For Release: January 22, 2010
Contact: David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x11 or [email protected]
Taxpayers, Shareholders Should Be Furious Over Olbermann Comments
Washington, DC - After MSNBC talking head Keith Olbermann predicted the downfall of democracy due to yesterday's U.S. Supreme Court easing restrictions on political speech, a policy expert at The National Center for Public Policy Research notes that taxpayers should be outraged.
Not only is Olbermann calling for reduced freedom in America, but the company that employs him has been using its own influence to save itself at taxpayer expense, says National Center for Public Policy Research Free Enterprise Project director Tom Borelli.
The decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission eases certain restrictions on the free speech of businesses, associations, organized labor and certain advocacy groups with regard to their participation in political campaigns. Olbermann suggested the decision in the Citizens United case would lead to corporations and wealthy citizens essentially buying lawmakers.
MSNBC is currently owned by General Electric.
To call increased political participation a threat to democracy is ludicrous. What seems to be the case is that Keith Olbermann wants to keep the playing field clear for his employer.
Taxpayers kept GE solvent by bailing out GE Capital - the company's financial arm. Yet the company now escapes Obama's assault against the banking industry. Additionally, GE's lobbying army - which has a $20 million annual budget - helped secure hundreds of millions of dollars for the company's utility customers from Obama's economic stimulus package, and the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill that passed the House of Representatives would mandate the purchase of renewable energy products such as GE's wind turbines.
Let's also not forget that taxpayer money was also used to prop up GE during the credit crisis. Shockingly, it's our money that was used to pay Keith Olbermann's salary.
Both shareholders and taxpayers should be outraged because GE CEO Jeff Immelt and Olbermann continue to use MSNBC to attack the American people in a failing effort to defend President Obama's left-wing policies. Ultimately, for them, this effort may be a marketplace failure. To wit, GE's NBC unit just today reported a 30 percent drop in profit.
Immelt and Olbermann may have secured favors from the Obama Administration, but they are just continuing to prop up a losing enterprise.
The National Center for Public Policy Research is a conservative, free-market think-tank established in 1982. It receives less than one percent of its revenue from corporations.