Monday, August 03, 2009

The Press Is Free -- To Them That Owns One

David Sirota, on OpenLeft this morning, nails it: The most important, and amazingly the most overlooked, aspect of the O'Reilly/Olberman imbroglio is really about the iron-handed --but steadfastly denied-- (total) control of the Newsroom by the CorpoRat Boardroom. It is no longer a matter of speculation. NBC's corpoRat master, GE, told Olberman to back off, cuz O'Reilly had targeted GE CEO, Jeff Immelt, for harassment by his knuckle-dragging, probably violent minions, and it struck too close to home. Besides, it made the WHOLE MEDIA facade vulnerable. Like a well-trained journalist, Sirota gets to the "nutz" above the fold:
Taboo Alert: The Real - And Most Disturbing -
News In the Olbermann-O'Reilly Feud
by: David Sirota
Mon Aug 03, 2009 at 07:45
The New York Times story about MSNBC's corporate parent, General Electric, forcing the network to soften its criticism of Fox News has generated a lot of buzz over the weekend. But what's so telling about the story and the residual chatter is that, with the exception of Glenn Greenwald's typically terrific coverage, it largely misses the newsiest - and most taboo - part of the whole brouhaha.

What the Times story and the aftershock gossip focuses on is the personality feud and new detente between MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and Fox News' Bill O'Reilly. That's supposedly the "news." And yet the real story is the heavy-handed intervention by the CEO of General Electric effectively forcing MSNBC's news team off a crucially important set of stories - namely, Fox News' politicization/Republicanization of media.

For years, Establishment media voices like Charlie Rose (yes, the same Charlie Rose who the Times story says played a direct role in the corporate parents' intervention at MSNBC and Fox) have insisted that it's a black-helicopter-style conspiracy theory to assert that corporate parent companies pressure/impact/limit the newsrooms they control.

But, of course, the evidence has become overwhelming in the last 15 years.
Yes, yes it has. It has been obvious for a lot longer than that, actually. Just as the State, in the advanced mediated society, needs only to kill a handful of its citizens to make its point (as long as they have it on tape and can recycle the lesson at need), so to the CorpoRats need only intervene overtly in a few cases to be completely and wholly understood by the underlings...

This began with the Reagan regime's withdrawal of the Fairness Doctrine, and the subsequent loosening of regulatory strictures that prohibited aqny corpoRat from owning more than a given number of media outlets in any given market. It was assisted by the Clintoon-era revisions to the Communications Act of 1933. It is now so embedded that the only way that CorpoRats will relinquish control is after they've eviscerated any property and can sell off the husks...

As someone I know has remarked often: In the CorpoRat State, CorpoRat media are always already the State media...(The Hed, here, of course, is an homage to I.F. (Izzy) Stone...)

1 comment:

PENolan said...

I've always wondered how anyone can say "liberal media" with a straight face when GE is an arms manufacturer.