political donations a farce? This is where reliance on Wikipedia breaks down, providing two competing definitions.
The first definition, which I link to below, and which for reasons apparent I refer to as capital ‘F’ farce says:
In theatre, a farce is a comedy which aims to entertain the audience by means of unlikely, extravagant, and improbable situations, disguise and mistaken identity, verbal humour of varying degrees of sophistication, which may include sexual innuendo and word play, and a fast-paced plot whose speed usually increases, culminating in an ending which often involves an elaborate chase scene.
The second definition (little farce) says:
A style of humor marked by broad improbabilities with little regard to regularity or method; compare sarcasm.
So we riddle that and ponder- is NBC farce, Farce, neither or both?
At stage left right NBC actor and MSNBC President Phil Griffin enters:
“I became aware of Keith’s political contributions late last night. Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay.”
NBC News has standards? Roll the tape:
“Anyone working for NBC News who takes part in civic or other outside activities may find that these activities jeopardize his or her standing as an impartial journalist because they may create the appearance of a conflict of interest,” the guidelines read. “Such activities may include participation in or contributions to political campaigns or groups that espouse controversial positions.”
Capital ‘F’ farce is a little wordy for my tastes, so we’ll hone in on “improbable situations, disguise and mistaken identity.” So then…Was it an improbable situation or disguise that caused NBC to mistake the identity of other violators like Larry Kudlow, Joe Scarborough, and Pat Buchanan?
Powerful stuff for capital ‘F’ farce’s case, but a tad more infuriating than “entertaining” and a decided lack of “sexual innuendo.”
Thank goodness for little farce who calls upon us to “compare sarcasm” as in: you call that conflict of interest? While rubes ponder donations of a few thousand by the Olbermanns or even the Kudlows, Scarboroughs and Bucahnans, AlterNet reveals:
- GE (the ahem owner of NBC) made over $2 million in political contributions in the 2010 election cycle.
- GE also spent $32 million on lobbying this year.
- Comcast, which wants to merge with NBC, has dramatically increased its political giving, much of it to lawmakers who support the proposed merger.
Little farce wins, but I’d say NBC is a capital ‘F’ farce all the way.