When we last hated ourselves enough to spend any time at all thinking about Fox News’ best host that cries, Glenn Beck, his people and his bosses were both floating the idea that neither needed the other. Beck’s (amazing) ratings have dipped and his shtick has worn a little thin, Fox News whispered, but Beck’s people countered that everything the man touches turns to gold (get it?) from best-sellers to a website called The Blaze. The nut job has a following. So much so that today’s New York Times says maybe he’ll start his own channel! Just like Oprah. More details below in Press Clips, our daily media round-up.
Fox-less: Brian Stelter writes today that should Beck not re-sign his Fox News Channel contract at the end of the year, be it his choice or theirs, he’s considering “a partial or wholesale takeover of a cable channel, or an expansion of his subscription video service on the Web.” That would mean more Beck for the people who can handle him, more often. Joel Cheatwood, a senior Fox News executive, already plans to leave News Corporation, which owns Fox News, for Beck’s own Mercury Radio Arts.
In a statement, Beck said, “Roger Ailes has built the most important voice in America today — Fox News — and it is an honor to do my show there every night. I have no intention whatsoever of doing the show I am doing now on Fox anywhere else.”
But like we said last time, that’s how it’s supposed to work when negotiations are looming: put on a smile, do your job well and show some loyalty. In the background, make power plays that indicate to the other side that you could do better without them. In the end, either way, both sides will stay paid. Read more on Beck’s business options, if your stomach is steely, here.
The Weaker Side: Speaking of Fox News’ dominance and the right’s prolonged beating of the left in the “media wars,” the liberal org Media Matters For American went ahead and launched “a partisan boot camp where rebel forces were trained for combat on Fox News. Over four grueling days, Harvard-honed instructors drilled a dozen softie policy wonks, molding them into an elite unit of smiling, succinct and well-coiffed talking heads.” Did they serve soy milk? Drive Priuses? (Prii!) The jokes about liberals at “boot camp” are endless. But this is serious business, as reported in the Washington Post:
The problem for the soldiers of the left, according to Media Matters instructors, is that they are just too smart for their own good. The traditional dependence on facts and figures, on being right, is no longer germane. Too often these wonks disappear into the policy weeds or fall through the cracks of nuance.
Did the troops get good and dumbed-down? Decide for yourself! Or just flip to MSNBC? No, we’re not sure what channel it is either.
Arianna and AOL: Yesterday we gave a cursory take on the transition of The Huffington Post from bikini pic/cat video empire to Serious Journalism Factory since getting bought by AOL. Here’s Capital New York’s Tom McGeveran giving the subject a more thorough, exciting and sort of sad treatment. It starts with a two scene play, which includes the line, “But how many more readers have you got for your 100-word capsule on Yo La Tengo than you did for the 2,000-word profile of them you did for us?”
More Paywall Talk: Who is going to work to get around the New York Times paywall? Nerds, we said yesterday. New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. thinks otherwise: “Can people go around the system?” he asked aloud at a round-table this morning. “The answer is yes, just as if you run down Sixth Avenue right now and you pass a newsstand and you grab a newspaper and keep running, you can read the Times for free.”
“Is it going to be done by the kind of people who value the quality of the New York Times reporting and opinion and analysis? No, I don’t think so. It’ll be mostly high-school kids and people who are out of work.”
This man does not know how the internet works, nor should he speak on it when he pays people to do that work for him.
“I can’t believe I just said that,” he said. Now it’s on the internet. For free.