Harvey & the Perfesser
Following up on a threat he made to his readers to rise above heh-indeedyness, the ole perfesser hauls out the "hey kids, lets put on a conservative show" speech that, this time, will surely mean that the citizens of Gooberville will pack the barn with an eager audience and then everybody can get smarter and richer… just like Amway but without the soul-dead eyes and stale coffee breath.
I promised some thoughts on what to do about the news media’s outright campaigning for Obama. (And that’s what it is. Media bias used to mean that they would slow-walk stories that reflected badly on their candidate; now they just flat out ignore them, or even try to shoot them down. They’re not just in the tank, they’re functioning as arms of the campaign, and Obama’s strategy shows that he knows that and is relying on it.
But if you really want improvement over the longer term, you need to support competition that isn’t an arm of the Democratic Party. The New York Sun folded yesterday. It was a serious, right-leaning newspaper in New York City. It was undercapitalized, and its shutdown is probably symptomatic of what’s going to happen to a lot of bigger newspapers soon, but if even a fraction of the people who are unhappy with the Times had subscribed it would still be in business. And, still, while the New York Times gets in deeper trouble, the New York Post seems to be doing fine.
If you want to have a media environment that isn’t dominated by the Gwen Ifills and Keith Olbermanns of the world, you need to ensure that other kinds of voices flourish. That means supporting the alternatives with your eyeballs, your subscriptions, your advertiser-patronage (and you could write those advertisers and tell them you’re happy that they’re supporting that kind of programming, too — they probably don’t get many letters like that, so they’ll be noticed) — basically, your money. Businesses need money to flourish. There’s a vast underserved population out there, for news, entertainment, movies, etc., and if people start serving it, the current "mainstream" media won’t be so mainstream anymore. So if you’re unhappy with current offerings, put your money where your mouth is.
Unfortunately history has shown that the conservative riff-raff aren’t real big on that whole "money where your mouth is" exhortation. It reminds me of when LaVell Edwards, the great BYU football coach, used to come to San Diego every year to coach his teams in the Holiday Bowl, and the joke was that he would come to town with the Ten Commandments and a twenty dollar bill…and leave without breaking either one.
But it seems, at least on the television front, that the ole perfesser is unacquainted with Fox News which, as far as I know, seems to be available in all basic cable packages. Now there is a conservative wet dream come true. Only not so much no mo’:
In the first five-and-a-half months of 2004, the last presidential election year, Fox’s prime-time audience among viewers aged 25 to 54 was more than double that of CNN’s — 530,000 to 248,000, according to estimates from Nielsen Media Research. This year, through mid-June, CNN erased the gap and drew nearly as many viewers in that demographic category as Fox — about 420,000 for CNN to 440,000 for Fox.
Meanwhile, CNN has added 170,000 viewers a night, on average, when compared with the last presidential year, while Fox has shed about 90,000, according to Nielsen. (MSNBC, which added 181,000 viewers in that audience, much of it courtesy of gains by “Countdown With Keith Olbermann,” still lagged in third place, with 303,000.)
Which would seem to indicate that people are voting with their remotes and not conservatively.
As far as the New York Sun:
The New York Sun folded yesterday. It was a serious, right-leaning newspaper in New York City. It was undercapitalized, and its shutdown is probably symptomatic of what’s going to happen to a lot of bigger newspapers soon,
It wasn’t "undercapitalized" It was a revenue suckhole and an impatient invisible hand squashed it like a glass under the chuppah. And it goes further than that; Ruppert Murdoch sinks $3 million a year into The Weekly Standard without any hope on any return other than the knowledge that his largess keeps Bill Kristol, Stephen Hayes, and assorted other idiots off of the street and out of gangs for which I am thankful since they’re always trying to start wars and playing that crazy klezmer music really loud while driving down the street in their tricked-out Crown Victorias.
Quite frankly, when one adds in Commentary, National Review, Salem Communications, Regnery, WorldNetDaily, and whatever bullshit project that David Horowitz is working on this week, there are plenty of offerings for the conservatively inclined. The problem with them is that they aren’t self-sustaining and they must rely on dummied up subscription or sales numbers and the kindness of wingnut billionaires to keep them in Post-It Notes and red staplers.
If there is a pool of fed up conservatives with dollars to blow and nowhere to go, only the ole perfesser must be able to see them. And if conservative financiers with fat wallets want to deplete their bank accounts by dispensing wingnut welfare without any hope of seeing a return on their investment, well, who am I to give them advice. After all, as Veta Louise Simmons once said:
Myrtle Mae, you have a lot to learn, and I hope you never learn it.