A.W.O.L on Comcast/NBC Merger: Olbermann, Maddow, Schultz, Matthews

 

--I heard the news today, oh boy, About a lucky man who made the grade...He blew his mind out in a car, He didn't notice that the lights had changed..-- (Sgt Pepper, The Beatles, 1967)

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 triggered a wave of media ownership consolidation.

You will, of course, remember the vigorous debate on that bill, recounted night-after-night on the major news programs, regaled even more on the "pundit" shows of the time, and consuming nearly all the air-time on the Sunday blabberfests? And , recall getting tired of 60 Minutes running this story week after week after week?

You don't remember?....well, not to worry, you are not suffering memory loss or suppressing a painful experience.

You do not remember it because the major networks and cable operators who stood to gain financially from this bad policy said virtually nothing about it. Their "independent" newsrooms reported next to nothing about it. There were no "round-tables" discussing its merits. I believe I recall ABC's Ted Koppel, who hosted Nightline that prided itself on covering stories in depth and without apology for ruffling feathers, being asked whether he supported the bill, and giving a rather lame "yes, it is valuable to my network" answer. If you knew about it at all, it was because you watched C-SPAN at some ungodly hour. [And, to be completely fair, Olbermann-Maddow-Schultz-Matthews were not on the air in 1996).

When it came to Citizens United--the recent decision by the Supreme Court that found the original intent of the Founders was to grant Constitutional personhood to corporations, creatures of the State--Olbermann, Maddow, Schultz and Matthews were intensely concerned about its implications. They covered the case, the aftermath, and periodically follow-up with reports of Congressional efforts to blunt its effects or overturn it by Constitutional Amendment.

Enter, Comcast/NBC Universal. Comcast is the nation's largest cable operator, and NBC Universal one of the major content creators. Comcast wants to purchase NBC Universal from General Electric. MSNBC and CNBC are part of NBC Universal and would become owned by Comcast.

Where is the coverage Rachel? Ed? Olbermann? Matthews? Where is the outrage over increased media concentration and corporate control? Where is the exposé of Comcast's past egregious actions? (For a chronicle of those, see, e.g., Josh Silver's article,"Senator Franken Rips Into Comcast CEO Brian Roberts", February 5, 2010).

Just to provide a taste--Comcast opposes Net Neutrality, and has already tried to violate it on its own. It lavishes money on Members of Congress, and packs FCC hearing rooms with paid "supporters". Brian Roberts lied to Senator Franken right in his office about the FCC protecting consumers against price increases while his lawyers argued it was unconstitutional.

So where are Olbermann, Maddow, Schultz and Matthews? How can they, as they all rightly have, extol the virtues of a Wendell Potter (former insurance executive who outed his industry during the healthcare reform debate), and yet sit idly without investigating and reporting the dire implications of Comcast owning NBC Universal?

The deafening silence from this quartet is all the testimony needed to show why this merger is...very bad news, indeed. . 

What Ed Said

This New York Times cites several people who have known Barack Obama throughout his career who predict that his choice to replace David Souter on the Supreme Court will likely be "moderate" and "pragmatic" one.

This bit is particularly telling:

Now Mr. Obama is preparing to select his first Supreme Court nominee to replace retiring Justice David H. Souter. In interviews, former colleagues and students say they have a fairly strong sense of the kind of justice he will favor: not a larger-than-life liberal to counter the conservative pyrotechnics of Justice Antonin Scalia, but a careful pragmatist with a limited view of the role of courts.

"His nominee will not create the proverbial shock and awe," said Charles J. Ogletree, a Harvard professor who has known the president since his days as a student.

Mr. Obama believes the court must never get too far ahead of or behind public sentiment, they say. He may have a mandate for change, and Senate confirmation odds in his favor. But he has almost always disappointed those who expected someone in his position -- he was Harvard's first black law review president and one of the few minority members of the University of Chicago's law faculty -- to side consistently with liberals.

I have to say I find it hard to believe that Obama's pick won't be reliably in the liberal camp, I have to say I agree with Ed Schultz who said it very well the other day:

"I think it's time to say it. This is no time for bi-partisanship, we need a liberal on the Supreme Court." [...]

"Will President Obama put a liberal lion on the Supreme Court, and I mean no shame, no apologies. Or will he cave in when the Party of No starts crying about a consensus choice? May I remind Americans tonight, we had a consensus back in November, it was called an election. They lost. Elections have consequences. This is our time to shape the future of this country."

Watch it (h/t Crooks & Liars):

There's more...

Ed Schultz to Join MSNBC

Last month, it emerged that MSNBC was looking at progressive talker Ed Schultz to anchor a new daily program on the network. Now, per a release, "The Ed Show" is official.

Veteran talk radio host Ed Schultz joins MSNBC as host of "The Ed Show," premiering on Monday, April 6. "The Ed Show" will air weekdays, 6-7 p.m. ET. The announcement was made today by Phil Griffin, President, MSNBC.

"I am thrilled to have Ed kicking-off our primetime lineup," said Griffin. "Ed's proven that he can connect with Americans and will be a perfect compliment to Chris, Keith, and Rachel. He's already made his mark on radio and I'm excited to see what he'll do with the 6 p.m. hour."

"I'm excited to have this opportunity with MSNBC," said Schultz. "I look forward to having a day to day discussion with fellow Americans on issues that really matter to all of us."

David Shuster, currently hosting "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" at 6 p.m. ET on MSNBC, will join Tamron Hall as host of a new 3-5 p.m. ET program on MSNBC. Shuster will also continue to anchor breaking news coverage during the day and serve as a regular substitute anchor for "Countdown with Keith Olbermann."  Norah O'Donnell's hour will move to the morning.  The exact hour will be announced at a later date.

It's somewhat disappointing to see Schultz bumping David Shuster out of the evening hours on MSNBC, as "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" has been one of the better programs on cable news -- particularly in recognizing that conservatives aren't the only people with voices to be heard in this country. And those who read MyDD will know that I would have loved to have seen a progressive more closely affiliated with the netroots, like Sam Seder, get a new MSNBC gig. That all said, with the conservative domination of cable news, the addition of another progressive voice is certainly to be applauded. So here's to hoping "The Ed Show" is the type of success for MSNBC that the Keith and Rachel shows have been.

Update [2009-4-2 4:1:4 by Todd Beeton]:I've not really been a big fan of Ed Schultz but after his intro on Countdown today, I'm sort of on board. I especially liked this bit from Ed:

I'm gonna be the guy who represents people who take a shower after work. I'm gonna be that guy who's gonna be there for the working folk of America. I'm a staunch supporter of unions.

The whole thing is worth watching:

There's more...

Wes Clark - Obama and the TV and Radio Machines

Cross posted atEENR

There is so much talk going on all over the "tubes" lately about what Wes Clark said and meant.

To get a little perspective about how Wes Clark feels about Obama and what he has been saying about McCain, try reading his own words from his personal blog at WesPAC.

Bush's Third Term

Unite Behind Barack Obama

After reading his words and understanding where he is coming from, then listen to what he has to say. Check out all of the video and audio from the last few days by going here:
http://securingamerica.com

Dan Abrams on MSNBC, Good Morning America on ABC and on the Ed Schultz show.
http://securingamerica.com

Do any of you still think that Barack Obama, his campaign and Wes Clark are not working together?

There's more...

Obama Repudiates Talk Show Host

WASHINGTON (AP) - Democrat Barack Obama's presidential campaign on Saturday repudiated a liberal talk show host's description of Sen Hillary Clinton as a big f*cking whore, a comment made to an audience of Obama supporters.

Randi Rhodes, host of a nationally syndicated radio program that is based in New York City, was warming up the crowd Friday at a $100 (64)-a-person fundraiser for the San Francisco supporters of Obama supporters when he tagged the presidential candidate as a a "big f*cking whore."

There's more...

Diaries

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