It’s fine that NBC made a strategic decision to move to the left, adding blatant bias to its overall coverage. It’s where most of the networks are anyway, only NBC is a little further over on the spectrum. Fox News is conservative – I’d say unabashedly so, except that it pretends to be fair and balanced, which it’s not – and being a conservative network is fine too.
But what’s very disconcerting is having a major TV news network in the tank for a specific politician. This is unprecedented and a little frightening, giving off the noisome air of a nationalized, official government network.
Obama should not have gone last Sunday to the Martha’s Vineyard summer mansion of Brian Roberts, the CEO of Comcast, which owns NBC and MSNBC. And Roberts should not have hosted him. It stinks of collaboration.
Obama didn’t even bother to bring his family along. He paid tribute all on his own, because this was business.
The recent purchase of NBC by Comcast – requiring government approval, which the Obama Justice Department provided in January – put Roberts in the business of at least pretending to provide independent news, even if biased. Independent means not having the president over to your house for a party.
The invaluable website Opensecrets.org, which lives up to its name, yesterday noted that Comcast employees – led by Roberts and his executive team, I would imagine – are bigger donors to Obama than any other company. By far. They’ve given even more to Obama’s reelection effort than any Hollywood company or even Berkshire Hathaway, whose Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett has become a virtual economic spokesman for the White House.
So let’s imagine you are an NBC reporter, and you are thinking of doing a tough story on Obama – I know it seems unlikely, but stay with me here – and then you remember that YOUR BOSS JUST HAD OBAMA OVER TO HIS HOUSE IN MARTHA’S VINEYARD.
And Obama went to him, not the reverse. Are you really going to do a piece that will piss off both the White House and your employer?
But you don’t want to be tagged as just another liberal reporter. You actually want to try to uphold some of the traditional standards of journalism. So maybe you decide to do a piece on Nancy Pelosi, or even some lesser administration figure like Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.
But not Obama. Because you are reporting for the Obama Broadcasting Corporation, and you know it.