Billmon notes that capitalism can tolerate dissent — when it is popular — quoting from a news report about Olbermann:
Whiskey Bar: The Price of Dissent — Olbermann said he hasn’t spoken to NBC Chairman Bob Wright or anyone at corporate owner General Electric Co. about his commentaries. No one’s asked him to tone things down; in fact, “I’ve had to calm them down a little bit,” he said.
Such is the almighty power of the Nielsen meter.
“As dangerous as it can sometimes be for news, it is also our great protector,” Olbermann said. “Because as long as you make them money, they don’t care. This is not Rupert Murdoch. And even Rupert Murdoch puts `Family Guy’ on the air and `The Simpsons,’ that regularly criticize Fox News. There is some safety in the corporate structure that we probably could never have anticipated.”
Meanwhile, back at Reuters, they just canned a guy who wrote a book critical of a right-wing extremist. Apparently, the fact that this person routinely calls for her opponents to be killed does not suffice to make criticism of her conform to Reuters’s policy that “that the integrity, independence and freedom from bias of Reuters shall at all times be fully preserved.”
Too soon to say before we see the book, but you have to wonder if Reuters are just frit. I suppose we can explain it as non-camera employees not having much market power. Which should give most of us great comfort, shouldn’t it?