Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Thursday, April 14th, 2016.


Misadventures in Media

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Charles Pierce on John Kasich’s misadventures in New York:

On behalf of every single Christian all the way back to James The Just, I would like to apologize to our Jewish brothers and sisters on behalf of John Kasich, who knows not what he does, and in a big way, too.

After touring a matzo bakery and a Jewish bookstore in Brooklyn on Tuesday, Kasich delivered a speech on the sidewalk about the importance of Passover, in which Israelites put lambs blood on their door posts as a signal that the Angel of Death should pass over their homes. “It’s a wonderful, wonderful holiday for our friends in the Jewish community—the Passover. The great link between the blood that was put above the lamp posts…The blood of the lamb, because Jesus Christ is known as the lamb of God. It’s his blood, we believe…”

Lamp posts? There are no lamp posts in the Passover story. There weren’t even lamp posts in The Ten Commandments. There were door posts and lintels, the latter of which Kasich may believe is something you put in soup.

The primary is Tuesday, so we don’t have votes yet. But I suspect Kasich would have done better to not have come to New York at all.

This’ll cheer you up — Rush Limbaugh is, finally, about to be dumped off the gravy train. And his downfall is a classic tale of capitalism eating itself.

Limbaugh’s paychecks come from iHeartMedia, a company formerly known as Clear Channel Communications. Back in 2008, when Limbaugh was riding high, Clear Channel Communications gave Limbaugh an eight-year contract worth $400,000. By the following year, already Clear Channel was struggling under the weight of the contract, laying off thousands of employees.

On top of that Clear Channel was taken over by Bain Capital in a leveraged buyout deal. Yes, children, our dear Mittens’s old outfit.

As a result, Clear Channel/iHeartMedia has been sinking under an unmanageable amount of debt.

How bad was the deal? Monumentally bad:

In 2007, the company, then called Clear Channel, reported a net income of $939 million. In the years since the LBO, the company has reported losses of between $220 million and $4 billion per year. For 2015, it reported a loss of $738 million.

Now Limbaugh’s contract is up, and even if iHeartMedia wanted to renew it, it cannot.

Is this a company that can continue to fill wheelbarrows full of cash and pay Limbaugh $38 million annually, and bless him with another $100 million signing bonus? No way.

In fact, iHeartMedia’s too busy putting out other raging fires right now — like trying to stay solvent.

What sparked the sudden specter of bankruptcy was an allegedly deceptive move made by iHeartMedia: Shifting money from one division of the business to another instead of paying debts owed to creditors.

The creditors went to court and sued. They “believe the stock transfer constitutes a default and might call their debt within 60 days,” Billboard reported. iHeartMedia sought an emergency injunction, stressing that if creditors won their “default” claim, the dominoes would instantly fall and iHeartMedia would face an avalanche of bond defaults totaling $15 billion to a long line of creditors. Those are payments the company simply cannot make, which would mean bankruptcy for iHeartMedia.

We weep and we mourn. Meanwhile, Rush’s ratings are way down and his demographics get older and deader. It’s not impossible that some other media company will pick him up. It is impossible he’s going to be paid in the manner to which he is accustomed.

Finally, here’s a fun little story about some climate change deniers who got onto Bill Nye the Science Guy’s Facebook page to make disparaging remarks about NASA data. Lo and behold, NASA got into the act and corrected the deniers. Reminds me of the Marshall McLuhan scene in Annie Hall.

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