TV Tiff Not Between Equals

01feud.xlarge1After the on-screen rancor between MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann and Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly escalated to the boardrooms of their respective bosses (GE for Olbermann and News Corp for O’Reilly) the two talking heads have been told from above to cool it.

For reasons I can’t fathom, this development has prompted some to suggest that Olbermann and O’Reilly are equivalent figures, indistinguishably corrupted in their content and presentations, each the other’s opposite number and both deserving of the same skepticism as sources of information.

Obviously, no major-media figure whose job it is to provide value to mass advertisers should escape skeptical analysis.  But there is no equivalence here.  None.

I hope I don’t have to be a defender of Keith Olbermann to notice that O’Reilly’s and Fox News’s unique stock in trade is its regular, nearly uninterrupted cover for corporate interests.  Fox News has zero equivalence to any other news network that score.  This truth is found in the details of the cat-fight:  Only because they’re Olberman’s boss, O’Reilly needles GE about one (ostensibly) legal aspect of its overseas business.   Compare that to the dead quiet from Fox and O’Reilly in nine years concerning Haliburton/KBR, Bechtel, L-3, SAIC, CACI, and other overseas profiteers in Iraq.   Nor has there been a peep from Fox about GE’s four-plus decades of habitual criminal activity as a US defense contractor – between 1990 and 2002, GE settled with the feds for nearly  $1 billion in 63 separate cases, more than any US corporation in that time.

But if you’re Bill O’Reilly, GE is only worth talking about if they’re a TV competitor’s boss.

Seriously, fuck Fox News and fuck Bill O’Reilly.

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1984-89: Defoliants
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August 2009
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