This is terrifying. I have nothing against civility, and there is a lot more to be said for the Charlie Rose or Robert McNeil style of reporting than either the Olbermann or CERTAINLY the O’Reilly style. There’s tons to be said for broadcast standards and policies like any of the network news shows USED to have and certainly that respectable news organizations like NPR still have.
But that isn’t the point. The point is that when the issue became an embarrassment to corporate titans so far removed from day to day operations that they probably had to ask who Charlie Rose was even talking about, those barons of industry apparently tapped out a text message or two and over night censored their broadcasters.
So tell me. If GE is willing to censor Olbermann because he is creating a problem for the GE brand… are they also willing to censor Brian Williams when he wants to talk about GE’s 40 year refusal to acceptably clean up the dioxin they poured into the upper Hudson River? Are they willing to let their displeasure be known when The Today Show airs an anti-war segment that could ultimately reduce the military demand for jet engines? Are they willing to slant their coverage of renewable energy negatively while they only make fossil fuel and hydroelectric power plants… and then to slant it in favor when suddenly they go into the business of making wind turbines?
This is why so many of us didn’t want Wall Street owning the media and why so many of us wanted the DoJ and the FCC to limit media consolidation. It isn’t good at all when the President of GE Defence can, in all likelihood, exert any degree of control whatsoever, no matter how small, by making a case to Jeff Immelt about NBC’s impact on GE Defense’s profits.