Friday, November 5, 2010

Keith Olbermann

Is Joe Barton and Comcast responsible for Keith Olbermann's time out?

And who the hell is Joe Barton?

Joe Barton is not only a senator from Texas, but also the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  This in itself is not nearly as memorable as his standing up for BP during the oil spill in the Gulf Coast and apologizing to BP on behalf of the country.

Apparently, we Americans are totally uncouth and forget our manners.  After all, when a guest spills a glass of wine on our white carpet, it is our obligation as good hosts to overlook the event and minimize the situation to make our guest feel comfortable in our home while ensuring its return.

So what's the difference between a glass of wine and a few billion gallons of crude oil and toxic dispersants on our pristine beaches? According to Joe Barton, absolutely nothing.  We are just rude hosts who don't know our place and it is up to him to apologize on our behalf to the British Company soiling our shores and destroying families, health and the financial security of an entire region.

What does this have to do with Keith Olbermann?  Beside making his list as "worst persons", he also called him on the carpet for his apology to BP's Tony Hayward.

The fact that I mentioned when I started that Joe Barton is the Chairman of the Energy and House and Commerce was done on purpose, you see, Commerce includes Broadcasting.

For a detailed account of how much money has been funnelled to Joe Barton from the multi-nationals he is supposedly the watchdog to save us Americans from their greedy and poisonous shenanigans, you can read the report from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

Comcast has made no bones about being a major Republican supporter raising over $200,000 for George W. Bush and funding the likes of Joe Barton to get whatever they want when it comes to consolidations and monopolies that affect Internet usage and users as well as television programming.

Silencing Keith Olbermann is just the first step in getting rid of the opposition.  If Keith Olbermann is to return to MSNBC it will be under strict rules that will keep him silent in a variety of issues.  Something we see now in terms of Rachel Maddow and Chris Mathews shows where they never speak negatively or report any news that could affect MSNBC, including the Comcast grab of the network they work for.

Even though the deal is not final yet, there has been a shift in management and backroom deals that have a great deal to do with Keith Olbermann's sudden dismissal. 

If you are still following all of this, you may also be aware that Joe Scarborough (of Morning Joe), also a host on MSNBC, has contributed to republican candidates with no adverse effects.

Comcast wants to get rid of Net Neutrality and is pushing for Internet users to pay for contents. (what a sweet deal! I wonder if we will be charged per tweet as well?)

Keith Olbermann has been outspoken about Net Neutrality while Republicans have been strong supporters of the Communications Industry power grab.  If they succeed, consumers will pay for blogs, (hey, you may have to pay me so I can pay them for the right to write).

This new Republican Congress has made it clear that they will support the Telecommunications Industry against an open Internet. (Thank you Tea Party!).

Comcast has been buying up companies and milking consumers for years for slow service.  The United States has the slowest Internet service of any industrialized nation and President Obama has been pushing for equalizing the playing field.  (Guess what happened in this last election? opposition members were assigned to Neutralize any progress that would benefit consumers in the United States).  All together now! "Thank you Tea Party!".

If you want to read in depth what Net Neutrality means to you now and what it will mean later if these corporations keep running our government, please read Free Press most excellent description.

Keith Olbermann does not balk at shinning a light where one is needed and right now Comcast and Joe Barton would like the lights to be turned off, so they sent Keith Olbermann out of the room for a time out while the shift of power in Washington will be scrutinized a lot less by the few remaining hosts with liberal opinions and an excellent research staff.

Keith Olbermann has been made an example of and there will be more to come.

The Center for Public Integrity reports that telecommunications have been heavy contributors to the Political Action Committee (PAC).

From their website (and please notice the last entry):

Top PAC Contributors

■National Cable And Telecommunications Association, the principal trade association for the cable industry — at least $40,000

■Verizon, the telecommunications giant — at least $40,000

■Koch Industries, the energy giant run by Charles and David Koch, both well known GOP backers — $37,500

■Comcast, the cable provider — $37,000

■AT&T, another major telecommunications company — $36,500

■PACs gave at least $3 million to Barton’s campaign account and his Texas Freedom Fund PAC. Barton received over $1.9 million more in contributions from PACs than from individuals
The list below will show you the connections Barton has with lobbyist.  Former staffers are now lobbyist that cuddle Joe Barton and nurse him tenderly to keep doing the industries dirty deeds (courtesy of the Center For Public Integrity and a matter of public record).

■Jeffrey MacKinnon was Barton’s legislative director from 1985-1993 and helped Barton in his role as Deputy Republican Whip. He is now a lobbyist at Ryan, MacKinnon, Vasapoli & Berzok, LLP

■Cynthia Sandherr was Barton’s legislative director for five years. After a stint at Enron and a role in President George W. Bush’s transition team in 2000, Sandherr now works for Deere and Company

■Stephen Craig Sayle worked for Barton from 1989-1992 as legislative counsel, and later spent three years as a staffer on the House Energy Committee. He is now a lobbyist for Dow Lohnes PLLC

■Timothy Day was a legislative assistant from 1987-1991. He is now vice president of Teradata Inc, an analytic technology company, and lobbies on its behalf

■Joseph Fortson worked as Barton’s legislative counsel from 2003-2004 and is now a lobbyist for Apple, Inc

■Jeanne M. Haggerty was policy advisor from 2002-2004 and spent two years as a staffer on the House Committee on Energy & Commerce. She spent the past few years as a lobbyist for the Biotechnology Industry Organization

EDIT 11/07/2010:  MSNBC will re-instate Keith Olbermann on Tuesday November 9 2010.  It will be interesting to find out if MSNBC viewership will go through the roof on this particular day and if so, will they retain those ratings on the long term?

Twitter was abuzz with petitions to re-instastae Keith Olbermann and he broke Twitter silence to thank people for their support.  Shortly after that tweet and over 250,000 petitions and barrage of phone calls to MSNBC, the decision to re-instate Keith Olbermann was made.

Keith Olbermann on Joe Barton:


CrazyComposer (aka Peter Amsel) said...

Well presented, Olivia, but - ultimately - MSNBC is impinging upon Olbermann's rights as an individual to freely associate himself with any group he so chooses to - be they left or right, progressive or regressive - it does not matter: he is guaranteed the right to free association under the Constitution and no employer can take that away, not even with a contract. A contract cannot trump the Constitution, just as a lease cannot supersede city ordinances regarding the legality of a residence. The law is the law, whether you like it or not, it is there (ostensibly) to protect the individual and, in this case, Keith Olbermann's civil rights are being trampled by his employer.

Whether or not this political piece of trash, Joe Barton, has anything to do with it, I'm not prepared to say - I'd like to believe that MSNBC's motivations were strictly guided by the wholly illegal contract clause that they have cited, which Rachel Maddow discussed at the end of her show ( - Blow-Hard Barton was never mentioned oddly enough.

Either way, Olbermann's rights have been stomped on and it is wrong. He has every right to donate to any political candidate or organization that he wants to - so long as it doesn't exceed the FEC limits, which his donations did not do. His actions were legal and just, under the law; how can MSNBC have an issue with this? In so doing they become the very thing they rail against every day - a "fake" news agency that only pays lip service to being "fair" in the presentation of the news.

"We'll tell you the news, so long as you don't mind that our newscasters have been neutered, and they've had every original thought drummed out of their minds - oh, and they aren't allowed to leave the room except to go do number 1 or number 2. ..." Right now that's the mantra of Faux Noise ... don't let it become the slogan for MSNBC as well.

Peter (@crazycomposer)

Elsa said...

It's very troubling, I've also read Rupert Murdoch was the henchman, but then I read Keith is the highest pd anchor. Yet Rachel n Lawrence have more viewer n r paid significantly less. It was just a reason, ANY reason would have sufficed. I LOVE the boldness of Keith. #boycott@msnbc

Robin said...

Peter (commenter above) I agree with you that his rights have been stomped on - but even though free speech rights are clear in the constitution - it is not politically correct to enforce those rights.

Unfortunately – especially the liberal left (ACLU, at el ) does not want to defend free speech. For example when NPR fired Williams – ALL the left said something like “he was an ‘at will’ employee and can be fired for any reason”; basically saying that the US government can‘t interfere to protect free speech in a private work place.

Why liberals generally think it is fine for the government to interfere in private workplaces to stop race or sex discrimination but not ok to interfere to protect freedom of speech is beyond me. The tea parties on the far right are much more likely to defend freedom then the left. Generally the left wants ‘equality’ and the right wants ‘freedom’.

Olivia Emisar said...

Robin, I am glad you met Peter. You are both outstanding thinkers. Peter is my dear friend from Canada who more often than not, tells me stuff about US we don't hear in our "news".

Robin, I agree with you. We sometimes look at the far left and have to scratch our heads and wonder what's going on there.

It would be great if the tea party stood up for Keith, but they would rather MSNBC shut down altogether. Every news channel owned by Fox? *shivers*

PEACE to you all and thanks for sharing your intelligent comments.