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Barack Obama and General Electric: Why MSNBC and NBC Talking Heads Supported Obama So Vociferously

President Barack Obama and GE Chairman Jeffrey Immelt

President Barack Obama and GE Chairman Jeffrey Immelt

It is starting to look like General Electric is Barack Obama’s Halliburton.

A “Negotiated Settlement” of the Olbermann-O’Reilly Media War

Yesterday Dakinikat wrote a post on the “negotiated settlement” in which Keith Olbermann of MSNBC and Bill O’Reilly of Fox News were silenced by their respective corporate masters, General Electric and News Corp. Here’s a little refresher. From The New York Times:

At an off-the-record summit meeting for chief executives sponsored by Microsoft in mid-May, the PBS interviewer Charlie Rose asked Jeffrey Immelt, chairman of G.E., and his counterpart at the News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch, about the feud.

Both moguls expressed regret over the venomous culture between the networks and the increasingly personal nature of the barbs. Days later, even though the feud had increased the audience of both programs, their lieutenants arranged a cease-fire, according to four people who work at the companies and have direct knowledge of the deal.

GE and News Corp were concerned that the long-running feud between Olbermann and O’Reilly was hurting the parent corporations’ business interests.

Over time, G.E. and the News Corporation concluded that the fighting “wasn’t good for either parent,” said an NBC employee with direct knowledge of the situation. But the session hosted by Mr. Rose provided an opportunity for a reconciliation, sealed with a handshake between Mr. Immelt and Mr. Murdoch.

But like any title fight, the final round could not end without an attempted knockout. On June 1, the day after the abortion provider George Tiller was killed in Kansas, Mr. Olbermann took to the air to cite Mr. O’Reilly’s numerous references to “Tiller, the baby killer” and to announce that he would retire his caricature of Mr. O’Reilly.

“The goal here is to get this blindly irresponsible man and his ilk off the air,” he said.

The next day, Mr. O’Reilly made the extraordinary claim that “federal authorities have developed information about General Electric doing business with Iran, deadly business” and published Mr. Immelt’s e-mail address and mailing address, repeating it slowly for emphasis.

Then the attacks mostly stopped.

Shortly afterward, Phil Griffin, the MSNBC president, told producers that he wanted the channel’s other programs to follow Mr. Olbermann’s lead and restrain from criticizing Fox directly, according to two employees. At Fox News, some staff members were told to “be fair” to G.E.

Reaction from Blogger Glenn Greenwald

Dakinikat also quoted from Glenn Greenwald’s piece in Salon in which he points out that the author of the NYT article quoted above, Brian Stelter, apparently didn’t understand or perhaps didn’t care that he was reporting on censorship of news programs by two giant corporations.

So now GE is using its control of NBC and MSNBC to ensure that there is no more reporting by Fox of its business activities in Iran or other embarrassing corporate activities, while News Corp. is ensuring that the lies spewed regularly by its top-rated commodity on Fox News are no longer reported by MSNBC….

This is hardly the first time evidence of corporate control over the content of NBC and MSNBC has surfaced. Last May, CNN’s Jessica Yellin said that when she was at MSNBC, “the press corps was under enormous pressure from corporate executives, frankly, to make sure that this [the Iraq War] was a war that was presented in a way that was consistent with the patriotic fever in the nation”; “the higher the president’s approval ratings, the more pressure I had from news executives … to put on positive stories about the president”; and “they would turn down stories that were more critical and try to put on pieces that were more positive.” Katie Couric said that when she was at NBC, “there was a lot of undercurrent of pressure not to rock the boat for a variety of reasons, where it was corporate reasons or other considerations” not to be too critical of the Bush administration. MSNBC’s rising star, Ashleigh Banfield, was demoted and then fired after she criticized news media organizations generally, and Fox News specifically, for distorting their war coverage to appear more pro-government. And, of course, when MSNBC canceled Phil Donahue’s show in the run-up to the Iraq war despite its being that network’s highest-rated program, a corporate memo surfaced indicating that the company had fears of being associated with an anti-war and anti-government message.

Why did MSNBC Support Obama So Strongly?

What I’m wondering now is why did MSNBC support Barack Obama so strongly during the primaries, and why did they do everything they could to destroy Hillary Clinton’s candidacy? I admit, I bought into the notion that talking heads Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, and David Shuster were really huge fans of Obama.

In the light of this latest turn of events, I have to ask, were the on-air personalities at MSNBC really that biased, or were they acting on orders passed down from GE Chairman Jeffrey Immelt? Did Immelt know ahead of time that Obama administration would look favorably on GE after they helped him win the nomination and the general election? Is it possible that Clinton wasn’t as amenable as Obama to making commitments to provide financial benefits to GE ahead of the nomination and election? Because Obama’s policies and appointments clearly have been a big help to GE in their current economic troubles. Continue reading

I’m tired and I don’t wanna do it


I know I’m supposed to be all excited that Nancy Pelousy promised that there will be a roll call vote on single-payer, but I can’t work up any enthusiasm:

Seeking to dampen liberal anger about deals cut with centrists, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said House leaders have agreed to allow a floor vote on a government-run, single-payer system.

“A lot of members on our committee want a vote on that,” said Waxman said in an interview. “I believe their wishes will be accommodated.”

I guess the memory of last year is still too fresh. After a year and one-half of campaigning, with debates, fundraisers, rallies, primaries, caucuses, drama and trauma we had two nominees in a virtual tie, with Hillary holding a slight lead in votes and Obama (thanks to the RBC and the boys from Brazile) holding a slight lead in pledged delegates. Neither candidate had enough pledged delegates to claim the nomination outright.

The Democratic leadership had annointed Obama and they used threats and promises to apply pressure on the superdelegates to choose  so that they could declare Obama the “presumptive nominee.” Then they began planning his coronation with a scripted delegate vote where only his name appeared on the ballot.

PUMA members and other liberals put a lot of effort into making the roll call vote genuine, and succeeded in getting Hillary’s name put on the ballot. Since superdelegates could change their votes up until the last minute it was hoped that enough of them could be persuaded to support Hillary and give her the nomination instead. This application of democratic principles and Democratic rules was commonly referred to by Obama supporters as a plan to “steal” the nomination.

We got our roll call vote but it was a sham. The delegates actually voted in their hotels where they were strong-armed into voting for Obama. Despite the millions of tax dollars spent to hold primaries across the nation and laws requiring delegates to cast their votes for Hillary their votes were cast for Obama instead.

Even Hillary went along the kabuki.

This single payer vote will be another sham. All it will do is give Democratic sell-outs political cover so they can face the voters next year and say “I voted for single-payer.” After the votes are dutifully counted and the bill is defeated, they will pass a piece of shit Obamacare instead.

No single payer. No genuine public option. No ponies.

It might be different if the A-List “progressive” bloggers hadn’t betrayed us, but they sold their souls for Kool-aid and the occasional conference call with Obama. Right now they’re too busy worrying about birthers and Sarah Palin and beer summits to concern themselves with health care reform.

I’m gonna save my enthusiasm for the SF Giants and the Oakland Raiders. Unlike single payer, neither team has been mathematically eliminated yet.


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Breakfast Read, Sunday Edition

Health-care Reform

Imagine Doctors, Patients Talking

Patients increasingly are taking a more active role, says Diane Rittenhouse, associate professor of family and community medicine at the University of California-San Francisco.

“They’ve gotten a lot of information out in the world and are trying to make sense of it, and the doctor says, ‘Here’s a choice you have, but let’s make that decision together based on what kind of insurance you have, what your preferences are, where you are in your life and what side effects’ ” can be expected, Dr. Rittenhouse says.

Talk Radio Campaign Frightening Seniors

The controversy stems from a proposal to pay physicians who counsel elderly or terminally ill patients about what medical interventions they would prefer near the end of life and how to prepare instructions such as living wills. Under the plan, Medicare would reimburse doctors for one session every five years to confer with a patient about his or her wishes and how to ensure those preferences are followed. The counseling sessions would be voluntary.

But on right-leaning radio programs, religious e-mail lists and Internet blogs, the proposal has been described as “guiding you in how to die,” “an ORDER from the Government to end your life,” promoting “death care” and, in the words of antiabortion leader Randall Terry, an attempt to “kill Granny.”

Obama Trims Sails On Health Reform

From the start of his presidency, Barack Obama made clear that his plan for enacting comprehensive health-care reform came down to three words: fast, broad and bipartisan.

Obama’s Pledge to Tax Only the Rich Can’t Pay for Everything, Analysts Say

Critics from conservative to liberal warn that Mr. Obama has tied his and Congress’s hands on a range of issues, including tax reform and the need to reduce deficits topping $1 trillion a year.

War On Terror: The Aftermath

Suicide’s Raising Toll: After Combat, Victims of an Inner War

The number of suicides reported by the Army has risen to the highest level since record-keeping began three decades ago. Last year, there were 192 among active-duty soldiers and soldiers on inactive reserve status, twice as many as in 2003, when the war began. (Five more suspected suicides are still being investigated.) This year’s figure is likely to be even higher: from January to mid-July, 129 suicides were confirmed or suspected, more than the number of American soldiers who died in combat during the same period.

Those statistics, of course, do not offer a full picture. Suicide counts tend to be undercounts, and the trend is less marked in other branches of the military. Nor are there reliable figures for veterans who have left the service; the Department of Veterans Affairs can only systematically track suicides among its hospitalized patients, and it does not issue regular suicide reports.

This is really great. Nice going “Terror-warriors”.
Iran, US do a ‘war on terror’ somersault

The transfer of security in Iraq from the United States military to local forces has made for some ironic entanglements, many of which benefit Iran. This week’s Iraqi raid on Camp Ashraf, a base for the militant Iranian dissident outfit Mujahideen-e-Khalq – until recently “guarded” by the US – has turned friends into enemies

Economy Watch

U.S. Recession Worst Since Great Depression, Revised Data Show

The first 12 months of the U.S. recession saw the economy shrink more than twice as much as previously estimated, reflecting even bigger declines in consumer spending and housing, revised figures showed.

U.S. recession pains minorities, but hope persists

Blacks and Hispanics have suffered disproportionately in the recession because they often lack seniority, and they are heavily represented in the hard-hit retail, manufacturing and auto industries, Morial said in an interview.

The unemployment rate for U.S. blacks has hovered between 1-1/2 times and double that of whites for several years.
Perhaps surprisingly, a survey by banking giant Citigroup Inc found minorities had a more positive view of the economy than the majority of Americans. Of 100 blacks and Hispanics surveyed earning between $25,000 and $50,000 a year, about half believed the economy will improve over the next six months, compared to 38 percent of a larger national sample of workers.

They were not asked about their own prospects.

In the Recession, Shoppers Are Becoming Hagglers

Think you should haggle only when buying a car or shopping in the streets of Morocco? In this recession, if you’re not bargaining for everything everywhere, you’re needlessly draining your wallet.

Everything you always wanted to know about “Cash for Clunkers”.
‘Cash for clunkers’: questions and answers

Around The Nation

Young Women Closing in on Gender Wage Parity

Working women in their early twenties are close to catching up to their male counterparts in median earnings, according to Labor Department data. Women in most age groups have made gains since 1979, but full-time working women ages 65 and older have gained no ground in closing the wage gap.

The Grim Sleeper

One man is believed to have killed seven women in the city in the 80s, and then, uncaught, went silent for 13 years. A few years ago, he began to strike again.

America’s Obsession With Crime

In 2,000 years of Western civilization we have been guilty of heresy, perversion, theft, and murder; of fighting and refusing to fight; of loving, lusting after, and sometimes just looking. We have been guilty of speaking out and keeping silent, of walking, marching, and running away. We have been found culpable for following orders and for refusing to follow them, for adultery, child endangerment, sexual harassment, and elder abuse. We have also been guilty of our religion, national origin, skin color, sexual preference, gender, and, now and then, of the blood in our veins.

NRA’s stance fails to sway some on Sotomayor vote

The National Rifle Association’s threat to punish senators who vote for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor has been met with a shrug by Democrats from conservative-leaning states and some Republicans who are breaking with their party to support her.


States’ woes could drag Democrats down

[W]hile President Barack Obama inherited a financial crisis from his predecessor, voters tend to blame the party in power sooner or later. For proof, look no further than the Ohio, a crucial swing state that’s been among the hardest hit by the recession. The most recent Quinnipiac Poll there put Obama’s approval rating at 49 percent —a 13-point drop from May and the lowest number registered anywhere to date.

But it’s not just the Buckeye State.

A Difficult Summer for The White House

IF THE opinion polls are to be believed, Barack Obama is now, six months into his presidency, no more popular than George Bush or Richard Nixon were at the same stage in theirs. His ratings are sagging particularly badly with electorally vital independent voters: two-thirds of them think he wants to spend too much of their money. Two of the most specific pledges he made to the electorate—to reform health care and to produce a cap-and-trade system to curb greenhouse-gas emissions—are in trouble. And an impression is being formed in Washington of a presidency that is far too ready to hand over the direction of domestic policy to Congress; that is drifting either deliberately or lethargically leftwards; and that is more comfortable with lofty visions than details. On the campaign trail Mr Obama showed an impressive ability to change gears. He needs to do so again this summer.

Op-ed columns

Can this alliance be saved?
Free Marriage Counseling (By Thomas Friedman)

Israel and America are having one of those periodic marital spats they have had over the years, replete with “I-am-not-taking-any-more-of-your-guff” outbursts by Obama officials at American Jewish leaders, and, yes — it wouldn’t be a real Israel-U.S. dust-up without it — Israeli accusations that Jewish Obama aides are “self-hating Jews,” working out their identity crises by working over Israel. Having been to this play before, and knowing both families, I’d like to offer some free marriage counseling.

Curbing Runaway Health Inflation (NY Times Editorial)

This year’s effort to reform health care revolves around two powerful, conflicting imperatives. One is to cover tens of millions of uninsured Americans. The other is to absorb the enormous cost of that plan — which could reach $1 trillion over 10 years — without increasing the budget deficit in the next decade or setting the nation on a course that will drive up deficits later.

Maybe mendacity is a winning strategy after all.
Will Bill and Betsy kill again?

Kristol and McCaughey helped derail Clinton’s healthcare reforms with misinformation — and now they’re at it again

Don’t Trust Obama On Gay Marriage (By James Kirchick)

When it comes to same-sex marriage, the [gay rights] movement can’t count on support from the current president either. When White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was asked about Clinton’s comments, he told reporters that his boss “does not support” same-sex marriage. “He supports civil unions,” Gibbs assured. And despite President Obama’s statement that he opposes the ban on gays serving openly in the military, Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings (Fla.) last week said that the White House pressured him to withdraw an amendment that would have prohibited funds from being spent on investigating “don’t ask, don’t tell” violations.

Around The World

‘Killer will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law’

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday condemned Saturday night’s deadly shooting attack at a gay community center in Tel Aviv and promised to bring the perpetrator to justice.

(H/t Woman Voter)

Hidden misery of Mao’s slave teenage brides

After 60 years, girls forced to wed soldiers are telling of their plight

Former Iranian president calls trial a sham

An influential pro-reform ex-president criticized the country’s first trial of activists and protesters following the disputed presidential election as a sham that would further erode confidence in the ruling Islamic establishment.

Clinton must strike right tone in Africa

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton faces a delicate job striking the right tone on her seven-nation trip to Africa next week if she wants to compete against China’s growing influence.

The 11-day trip — Clinton’s longest as secretary of state — comes three weeks after President Barack Obama visited Ghana and told African leaders to behave more responsibly, warning that to receive Western aid, there must be good governance.

Our view on medical reform: Dishonest debate mars bid to overhaul health care (USA Today Editorial)

Don’t let scare tactics, something-for-nothing politics wreck needed fix.

Another view: First, cover the uninsured (By Jon Kingsdale)

In Massachusetts, we expanded access, then tackled costs.

From The History Files

Grand Canal Predated Venice: Ancient Roman City Lost, Now Found

The lost Roman city of Altinum has been found in Italy. Sophisticated aerial images released this week reveal fascinating new details about Venice’s predecessor, which was abandoned by its citizens and then sank into the lagoon.

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Tabloid PDS blogging

Sarah and Todd Palin

Okay, this is truly bizarre.  First we have CNN stringer Dennis Zaki pushing the story that Sarah and Todd Palin are divorcing. His sources include a notorious PDS blog, multiple anonymous informants and the National Enquirer.

Zaki claims Sarah bought property in Montana and is going to move there with the kids.  There is lots of juicy trash, including allegations of multiple affairs on both sides and Sarah angrily throwing her wedding ring into a lake.  Real Jerry Springer stuff.

The story gets picked up by some lefty blogs, including Firedoglake and Hullaballoo. Digby at least acknowledges the tabloid nature of her post but the tone at FDL can only be described as gleeful.  The rumor begins to go viral.

So Sarah responds by having her spokeswoman (Meg Stapleton) post the following message on Sarah’s Facebook page:

Yet again, some so-called journalists have decided to make up a story. There is no truth to the recent “story” (and story is the correct term for this type of fiction) that the Palins are divorcing. The Palins remain married, committed to each other and their family, and have not purchased land in Montana (last week it was reported to be Long Island).

Less than one week ago, Governor Palin asked the media to “quit making things up.” We appreciate that the more professional journalists decided to question this story before repeating it.

Rightwing blogger Robert Stacy McCain receives this message from Sarah in response to his query about the story:

“Divorce Todd? Have you seen Todd? I may be just a renegade hockey mom, but I’m not blind!”

You would think that should end the story, but here comes Jonathan Martin at Politico:

By having her spokeswoman repeat the charges to rebut them in a public form, Palin effectively guaranteed coverage from the mainstream media that otherwise would not report claims attributed to unnamed sources on an anonymous blog.

It’s all Sarah’s fault for denying an untrue story!

She made us do it!

Even if you forget the fact that Zaki is a stringer for CNN it’s kinda disingenuous for a blogger to act like internet rumors are harmless, especially in the case of Sarah Palin. The PDS blogs started most or all of the vilest lies about Sarah, including the rape-kit smear, Trig-trutherism and the bogus ethics complaints.

I guess the Palinstalkers were upset that Sarah had “gone dark” since she left office last weekend.  They needed a hate- fix so they created a story.  If she hadn’t acted quickly to debunk the rumor they would be talking about her failure to deny it as confirmation that it was true.


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