August 26, 2022

Online progressives have been reading Eric Alterman's media criticism for years, and follow him to various publications. He's now at the American Prospect, and writes one of the few newsletters I actually read. If you go over there to read the rest of this story (I assure you, it's smart, sassy and worth it), you can sign up. Via the American Prospect:

Loyal Altercation readers would not have been surprised when CNN announced it would be canceling its longest-running show—at 30 years—despite its quite good ratings, and firing its host of nine years, because, no doubt, they’d read and likely memorized this post from June 24. Everyone is denying that John Malone, the right-wing billionaire who is behind the guy who is behind the guy who is in charge of remaking CNN, had anything to do with it.

The New York Times published a hagiographic profile of Malone this week in which he insisted that he was all in favor of “wacko” programming so long as it was labeled as opinion. The Times reporter also noted that Malone had attempted to recruit Rush Limbaugh and had advised Rupert Murdoch when he decided to start Fox “News” and turn it over to the right-wing sex criminal and paranoid lunatic Roger Ailes. This is presumably what Malone had in mind when he told the Times, “I am an American,” and “I do believe that these organizations have a duty to try and bring the country together a little bit, instead of trying to exploit differences endlessly.”

“John Malone only watches CNN via Fox News,” according to a recently quoted CNN staffer. Also this week, a Times newsletter published a story about Chris Stirewalt, authored by Blake Hounshell and Jeremy W. Peters, that noted that Stirewalt was the head of the Fox team’s election night decision desk, which declared Joe Biden the winner of Arizona in 2020, despite the desperate protestations direct to Murdoch from Jared Kushner. Not surprisingly, Stirewalt was fired. Now, he is “speaking out about a network he says incites ‘black-helicopter-level paranoia and hatred.’” Yet the reporters call Stirewalt’s “take” on Fox “counterintuitive”—because, they write, he insists that “offering content that tilts hard to the right” is “not to elect Republicans or really even to help them at all … Rather, it’s about making money.”

As we've been saying for more than 20 years, go read the rest.

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