Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Straight to the Top

Why corporate control of the media is a bad thing:

That it is GE which controls the editorial decisions of NBC and MSNBC is an open secret in Washington. Just today, The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz wrote about Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's actions after learning that the news networks were reluctant to broadcast Obama's most recent press conference on health care. Did Emanuel attempt to pressure NBC executives to capitulate to White House demands to broadcast that event? No; he obviously knew who really makes editorial decisions for those networks:

In the days before President Obama's last news conference, as the networks weighed whether to give up a chunk of their precious prime time, Rahm Emanuel went straight to the top.

Rather than calling ABC, the White House chief of staff phoned Bob Iger, chief executive of parent company Disney. Instead of contacting NBC, Emanuel went to Jeffrey Immelt, the chief executive of General Electric. He also spoke with Les Moonves, the chief executive of CBS, the company spun off from Viacom.

Apparently, Rahm Emanuel isn't confused about who the real bosses are at America's major news networks.

This is further down in Glenn Greenwald's story about GE's executives ordering Keith Olbermann to tone down his attacks on Bill O'Reilly because of the negative impact such attacks were having on their corporate activities. So be aware, not only can corporate executives at places like GE decide what is and isn't news, they can be pressured by the White House as to what is and isn't news as well. I'm not one of those people who gets all of his news from blogs, but I'm getting there.

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