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by spocko

The Magic and Beauty of Hiding Behind Front Groups

2:45 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

From a great diary at Daily Kos, ”Industry Expert Says StopRush Has Destroyed Limbaugh’s Business For Good“ by Proglegs:

Speaking yesterday on the Ed Schultz radio show, industry insider Holland Cooke credited a persistent online activist movement with completely destroying right wing talk show host Rush Limbaugh’s business model by using the very free speech that El Rushbo claims gives him carte blanche to do what he does.

The piece quotes Cooke on the Ed Show and discusses the lower ratings, Rush’s move to smaller stations and the impact of less income for Rush’s distributors and radio stations.
Cover up False Front
Being the self-important Vulcan I am, I commented on the piece and my role in the process that lead to this.

Discussing the article with my friend Jeff Tiedrich of the Smirking Chimp there was some confusion.

Wait, how does losing advertisers result in fewer listeners? Seems to me they’re two different problems.

I explained they they were indeed separate issues. I created the Spocko Method specifically to reduce revenue in an environment where the ratings wouldn’t necessarily be impacted by an action and could even increase the ratings because of controversy.

I know that when KSFO, Savage, Beck or Limbaugh lost advertisers that didn’t necessarily mean they would lose ratings. In fact. they would keep bragging about the ratings because people were tuning in to hear the controversy. See the Streisand Effect

Higher ratings usually translate to higher ad rates. But if no one wants to advertise or sponsor the show, then high ratings are moot, especially to the people wanting to make money off of ratings. However, the ratings are still useful to people who want to push a message.

People who like a message, and want it to continue, needed to find new sponsors who love the message but are not vulnerable to pressure the way customer facing advertisers are. These new sponsors could stand behind someone who would normally be sanctioned or be fired for violating the normal HR policies found in most corporations. The groups could even support views that a huge percent of the population find offensive.

Front Groups are Magical

Front groups like the Heritage Foundation, Freedom Works and Americans For Prosperity can deflect connection and responsibility from individuals, corporations or brands who love a “no regulations ever” message, but can’t be seen supporting a sick and twisted host or his comments.

When you don’t want your brand tainted by association, you find or create a group of anonymous donors and ask them to pass money through to the messenger they don’t want to be associated with anymore.

Front groups funding right wing radio isn’t new, Politico did a piece on them funding right wing radio back in 2011. Here is another from this week. There are still reasons people and companies hide. There are marketing and brand considerations that remain. If you, as the person driving a message, find that activists have developed and harnessed a customer facing advertiser alert programs that challenges their brand, you work to remove those sponsors identities from the equation. Then you give them the option of funding you via the ‘cut out’ front group, like the Chamber of Commerce does. The other option is to reform the messenger, and that isn’t going to happen.

Customer facing advertisers, like the ones listed here at, had a hard time justifying sponsoring a sexist bigot who would be fired for violating all their own HR policies. But a front group doesn’t have to answer to HR policies, brand managers, customers or shareholders.

The people who want the money to keep rolling in do suggest the host change or tone down his views to appease the sponsors, and some of that does happen behind the scenes, although they will never admit it. The current procedure is to embrace the offensive comments and look for other sponsors.

The consumer facing advertisers were, (and some still are) a weak link in the game. They could be convinced to move away from Limbaugh. However dark money doesn’t care about what anyone thinks. They can “lose” money for decades on an influential narrative shaper, because they ARE getting an ROI. The advertisers could measure their short term ROI with new sales. But the front groups don’t have those short horizon metrics.

They are earning the money that they beg for every year from donors by pointing to their cultural impact.  They have:

Read the rest of this entry →

by spocko

Dear MSM: Spare Me Your Lame, “Dow Soars!” pieces. I want Comeuppance Stories!

4:51 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

Brute ForceI used to think that if only America’s political leaders could see the unemployed in the media, and hear their stories they would act. I don’t believe that anymore.

Right now in news rooms across the nation well-meaning editors are assigning someone to write a “balanced” story about the Dow breaking 15,000 that also includes some stories about people struggling to find work.  They know not to totally cheer the Dow, “See, we know that not everything is okay, so here’s a sad story of a person sort of like you, which you will dismiss in 10 seconds because it’s depressing as  hell.” ( Pam Spauling’s story “Over 55, out of work more than six months? Headhunters say you’re screwed.” made me loath my birthday and myself instead of loathing the people driving our economy. Their incorrect, destructive austerity metaphor is destroying lives as surely as bullets in our brains.)

I used to believe that personal stories, combined with cold hard statistics could break through to politicians and policy makers who would say, ‘Enough! The lack of good jobs with good wages is a national tragedy, we must fix it or I’ll never get re-elected!” I had the same delusion when it came to weapons. Silly rational Spocko. I thought 20 dead kids with their arms and legs shot off combined with 90 percent of the country behind a sensible change in gun laws would do the trick.  I was an optimist, but I am not stupid. I do know how the world works. It takes more than stories and statistics. It takes leverage.

Individual stories about the unemployed won’t force politician into working for change.  Polling data showing a desire for jobs aren’t going to move politicians to act.  You might get some pity, and a pledge for future action, but not the massive shift in actions we need RIGHT NOW.  Especially when the unemployed people whose stories finally get told aren’t donating to your re-election campaign or you don’t need to be re-elected.

The people who benefit when the Dow soars use their leverage to keep the country on course with current economic policies.  Policies which don’t include a massive jobs program in the United States, because those people don’t feel the pain the way the rest of us feel the pain.  You will note that when they do feel something they call pain, say in the form of delayed flights, they will let the politicians know and they are quickly healed, even if it is a band-aid just for them.  Who is using leverage to ease our pain?

People who read me know that I’m a big science fiction fan (my name is a clue!) but I’m also a fan of what I call “comeuppance stories” ones where a person or group of people work together to ensure the bad guys get their comeuppance. I don’t like violent revenge stories, but stories of justice. I like seeing a show of karma in this lifetime.  In the olden days journalists used to work on stories that lead to someone getting their comeuppance. You know, “afflict the comfortable.” But now these kind of stories are almost entirely seen in fiction.

These days people who SHOULD be getting their comeuppance have insulated themselves from the traditional sources of comeupatude–the press, the prosecutor, the politicians, the people.

Instead of the press creating stories that might lead to someone’s comeuppance they wait for someone else to do the heavy lifting and jump in to report on  “both sides.”

Prosecutors don’t want to go after big complex cases.  Politicians see that if you have a well-funded small group of supporters you can ignore the people. And the people, well the people can rant and rave and march and tweet, but if they don’t have leverage (via the law, politicians they own, money streams they control, votes they can cast or dirt they know) nothing will happen.

So that is why I think about ways to gain leverage. Since I’m a communicator I often think about how to use the media, but I know that you need multiple methods. I always like to point out the successes we have had interrupting the money stream of right wing media. The naysayers love to come back with, “Yes, but… Rush is still rich, Beck is back.” I remind them that this one form of leverage worked when people thought nothing ever would. (I wish that the media that cover this story would ask about the goals of the people coordinating the advertiser alert campaigns instead of listening to the straw men that are offered up by the subjects.)

We wanted advertisers to walk away from the hosts because the host was tainting their brand. They did. We wanted to create a situation in a corporation that is financially unsupportable if they wanted normal ad sources. We did.  We showed shareholders that what was an asset has become either a liability or an under-performing asset. CEOs responded as they often do with other under-performing assets in a pure capitalist environment.  They look at ways to get out of their contract.

We need to be constantly looking for leverage points to help the economy of the 99% sometimes it involves pushing for accountability, other times it involves pushing for people to enforce the laws that still exist. I have showed how with one model we used successfully against the RW media, but there are others.  I know there are more “comeuppance” stories out there. People love those stories. There is a reason that Shawshank Redemption is a lot of people’s favorite movie.

So tonight or tomorrow, as you listen to “Dow Soars!” stories and skim over the depressing bits about the unemployed, “Joe Btfsplk is 55 years old and has sent out 3,500 resumes blah, blah blah, spent retirement saving, yada yada yada played by the rules. zzzzz” think about what kind of leverage you can wield to help change things. What leverage can you develop that helps the 99%? I look forward to reading your comeuppance stories. Read the rest of this entry →

by spocko

Cato Stonex: Tell NewsCorp Beck Needs to Generate $$ or he’s Out

6:38 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

The media may want to bury the news that 296 advertisers don’t want their commercials shown on the Glenn Beck show, and the NewCorp management may pretend it’s no big deal, but as we are told over and over, "maximizing shareholder value" is the most important thing in the world.

So what should a concerned investor in a company do when the corporate managers keep employing someone who has gone from an asset to a liability? What actions should they demand management take? And if management doesn’t act, how should they respond?

Below I ask these questions to the largest institutional investor of NewsCorp, probably the only people on the planet with enough clout to demand real answers. I’ve asked these kind of questions to Rupert Murdock, the CEO of NewCorp and was brushed off.

Last Sunday I learned that I underestimated the number of advertisers who won’t touch the Glenn Beck show by 215!

Fennec Fox by tanakawho

Cato Stonex
Taube Hodson Stonex Partners Limited
London, UK

Dear Cato:

Are you pressuring NewsCorp to wring more money out of Glenn Beck? If not, why not?

Last Sunday, Mark Leibovich in the New York Times wrote, "as of Sept. 21, 296 advertisers have asked that their commercials not be shown on Beck’s show (up from 26 in August 2009). The NY Times article talks about how Beck is using Fox/NewsCorp resources to make money for himself, which wouldn’t be problem if the show was returning more revenue for Fox. Right now a show with 1/8 the ratings of Beck which had actual advertisers would provide more revenue than Beck. Why is Fox allowing it and what are you going to do about it?.

If they say they can’t get more ad sales out of him, or give you some BS about how he has "plenty of advertisers" make them prove it, with numbers. You invest in companies that will make money for your fund. You can do this by being long on growth stocks or short on losers. Beck was an asset for NewsCorp, he is now a liability. What is NewsCorp going to do to fix that?

THS Partners is the largest institutional of NewsCorp. If you saw one of your other portfolio companies not maximizing their revenue potential what would you do? Sit around and let the CFO and Chairman lie to you? "It [The Glenn Beck show] has plenty of advertising," (In London you will notice zero ads on the Glenn Beck show, which isn’t exactly "plenty".) In the US Beck runs house ads for NewsCorp properties and Goldline ads. The fish (retail investors) say things like, "Murdock is making a ton of money off of Beck." because they don’t follow the business. You, I and the television executives selling ad space know what Beck’s "empty calories" mean. Lower revenue for Fox.

At what point does Beck’s inability to provide revenue become a material event for NewsCorp? If Beck died tomorrow that would be a material event, right? Beck’s ability to provide significant revenue for Fox died months ago.


Act Now Before Beck Dies or Announces his Pending Death.

Speaking about Beck dying, you might have read about his mysterious medical ailments. By the time this letter gets to you he will announce his diagnosis. If the fish read he is going to die soon they will dump NewsCorp stock. They are stupid and think that Beck’s departure will hurt NewsCorp revenue. What will hurt is the stock from their panic selling. They don’t understand that Fox has been already been hiding Beck’s crappy revenue performance by taking money from other places inside Fox. You know how these things work. If Fox wants to keep their numbers up, and someone like Beck isn’t pulling his weight, someone else has to pay. A Fox executive doesn’t get his bonus or a program’s marketing budget gets cut. Ad salesmen get very unhappy when they who can’t convince any advertisers but Goldline to associate with the race-baiting and insanity of Glenn Beck. These people are mad at Glenn and are talking to the media. Someone who lost his commission, bonus or budget gave the New York Times the exact number of disgusted advertisers who won’t advertise on Beck’s show. 296.


Alies Cares about Winning Elections for Republicans in The Fall. You Care about Making Money, Now.

Roger Alies is thumbing his nose at you because quarter after quarter he keeps a money-losing host in a prime network position. He may believe that Beck will help Republicans win elections in America and that it is worth stealing from internal budgets at Fox. Now this might be fine if your main goal is more Republican victories in the fall. But NewsCorp is supposed to make more money every quarter, and if Alies wants to get some candidates elected he should do what Chairman Murdock does and donate money directly to the groups promoting them. Instead, he is treating Fox like his own personal GOP promotion machine. Good for the GOP, not so good for NewsCorp shareholders in the short term.


Beck’s Followers are Going to Kill People

When Beck’s followers kill people it’s not going to hurt his ratings. It will help ratings, however it will keep advertisers away and that should hurt the stock.

What may surprise you is that here in America people on both the left and right in the media will circle the wagons around Beck to declare that he can not be held legally responsible for "crazy people" who act as "lone wolves" and kill people. Expect someone from the ACLU to stand up for him. From NPR to MSNBC, the media will defend Beck. They will talk about the government’s duty not to interfere because of his First Amendment rights. Beck being the inspiration for an army of "lone wolves" with guns who attack his chalkboard featured players isn’t something that anyone in the government wants to address. The FCC has $500,000 fines for the f-word but will not touch anything to do with right wing incitement toward the left, Muslims, abortion providers and anyone associated with George Soros (in real life or in their imagination.)

Beck has been coached in the right way to incite violence, this is clear from reading the jailhouse interviews of Bryron Williams (who was inspired by listening to Beck to pick up guns to go assassinate leaders of the ACLU and the Tides Foundation here in San Francisco).

Your question after future killings of course is simple, "How will Beck’s followers killing people impact the NewsCorp stock?" Again, the fish don’t know that the FCC has nothing to say about radio and TV hosts suggesting that someone needs to "do something" about George Soros or the Tides Foundation. They might think that NewsCorp will have to pay a fine or something. After the next round of killings inspired by Beck, a few more advertisers might leave, but at this point there aren’t many left.

There will be some talk about moral responsibility, but being morally irresponsible isn’t a firing offense at Fox (or most corporations for that matter). As long as Beck is bringing in revenue he can be as morally irresponsible as he wants. Right? Because it’s all about increasing revenue. However, you now have proof that Beck is NOT increasing revenue — if that isn’t a firing offense, what is?


Inside Scoop from the People who Are Costing Fox News Millions in Revenue

I’ll let you in on some inside scoop. I know and have talked to both the people at Color of Change and StopBeck, the two groups that have successfully convinced 296 advertisers that Glenn Beck is bad for their brand. They aren’t quitting their efforts any time soon. Their work is dismissed by Murdock and Fox because they don’t want to admit how powerful it is. In the US the other media outlets also don’t want to talk about how powerful this action is because they are afraid they will be next. So they downplay it, mock it and pretend that people like Lou Dobbs was fired from CNN because of the sudden change of heart from CNN executives. BS. It was because groups like Presente and BustaDobbs convinced advertisers to leave his show. CNN wanted to stop losing advertisers. They didn’t want to act as the sugar daddy for Dobbs who should be making them revenue. Murdock has a long fuse when it comes to supporting money-losing entities, but at some point he needs to at least come clean to you and the other institutional investors and explain how long he will keep a liability that was an asset on the payroll.

Cato, please tell NewsCorp that Beck needs to generate more revenue or he’ll be pushed off of Fox. They will listen to you.

by spocko

What to do When Beck’s Followers Attack

1:36 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

Today over at Media Matters John Hamiliton has a piece titled, Progressive Hunter about how "Glenn Beck’s chalkboard drove Byron Williams to plot assassination."

It’s rather chilling. My friend David Neiwert of Crooks and Liars gives some more context to the violence of Beck follower Byron Williams in this post.

One of the commenters, Dr. Dick, asked this question that a lot of people ask.

"How to hold inciters of violence accountable. How to do that without violating free speech protections?"

I think the key is to move the issue away from the "free speech" issue, especially the First Amendment. Why? Because there are a lot of people on the left who get their backs up at any hint of limiting anyone’s speech.

How many times have you heard, "I don’t like what he has to say, but I’ll defend to the death his right to say it!"

That makes them feel good. Many are proud of their, "Let the Nazis march in Skokie" values. They can be a radical defender of the First Amendment. Good for them. You then ask them for a solution they will say stuff like, "The answer to speech you don’t like is more speech." Yet another platitude.

I often ask them if they are familiar with the observation of one possible limit to speech, the "don’t falsely yell fire in a crowded theater" view. "Well, I guess it’s okay to limit that." but even then, some of them don’t like to think about limiting anyone saying anything. It’s because they put themselves in the position of the person being limited and they worry that they will be next. In some cases they are correct. When the government wants to get someone for ‘incitement to riot" they go after the left and attempt to tie them to terrorists.

If you object to Beck’s violent rhetoric and think it is dangerous you need to act. Think about what matters in our world today. Money. Think about what companies care about. Making money and building their brand.

You want to have an impact on Beck, Fox and their violent rhetoric? You look at ways to make it unprofitable.  . . . Read the rest of this entry →

by spocko

Rupert and Me: I question the NewsCorp CEO about Subsidizing Glenn Beck

1:35 pm in Media by spocko

Last week I called up Rupert Murdoch, the CEO of NewsCorp (NWS)and asked him a question during his quarterly conference call.

"I know that you don’t break out revenue numbers for Fox News beyond the top line, but with 81 advertisers leaving the Glenn Beck show following the Color of Change action, the show now seems limited to in house ads and gold ads. Do you have a time frame for how long Fox will subsidize the show until it to starts to generate revenue in line with its ratings? "

Here was Rupert Murdoch’s response:

"It’s not subsidizing the show at all. And it’s giving a terrific kick off to the whole evening schedule. It has plenty of advertising, and those advertisers you talk about, I don’t think there is anything like that number, but if there were they are on other shows."

Here is the audio of my question and his answer.

I was using one of my normal sounding names instead of Spocko because I didn’t want Fox Security to be dispatched to my home like Bill O’Reilly threatened to do when my friend Mike Stark brought up an uncomfortable topic.

Murdoch’s response to the question got picked up by:

I appreciate the coverage of my question but what I find interesting is just how hard it is for the media to actually cover the big media. And, when faced with evidence to the contrary, the CEO can just say, "No, your hard evidence is wrong." and go about his business. We know that Fox has no obligation to tell the truth on their news programs, but I thought that they were supposed to acknowledge reality during the financial sessions. I seem to remember there were some regulations passed after Enron that the CEOs were supposed to know what was going on financially inside their companies.

Also, it would be nice if someone in the trade press or financial press would acknowledge when the people have an impact on big media.

The people at Color of Change put together an amazing advertiser alert program. They convinced 81 advertisers that Beck’s race baiting is something they did not want to be associated with.

Another group,, had a twitter campaign that convinced more advertisers to leave.

The standard line is that public corporations are supposed to "maximize shareholder value". When they don’t, their shareholders are supposed to call them on it. The NewsCorp shareholders should want to know why Fox isn’t making MORE money on Glenn Beck’s show. That was the essence of my question.

By asking this question I wanted NewsCorp to acknowledge or deny they were subsidizing Beck in the face of the evidence. (Of course if I was sharper I would have had my follow up question out before I was cut off. "Well, the Color of Change people have proof of all the advertisers that left. Do you have proof you aren’t subsidizing him?")

Here’s the thing, huge media corporations are "too big to tell". They don’t have to tell anyone what’s going under the top line results. This can hide a multitude of financial shenanigans.

If Fox wasn’t part of a massive media entity like NewsCorp they would have had to answer questions like:

  • What steps has Fox News taken to recoup the revenue lost from 81 advertisers leaving the Glenn Beck show?
  • If the Beck show has high ratings but low revenue how long does the network plan to keep losing money on the show? Is there a path to profitability?
  • If the "high ratings" of the show is supposed to result in greater revenue for other parts of the company, is there any documented figures to make this connection? Third party audited figures? (The myth of Fox News ratings bump)
  • Which departmental budgets are subsidizing the Glenn Beck salaries and production costs?

And a few further questions I could have asked but they wouldn’t have to tell:

  • If internal Fox budgets are not subsidizing the Glenn Beck show, where is the funding coming from?
  • If Fox News is not subsidizing the Glenn Beck show and Chairman Murdoch is not personally funding it, then funding is coming out of a NewsCorp budget. What form does the company expect the return on investment to take? Better relationships with the current government? A better Federal regulatory environment?
  • The Wall Street Journal is still an advertiser on the Glenn Beck show, does this mean that the Wall Street Journal has been told to subsidize the Beck show by NewsCorp management?

We’ve been talking a lot about the ill effects of "too big to fail" in the financial industry. Huge media corporations also can have ill effects on the country when they are "too big to tell" and subsidizing people like Glenn Beck is an example of the sickness big media delivers.


Thanks to Josh Stearns and the folks at Free Press, Eric Boehlert of Media Matters, Gabriel Rey-Goodlatte from Color of Change,, Mike Stark of Stark Reports and Suzanne and all the folks at LLN here on FDL.
Spocko of Spocko’s Brain

by spocko

What’s News Corp’s ROI When Someone is Shot at a Tea Party?

12:57 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

News Corporation will release its 1st Quarter Fiscal 2010 today. (webcast link) I wrote a few financial analysts and asked them "What is the ROI to News Corp if some politician is shot at a Tea Party Fox organized? Some people say that Glenn Beck losing 80 advertisers had no impact because of the "great PR". Has this resulted in actual greater revenue on other shows?

Certainly Murdock can lose money on Beck for as long as he likes. But is the money coming out of his own pockets or out of the pockets of News Corp shareholders? Shareholders, as we all know, insist in maximizing shareholder value Quarterly! Show us the money!

Knowing how the world works, none of these questions will get asked. They will be dismissed as beneath the notice of the financial wizards of Wall Street. However, I just wanted to get them "out there" so that in the future when the "Nobody could have anticipated" event happens you and the plaintiff attorneys can point to this and say, "You were warned News Corp, you ignored the signs, just like the Entercom radio station did. Now you need to pay the price."

Here was my letter (slightly edited for posting here)

Jason Bazinet,Citigroup

Jason: I know you have your own questions for News Corp’s earnings call today, but could you do me a favor and ask a few of the following questions during the Q&A session?

What steps has Fox parent News Corporation taken to protect their assets in the event of a shooting at a Fox sponsored tea party event?

Last week a jury ruled that Entercom Communications Corp (ETM:NYSE) subsidiary has to pay 16.6 million to the family of a Sacramento woman who died in a radio station water-drinking contest.. (Link) Although she signed a waiver and the station claimed they were not responsible for her actions, the jury still ruled that the subsidiary was negligent in the wrongful death case.

News Corp subsidiary Fox News has been actively organizing and promoting "Tea parties". Angry Fox viewers have brought weapons to these events to intimidated the President and other politicians. If someone is shot Fox will of course claim that they are not responsible for the actions of individuals just like Entercom did. But as we have now seen in the Entercom case that defense does not hold up in court. especially when the station is the driving force for getting people to participate.

It appears that Fox is not only ignoring the danger signs, it is actively calling for action that they have no way of controlling in an effort to boost ratings.


What steps have you taken to protect your assets in the event of a shooting at a Fox sponsored tea party event? Have Fox News competitors taken steps to protect themselves from shooting deaths at tea parties that they organize and support?
Has Fox taken out more insurance? Has News Corp? Can you name the insurers? Have the insurers taken into account the Entercom ruling yet for your premiums?

What steps has Fox News taken to recoup the revenue lost from 80 advertisers leaving the Glenn Beck show? (link to list of lost advertisers)

If the Beck show has high ratings but low revenue how long does the network plan to keep losing money on the show? Is there a path to profitability?

If the "high ratings" of the show is supposed to result in greater revenue for other parts of the company, is there any documented figures to make this connection? Third party audited figures? (The myth of Fox News ratings bump)

Which departmental budgets are subsidizing the Glenn Beck salaries and production costs?

If internal Fox budgets are not subsidizing the Glenn Beck show, is the funding coming from Chairman Murdock?

If Fox News is not subsidizing the Glenn Beck show and Chairman Murdock is not personally funding it, then funding is coming out of a News Corp budget. What form does the company expect the return on investment to take? Better relationships with the current government? A better Federal regulatory environment?

The Wall Street Journal is still an advertiser on the Glenn Beck show, does this mean that the marketing budgets for News Corp in-house properties have been told to subsidize the Beck show by News Corp management?


P.S. See Spocko v. talk radio hosts in the New York Times for a bit about me

by spocko

Turning the Financial Bullies Loose on the Media Bullies: The Spocko Way

4:03 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

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.

  • What if the bully costs the company millions of dollars in revenue? How do you justify that?
  • “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

    (By the way these are all questions I posed to the people at Citadel Broadcasting regarding the hosts at KSFO sponsoring of Tea parties)

    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.Spocko Money