[Who is Andrew Lack? He runs NBC News and MSNBC for Comcast. Powerful position – he decides what gets shown and what gets cancelled, regardless of ratings. The problem: Lack will likely not renew Lawrence O’Donnell’s (of The Last Word on MSNBC) contract which is up at the end of May 2017 – two weeks, as of this writing. Not due to low ratings – The Last Word has been finishing at #2 right behind Rachel Maddow who is now #1.
Why, then? Only Lack knows for certain, but the outcome would be: Donald Trump, who has a running feud with O’Donnell for calling him out for promotion of racist birtherism beginning in 2011.
Additionally, Lack seems, consistently, to be pushing more and more right-wing personalities onto MSNBC and pressuring the liberal points of view off. A fair report can be found here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/lawrence-odonnell-msnbc-future_us_59162d8ce4b00f308cf5534a?ncid=engmodushpmg00000004 .
What’s the point?! I am a citizen of the USA and the freedom of the press and independent, meaningful commentary is the main outside check we have on government, politicians, and the wealthy who influence policy – in short, power. Putting O’Donnell off the air is a sign of a trend and not a good one, one in the direction of “adjusting” to the rule of a man and sis followers who are destroying liberal democracy; not simply here in the USA, but in Europe and elsewhere. What citizens do, what are our responsibilities and right is to speak out, by voting, by writing our representatives, by peaceful protest, activism, by educating ourselves, and by writing those powerful people who control our media.
Not a US Citizen? In this case, it does not matter. You can tell someone who runs a network what you think as well. You are a client of such as much as I am and that is what matters. If you wish to write Andrew Lack. do so here: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/10285339/t/contact-nbc-news/ ]
You were awarded Peabody awards, among other things, in your long career. Those are indeed something to live up to, not rest upon — for us who depend, in part, on television for news and meaningful commentary, the networks and cable news you control are of vital importance.
With the open attacks on First Amendment rights and an independent media we heard from this administration and controlling party, the task of a free media is to push back, not back down.
One way to do this is to continue to support your reporters and commentators who do this daily and have done so, especially in the past two years.
No, you are not “the opposition party.” Neither are you the “give the people what they want to hear” party nor the “appear less threatening to opponents of civil liberties” party.
One understands: in part, you are in it for the money. The news division is alleged to be separate and distinct from the entertainment division; but that was already a difficulty in the age of Murrow and only became murkier. The news division is in it for the truth, or ought to be, and the commentary section is as well — to offer perspectives on the truth. Whether or not this angers those in power, including investors.
Otherwise, such doesn’t serve the function of an independent public check on power in a liberal democracy. Hence, advertising and entertainment pay for the news, ideally. That, or we wind up with “infotainment.” Which is worse than worthless as such is a weak alloy of provocative fictions and some facts, difficult to disentangle and encourages the viewer to NOT even attempt to tell reality from a story, an imaginary narrative.
We have plenty of that on the radio; and that is the raison d’etre of FOX News.
It is bad enough that you have brought over personalities such as Greta van Susteren who are tainted by the FOX model and who certainly go out of the way to invent excuses for the inexcusable based wholly on a right-wing ideology.
Worse is you seem to be considering not renewing Lawrence O’Donnell’s contract.
Just assume such a decision would run clean contrary to every positive thing just stated about the function of a free media in a liberal democracy.
Including you living up to those Peabody awards.
Renew Lawrence O’Donnell’s contract. Period. This is not the time to cut the teeth and claws off MSNBC or any other form of news and commentary. Otherwise, just rename what you do FOX-esque “infotainment” and we will tune in elsewhere or spend even more time with good papers and other sources of actual news and free, responsible perspectives.
Richard Van Ingram
15 May 2017