Saturday, June 06, 2009

Exposing Real World Of Big Media Intimidation, Bias

Story here.

ht: Drudge Report

It's a very dangerous situation when any huge multinational corporation wages war against media companies. Especially when that huge multinational corporation is General Electric, which itself owns a media company, NBC Universal, and it's using all its power and influence and money to try to harm another media company, Nielsen, and Nielsen Business Media, and its trade publication The Hollywood Reporter. This certainly sounds like a situation which the FCC, and the FTC, and the U.S. Justice Department should be investigating. Just one problem: the controversy stems from GE/NBCU's coverage of President Obama. Here's what happened:

According to my sources inside and outside Nielsen Business Media, The Hollywood Reporter trade publication ran a story dated April 22nd and updated on April 24th covering the "drama" at the most recent GE shareholders meeting in Orlando. THR's West Coast Business Editor Paul Bond wasn't sent to the meeting, but he interviewed about half a dozen people who'd been inside the shareholders meeting and told him what transpired (see below). Bond's THR story focused on the attempts by stockholders and Fox News Channel and other media to find out whether or not GE Chairman/CEO Jeffrey Immelt ordered his news operations to be less critical of President Obama and his policies.

Ah... Soros-Obama corporate cronies interfering with the freedom of the press via intimidation and punishment...

Bond's story was immediately picked up by The Drudge Report under the headline "GE shareholders outraged over MSNBC bias; Microphone cut off." It became a widely posted news story on conservative and liberal and media websites everywhere. That's when, sources inside and outside Nielsen Business Media tell me, GE Chairman Jeff Immelt ordered a GE company-wide ban on all of THR's parent company: advertising, editorial, the works. After a few days, the ban was reduced to GE's NBC Universal which chief Jeff Zucker carried out against Nielsen Business Media's The Hollywood Reporter and lasted six weeks. My NBC Universal sources believe the ban was lifted yesterday.


According to my sources, Zucker ordered NBC Universal employees "not to talk" to THR. "They took away passes and tickets," says one insider. Another told me advertising was affected: it appears all or almost all advertising was stopped by NBC Universal at what was and continues to be a very important revenue time for the trade -- just before the Emmy nominations. Still another told me that NBC Universal employees stopped returning THR reporters' calls. One NBC Universal employee actually said to a THR reporter: "I'm not allowed to talk to The Hollywood Reporter."


NBC Universal also attempted to have Paul Bond fired. The company went to Nielsen/THR and complained not just about his shareholders meeting coverage, but also about the tone of that story and others he'd written about NBCU. But Bond's bosses refused to buckle under the pressure.

You see, this sort of thing does happen.

How widespread and common is this bias, and how frequently do these intimidation tactics happen?

It's chilling. Definitely makes it difficult for there to be a free press.

It involves both media and non-media corporate entities...

And it's connected to politics.

It's not easy to be a truly free press these days, but it's certainly possible, and the little, non-greedy guys will tend to be freer than the big guys.