Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Act 1: Last August, Comcast removed MSNBC from its Digital Starter Package and moved it to one of its premium offerings. Of course, Fox News remained in the basic Starter Package because Comcast is a conservative media conglomerate and wants to spread the Fox-Beck-Hannity-Billo message. According to beachwriter429 at Daily Kos:

What this means is that one now has to pay an additional $17 per month ($204 per year) to view anything progressive enough to even remotely balance out FNC's right wing extremism (…) The neighbor who alerted me to the situation is an attorney, and he thinks this appears to be to be an FCC/Fairness Doctrine violation.

Act 2: Some Daily Kos readers in the Jacksonville area ganged up on Comcast with a letter writing campaign. In response, Comcast restored MSNBC to all customers in the Jacksonville area and sent this reply (excerpt):

Thank you for the email. First and foremost, I wanted to let you know that today we restored access to MSNBC for all of our digital cable customers in the Jacksonville, Florida area (…) Please know that this week's disruption was not at all targeted at MSNBC - it was due to some changes to our digital channel security system (…) This issue was isolated to the Jacksonville area, and we have no reason to believe that Comcast customers in any other areas experienced any interruptions of MSNBC.

Except for the fact that Comcast customers in the suburban Philadelphia area still paying extra for MSNBC (and how many other markets that we don’t know about). Comcast = L I A R S !

Act 3: Advance the calendar to November 4, 2009. In the Pittsburgh area, MSNBC has been replaced by the Golf Channel. When an irate Comcast subscriber called to complain, this is what Comcast said:

I was told that at my level of service, basic cable, it is no longer available. No way can I afford to upgrade my service, (and nor would I....it is Comcast after all) so no more MSNBC for me (…) The agent on the phone also told me that Comcast had nothing to do with this decision, but that because MSNBC is a national cable network, it was no longer available in a non digital format. Oddly enough, CNN and Fox are still in the same place.

Act 4: If you can’t beat them, buy them out:

General Electric and the cable giant Comcast have moved closer to a deal giving control of NBC Universal to Comcast (…) After a series of meetings last week, the two companies reached a tentative agreement on Friday over the main points of a deal, these people said. Comcast would own about 51 percent of NBC Universal, contributing several billions of dollars in cash and its own stable of cable networks to the new venture (...) Other potential bidders have surfaced, including the News Corporation.

Does this mean bye, bye to Keith Olbermann? Bye, bye to Rachel Maddow? Bye, bye to liberal media? Sorry folks, but this wave of media consolidations spells b-a-d * n-e-w-s ! Once MSNBC is gone, that leaves only us, the netroots community, to keep the liberal flame from flickering out.


  1. I hope you are dead wrong on this!! I'm in S Jersey and I think my Comcast is outta Philly, but I still get MSNBC and I have basic cable. I'll rip somebody a new one if they take away my MSNBC!!

  2. And yet, Fox News will crow about how their ratings for asswipes like Glenn Beck completely obliterate ratings for Rachel Maddow and Glenn Beck.

    Failing to mention the access issue.

    I first heard about this a few months ago and was shocked. Nielsen should find a way to incorporate number of households who actually receive a channel before generating their ratings.

  3. If ratings were the only controversy, it would feel like a luxury compared to this: What will happen to Keith and Rachel and the liberal messaqge once News Crap buys NBC?

  4. What will happen? Well it will be ungood to ask and besides Big Brother is only looking out for you.

  5. Just a week or so ago we had a discussion about freedom of speech....

    ITS happening!

    ITS been happening for a long time! Ever notice that when democrats win a majority they cannot govern?

    78% of Americans believe our healthcare system needs reform, the democrats controll the House, the Senate, and the White House...

    And look at what happens?

    Ever wonder how much those conservative groups pay to run the ads they do against healthcare?

    Bet they don't pay as much as a liberal group would pay for an ad supporting healthcare reform.

    Fox News switches tapes about how many people attend a book signing or a march on Washington and they get caught...BIG DEAL! The damage is already done!

    Poor Keith and Rachel...they will either have to change their tune to keep their jobs or end up on PBS...

    My money is on Keith changing his tune and Rachel will end up on PBS!

    As long as liberals have to fight the big government/socialism tag they will never be able to turn our attention to the big business issue...

    Its over, big business has won...

  6. This goes in to the category of "big problem." Though I doubt Keith and Rachel would get booted. Murdoch's game is making money. The best way he can do that is by controlling all the news - conservative and liberal.

    Massive media consolidation is a big part of why journalism sucks today. When is the government going to step in and bust up these huge monstrosities?

  7. Comcast has been switching channels for the last year or so. I really ticks me off. I've lost about 6 stations that I love. If I want to watch them I have to get one of those stupid boxes for each of my TV's, and I have 6! That is NOT happening! MSNBC has been changed in my area for awhile now. I'm in Pittsburgh. I don't watch it, but I do watch CNN on occasion, which appears to be a basic cable station like Fox. I wonder if that is what Comcast is thinking. Maybe they consider MSNBC a "premium" channel? It sucks though for those who really like MSNBC. But it's great for Comcast because they can bring in some serious $$. It all comes down to the almighty dollar though, doesn't it?

  8. Pam,

    Well, glad to know that Comcast has determined, after some serious market studies that the viewers of MSNBC are capable of and willing to pay more for their cable service to enjoy access to MSNBC.

    It would seem to me that if money was all it was about and with all the claims that Fox News is the most watched and has the most loyal viewers that Comcast might want to really go for gold and make Fox News part of a premium package!

    Bet that one never really would get off the ground would it?

    By the way, SIX TV's? Good lord with that many tv's nothing much misses your attention does it?

    You could put them all in the same room all on one wall and you could see everything all at once!

    What you really need is one of those windmills in your backyard so you can generate your own electricity...then with those savings you could buy yourself a cable company and watch everything!

  9. Tao: You make a great point. Comcast COULD make a fortune if it made Fox a "premium" channel, but like you said, the backlash would be horrendous! And THEY know it. So, let's just "pick on" the MSNBC viewers! Trust me, I think what Comcast has done is TOTALLY unfair!

    Yeah, 6 TV's: 1 in the gameroom; 1 in the garage for when we workout; 1 in each bedroom = 3; and 1 in the kitchen for when I blog; because I don't cook! Mostly my kids game on theirs. And right now I'm watching re-runs of Charmed! Then I'll turn it off and it won't be on again until tonight when I'll try to find NCIS or something. My husband goes back and forth with CNN and Fox--he really tries the "fair and balanced" thing!

    And hey, my next house is going to be totally self-sufficient. We've been talking about it. I have about 6 years before my youngest graduates and then we're going to build. And we discussed a windmill.

  10. Tell the youngest to go get a JOB and fend for themselves then start building NOW!

    If self sufficiency is the future for your home then its time the young ones get a dose of it early!

    Since you do not cook don't add a kitchen...just a frig and microwave in the television room...

    That's my plan...like I tell my wife I can order a PIZZA in a shorter time than it takes her to figure out what to make for supper...I don't know why everyone spends so much time thinking about what to fix...like anyone will remember the next morning! Of course the last time I made supper, which included frozen meatloaf, mashed potatos and creamed corn I put it all in one bowl and microwaved it and then poured ketchup over top....WHen I put it on the table I told them that it was Sheperds Pie.

    I can only imagine what I saved on my water bill from cutting down on cookware....next time I cook I am going to figure out how to get everyone to eat out of the same bowl and really save some money!

  11. Tao: I LOVE it, NO kitchen! I need a coffee maker, though...NEED my coffee! And forget anything that needs washed...paper plates all the way, they can then be burned in the furnace I intend to get which is going to heat the house!

    Yes, my youngest needs to work. Although, he does stuff around the house now BUT wants ME to pay him! Ugh! My older one (17) has been working for a year now. He has to in order to pay for HIS portion of car insurance and gas for the truck. There's NO free ride in MY household!

  12. "If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever."

    Hard to watch teevee from that doormat position anyway, so why do we care? More people get their news from comedy shows and Jon Stewart gets more respect than anyone in the MSM. There is no truth only belief and big business will always win.

    Energy self sufficiency would be nice but I've done the math and I'm too old even to break even. Anything you build here has to withstand 150 mph winds and doesn't come cheap.

  13. ...I don't know why everyone spends so much time thinking about what to fix...

    I must be older that dinosaur poop. Not many women today cook.

    I'm a cook. I love the whole process: choosing the veggies, fruits, grains, fish, chicken, and the occasional red meats, and then the wines to go with the meal.

    I can actually produce a from-scratch meal in the time it takes to make rice or boil the pasta.

    For me, cooking is a way to keep connected to my roots--Italian. My Nonnas and mother never used a cookbook, and they were superb cooks.

    I remember a Thanksgiving feast where my mother stuffed our turkey with a ricotta cheese stuffing--when she took it out of the turkey's cavity, it looked like a souffle--light as a feather, and heavenly to smell and taste. We always started the meal with a soup--we called it stracciatelli [little rags]--an egg drop soup in a rich chicken broth with pastina, sometimes it had tiny meatballs in it [what is now known as the Italian wedding soup].

    We even, at times, had lasagna as a first course before the turkey! And people managed to eat the turkey, vegetables, potatoes, stuffing. After the meal, out came the fruit and nuts, and for dessert, traditional Thanksgiving pies, and, of course, a taste of southern Italy--cannoli.

    I make my own stuffing by using good quality Italian bread, my own homemade corn bread, apples, oysters [or organic chicken sausage, even chestnuts] chicken broth, apricots, celery, onions, etc. and lots of fresh herbs. I like to make slight changes in what I put in the stuffing so it's a variation over the years of what I've made before.

    I never did make the ricotta cheese stuffing, too afraid of not having a success, plus my mother is gone, so I'll never know what the secret was to her heavenly ricotta cheese Thanksgiving stuffing.

  14. Sorry about being off-topic. The thread sorta wound around from Comcast, MSNBC to my mother's ricotta cheese stuffing.

    Mea culpa.

  15. Captain: That's the problem, for as easy as it sounds "not to care", we DO and I think WE always will. So, thank goodness for forums, like The Swash Zone, to let the "stress out", so to speak.

    But hey...

    We could all move to the mountains, stop watching TV, not have phones or internet and let Shaw cook for us! Gosh, I'm starving after reading HER post!

    Side note: I think I was Italian in my former life, because Italian food is my FAVORITE food of all time!

  16. The problem really comes down to poor decisions by MSNBC. They failed to protect their cable channel.


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