Vermont Independent and media consolidation critic
Sen. Bernie Sanders said Monday he would "do all that I can to stop this
merger," referring to the planned joint venture of Comcast/NBCU. Sanders
is a majority of one as the only Independent in the Senate, though he does
caucus with Democrats.
"We do not need another media giant run by a
Republican supporter of George W. Bush," he said in a statement Monday.
"That is the lesson we should learn from the Keith Olbermann suspension."
Sanders was referring to Comcast COO Steve Burke, who he pointed out raised
money for President George W. Bush's campaign. Comcast has said it had no input
on NBC News' decision regarding Olbermann.
A spokesperson for Sanders said that the senator
had not decided whether to contact the FCC or perhaps introduce legislation to
try and block the deal. Comcast said Monday that it had no input on that or
other NBC News decisions.
Comcast had no comment at press time about Sanders vow or characterization of Burke, but a company source familiar with the political activities of its execs says a number of them have contributed to or raised money for Democrats, including in this election cycle.
Sanders also slammed GE for not backing MSNBC
commentators the way he suggested News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch backs Fox
News employees. Sanders slammed MSNBC Friday for suspending Olbermann, who
MSNBC said had violated its policies by contributing to Democratic candidates.
Sanders gave progressives a shout-out for what he
saw as their role in getting Olbermann back on the air. "Congratulations
to the hundreds of thousands of #progressives who took on Big Media demanding
that #KeithOIbermann be reinstated," the senator tweeted Sunday after
MSNBC announced Olbermann would return to MSNBC's air Nov. 9.
The Progressive Campaign Change Committee claimed
to have collected over 300,000 signatures asking MSNBC to reinstate Olbermann
and Sanders had said he would do whatever he could to bring that about as well.