In light of the just-announced NBC/Comcast decision to fire its most popular MSNBC host, I thought I’d post the following column plus addendum that I wrote several months ago for Dagblog under the title the Great Media Purge of 2010:
The decision by MSNBC and its owner GE (Comcast is currently finalizing the purchase of MSNBC) to suspend Keith Olbermann without pay signals the start of a purge of liberal-leaning commentators. With an activist right-wing Supreme Court, corporate media owners can, without fear of successful legal suits, prune from their trees anybody who speaks for limits on corporate power and against the redistribution of wealth upwards. With a blood red House of Representatives, the masters of media know that no legislative response to their fiat will be forthcoming. Some have questioned the decision to “suspend” MSNBC’s most popular host and one of NBC’s most versatile broadcasters. Why, these naifs ask, would GE/Comcast act against the best interests of shareholders? The answer is simple: Olbermann provides a cogent and compelling response to the right-wing in the mostly arid non-reactionary media landscape (obviously conservative media is anything but arid). Clearing him (and presumably Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz) from the field now will remove potential thorns from the side of the Republican presidential candidate in 2012 – a candidate who will make John McCain look positively decent and who, if elected, will, with the acquiescence of a Republican Congress, 1) remove any barriers to media consolidation and fabrication and 2) keep the income tax rates applicable to GE’s and Comcast’s multi-millionaire managers obscenely low.
Update: A 3rd reason to believe that silencing liberal voices in advance of 2012 was behind the decision is Comcast’s very heavy involvement in the internet. A Republican Congress and President will almost certainly deregulate the internet leaving Comcast with a free hand to speed downloads of favored clients websites and (as mentioned earlier) to gobble up other internet service providers. See http://thinkprogress.org/2010/11/05/burke-comcast-msnbc/.