In a deal between the head of GE (the owner of MSNBC) and Murdoch's FOX News reported in The New York Times, it was agreed that Olbermann would back off his chronic lacerating caricatures of Bill O'Reilly (although it can still be expected that he will go after O'Reilly and FOX, but much less frequently).
In return, FOX and O'Reilly, in particular, will stop attacking the business dealings of GE. Are you getting the picture of how even MSNBC is affected by big corporate ownership?
A key indicator of what was threatening GE is buried in The New York Times article about the "peace agreement" (which amounts to a decrease in virulent exchanges between O'Reilly and Olbermann). Here are two points worthy of note to indicate that MSNBC talent may be kept on a shorter leash than progressive followers had hoped for:
The reconciliation — not acknowledged by the parties until now — showcased how a personal and commercial battle between two men could create real consequences for their parent corporations. A G.E. shareholders’ meeting, for instance, was overrun by critics of MSNBC (and one of Mr. O’Reilly’s producers) last April....
In late 2007, Mr. O’Reilly had a young producer, Jesse Watters, ambush Mr. Immelt and ask about G.E.’s business in Iran, which is legal, and which includes sales of energy and medical technology. G.E. says it no longer does business in Iran.
Mr. O’Reilly continued to pour pressure on its corporate leaders, even saying on one program last year that “If my child were killed in Iraq, I would blame the likes of Jeffrey Immelt.” The resulting e-mail to G.E. from Mr. O’Reilly’s viewers was scathing.
Like most of the feuds between the right wing media echo chamber and progressive critics, the publicity surrounding O'Reilly-Olbermann slugfest helped the ratings of both programs.
But when FOX started to go after the business dealings of the parent company of MSNBC, GE, television ratings took a second place to corporate interests.
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BuzzFlash loves Keith Olbermann, but in the end he's an employee of GE, and MSNBC is dispensible to them. They'll milk the progressive wave as long as it doesn't really threaten the entrenched status quo. In the end, their primary interests as a corporation include going nuclear, literally. GE isn't going to let Keith or Rachel or Ed get in the way of that.
It's all just business to GE and Rupert Murdoch. GE isn't about to slice its own throat.
Just remember that.
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