- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 10, 2005

Rabid’ Fox

CNN has another new network president, its fifth in four years. JonathanKlein’s mission: take back the million-plus viewers CNN has lost to Fox News Channel in fewer than four years.

Take ever-important prime-time numbers (7 to 11 p.m.), as examined by Nielsen Media Research — CNN: 775,000 viewers (Anderson Cooper, Larry King, Paula Zahn, Aaron Brown); Fox: 2 million viewers (Shephard Smith, Sean Hannity & Alan Colmes, Bill O’Reilly).

Mr. Klein’s assessment of his competition?

“They’ve tapped into an outrage that’s lurking among a certain small segment of the population, mostly angry white men, and those men tend to be rabid,” the new CNN chief tells Charlie Rose of PBS. “They tend to be habitual. They tend to like to have their points of view reinforced.”

And CNN?

“And a, quote-unquote, ‘progressive’ or ‘liberal’ network probably couldn’t reach the same sort of an audience, because liberals tend to like to sample a lot of opinions,” Mr. Klein continues. “They pride themselves on that. And you know, they don’t get too worked up about anything. And they’re pretty morally relativistic. And so, you know, they allow for a lot of that stuff. You know, Fox is very appealing to people who like to get worked up over things.”

Hollywood minds

We were curious about why Beth Solomon, associate director of the National Association of Manufacturers, was hosting a cocktail party at her M Street penthouse for Los Angeles visitor Mollie Gregory, author of “Women Who Run the Show: How a Brilliant and Creative New Generation of Women Stormed Hollywood.”

In fact, Miss Gregory revealed to Inside the Beltway that Miss Solomon, who recently moved from California back to Washington, is co-author with her of the upcoming title “Dirty Business,” true tales from a Hollywood talent agency.

Miss Gregory took time out from the party to print us a portion of the manuscript. Our favorite excerpt is this real-life exchange between a Hollywood agent and client:

“What are you talking about?

“Uday and Qusay.

“Did you know them? Did they go to Beverly Hills High?

“Yes, they were friends with the Menendez brothers.”

All that jazz

As PBS sees it: “Renowned crooner and band leader EricFelten is a rising star on the international jazz scene.”

More reason for Jeffrey and Juleanna Weiss, the latter a former press secretary to Vice President Dick Cheney, to have a CD (“Eric Felten Meets the Dek-Tette,” not his first such disc) release party for Mr. Felten at their Wyoming Avenue home Saturday evening.

If the modest band leader wasn’t so much into Washington politics (a career journalist, he’s widely recognized around the world as an announcer and host for the Voice of America), he says he might consider making music a full-time career.

“But this is jazz,” he reminded us, albeit on second thought he recalled being one of only a few who showed up at Blues Alley in Georgetown several years ago to listen to a little-known pianist named Diana Krall, today’s female superstar of jazz.

Freedom

One of our favorite annual reports — comparing the number of days Americans work to pay taxes to the number of days they work to support themselves — reveals Tax Freedom Day this year falls on April 17.

The Tax Foundation calculation shows tax freedom this year falls two days later than in 2004.

“Despite all the tax cuts that the federal government has passed recently, Americans will still spend more on taxes than they spend on food, clothing and medical care combined,” says foundation President Scott Hodge, explaining that as economic growth pushes people into higher tax brackets, tax collections grow faster than incomes.

Americans this year will work 70 days to afford their federal taxes and 37 more days to afford state and local taxes. Other categories of spending measured in the report include housing and household operation (65 days), health and medical care (52 days), food (31 days), transportation (31 days), recreation (22 days), clothing and accessories (13 days), savings (2 days) and all other expenses (44 days).

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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