Jesse Watters Crashes GE Shareholders Meeting

The reigning weasel of news hackery, Stuttering Jesse Watters, is striving mightily to surpass his personal worst. At the GE shareholders meeting, Watters, who did not identify himself as Bill O’Reilly’s attack troll, or even as an employee of Fox News, commandeered the microphone and began lobbing antagonistic questions at GE brass.

Paul Bond’s column in the Hollywood Reporter reports that Watters asked GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt about Janeane Garofalo’s recent appearance on Countdown. There were reportedly several other “shareholders” who rose to ask questions regarding MSNBC’s alleged editorial slant to the left.

It seems somewhat suspicious that a spontaneous collection of objectivity-conscious investors would arise to complain about one of GE’s most successful assets – and one whose success can be directly tied to the work of Countdown’s Keith Olbermann. Would these shareholders prefer that the network had not increased its audience and revenue by record margins over the past couple of years? One complaint focused on Olbermann’s failure to challenge Garofalo’s remarks. Bond then recounts that…

“Immelt told the assembled he takes a hands-off approach to what is reported on the company’s news networks, which prompted a shareholder to criticize him for not managing NBC Uni more effectively.”

That’s a rather curious complaint. Would they prefer that Immelt intervene in the editorial decisions made by NBC’s news production teams? Were he to do so, they would probably complain that he doesn’t permit the journalists to do their jobs impartially. On the other hand, they may indeed have a preference for corporate executives who dictate the editorial content for their networks. Witness their affection for Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes, who run a tightly partisan operation at Fox News.

Needless to say, this affair will likely end up on the O’Reilly Factor soon, and O’Reilly will use it in yet another attempt to bash GE (his proxy for Olbermann) and assert that Immelt should be fired for his poor performance. As usual he won’t acknowledge that both News Corp and GE’s stocks have declined about 60% in the past year. And he won’t call for Rupert Murdoch’s resignation either.

Update: As I predicted, O’Reilly spent the first ten minutes of his show tonight on Watters’ adventure in Orlando. Most of it was the typical tripe O’Reilly is famous for, but there was one moment in his Talking Points that was priceless:

“This is obviously a major story. When a powerful corporation which controls a major part of the American media may be using its power and the airwaves to influence politics in order to make money from government contracts.”

He is talking about Fox News, isn’t he?


16 thoughts on “Jesse Watters Crashes GE Shareholders Meeting

  1. Too bad – Watters is a shareholder. He had a right to ask anything he wanted to. If GE had nothing to hide, why did they cut his mic. The other questions were not GE friendly either.

    • Watters is jerk. This is a lame tactic where someone buys a share or two of a company so they can attend the shareholder’s meeting and make a nuisance of themselves. Sure, he has the right to do it, it’s just stupid.

      So he shows up with his goons (i.e. Tom and Daleen Borelli) and commence to interfere with the legitimate business of the meeting. Do you call that journalism? And what evidence do you have that anyone’s mic was cut?

  2. Every news report on the event reports that Watters’ mic was cut as well as the mics of several shareholders who were critcal of MSNBC.

    Is Olbermann a journalist?

    Was it a smart thing to do….well O’reilly # 1 for 100 months with 3.5 million viewers. Olbermann less than 1.5. You make the call.

    • Every news report? There has been only one news report (Paul Bond, Hollywood Reporter/Reuters), and it had conflicting claims of whether mics were cut. The truth is more likely that they merely switched between different mics in the audience and did not allow Watters and his goons to hijack the event.

      As for whether Olbermann is a journalist, no he is not. And he would be the first to say so. Unlike O’Reilly, Watters, et al, he is honest.

      And O’Reilly’s ratings are irrelevant. They only prove that he is a popular clown who entertains the minority of right-wingers watching TV. O’Reilly gets beat in the ratings by WWE and SpongeBob SquarePants. What does that tell you?

  3. Some common sense from the Live Feed:

    During the first quarter of this year, the increasingly liberalized MSNBC overtook CNN in primetime viewing among adults 25-54 for the first time in its history.

    And, according to Kagan, the network’s ad sales are projected to grow by about 4% this year, to about $235 million — and that’s in a year when most other networks, including CNN and Fox News, are predicted to post declines.

    GE shareholders may have complaints, but the political proclivities of MSNBC’s on-air talent that have helped define the network’s brand shouldn’t be one of them.

  4. The ratings are not irrelavant and obviously you agree as you went to the trouble to find some numbers showing how MSNBC overtook CNN etc…..Well, since you brought it up…O’reilly wins that demographic also.

    As for Sponge Bob and WWE…that is quite a desparate argument. Wonder how many people when deciding to watch a news analysis show say to themselves…hmmm should I watch O’reilly, Olbermann, Sponge Bob or WWE?

    I know that Keith’s ratings have doubled in the past couple of years. Now if he can just double again, he might come close to the Factor numbers.

    Finally – most right wingers hate O’reilly as badly as they hate Olbermann. To me that says Fair and Balanced.

    See you later and we’ll compare numbers again.

    BTW – nice website!

    • Oops – I misspelled irrelevant! Too busy watching LOST reruns. Gotta have my fix during its 2 week Hiatus.

    • The ratings are irrelevant in the context of demonstrating quality. I only follow ratings to keep up with the popularity contest on TV – and they are not a very good measure of that either.

      The point of the SpongeBob argument was that millions of people watch TV shows who aren’t so smart. In the case of SpongeBob it’s because they’re children. Hopefully they will become smarter as they grow up. As for O’Reilly viewers, I can’t say I have much hope.

      Do you really believe that “most right wingers hate O’Reilly?” I don’t even have a response to that.

      Thanks for the compliment. And thanks for keeping this difference of opinion civil. You should see some of the juvenile invective that comes my way here.

  5. Hey Jesse! Come ambush me sometime! You will get smacked down like the biyotch you are!

  6. Oh I so much appreciate political debates – which by the way is why I dislike Olbermann – there is no debate. But enough about him.

    I really do think most right-wingers hate O’reilly – not most republicans – but the fringe really do. Check out the comments on Free Republic, Redstate, etc.

    I really do like your site and will come back. You will be surprised… I am sure sometimes I will even agree with you. I remember a story Elizabeth Edwards once told. She said that just before Tony Snow died they ran into one another. He of course asked how she was doing, and the 2 of them had a conversation about their health. At the end of the conversation, they wished each other well and Tony said, “we may not agree on a lot of things, but I think about you often and I wish you the very best.” Elizabeth replied, “we agree on a whole lot more than either of us realize”. Personally, I think except for a few starkly contrasting beliefs, most liberals and conversatives want the same things…we just have different views as to how to get them accomplished. I can rant and rave with the best of them online, and I can yell really loud at the Tee Vee, but when I discuss politics with one of my liberal friends it reminds me that for the most part we are all trying to do the right thing for the right reason.

    I meant that about your web site. It is obvious you have graphics experience or talent or both.

  7. There’s so much to this story it’s hard to know where to start and how much to delve into.

    First off, who bought Jesse’s GE stock? Fox News I bet. But it doesn’t matter. Stock ownership might open up an opportunity to get up to the mike but it doesn’t allow for unlimited access or even guaranteed access. I know having attended stock holders meetings where employees mad at management used stock ownership to buy them some mike time. In my experience they fared less well than Jesse.

    Second, of course, there’s the well know hypocrisy of Bill O’Reilly who thumps his chest about being “no spin” and how liberals “hide under their desks” – which justify his tabloid Jesse pit bull techniques – while he himself hides from Media Matters and Keith Olbermann plus behaves as a pure partisan hardly living up to his bogus claims of 50/50 liberal to conservative guest ratio.

    But an interesting contradiction you allude to is the right attacking Immelt for not seizing editorial control of liberals on his network while Bill O’Reilly, Jim Pinkerton, etc. on Fox News complain Immelt is the puppet-master giving direct marching orders. Which, of course, is so unlike right-wing Fox News which just about daily passes the liberal-bashing meme of the day from show to show. More hypocrisy.

    What we’re witnessing, of course, is the rotting away of cable news. Fox News is successful because it’s a right-wing propaganda factory. Right-wingers rush to it in droves for their daily fill of red meat. However, as you point out, Olbermann is MSNBC’s big ratings draw and he’s not much different than the right-wingers on Fox News except he’s a left-wing propagandist.

    CNN which gets mocked for sucking hind tit in the ratings should wear it as a badge of honor in that it’s likely because they’re the least partisan of the cable news trio. The vast majority of news junkies have strong political opinions they want aped to them by charismatic pundits. Which is to say they’re not news junkies at all but just partisans looking for their opinions to be validated.

    We have the Constitutional right to want to be lied to just as the Constitution protects the partisan liars. However, what does it say for our democracy that these hardcore partisans are the most likely Americans to vote yet it’s based upon a pile of factual manure?

    I monitor Fox News for my blog but that’s about the extent of my cable news viewing. Most of it is crap though occasionally I’ll watch CNN for live coverage of some major news event like an election.

    America is bitterly divided. The acrimony is getting worse by the day and they’re being egged on by partisan propaganda factories like MSNBC and Fox News.

    • First of all, a share of GE stock is about $12.00, so Jesse could probably spring for that himself. And all you need is one to be admitted to the meeting.

      I agree with most of what you say above, but I do want to dispute one thing. When you tar MSNBC and Fox with the same brush as partisan propaganda, you are not being quite accurate.

      First of all, I don’t think that MSNBC can be accused of being as partisan as Fox. Remember, they have three hours of Joe Scarborough on every morning. And they have also had shows starring Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, Monica Crowley, and Michael Savage. Fox has never had anyone but extreme right wingers hosting their programming and even running their news department.

      But even if we set that aside and consider MSNBC to be as partisan as Fox by virtue of Olbermann and Maddow, they are not propaganda. Olbermann certainly has an opinion, but it is grounded on facts, whereas O’Reilly, Hannity, and Beck spew verifiable lies every night. Notice that the most frequent guests on MSNBC’s opinion programs are people like Pulitzer winner Eugene Robinson, professor and historian Jonathan Turley, and reporters like Howard Fineman and Jonathan Alter. The Fox crew’s most frequent guests are people like Karl Rove, Dick Morris, and each other.

      That’s the difference between “partisan” and “partisan propaganda.”

      • So Keith Olbermann’s program is NOT partisan propaganda? Really? Then perhaps you can explain why comedian Janeane Garofalo was allowed to go on a several minute vile tirade completely unchallenged by Olbermann. I find it appalling and despicable that Olbermann would allow a so-called guest to call anyone (ie tea party protesters who oppose Obama’s rapacious spending policies) as RACIST. He obviously knows that Garofalo is a left wing bomb thrower who was bound to play the Race card. His acquiescence implies he tacitly approves of her invective hated. I have never seen anything close to this vile and hateful on Fox news!

        • So you think a comedian calling some protesters racist is more “vile and hateful” than a Fox News contributor joking about assassinating Obama (Liz Trotta)? Or Fox hosts calling Obama a Communist (Glenn Beck) and a Fascist (Cody Williams)? Or inferring that Obama is a terrorist sympathizer (Hannity)?

          Some of those protesters WERE racists with confirmed associations with groups like Stormfront and Aryan Nations. Not all, of course, but I didn’t see anyone on Fox condemning their participation. I think Garofalo was over the top, but she was still just a guest speaking her mind. The examples I gave about Fox were not guests, but actual Fox employees and hosts. Big difference.

  8. Fox Haters Week in Review (04/19/09 – 04/25/09)
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