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 Post subject: FCC approves Comcast/NBC merger
PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:23 am 
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 Post subject: Re: FCC approves Comcast/NBC merger
PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:12 pm 
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The most telling thing about all of this is that the FCC can't just simply say "no". They have to bargain with the interested parties. It's maddening to think of the lack of actual authority, but that's the way all the Federal agencies are. They assure us that they negotiated with Comcast/NBCU and got them to make necessary innovations; well, why not just mandate the innovations anyway at the same time as they strike down the deal?


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 Post subject: Re: FCC approves Comcast/NBC merger
PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:47 am 
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Almost simultaneous to the merger, Keith Olbermann, one of the few progressive-voiced commentators on network television, was apparently fired from MSNBC. Comcast has a history of indicating a conservative bent. The nitty-gritty has yet to come out, but if indeed there is a willful strategy on the part of Comcast, it further indicates how the culture can be degraded when individual mercantile entities are allowed to get too powerful.


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 Post subject: Re: FCC approves Comcast/NBC merger
PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 9:50 am 
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Reachable wrote:
Almost simultaneous to the merger, Keith Olbermann, one of the few progressive-voiced commentators on network television, was apparently fired from MSNBC. Comcast has a history of indicating a conservative bent. The nitty-gritty has yet to come out, but if indeed there is a willful strategy on the part of Comcast, it further indicates how the culture can be degraded when individual mercantile entities are allowed to get too powerful.

1. I am not sure that Olberman was technically fired. He and MSNBC reached a settlement whereby they mutually agreed to part ways after numerous conflicts between Olberman and MSNBC management, including his recent violation of NBC company policy against anyone in the news divisions donating money to political campaigns. He was suspended by MSNBC for serveal days and came close to being fired for that infraction. Olberman had many other run-ins with MSNBC management over the last several years (prior to any discussion about NBC being acquired by Comcast).

2. It is illegal for Comcast (or any company which acquires another company) to interfere with the acquired company until the deal closes. There are severe penalties for this under anti-trust law. The deal has not closed yet.

3. After the killings in Tuscon, Olberman said he would tone down his divisive rhetoric, but then continued to lambaste his political opponents with highly charged rhetoric. This was probably the precipitating factor of his leaving, in addition to all the other conflicts he had with management over the last few years.


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 Post subject: Re: FCC approves Comcast/NBC merger
PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:36 am 
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m0002a wrote:
Reachable wrote:
Almost simultaneous to the merger, Keith Olbermann, one of the few progressive-voiced commentators on network television, was apparently fired from MSNBC. Comcast has a history of indicating a conservative bent. The nitty-gritty has yet to come out, but if indeed there is a willful strategy on the part of Comcast, it further indicates how the culture can be degraded when individual mercantile entities are allowed to get too powerful.

1. I am not sure that Olberman was technically fired. He and MSNBC reached a settlement whereby they mutually agreed to part ways after numerous conflicts between Olberman and MSNBC management, including his recent violation of NBC company policy against anyone in the news divisions donating money to political campaigns. He was suspended by MSNBC for serveal days and came close to being fired for that infraction. Olberman had many other run-ins with MSNBC management over the last several years (prior to any discussion about NBC being acquired by Comcast).

2. It is illegal for Comcast (or any company which acquires another company) to interfere with the acquired company until the deal closes. There are severe penalties for this under anti-trust law. The deal has not closed yet.

3. After the killings in Tuscon, Olberman said he would tone down his divisive rhetoric, but then continued to lambaste his political opponents with highly charged rhetoric. This was probably the precipitating factor of his leaving, in addition to all the other conflicts he had with management over the last few years.


In light of the timing, it's not hard to imagine that the acquisition approval was the last straw for Olbermann and the go-ahead for management. I don't watch TV, to tell you the truth, but I know there's a lot of virulent divisive rhetoric, so unless Olbermann was noticeably more caustic than others you wouldn't expect that the network would feel pressured to let him go for that reason.


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 Post subject: Re: FCC approves Comcast/NBC merger
PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:43 pm 
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Reachable wrote:
In light of the timing, it's not hard to imagine that the acquisition approval was the last straw for Olbermann and the go-ahead for management. I don't watch TV, to tell you the truth, but I know there's a lot of virulent divisive rhetoric, so unless Olbermann was noticeably more caustic than others you wouldn't expect that the network would feel pressured to let him go for that reason.

Apparently you don't watch TV because Olberman's rhetoric was definitely more caustic than others (except "maybe" Glenn Beck). Olberman's "Worst Person in the World" was awarded daily to people simply because he disagreed with them politically or because they had higher ratings (his favorite was Bill O'reilly, who was his direct competition on Fox at the same hour). He also was suspended in November for violating NBC company policy against on-air people in the news divisions from donating to political candidates. He has been an embarrassment to NBC news for a long time.

Comcast (like the current owner GE) announced in advance that they would continue a hands-off editorial policy toward the news divisions. The merger Comcast purchase of NBC Universal was announced a long time ago and was a forgone conclusion, so the timing of the FCC approval had nothing to do with Olberman leaving unless it factored into Olberman's decision (which I doubt).

Besides which, he was not fired. Olberman is sufficiently wealthy (has made more than $50 million in the last 10 years on his MSNBC show, and wanted out of the remaining two years of the contract. He really belongs on Sirius radio or somewhere where their are no rules, and I expect him to show up somewhere else when his non-compete agreement runs out.


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 Post subject: Re: FCC approves Comcast/NBC merger
PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 4:00 pm 
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I'll have to admit, I wouldn't mind seeing most of the talking heads (left and right) disappear. They add as much value as shopping channels and reality TV.

A much bigger concern is the roadblocks Comcast will put in place for Level 3 (Netflix servers)
and the like.

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 Post subject: Re: FCC approves Comcast/NBC merger
PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 4:33 pm 
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m0002a wrote:
Comcast (like the current owner GE) announced in advance that they would continue a hands-off editorial policy toward the news divisions. The merger Comcast purchase of NBC Universal was announced a long time ago and was a forgone conclusion, so the timing of the FCC approval had nothing to do with Olberman leaving unless it factored into Olberman's decision (which I doubt).
That isn't how the world works. It is not plausible that he voluntarily chose to leave a bird in the hand for a bird in the bush.

It is more plausible that it was a "constructive termination". The acquisition just emboldened his boss to push him out with greater vigor... and Olberman decided to walk out instead of being thrown out on the sidewalk.

It is a gamble that he will be able to repeat his success. I personally hope that he gets lucky and doubles his audience in his next venue.

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 Post subject: Re: FCC approves Comcast/NBC merger
PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 1:07 pm 
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ces wrote:
That isn't how the world works. It is not plausible that he voluntarily chose to leave a bird in the hand for a bird in the bush.

It is more plausible that it was a "constructive termination". The acquisition just emboldened his boss to push him out with greater vigor... and Olberman decided to walk out instead of being thrown out on the sidewalk.

It is a gamble that he will be able to repeat his success. I personally hope that he gets lucky and doubles his audience in his next venue.

Olberman has had many run-ins with management and he wanted out of his contract. He doesn't need the money (made about $50 million in last 10 years), and just wants more freedom to say whatever he wants. I don't think Olberman would measure success the same way you would.

Olberman was under contract and could not have gone anywhere else for 2 more years under his old contract. When Olberman left, he signed a non-compete agreement in exchange for MSNBC continuing to pay him for some period of time (exact amount and length of non-compete is not public to best of my knowledge). Speculation is that he can compete in 6 months or year with the termination agreement he signed.

I don't know why you think you know how the world works better than I do, but I just don't believe that Comcast had anything to do with it. I think the Tuscon shooting was the final straw from a MSNBC management point of view. Olberman said he would tone down his rhetoric, but then continued to blast people in his usual highly inflammatory ways.


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 Post subject: Re: FCC approves Comcast/NBC merger
PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:13 pm 
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m0002a wrote:
I don't know why you think you know how the world works better than I do,
Funny, that is what I was thinking about your analysis. I thought it was a bit shallow... and that you were projecting what you would do if you were him onto him. That is what you are doing isn't it?

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 Post subject: Re: FCC approves Comcast/NBC merger
PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 9:29 pm 
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ces wrote:
Funny, that is what I was thinking about your analysis. I thought it was a bit shallow... and that you were projecting what you would do if you were him onto him. That is what you are doing isn't it?

My analysis was based on watching several news shows about Olberman's departure, including (but not limited to) "Reliable Sources" on CNN this past Sunday. The commentators (mostly liberals sympathetic to Olberman) mentioned that Olberman and MSNBC have had problems for quite a while, and especially since the last November when he was suspended for violating NBC policy against giving contributions to political candidates. Just recently, he promised to tone down his inflammatory rhetoric after the Tucson shootings, but then continued as normal in violation of the promise.

The commentators also mentioned that Olberman was was currently making $7.5 million per year, but that he was not doing the show for the money (based on their personal knowledge of Olberman).

My analysis about Comcast's role (or lack of a role in this matter) is also based on having been involved in several corporate takeovers and my knowledge of anti-trust laws that prohibits the acquiring company from directing activities at the acquired company before the deal closes. Prior to that law, it was not uncommon for acquiring companies to tell the acquired company to discontinue competing products, and then back out of the deal at the last moment before the closing. Here is what Comcast said about the Olberman departure:

"Comcast has not closed the transaction for NBC Universal and has no operational control at any of its properties including MSNBC. We pledged from the day the deal was announced that we would not interfere with NBC Universal's news operations. We have not and we will not."

The purchase by Comcast of NBC Universal was announced in December 2009, so the recent FCC approval was just one of many milestones along the way in the takeover saga. Removing a popular host from a successful show is a business risk for MSNBC, so it is hard to imagine that MSNBC management was trying to impress their new Comcast bosses.

What is your analysis based on?


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 Post subject: Re: FCC approves Comcast/NBC merger
PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 9:44 pm 
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ces wrote:
m0002a wrote:
I don't know why you think you know how the world works better than I do,
Funny, that is what I was thinking about your analysis. I thought it was a bit shallow... and that you were projecting what you would do if you were him onto him. That is what you are doing isn't it?


that about sums it up.

you are attempting to have a logical discussion with somebody who voted for bush twice, and would do it all over again, if he could :roll:

neocons like that are why this country is in such a mess.


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 Post subject: Re: FCC approves Comcast/NBC merger
PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 9:59 pm 
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danimal wrote:
that about sums it up.

you are attempting to have a logical discussion with somebody who voted for bush twice, and would do it all over again, if he could :roll:

neocons like that are why this country is in such a mess.

I don't see any logical analysis in your post. Just the same old partisan and ad hominem attacks that got Olberman's show cancelled in the aftermath of the Tucson shooting.


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