THE PLANK AUGUST 3, 2009
As someone who tends to take a pretty dismissive view of complaints about "corporate" media, I think Glenn Greenwald is dead on in his response to this NYT article about the truce GE and the News Corporation decreed between their two news networks, MSNBC and Fox:
So here we have yet another example -- perhaps the most glaring yet -- of the corporations that own our largest media outlets controlling and censoring the content of their news organizations based on the unrelated interests of the parent corporation.
It makes no difference what one thinks of O'Reilly's attacks on the corporate activities of GE or Olbermann's criticisms of O'Reilly and Fox News. Whatever one's views on that are -- and I watch neither show very often -- those are perfectly legitimate subjects for news reporting and commentary, and the corporate decree to stop commenting on those topics is nothing less than corporate censorship.
It's that last point that's key. O'Reilly and Olbermann are buffoons and add little, if anything, to the public discourse. Their attacks against one another are about getting ratings. But that ratings-grabbing buffoonery has become a vital component of cable news these days, and if O'Reilly and Olbermann's corporate bosses are willing to muzzle them, it's not hard to imagine those same corporate bosses ruling certain, more newsworthy subjects off-limits to other, less powerful reporters in their employ.