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by spocko

BREAKING: UPDATE Malaysia Airlines Plane Reported Shot Down on Ukraine-Russia border

8:43 am in Uncategorized by spocko


A Malaysian Airlines craft in flight

Spocko anticipates the media spin as another Malaysian Airlines flight crashes.

In the minutes, hours and days to come you will be reading a lot about this story. This is a tragedy with the loss of multiple lives that will effect thousand of people’s families and friends. There will be a lot of speculation, incomplete information and conflicting reports. My friend Dave Johnson often reminds me that people who closely follow the news with a critical eye notice how it is shaped, spun and redirected.

We will be told not to speculate without enough information, while all the experts and both ‘fair and balanced’ broadcasters and journalists WILL speculate. Even people we respect will offer opinions based on certain biases. This is a chance to watch for them. Maybe even to point them out.

Here is the Google News headlines and links as off 9:29 PST:

Malaysia Airlines Loses Contact With Passenger Plane Over Ukraine ABC News


Realtime Coverage

  • Ukraine Accuses Russia of Shooting Down Fighter Jet Wall Street Journal
  • Malaysia Airlines Passenger Jet Crashes in Ukraine, Reports Say 
  • Ukraine accuses Russia of downing plane; Moscow attacks new sanctions Los Angeles Times
  • Ukraine says Malaysian airliner shot down, 295 dead -agency Cyprus Mail
  • Ukraine’s president say his nation did not shoot at any airborne targets; Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • Malaysian airliner crashes in east Ukraine 
  • Malaysia Airlines Loses Contact With Plane Over Ukraine KUOW
  • Malaysia Airlines Passenger Jet Crashes in Ukraine, Reports Say 

Here are a few questions that will come up in maybe 24 or 48 hours. I don’t want to minimize the tragic loss of life, but that will not stop Fox News from working hard to pin this on liberals, Obama, Hillary Clinton or John Kerry.

  1. How does this help John McCain? In his comments about Foreign policy? (UPDATE. John McCain just appeared on CNN at 10:30 PM)
  2. What did Obama know about this? Did his failure to act in the Ukraine crisis help this happen?
  3. Isn’t this just a distraction from Benghazi? (Three to five days for this one, I’m starting the clock.)
  4. Has John Kerry responded? Hillary? Why are they always so slow to respond when it involves Obama’s failures in foreign policy?


If you were Roger Allies what spin would you suggest your anchors use on this news piece to attack liberals, the White House and Hillary Clinton?

If you compare headlines then substance and analysis as the story develops you will see how Fox New, Limbaugh and the RW media move the needle away from the issues there and move them to the issues here. They will be asking, How does this effect the November election of Obama? That is how it is done by the grandmaster of deception to further his agenda.

Read the rest of this entry →

by spocko

FTC Busts Company for Using Dr. Oz To Sell Products — Is Halliburton Next?

6:00 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

Last month the Federal Trade Commission sued Pure Green Coffee for using footage from “The Dr. Oz Show” to sell a weight lost supplement on their websites. 

The sites featured footage from The Dr. Oz Show, supposed consumer endorsements, and purported clinical proof that dieters could lose weight rapidly without changing their diet or exercise regimens. The defendants also ran paid banner and text ads that appeared on search engines and contained phony weight loss claims.

The defendants set up websites to look like legitimate news sites or blogs.  

The fake news sites featured mastheads of fictitious news organizations such as Women’s Health Journal and Healthy Living Reviewed, as well as logos they appropriated from actual news organizations, like CNN and MSNBC.

This week Dr. Oz went before the Senate subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance to examine protecting consumers from false and deceptive advertising of weight-loss products. Dr. Oz admitted there is no medical evidence verifying the efficacy of many supplements he promotes, including green coffee beans. 

‘Not only did these defendants trick consumers with their phony weight loss claims, they also compounded the deception by advertising on pretend news sites, making it impossible for people to know whether they were seeing news or an ad,’ said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Now let’s do some parallel construction here folks (I learned this from watching a lot of TV).

In 2003 retired generals went on TV using bogus claims plus false and deceptive information to sell a war. Many worked for military contractors, which would make money in a war selling weapons and other goods and services. Their relationships with their contractors were not made public at the time.

The generals’ information, as well as other deceptive information from the White House went onto the “fake news” sites like Fox News. Actual news organizations, like the New York Times, CNN and MSNBC also used this information. Years later participants admitted there was no evidence verifying weapons of mass destruction.

The actual story of how the war was sold to us is worse.  In his Pulitzer Prize winning story, Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand David Barston describes how it was done, who did it and how the media cooperated. 

False info spread:

In turn, members of this group have echoed administration talking points, sometimes even when they suspected the information was false or inflated. Some analysts acknowledge they suppressed doubts because they feared jeopardizing their access.

Unlike Dr. Oz, who didn’t profit from the companies using his image, for many of the military analysts financial gain and conflicts of interests were clear.

The group was heavily represented by men involved in the business of helping companies win military contracts. Several held senior positions with contractors that gave them direct responsibility for winning new Pentagon business.

Now everyone is pointing to Paul Wolfowitz or Bill Kristol getting another bite at the war apple. I wonder if the media is going to look at all these military analysts they had on at the time. Will some of them be back? Will they look at their business interests this time? Will they mention the business interests they had at the time of the war?

The Bush/Cheney/Rumsfield White House people understood just how powerful military analysts were to the sale. Torie Clarke, assistant secretary of defense for public affairs and a former public relations executive, oversaw the Pentagon’s dealings with the analysts. She believed in our current spin-saturated news culture opinion is swayed most by voices perceived as authoritative and utterly independent.

That is why the retired generals didn’t talk about their business relationships and the networks either didn’t ask or blamed the analysts:

Read the rest of this entry →

by spocko

Speak Ill of the Pre-Dead: Prepare Your Obits Now!

8:37 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

Dick Cheney against a flag backdrop

Not dead. Yet.

In the post, “Cheney is Confronted About Imprisoned Torture Whistleblower John Kiriakou,“ jamesjoyce made a comment.

Upon R. Cheney’s death my flag will not be lowered to half mast. May he rot in hell.

I was going to make a snarky comment about him never dying. But he will. And, for the first 24 hours of his death the right wing will chastise anyone who uses the opportunity to vilify him. This tactic is primarily directed to empathetic humans. The right will scour tweets, comments, news programs, Facebook posts and video clips to find anyone who shows happiness at someone else’s death, no matter how vile that person has been in life. “The libs can barely contain themselves, they are jumping for joy, it’s disgusting!”

There will also be a lot of self censorship on the left. Official commentators will want to rise above it all and hope that by being civil, the other side will display the same civility upon the death of an icon of the left. Still others will admonish people, “Don’t sink to their level.” A number of people see dancing on anyone’s grave as tasteless, no matter how vile the person was.

So, here’s an idea: Let’s speak ill of the pre-dead now. Before they die.

Pretend you are a time traveler and this is a loophole. You can share your thoughts, emotions and potential actions before the event you know will happen. In the process you can now worry about external criticism and or self censorship.

Here is how it would work.

  1. Write the obit you would want to see, “He had a black heart and he lead the country into a dark place where our values and our constitution were destroyed in these ways…”
  2. Describe the sadness or joy that you might be experiencing. “When he dies I will be very sad. That means that he will no long have the possibility of being prosecuted for war crimes.” Or “I will be happy when he dies because Satan needs more demons.”
  3. Finally, we could talk about the actions you will take, like James Joyce did, upon his death. “As a response to this man’s actions, I will donate money and time to “The Military Profiteering Crimes Investigation Fund, two organizations that support journalists doing research on torture documents, and purchase a sticker of Calvin peeing on the head of Dick Cheney for my pick up truck”

During the first 24 hours following his death you link back to your thoughts about the dead person. Technically you can say, “Hey, I’m not saying anything bad about him NOW. I wrote this months ago.”

The MSM always prepare their obits in advance, they know what they are going to say and will use careful neutral language like, “A polarizing figure,” “controversial” and  ”arguably the most powerful Vice President in modern history” but your future obits don’t have to be that way. You can detail actions that you think need to be included that might get left out of neutral speak. It might also get you to fund that profiteering crimes fund now so that qui tam laws can be applied by the time he crumps. Then the official obit can include the multi-million dollar judgement against Halliburton that impacted it’s stock and profits in the weeks before he died. That would be a nice send off, especially when the judgement nets you 15%.

The recreation of the legacy of powerful figures in America is a full time job for some people. Did you know that there is a group of people who want to have monuments or buildings named after Reagan in all 50 states? That doesn’t even count St. Reagan’s deification on Fox News nightly.

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by spocko

Rove Knows What The Media Likes: ABC Radio’s Case Study

4:41 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

I know what boys like
I know what guys want
I know what boys like
I’ve got what boys like
The Waitresses, from “Wasn’t Tomorrow Wonderful?”

A week before Dr. Karl Rove’s comment about Hillary Clinton’s medical status some friends and I were discussing how the left doesn’t aggressively pursue certain media strategies. I responded with a rant about all the roadblocks that are in place or thrown up by organizations and individuals to block certain ideas. They might be happy to benefit from the results but don’t want to hire, pay for or provide legal and technical support for people who can pull it off. Then they see what Rove did and bemoan their inability to do the same.

I’ve told my clients in the past, “You want to make headlines? Burn down your building.” They laugh, but file that nugget away. If I was an arsonist, and they wanted to collect insurance money and help the stock tank, that might have been some excellent and profitable advice.

If you want to, you can create all sorts of stories that are media friendly and move an idea or story forward. But your side, company or cause has to have the right personality to do it. I’ve pretty much given up on suggesting how to create certain types of stories to some groups. They don’t want the risk. Great, I get that, but later when they are talking about how the right is great with messaging and the media I want to say, “No they aren’t. They just know what the media likes and gives it to them. You could too. But it takes brains, courage and support.”

If you aren’t going to make your own news, can you beat back their news? Yes! Follow my friends at Media Matters. But trying to get the media to be better is not as effective as using their needs for your own purposes. But it might weaken the next story the right wing pushes. They might look up a second source or reframe a story.

Here is today’s case study. This morning I heard ABC Radio News at 10:00 on the right wing station KSFO in SF. It was about Karl Rove’s comment about Hillary Clinton. I tried to find the audio on line, but it was not up yet in SF. However, the same story was up on the ABC Radio website. The story had a very different tone than the one I heard on KSFO. Later, I got the audio from the KSFO broadcast. I was right. Although it was the same story, the intros were very different. One was tailored to the right wing station, the other for a more mainstream audience. I put them together in a video so you can hear the differences. Then, if you are so inclined you can tweet at ABCradio and ask, “Hey what’s the deal?”

Will calling their attention to this have any impact for the next time the right wing feeds them the kind of juicy stories they like? Maybe. Remember, they have a reporter dedicated to Hillary. Or maybe they will just wonder why we haven’t figured out what they like.

by spocko

What to Tweet When You See a “Both Sides Do It” Story UPDATED

6:17 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

When I’m sick and tired of certain media conventions, I write a post about it. If you are like my friend Jimmy Dore you write a funny comedy bit about it. Stewart, Colbert and Oliver all mock the media, but is it making the media change? Is there something we can do besides point and laugh?

Today’s sick and tired media phrase is “Both sides do it.” This phrase is designed as a preemptive answer to the right wing’s screaming about a story and to help show that ”the liberal media doesn’t have a liberal bias.” The idea has become internalized by the MSM. My friend Eric Boehlert at Media Matters has written about this sliver in the heart of the MSM for years. Atrios makes a pithy comment about it every few months.

Why “Both Sides Do It” Short Circuits Brains

The magic phrase is destructive because it breaks down math and evidence in the heads of journalists. It converts a complex equation into 50-50!  For example, this magic phrase can take a $5 BILLION dollar multi-decade program and make it equal to a $5 Million five year program with the simple incantation, “Both sides do it.” Shazam!  The readers can now indulge in a “pox on both their houses” thought and move onto The Amazing Spider-man 2: Chock Full O’ Villains

  • $5,000,000,000 DOESN’T Equal $5,000,000 in real world math.
  • However, in “Both Sides Do It” math 5,000,000,000 = 5,000,000 because 50% = 50%

How do we, the non-very serious people, who don’t get invited to “nerd prom” force a break up of this destructive short hand?

What to Do: Read, Laugh then Point and Tweet.

I want to suggest to people that when you see these “both sides do it” pieces directly tweet to the reporters asking for metrics, ratios and names. This doesn’t have to be mean or rude, just persistent. That’s it.

They might engage you and have a 140 character “discussion,” but the point is to start fixing in their mind that the BSDI shorthand comes with a price.

Let me give you an example to practice on.

Today over a Gawker, Adam Weinstein (@AdamWeinstein) wrote this piece. “Conservative Money Front Is Behind Princeton’s “White Privilege“ About Tal Fortgang

“—the privileged white Princeton freshman who wrote so passionately about how he’s not a privileged white guy—no one, not even the New York Times, noted that his post was made possible by a conservative group that bankrolls and grooms college kids for right-wing leadership.”

It was a nice piece. He did research and asked questions other journalists didn’t. Like, “Who helped get Tal Fortgang’s message out there?” He pointed out that the piece was in the “Princeton Tory, an independent campus publication that’s just one of about 80 bankrolled by the Collegiate Network and its parent group, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.”

As part of his piece he said, ”to be fair” which is usually used after someone has listed a litany of offences from one side.

To be fair, the campus wars aren’t all one-sided: This is a game that liberals have learned to play recently, too. The Center for American Progress, through its Campus Progress and Generation Progress programs, similarly funds left-leaning independent campus publications and grooms fellow travelers for punditing and politics.

Since he felt obligated to check the “Both Sides Do It” box, I felt obligated to write this in the comments

Interesting piece, but could you please include a ratio of the money of one group to the other? As you know quantity, quality and type of support vary greatly between both sides.

Please provide data proving how this is ”similarly funded.” on the left.

He won’t easily be able to for two reasons: Read the rest of this entry →

by spocko

Let’s Stop Letting Bundy Supporters Off the Hook

2:34 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

Today Joan Walsh and David Atkins have talked about how politicians and others are distancing themselves from Bundy.

Roger Ailes owns Cliven Bundy now: How dumb opportunism became a right-wing nightmare. – Salon, Walsh

Republicans lie down with racist welfare rancher Bundy, wake up with racist fleas – Hullabaloo, Atkins

Chompers by drainhookHere is something I’d like everyone to notice, and I want you to think about different ways to handle this in the future.

When someone that the Right or the Left has embraced is caught doing or saying something bad the MSM go to the supporters and ask, “So, is he still your guy?” Depending on the offense, and the skill of the people being asked the question, the MSM often let them off the hook. For example, “Here is the statement from their office, saying they deplore racism.” Story over.

Now, if the person who made or said the offensive thing is on the Left, the MSM will give their supporters an opportunity to distance themselves. However, the RW media keep using that offense as a club… forever.  They don’t care if the supporters distanced themselves, the offense wasn’t even that offensive, or was a lie like how they framed Shirley Sherrod.

The few left wing media outlets that actually exists, also often accept the statements and let them off the hook. We use reason and logic and treat them fairly, although we might question the seriousness of the statement. Eventually we say, “They denounced the statement, no need to keep bringing it up.”

Fine. Good for us! But the activist in me wonders:

  • Is a simple denouncement statement good enough?
  • How else can we use their earlier uncritical embracing of the person to drag them down?
  • Do they secretly still get credit from their base if they “dog whistle” the denouncement?
  • Can we go to the people who still are embracing Bundy in his racism and ask them about the denouncements? Example:

Nevada Sen. Heller’s office has immediately condemned the ‘appalling and racist statements’ and have distanced themselves from Bundy, how do you feel about Heller now? Was it a cowardly thing to do, to throw Bundy under the bus?

It appears the racist views in Bundy are integrated into his world view. It’s not something easily carved out. But the statements condemning him make it appear the comments and the person live in separate worlds. (This is actually a feature of the RW authoritarian mindset, the ability to never “merge the files” as Bob Altemeyers says in The Authoritarians.

If we don’t want to hold their feet to the fire, because we are rational and compassionate, who can we get to do it for us?  I suggest we set up the right to do it for us.

Read the rest of this entry →

by spocko

Fred Phelps Sr. Dead at 84, Here Is Something Good About Him

11:36 am in Uncategorized by spocko

You should never say bad things about the dead, you should only say good . . . Joan Crawford is dead. Good. — Bette Davis

Westboro Baptist founder Fred Phelps Sr. dead at 84.  Good.

David Feldman the comedy writer, podcaster and host of the new Ralph Nader Radio Hour on KPFK, looks at Phelps and Westboro Baptist Church a bit differently.

He thinks that Westboro gave people a way to focus on an issue as a counter protest. For example, sending out a notice that “The Westboro church are going to protest ‘X’ so let’s all line up to protest their protest” was useful because it gave the media something to see. TV cameras love interesting visuals and conflict. Westboro provided both.

One friend of mine used Phelps and Westboro as a villain to raise money when he came to campus to protest. Others used him to get the press to show up with cameras at an event that might otherwise been ignored.

Showing the views of nutballs like Phelps helped normalize the things he was protesting.

Because the media always does X vs. Y stories, Phelps and his clan provided the worst possible “Gays are bad” spokesperson. I know there are people who agreed with his anti-gay views who thought, “Stop being on our side!” They wanted to be “reasonable” anti-gay religious people and Phelps made those views seem crazy.

Back in the 1990′s I was talking with a friend studying at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley about the Catholic Church’s views on homosexuals. He said it’s basically, “You can be a dog, but don’t bark.”

Next I asked him to show me the parts in the bible that condemned it and what the context was. Four hours later I stumbled out of his house more intellectually informed but not emotionally transformed. That took more time and exposure to actual gay people. Then when I saw Phelps’ anti-gay protests I got to see the cartoonishness of those views from the Old Testament.

As Katie McDonough said in Salon, Phelps’ “rabid homophobia inflicted a lot of pain and anguish on a lot of people.”

So if there is something good that can be said of Fred Phelps, it is he provided a useful focal point for the media when covering an event or an issue for their standard “X vs. Y” stories. It’s too bad he added pain to other’s lives in the process.

UPDATE: I’ve been informed that by lordgoogoo  ”that quote is actually from Charles Pierce imitating Bette Davis and was never spoken by Davis herself.” I also corrected the spelling of her name. I regret the error. I blame the ghost of Joan Crawford and the Internet.

by spocko

UPDATED: I was right! Spin to Win: How the Current Christie Crisis Will Be Managed

7:18 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

UPDATE: Saturday 2/1/2014 6:45 PST Below, in an article I wrote on January 31, I predicted actions that the Christie communications team will take. I was insanely accurate. Politico has as story “Chris Christie attacks N.Y. Times, David Wildstein” in which they link to a email where Christie’s office attacks Wildstein, his motivation and his backers. The letter was sent to surrogates who “leaked” to Politico.

Hilariously they go back to his high school to attack his character! Talk about your permanent record!

In David Wildstein’s past, people and newspaper accounts have described him as “tumultuous” and someone who “made moves that were not productive.”

  • As a 16-year-old kid, he sued over a local school board election.
  • He was publicly accused by his high school social studies teacher of deceptive behavior.
  • He had a controversial tenure as Mayor of Livingston
  • He was an anonymous blogger known as Wally Edge
  • He had a strange habit of registering web addresses for other people’s names without telling them
Read the letter and see how correct I was. It’s almost like I traveled into the future.

If I was the new communications director for Chris Christie I would NOT advise him to “come clean” further and apologize, I would go on the attack. Attack. Attack. Attack. He needs to attack Wildstein, his character, motivations and his backers or else he will alienate his base who LIKE that Christie is a fighter.  Alternatively the comms director can go full Baghdad Bob to the media.

I’ve been an adviser to a lot people on messaging to the media. Before I work with them I ask them a lot of questions to try and understand their attitudes and temperaments toward the media or the audiences they are addressing.

People’s attitudes can guide the strategy I suggest. If they aren’t comfortable with the strategy they will execute poorly. I can’t change a mild mannered technologist into a controversy generating fighter unless they have that in them.  People who have the, “If they only knew the truth” attitude will respond differently than people who have a, “They are out to get us!” attitude. With one you keep communicating as much info as possible, with the other you stonewall and then go on the attack.

After the direct attack, the next step will be to get others to question the integrity and motivations of Wildstein. These attacks will come from surrogates who are “Just asking questions…”

Expect personal smears about Wildstein to leak. 

Expect questions about who is backing him. ”Is this being orchestrated by the Democrats? Republican opponents? Who is paying for his high-powered lawyers?”

Expect questions about what Wildstein wants in return for not revealing everything. “This is public blackmail. He wants a pay off! He won’t reveal anything new.Mark my words, Wildstein doesn’t have squat! He’s blackmailing the governor with a bluff! ”

The Christie administration have worked through several stages of the Right Wing media communications play book by now.

1) Denial. The Sergeant Schultz defense. “I know nothing! Nothing!”
2) Diminish. “It’s no big deal. It’s a joke. The media are blowing this up.”
3) Distance. Besides firing some people, they talk like they barely know them. They try to go back in time as if they never were tight.
4) Disclosure. That was the first press conference. That was what was supposed to shut the whole thing down. Answer all questions.

With the most recent revelation, “Ex-Port Authority staffer says he can prove Christie knew about lane closures” you will see the Governor’s office running through the cycle again. They have already gotten a response from the governors office. Link here (BTW, I love the use of twitter images to link to a photo of lots of text! 140 character limit, be damned!)

You will note that the communications coming out of the Governors office will now be very precise with timing words. This might seem like hair splitting but this case could turn on the meaning of the word, “previously.”  The court of public opinion can get sloppy, but the actual court isn’t, specific words are chosen for a reason.  Lawyers are going to be vetting every single word said on this case from now on. I expect that if Christie talks about this again he will use the Rummy method to answer questions.

The Rummy Method, which I named after how Donald Rumsfeld responded to questions, has the person appear to be candid with the media up front. It has the person asking and answering their own questions, giving the illusion that the issue is dealt with.

“Am I sorry this happened? Yes. Do I wish I had known earlier? You bet. Did I know earlier than the day I heard it on the news? I did not. But I can’t stop people from making false statements about what I knew and when I knew it.”

Rummy also was able to be very precise in response to sloppy paraphrased questions.  The only way to beat the Rummy Method was for reporters to ask question as if they were prosecutors, not journalists. The Rummy technique also has the benefit of shutting down follow up questions.

If I was a journalist in a future Christie press conference I would design questions like a prosecutor trying to figure out what laws were broken and what it would take to prove it.  I would work with a prosecuting attorney to design follow up questions like cross examination questions. Then I would get one or two journalists to work this strategy with me.  The reason this is necessary is that with one reporter asking these questions it looks like they are badgering the “witness” and aren’t sharing the press conference time.  With two or three working together it looks like everyone has similar questions and his answers aren’t cutting it for anyone.  Also, studies have shown that the sympathy moves from the questioner to the person being questioned after three though questions in a row where the answer didn’t change.

Finally, here is something else you might see, Christie talking about how he was, “saddened and disappointed” with Wildstein’s accusations and he can understand why he would misconstrue information, but the bottom line is that they were the people responsible. Christie will remind people that he fired them for their incorrect actions they are now disgruntled former employees and we all know how untrustworthy they are. Then he will tell everyone “we need to move on with the business of running this great state.”

Either this is how it will unfold or Christie will resign.

Tune in next week. Same bat time! Same bat channel!

by spocko

Premier Networks Takes Massive Revenue Hit on Cumulus (CMLS) Contract, Rush Limbaugh Loses WABC in NY

1:44 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

Rush Limbaugh announced today that he has signed a new three year contract with Cumulus. This announcement represents a massive hit in licensing revenue for Premier Networks, Rush’s syndicator, which is owned by Clear Channel. (Video link of the announcement from the DailyRushbo)

Currently there are no details about the amount of the contract, nor are there likely to be. Historically when talent announces new contracts that are favorable to them, they make it public and mention the amount. But when it is a less favorable, they don’t. Then it’s proprietary.

This is good news for Cumulus and bad news for Premier, Clear Channel and Limbaugh. 

Why do I know that Premier (and probably Limbaugh) are taking a massive income hit?

1) Cumulus, Premier and Limbaugh will not release details and comparisons to previous contracts.

2) Limbaugh reframed the story to focuses on the strawman of Cumulus possibly dumping him vs. how much less money his syndicator is getting from Cumulus.

“A group owner was going to cancel their contract with me on 35 of their radio stations and that would be ‘the end of my career’ because one of those 35 was WABC in New York, and WLS in Chicago and WMAL in Washington, and WBAP in Dallas and WJR in Detroit and other large markets. And once that happened, sayonara I’m in everyone’s rear view mirror. ” – Rush Limbaugh, August 23, 2013

He then goes on to talk about how the MSM figured this would be the end of him, but ta da, nothing has changed! Except he is off WABC in New York. And he won’t talk about what it cost him to stay on Cumulus. I’m betting that Premier had to take a massive licensing fee cut. How much is massive? I don’t know, only insiders will know and they will only talk if it is to their advantage.

Now will Limbaugh personally make less money because Premier got less money from Cumulus? I’m guessing yes, unless Clear Channel/Premier’s lawyers are really stupid, which they might be. But maybe not. Rush might still be under an old contract with them that pays him a flat fee vs. a percent of the licensing fees. Clear Channel is a private company. They don’t have to tell anyone squat. Even public companies like Cumulus don’t have to break out information on contracts.

The fact that Limbaugh announced this himself on Friday, probably after the market closed, with no details on the size of the contract, means that is the good news for Cumulus. The bad news is for Premier and Limbaugh. They will be getting smaller licensing fees. The losing of a key 50kW station, WABC in New York, is mitigated with his move to Clear Channels WOR. For Clear Channel this is an easy switch since they own both WOR and Premier, it is just an internal accounting swap, money goes from one pocket into another.  But he did lose it, which means less revenue from Cumulus.

What I want to point out to everyone in the media, in the liberal community and especially to the activist community, is that coming together and using tweets, emails and phone calls to alert advertisers of Rush’s horrific comments, works. They don’t want to taint their brand by associating with him. This is a massive success story. We have used the power of the market, and corporate branding fears to financially push back the RW media. This is a story that you won’t see the MSM or even the trade media acknowledging as significant. As they say in the financial industry this was an material event. This work has moved markets. It’s a big fraking deal.

Rush’s show has become toxic to most advertisers. Rush is not making as much revenue for his syndicators and the distribution groups as before. Rush was an asset that is becoming a liability.

We did this. All the #stoprush people everyone who wrote to or tweeted at advertisers did this. Angelo Carusone, and the folks at Media Matters did this.

How much did this hurt? I haven’t done the money math, but if you extrapolate from the lack of advertisers on the Limbaugh shows in the various markets to the cost each paid, you know it’s 10′s of millions. (Also, sometimes in order to even get advertisers on the show, they have to give it away for free. So you might hear an advertiser, but they are paying nothing, but getting it as part of a bundle.) Bottom line? Net net? Less advertisers means less revenue. He can have huge ratings, but millions of earballs don’t translate to greenbacks.

Limbaugh can boast about the way that he didn’t get dumped by 34 of the 35 stations, but he won’t be talking about just how powerful the campaign was. Of course he will say, “They didn’t get me off the air!” but that really wasn’t the point. That negotiating chip couldn’t have even been used by Cumulus without the campaign (although I doubt they will thank us.)  Can Rush say, ‘They didn’t cost me money, personally?” maybe, but again, that’s not the point. I see people arguing, “You Libtards didn’t hurt Rush, he can’t be fired!”  It’s like a baseball player with a 30 million dollar, three year contract. He breaks his leg the third year, they still have to pay him the last 10 million. Unless his agent is incompetent. Rush’s contract with his syndicator won’t be discussed, but you can guaran-damn-tee it that when it is time to renegotiate his contract with Premier/Clear channel he ain’t getting the same amount as before. And that’s a Victory with a capital V for us.

We kicked ‘em in the balance sheet folks. Kicked ‘em hard. In the famous words of Eddie Murphy in Trading Places. “If you want to hurt rich people, you take away their money.”

by spocko

Mitt Never Said That 47% Thing! Romney: ‘Actually, I Didn’t Say That’

3:53 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

My comedian friend Jimmy Dore got to do what journalists rarely do–but should–call out a politician on his BS. This is from his podcast.  I animated it with goAnimate. It’s short, about a minute and a half.


It’s great that most people have a camera, phone, video and audio recorder on them at all times. Politicians and their spokespeople now need to find new ways to dig out of terrible comments. When they can’t “walk it back” or “clarify in context” they just deny they said it.

As John Oliver said on the Daily Show, it’s their job to find politicians and media saying the opposite  of what they said earlier.  And now it can be ALL of our jobs. Fire up those iPhones!

However, the mainstream press love to give politicians, ‘A second bite at the apple’ after a bad quote appears.  In Dan Balz new book, Collision 2012: Obama vs. Romney and the Future of Elections in America, we see Mitt in full denial mode.  As   at the Huffington Post points out in his piece: “Mitt Romney On 47 Percent Remark: ‘Actually, I Didn’t Say That’ About Personal Responsibility.” This is the third opportunity he got after he was busted. First the remarks were, “not elegantly stated” and then they were “completely wrong.” but now they are “out of context.”

If journalists don’t hold people responsible for what they say, we should be able to laugh at them for ham-handed attempts at damage control.

BTW, check out Jimmy Dore’s podcasts.  It’s available free on itunes, here’s the link.  When I explain to people what the podcast is like I say. “It’s like the Daily Show, only on radio” and that usually hooks them. One of the guys on the podcast was a former Daily Show writer. (Steve Rosenfield,)

It also usually includes the brilliant Frank Connif who wrote for Mystery Science Theater 3000.  (Favorite Line, “Chris Christie voted for the Defense of Marinara  Act”)

Besides the political comedy they do spot on funny phone calls with celebrities with Mike MacRae, doing Bill O’Reilly, Herman Cain, The Pope, Paula Deen, President Obama, and my favorite, Chris Christie. Robert Yasumura, Stef Zamorano (American’s favorite Mex I CAN), and Paul Kozlowski help write the show and are in on all the bits.

I went to his live stand-up show in Sunnyvale last week and it was great.  I got permission to use the audio for the animation. I might make some more if you like them, especially with Ron Paul and Herman Cain because they make me laugh really hard.  And I think we all need a good laugh these days, I know I do.