Sunday, August 02, 2009

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

The New York Times this morning has a remarkable story, and incredibly, the article's author, Brian Stelter, doesn't even acknowledge, let alone examine, what makes the story so significant. In essence, the chairman of General Electric (which owns MSNBC), Jeffrey Immelt, and the chairman of News Corporation (which owns Fox News), Rupert Murdoch, were brought into a room at a "summit meeting" for CEOs in May, where Charlie Rose tried to engineer an end to the "feud" between MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and Fox's Bill O'Reilly. According to the NYT, both CEOs agreed that the dispute was bad for the interests of the corporate parents, and thus agreed to order their news employees to cease attacking each other's news organizations and employees.

Most notably, the deal wasn't engineered because of a perception that it was hurting either Olbermann or O'Reilly's show, or even that it was hurting MSNBC. To the contrary, as Olbermann himself has acknowledged, his battles with O'Reilly have substantially boosted his ratings. The agreement of the corporate CEOs to cease criticizing each other
was motivated by the belief that such criticism was hurting the unrelated corporate interests of GE and News Corp: