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Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)

Something You Still Won't See on MSNBC

A liberal-leaning Democrat is waging a somewhat lonely but passionate fight against a mega-corporate merger. That's the kind of thing you're going to see talked about on the liberal-leaning cable channel MSNBC, right? 

Not at the moment. Because that politician, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, is talking about the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger (New York Times, 4/11/14). And, of course, Comcast is MSNBC's parent company. 

As we've noted before (FAIR Blog, 2/19/14), MSNBC mostly skipped the announcement of the merger. The only substantive coverage was on Morning Joe, where the CEOs enjoyed a victory lap. As co-host Joe Scarborough put it, "Comcast seems to be doing everything right over the past four or five years."

Not much has changed. Franken's questioning of company officials at a Senate judiciary committee hearing last week (4/9/14) drew notice from the likes of the New York Times (4/11/14),  but it doesn't seem to change the dynamic over at Comcast's cable channel, which has a political point of view that you might think would be sympathetic to Franken's criticism–not to mention the dozens of public interest groups that have spoken out publicly against the deal. 

Interestingly, CNN–which no longer has any corporate ties to Time Warner Cable–has done much more on the Comcast story, most recently on the media program Reliable Sources (4/13/14), which had also featured an interview with Craig Aaron of Free Press on the same subject (2/16/14).

But at this point, a merger of two massive media companies–which raises some fundamental questions about one corporation holding enormous power over cable, broadband and programming–isn't generating any interest over at MSNBC. If Franken and other Comcast critics need any more evidence showing how these media giants wield their power, they don't have to look very far.

Peter Hart

Peter Hart is the Communications Director at the National Coalition Against Censorship. Previously at the media watchdog group FAIR, Hart is also the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly. (Seven Stories Press, 2003).

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