Friday, November 12, 2010

Bernie Sanders Steps Up


-by Noah

By now, you’ve probably heard that right wing media giant COMCAST is attempting to acquire NBC-Universal, the parent company of MSNBC, from defense contractor General Electric. We’ve all definitely heard about the recent suspension and re-instatement of MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann. Is there a confluence between the two events? Perhaps the better question is will there be a confluence of the two?

NBC, has taken a flyer with Olbermann who begat Maddow who begat Ed Schultz, and now Lawrence O’Donnell. Even Chris Matthews stuck his finger in the air and moved somewhat left. The ratings and therefore the ad revenues have grown and grown. Schultz is scaring the mojo-deprived CNN into an even more witless state than it was already in before he came along and started beating them upside the head. Sure, NBC is owned by a defense contractor. But they have been allowed a good deal of autonomy as long as the ratings are up. What happens when NBC merges or gets bought out by some entity like COMCAST and politics trumps even money? Will it be corporate clampdown time?

We already have FOX, owned by Newscorp, who use their Fox News programming as a PAC for far right nasties like Gingrich, Huckabee, and Palin, FOX regulars all, on the payroll and therefore actively supported financially, in their quests for office. Remember equal time? COMCAST’s COO, Stephen B. Burke was a major fundraiser for Chimpy Bush. Do we need another Murdoch? Do we need to see Michele Bachmann on MSNBC every night? I don’t think so.

Enter Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (I), who Blue America is urging to take Obama on in a primary challenge. Senator Sanders is circulating a petition aimed at stopping the takeover of MSNBC and the programming changes that would very likely ensue. Says Sanders:
“As Vermont’s Senator, I intend to do all I can do to stop this merger. There is already far too much media concentration in this country. We do not need another media giant run by a Republican supporter of George W. Bush. That is a lesson we should learn from the Keith Olbermann suspension.”

Even with the Republican gains in last week’s midterm elections, it must particularly gall our rightwing corporate boardrooms when they look at the positive effect MSNBC and a handful of progressive talk radio hosts have had on recent election cycles, especially when they realize how the progressive media hosts are outnumbered by more than 9 to 1 and are carried in far fewer markets while FOX blares their endless news fantasies and hate-filled propaganda into the pliable minds of a gullible citizenry every minute of the day. No doubt, the rightwingers won’t feel secure and happy until they control every second of what we get to hear and see, and it won’t stop with radio and TV. Don’t think for a second that all of “Librul Hollywood” isn’t on the shopping list. You think the movies and prime time TV, and daytime TV are bad enough now? Just wait. That’s what the Sander’s petition aims to prevent. Yes. A mere petition won’t be enough, but, it’s a start, along with letting your Congresscritter know where you stand on control of information issues. You can go to the Sanders petition here.

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