Saturday, January 22, 2011

Life After Death: A Letter To Keith Olbermann

Keith Olbermann:
I'm sorry to hear that you have been sacked from MSNBC Countdown. You have garnered a well deserved reputation for your outspokenness against the crimes of the Bush/Cheney regime. Like many liberals, you were an ardent supporter of Obama but over the past half year, you have expressed impatience and consternation at Obama's quickening and perpetual shift to the right.

Your sacking comes barely after the ink has dried upon the deal which merged Comcast with NBC, hence creating the country's largest media conglomerate. Comcast, which is the nation's largest cable and Internet provider, takes control over the largest cable television conglomerate. CNBC, which is the propaganda organ and gossip tabloid on Wall Street is part of the deal. The ramifications of this  merger for democracy as well as freedom of expression and a free media is ominous. As you are well aware, the origins of this go back to the Telecommunications Act of 1996 signed into law by Bill Clinton. In addition to massive de-regulation of the television and radio airwaves, it allowed for entire media markets to be controlled by one corporation. In the years leading up to the 1996 Act, the 3 free tv networks were bought by two of the biggest corporations of the Military-Industrial Complex: General Electric (GE) and Westinghouse. Not surprisingly, the news media were so keen to propagate wars in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Since then the media has become more uniform and has moved further to the right. A few other dissident voices such as Bill Moyers have been silenced and marginalised. You were one of the few courageous voices on the corporate media to confront the lies and deceptions of the government. You spent the greatest part of 2010 denouncing the Tea Party and warning about the dangers the movement poses to the country.
After the Mid-Term election, MSNBC suspended you for giving small amounts of money to Democratic Party candidates without permission. This was quite profane in light of the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, which allowed corporations to lavish politicians with unlimited amounts of cash donations. How many millions did the parent company GE give to politicians? But you toss a couple of thousand ($2,400 to be exact) to a handful of Democrats and get punished.

So that's how it goes today. The financial aristocracy, along with the telecommunications corporations, have established a totalitarian dictatorship over the entire country. Wall Street owns the White House, Capitol Hill and the Supreme Court lock stock and barrel. Moreover, the banks and hedge funds have invested in all the media outlets in order to ensure that the ideology of capitalist vampirism has free reign. There is not to be any opposition to the rapacious repugnant caprices to the financial and corporate elite.

The irony is that they could get away with sacking you because you're a straight (or seem to be) white male. I'm sure that the brass would love to sack Rachel Maddow but it wouldn't be Politically Correct to sack an open lesbian. Moreover, she could easily sue for gender and sexual discrimination. On the other hand you are arguably the last real deal liberal (you really care about racism, sexism and homophobia) white male on corporate media and you got tossed on your ear. This sends a warning to the rest of the members of the American "journalistic" class. Toe the line and shut up. Stop telling the nation that they have democratic and human rights. Stop reporting on the government's shredding of the Bill of Rights! Stop the mealy-mouth talk about social justice. It's 2011! Oh and on top of it, stop bad-mouthing the influence of corporate wealth.

I have a personal suggestion for you, Mr. Olbermann. You should leave the US and join Max Keiser on Russia Today. The Russians would be more than happy to have you on board. Russia Today would not only match but exceed the salary you received from MSNBC. The downside is that most of your audience will not be able to see you on TV, since Russia Today has limited penetration within the American media market. However, Mr. Olbermann, you are too good for the U$A. Sooner or later, they were going to knife you. You will have a wider and more international audience. Outside of North America, no one knows you but if you join Russia Today you will become a superstar. Moreover, Russia Today doesn't censor (well as long as you don't cross Mr. Putin and even then you taking a few shots at the Kremlin will give RT more credibility against those accusing it of anti-Western and pro-Russian bias but I digress) and you will be free to say what you really think and how you see the U$A.

Chin-up Mr. Olbermann. You still have millions of dollars. Never forget, that you're arguably the most fortunate of the newly unemployed. You won't have to apply for Unemployment Benefit and certainly not have to worry about eating and paying the rent or mortgage (unless of course you over-reached by buying an Upper East Side condo worth much less than it really is.)

Indeed, you might want to use your newly acquired spare time and travel around the country. You could start by driving down to Camden, NJ or you could journey North to Albany and the State Capital Region. This is your opportunity to see how more and more Americans really live. Go see the desperate poverty and dire despair of the masses. Go to Obama's old stomping grounds on the South Side and ask folks how much change they've felt and experienced under Obama. Between Camden and Chicago, you could visit Appalachia and talk to the families in communities where the mining industry has disappeared and to listen to the daily conditions of those with precarious work and examine how their wages have declined over the past 30 years.

From there, you could drive down to the states on the Gulf of Mexico and ask the people what's really going on with BP. You can go to New Orleans and then track down all the displaced families still living in trailers and homeless shelters in Texas. All you that you need is a small camcorder. You have enough contacts where you could really edit and produce a top notch news special and/or documentary about life under America's Corporate Feudal State. If the Americans censor you, then take it up to the CBC in Canada or numerous other outlets in Europe and the Middle East. The South Americans would be grateful and would even pay you extra to assist with Spanish subtitles.

You have a long life ahead of you Mr. Olbermann. You've got more talent than most of your peers in the corporate media. You can really make a difference. Perhaps, it's due time to get off the desk and out of Manhattan. Don't be a typical hypocritical limousine liberal Mr. Olbermann. If you really have the passion for social justice, then it's your duty to do your part. Remember, you are a wealthy white American male. You have privilege. Use it to make real and effective change but not in the way Obama used it as a con-line.
Don't feel sorry for yourself. Don't expect others to feel sorry for you as well. I'm sorry to hear that you got the sack for political reasons but life will go on for you. However, I will feel more than sorry for you if you believe that you must conform and toe the corporate line in order to keep your career going. If you should remain quiet with your mouth shut, if you decide to disappear, and worse of all, if you turn into a shill for the dictatorship of finance, I will feel worse than sorrow or pity for you. I would feel nothing but contempt.
With friendly regards,
Der Kosmonaut
Belgrade, Serbia

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