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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/26/11

First Olbermann, Now Schultz: Reading the Comcast Tea Leaves

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And now the most powerful broadcaster for the American working class has been silenced, for a week according to this report, but according to a much humbled-appearing Ed Schultz, in a fait accompli at 10Pm Wednesday on MSNBC, indefinitely. Schultz was in trouble with Comcast for saying on The Ed Schultz Show radio program, "President Obama is going to be visiting Joplin, Missouri on Sunday but you know what they're talking about, like this right-wing slut, what's her name? Laura Ingraham? Yeah, she's a talk slut." 

Schultz's unpaid suspension, nearly 6 months after Keith Olbermann's November 5, 2010 suspension for making campaign contributions without screening them with MSNBC management--and four months after Olbermann read the Comcast tea leaves and resigned from his Countdown show--shines a light on what many Progressives, including this OpedNews writer, wrote about the approaching endtimes for MSNBC as the left-leaning counterpoint to FoxNews. 

In my November 5, 2010 OpedNews article Will Olbermann Be the Next Donahue?, I wrote, "Now that corporate monster Comcast has begun to feed on it, MSNBC has begun the process of making Olbermann their next Donahue. If Keith stays gone, the next will be Rachel; perhaps making more transparent MSNBC's reason for giving Catfood Commission spokesman Lawrence O'Donnell the 10 PM slot." 

In my January 25, 2011 OpedNews article O'Donnell Didn't Praise Olbermann As Much As Mock Him, I cited an article on the online Wall Street Journal by Sam Schechner and Lauren A. E. Schuker in which the two journalists reported, "MSNBC has been planning for this day. Last fall, executives gave Lawrence O'Donnell--who had filled in for Mr. Olbermann--a regular program at 10 p.m. specifically to groom him for Mr. Olbermann's slot at 8 p.m., assuming he would eventually leave, a person familiar with the matter said. On Friday, MSNBC said Mr. O'Donnell would slide into the timeslot beginning Monday."   I then mused, "Due to Keith Olbermann's ratings lead-in, Rachel Maddow's 9PM broadcast enjoyed good ratings. Why, then, was she not moved to the 8PM slot instead of the less popular O'Donnell? Could it be because MSNBC/Comcast want the certain drop in 8PM ratings to infect 9PM as cover for the planned cancellation of both Maddow and Ed Schultz? A cleansing of moderate and liberal voices under the mask of a business decision, ahead of the upcoming presidential race? Is that the part Schechner and Schuker missed?" 

And though MSNBC's 8PM ratings haven't been significantly harmed under O'Donnell, and he has rebuked ferociously NBC/Comcast's refusal to take disciplinary action against Donald Trump for flirting openly with a presidential race while Trump remained an NBC/Comcast employee, I remain convinced O'Donnell was no more sincere than Trump and had escaped Comcast discipline himself because he was actually part of the scripted hype. 

Schultz was in Madison, Wisconsin, in support of American workers under siege by its governor, while O'Donnell remained in studio doing his old news anti-Palin schtick. Schultz's reports and opinions greatly aided the revival of sympathy and national support for regular Americans rebelling against the lies and corrupt practices of state governments that have been bought and paid for by the billionaire Koch Brothers, while O'Donnell tried to compete with a crusade for school desks for African children. Schultz had taken the pulse of the war on America's working poor and thinning middle class, while O'Donnell opted to spend valuable airtime beating up on that sad, crazy lady Orly Taitz. Schultz understands class warfare broke out long ago in America, started by the richest one per cent, while O'Donnell remains dully clueless. 

So, now Ed Schultz follows the pattern of MSNBC/Comcast on eliminating effective progressive voices from its payroll: a couple suspensions and, hopefully, Schultz will read the tea leaves and voluntarily depart. 

Next will be Rachel Maddow. Perhaps NBC/Comcast will suspend her for too often drinking on the job. 

With the 2012 Presidential campaigns gearing up, MSNBC/Comcast can't have progressives like Schultz and Maddow fouling up campaign coverage by opining with the network's dependably compromised stable of David Gregory, Tom Brokaw, Brian Williams, Andrea Mitchell, Joe Scarborough and Politico standbys. 

And Keith, if by chance you're reading this, you once dated Laura Ingraham; so you would know. Is she a "talk slut"? Is that why you decided to quit her?              

 

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Retired, Robert Arend was president of an AFSCME local from 1997-2007.
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