Jeff Zucker on Olbermann Suspension: ‘We Have Guidelines in Place and You Need to Follow Them’

By Alex Weprin Comment

In a wide-ranging conversation at the Paley Center for Media’s International Council this morning, outgoing NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker was interviewed by one of his employees, “CNBC “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer.

Cramer brought up Keith Olbermann’s recent suspension from MSNBC, and asked whether news employees should be allowed to donate to political campaigns.

We have guidelines in place and you need to follow them. If you don’t there needs to be something done. That is what was done at MSNBC. With regard to whether those rules are right, or antiquated, I do think it is about transparency, it is about telling the viewer what you are doing.

Zucker also seemed to respond to Senator Jay Rockefeller‘s complaint that networks like MSNBC and Fox News are harming the public discourse:

The viewer gets to decide here, the viewer knows the difference; we aren’t giving enough credit to the viewer. The viewer knows what “NBC Nightly News” is about, the viewer knows what “Mad Money” is about, the viewer knows what “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” is about, the viewer knows what Bill O’Reilly is about. We have got to give the viewer more credit. Yeah, some of it is loud, and some of it is out there, but there’s more choice.

He also said he does not know what he will do once he leaves NBC, but that he is considering returning to the world of journalism:

That is where I grew up. You [Cramer] were the president of the Harvard Crimson, I was fortunate enough to serve in that role as well. That as my first love, I have never strayed far from that in my mind, I love journalism. There are a lot of other things I am interested in, but it is a noble profession and I would always consider that.

Check out the entire conversation, below.

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