Friday, August 21, 2009

NBC Online Store Offers 29 Pro-Obama Items

Maxim Lott at reported Monday that NBC Universal isn't just showing its love for Obama on the news airwaves:

If you're a fan of all things Obama, NBC Universal's online store has no fewer than 29 options for your buying pleasure -- from a shirt with the president's picture proclaiming "YES WE DID" both of his a special inauguration a refrigerator magnet of the first couple.

And don't forget the Barack Obama Action Figure -- yours for $15, plus tax.

You can buy them online -- or at NBC Universal's retail store in New York.

The items are promoted with pro-Obama lingo:

"Bring reform to your refrigerator. Or at least keep company with the President while you're at work, with the Barack Obama Magnet," one item description reads.

"From Yes We Can to Yes We Did! Celebrate Barack Obama's historic victory with the new 'Yes We Did' Unisex T-Shirt," reads another.

Lott reported what might seem obvious: there’s no Bush merchandise, and "NBC did not say whether it ever sold Bush items after his victory in 2000." Lott noted NBC is unique, that the CBS and ABC online stores sell books about the president, but no merchandise. Fox and CNN do not sell books or merchandise.

Fox News even demonstrated its fairness-and-balance motto by inviting Eric Alterman to dismiss the Obama hucksterism as ideologically meaningless:

"I think it indicates that NBC thinks it can make money from selling Obama items but not from McCain or Bush items," said Eric Alterman, author of the book, "What Liberal Media?" and an English and journalism professor at Brooklyn College in New York....

Alterman said the idea that the Obama merchandise reflects on the reporting at NBC and MSNBC was "almost comically stupid."

"Do these conservatives think that the person making the decision of what items to sell in the NBC gift shops is the person giving orders about how to slant the politics of NBC News?" he asked. "What about the choice of beverage sales in the cafeteria?"

This is a strange argument to make for a socialist like Alterman, a man who constantly suggests that the media can’t possibly be liberal and corporate at the same time, since corporate executives are (a) automatically, almost genetically conservative and are (b) intimately involved in the production of news. His book What Liberal Media has a whole chapter titled "You’re Only As Liberal as the Man Who Owns You."

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