Reza Aslan played FOX News as a zealot for a big splash online

Reza Aslan, author of “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth” got a huge online splash from what has been portrayed as his controversial interview by Lauren Green, FOX’s religion correspondent.

Green’s supposed unforgivable flub was asking Aslan the following question:   “This is an interesting book. Now, I want to clarify: You are a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?” [Transcript}

Aslan appeared to be indignant, and shot back as follows:

Aslan: Well, to be clear, I am a scholar of religions with four degrees, including one in the New Testament, and fluency in biblical Greek, who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades, who also just happens to be a Muslim. So it’s not that I’m just some Muslim writing about Jesus. I am an expert with a Ph.D. in the history of religions. I have been obsessed with Jesus…. {Transcript]

That exchange and several others made the clip of the interview go viral with many commentators accusing Green and FOX of bias.

This is our take.

First: Green’s question was not as artful as it could have been.

Green began the interview with the following introductory comment:

Green: Reza Aslan was a Christian but converted back to the faith of his forefathers, Islam. He has now written a book about Jesus. The book has become controversial, as it calls into question some of the core tenets of Christianity. [Transcript]

The facts are that Aslan was born a Muslim, converted to Christianity when he was 15, and converted back to Islam when he entered graduate school where he became a scholar of Islam.

So a better framed and legitimate question for Aslan would have been having converted to Christianity and then back to Islam, and having become a scholar of Islam, why now the interest in Jesus and Christianity?

Aslan would have reacted and responded, and then the interview could have moved forward with questions based on the book. But, it is doubtful that his answer to the question would have stirred online media the way that Green’s actual question did.

Second: This was an online interview to be played on

Look at the clip.

Aslan obviously was prepared for the interview to be contentious. He had glib answers with catchy lines and sound bites which he knew from his experience as a writer would make a big splash online. And, they did.

Our bottom line.

Aslan played the interview for all that it was worth, got his splash and probably boosted some sales for his book.

Green got the interview, took a hit from critics, but probably played well to FOX’s core group of conservative Christian fans.

Cumulus Media v. Limbaugh and Hannity is about revenues, expenses and profits, not conservative political rhetoric and politics

The news of course is that Cumulus Media plans not to renew the contracts of conservative talk radio hosts Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity at the end of the year. Most media attribute this development to the controversies attributed to their inflammatory political commentaries during the 2012 election year.

Limbaugh and Hannity are the supermen of talk radio.

Limbaugh is the No. 1 talk host who reportedly airs on 600 radio stations and reaches an average of 15 million listeners per week. Hannity is No. 2, airs on 500 stations and reaches 13 million listeners per week.

Cumulus carries them on 40 stations in markets in its network.

Dropping them probably is no big deal for Limbaugh and Hannity because they probably can pick up stations on other networks in those markets.

But, dropping them probably is a big deal for Cumulus’ bottom line.

This is the key financial data from Cumulus’s Annual Report:

Year Ended December 31, 2012 compared to Year Ended December 31, 2011

Net Revenues. Net revenues for the year ended December 31, 2012 increased $556.6 million, or 107.0%, to $1,076.6 million compared to $520.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2011. This increase is primarily attributable to the impact of a full year of net revenues attributable to [acquisitions], as well as a $26.4 million increase in political advertising due to the presidential and local government elections.

Direct Operating Expenses, . . . Direct operating expenses for the year ended December 31, 2012 increased $345.2 million, or 109.2%, to $661.5 million compared to $316.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2011. This increase reflects the impact of a full year of direct operating expenses attributable to [acquisitions].

The numbers are easy to understand.

Cumulus doubled its revenues, but it also doubled its expenses because of acquisitions. While there was an increase in political ad dollars, because of the billion dollar campaigns of President Barack Obama and his challenger Governor Mitt Romney, that increase was but 4% of the increase from other sources.

Paying top dollar to air Limbaugh’s and Hannity’s shows on a small universe of 40 stations makes little business sense. Limbaugh reportedly earns $50 million per year, and for his radio shows, Hannity reportedly earns $20 million per year. Using the simple math of costs of the shows per station, Cumulus could have been paying as much as $3.5 million to air Limbaugh’s show, and $1.6 million for Hannity’s show.

Why pay that kind of money for two well-worn talk hosts when their shows can be replaced by the shows of other conservative or progressive talk hosts, who also large followings, at fewer costs, without much of a decrease in the ad rates charged by the stations? Makes little business sense.

Whatever the future may hold for Limbaugh, Hannity and the velocity of their political commentaries, they are not likely to expand their respective listener base by any significant measure.

But the future is bright for Cumulus’ bottom line by dropping them, cutting expenses, growing revenues and increasing value for its shareholders.


Weiner smack down on Face the Nation; is mainstream media worried?

Bob Schieffer, the venerable host of Face the Nation, CBS News, commented about the Anthony Weiner candidacy for Mayor of New York.

It was a classic smack down:

The mayor of New York is not only the most powerful municipal post in America but because New York is so big and is the media capital of the world, the mayor of New York occupies a bully pulpit, second in bullyishness only to that of the White House.”

“The rest of us may not like it, but what the mayor of New York says matters far beyond the New York city limits, which is why someone with Anthony Weiner’s problem has no business there and should leave the race.”



Is that really a message of worry?

According to Schieffer, Weiner’s candidacy is sickening.

But, apparently what is more sickening for mainstream media is to cover a Mayor Weiner, as it must should he win, the next four years, speaking out on policy and political issues affecting the local governments of the nation with the image, as described by Schieffer, as a “new age flasher.”


Federal civil rights case against George Zimmerman, race and racial politics

Federal civil rights case against George Zimmerman, race and racial politics could influence the 2014 and 2016 elections.

Think about the long term implications of what conservative blogger Hugh Hewitt said about President Barack Obama’s comments on the George Zimmerman acquittal for killing Trayvon Martin.

“Race may be the only issue . . . which puts the country in a pretty difficult place for the next three plus years.” LINK:

The “Justice for Trayvon Martin” rallies, in 100 or more cities across the nation, inspired by MSNBC host Al Sharpton, and the related media coverage, arguably could lead to federal charges George Zimmerman for violating Trayvon Martin’s civil rights. What else would cool and temper the passions of protestors and media critics which have been stoked by Zimmerman’s acquittal of criminal charges in a Florida state court?

A federal  civil rights case against Zimmerman easily would keep the passions live and extend the media coverage cycle on race and racial politics through the 2014 mid-term elections.

And, it could be enough to get protestors and other folks supporting to turn out and vote, particularly in the 20 or more states which have adopted Stand Your Ground laws modeled after Florida’s law. LINK:

Could those issues spill over to the 2016 Presidential Election?

Of course!

That’s what Hugh Hewitt apparently projects “for the next three plus years!”

Do you?

Trayvon Martin could have been . . . the demise of Stand Your Ground laws

At the White House Press Conference, President Barack Obama stunned the assembled press corps with his extended remarks about the Trayvon Martin case.

President Obama said that “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.” LINK:

But, the President did more than talk about race relations and the need for more sensitivity by state and local officials to racial issues. He also took aim at the cultural impact of Stand Your Ground laws which authorize the use of deadly force instead of retreating in the face of a perceived threat. He suggested that the laws should be changed.

How can the President do that at the federal level?


Adopt policies through the Department of Homeland Security which come as close as legally possible to mandate a change in such laws by states and local jurisdictions as a condition for receiving the billions in DHS funding granted each year.

With the recent departure of DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, President Obama may have the opportunity to influence those policy changes. That would be through the appointment of New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly as the new DHS Secretary.

No doubt, Kelly’s appointment would be controversial because of the controversy about racial profiling by the NYPD. LINK:

However, if Kelly is willing to buy into a policy strategy that would lead to the elimination or diminution of Stand Your Ground laws, he is probably one of the leading lawmen in the nation who could get the bi-partisan support need in the U. S. Senate to get confirmed.

Fallon replaces Leno in 2014? Talk about bad political timing!


Jay Leno is No. 1 in ratings for late night comedy among the networks for his time slot and in the key 18-49 demographic.

NBC apparently perceives a threat to its late night ratings from Jimmy Kimmel, the younger 45 year old comedian who does late night comedy on ABC in the 11:35 p.m. slot. Leno is 62.

So in the Spring of 2014, Jimmy Fallon, 38, moves from his 12:35 a.m. perch on “Late Night” to take over “The Tonight Show” from Leno.

Presumably, NBC feels that it will hold the No. 1 ratings for late night comedy with Fallon.

Maybe yes; but, maybe no!

2014 is the year for mid-term elections.

There will be a firefight in this nation by Democrats and Republicans in the elections for members of Congress to control the Senate and the House.

Voter turnout could be unusually high because of the hundreds of millions in campaign advertising dollars flooding the airwaves, and what can expected to be increased competition for Senate and House seats by women, blacks, Hispanics and other minorities, groups neglected by the GOP in 2012.

Indeed, should Democrats take control of the Senate and House in 2014, it is almost a certainty that Hilary Clinton will run as the Democratic candidate for President in 2016. A Clinton candidacy will spike political activism and turnout especially among women.

Jay Leno has been one of the leading late night comics for every Presidential and mid-term election since he took over “The Tonight Show” from Johnny Carson in 1992. And to the extent that comedians have influenced voters and the outcome of elections, Leno has been at the top.

But, on the brink of the 2014 mid-term elections, one of the most important elections in history, NBC decides to replace time tested and proven Leno with the new face of Fallon?

Talk about bad political timing!

Suppose the FOX Network decides to pick up Leno for an 11:35 p.m. comedy show?

If Leno holds on to much of his viewership, he could tank both Fallon and Kimmel in the ratings.

More interestingly, he also could draw a new base of politically active viewers to FOX, viewers in that key 18-49 demographic who are likely to vote and affect political outcomes in 2014 and 2016.

Talk about ironies, the joke could end up being on NBC!

How the GOP and conservative media blew it on the fiscal cliff crisis

We need to get this to the Fiscal Cliff! What ...

We need to get this to the Fiscal Cliff! What could go wrong? (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

The deal as it is on the fiscal cliff, approved by the Senate on January 1, 2013 and likely to be approved by the House, was inevitable.

A strategist with a keen sense of how to play into the momentum generated by mainstream media on major policy issues could see the deal coming and plan accordingly.

President Barack Obama deftly played into the momentum.

Republican politicians, commentators and other antagonists did not.

And, until the GOP and conservative commentators master the communications game of playing into mainstream media momentum instead of being critics of the intentions of Democrats and mainstream media, they will not be able to significantly influence major policy outcomes.

Typical of the angst of the GOP about the position of President Obama on the fiscal cliff crisis is the post by Joel B. Pollak, in entitled: “Media Must Share Blame for Fiscal Cliff Crisis,” in which he argued the following conservative position:

As Americans ponder how our politicians could have allowed “fiscal cliff” negotiations to drag on into the final day, it is clear that the mainstream media shares a significant part of the blame. There is no way that the impasse could have lasted this long if President Barack Obama felt a sense of responsibility to lead his government and his party–but instead he is able to enjoy the role of critic and spectator, thanks to media indulgence.

The media’s utter failure to hold President Obama to account was exemplified today on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition in a report by Steve Inskeep and Scott Horsley. After the hosts mocked Congress for having “left another crisis to the last minute,” they discussed, without criticism, how Obama “doesn’t sound that worried” about going over the cliff. Likewise, the New York Daily News wrote: “Congress created the fiscal cliff.”


It was not, as Pollak argued, media indulgence.

It was classic media agenda setting.

There is a fundamental reality regarding the influence of mass media in setting the agenda and influencing the direction of major policy issues. It was expressed by Professor Maxwell McCombs, 40 years ago in a scholarly article published in 1972, essentially as follows:

In choosing and displaying news, editors, newsroom staff, and broadcasters play an important part in shaping political reality. Readers learn not only about a given issue, but also how much importance to attach to that issue from the amount of information in a news story and its position. * * * [T]he mass media may well determine the important issues—that is, the media may set the “agenda.”

IN OUR DAY, more than ever before, [politicians] go before the peo­ple through the mass media rather than in person. The informa­tion in the mass media becomes the only contact many have with politics. The pledges, promises, and rhetoric encapsulated in news stories, columns, and editorials constitute much of the information upon which a voting decision has to be made. Most of what people know comes to them “second” or “third” hand from the mass media or from other people.

READ MORE: “The Agenda Setting Function of Mass Media,” LINK:

In the debate regarding the fiscal cliff crisis, mainstream media did not indulge any party, any politicians or any biases. It simply read the election results, and framed its content accordingly.

A majority of American voters reelected President Obama. In doing so, they accepted the President’s vision that in order to address the fiscal crisis, revenues had to be raised by increasing taxes on the wealthy.

Of course, the GOP opposed that vision, and opposed the President’s position on policy.

But, none of that was even remotely relevant to how mainstream media framed the issues and the talking points of the debate in its coverage, analysis and coverage of the fiscal cliff crisis. That content started the momentum, set the agenda and for all practical purposes influenced and even dictated the outcome.

Instead of attacking the President and the content of mainstream media coverage, conservative media should have directed its efforts to dissecting the issues and framing well written and persuasive content to cut into or slow down the momentum, and to give GOP politicians salient talking points that may have influenced policy outcomes instead of just making noise.

By spending time producing rhetoric instead of  salient content, conservative media did no more than to allow conservatives to be swept under the waves of mainstream media momentum, and to be shut down in the policy debate and the resulting fiscal cliff deal.

So for good of for naught, the deal on the fiscal cliff crises for all practical purposes is done.

On the fiscal cliff crisis, history will reflect that the GOP blew it, and that conservative media blew it.

Maybe the GOP will get its act together in enough time to make a difference in the policy debate on the next major policy issue and emerging fiscal crisis concerning the debt ceiling.


Election 2012 lessons for effective political media and campaign ads

Joe Biden und Barack Obama in Springfield, Ill...

Joe Biden and Barack Obama in Springfield, Illinois, right after Biden was formerly introduced by Obama as his running mate (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


There were significant lessons learned from Election 2012 for effective political media and campaign ads.


In the words of a winner, Jim Messina, manager of the Obama Biden campaign:

A decade ago, the average voter got most of their information from the  evening news, Messina said. Now, the average voter gets their news from 15  different sources, he said.

Like the individually targeted fundraising appeals, the Dashboard system also  allowed them to generate tailored voter appeals.

The campaign shifted some of its resources to online advertising, an arena  that provided more targets and a wealth of specific users.

“Television is still the dominant media, but I think online will catch up  very quickly,” Messina said. “I think it already is for young voters out there.  The next presidential, whoever has my job the next time, is going to have to  decide what percentage you spend online.”

The shift to online was even more dramatic between 2008 and 2012, Messina  said. On Election Day in 2008, the Obama campaign sent out one tweet on the  social networking site Twitter.

In 2012, the campaign not only had a Twitter team but also had a Facebook and  Tumblr, as well as additional online social media presence.

Read More:


As noted by David Zurawik,, the explosive growth and use of social media in Election 2012 was indeed staggering:

Tuesday night’s election generated a record-setting political conversation of 28.5 million social media comments, according to Bluefin Labs.

The previous high was 12.2 million social media comments made in connection with the second presidential debate, according to the Boston-based firm that specializes in social-media metrics.

The first debate drew 11.2 million comments

Read More:,0,2827252.story


The landscape for effective political media and campaign ads is ever changing.

It poses major challenges for candidates, political campaigns and their strategists in future elections.

Obama can do better at State Department than Susan Rice

Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the UN.

Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the UN. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)






That’s the conclusion of opinion writer Dana Milbank,, after pointing to specific instances of policy clashes and other flaps Ambassador Rice has had in her career.

Those flaps probably would diminish the notion that some of the opposition to her is sexist and racist.

But, Robert Kagan,, makes the salient argument in her favor (quote):

It seems a big reach to suggest that Susan Rice, of all people, should be barred from another job in the Obama administration because of what happened in Benghazi.

With so many potential crises staring us in the face in 2013, the country doesn’t need a nasty fight over who said what when or a brutal confirmation battle that may result in a new secretary of state wounded from the start by a partisan Senate vote. It’s hard to see what national interest would be served by such a spectacle at a time when many around the world wonder whether the United States can get its act together.

READ MORE: “Scapegoating Susan Rice does U. S. no good,” LINK:

Kagan nails it.

With the impending fiscal cliff and other big problems challenging the nation, and in view of her qualifications for the appointment, Republicans need to fold the tent on opposing Ambassador Rice’s nomination for Secretary of State and move on.

Will conservative media seek to empower the individual American, whatever the color, gender or ethnicity?

One of the unexpected outcomes of President Barack Obama’s election victory, which was reasonably predictable, is that conservative media is in turmoil.

That level of divergence could imperil the effectiveness of conservative opinion during the next series of critical news cycles when media will influence public opinion and the shape of policies addressing the fiscal cliff.


POLTICO.COM  in a post by Dylan Byers surveys the divergent views of conservatives on how right leaning media cost the GOP the Presidential Election. READ MORE: “Media fight on the right over GOP,” LINK:


Whatever conservative media did or failed to do, Mike Huckabee has delivered the salient message conservatives need to dwell on going forward:

“Our problem isn’t the product, it’s the box we put it in. Our message should not be ‘tailored’ to a specific demographic group, but presented to empower the individual American, whatever the color, gender or ethnicity.”

Read more:


Does conservative media have the will to lean forward?

Will conservative media adopt Mike Huckabee’s admonition, and seek  to empower the individual American, whatever the color, gender or ethnicity?

Media & Politics Weekend 09-29-12

MJB’S Online Weekend Politics Roundtable

10 Points & Questions for Comments

1. DAVID LETTERMANinsists he’s independent, wants Romney on show 

MJB: Is a talk host ever perceived to be independent?

2. PRESIDENTIAL DEBATESstrategists push Romney to deliver ‘knockout’

MJB: Is that daydreaming?

3. DAVID FRUM: can sanctions peacefully stop Iran from getting the bomb?

MJB: In our opinion: NO! What’s yours?

4. RACHEL MADDOWRomney campaign puts the ‘mess’ in messaging

MJB: How can Romney pivot out of the mess?

5. SUPREME COURT TERM:  focus shifts to civil, gay rights

MJB: Will Chief Justice Roberts save gay rights, affirmative action and voting rights?

6. GWEN IFILL:  five myths about presidential debates

MJB: Could Mitt Romney pull an upset-if so, how?

7. TOM FRIEDMAN: ” Voters will have to go with their gut about which guy [Obama or Romney] has the best gut feel for navigating this world.”

MJB: What does your gut say?

8. WESLEY PRUDEN: the great media slide continues

MJB: For political coverage, do you put more trust in the political content of blogs, social media and YouTube videos than you do in the political coverage by mainstream media?

9. LIFE: decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it!

MJB: Does Mitt Romney really want the Presidency, or is he afraid of it?

10. FAITH: most of us will get to that dreaded point in life when things become meaningless

MJB: Is the Presidential election meaningless to you?

Get into the conversations, and comment!!!

Related articles around the web

ELECTION 2012: Is Romney Getting Buried in “A Devastating Opinion Storm” Generated by YouTube Views of New Media?

Hugh Hewitt, a lawyer, blogger, political pundit and commentator is not convinced by polls showing that President Barack Obama is leading Governor Mitt Romney. In his popular Blog, Hewitt slammed the polls, and then exclaimed:

So with 40 days to go until the decision is in, that’s the playing field: A tied race, with enthusiasm on the GOP side but grim self-interest propping up a disconnected president while the world burns, the domestic economy crumbles, and elite media and select pollsters cheer the emperor they love and on whom they depend for treats.

Interesting. Frightening, but interesting.


But, in his best-selling book: BLOG-Understanding the Information Reformation That’s Changing Your Word, AMAZON.COM LINK: , in which he writes extensively about new media and the impact of blogging on the coverage of politics by mainstream media, Hewitt expresses a salient and powerful notion: “the impact of a devastating opinion storm generated by a blog swarm,” and how the generation of that opinion storm in new media can push or even trump mainstream political media coverage.

Can the aggregation of YouTube views have the same force as a blog swarm? In other words, are there certain trends in those views which can generate “a devastating opinion storm?”

The recently compilation of the YouTube viewing data of the  videonclips from the Presidential campaigns certainly suggest the possibility.

Charlie Warzel,, writes as follows:

The 2012 conventions have been arguably the most important political moment thus far in the campaign and according to a study from the Pew center for excellence in journalism, Democrats enjoyed a hearty advantage in terms of exposure on platforms like YouTube. The results, which tracked total numbers of YouTube views from date of publish until September 24th, illustrate that Clint Eastwood’s empty chair performance well-overshadowed Mitt Romney’s big moment last August, pulling in 3.2 million views to Romney’s 1.05 million.

xx xx xx

[W]hat the numbers do help illustrate, however, is that the Romney camp has had serious difficulties capitalizing on a crucial moment of visibility for the candidate. YouTube may be one element of the vote, but as the views were compiled over a month, it is indicative of the limited exposure that Romney is generating online. In a time where the Republican nominee needs to familiarize as many voters with his ‘brand’ as he can, he seems to be falling short, digitally at least.

SOURCE: LINK: Read More: Click:


The Pew Research Center provided the following data:

The higher interest in Obama and the Democrats in social media is also reflected in the viewership of videos since the two conventions. For instance, through September 21, 2012, Obama’s acceptance speech on various YouTube channels has been viewed nearly five times as often as Romney’s (4.9 million to 1.1 million). And contrary to what some observers might speculate, Obama’s speech has also been viewed more than former President Bill Clinton’s address to the nation, though that speech, in various forms, has been viewed on YouTube nearly four times as often as Romney (3.9 million times to Romney’s 1.1 million). The same pattern can be seen in the numbers as they relate to the wives of the candidates. Michelle Obama’s speech has been viewed 3.2 million times, about five times as often as the one delivered by Ann Romney (563,000).

Pew Research Chart

SOURCE: LINK: Read More: Click:



Related articles

ROMNEY: Was Mitt Romney’s “Meet The Press” interview a sign of defeat?

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts,...

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, US presidential candidate. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One would think that Mitt Romney would take advantage of his “Meet The Press” interview on 09-09-12 to articulate a clear agenda loaded with specifics. That did not happen.

Instead, it appeared that Governor Romney was changing course midstream.

Look for yourself: NBC NEWS-MEET THE PRESS

MTP is the Sunday TV talk show which is a leader in public affairs media. When Presidential candidates appear on the show, people watch and listen. An MTP interview influences the opinions of millions of viewers. It can affect the outcome for the voting in the November 6, 2012 Presidential General Election.

Remarkably, Romney stated that Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention “elevated” the Convention. Is the implication that Clinton’s speech diminished the speechmaking at Republican National Convention?

Likewise, Romney expressed his dissatisfaction with sequestration, the policy initiative which triggers automatic reductions in defense spending beginning January 1st. When host David Gregory reminded Romney that sequestration had broad bi-partisan support, he was adamant when he reiterated his position that the policy was wrong, and that GOP members of Congress should not have supported it.

Romney even when so far as to say that there were parts of health care reform which he liked.

We are only 58 days away from Election 2012.

With these kinds of pronouncements, can Mitt Romney articulate a game changing agenda to assure a GOP victory?

Or, has he virtually conceded that Clinton’s Convention Speech was the agenda setting message for Election 2012, a concession which assures his likely defeat?

MEDIA: Limbaugh’s charge in the GOP’s media assault on women-like Picket’s Charge at Gettysberg: “Lost Cause” II

Rush Limbaugh - Caricature

Rush Limbaugh - Caricature (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)


As with the ill fated Picket’s Charge at the Battle of Gettysberg, Rush Limbaugh‘s Charge in the GOP‘s media assault on women is a suicidal attack doomed to fail with massive casualties in the ranks of conservative media men.


Limbaugh and the other white media males of his ilk just can’t stand it anymore.

Women are on the rise in business, in political power and in all aspects of media.

As time has gone by, what was regarded as the hollowed preserve of media dominated by him and other white men has diminished. And, before they even realize what has happened to what they have heretofore arrogantly regarded as their turf, that hollowed ground will be occupied fully by women.

So Rush, charge ahead as you will.

But, just like Major General George Pickett at Gettysburg, your efforts to attack and impede the progress of women will fail, and will go down in media history as  “Lost Cause” II.

Around the Web

FOX News: Brit Hume trashes Rick Santorum’s unnecessary social controversies; tags them as ‘political malpractice’

, U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania.

Image via Wikipedia


Brit Hume’s smackdown of Rick Santorum‘s social issues agenda is tantamount to the political death penalty in GOP politics. Santorum is done.


RELATED: Santorum Explains Why JFK’s Speech On Religion & Politics Makes Him Want To ‘Throw Up’

Hume noted that his recent comments on contraception were something of a shock, and politically inexpedient. “To many Americans… that seems peculiar,” he noted, adding that many Americans did not see how pre-natal care was something to fight against.



Hume is one of the most influential political commentators among conservatives. Hume’s critique of Santorum means that there is no mainstream conservative support for Santorum.

Santorum is now effectively out of the race for the GOP Presidential nomination.




POLITICAL MEDIA: Calling the definitive political balls and strikes and influencing the public’s opinion in this emerging and developing era of new media

The Lead

Our conversation centers on the realities and dynamics of news, coverage and commentary in politics, and the influence of political media on the public’s opinion in this era of new media.


This article was inspired by a piece on Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry, the newly minted weekend host on MSNBC, and her clear frustration with how the media covers politics.

During her Sunday show, Harris-Perry discussed what she called “a dirty little secret” that those who cover “horse-race politics” like to keep under wraps. “We are suffering from premature speculation,” Harris-Perry said.

The 2012 Republican primary race has taken many sharp twists and turns. Harris-Perry showed headlines from leading news organizations that reflected the Republican primary’s constant change of course. Headlines read “Herman Cain, Frontrunner,” to “Another Poll Confirms Trump As Republican Frontrunner,” to “Ingraham: Perry Should Drop Out.”

“Headlines like these…expose the media for its secret wish to skip the foreplay and get right to the main event,” Harris-Perry said. “And it’s all left me very frustrated.”

SOURCE: Melissa Harris-Perry: The Media Suffers From ‘Premature Speculation’ (VIDEO) HUFFINGTON POST

Our Take

Mainstream media is doing its job as best it can in this new area of media the dynamics of which are changing nearly every news cycle of the week because of the impact of digital technology, blogging and the 24 hour news cycle.

There was a time when the media took the lead in shaping policy and influencing the public’s opinion. Thus, for example, when some of the giants of the media such as David Brinkley or Mike Wallace or Tom Brokaw aired a story and articulated a viewpoint, that view had some shelf life. It influenced the coverage of political news for several weeks, and over time influenced opinions, policy decisions and outcomes in political contests.

But, the good old days of political media and its influence in shaping public opinion are gone.

Today, a Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry can air a scholarly commentary on an important issue of public policy or a significant development in politics, and within minutes it can be shredded, and then lost forever in the court of public opinion. An attack can be mounted in minutes by bloggers; disseminated worldwide on the Internet within a few more minutes, and by the time of the talk shows on radio, TV and the Internet within hours on the same morning, afternoon and evening of the news cycle, be distorted and discredited.

So, Dr. Harris-Perry, we understand your frustration. But, the playing field and dynamics of political media have changed dramatically.

To be credible, informative and sustainable in today’s environment as a political analyst and commentator, you and others in the media will have to call the balls and strikes well before you step up to the plate, and well before you would have done so before the evolution of digital technology.

“And, that’s the way it is.”

O’REILLY: as between Obama v. Romney, it will be FOX News’ Bill O’Reilly’s call


Bill O’Reilly could be the factor who in his own right may become the pivotal political commentator and major influence for the eventual outcome of Election 2012.

MJB’s Take

If Election 2012 seems to be full of surprises, it’s because Mitt Romney just does not have the juice he needs, and the momentum he should have by now, to win.

As presidential timber, Mitt would appear to have it all.

Wealth, looks, education, business success, political success and two earned Harvard degrees to die for: Law and Business Administration. One would think he would have blown past his challengers in the GOP primaries, and then with the aid, comfort and support of Old School Harvard Alumni, be positioned to crush Barack Obama in the General Election.

But, for whatever reasons, Mitt seems to be lagging.

That must be a great disappointment to old school, Blue Blood Harvard alumni money which for the most part is still the real capital base of America. When the rubber meets the road, that money has more affinity for Mitt, a ’75 Harvard graduate, than it does for Barack, a ’91 Harvard graduate.

That 16 year Harvard graduation gap easily can be translated into the hundreds of millions of dollars of political money pouring into the coffers of SUPER PACS, those unrestricted funds for the aggregation and unlimited influence of corporate money, massed the old fashioned way, by folks like Old School Harvard Alumni Blue Bloods. SUPER PACS generally should favor Mitt, not Barack.

Now enter Bill O’Reilly.

The O’Reilly Factor, FOX NEWS, is one of MJB’s must watch talk shows. Almost without a peer and competition, it has emerged as one of the most influential talk TV shows in mainstream political media. It’s host, Bill O’Reilly is one of the best political talk hosts in media. And, he is one of the best educated media personalities in the business: B. A. in History-Marist College; M. S. in Broadcast Journalism-Boston College; and, MPA in Public Administration, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard.

There lies the key-Bill is a Harvard alumnus. He has the mystical and magical Harvard connection.

So if Election 2012 boils down to Barack, Harvard alumnus, in the Left’s Corner v. Mitt, Harvard Alumnus, in the Right’s Corner, the super referee will be Bill, Harvard alumnus, straight up the middle.

Bill O’Reilly’s say will be the say so with respect to the outcome of Election 2012.

That’s our opinion; what’s yours?

GOP PRIMARY: is it all about white male privilege?


Were the GOP Debates  both “interesting and important?”


At the end of the day, have the Debates been, and will they be, about the players, the losers, the ratings or the visual?


GOP Debates: The Visual

Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, the GOP’s all star cast, the “iron men” of GOP politics,  “Back Together Again!”

Is this the visual America has been waiting to see in the GOP Presidential nomination contest? Will it fire up the GOP electorate?

Has the contest been, and will it reflect the image, a contest for white boys only? Bye, bye Michelle Bachmann and Herman Cain?

Does not the visual say it all?

You decide.

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