Monday, November 5, 2012

My Letter to Comcast CEO Brian Roberts on MSNBC

I wrote this letter a month ago and have yet to receive a reply. As a long shot, maybe making it public will get a response.

Mr. Brian L. Roberts
Chairman and CEO
Comcast Corporation
One Comcast Center
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2838

 October 1, 2012

Dear Mr. Roberts:

I am writing you as a fiduciary for my wife and daughter who collectively own XXX(original has exact number of shares) shares of Comcast “A” stock. There is a cancer growing on our NBC News franchise and that cancer is MSNBC. By becoming the house organ of the American Left and the mouthpiece for President Obama’s reelection campaign MSNBC is destroying the credibility of NBC News. To be sure if MSNBC were completely separate from NBC News, it would be possible to maintain the hard earned credibility of NBC News. Unfortunately that is not the case.

 Although “Morning Joe” remains a credible outlet for NBC News personalities, it cannot be said for the rest of MSNBC’s programming. I weep when I see the formerly credible Andrea Mitchel get sucked into the partisanship of MSNBC. The same can be said about Tom Brokaw, a newscaster I have watched since he was doing local news in Los Angeles. Moreover our news super-stars, Brian Williams and David Gregory, lose all credibility when they do election coverage with the likes of Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz and the formerly reasonable Chris Matthews.

 While I agree there is a real cable audience for a Left perspective on the news, I do not believe there is a mass audience for it. Remember NBC News is in the mass audience business and herein lies my worry. The more NBC News mingles with MSNBC it loses credibility with less partisan viewers and those viewers, in my opinion, will find their news elsewhere. Thus whatever is gained with cost-synergies between NBC and MSNBC, more will be lost on the revenue side as ratings drop.

Mr. Roberts, I don’t think I am a right wing crank. The issues I am raising speak to the credibility of the news business. Maybe it was lost a long time ago, but it will make running our democracy far more difficult. Furthermore if NBC and MSNBC continue on their current paths, the profitability of Comcast will be eroded. Speaking for my family, NBC/MSNBC’s share has declined over the past year.

 Yours truly,

David Shulman

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