Frustration, toward the President and his fellow Democrats, is running hotter than ever.
Gas prices remain historically high. The stock market is tanking. American families are having a tougher time affording groceries and other necessities. This year’s Independence Day cookout will cost considerably more than last years.
All at a time when the President and his party insist this is part of the plan to return the country to prosperity. Some even say these are necessary steps toward a new “liberal world order.”
And now, added to this list are the Left’s vitriolic reactions to the spate of recent Supreme Court decisions. Democrats are raging, angry that coaches can pray. Angry that babies can live. Angry with the notion that elected representatives of the people must create policy, rather than unelected bureaucrats.
But conservative, traditional media is where these waters have been boiling over for almost two years. And no talk radio host has been more outspoken than “The Great One,” Mark Levin.
Levin began Friday’s program, as he often has done over the last 18 months, by listing off a checklist of what he feels are the President’s failures.
“Joe Biden has gone a long way in destroying our economy. Destroying our immigration system. Destroying women’s sports. Destroying our currency. And destroying our national security,” Levin began, pulling no punches. “And now he’s trying to destroy the United States Supreme Court from the Office of the President.”
One of Levin’s most widely-acclaimed books is the 2005 title Men in Black, How the Supreme Court is Destroying America, which “dissects the judicial tyranny that is robbing us of our freedoms and stuffing the ballot box in favor of liberal policies.”
A new court, thanks largely to the nominations of President Donald Trump, has led to a new outlook from Levin.
“The Democrat Party, in all of its manifestations, whether it’s the Oval Office, Congress and the media, are now trying to destroy the Supreme Court of the United States. It had its way with the Supreme Court of the United States for 80 years. But it lost three decisions, and now it wants to burn it down.”
Levin went on to point out how, in his opinion, the Left will do absolutely whatever is necessary to maintain power. He relied on recent news developments that, for whatever reason, the mainstream media has mostly avoided reporting.
“And let me be very blunt about this, they don’t even care if a Justice is assassinated. Because even to this day, the seven Democrats on the January 6th committee, the Speaker of the House, and the Democrat Leader in the Senate, have said all but nothing about the plot to assassinate Kavanaugh,” Levin noted. “And instead they continue to use rhetoric that incites violence. They didn’t say peacefully and patriotically protest. They’re calling the court illegitimate. Extremist. Rogue. Stealing rights from women. And the like.”
The host then played a cut of President Joe Biden, divisively fanning the flames.
“I’m joined by a group of Democratic Governors. We work closely to protect women’s rights, after this tragic reversal of Roe v Wade,” Biden said. “The terrible, extreme decision, in my view, upending lives and impacting the health and safety of millions of women.”
“No it doesn’t,” Levin interjected. “How does it do that? You’re there with Democrat Governors. Democrat Governors. Do they not run their states?”
The clip of Biden continued, with the President saying, “Outrage that this extremist court has committed to moving America backward.”
“Ok so his writers have said extremist court. Extreme decision. Go ahead,” Levin mocked, as he proceeded to the next part of the President’s comments.
“Fewer rights, less autonomy. And politicians invading the most personal decisions that, not only women, but you’ll find if they expend, expand on….”
“Alright, you’re rambling on like the moron that you are,” Levin said, ending the clip of Biden. “But you were a moron before you couldn’t put three words together. Notice how they keep talking about women now. Women. Women. What’s a woman? Women. Women. They hate women. And they hate their children. They hate the children of women. Trying to brainwash them in our schools, if they ever get there. They’re not for women, and they’re not for babies and they’re not for children. Let’s be blunt. And let’s be even more blunt – what this party supports is infanticide! Hello! Infanticide! That’s what the Democrat Party supports.”
The host then said 49 Democrats in the Senate voted for infanticide in February, and that all but one of two Democrats voted for infanticide in the House.
“The media supports infanticide,” Levin, the author of the 2021 bestselling book, American Marxism, said. “Chuck Todd. Fake Tapper. Jeffrey “Keep Your Pants On” Toobin. I guess we should call him Rocket Man now Mr. Producer. But you understand my point ladies and gentlemen.”
If the past two years are any indication, Levin and other talk radio hosts will continue to find ample material to exemplify what they perceive as failures of the current president and his political party.
Rick Schultz is a former Sports Director for WFUV Radio at Fordham University. He has coached and mentored hundreds of Sports Broadcasting students at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting, Marist College and privately. His media career experiences include working for the Hudson Valley Renegades, Army Sports at West Point, The Norwich Navigators, 1340/1390 ESPN Radio in Poughkeepsie, NY, Time Warner Cable TV, Scorephone NY, Metro Networks, NBC Sports, ABC Sports, Cumulus Media, Pamal Broadcasting and WATR. He has also authored a number of books including “A Renegade Championship Summer” and “Untold Tales From The Bush Leagues”. To get in touch, find him on Twitter @RickSchultzNY.
Can News/Talk Radio Be the Opposite of the Thanksgiving Table?
I wonder if the delicate dance between honesty and not wanting to offend is the same at the “table” as it is on the radio airwaves. Regardless, the prospect of conversations in both places can be both refreshing and frightening.
As we get overnight Truth Social rants from Donald Trump, Hunter Biden’s laptop trending, another presidential debate, and more calls for anyone but a Trump-Biden race, the whole ability to be politically independent seems to be increasingly difficult, whether it be on the radio or at the dinner table.
First, what does it actually mean to be independent? Everyone likes to say they’re independent, but before judging them on their merits, what are the defining criteria?
It’s not about objectivity vs. subjectivity. No one is truly objective, so let’s get past that middle school comparison. I view the concept of political independence as two things: Intellectual flexibility and partisan separation.
The first term involves the ability to react to new, different, and dynamic information and actually adjust a viewpoint. Ardent partisans call this flip-flopping. I call it a saving grace of the free mind (cue Matrix theme music). You should be able to evolve and shift a position based on learning. Most adults are not able or willing to do this (see my old column on silos).
Partisan separation is an offshoot of the willingness to be intellectually flexible. If you are 100 percent beholden to a party, you cannot be intellectually flexible. As a human and as a morning radio host, that’s an untenable place to occupy – IMHO, as the young’uns say.
When I review my portfolio of political views, thoughts, and feelings, I accept some that are considered conservative, and others that look progressive, while still possessing several moderate stances as well. The point is not to blindly follow a line; follow what your senses tell you, even if it’s not consistently one side or the other.
Think of it as split-ticket voting, but on issues and not candidates – and try doing it on an ongoing basis.
Critics on either side may say you flip flop or even some call you a coward. I am fine with that, and every day on the air, I am working on the courage to embrace all 360 degrees of my views without fear of the response. My agenda is not to have an agenda.
So, some two weeks after Thanksgiving, I am still processing the many hours of conversation at the “table”. I put that in quotations because we don’t actually have a sit-down meal. With 35 or so people, we set up the food buffet-style and let everyone have at it.
I wonder if the delicate dance between honesty and not wanting to offend is the same at the “table” as it is on the radio airwaves. Regardless, the prospect of conversations in both places can be both refreshing and frightening.
Personally, I like to go there right away and then assess whether it’s worth staying there. At my holiday meal, there were so many options for people to talk to – one could just float around the rooms — and the outs are easy. I could get more food, hit the bathroom, or the simple need to catch up with someone else. As the alcohol flowed, so did the more political conversations.
I know not to give my end-of-day thoughts with the close relatives; I keep that kind of candor to crazy cousins and their spouses.
My wife’s extended family is mostly New England Democrats with a smattering of shy-about-it Republicans. In the past, we’ve had drunken tears over political issues – including one fantastic meltdown over a relative’s vote for Trump — but it’s been mostly quiet for the last few years. Having said that it’s clear that a truly independent – or rather, open-minded – approach is precarious.
Here are some areas, questions, and stances where I’ve learned people get upset, and more disturbingly, judge you — whether it be on the radio or at the dinner “table”. These are all things we should be able to discuss without fear:
Can’t you truly want to expand the vote to the most people possible but also wonder about the merits of voter ID and absentee ballot security?
If you worry about the concept of late-term abortion, you are pro-life.
And If you question the border policy, you are anti-immigrant.
If you at least acknowledge the fact that the world actually seemed more peaceful three years ago, you might as well have a MAGA flag in your bedroom.
Question President Biden’s age? people think you’re going to vote for Donald Trump.
If you lament the death of Palestinian civilians, you are anti-Israel.
If you correct the misuse of the term genocide, it means you support genocide.
Think the government has the potential to be a force for good? You’re a spend-thirsty liberal.
If you want to save Social Security by raising the earnings cap, you’re a tax-thirsty liberal.
If you recognize white privilege and still want to work out how to make opportunity fair in this country, you’re anti-white.
Want to at least brainstorm on what reparations would look like? You are also anti-white.
If you are curious about whether there should be some sort of line at some point between boys and girls sports, you are anti-trans.
If you argue for true free speech, you get in trouble on both sides.
And if you think market-based solutions can work, you are an elitist.
I could go on and on, but you get the point. Exploring these issues should not mean an absolute commitment to a stance. These are evolving subjects, and there has to be an evolving discourse in order to even have a chance at intellectual flexibility.
Do I have an answer for how to do this? No. Am I still hesitant to approach some of these topics on the air? Yes. Will I continue to test things when it feels appropriate? Absolutely.
In radio, getting there remains a work in progress, but even though I want to work in the middle a lot, it does not mean that I want to be stuck there.
Brian Shactman is a weekly columnist for Barrett News Radio. In addition to writing for BNM, Brian can be heard weekday mornings in Hartford, CT on 1080 WTIC hosting the popular morning program ‘Brian & Company’. During his career, Brian has worked for ESPN, CNBC, MSNBC, and local TV channels in Connecticut and Massachusetts. You can find him on Twitter @bshactman.
Is Journalism Worth the Cost? Facebook and Google Are About to Find Out
Is there really value in Big Tech and social media, or are you, the user, being sold to advertisers and potentially next to news outlets?
Can you put a price on journalism? A new Columbia University study says you can and U.S. publishers are owed nearly $14 Billion from Google and Meta. The number comes from both companies’ total advertising revenue.
Meta’s disbursement would be $1.9 Billion (6.6%). Google’s payout would be much higher at $10-$12 Billion (17.5%) because the study found a majority of Google users preferred the site with news. This information comes as several countries, like Australia and Canada, have passed legislation requiring payments to publishers. Other countries, including the United States, are looking to pass legislation requiring Big Tech companies to compensate outlets for carrying their news content.
According to Pew Research Center, 86% of Americans are “often getting news” on their smartphone, computer, or other digital devices. Of those surveyed, half get news from social media. However, revenue flow for many news outlets is thinner than the newsprint that arrives at your door. NewsRated reports profits for newspaper outlets in 2021 were $1.44 Billion, a 12.54% drop since 2017. Their main source of funding comes from online ads.
While the extra payday from Big Tech would benefit most if not all outlets, is it ethical to be paid by the platform that is distributing your product? Especially when they can and have censored news at their own discretion.
In August, Meta stopped sharing news content in Canada because of passed legislation requiring the social media company to pay news outlets for its journalism. In late November, Canada and Google agreed the technology company would pay $100 Million annually to news publishers in the country. Final rules for the Great White North’s legislation will be released on December 19.
In the U.S., take a look at what social media giants did to the New York Post after their initial article on Hunter Biden’s laptop. The outlet was barred from accessing their Twitter account unless the tweet was deleted. Twitter and Facebook both suppressed reposts of the story. Not only did this story turn out to be true, but it took legacy media outlets 769 days to verify its legitimacy. If conservative outlets weren’t banging the drum on this story, would it have been swept under the rug completely?
The other issue with Big Tech paying news outlets, can and would it selectively negotiate with outlets whose content aligns with the values of Big Tech? Keep in mind Google is already facing an antitrust lawsuit for allegedly maintaining a monopoly over the online search market. Could they unilaterally decide which media outlets they pay, which news content they carry, and would they allow news, like the antitrust lawsuit, to populate on their search engine?
If Big Tech controls what you see, does their bias now replace journalistic integrity? Furthermore, if the delivery of news content becomes subject to the law of supply and demand versus the true utility of news content, to inform the public, is the media’s intended function (being the 4th estate) now completely null and void?
One country might have some of the answers, Australia. Legislators Down Under pushed through legislation for Google and Meta to pay media outlets in 2021. By all accounts it’s labeled as a ‘success.’
More than 30 outlets signed deals with Google and Meta for compensation. One year after the legislation was enacted Australia’s The Guardian added 50 journalists. Non-Disclosure agreements (NDAs) however don’t let the public know how much outlets are being paid by Big Tech. Critics of the legislation believe these NDAs may leave smaller outlets unable to compete with mainstream media.
One important note, legislators are leaving X, formerly Twitter, out of the compensation discussion. They lost $75 Million in revenue after Elon Musk bought the platform. This begs the question, is there really value in Big Tech and social media, or are you, the user, being sold to advertisers and potentially next to news outlets?
Regardless, Musk’s purchase taught us a few things, all social media serves as a “de facto public town square.” With that analogy, Google is now your library. Research is no longer about what you look at, it’s who is telling you what to look at. All algorithms operate like this. Even if fray and fringe news outlets strike a deal with Big Tech they still could be selectively censored due to a designed lack of clicks. Legislation like this in U.S. is still awhile away at the Federal level.
Instead, States are trying to take matters into their own hands. In California, a Democratic State Assembly Member introduced a bill requiring tech companies to pay a 70% usage fee when advertising is sold next to news content. Can these payments uphold the integrity of journalism? Or does the price of journalism cost journalists their integrity?
Krystina Alarcon Carroll is a columnist and features writer for Barrett News Media.She currently freelances at WPIX in New York, and has previously worked on live, streamed, and syndicated TV programs. Her prior employers have included NY1, Fox News Digital, Law & Crime Network, and Newsmax. You can find Krystina on X (formerly twitter) @KrystinaAlaCarr.
Jen Psaki Continues Tallying Ratings Wins for MSNBC
MSNBC rewarded that success by expanding her show to Mondays at 8 PM Eastern which precedes the channel’s popular Rachel Maddow Show.
Jen Psaki, President Biden’s first White House press secretary, officially joined MSNBC’s roster of anchors and hosts back on March 19 with Inside with Jen Psaki.
The Sunday noon time show got off to a positive start when it debuted to 1.094 million viewers including 137,000 within the key 25-54 demographic. It fell just 12,000 shy of Fox News Channel’s Fox News Live in total viewers on that day (Mar. 19), but the MSNBC show led its timeslot over FNC and CNN in adults 25-54. It was at that time news of Donald Trump’s then-pending arraignment in New York City began to surface, resulting in a ratings uplift to the left-leaning outlet overall.
Inside with Jen Psaki instantly became MSNBC’s No. 1 show on Sundays, and has remained so, despite the waning of news of Trump’s legal woes. Since its Mar. 19 launch through Nov. 26, the program has averaged 823,000 viewers and 87,000 adults 25-54, according to Nielsen Media Research. For three out of the four Sundays within the month of August (Aug. 13 the exception), Jen Psaki outdrew its time slot competition FNC’s Fox News Live in total viewers.
MSNBC rewarded that success by expanding her show to Mondays at 8 PM Eastern which precedes the channel’s popular Rachel Maddow Show. For Psaki’s Monday premiere back on Sep. 25, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was a guest.
That edition posted 1.666 million viewers including 139,000 adults 25-54; compared to the Monday prior (Sep. 18), relatively even with usual time slot occupant All In with Chris Hayes among the key demo (133,000) but rose 342,000 in total viewers (All In now only airing on MSNBC Tuesdays thru Fridays). “Inside” Monday has since remained an improvement over All In, averaging 1.46 million viewers and 143,000 adults 25-54 through Nov. 20.
On the opposite end for MSNBC, it recently axed its Sunday evening program The Mehdi Hasan Show. It lasted just 21 months on linear TV; it originally began on NBCUniversal’s streaming platform Peacock in Oct. 2020. Its most recent result was for Nov. 26: a mere 440,000 viewers and 26,000 in 25-54 — a higher total audience than CNN (335,000) in the Sunday 8 p.m. slot but far behind in the important demo (CNN, 54,000 adults 25-54).
While Hasan had enjoyed above 600,000 total viewers in each of its August editions, it still drew much less than half of its direct competitor from FNC, Life, Liberty and Levin. Returning to the example of Nov. 26 at 8 PM, FNC experienced an even larger margin of victory over its cable news competitors with Levin delivering 1.371 million viewers including 114,000 in 25-54.
Cable news averages for November 13-19, 2023:
Total Day (Nov. 13-19 @ 6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.)
- Fox News Channel: 1.229 million viewers; 149,000 adults 25-54
- MSNBC: 0.833 million viewers; 85,000 adults 25-54
- CNN: 0.456 million viewers; 87,000 adults 25-54
- Newsmax: 0.145 million viewers; 11,000 adults 25-54
- HLN: 0.135 million viewers; 38,000 adults 25-54
- Fox Business Network: 0.115 million viewers; 12,000 adults 25-54
- CNBC: 0.112 million viewers; 24,000 adults 25-54
- NewsNation: 0.074 million viewers; 13,000 adults 25-54
- The Weather Channel: 0.074 million viewers; 19,000 adults 25-54
Prime Time (Nov. 13-18 @ 8-11 p.m.; Nov. 19 @ 7-11 p.m.)
- Fox News Channel: 1.831 million viewers; 213,000 adults 25-54
- MSNBC: 1.241 million viewers; 115,000 adults 25-54
- CNN: 0.509 million viewers; 110,000 adults 25-54
- Newsmax: 0.201 million viewers; 16,000 adults 25-54
- NewsNation: 0.108 million viewers; 21,000 adults 25-54
Top 10 most-watched cable news programs (and the top programs of other outlets with their respective associated ranks) in total viewers:
1. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 11/13/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.029 million viewers
2. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 11/14/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.842 million viewers
3. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 11/15/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.744 million viewers
4. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 11/16/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.680 million viewers
5. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Wed. 11/15/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.643 million viewers
6. The Five (FOXNC, Fri. 11/17/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.616 million viewers
7. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Mon. 11/13/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.565 million viewers
8. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 11/13/2023 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.543 million viewers
9. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Tue. 11/14/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.533 million viewers
10. Hannity (FOXNC, Tue. 11/14/2023 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.328 million viewers
Top 10 cable news programs (and the top programs of other outlets with their respective associated ranks) among adults 25-54:
1. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 11/13/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.322 million adults 25-54
2. Gutfeld! (FOXNC, Fri. 11/17/2023 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.315 million adults 25-54
3. Gutfeld! (FOXNC, Tue. 11/14/2023 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.298 million adults 25-54
4. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Mon. 11/13/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.297 million adults 25-54
5. Gutfeld! (FOXNC, Mon. 11/13/2023 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.292 million adults 25-54
6. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 11/15/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.281 million adults 25-54
7. The Ingraham Angle (FOXNC, Mon. 11/13/2023 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.280 million adults 25-54
8. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Tue. 11/14/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.277 million adults 25-54
9. Hannity (FOXNC, Tue. 11/14/2023 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.270 million adults 25-54
10. Hannity (FOXNC, Mon. 11/13/2023 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.263 million adults 25-54
Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research
Douglas Pucci is a Bronx native and NYU graduate analyzing news television ratings for Barrett News Media. He did an internship at VH1’s “Pop Up Video” in 1997. After college, Pucci went on to design, build and maintain websites for various non-profit organizations in his hometown of New York City. He has worked alongside media industry observer Marc Berman for over a decade reporting on all things television, first at Cross MediaWorks from 2011-15 then at Programming Insider since 2016. Pucci also contributed to the sports website Awful Announcing. Read more: https://programminginsider.com/author/douglas/