MSNBC fires Olbermann: Has Comcast/NBC merger claimed its first victim?

Posted by David Gomez

It has begun; the merging of two of the fawning corporate media’s mega titans has resulted in a thunderous crackle that has already claimed one mortal: Keith Olbermann.

Who will be next? Has a restrictive, black curtain fell on the age of information thanks to the unworldly union of the media behemoths?
    
I’m not a big fan of the liberal media icon Olbermann but I’d never get rid of a big ratings earner if I were in charge of a cable media outlet like MSNBC. That move doesn’t make sense and that’s why bloggers have been talking about what might have happened behind the scenes to lead to the exit of Olbermann.
    
Sources told the Los Angeles Times today that Olbermann has butted heads with his bosses in the past, and that tensions have been heightened since November, when Olbermann was given a suspension for making unauthorized campaign donations to three Democrats. Maybe it was only a matter of time before he was let go because he rubbed his bosses the wrong way, but there is also that merger looming in the background.
    
Olbermann’s exit happened just days before Comcast is due to take over MSNBC's parent, NBC Universal. This has people speculating that he might have been given the dignity of being able to quit before he was forced out by his new bosses. Olbermann left the same day that his biggest supporter, NBC president Jeff Zucker, was on his way out at NBC.
    
In a statement, MSNBC said Olbermann's departure had nothing to do with Comcast.
    
This is merely conjecture but I don’t necessarily believe that. Would Comcast admit to having a hand in his departure? No. Could they have had something to do with it? Yes.
    
I believe that Comcast might have wanted to get rid of the one person who made an effort to make the issue of net neutrality a focus on his show. Olbermann even had Senator Al Franken on once to discuss the things big media were pursuing on their quest to achieve a tiered Internet that they can control like they do cable.
    
Olbermann’s liberal political ideology was anti-big media conglomeration and Comcast/NBC just couldn’t have any intellectual rebels on board in the face of a new regime. Olbermann was too influential and the Comcast/NBC entity doesn’t want anyone paying attention to how dangerous media consolidation is.
    
I wouldn’t be surprised if Comcast has even more changes in store for the media landscape. This is the first time two media companies that have this much power to control information have joined together.
    
There is a reason they used to have laws limiting the amount of media outlets one person could own in the same market. Media consolidation used to be viewed as a bad thing but now thanks to the Telecommunications Act of 1996, we just shrug our heads.
    
Comcast and NBC, they still have competitors out there, but none of them own as many telecommunications lines and control as many Internet connections as Comcast. Right now the media landscape doesn’t look good, there’s too much control in too few hands and our public servants are the reason it is getting worse.
    
We have no reason to believe that things are done changing, the net neutrality bill was shot down and Comcast hasn’t even begun to flex the new power it has gained with merging with NBC.
    
In the past Comcast has been caught slowing down traffic and prioritizing data. They now own NBC’s programming and the telecommunications networks that deliver it to people. That’s all they need to theoretically wage an all-out war on anyone THEY say is in violation of copyright laws.
    
We might never know what really happened to lead to Olbermann’s sudden exit from MSNBC, but I’ll bet he became a target as soon as the Comcast/NBC merger began to take shape. Comcast most likely wants to deal with people they can control easier on their nightly cable news show.
 
You can’t control information unless you can also control the face that delivers that information to the masses.