I believe Chris Hedges put it best in an article entitled, "The Day That TV News Died":
"I am not sure exactly when the death of television news took place. The descent was gradual — a slide into the tawdry, the trivial and the inane, into the charade on cable news channels such as Fox and MSNBC in which hosts hold up corporate political puppets to laud or ridicule, and treat celebrity foibles as legitimate news. But if I had to pick a date when commercial television decided amassing corporate money and providing entertainment were its central mission, when it consciously chose to become a carnival act, it would probably be Feb. 25, 2003, when MSNBC took Phil Donahue off the air because of his opposition to the calls for war in Iraq.
"Donahue and Bill Moyers, the last honest men on national television, were the only two major TV news personalities who presented the viewpoints of those of us who challenged the rush to war in Iraq. General Electric and Microsoft — MSNBC’s founders and defense contractors that went on to make tremendous profits from the war — were not about to tolerate a dissenting voice. Donahue was fired, and at PBS Moyers was subjected to tremendous pressure. An internal MSNBC memo leaked to the press stated that Donahue was hurting the image of the network. He would be a 'difficult public face for NBC in a time of war,' the memo read. Donahue never returned to the airwaves. "
It's also very important to note, and shows the sheer will and integrity of Donahue, that this was not the first time that he was crucified for his opposition to war. Donahue also opposed the first gulf war, and he paid the price dearly:
"The show also lost support after Donahue expressed his feelings regarding the first Gulf War. In the fall of 1995, ABC-owned KGO-TV in San Francisco dropped Donahue after carrying it for several years and, weeks later, New York's WNBC-TV also canceled it. Donahue was also evicted from its Rockefeller Plaza home, and relocated to new studios in Manhattan. Many other stations, such as KTRK-TV in Houston, and KYW-TV in Philadelphia moved it to late-night and early-morning time slots, causing a further loss of viewers. Donahue never aired on another station in New York or San Francisco, two of the largest U.S. television markets.As I have stated previously, in my opinion and those of many others, our corporate western mainstream media (2) is garbage, as Immortal Technique puts it, just “The 4th Branch” of the government, so view it at your own peril.
"After 29 years (26 of which in syndication) and nearly 7,000 shows, the final episode aired on September 13, 1996, culminating in what remains to be the longest continuous run of any syndicated talk show in U.S. television history."
As for Liz Wahl and Abby Martin, I like what RT and James Corbett had to say about it (Corbett's comments follows RT's press release):
"Ms. Wahl's resignation comes on the heels of her colleague Abby Martin's recent comments in which she voiced her disagreement with certain policies of the Russian government and asserted her editorial independence. The difference is, Ms. Martin spoke in the context of her own talk show, to the viewers who have been tuning in for years to hear her opinions on current events – the opinions that most media did not care about until two days ago. For years, Ms. Martin has been speaking out against US military intervention, only to be ignored by the mainstream news outlets – but with that one comment, branded as an act of defiance, she became an overnight sensation. It is a tempting example to follow.
"When a journalist disagrees with the editorial position of his or her organization, the usual course of action is to address those grievances with the editor, and, if they cannot be resolved, to quit like a professional. But when someone makes a big public show of a personal decision, it is nothing more than a self-promotional stunt.
"We wish Liz the best of luck on her chosen path."