Rupert Murdoch and the end of fear

The tide has turned against Rupert Murdoch, the world’s most powerful media mogul, who is in London trying to salvage a deal under which his conglomerate News Corp. would merge with the British pay-TV operator BSkyB.

Until now, the political classes in Britain had seemed paralyzed by fear of the man who could control their destiny with a single tabloid headline in the News of the World or The Sun. He is courted by prime ministers of every political stripe, from Tony Blair to the current PM, David Cameron.

In 1998, Blair questioned Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi about broadcasting legislation planned in Italy as Murdoch sought to expand his business empire. Cameron appointed Andy Coulson, the former editor of the News of the World — even then under a cloud for phone hacking of the royal family, which was attributed to a “rogue” reporter — as his communications chief. Coulson is now under arrest and it has emerged that while he was editor, the police were allegedly paid for information.


Sarah Palin sucker-punches mainstream media with emails

I am still laughing at this. Certain personalities on television looked like they were going to cry on air when Palin looked good after the emails were released! Wow, she sucker-punched the suckers! Who did they think would be deciding which emails were disclosed and which were redacted?

My guess is there were redacted emails that were not pretty, but of course they would be redacted. So heavy breathing before the release humiliated pundits after the release, because if they were honestly reporting, they would have to say Sarah Palin looked great by what was released.


The continuing war against Sarah Palin and Nikki Haley

From Washington Post coverage of Sarah Palin’s email cache: “Palin, who since coined the phrase ‘Mama Grizzlies’ to warmly describe female conservatives, wrote an impassioned e-mail to an aide in March 2008 about criticism of female politicians: “ ‘they’ said the same thing throughout my career — ‘too young’, ‘pregnant’, ‘kids’ . . . ‘She won’t be able to do it’ . . . This coming from good ol’ boys who don’t like change . . . And so far along in my career we’ve proved them wrong at each turn.”

The good ol’ boys who don’t like change brought their women with them when they went after Palin in 2008. They also went after South Carolina’s new governor, Nikki Haley, with even more venom, reviving Old South strategies used effectively during Jim Crow.


Joke's on the press corps after Palin email witch-hunt turns up zilch

It was the biggest non-story story in Washington since Al Gore’s global warming tirades. I’m talking about the release of thousands of emails of former Gov. Sarah Palin last Friday in Juneau, Alaska. The release of emails (printed on paper) had reporters forming lines the lengths of which made the O.J. Simpson trial look like a queue at the local Dairy Queen.

News outlets such as The Washington Post publicly heralded their “read 'em here first” status. Never mind that no reporter had actually spent any time and bothered to read them. The editors just wanted to get the “full coverage” mantra out in order to light up the Google tote board.

That was Friday. By Saturday, a shocking revelation ripped through the nation’s headlines: Palin had a third email account! Oh, the political tremors that were felt then! No lie, folks. That was the headline, if you weren’t following. Surely, there would be something more salacious to uncover, no? I have three email accounts. Does The Washington Post want to put a dozen reporters on the case?


Gutter journalism at Newsweek

If you ever needed a reason for why news magazines are starving for attention and consumer dollars, just stroll down the aisle of your favorite supermarket and you can judge this industry by its cover(s) alone. They’re pathetic. They continually fight against their very core to deliver cutting-edge journalism that compiles the top stories of the week, and instead look increasingly like their neighboring World Wrestling Entertainment pubs.

I couldn’t believe what I saw last night while in my area bookstore. I had heard about Newsweek’s controversial cover of Mitt Romney, and a colleague remarked how “tasteless” it was, but it didn’t hit home until I actually saw it.

There on the cover I saw some gangly body with the head of Mitt Romney photo-shopped on top. The idea was to borrow a theme from the Broadway musical “The Book of Mormon” and affix some political twist with a back-handed compliment that all those darn Mormons are just so successful these days … What gives?? As if anyone outside of Manhattan would pick up on such stupidity.


Ed Schultz fights for working women and working men

First, of course, the comments Ed Schultz recently made about Laura Ingraham were tasteless and offensive to women. There is no doubt about it. A strong and humble apology by Ed was required, and given, and accepted by Ingraham. Good.

What I want to emphasize here is that Schultz is one of the most committed fighters anywhere in the media for working women and working men. Day after day, month after month, year after year, Ed has championed jobs for Americans, better healthcare for Americans and equal justice for Americans.


Netanyahu, Perry, Trump and Palin

Did MSM really think that Donald Trump would go away because an elderly correspondent called him a “racist”? How did it work out back in June 2009, when David Letterman called Sarah Palin a “slut”?

Donald Trump, interviewed by Neil Cavuto this week, had the same steam in his walk. He came across with ideas that are not coming up with the usual “establishment” candidates. They are powerful ideas, and they are ideas that will be heard and taken seriously.


MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell: A cable star with substance

Don't miss the Friday Washington Post profile of MSNBC's primetime host Lawrence O'Donnell, whom I would call the prime time star with substance. I told someone at MSNBC recently that I was going to write a piece similar the Post's. I'll give kudos to the Post (a rarity for me) for beating me to the punch.

What makes O'Donnell so good? Above all, when he lambastes the right, and Fox News, he does so from a position of substance based on his long high-level experience. He usually avoids the "why the left hates the right,” "why the right hates the left” and the latest gibberish from politicians and insiders that makes so much of "cable news" so similar to when one makes love to oneself with one's pitching hand.


Gore blasts Murdoch

Former Vice President Al Gore has blasted Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. for removing Current TV from Sky Italia. Gore charges that this is an abuse of power triggered by Current TV hiring Keith Olbermann for his long-awaited new show that will begin next month.

Gore's charge rings true. I do not have the smoking gun, but it is outrageous that Murdoch or News Corp. would remove Current TV for any reason. The Italian government should look into this matter.


Matt Drudge, the Great Communicator

Today The New York Times paid homage to Matt Drudge. The Times is making the point I have made repeatedly in the past, where I have suggested that (for better or worse) Matt Drudge has more influence on American media than any other single media figure.

Here's another wrinkle. According to the Times, 15 percent of the total traffic on is originally generated by Drudge. Think about it. Perhaps the Washington Post Co. should pay Drudge royalities equal to 15 percent of its advertising revenue.

My long-term focus on Drudge has been misunderstood by a number of Drudge critics, and a number of my critics. Some say I am jealous. Of course I am! Others say I fawn over Drudge. Of course I don't. I have long been a critic of Drudge.