Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Our Pain, Moonves, Zucker, Mercer and Breitbart's Profits

by Spocko

I'm pissed off at the news media, because I think they failed their duty to the truth. But that's an old timey view of the news media. The metric for success in mainstream media is revenue for shareholders. Les Moonves is measured by how well he fulfilled his duty to shareholders.
Les Moonves, the chief executive of CBS, celebrated Donald Trump’s candidacy for the second time on Monday, calling it “good for us economically.” Moonves, speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference at the Park Hotel in San Francisco, described the “circus” of a presidential campaign and the flow of political advertising dollars, and stated that it “may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS, that’s all I got to say.”

“So what can I say? The money’s rolling in, this is fun,” Moonves continued, observing that the debates had attracted record audiences.
Feburary 29, 2016, -- Lee Fang The Intercept
What if generating money was taken out of the equation? What if you didn't have to show shareholders you are making a profit, not even breaking even?

In the high tech venture capital world people get money to realize an idea. They don't have the instant demand to make money in the beginning. The money they spend during their early months and years with little or no revenue coming in is called the "burn rate" the goal is a successful product, service or company. The companies are looking towards a "liquidity event" an acquisition, an IPO or a profitable company. Things are different if you never even have to attempt to do any of those things. What if you have "money to burn" that keeps coming for as long as you do one specific thing? Like push an specific idea or point of view.

Last week on the Majority Report Sam Seder interviewed Matt Phelan, on his piece in JacobinThe House of Breitbart & the New Fascism how Breitbart, Bannon and O'Keefe were funded and rose to power.Link  The article is excellent and answers some of the, "My god how did we get here?" questions about Bannon.

I really recommend people listen to the interview or read the whole Jacobin piece. Then if you want to see an example of how James O'Keefe's schtick works, read this piece by Jane Mayer in the New Yorker "James O'Keefe Stings himself."  They are both about issues of media, activism, political power and funding.

Rebekah, Robert, and Diana Mercer at the 2014 World Science Festival Gala on April 7, 2014. Rebekah is one of 16 on Trump's transition team executive committee. Her father Robert is among Trump’s top financial backers

One of the things that is clear is the power of a billionaire who is willing to fund you and your radical ideas. Phelan names some billionaires I wasn't aware of but one name sounded familiar,  Robert Mercer.

Last year, Breitbart News received substantial funding from Long Island–based hedge fund manager Robert Mercer, who has donated upwards of $15 million to conservative groups since 2012. (It was happy, satisfied customer Mercer, and his daughter Rebekah, who reportedly pushed for Trump to hire Bannon as his new campaign chief.)

And there was something else about that name that rang a dog whistle.  Remember the planned Islamic center in Lower Manhattan?
Guess who was behind the ad campaign attacking it?
Robert Mercer, the co-CEO of the giant hedge fund manager Renaissance Technologies, appears to have financed the ad campaign entirely himself, through a $1 million contribution on July 26, 2011.  - Politico January 18, 2011

When a billionaire spends his money to push an idea, it doesn't have to have a monetary pay off.  A profit-making corporation needs to show how an investment adds to the health of the business.  If  Mercer wants to spend $10-15 million for a Muslim hating, money-losing media outlet, nobody is stopping him. And, if in the process he figures out how to use it to save money, to quote Donald Trump, "That's just smart business"
One thing to keep an eye on during the Trump administration: the resolution of a long-running tax dispute between Renaissance Technologies and the Internal Revenue Service. The tax agency is challenging a series of financial maneuvers that reduced Renaissance managers’ tax bills. Although the amount in dispute isn’t public, a Senate report in 2014 estimated that the moves may have saved $6 billion or more.
--November 11, 2016 Bloomberg Politics 
Phalen's piece shows how comparatively little money it took to prop up Breitbart and put the country on this ever more radical right-wing path.

Think about all the money that went to mainstream media in political ads this year. Was any of it earmarked for better journalism? Could the media moguls have rolled any of that out in the direction of investigation of Donald Trump pre-election?

In a recent interview with CNN's Jeff Zucker, he stressed how the revenues for 2017 are going to be lower than in 2016. He is giving his investors guidance so they don't punish him when there are lower revenues. This is his real concern, because they have the power to fire him. What is more likely to get a news media CEO, who sets the direction of the company  fired? Failure to do their duty to the public? Or failure to increase the bottom line?

So how do you punish Zucker and Moonves and the big media for their failure? Zucker has already said, revenues are going to go down.

Over a decade ago I developed the Spocko method to defund right-wing media. It was extremely effective and wildly successful. Today mainstream commercial advertisers don't want to associate their brand with sexism, bigotry and violent rhetoric on right-wing radio and TV. But like any strategy and tactic, the opposition adapts.

In the world of measuring media success by revenue, losing ad revenue is a massive blow to the distributors.  How to they stay afloat now? Several ways:
  • Accepting the new low revenue from commercial advertisers as the new normal.
  • Cutting payments to "talent"
  • Going private to hide loses
  • Constantly renegotiating debt to avoid bankruptcy
  • Moving money losing right-wing talk radio shows to tiny stations
  • Getting as much election ads money as possible this season
  • Direct infusions of cash from billionaires who want to reach a specific audience
  • Getting money laundered through groups like the Heritage Foundation
On the right sites like Breitbart don't have a duty to the public, the truth or their advertisers. Even the moderating influence of corporate advertisers can't be used on them. It's one thing for an unaccountable billionaire to support racism, bigotry and sexism, it's another thing for a brand to do that.

But they are still popular Spocko! They are still going! Yes, but beyond generating lower revenue than in the past, they lost Corporate America's acceptance. That's not going to come back because they still want to appeal to multiple audiences and avoid controversy.


My understanding is that today is #GivingTuesday sooo if you are feeling the need for someone  to tell you the truth, to fight with you and for you, then look around for the people and groups that have done good work.

I know the right thinks George Soros pays all the activists and media on the left, but that's not the reality. Most left-wing activists, bloggers and media never see Soros money or Clinton machine money. (That said, if you ARE a left-wing billionaire, be advised I take multiple currencies, not just quatloos.

I and the people who run the sites I write for like Hullabaloo,  Crooks and Liars, The Smirking Trump (formally the Smirking Chimp) ShadowProof (Formerly Firedoglake) all need money to keep going.

My friends in radio don't have billionaire backing but still do amazing work, folks like  Angie Coiro with In Deep, Nicole Sandler from the Nicole Sandler Show R.J. Eskow of Zero Hour, Brad Friedman the Brad Blog and Sam Seder of The Majority Report.

There are groups I'm involved in, like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the  Center for Media and Democracy and Nebraskans Against Gun Violence that all do amazing work.

For decades I worked with and for a group doing social justice work. One of the directors had a bumper sticker on her car. "Some of us give by going, others go by giving." It would be easier to get a few left-wing billionaires to write checks, and we could then sit back and watch billionaire surrogates fight it out. But when we have a sense of belonging to the groups doing this work, it helps both the people giving and the people going.

SPOCK: One man cannot summon the future.
KIRK: But one man can change the present.