First I want to bust a couple of cliche’s.
1) When you stand up to a bully they back down.
No they don’t. Often they kick your ass for presuming to defy them.
And if you DO get them to back down because you planned ahead and used your skills and your friend’s skills to defeat them they go into victim mode and whine “I’m getting picked on!” Then they slip away and wait for a time to destroy your family, your friends or your finances. (Trust me, I know what I’m talking about.)
It would be pathetically hilarious if it wasn’t so damaging.
They are bullies. That is who they are and what they do. I don’t really care WHY they are bullies unless it would help me stop them.
They often don’t stop, should we stop confronting them? No. But what we can do is set one group of bullies against another. I think it’s time to set the financial bullies up against the media bullies.
You know who is sick? People who employee bullies. Sadly it appears there are never enough disincentives for companies to stop employing bullies.
“He serves a “higher purpose!”
Do the shareholders know and approve of this money losing “higher purpose?”
“He gets big ratings!”
Have these great ratings lead to more revenue? The “we got great ratings but no revenue” gambit only works for so long before investors say,
“Hey, we aren’t the Washington Times here! We want to make money. If you want to lose money let it come out of YOUR pocket–Rupert.”
–Institutional investors of News Corp
That is what the shareholders and institutional investors of News Corporation should be asking of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rupert Murdoch on November 4th when News Corporation will be holding their conference call on 1st Quarter Fiscal 2010 results.
You know it’s not like institutional investors haven’t been pissed at New Corp before, they’ve even sued them (Link)
Whenever I bring up suggestions to start questioning things like this I’m told by Very Serious People (the ones who told me not to worry my pretty little Vulcan head about over leveraging of Credit Default Swaps) that I don’t understand how the world works and the financial systems are too complex for my tiny Vulcan mind. They explain how Murdoch can lose billions if he wants and nobody cares. Wrong. People care. And the people who are losing the money need to justify the loss or explain why this loss is “good for business” or how they will “convert the ratings to money next quarter so trust us and please give us more time.”
When I suggest challenging a media corporation they bring out another cliché.
2) “Never piss off people who buy ink by the barrelful”. Why the hell not?
First off it’s not ink anymore, it’s pixels on a screen, let’s try and keep our metaphors fresh people. Which means, WE buy our pixels by the barrelful too. You know we can create a story that gets just as much attention and just as many viewers as Fox News. The newspapers bitch and moan about Google destroying their business because if I create a story that is good enough, more people can read my story than the entire circulation of a major metro paper. No barrelfuls of ink needed. This isn’t the age of stone knives and bearskin rugs people. The internet has been around for awhile now but the metaphors haven’t caught up.
Financial bullies can be counted on to care about one thing. Demanding that they make more money. And these people can be influenced, suggest to them that they follow their instincts and demand that Fox News changes the behavior that is costing them money. They can also demand News Corporation explain how this money losing strategy is going to make them money. If Rupert doesn’t have an answer ask him to eat the costs himself so it doesn’t drag down the revenue of the entire company.
“What have you done for me THIS quarter — Rupert?”
—-Institutional investors of News Corp to Mr. Murdock.
I’ve got a few other questions shareholders and institutional investors can ask.
“Have you prepared for the lawsuits that will be filed when someone is killed at the Tea Parties you are promoting?
Have your insurance rates gone up because you are gathering mobs of gun toting people to political events?
Are your insurance carriers even aware they are underwriting the potential riots you are starting? Are you in danger of losing your broadcast license when a host’s call to action results in people being killed?”
–Shareholder questions for the COO of News Corp
What if a bully gets people killed? He’s costing the company money, he’s getting people killed and the company still encourages him? We know what is wrong with the bully, but what is wrong with the people employing him?
Right now I’m watching right-wing media bullies target and pick off progressives one after another. Since Halloween is coming up we can call it a witch hunt and since one of my favorite people IS a witch I’m especially pissed off by witch hunts.
The abuse of power of these people is really stunning and what is just as stunning is the other people who simply report on the abuse of power as just another story. I understand “how the world works”. I’m not a kid. There was a reason I devised the methods, messages and strategy to go after the bullies at KSFO. I knew what the corporations cared about. Their brands and money. When I pointed out to advertisers that KSFO host’s comments were tainting their brands they say, “Yes. These people are sick and we don’t want to associate with them anymore.”
What Can We Do? or “Finally I can write someone other than my Stupid Senator!”
People will use the skills they have to fight bullies. Robert Greenwald is using his film making skills to point out that Fox is picking off progressives. I’m a brain in a box, I write letters. You can too.
Now is the time to write a couple of News Corp Institutional Investors and ask them if they are fine with Rupert’s strategy of losing money on Glenn Beck and setting up the network for possible loss of broadcast licenses because of their incitement of violence.
Tap into the financial interests of the investors and set them up against Fox. Fox can no longer claim that employing crazy people is a money making strategy. They will point to ratings, we can point to loses. They can point to future money making, we can point to future massive lawsuits.
There are lots of ways to fight bullies. For now I’m suggesting we fight bullies with bullies.
P.S. Here is your Super easy Action item!
My Google foo is weak today. I couldn’t find a good list of News Corp institutional investors to write. Help me. All we need is a few hedge fund managers and a couple of names of big investors we can write and suggest the questions above. Big investors listen to the coded language of finance and read the entrails of the conference call script. They are very intelligent and hate to be fooled. They hate when information is hidden from them. Sometimes they are just looking for a good question to unravel a number that is puzzling them. Give them some suggestions. They might dismiss ALL your questions, but it might trigger a REAL question they want to ask that will do more damage than any I can think of with my half human half Vulcan mind.
I don’t have investors info, but I DO have a list of analysts to write courtesy of News Corp! Analysts ask questions too, but they don’t have the same incentives to push News Corp and demand answers. But whispering a few questions in their ear couldn’t hurt.