November 6, 2010

THE SLAVERY OF PROFESSIONALS, AS EVIDENCED BY THE KEITH OLBERMANN SUSPENSION

While everybody on the left (isn't that the "professional left" now? And if it is, why don't I get a paycheck?) is up in arms over Keith Olbermann's suspension by MSNBC for donating three times the maximum allowed political contribution for a normal citizen to three democratic politicians...

... the others are up in arms for the wrong reason. They compare it to Fox (News, god, it grates me to even spell that word in sync with Fox) and their anchors, and while there is validity to that criticism, spelled out by Rachel Maddow on her show last night, there is something much larger here at stake.

The fact that Olbermann had apparently something in his contract something that had to make him beg his employers to exercise his constitutional right to donate a political contribution to causes or politicians he liked. Did he do it in accordance with the law? Yes. Did he disclose it? Of course he did. His name is listed on the FEC list of contributors. Duh. Did he beg his employer to say "yes" to his contribution?

No.

Let this sink in for a moment. You may go "but Thomas, he is a journalist, and journalists have to appear impartial, and this..."

This. is. bullshit. Every day, every single fucking day around the world, be it in Germany or in Britain or in the United States, "journalists" sign up for big paychecks to "host" and "moderate" big corporate events, thus creating the appearance that these corporations are either fair or impartial or doing "good" in whatever sense. Did Keith Olbermann do that? Why the news media has no problem with that?

Because they very often are part of that circus, because they are multinational conglomerates, very often with stakes in energy businesses (hello, GE) or other, very often unsavoury sideline moneymakers. And then? Then obviously they want that air or respectability that a "journalist" provides. Did Keith Olbermann do what hundreds of "media celebrities" (for that is what TV anchors are, I am sorry, but we are decades away from Murrow and/or Cronkite and/or Scholl-Latour here in Germany) do every single day?

No. He openly contibuted to a candidate of his choice.

But that isn't even the point here.

The point is larger, deeper and much more dangerous.

Not only did the Supreme Court give corporations the status of citizens in the political process with its decision of the "Citizen United" case, it now allows multinationals and billionaires to play Secret Santa in elections, as was evidenced in the election this week. Hundreds of millions of dollars, unaccounted for, channeled by Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers to smear, slime and slander the political process itself.

They have the "right" now.

And here's where it gets really tricky. As the defenders of MSNBC's decision so gleefully point out "well, it was in his contract, so meh". Really? Are you already such slave whores that you don't see what is wrong there? It means that a contract (and not just in Olbermann's case, there are instances by McDonalds – albeit it only in one franchise – and other companies that have popped up) that very often you kind of have to sign to get employed and thus food on the table...



... trumps your constitutional right as a citizen! You are no longer a free citizen, if you have to beg your employer to be allowed, let me say that, to be allowed to make a political contribution, while at the same time your employer is allowed to funnel – taxfree, of course – millions of dollars into the political process that benefits nobody but the corporation itself.

Of cours, they will say, "fuck you, Olbermann makes a shitload of money and that means he should shut up". Yeah, sure, shut the hell up. In this case that is an emotional argument, obviously, but one I can understand.

What about those other people, then? Who are not Olbermann? Who have it in their contracts that they have to beg their coproation if they can make a contribution. Maybe that contribution will go against the corporation's interests? Can it then just shut you down? Of course it can. It's in your contract.

A contract that then supersedes your constitutional rights.

Know what that is called? Ownership. Slavery.

Or in German, we would call it "Leibeigenschaft". You are owned, then. Your ability to make your own choises, severely cut down. You are owned. And that is not merely Keith Olbermann's problem, it is the danger to democracy. The danger to everybody living in it. And to those tea baggers screaming the loudest about "freedom"? Where are you now? Huh? You are soooo scared of the government taking away things.

But you adore to be corporate slaves.

Hell, for money, you'd sign your liberties away in a nano-second.