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Corporate Parents Agreed to Censor Olbermann and O’Reilly

Posted on Aug 2, 2009
Keith Olbermann

It’s no secret that Keith Olbermann and Bill O’Reilly don’t get along, but the two TV personalities have drastically scaled back their attacks on one another ever since a private meeting between GE and News Corp. CEOs determined the feud was bad for the bottom line.

Apparently Charlie Rose was the Iago behind this sinister meeting. As Glenn Greenwald recounts in Salon, Rose has a history of denying the corruptive influence of corporations on media.

Greenwald also objects to The New York Times’ original telling of the story for glossing over the most offensive revelations.

Glenn Greenwald in Salon:

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.

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By Sepharad, August 5, 2009 at 11:42 pm Link to this comment

Way back in the early ‘70s the Freedom of Information Center did a lengthy, detailed study as to what constituted the greatest censorship of print press freedom in the U.S.

Most of us had expected that the government would be the #1 guilty party. But government came in last.

Most actual censorship was a result of 1# advertiser pressure on the publisher, which was the greatest factor in small to medium towns and in the largest print markets, including national. Advertisers had less influence was less pronounced in smaller cities for various reasons. After advertiser pressure, #2 was editors who shaped stories to reflect the conventional wisdom of the town or city, and #3 was reporters who had definite and extreme (right and left equally) opinions which were most often conveyed by selection of facts and connecting the dots of said facts to reflect the reporter’s overall worldview.

So not much has changed—corporate and advertiser bottomlines remain the most virulent form of censorship.

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Purple Girl's avatar

By Purple Girl, August 5, 2009 at 4:54 am Link to this comment

BillO has blood on his hands and until he is brought to justice in a court of Law for inciting the assasination of Dr Tillerman, he should be prosecuted in the court of Public opinion.
Same goes for Beck who got those 3 cops shot and killed.
Lou Dobbs for the murder of that hispanic family by ‘Minutemen’.
For every heinous act of violence in that last 6 months there is a Rightwing media whore who should stand trial alongside the perpetrator.

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By Hawel, August 4, 2009 at 12:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am a German born, naturalized citizen and have been living in the U.S. for the past 42 years. Whenever I watch our glorious commercial networks news programs I get sick. I don’t care if it is ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, CNBC, etc. All of their so called “Reporters” & “Journalists” are nothing more than Corporate Word Readers. They just read what their owners put in front of them. And that is nothing more than braincell destroying trivial crap.

I receive German TV via satellite and I watch one of their 1/2 hr. news programs daily. That 1/2 hr. program gives me more information on what is going on in the U.S. & the rest of the world than all the aforementioned “News Organizations” combined in 24 hrs.

If it wasn’t for Link TV, Democracy Now, John Steward and on occasion PBS, this would really be a dark place.

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By Ed Harges, August 4, 2009 at 12:47 pm Link to this comment

Let’s not forget that this whole business that MSNBC’s “parent” company GE should be ashamed to be doing business with Iran is complete Israel-centric crap.

Iran is no threat to anybody — certainly not to the USA. Our own intelligence services have concluded that Iran isn’t seeking nuclear weapons, and the IAEA says there’s no evidence that Iran has ever had a nuclear weapons program.

Furthermore, even if Iran did have nuclear weapons, there’s no reason to believe that Iran would be crazy enough to launch a nuclear first strike against Israel or the US. Top Israeli officials admit quietly that this idea of a suicidal “mad mullah” Iranian regime, willing to commit national suicide just to have the pleasure of nuking Israel, is baloney. Everybody knows that the Iran “threat” is garbage promoted by Israel and its nominally “American” friends who dominate most our corporate news media and own our Congress through their lobbyists.

Iran is an “enemy” of the US only because Israel’s devotees insist that we should adopt as our enemy any country that stands in the way of Israel’s self-arrogated position of eternal regional nuclear technology monopoly and eternal regional dominance in the Mideast.

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By hippie4ever, August 4, 2009 at 9:16 am Link to this comment

Try as they might, I doubt the “corporate parents” will manage to control these kids. I expect more tantrums, especially from O’Reilly. And I’d miss Bouncing Limbaugh too.

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By Max Shields, August 4, 2009 at 8:16 am Link to this comment

Haven’t watched Olbermann in some time. Does he still rumple the paper and throw it at the end of the show with the countdown on number of days since Iraq was claimed a “victory” now that his man Obama is in charge?

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By Louise, August 4, 2009 at 5:58 am Link to this comment

Ndolo, August 2 at 9:26 pm #
(Unregistered commenter)

“Say It Ain’t So”


It ain’t so!

And anyone who watched Olbermann last night knows it ain’t so. So, why do “journalists” and other mainstreammedia types take a small instance and re-create it into a full blown “news” story anyway?

Who knows?

If we could nail down and identify that motive we would be going a long way to nailing down all the crap that gets pushed into our little brains as news, wouldn’t we.

But I agree with Outraged;

“You have to admit, bringing O’Really to the forefront without having to watch his entire rant is much preferable to sitting through it.  I find the bouncing Limbaugh seriously entertaining.”

Newsworthy or not it’s simply funny and Lord knows there’s darn little in this world that is, anymore!

By the way, how come Limbaugh has that compulsive need to keep trying to rip his shirt off? That behaviour must indicate something. Like maybe he’s uncomfortable in his own skin?

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By Outraged, August 3, 2009 at 10:12 pm Link to this comment

Re: Ed Harges

Your comment: “I mean, pointing out Bill-O’s ridiculousness to a liberal viewing audience is hardly ever necessary or even interesting, is it?”

Yes and no.  If Olbermann is exposing inaccuracies in O’Really’s commentary then it is interesting AND NEWS WORTHY, otherwise it’s simply funny.  You have to admit, bringing O’Really to the forefront without having to watch his entire rant is much preferable to sitting through it.  I find the bouncing Limbaugh seriously entertaining.

The problem is that corporate interference in public matters is extremely toxic.  The Nader Page:

“The latest escapes from responsible government are called “public-private partnerships” and are designed to enable the likes of Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs to take over highways, meter-collecting, and public buildings in deals that are loaded with complex tax advantages for the investors.

Here are two of her latest entries. Arizona lawmakers and Governor Jan Brewer are moving to fill a $3.4 billion budget shortfall by selling state-owned buildings. These include not only prisons, but also the House and Senate buildings. That’s the state legislature, fellow Americans! Metaphor becomes reality!

The proposed sale has bipartisan support and will require a leaseback by the buying corporation to the lawmakers with the right to repurchase the premises within twenty years.

The Arizona Republic reports that the deal, which includes 32 state properties, would bring in $735 million in upfront money and entail state lease payments totaling $60-70 million a year.”

The additional link the article provides to should be in everone’s “favorites”.  Supposed quasi “public-private” organizations should be outlawed.  This does not mean the PUBLIC cannot contract with the private sector, only that PUBLIC INTERESTS be bargained effectively and TRANSPARENTLY and that the contracts and their orginators answer to the PUBLIC!  Check it out:

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By Ed Harges, August 3, 2009 at 7:54 pm Link to this comment

Well, this is a little confusing. I don’t know who to believe.

Tonight, on his show, Keith Olbermann strenuously denied having made any such promise to his corporate bosses; and by way of proof, he launched into an attack on Bill-O’ just like old times. Olbermann explains that, as he said on his show many weeks ago, he had been taking a long break from his constant attacks against O’Reilly for other reasons, having nothing to do with any supposed inconvenience to GE.

Personally, I found that the constant attacks on Bill-O’ were getting quite tiresome, strident, and boring, and they were anyway unlikely to fall on the ears that needed to hear them. I mean, pointing out Bill-O’s ridiculousness to a liberal viewing audience is hardly ever necessary or even interesting, is it?

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By bEHOLD_tHE-mATRIX, August 3, 2009 at 11:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you Mr. Greenwald for drawing back yet another bed cover revealing more fornication of the monied with the “perceived unbiased” news media.  Cross-ownership of media and unrelated business should not be regulated…. it should be outlawed!  The Fourth Estate has been crippling the middle and lower class for many decades now and the situation continues to worsen.  And I’ve not even mentioned advertisers’ influence on news stories.  That is just as bad.

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By grumpynyker, August 3, 2009 at 7:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Too late.  To save my few remaining brain cells, I stopped watching CNN, Headline News, MSNBC and Fox News.  Once in a while I’ll look at CSPAN.

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By samosamo, August 3, 2009 at 5:17 am Link to this comment

I would not be surprised to learn that the biggest lobby in washington, the media lobby, will hurry through some law or constitutional amendment making it capital crime to desecrate the ‘good’ name of any corporation or reveal their sacrosanct secrets in any way public or private and that will be a high priority of the government sectors spying and wiretapping programs, just more big butthole.

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By Fat Freddy, August 3, 2009 at 4:28 am Link to this comment

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.

So, I guess that includes running any stories that “hurt the unrelated corporate interests” of either organization. Cutting back on sensationalism is one thing, but if they allow it to effect the “real” news stories… well, they would never do that, right?

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By thebeerdoctor, August 3, 2009 at 4:09 am Link to this comment

Not surprising, but appalling. Since the participants receive the big cookies from the corporate jar, everything is just peachy for them. Richard Wolffe sadly, has been exposed as yet another slippery snark, flopping about in the communications ocean called infotainment. Is he today’s Worst Person In The World?
This is one gosh darn heck of a culture. Even purported heroes turn out to be bums. Charlie Rose is the sickest sycophant on television.

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By Commune115, August 3, 2009 at 1:36 am Link to this comment

Is anyone surprised? Even “Liberal” MSNBC is a corporate entity and therefore driven by corporate interests.

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By Ndolo, August 2, 2009 at 6:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Say It Ain’t So”

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