Monday, August 03, 2009

GE's silencing of Olbermann and MSNBC's sleazy use of Richard Wolffe - Glenn Greenwald -

The reconciliation -- not acknowledged by the parties until now -- showcased how a personal and commercial battle between two men could create real consequences for their parent corporations. A G.E. shareholders' meeting, for instance, was overrun by critics of MSNBC (and one of Mr. O’Reilly's producers) last April. . . .

In late 2007, Mr. O’Reilly had a young producer, Jesse Watters, ambush Mr. Immelt and ask about G.E.'s business in Iran, which is legal, and which includes sales of energy and medical technology. G.E. says it no longer does business in Iran.

Mr. O’Reilly continued to pour pressure on its corporate leaders, even saying on one program last year that "If my child were killed in Iraq, I would blame the likes of Jeffrey Immelt." The resulting e-mail to G.E. from Mr. O’Reilly's viewers was scathing. . .

Over time, G.E. and the News Corporation concluded that the fighting "wasn’t good for either parent," said an NBC employee with direct knowledge of the situation. But the session hosted by Mr. Rose provided an opportunity for a reconciliation, sealed with a handshake between Mr. Immelt and Mr. Murdoch.

Though Olbermann denies he was part of any deal, the NYT says that there has been virtually no criticism of Fox by Olbermman, or MSNBC by O'Reilly, since June 1 when the deal took effect. That's mostly but not entirely true. On June 17, after President Obama accused Fox News of fomenting hostility towards his agenda, and Fox responded by saying that the "other networks" were pure pro-Obama outlets, Olbermann did voice fairly stinging criticisms of Fox as "more of a political entity than is the Republican National Committee right now, only it's fraudulently disguised as some sort of news organization."

Note: I don't watch either show except when visiting other people's homes, as I don't have TV reception where I live. Also, I'm not responsible for the many typos in the above quote, only for those below.

Seems to me the left “misses” a few points:

First, these are opinion shows, not news shows. So there is no need to “expose” Fox for its bias. Fox leans right, all the others lean left, again, when you look just at the opinion shows. Does this bias spill over into news coverage? Probably. But one opinion journalist criticizing another opinion journalist for having a different opinion than their own? That's called trying to pump up ones own ratings. Maybe Olberman covered too many “Professional Wrestling” contests and can't get hucksterism out of his system. In any event, we are way past any of this needed to be "exposed". Everyone gets it already.

Second, the only hypocrisy here seems to be that of Olberman and MSNBC/GE. Whats in this for Fox/O'Reilly? To have Olberman stop calling it names in the schoolyard? Makes no sense. All the other media outlets dump on Fox constantly. What difference does it make whether Olberman and his show do so or not? Does it make sense that Fox would say "hey, we'll stop stepping on your toes if you promise to throw a little less acid in our face"? Ratings for Olberman's show are approaching zero already. I can't imagine that it makes any different to O'Reilly (who's ratings are at or near the top) one way or another whether he is mentioned over at MSNBC. Maybe, in fact, this is just MSNBC's way of pushing Olberman out the door without actually firing him. Let him go off in a huff and trade that fat salary for his high ethical standards. If he has any. Funny he would take vacation right after this stand-down isn't it?

Finally, note all the loose talk about corporate corruption of the news. Need we clear our throat and point out that Murdock/News Corp/Fox are all pure media companies? It's the other players that are owned by companies that have alternate interests, like making aircraft parts, pushing Hollywood films, game consoles, or software down our throats. Interesting isn't it that the networks pushing the anti-corporate agenda are the ones with the largest ulterior motives at the top?

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