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View Diary: Keep Playing 'Hardball' with Chris Matthews and MSNBC (223 comments)

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  •  Gutterball (3.91)
    Rep. Slaughter,

    What is desperately needed is legislative action to break up the corporate monopoly of the airwaves. Public airwaves belong to the public, not GE, Disney, Universal. If/when Dems gain power they must pass legislation to break up the media monopoly.

    Chris Matthews is a whore. He is doing what his paymasters at GE want him to do; shilling for the GOP. If he is gone they will replace him with another whore. We need fundamental REFORM!

    I also don't understand the silence of Dem leaders. If a TV network said Osama sounds like republicans there would be hell to pay. GOP leaders would demand execution of corporate executives for the network. And yet I hear no protest from Dem leaders. Where are they? Why aren't they holding news conferences condemning this hateful propaganda from General Electric, a receipient of Iraq war contracts? Why are Dem leaders silent? Why are they so spineless? What are they afraid of? That the corporate media will trash them? Well, it is happening anyway. They might as well fight back.

    •  For an illuminating look at MSNBC (4.00)
      behind the scenes, listen to this interview with Jeff Cohen, from Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), who was a producer for Phil Donahue's show, that was axed despite the best ratings on the network. A rightward tilt on MSNBC and throughout the media is fascinatingly chronicled here.

      RealAudio

      MP3

      Recorded last September on Bob McChesney's superb weekly interview series, Media Matters.

      From FAIR's site:

      The news channel-- co-owned by Microsoft and General Electric/NBC-- declared in its formal statement: "By bringing our viewers a wide range of strong, opinionated voices, MSNBC underscores its commitment to ensuring that its perspective programming promotes no one single point of view. We encourage debate and we would neither expect, nor want, our audience to agree with everything on our channel."

      But this enthusiasm for a "wide range of strong, opinionated voices" rings hollow in the wake of MSNBC's firing of host Phil Donahue. (FAIR's founder, Jeff Cohen, worked as a senior producer for Donahue.) His show was cancelled despite having the best ratings on the network; this occurred, according to published reports, after a study commissioned by NBC described Donahue as "a tired, left-wing liberal out of touch with the current marketplace" who would be a "difficult public face for NBC in a time of war" (All Your TV, 2/25/03). "He seems to delight in presenting guests who are anti-war, anti-Bush and skeptical of the administration's motives," the report noted, warning that the Donahue show could be "a home for the liberal antiwar agenda at the same time that our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity."

      Network insiders echoed these qualms. In an email leaked to the website All Your TV (3/5/03), one executive suggested that MSNBC could take advantage of the "anticipated larger audience who will tune in during a time of war" to "reinvent itself" and "cross-pollinate our programming" by linking pundits to war coverage. "It's unlikely that we can use Phil in this way, particularly given his public stance on the advisability of the war effort," the email said.

      All Your TV's Rick Ellis quoted a network source: "I personally like Donahue, but our numbers were telling us that viewers thought he has too combative, and often said things that some respondents considered almost unpatriotic."

      According to published reports, these fears led MSNBC to "micromanage" the Donahue show. "He was often told what kinds of subjects to showcase and what kind of guests to have. And he was often chided for being too tough on some guests," consumer advocate Ralph Nader wrote (Common Dreams, 3/3/03). "In the past few months, the corporate 'suits' even told Donahue that he had to have more conservative or right-wing guests than liberals on the same hour show."

      Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change. - Tennyson

      by bumblebums on Tue Jan 24, 2006 at 05:09:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  jesus... (none)

        I believe in saving money. I believe in having a house. I believe in keeping things clean. I believe in exercising. www.walken2008.com

        by The Exalted on Tue Jan 24, 2006 at 09:47:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Hey (none)
        "anticipated larger audience who will tune in during a time of war" to "reinvent itself"

        That worked out well huh....

        and you know the funniest thing...change the word "reinvent" to "differentiate" and they may have been on to something...of course that could have started giving voice to Iraq war critics to ensure a balanced debate, and looking prescient at this point...but hey, whose counting when good ol Jack W.  is your poker pal...

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