Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Olbermann to Have Nightly Show on Current TV

Glad to see this report in the Huffington Post that Keith Olbermann will soon be on Current TV with a new, nightly news and commentary show.   As I noted to a reporter at Crain's New York yesterday, in an interview about AOL's takeover of the Huffington Post, big corporations are not the best foundations for free press and broadcast media.

Although there is no direct evidence that anyone at GE or Comcast was responsible for Olbermann leaving MSNBC, or that Viacom led to Dan Rather's leaving CBS over Docugate, it certainly is reasonable to suppose that Rather would have been more respected had William Paley still been in charge at CBS, and Olbermann would have done better with a more independent MSNBC.    To be clear, I'm not necessarily against corporate acquisitions, and certainly do not want the FCC or FTC to unconstitutionally interfere with such media business, but nor should we be blind to possible adverse consequences of such mergers.

In Olbermann's case, his no-holds-barred progressive commentary will no doubt find a better home on Current TV, with Al Gore and his uncompromising support of free speech at the helm.  As Gore said to the Huffington Post, "We believe at Current that every citizen has freedom of speech, and that freedom of speech includes the ability to donate to candidates of your choice."

In other words, Olbermann is not likely to be abruptly yanked off the air, as he was a few months back on MSNBC, or leave on almost no notice, as also happened on MSNBC, both of which actions redound to MSNBC's discredit.

In other words, Olbermann on Current TV is good for our democracy.
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