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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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. paradoctor  •  Apr 14, 2016 @6:46 pm

    “Channel Communications gave Limbaugh an eight-year contract worth $400,000 million.”
    Typo? Four hundred _billion_ dollars? Perhaps you meant 400 million?

  2. maha  •  Apr 14, 2016 @7:37 pm

    paradoctor — right. Corrected.

  3. c u n d gulag  •  Apr 14, 2016 @6:57 pm

    Yuz gotta love the sheer “Choooooootspah” of uber-“Christians” explaining Judaism to to Jewish students!

    Hat, meet ass!

    And as for “Tush Limb-bough,” not enough bad things can happen to him, and none of them will!

  4. uncledad  •  Apr 14, 2016 @8:23 pm

    I just watched bits and pieces of Kasich at a “town hall” hosted by tweety I know he’s much more tea-tard than he lets on but I have to admit he’s a pretty convincing guy and doesn’t seem at all crazy (well after Trump and Cuzader). Good thing the GOP has gone so bat-shit John Birch or they might actually nominate this guy. I think he would kill Hillary in the general, she better hope he doesn’t somehow manipulate his way in at the convention.

  5. Mike G  •  Apr 14, 2016 @8:39 pm

    Clear Chunder have always been ideological Republicans far beyond any business case reasons. In addition to banning any anti-war sentiment on their stations they were putting up worshipful Dear Leader billboards featuring Bush as the Iraq clusterfuck was getting underway, as a “public service”.
    It wouldn’t surprise me if they deliberately overpaid Flush for ideological reasons.

  6. Doug  •  Apr 14, 2016 @9:14 pm

    What do you want to bet that the next contract for Jabba the Hut is for an ‘undisclosed’ amount of money.

  7. Ed  •  Apr 14, 2016 @11:01 pm

    Question–when does his current contract expire? I will believe he is gone when he is off the air in my local market. He is still there. On what date can I look forward to the absence of his voice in his current time slot.

    One awfully funny thing happened back in about 2006. Michael Savage had a program every day at 4 pm. One day I tuned in and found people speaking Spanish. Clear Channel had two right-wing talk radio stations, but sold one of them to a Spanish language broadcaster. He may be on the air in some cities but I have not heard him in close to ten years.

  8. maha  •  Apr 15, 2016 @8:14 am

    Ed — the original contract with Clear Channel was signed in July 2008, so I assume it’s up in July. I learned that Limbaugh has an ongoing contract with Cumulus, however, so he won’t be off the air entirely.

  9. moonbat  •  Apr 14, 2016 @11:32 pm

    In 2016, Bernie Sanders makes it to the national stage, Clear Channel is about to go down the toilet, taking Rush Dimbulb with it, the Republican party is imploding, and NASA finally steps up to the plate and talks down the climate dummies. Who would’ve thought any of this would’ve happened four years ago?

    NASA needs to hire an army of people, train them, give them the NASA imprimateur, so we can find the stupidity more effectively. I know, they’re a government agency and can’t do stuff like this. But I hope they learned something from stepping into the fray on Bill Nye’s social media. I know it must’ve felt good.

  10. moonbat  •  Apr 14, 2016 @11:33 pm

    “so we can find the stupidity more effectively”

    should be

    “so we can fight the stupidity more effectively”

  11. Swami  •  Apr 15, 2016 @12:33 am

    Clear Channel is about to go down the toilet,

    I wouldn’t be so sure about that. These big corporate bankruptcies are just a means of shedding debt.. Just like a snake sheds its skin it’s a financial molting process used by corporations. Any real penalties are borne by the schlepps at the bottom of the feeding chain.

  12. maha  •  Apr 15, 2016 @8:35 am

    Swami — clear channel has been losing money since 2007, however, which is a long time to be circling the drain. I’m sure they can survive in some form, but not in a form that would permit them to continue to carry liabilities like Limbaugh.

  13. uncledad  •  Apr 15, 2016 @9:12 am

    Based on last nights debate, as much as it pains me to say I’m not sure Bernie is presidential material. He was unorganized and had trouble focusing. One thing that stands out is his response to criticisms from Hillary on Gun laws. She keeps hammering as to why he voted to give gun manufactures and gun seller immunity, he just can’t answer the question. I’m not for giving anyone immunity from anything if they are following the laws on the books (selling and manufacturing legal guns) then let them have their day in court. Its not just that, the longer this goes the more Bernie seems rattled. If he’s not delivering the anti-corporate stump speech he’s been giving for 30 years he seems lost. I don’t think he’s ready.

  14. Doug  •  Apr 15, 2016 @9:26 am

    Off Topic –

    The letter that will NEVER be printed in Letters to the Editor –

    Dear Editor –

    Is the media ruled by ghouls?

    It’s a serious question. Can massive, peaceful activism get traction in the media or must you deliver blood, gore and destruction to attract the attention of the media moguls? On Monday, over 400 citizens were arrested for civil disobedience in Washington DC at the US Capitol Building. The week-long sit-in demonstration is nonviolent – DC police were commendably restrained. The BBC & Russian TV has covered it but from the US media, cricket chirps.

    Democracy Spring is an alliance of over 100 groups endorsing the peaceful grassroots process of restoring democracy by getting the money out of politics. This the issue which unites voters from the left and right. Unlimited money in campaigns has bloated the profits of media corporate giants. Does this account for the dead silence? The founders granted the free press a special status, and it’s time for the media to live up to the responsibility that goes with the privilege.

    Doug Hughes

  15. Swami  •  Apr 15, 2016 @4:21 pm

    If he’s not delivering the anti-corporate stump speech he’s been giving for 30 years he seems lost. I don’t think he’s ready.

    Shouldn’t that be all the more reason to vote for him? To have the foresight 30 years ago to see that our democracy is being consumed by a corporate oligarchy.

  16. Swami  •  Apr 15, 2016 @4:21 pm

    If he’s not delivering the anti-corporate stump speech he’s been giving for 30 years he seems lost. I don’t think he’s ready.

    Shouldn’t that be all the more reason to vote for him? To have the foresight 30 years ago to see that our democracy is being consumed by a corporate oligarchy.

  17. c u n d gulag  •  Apr 16, 2016 @12:03 pm

    Upstate NY has the doors open from noon until 9 pm.
    WTF?!??
    Why not all day?

    I called the Board of Election yesterday to verify where I vote, and to verify the time. I asked them why not all day, like the counties around NY City, and Buffalo (of all places…).

    The poor woman had probably been asked the same questio a gazillion times but she was nice as pie wen she told me these are PRIMARY hours, and that in November, the polls will be open from 6 am until 9pm.

    Why no EARLY VOTING, NY!?!?!?



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