A few weeks ago on 30 Rock, the Tina Fey-headed NBC show about the production of a Saturday Night Live-style variety show, corporate media was once again skewered. This time, Fey's Liz Lemon learned about "vertical integration" from Alec Baldwin's Jack Donaghey, an NBC higher-up who represents all that is unethical and self-interested in the land of TV. Here's the clip: 
30 Rock's been making jokes like these since its start back in 2006. But for the first time, I was struck by just how badass Fey's jokes really are. Her show is owned by NBC, which is owned by GE, and yet her characters reveal the hypocrisies and corruption within Big Media in nearly every episode. 

There're the show's parody of product placement in this clip, and the widely-discussed "Kabletown-GE merger" in the show, an obvious send-up of Comcast swallowing NBC whole in the real world by merging with GE. 30 Rock ridiculed NBC's decision to program "Green Week" into its creative line-ups, and it made clever fun of the network's total mishandling of the Jay Leno-Conan O'Brien debacle from the spring. 

But how does 30 Rock have the freedom to blatantly criticize the corporate media and its own owner? Why is parody viewed as less damning than a serious news report about the dangers of corporate entanglements? GE has said that it's in on the joke, but the concepts that 30 Rock attacks are serious business practices and backroom deals that are actually happening in the real world. Why do they "get away" with the criticism?

And it's not just 30 Rock. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert prove with their shows that they can critize big media even when Comedy Central is owned by Viacom. If these comedians are speaking out and exposing hypocrisy, then why aren't news stations and media analysts with the corporate media platforms? 

Can someone get Kenneth the Page to help out with this investigation?
1/21/2011 09:19:41 am

If you doubt yourself, then indeed you stand on shaky ground.


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