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Silver Lining in Media’s Self-Serving Behavior

A poll states that “76.3% of Americans now believe the establishment media’s primary goal is to push its own political agenda.”

Rick Schultz

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Over 75% of Americans Say Media’s Primary Goal is Advancing Own Political Agenda.

That headline hung over an article on NeonNettle.com on Friday.  The piece, written by Jack Murphy, included the subtitle, Advance their own opinions on public.

At first glance, one might feel duped, deceived, or slighted. But, how could the media have a side agenda they think is more important than informing me, the viewer? Isn’t informing the public their job?

But on second thought, with a more nuanced eye, one could easily view this poll and the public opinion it shares as a positive step in the right direction.

The article quotes a new poll from the Trafalgar Group and Convention of States Action. As a reference, Trafalgar has been one of the most accurate political pollsters in recent years, along with Richard Baris of People Pundit Daily and the Big Data Poll, among a few others.

The poll states that “76.3% of Americans now believe the establishment media’s primary goal is to push its own political agenda.”

Going deeper into the poll, 62.7% of Democrats believe “the primary focus of the mainstream media’s coverage of current events is to advance their own opinions or political agenda.” 37.3% believe “finding and reporting the facts” is their primary objective.

90.3% of Republicans agree with that assessment in the poll, along with 76.1% of Independents.

So in an age of record-high polarization, and unlike anything any modern-era politician has been able to do, this issue brings together voters from all sides.

It seems that citizens widely agree – from those that don’t quite like the country and want to radically alter it to those that drape themselves in the American flag – that the media’s primary focus is pushing their agenda.  

How is that for national unity! Hope and change-making America great again.

Further in the article on NeonNettle, President of Convention of States Action, Mark Meckler, commented on the poll.

“Thanks to the decentralization of the news through the internet and social media, the mainstream press outlets no longer have a monopoly on controlling the news,” he said. “Unfortunately, the mainstream media has been slow to adjust to this reality and don’t seem to realize that the average American can now see in real-time the difference between the actual facts of a story versus what the mainstream media says.”

So if American’s of all stripes have come to the same conclusion, how then should we judge that reality? 

Most of us now understand that most of the personalities we see on nightly cable news television are not objective sources. They are opinion-laden partisans. They come with a worldview and shape their programs to match. And viewers are also beginning to distinguish this with the “straight news” anchors hosting nightly news programs. They, too, have become subject to, and tools of, the controlling corporate bosses with philosophical agendas. 

But the good news – the genuinely positive, eye-opening, foundational news – is that we all seem to get it. Our eyes are clear. We understand, which is the first step to moving forward.

If your worldview comes from the left, you’ll gravitate to Don Lemon or George Stephanopolous. On the right, it’s Sean Hannity or Greg Kelly. That is the essence of free-market options offering abundant choices.

So if we now understand that many “straight-news” anchors are genuinely nothing of the sort, the ruse has lost its effect. Excellent!

You’ve got Lester Holt and most others for a liberal slant on the day’s events. For the conservative take, Brett Baier might be your choice.

But either way, viewers have seemingly realized that true objectivity can only be found within the individual if they indeed aim for that goal at all.

“People are realizing the open bias and partisanship of the press,” Meckler said in the article. “It is making them increasingly cynical.”

And increasingly awake.

BNM Writers

Jan. 6th Hearings Draws Roughly 10M Viewers Across Networks

Almost 4.5 million of those viewers tuned in on the three main cable news outlets.

Douglas Pucci

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The second and third days of the hearings focused on the Jan. 6th insurrection at the Capitol took place during the week ending June 19.

For day No. 2 on Monday, June 13, approximately ten million viewers watched across several networks — about half of its opening night audience from June 9. Almost 4.5 million of those viewers tuned in on the three main cable news outlets. Unlike the many other news events of the past two years, the rankings according to their audience figures uniquely reflect the interest level by their respective channel’s typical crowd.

MSNBC, which had also topped its cable brethren on opening night, did so once again in total viewers with averaging 2.49 million from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern, as tabulated by Nielsen Media Research. The network’s two-hour prime time recap later that night (from 8-10 p.m.) drew 2.34 million viewers and 218,000 in the key 25-54 demographic, well above their normal nightly levels.

CNN (from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.) posted 1.37 million. Its daytime coverage was cable’s tops among adults 25-54, with an approximate 200,000 within the demo.

Fox News was in the uncharacteristic third place spot with 960,000 total viewers from 10:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For the hearing’s third day (on Thursday, June 16), it was cable’s same ranking order in the daytime hours: MSNBC (noon-4 p.m.) 2.61 million total viewers, CNN (11:59 a.m.-3:45 p.m.) 1.33 million and Fox News (1-4 p.m.) 743,000. Once again, MSNBC aired a recap at night (from 8-10 p.m.) which delivered 2.46 million viewers and 326,000 adults 25-54 — a close runner-up to FNC’s duo of “Carlson” and “Hannity” (2.84 million total/444,000 A25-54 average) and a far outpacing of CNN’s “AC360” and “CNN Tonight” (622,000 total/140,000 A25-54 average). 

Cable news averages for June 13-19, 2022:

Total Day (June 13-19 @ 6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 1.360 million viewers; 210,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 0.882 million viewers; 100,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.432 million viewers; 91,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.150 million viewers; 47,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.138 million viewers; 32,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.130 million viewers; 13,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.115 million viewers; 22,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.113 million viewers; 14,000 adults 25-54

Prime Time (June 13-18 @ 8-11 p.m.; June 19 @ 7-11 p.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 2.198 million viewers; 315,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 1.423 million viewers; 149,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.504 million viewers; 118,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.182 million viewers; 63,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.182 million viewers; 65,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.160 million viewers; 27,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.141 million viewers; 17,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.067 million viewers; 8,000 adults 25-54
  • NewsNation: 0.049 million viewers; 6,000 adults 25-54

Top 10 most-watched cable news programs in total viewers:

1. The Five (Fox News Channel, Tue. 6/14/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.351 million viewers

2. The Five (Fox News Channel, Mon. 6/13/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.295 million viewers

3. Tucker Carlson Tonight (Fox News Channel, Tue. 6/14/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.268 million viewers

4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (Fox News Channel, Mon. 6/13/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.200 million viewers

5. Tucker Carlson Tonight (Fox News Channel, Wed. 6/15/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.062 million viewers

6. Tucker Carlson Tonight (Fox News Channel, Thu. 6/16/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.013 million viewers

7. The Five (Fox News Channel, Thu. 6/16/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.006 million viewers

8. The Five (Fox News Channel, Wed. 6/15/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.998 million viewers

9. January 6th Hearings: Day Two Hearing (MSNBC, Mon. 6/13/2022 10:45 AM, 126 min.) 2.971 million viewers

10. January 6th Hearings: Day Three Hearings (MSNBC, Thu. 6/16/2022 1:01 PM, 165 min.) 2.964 million viewers

Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research

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BNM Writers

Financial News Media Praises LeBron James

On The Dave Ramsey Show, co-hosts George Kamel and Rachel Cruze discussed LA Lakers star LeBron James becoming a billionaire while still playing.

Rick Schultz

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On a recent episode of The Dave Ramsey Show, co-hosts George Kamel and Rachel Cruze discussed a story that intersected the pop culture world and financial news.

And they used one of the most polarizing athletes of our day to make their point.

According to a report from CBS News, basketball star Lebron James has officially become the first player to reach billionaire status while still in his playing days.

Kamel quoted the article, saying, “After another monster year of earnings, totaling $121.2 million, before taxes and agents fees over the last twelve months, Forbes estimates he’s officially become a billionaire while still playing hoops.”

James has both large numbers of admirers and detractors, often stemming from the argument over who is basketball’s Greatest of All-Time, or G.O.A.T. Some say, James, while others point to Michael Jordan.  

In addition, James has waded purposefully into the political waters as an outspoken supporter of Democratic politicians and their liberal policies. Unfortunately, many feel these policies hurt the very people James supports in so many other ways.

During the show, Kamel and Cruze continued discussing the article, which estimated the net worth of the hardcourt legend to be $1 billion. It quoted James as saying the milestone is important because he wants to maximize his business. 

“He’s commanded more than a $385 million salary from the Cavaliers, Miami Heat, and Lakers as the NBA’s highest-paid active player,” Kamel continued, quoting the article. “And off the court, to your point, Rachel, he’s raked in upwards of $900 million in income from endorsements and other business ventures. So he’s a very smart businessman on top of being an incredible athlete.”

“Kinda like Michael Jordan,” Cruze added.

“So, here’s the funny thing,” Kamel said. “This isn’t just why I wanted to talk about this. Yes, he’s a billionaire; that’s an amazing milestone. And it’s a thousand millions for those of you that need to get that picture in your head. But my favorite thing about this story is that he is known as the cheapest player in the NBA.”

The show then cut to an audio clip of former NBA star Dwyane Wade referring to James as “the cheapest guy in the NBA.” James listed a few extras he’s unwilling to pay for, such as data roaming, phone apps, or commercial-free streaming music. 

“Let’s be clear, LeBron James is not living in a shack. He’s got a nice house; I’m sure he’s got nice cars. He’s done really well,” Kamel joked. “But it’s amazing to me the things he goes. I’m not paying three bucks for that.”

“Hey, do you know who else who is not a billionaire but listens to Pandora with commercials,” Cruze asked. 

“Rachel Cruz!” Kamel answered.

“I’m basically like LeBron,” she quipped.

“I want to make it clear, LeBron James is not a cheapskate. In fact, he’s very, very generous,” Kamel made sure to note. “And there’s maybe a connection there; maybe you can speak to this. This is another article from CBS News. Lebron says he’s opening a multi-million dollar medical facility in his Ohio hometown. He’s built the I Promise School in his hometown in Ohio. He’s pledged to send 2300 students to college debt-free through scholarships. So to me, I just go; this guy has a plan for his money. He’s got a vision for where he wants it to go.”

Cruze agreed, discussing the mental approach and discipline needed to make such a significant financial impact.

“It’s not the Pandora subscription that’s going to make you a billionaire. That is not it. But it’s a mindset, too, of seeing what’s wasteful, what’s not. And it’s the same ways of looking at life that really could lead you; I mean, that kind of stuff can play into his business deals. Where he’s like, hmmm, what am I doing, it’s that same thought process that really can make you become successful.”

Ramsey Solutions has preached for years about the necessity of devising a plan for your money and following it rather than simply doing what feels good. They have always been strict adherents to a budget, regardless of how much one has flooded in on the income side of the equation. They also talk extensively about being a good steward and becoming incredibly generous along your journey.

Apparently, LeBron James shares many of the same deeply-held values.

“It’s wisdom with money,” Kamel added.

“LeBron, well done,” Cruze summed up.

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BNM Writers

The Cost of “Thoughts”

Jack Del Rio made a classic mistake of wondering aloud about topics that people in public positions aren’t allowed to think about on Twitter.

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wusa9.com

The first recorded use of the expression, “A penny for your thoughts,” was made by Sir Thomas Moore precisely 500 years ago (1522). But, no doubt, a penny went much further in the 16th century.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s most recent Consumer Price Index (CPI) shows that inflation continues to increase above expectations. The current annual rate of 8.6% is the highest since 1981. The cost of thoughts, or at least saying them aloud, well, saying certain things in a public forum, has gone up far more than the CPI.

Jack Del Rio, defensive coordinator for the Washington Commanders (formerly known as the “Washington Football Team,” and before that, the Washington Redskins), made a classic mistake of wondering aloud about topics that people in public positions aren’t allowed to think about on Twitter. Specifically, his Tweets compared (what he called) “the summer of riots” to January 6th at the U.S. Capitol. As the late, great Alex Trebek would say, Del Rio’s comments were “in the form of a question.”

Faced with media scrutiny about his Tweets, rather than back down, Del Rio referred to January 6th as a “dust-up at the Capitol.”

Can I tell you a trade secret of press flacks? They all have a small can of lighter fluid and a pack of matches within reach behind a piece of glass with the words “break only in the case of emergency” scrawled on it. Certain phrases or words will cause a press person, at great personal danger and sacrifice, to break the glass, douse themselves with the accelerant, and strike a match before flinging their immolating body in front of the podium. Okay, not literally, but I guarantee the Commanders’ public relations director would think this alternative less painful than hearing those words come out of Del Rio’s mouth in front of the press gaggle.

The controversy that followed was swift and certain: as was the reaction from Commanders Head Coach Ron Rivera. He promptly assessed a $100,000 fine on Del Rio for his comments.

Two points here: First, this is not a sports story. Talk Radio observers should be far more concerned with the consequences of this story than NFL or sports fans. Second, it doesn’t matter what you think happened on January 6th. You should still find the fine issued by Rivera chilling, whether you call it an insurrection or a dust-up.

I used to believe that comedian Bill Maher and I were about as far apart on the political spectrum as any two Americans could be. Maher and I, however, hold similar views on freedom of expression.

On his HBO show, “Real Time,” Maher defended Del Rio by saying: “In America, you have the right to be wrong. They fined him; the team fined him $100,000 for this opinion. Fining people for an opinion. I am not down with that.”

Because this is where we meet, I’d like to buy Bill Maher a drink and have a laugh over all the times he’s been wrong, or we can share that drink and a smile for understanding that freedom of expression IS the foundation of democracy – no matter who’s right or wrong. Freedom of expression is an issue where liberals and conservatives must find common ground.

The football team currently known as the Washington Commanders may need another name change. Perhaps the “Comrades” would reflect the team’s philosophy better? Levying such a hefty punishment for stating a political (and non-football) point of view because it is out of step with what is apparently official policy seems more reminiscent of the Politburo’s posture than a free society.

Del Rio’s words are understandably offensive to many. At the very least, they were ham-handed for someone who has been in the public spotlight for so long. But a $100,000 fine? Stifling political opinion is far more dangerous than anything Del Rio said.

Taking the Del Rio incident into context with the “Cancel Culture” of the past few years, Talk Radio hosts should look over their shoulders. Del Rio is also an excellent reminder to think twice before posting a politically unpopular opinion on social media.

Inflation has eaten away at the value of a penny and increased the cost of making politically incorrect statements, including on the air in recent years. What inhibits individuals from expressing their thoughts, beliefs, opinions, and emotions is a threat to Talk Radio and democracy.

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