Olbermann's Sacking Shifts US Media Further Right - by Stephen Lendman
Make no mistake. He didn't quit. He was pushed, the final straw perhaps being the January 18 FCC-approved Comcast-NBC Merger. Its chairman/CEO Brian Roberts co-chaired the 2000 Republican Convention host committee, and COO Stephen Burke/now NBC Universal CEO tilts heavily to Republicans. According to Public Citizen and Think Progress, he raised at least $200,000 for Bush's 2004 campaign, served on his Council on Science and Technology, and may wish to make MSNBC another Fox, despite pledging no "interference with NBC Universal's news operations."
Think Progress asked: "Why would Comcast be interested in silencing progressive voices?" Because it opposes issues they support, including Net Neutrality, stiffer media regulation, and restraints on being able to buy telecommunications and media companies freely.
Despite having MSNBC's highest ratings, Olbermann's gone like (once top-rated) Phil Donahue ahead of Operation Iraqi Freedom. At the time, a leaked network February 25, 2003 memo to All Your TV.com, said he presented a:
"difficult public face for NBC in a time of war....He seems to delight in presenting guests who are anti-war, anti-Bush and skeptical of the administration's motives." It outlined a nightmare scenario of his show becoming "a home for the liberal antiwar agenda at the same time our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity," promoting war, not diplomacy and peace.
For those on the far right, Olbermann, like Donahue, became too hot to handle, personality issues mattering less than staunchly right wing politics. Expect MSNBC to feature more of it, shifting more to the right like Fox and CNN, racing to the bottom to see who's more pro-business, pro-war, and anti-left of center ideologically. MSNBC's remaining prime time hosts take note.
On January 23, Washington Post writer Paul Farhi headlined, "Olbermann-MSNBC split had been brewing for a while," saying:
He "often clashed with his employers, condemning - sometimes quite publicly - directives with which he has disagreed. His departure fit a pattern (of) frequent run-ins (often) result(ing) in (him) leaving a job....His sudden exit prompted widespread suspicion of interference by Comcast."
According to one MSNBC insider, "there were strong indications that the timing wasn't coincidental. (It was) right," but not for the first time. After leaving ESPN in 1997, a network official said "He didn't burn the bridges here; he napalmed them." This time, ideology, not contentiousness, made the difference, but neither side is saying.
Earlier articles criticized his less than pure progressive credentials, accessed through the following links:
At issue was unabashedly supporting Obama/Democrat policies, including:
-- imperial wars without end;
-- anti-labor opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), and agenda to destroy, not create, jobs when they're most needed;
-- a "Race to the Top" scheme to destroy public education;