Why isn’t Brian Williams howling from the mountaintops?
Several years back, on an old blog, I transcribed a bit of C-SPAN program featuring Brian Williams and Walter Cronkite. Williams, responding to a question about the influence of advertisers on news, said:
Two other points: never have I ever felt commercial pressure; they know we’d howl from the mountaintops at our company if anyone ever interceded. I’ve never seen a story spiked because they’re a big advertiser.
While the current story about GE, MSNBC, and Olbermann doesn’t seem to directly include advertisers, this seems to be the same principle at play here – GE was worried that O’Reilly was “reporting” on their business in an unflattering way in retaliation for Olbermann’s relentless reporting on O’Reilly’s foibles. It was a commercial decision; GE felt that O’Reilly’s attention was threatening their bottom line.
So where is GE employee Brian Williams in all of this? Why isn’t he howling from the mountaintops that the corporate masters are interceding based on perceived commercial pressure? I don’t necessarily expect him to jump in every time Murdoch grumbles that O’Reilly could be hurting the Fox parent company’s bottom line, but this is in his own house.