Military Industrial Complex Shuts Down Olbermann and Matthews on MSNBC (owned by GE)

(and Microsoft).  Microsoft doesn’t want to pay their taxes anymore than you do.

GE has a number of interests.  Some on them deeply involved in the could hundred billion dollars a year business of “defense”.   They don’t like Obama, or his change.

Oblermann and Mathews do.

So they’re gone.

MSNBC Takes Incendiary Hosts From Anchor Seat

MSNBC tried a bold experiment this year by putting two politically incendiary hosts, Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews, in the anchor chair to lead the cable news channel’s coverage of the election.

That experiment appears to be over.

After months of accusations of political bias and simmering animosity between MSNBC and its parent network NBC, the channel decided over the weekend that the NBC News correspondent and MSNBC host David Gregory would anchor news coverage of the coming debates and election night. Mr. Olbermann and Mr. Matthews will remain as analysts during the coverage.

The change — which comes in the home stretch of the long election cycle — is a direct result of tensions associated with the channel’s perceived shift to the political left.

Although MSNBC nearly doubled its total audience compared with the 2004 conventions, its competitive position did not improve, as it remained in last place among the broadcast and cable news networks. In prime time, the channel averaged 2.2 million viewers during the Democratic convention and 1.7 million viewers during the Republican convention.

The success of the Fox News Channel in the past decade along with the growth of political blogs have convinced many media companies that provocative commentary attracts viewers and lures Web browsers more than straight news delivered dispassionately.

“In a rapidly changing media environment, this is the great philosophical debate,” Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC, said in a telephone interview Saturday. Fighting the ratings game, he added, “the bottom line is that we’re experiencing incredible success.”

[full story]

The problem is that the “president of MSNBC” isn’t the presiden of MSNBC, of ya follow, as they are owned by other companies.  They are big gears in a bigger machine, and the bigger machine makes a whole lot more money the way things are, than they would if things were to change.

Real change.  So it’s pretty evident who they support in this election, and who represents a “changing of the guard” if you will…

BTW, this happened before.  Before the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Donahue’s final show will be Friday night. The news show that precedes him on the air, “Countdown: Iraq,” temporarily will be expanded to two hours to replace him.

“We’re proud of the program and we’re disappointed that the show was not able to attract the viewership we had hoped for and expected,” said Erik Sorenson, MSNBC president. “We thank Phil and his staff for their dedication, commitment and passion.”

Donahue’s office referred calls to his agent on Thursday, and he did not immediately return a call for comment.

The move was not a surprise. MSNBC hoped “Donahue” would provide a liberal counterweight to Fox News Channel’s competing “The O’Reilly Factor,” but the ratings started poorly and didn’t improve.

[full story]

Donahue was very much against the invasion of Iraq. It was an unpopular opinion at the time, both with the general public and his bosses (and their bosses). 

He’s still not so hot on it. 

I wonder what his ratings would be if he had been broadcasting for the last five years.  I wonder if we’d still be there now.  That’s how powerful a TV program can be.  Don’t fool yourself.  People can only make decisions on the information they have at hand.  Visual, visceral images can be *very powerful* forms of information.  Often the people who bring you information try to find experts to trust to analyze and simplify complex information and situations. 

We can’t all be experts at everything, but some of us try to be quick studies on as many things as possible.  And try to see how the inter-relate.  And try to see what is happening now.

We write journals about it.  Some people call us journalists.  Nowadays a subset of that group is called bloggers.  I thought this was important enough to write about.

Because I’ve seen it before.  I’ve seen the same people do the same thing.  And I’ve seen the result. 

 Interesting times, we have here, that’s for sure.

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The Net Reigns Supreme (For Better or Worse)

Alter: All Umbrage All the Time | Newsweek Voices – Jonathan Alter | Newsweek.com

After a decade of waiting for the first “Internet election,” its finally here, and were adrift from all the old-media moorings. “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one,” the great critic A. J. Liebling wrote more than half a century ago. Today, of course, were all press lords, or can be. But the “crowd-sourcing” of news cuts both ways. Like democracy itself, it can cleanse, correct and ennoble. Or it can coarsen, spread lies and degrade the national conversation.

Everything about the Web is double-edged. Its hard to believe, but YouTube wasnt even around in 2004. Now it or other streamed video is a godsend for anyone who wants to follow politics closely. But YouTube is also a pixilated guillotine for any public figures inclined to show a little humanity that is, fallibility or a penchant for inconvenient truth-telling when they step out of their house. Colin Powell told me recently that hes even had to put up with picture takers in the mens room.

Alter makes a number of good points in this mini-rant/whine about the interwebs and the reality of a democratized media.  As one actually educated in how the media works and how much works it takes to make much of it look effortless on the consumer end, he makes some good points.

Read more to see my take on it.

Continue reading

CBS See’s Net as Useful

CNets Allure for CBS: Both Are Laggards – Bits – Technology – New York Times Blog

So CNet is finally being bought.

In January, I wrote a post called “The Problem With CNet: No One Wants to Buy It.” Every Internet and media company has looked closely at CNet. They are intrigued because it is a leader in its category of tech news and reviews, with some good technology and brands. But it is growing slowly, and its cost base is so high that its profit margins are meager. And the asking price, which hovered between $1 billion and $2 billion, scared off all the potential buyers.

So what is different for CBS, which announced today that it will pay $1.8 billion for CNet?

For one, CBS is also a company with well-known brands and sluggish growth. So CNet adds some luster to CBS, even if it would drag down other theoretical buyers like Yahoo.

Interestingly, on a conference call with investors this morning, CBS said that its own Internet properties — like Sportsline and the Web site for the Grammy Awards — are actually growing faster than CNet is.

Pretty good analysis of the brands and deal there.  Bascially CBS is paying an absolute crapload for some good domain names.  C-Net has been a solid ‘net brand for a long time, but never really jumped into the huge category.  I have serious doubts that CBS will do amazing things with the properties, but have tv.com and news.com in your stable of properties should be beneficial for an old-scheel TV business with a long term news brand.