Critics see Comcast's hand in Olbermann departure from MSNBC

After Keith Olbermann announced that he will no longer anchor an MSNBC show, critics immediately linked the development to Comcast's merger with NBC Universal, the majority owner of the outlet.  

Marvin Ammori, a professor at Nebraska Law and a former adviser to media reform group Free Press, said Olbermann's announcement "raises serious concerns" about free speech.

"Comcast proved expert in shaking down the government to approve its merger," he said. "Comcast's shakedown of NBC has just begun."


Merger opponents have previously charged that Comcast would likely tamper with MSNBC, reputed as left-leaning, to maintain a positive business relationship with Fox. 

Olbermann, on the other hand, predicted in a tweet last year that the merger would make MSNBC more liberal. 

Comcast released a statement dismissing all the allegations, per the New York Times: "Comcast has not closed the transaction for NBC Universal and has no operational control at any of its properties including MSNBC. We pledged from the day the deal was announced that we would not interfere with NBC Universal’s news operations. We have not and we will not.” 

Neither Olbermann nor MSNBC have clarified the reason behind the departure, but Olbermann said on his final program that he was "told…this was going to be the last edition of [his] show," which suggests it was not his decision to leave.  

(Gawker posted Olbermann's final sign off here).