Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Dysfunctional Media, updated

I’m pretty sure that most of the people reading this would agree that corporate ownership has a pernicious degree of influence on the media. That control remains one of those things that is difficult to prove in any really direct way; can only be inferred by what the media does and motives imputed to those actions. Such “proofs” that are offered usually wind up being spurious, but the inference is really difficult to refute.

Glenn Greenwald went off like a roman candle with solid evidence a few days ago, and I take Glenn pretty seriously. He can be a bit hyperbolic at times, but I don’t consider hyperbole in defense of essential freedoms to be a vice, and he does it (assuming that it is, indeed, hyperbole at all) in a way that makes for great reading. I think using the New York Times as a source is a bit risky, but… That wasn’t his sole source, and Glenn makes a compelling case.

He does note that Keith Olbermann denies the claim of collusion between himself, Immelt, O’Reilly and Murdoch (as did the NYT story itself) and, of course, that particular collusion was only part of the story anyway.

Keith Olbermann has been on vacation and, returning to the air last night, debunked the story in his “Worst Person” segment but did so in a pretty incoherent manner which sort of muddied the water a bit. Nothing really all that new about Keith Olbermann being incoherent, really, but… Onward.

First he gave the bronze to Brain Stelter for running the story even after Keith had told him it was not true, not mentioning that Stelter had cited his disclaimer in the article. Then, apparently to prove that he had not agreed to shut up about O’Reilly, he gave the silver to none other than O’Reilly over something that the guy did more than a year ago. Finally, and this is where things get weird, he gives the gold to Rupert Murdoch for making the deal that he claims doesn’t exist and stifling O’Reilly, even though Immelt didn’t make any such agreement and Olbermann is not being stifled.

So it seems that one side of the deal that horrifies Greenwald does exist, the one where Fox agreed to stifle O'Reilly and not dump on GE, but the other side of the agreement does not exist and Olbermann can and will continue to dump on Bill O’Reilly as before.

The media is even more dysfunctional than I thought it was.

Update: Wednesday, 7:20am
Glenn Greenwald added yesterday to previous information on the subject, saying that the he wrote to Olbermann asking for his input after Olbermann denied the story on air Monday night. Olberman confirmed the "battle of the networks," and even said that nothing in Greenwald's story was "factually inaccurate," but said that he was never "asked to refrain" from attacking O'Reilly. Greenwald claims that as confirmation of his story since Olberman indeed was not "asked" to refrain, he was "ordered" to do so.

Sounds a bit like nitpicking to me, but Glenn Greenwald has significantly more credibility with me than Keith Olbermann does.

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