Sanders wants halt to Comcast-NBC deal after Olbermann suspension

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said he would look to block a merger between NBC and Comcast, citing the decision last week by MSNBC to suspend liberal anchor Keith Olbermann.

Sanders said Comcast's attempt to acquire NBC from General Electric would result in "another media giant run by a Republican supporter of George W. Bush."

The Vermont senator, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, has loudly criticized MSNBC's suspension of Olbermann last week for violating company policies when he donated to three Democratic candidates. The suspension was imposed Friday, and Olbermann will be back on the air  Tuesday night.

Sanders expressed concern that the precedent set by that suspension would result in MSNBC becoming more like Fox News, which is part of the Newscorp empire run by Rupert Murdoch. Liberals complain the coverage by many Newscorp properties tilts to the right, mirroring many of Murdoch's own opinions.

The senator pointed to Comcast's COO Stephen B. Burke's history as a major fundraiser for former President George W. Bush as a reason why the deal, which has drawn criticism from other lawmakers for different reasons, should be blocked.

“As Vermont’s senator, I intend to do all that I can do to stop this merger. There already is far too much media concentration in this country," Sanders said. "We do not need another media giant run by a Republican supporter of George W. Bush. That is the lesson we should learn from the Keith Olbermann suspension.”

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