Patterico's Pontifications


Sanders to NBC: You Can’t Merge Your Company With One Run by Republicans (Update: Olby Responds and Johnny Dollar Rips Maddow Apart) (UPDATED with Video)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 5:23 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; send your tips here.]

Update: Olby releases a statement.  He does apologize, but then goes on to deflect any actual responsibility.  I guess that is all you can expect from a pompous blow-hard like him.  Meanwhile, Johnny Dollar takes down Rachel Maddow.  You can read the whole post, or just scroll down to the video.

Yeah, that will leave a mark.

Looks like Bernie Sanders, the only person in Congress willing to admit he is a socialist, needs a refresher course on freedom of expression:

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said he would look to block a merger between NBC and Comcast, citing the decision last week by MSNBC to suspend liberal anchor Keith Olbermann.

Sanders said Comcast’s attempt to acquire NBC from General Electric would result in “another media giant run by a Republican supporter of George W. Bush.”

He does know there is a new president, right?

The Vermont senator, an independent [socialist] who caucuses with Democrats, has loudly criticized MSNBC’s suspension of Olbermann last week for violating company policies when he donated to three Democratic candidates.

The suspension was imposed Friday, and Olbermann will be back on the air  Tuesday night.

Sanders expressed concern that the precedent set by that suspension would result in MSNBC becoming more like Fox News, which is part of the Newscorp empire run by Rupert Murdoch.

Um, how, exactly would it do that?

Liberals complain the coverage by many Newscorp properties tilts to the right, mirroring many of Murdoch’s own opinions.

The senator pointed to Comcast’s COO Stephen B. Burke’s history as a major fundraiser for former President George W. Bush as a reason why the deal, which has drawn criticism from other lawmakers for different reasons, should be blocked.

Notice he doesn’t actually accuse him of doing anything but fundraising.  But its his fear of what the man might do that drives this.

“As Vermont’s senator, I intend to do all that I can do to stop this merger. There already is far too much media concentration in this country,” Sanders said. “We do not need another media giant run by a Republican supporter of George W. Bush. That is the lesson we should learn from the Keith Olbermann suspension.”

Of course he might be able to do this  in large part because of an outdated doctrine allowing the government to exercise more control over broadcasts than the cable/satellite  companies.  So with NBC being a broadcast channel (quick, how many people actually receive channels through a normal antenna on their TV?), they are subject to much greater control than if they were purely a cable or satellite operation.

Whatever arguments there was for the fear of media domination applied best in the “Good Ole Days” when there were three channels and you were the remote, sitting way too close to the screen and following Dad’s instructions: “turn it up!  Try channel 4, try channel 9…  Ah crap Loveboat.  Well, I guess there is nothing better on…”  With 700 billion channels, Netflix instant streaming (on most game consoles, no less), DVD’s, Google Tv debuting, Hulu, YouTube and probably five other things I don’t even know of, the idea that anyone could capture control of the media is antiquated.

In fact, what we have been seeing is not the creation of a monopoly but the end of one.  It used to be the big three networks were the only game in town and they were all left leaning with no options for conservatives.  “The genius of Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes was to have discovered a niche market in American broadcasting,” Charles Krauthammer once observed, “half the American people.”  If liberal dominance was the Thesis, and the appearance of Fox News was the Antithesis, then the possibility of another network trying to scoop up some of that niche must suggest a coming synthesis, where the media is more evenly divided, or maybe even becomes the objective media that it has long claimed to be.  And that surely scares the living crap out of liberals and democrats.  If its just Fox News, they can continue to ignore and marginalize them.  But if its two companies… then the liberal dominance of the media starts to be seriously threatened.

But as suggested by the title, Sanders, in making this threat, has shown that he fundamentally misapprehends to oath of office.  It is not his job to care if the media is mainly liberal or conservative.

As for the courts, if Mr. Sanders succeeds in blocking this merger, maybe it is time for the Supreme Court to revisit its ruling that broadcast media is uniquely subject to government control.  I have long said that if you wondered what life would be like without the FCC’s nannyism, one only need to dial to the all-cable stations.  Channels like FX, A&E, G4, The History Channel, Sci-Fi (I refuse to spell it their new, stupid way), and so on.  Go on, look.  Is it really so awful?  I think our republic can survive having petty tyrants like Sanders defanged.  It is time to restore freedom of expression.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: You really owe it to yourself to click on that Johnny Dollar link. But in any event, you really have to watch this video that he put together. It is awesomely entertaining, and just rips MSNBC and Maddow apart. You’ll enjoy every second.

Now go read his post.

Update: Slight update in editing.  Thanks Joshua.

The Pie Party

Filed under: General — Karl @ 1:25 pm

[Posted by Karl]

No, it’s not some lame, lefty response like the Coffee Party, but it could be the next step for the Tea Party. Allahpundit is busy aggregating the news each day, so he gets to drop gems like this only in passing:

The more I watch tea party honchos rant against government spending and big government, the more frustrated I am that, for all their ardor, only very rarely do they squarely address the problem of entitlements and what aging Baby Boomers will mean for it. Even the tea party’s “Contract from America” doesn’t touch the third rail: It dances around it, demanding a balanced budget and tax reform, calling for a statutory cap on spending, and proposing a task force on fiscal responsibility, but never are any of the old entitlements specifically targeted. (By contrast, the Contract explicitly calls for repealing ObamaCare and rejecting cap-and-trade.) The greatest thing the tea party could do for fiscal responsibility is to simply start talking about this; doing so won’t land entitlement reform on the national agenda immediately, but putting the idea in people’s heads will at least prepare the ground for it. And the ground does need to be prepared, urgently…

In fairness, given how quickly Democrats were moving in the opposite direction, it made complete sense for the Tea Party to focus on applying the brakes with the election of a GOP majority in the House. But as anyone who has studied the Democrats’ infrastructure — i.e., the labor movement — will tell you, it’s not enough to agitate and organize; you also must educate. That project can help keep wind in the sails of those just elected and further broaden the Tea Party’s appeal for 2012.

A good starting point might be to study the case of H. Ross Perot, who managed to put the deficit and debt at the top of the national agenda a generation ago (before revealing himself to be — to put it kindly — a mite eccentric. There’s a lesson there about candidate selection, but I’ll let others hash that one out for now). What Perot had going for him was: (1) good visuals, in the form of simple pie charts and bar graphs, explaining the scope of the problem; (2) the ability to turn a phrase; (3) a national platform (being a favored guest of Tim Russert’s Meet The Press and others); and (4) money to burn.

The Tea Party, unlike Perot’s Reform Party, is the opposite of a top-down organization. However, unlike the America of 1992, the Tea Party has the Internet as a low-cost national media platform, as well as low-cost software for producing potentially compelling content. The same decentralized network that generated ideas and action for organizing can be used to generate that content. I would suggest a video or videos outlining the scope of our public debt problem — larger than all the money in the world — that would be a cross between those Perot-esque pie charts and political campaign ads. Perhaps a group like FreedomWorks could be induced to sponsor something like an X Prize for such a project.

Of course, in the spirit of the Tea Party, I acknowledge that the marketplace of ideas might come up with a better proposal. However, after a wave of Tea, a healthy helping of Pie might be the next best course.


Our National Scold is Upset at U.S. Over Last Tuesday

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 9:49 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; send your tips here.]

Mayor Bloomberg, our national scold, has told us we were bad, bad people for voting for whom we did last Tuesday:

“If you look at the US, you look at who we’re electing to Congress, to the Senate — they can’t read,” he said.

“I’ll bet you a bunch of these people don’t have passports. We’re about to start a trade war with China if we’re not careful here, only because nobody knows where China is.”

The accusation of illiteracy rebuts itself.  But let me take a moment to tear apart this snobbish cliche about passports.  The reality is that for most Americans the value of a passport is greatly diminished.  Seriously, what do you get in a foreign country?  Different terrain types?  You can find mountains, plains, cold arctic regions and lovely deserts, tropical islands and so on, all without leaving our country once.  Different cultures?  Well, Mr. Bloomberg, first and foremost maybe instead of jaunting around the world, you should actually travel around this great country, take in some of our domestic cultures and maybe you would be less likely to look down your nose at us.  Second, you can equally get other countries’ cultures here.  People from every other place on earth come here.

I’m not saying that the rest of the world had nothing to offer.  Patterico’s recent post gives us an example of an experience you can’t get easily in America.  But the rest of the world has far less to offer an American than it would, say, a Frenchman, because our vast and varied country already offers us so much.

And in any case, the snobbery only harms your own reputation, Mikey.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

The Most Loyal Dog, Ever

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 8:18 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; send your tips here.]

This video is very much worth watching.  Don’t read the story below it, because it is almost word-for-word what you see and it’s much better to just watch it.

And these aren’t tears, there is something in my eyes.  Both of them.  At exactly the same time.

By the way, am I the only person reminded of this classic moment from Futurama?  (Especially starting around the 1:05 mark.)

Hat tip: The Blaze.

Update: Broken link fixed.  Thanks SPQR and Patterico for the head’s up.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Keith Will Be Back, But Will He Apologize? (Update: Execs Apologizes to Olbermann?)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 7:36 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; send your tips here.]

Update:  Patterico beat me to the news below.  But I will leave this up because I have a different angle on the story.

So this morning we find out that Keith Olbermann will be back from his suspension without pay tomorrow.  It’s interesting that conservatives are probably responsible for him coming back, given how many of them rose to defend Olbermann.  I mean, if it was just liberals rising to his defense, would he be coming back at all?  Hard to say.  But conservative defenders give the outcry a distinctive whiff of bipartisanship.

But that begs the question whether Olbermann will actually admit to having done anything wrong on his show, when he returns.  After all, the Politico* reports that his refusal to apologize was one of the reasons for the suspension.  And let’s remember that in the past Olbermann has been openly insubordinate of his boss, Phill Griffin saying once “Phil thinks he’s my boss.”  So in part this might be a power struggle between the two, and Tuesday night, we might learn who won.

And of course Legal Insurrection offers Olbermann mischievous advice.

Update (II): According to this report from PopEater, Olbermann got NBC Execs. to apologize to him?  And to change the rule that he broke?  Well, if true, you gotta give the guy props for the sheer chutzpah of it.  And as they say, there will be no living with him, now.


* Sorry Politico, but no linky for bullies.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Olbermann to Return Tuesday Night

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:39 am

Our brief national nightmare is over.


From Phil Griffin, President of MSNBC:

After several days of deliberation and discussion, I have determined that suspending Keith through and including Monday night’s program is an appropriate punishment for his violation of our policy. We look forward to having him back on the air Tuesday night.

I have been torn by this “controversy.” On one hand, it’s obviously absurd to apply the standards of real journalism to a partisan blowhard like Olbermann. On the other, if MSNBC is going to pretend he’s a real journalist, I suppose he should be held to the standards of one. And when he inevitably fails to meet those standards, who am I to pooh-pooh the spectacle that ensues?

However, there is a little two-word phrase that keeps coming to mind for some reason: ratings stunt.

I wonder why.

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