FAIR: Did GE Stifle Keith Olbermann?

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The gentleman's agreement between Fox and MSNBC illustrates the corrosive effect on media of corporate ownership

(FAIR is a media reform group called Fairness & Accuracy in Media)

In the wake of an August 1 expose in the New York Times, an agreement reportedly reached by executives at the parent companies of Fox News Channel and MSNBC to rein in the networks' two stars' criticism of each other seems to have fallen apart. The behind-the-scenes deal-making, though, still illustrates the corrosive effect on media of corporate ownership.

The alleged deal concerned MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly. Olbermann seemed to deny any arrangement limiting his speech, and criticized Fox and O'Reilly right after the Times story was published (8/3/09). O'Reilly, in turn, resumed his criticism of GE on his August 5 show. But many questions remain about the nature of the deal.