"In 2002, I was an on-air commentator at MSNBC, and also senior producer on the "Donahue" show, the most-watched program on the channel. In the last months of the program, before it was terminated on the eve of the Iraq war, we were ordered by management that every time we booked an antiwar guest, we had to book 2 pro-war guests. If we booked two guests on the left, we had to book 3 on the right. At one meeting, a producer suggested booking Michael Moore and was told that she would need to book 3 right-wingers for balance. I considered suggesting Noam Chomsky as a guest, but our studio couldn't accommodate the 86 right-wingers we would have needed for balance...
NBC, CNBC, MSNBC are owned by GE. When I worked at MNSBC, some of the constraints imposed on the "Donahue" show were the result of GE ownership and a conservative NBC boss who'd come out of GE Financial and GE's plastics division.
Fox News is owned by the right-wing Rupert Murdoch (and News Corporation), and does Murdoch's ideological bidding.
ABC is owned by Disney. You'll remember that CEO Michael Eisner said that Disney wouldn't distribute "Fahrenheit 911" because Disney "didn't want to be in the middle of a politically-oriented film during an election year." Eisner's comment was allowed to pass only because so few people realize that Disney is one of the biggest purveyors of political opinion this election year and every recent election year -- almost all of it right-wing political opinion. Each day in major radio markets nationwide, Disney radio stations serve up hour after hour of Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Laura Ingraham, Matt Drudge, etc. etc.
CBS News, owned by Viacom, got taken in by forged documents -- and then censored accurate reporting critical of Bush, apparently at the behest of Viacom's CEO, Sumner Redstone. Six weeks before the election Redstone endorsed Bush on behalf of Viacom: "From a Viacom standpoint, the election of a Republican administration is a better deal. Because the Republican administration has stood for many things we believe in, deregulation and so on."
The Media and the Election