Bill O'Reilly has identified yet another Greatest Threat to America to go along with DailyKos, Arianna Huffington, college professors, the War on Christmas, George Soros, and lesbian gangs with pink guns -- General Electric, parent company of NBC, and its CEO, Jeffrey Immelt.
Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post has an article tracing some of the history behind BOR's newest jihad. BOR claims that his criticism stems from GE's dealings with Iran -- who America is NOT at war with, despite the fondest wishes of FOX and the neocons. Some excerpts from BOR's new fatwa:
"General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt does not seem to care about the damage Iran is doing to America and the world. -snip-
Meantime, Immelt receives more than $20 million a year in compensation. Can you believe it? Everybody else gets hosed; Immelt gets wealthy.
But far worse is the Iran deal. If my child were killed in Iraq, I would blame the likes of Jeffrey Immelt. There's no excuse for his behavior or his incompetence.
Millions of Americans hold GE stock in good faith, but this is a bad company. Doing business with people killing American soldiers and Marines is simply unacceptable. And paying a guy $20 million to run a company into the ground is simply breathtaking.
There are more than a few villain CEOs in this country, but Jeffrey Immelt could well be the worst."
First, as Kurtz points out, BOR's new fatwa has more to do with his running feud between him and MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, who has been relentless in his efforts to expose BOR as the lying, ignorant, ridiculous blowhard he is. But because BOR refuses to even mentions Olbermann's name (and threaten anyone who does so in his presence), BOR has turned to attacking everything around Olbermann, like NBC, MSNBC, and GE. I guess BOR knows he'd lose if went head-to-head against Olbermann, so he's trying every other angle.
Second, BOR's latest attack is actually a tacit admission by FOX that BOR is being trounced in his battle with Olbermann, not the result of any breaking news. From Kurtz's article:
"[FOX News chairman Roger] Ailes called [NBC chief executive Jeff] Zucker on his cellphone last summer, clearly agitated over a slam against him by MSNBC host Keith Olbermann. According to sources familiar with the conversation, Ailes warned that if Olbermann didn't stop such attacks against Fox, he would unleash O'Reilly against NBC and would use the New York Post as well."
The fact that GE has dealings with Iran is hardly news, nor is it illegal. As Kurtz notes:
"Under growing criticism from the public and its own shareholders, GE announced in 2005 that it would accept no new business in Iran and would wind down existing contracts, which mostly involved sales of oil, gas and energy and health-care equipment. The remaining work, valued at less than $50 million, amounts to less than .01 percent of GE's income, and the company says the final four contracts will expire within weeks."
Third, this is just another example of BOR's mindbending capacity for hypocrisy. Rupert Murdoch, BOR's boss, owns MySpace. Along with the accounts of millions of average people (including myself), MySpace also hosts "the Official Hezbollah MySpace" page, as well as recruiting videos for Hamas and videos calling for the destruction of Israel (those two have been up for almost a year). BOR has previously made the ludicrous assertion that the owner of a website is responsible for every single bit of material on a website, including any comment left by any user. If that's the case, what about his boss, Murdoch, who owns a website that allows members of Hezbollah, Hamas, and haters of Israel to network? Can Murdoch vouch for all the material on every one of the MySpace pages created by people in Iran, Syria and Sudan? I'm not at all saying that these pages should be censored or banned -- just that BOR is a big fat hypocrite for failing to call out his boss, who is also a vocal supporter of communist China, despite its long history of repression and human rights violations. From the New York Times:
"Mr. Murdoch cooperates closely with China's censors and state broadcasters, several people who worked for him in China say. He cultivates political ties that he hopes will insulate his business ventures from regulatory interference, these people say.
In speeches and interviews, Mr. Murdoch often supports the policies of Chinese leaders and attacks their critics. A group of China-based reporters for The Journal accused him in a letter to Dow Jones shareholders of "sacrificing journalistic integrity to satisfy personal and political aims," a charge the News Corporation denies.
His courtship has made him the Chinese leadership's favorite foreign media baron."
I'm also not defending GE. GE is a known war profiteer and is responsible for the creation and sale of vast amounts of deadly military hardware. But BOR's claim that GE is responsible for the deaths of US troops would be laughable if it wasn't based on the reality that actual Americans have died in the interminable clusterfuck we call the Iraq war. Trying to blame every problem in Iraq on Iran is a phantom that repeatedly pops up on neocon radars before disappearing just as quickly due to lack of evidence and lack of desire to start yet another war in the Middle East when we're already losing two. But blaming Iran is a convenient way for war supporters to avoid any responsibility for this nightmare of a war they started. What's more, even if Iran is arming and training Shiites to fight the Sunnis and the US, how can we really say that that's wrong when the US is arming, training, and paying both Shiites and Sunnis (some of whom have or continue to fight against the US) to not only fight each other, but sometimes to fight themselves?
BOR said that if he had a kid who was killed in Iraq, he would blame Jeffrey Immelt. Instead of fabricating some imaginary link (which BOR has not produced) between GE and the death of a single US soldier in Iraq, he could go a more direct route and take a look at himself, his fellow propagandists at FOX, his boss, Rupert Murdoch, and the Bush administration.
In the run-up to the Iraq war, no network or entity did more to parrot and amplify the Bush administration's lies about Iraq than FOX. Rupert Murdoch, owner of FOX, even admitted last year that he used his vast media empire to try to influence the "perception" about Iraq and the war because he "supported the Bush policy", leading to FOX viewers being shockingly misinformed about the most basic facts surrounding Iraq and its non-existent WMDs and links to 9/11. Meanwhile BOR and his compatriots on FOX did their best to silence dissent and any kind of reasonable discussion on the wisdom, morality, and legality of a war with Iraq, with the rest of the media following FOX's lead. And when all of FOX's and the Bush administration's lies were exposed and the war became an unquestionable failure, FOX simply stopped reporting it.
BOR isn't looking out for his viewers or America -- only himself and his gigantic, easily bruised ego. But will his viewers follow him on his latest ridiculous holy war? Or will they realize that BOR is nothing more than a nut who has cried "BE SCARED!" one too many times?