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  • Money, Politics, Media, and Academia

    Posted by David Foster on July 28th, 2014 (All posts by )

    Much discussion lately about money and politics—about contributions in-kind, not so much.

    As is well-known, the mass media in general slants Left.  Importantly, this is not only the case with explicit news and opinion shows (viz Bob Simon’s 60 Minutes smear against Israel), but also more indirectly, in the case of messages–subtle or otherwise–contained in fictional TV programs and films.  To take one example out of many, HBO managed to work a slam against Republicans in general, and Ted Cruz in particular, into a vampire movie. And, of course, many prominent newspapers transmit left-aligned messages in virtually all sections of the paper, from the front page through the Style section.

    It would be difficult to put a financial value on the in-kind contributions being made by the media to the Democratic Party and the Left in general, but surely to purchase equivalent coverage at commercial ad rates would run into the multiple billions of dollars, probably the tens of billions.  Additional in-kind contributions to the cause on the Left are being made by many academics, who choose to use their taxpayer-and-tuition-provided salaries and classrooms for political preaching or at least subtle brand-promotion activities.

    Placing tight restrictions on explicit political contributions would have the effect of further increasing the power–greatly further increasing the power–of those institutions which are in a position to directly conduct political speech….those who own a microphone instead of having to pay for access to one.

    See this piece on restricting speech to the political class, with excerpt from Ace:

    It occurs to me that the Left is attempting to create a system wherein there are two different classes of citizenship, one fully possessed of its right to speak and act politically, the other whose rights in this regard are sharply curtailed. . . .
    The Left, were it to have its way, would forbid anyone who is not primarily in the business of politics (or working for the government or university) from exercising their full political rights.  If you work in any other industry, your rights are substantially reduced. . . .The only people who would be permitted to speak on political issues, or at in accordance with their social/cultural/religious/political principles, would be the Political Class Itself, which is of course largely “progressive.”

    See also the divine right of the US media…note especially this statement by someone who works for the New York Times:

    The government really needs to get its message out to the American people, and it knows that the best way to do that is by using the American news media,” said Shanker. “The relationship between the government and the media is like a marriage; it is a dysfunctional marriage to be sure, but we stay together for the kids.”

    How do you feel about being considered as a child under the parental authority of media-company employees and government officials such as Obama’s State Department spokesidiot Jen Psaki?  Want to see these people effectively given more even more power than they already have?

     

    7 Responses to “Money, Politics, Media, and Academia”

    1. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      I would note another kind of in kind contribution.

      Hillary Clinton wrote, or at least is credited as author of, a book titled “Hard Choices”. Simon and Schuster gave her an $8 million advance for the book, and they are going to literally lose millions on the book in addition to the advance, as it is a dud and turning up in remainder bins.

      Simon and Schuster will be able to write off the entire loss on their taxes. As long as the loss does not cause a cash-flow crunch such as to put them out of business, by next year they will be made whole. Hillary gets not only the $8 million; but the cost of a nationwide political tour paid for by Simon and Schuster.

      Subotai Bahadur

    2. David Foster Says:

      SB…yes, an excellent example. If someone paid $8 million to get a political, explicitly partisan book published, there would be howls about the influence of money on politics. But when S&S make a contribution in the form of a money-losing project, those voices will be silent.

      One quibble: they will not be made totally whole. If their actual loss is, say, $6 million (surely *somebody* will buy the book), then the amount they will save in corporate income taxes will be a function of their corporate tax rate, typically about 30%. So their actual out-of-pocket loss under this set of assumptions would still be about $4 million.

      Of course, it’s *possible* that S&S executives actually thought this would be a profitable commercial venture….unlikely, but possible.

    3. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      Granting that they may not be made 100% whole, but the $8 million is not their total investment. The costs of editorial work, printing, distribution, marketing, and the previously mentioned nationwide personal appearance tour [and the Hildebeast does not travel either alone or economy class] that was far more political than literary add significantly to the cost.

      Of course, it’s *possible* that S&S executives actually thought this would be a profitable commercial venture….unlikely, but possible.

      I will agree to this, but I would add to the list of what is defined as “profitable”. Having an ‘in’ with a future administration can pay off far more handsomely than any bestseller. When the rule of law is gone; feudal or monetary connections with the powerful is the default fallback.

      Subotai Bahadur

    4. David Foster Says:

      “When the rule of law is gone; feudal or monetary connections with the powerful is the default fallback.”

      Yep.

      It is quite possibly significant that S&S is part of CBS Corporation.

    5. Jimmy J. Says:

      Back in 2003, after the invasion of Iraq occurred, I watched a show on C-SPAN where the high poobahs of TV journalism – Brokaw, Jennings, Tim Russert, etc. had a discussion of the pros and cons of the invasion. It turned out they were ALL against it. At one point, Brokaw said, (Paraphrasing) “If we had all known we were in agreement on the issue, we could have worked harder to turn public opinion against it. Maybe we could have prevented it.” What an admission. One that revealed them for what they are. My blood boiled at that remark. They do have an agenda and try to use their power to push public opinion – all the while trying to claim objectivity. Partisan traitors.

    6. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      >>Hillary gets not only the $8 million; but the cost of a nationwide political tour paid for by Simon and Schuster.

      Funny how that worked out. Also see paid speeches. I wonder how students feels about having their tuition diverted to campaign contributions.

      >>When the rule of law is gone; feudal or monetary connections with the powerful is the default fallback.

      By which I assume you mean they consider that a retainer of good will that can be cashed in at some future date? In so many ways we’re still in the Middle Ages. Or is that the Dark Ages?

    7. ErisGuy Says:

      “When the rule of law is gone; feudal or monetary connections with the powerful is the default fallback”

      Which is why no peaceful protest by the Tea Party, no angry letters to newspapers, websites, or politicians; no voting in any election will change the course of America.