Veteran TV journalist Barry Nolan has been fired by Comcast for his public criticism of the decision by the local Emmy Awards to honor Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly. The termination occurred at a time when Fox has allegedly threatened a retaliation campaign against NBC if it does not stop criticism of O’Reilly on MSNBC. At issue are some core questions of journalistic ethics and free amendment rights.
Comcast has declared that: “Effective May 20, Barry Nolan is no longer employed by CN8, The Comcast Network. Backstage will continue to air weeknights at 8:00 p.m. with host, Sara Edwards, and its talented team of reporters and contributors.”
Nolan had sent e-mails to industry colleagues encouraging them to write to the Emmy governors to complain about their action, which he viewed as “an appalling choice for an honor.” He used strong language, calling O’Reilly “delusional” and “a man that mangles the facts.”
Yet, these were communications to colleagues to express his view on the actions of one of the core journalistic organizations in his industry. I do not know Nolan and I have prepared many times on “The Factor” with O’Reilly. However, I do not seen how Comcast can fire an anchor for voicing his opinion as part of a journalistic organization. I would feel the same way about O’Reilly being fired for opposing an honor on journalistic grounds. Comcast has clearly allowed its purely business interests to trump any journalistic and free speech obligations in this case.
For the full story, click here.
Fox is obviously very sensitive of the rising criticism directed at O’Reilly, including the release of the Internet sensation of his profanity laden, on-air blowup, here
It has even now been made into a popular dance remix, here.
Now, the Washington Post is reporting that Fox officials have threatened GE with a retaliation campaign unless they stop Keith Olbermann from airing such videos, click here.