The news that two opinionizers, Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews, will be co-anchoring MSNBC’s “hard news” coverage of the inauguration along with a diminished Brian Williams seems to have been greeted by media watchers as it always is: with a yawn. Like the increasing use of opinion people in reportorial roles it’s all but ignored as “media reporters” write eyewash about MSNBC’s newfound commitment to hard news and straight reporting.
Similarly, writers like Gabriel Sherman call Tucker Carlson’s ascension to FNC prime time “Trump TV.” Silly to anyone who actually follows Carlson’s career and libertarian instincts, even sillier when it’s used to characterize the entire channel. But when was the last time you heard Gabriel Sherman refer to MSNBC as “DNC TV?” Your Cable Gamer took a closer look at MSNBC prime time, using the last day where full posted transcripts were available: January 16. Who were the hosts, who were the guests, and how did they align? How many were left? Right? Pro- or anti-Trump? Let’s go to the transcripts:
- Ted Lieu (D)
- Hakeem Jeffries (D)
- Debbie Stabenow (D)
- Jonathan Chait: Pro-Obama
- Ilan Goldenberg: Anti-Trump
- Cedric Richmond (D)
- April Ryan: Ostensibly impartial but praises Obama
- Jonathan Capehart: Anti-Trump
- Mark Thompson: Anti-Trump
- Wesley Clark (D)
- Richard Stengel: Obama appointee
- Howard Dean (D)
- Steven Brill: Pro Obamacare, anti-repeal/replace
In three hours of prime time there was quite a spectrum of opinion: from pro-Obama to anti-Trump. But if you hoped to hear even one person with a viewpoint in favor of Trump or his proposals, you were watching the wrong channel, because there were none at all. Zero. It was as close to DNC-TV as you could get without just putting Donna Brazile in charge of leaking the questions.
In contrast, that night’s opinion programs on Fox News, while reflecting a right-of-center perspective, included people from the left like Mary Anne Marsh (D) and Jehmu Greene (D). Bill O’Reilly goes out of his way to include opposing views on his top-rated hour. Tucker Carlson Tonight, the show that so alarmed Sherman, has made its bones with the lively, often-riveting exchanges between Carlson and people who vehemently disagree with him. Only Hannity had no dissenting voices on January 16 (though usually he has at least one Democrat on).
Your Cable Gamer just made up the moniker “DNC-TV” for MSNBC prime time. Yet it’s far more truthful and on-point than the “Trump-TV” taunts from anti-Fox partisans like Gabe. Meanwhile, tomorrow MSNBC will reduce the discredited Brian Williams to the role of sidekick for two partisan co-anchors: a political hack, and a far-left talk show host. And call it “news coverage.”
Somebody is doing his or her best to destroy the News Corporation, the media conglomerate controlled by Rupert Murdoch. The question is, “Who?” Nobody is saying, at least not yet. But somebody on the inside is endorsing a boycott of Fox News, the crown jewel of News Corp. Somebody is saying, from the shadows, “If you could affect the bottom line, you might get the attention of the News Corp. board.” Now would say something as treacherous and backstabbing as that? Circumstantial evidence strongly points to Matthew Freud, married to Elisabeth Murdoch–which is to say, Freud is Rupert’s son-in-law. And no Cable Gamer will be surprised to know that David Brock, head of Media Matters for America, the lefty group, is part of the conspiratorial Fox-bashing mix. (That’s Brock and Freud, pictured above.)
Kind of hard to believe, huh? Why would an in-law seek to wreck the family business? But Freud is well known as a Fox-hater. In January 2010, he went out of his way to trash Fox, and Fox chief Roger Ailes, in an otherwise glowing profile of Ailes in the New York Times. Amidst even the Times’ acknowledgement that Ailes and Fox had changed the world, Freud jumped out with nasty words. Freud, a London-based p.r. man, announced to the Times that he was “ashamed and sickened by Roger Ailes’s horrendous and sustained disregard of the journalistic standards that News Corporation, its founder and every other global media business aspires to.” And while Freud indicated that others in the family felt the same way, he has never named anyone else, nor has anyone else stepped forward to share in Freud’s nasty sniping. So it certainly appears, nearly a year later, that Freud had launched his own solo rogue mission.
Meanwhile, back in January, Freud’s assertions were immediately knocked down by Chase Carey, the #2 at the News Corporation, who declared a few days later, “News Corp. is 100% behind Roger Ailes — we hope and expect he will continue to lead Fox News well into the future.” But then the LA Times dug even deeper into the story, reporting that “Ailes has communicated with both Elisabeth Murdoch and James Murdoch–the latter the only Murdoch sibling currently working at the company since Freud’s remarks were published” and found that there was no ill-will. And the LAT quoted Ailes himself saying, “There is nothing to the idea that I have any problem with the children.” We might note that Ailes was careful to refer to “the children,” referring to Rupert’s blood progecy. Ailes did not mention in-laws, a category which would, of course, include Freud.
For his part, Freud himself never retracted his words from that January profile, nor apologized, nor anything else, other than leaving them hanging out there. Obviously Freud feels strongly.
Indeed, from the evidence, we can conclude that his campaign of dumping on Fox has continued, albeit more sneakily. But even sneaks get found out. In this case, the, uh, “outer” was Brock, the onetime conservative who sold out to the New York Left back in the 90s, and then, soon after, became a hitman for George Soros, the Bolshevik billionaire. Using Soros’ money, Brock founded Media Matters, which, while it claims to be countering what it sees, from its Manhattan perspective, as “conservative bias,” in fact seems mostly devoted to bashing Fox News.
That’s no doubt fun for Brock and his mogul master, but unfortunately for others on the same side, Brock can be careless in tipping his hand. A case in point–and perhaps the doom of Freud’s chances to be invited to anymore Murdoch family functions–was the October 26 edition of “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell,” the new show on MSNBC. As transcribed by Media Matters itself, Brock got into a discussion with O’Donnell of various ways that Media Matters was working with others on the left to pressure Fox out of existence, escalating beyond the boycott of Glenn Beck. As Brock told O’Donnell:
That leaves you with sponsors. So, PFAW has backed up a Tides Foundation call with “Media Matters” called Drop FOX to ask for advertisers to take responsibility for this rhetoric.
So there we can see it: Brock and Media Matters going on MSNBC to discuss how to accelerate a boycott against Fox. Does GE know about this? How ’bout Comcast? Boycotts can work both ways, folks! We an note that PFAW is short for People For the American Way, the liberal pressure group founded by Norman Lear. And the San Francisco-based Tides Foundation is another left-wing foundation, which has received much-deserved scrutiny from Beck and others. (How these groups manage to do so much politicking while keeping their tax exemption is one of those legal mysteries that certainly will not be resolved for as long as the Obama administration controls the IRS.)
OK, so now to the smoking gun; this is still Brock talking to O’Donnell on MSNBC air:
I was recently told by a member of the Murdoch family that if you could affect the bottom line, you might get attention by the News Corp board. But the truth is, we can`t wait for that.
It’s worth re-reading those words of Brock’s: “I was recently told by a member of the Murdoch family . . . ” We might note once again the singular “a member.” So who could that solo member be? Once again, all fingers point to Freud.
We might that Fox News is estimated to have a stand-alone value of $11.4 billion. That’s not a number from the Fox p.r. department, that’s the data-crunched calculation of a respected Wall Street firm, SNL Kagan. For purposes of comparison, the entire News Corp.–from Fox broadcast to Fox movies to the Wall Street Journal to the Times of London to a bunch of other properties scattered across the planet–has a market cap of about $37 billion. In other words, Fox News provides almost a third of the whole value of the multinational corporation. And that’s what Freud wants to badmouth? We might ask: What if Freud somehow succeeded in his trash Fox effort? Not only would America lose the “most powerful name in news,” not only would liberal-leftism be free to run rampant, but the News Corp would take a huge, huge hit. As in, a big fat torpedo below the waterline: The sort of smashing shock to the company that would bring out the corporate-raiding sharks. It might seem crazy for Freud, or whoever, to think that this is good for the Murdoch family. And it isn’t good for the family, of course, including, Freud’s wife, Elisabeth Murdoch.
And if Brock goes on national TV to spill evidence of a conspiracy against Fox, well, that isn’t so good for Freud. But as we know, for some Fox-haters, antipathy knows no bounds. And in their boundless detestation of Fox, they seem to lose their judgment. Maybe Freud is one of them–quite possibly, in fact.
And so that’s how these Fox-phobes get found out. We will know them by their works, and we will know them by their words. Unfortunately for Freud, or whoever the would-be boycott-instigator is, Brock has a big mouth, and in this world, there are many ears. Including, of course, MSNBC. So there’s one reason, finally, to watch MSNBC: To see how long it takes for Brock to spill the beans completely.
Reposted from The Cable Game, 29 October 2010