Here’s the deal: A few days ago, the New York Times’ Brian Stelter reported on the front page that a closed-door meeting between the heads of GE and Fox had occurred, with a final result of ending the Olbermann/O’Reilly feud.
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.
In early June, the combat stopped, and MSNBC and Fox, for the most part, found other targets for their verbal missiles (Hello, CNN).
The reconciliation – not acknowledged by the parties until now – showcased how a personal and commercial battle between two men could create real consequences for their parent corporations.
The parent companies declined to comment directly on the details of the cease-fire, which was orchestrated in part by Jeff Zucker, the chief executive of NBC Universal, and Gary Ginsberg, an executive vice president who oversees corporate affairs at the News Corporation.
Mr. Olbermann, who is on vacation, said by e-mail message, “I am party to no deal,” adding that he would not have been included in any conversations between G.E. and the News Corporation. Fox News said it would not comment.
Well, let’s watch KO address this now, in his own words:
OLBERMANN: Tonight’s special comment on the politicians of both parties holding up health care reform and the health sector companies to whom they have sold their souls. This’s next, but first time for COUNTDOWN’s number two story, tonight’s worst persons in the world, brought to you tonight by Fixed News, celebrating six days without having fired Glenn Beck, even after he called the president of the United States a racist, and even after they basically claimed he didn’t really work for them.
The bronze to Brian Stelter of the “New York Times.” Front page story front page story Saturday about a, quote, deal in which, as the headline read, voices from above silence a cable TV feud. Problem, Mr. Stelter asks me at least twice last week if there was such a deal, and I told him, on and off the record, there was not. And told I rather obviously would have to be a party to such a deal. And I told him that not only wasn’t I, but I had not even been asked to be by my bosses.
And he printed it anyway. And I had even written to him that this was merely a misinterpretation of an announcement I made here on June One, that because Bill Reilly at Fox News had abetted the assassination of Dr. George Tiller, he had become too serious to joke about, and I would thus stop doing so, an announcement that would obtain unless and until, of course, I felt like changing the rule again later since this is not the US Constitution here. It’s a half baked television news cast and I make all the rules.
So-tonight’s runner-up, Bill-O the clown. After the arrest of Professor Gates, the Frank Burns of news went back to his excursion two years ago to meet some black people. “Remember when I went up to Sylvia’s and had dinner with Al Sharpton and said on my radio show, you know, Sylvia’s is just like any other restaurant in America. It’s a nice place with nice people. I got served great. Then the left wing turned it into I was denigrating, saying oh, he didn’t think Sylvia’s was going to be nice.”
Yes. That’s not what you said. Bill-O on September 19th, 2007: “I couldn’t get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia’s restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was-it was exactly the same, even though it’s run by blacks. Primarily black patronship. It was the same. That’s really what this society is all about now. There wasn’t one person in Sylvia’s who was screaming, MFer, I want more iced tea. You know, I mean everybody was-it was like going into an Italian restaurant in an all white suburb, in the sense that people were sitting there and they were ordering and having fun. And there wasn’t any kind of craziness at all.”
Bill thought there might be a human sacrifice between the salad and the entree. Racist clown. Imagine dinner shade Bill-O, I’m happily surprised you haven’t stabbed me with the steak knife, dear.
But our winner, Rupert Murdoch. How would you like to be Roger Ailes right now, or Bill Reilly, or anybody else who thinks they decide what goes on, even for a minute, on Fox News Channel? Rupert Murdoch, according to the “New York Times” piece, has muzzled Bill-O, kept him from speaking his mind because, as the Times put it, what Bill-O said, quote, could create real consequences for Fox’s parent corporation.”
How dare you muzzle Reilly, Mr. Murdoch? How dare you, sir? This is the essence of corporate interference in the marketplace of ideas, and it is shameful. Abast, ye mate; solidarity, Brother Bill. Free yourself from your corporate shackles. Solidarity! Rupert Murdoch, who could never get away with that here, today’s worst person-aargh-in the world!
“Good night… and good luck!” INDEED.