- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Rupert rules

“Rupert Murdoch frequently points out that the three established TV networks in the United States are part of conglomerates much larger than his.

“Last year the total revenues of News Corp. were about $17 billion. CBS belongs to Viacom, which also owns Paramount Pictures, Simon & Schuster, Blockbuster, Infinity radio, and so on, with total revenues of $25 billion. ABC is part of Disney, with revenues of $26 billion. NBC is owned by General Electric, whose total revenues were $131 billion.

“Murdoch’s upstart Fox News Channel, founded in 1996, has for more than a year consistently beaten the better-known CNN (founded in 1980) in cable-news rankings. CNN is part of the AOL Time Warner combine, whose revenues last year, despite the historic AOL collapse, were $42 billion — 2 times News Corp’s. …

“Rupert Murdoch is this era’s influential figure. … The cartoon explanation of his success is that he is ruthless or power-mad or even today’s Hitler, as his former friend and current antagonist Ted Turner has called him.

“The real explanation is that he has combined several crucial ingredients — an instinct for mass taste, an appreciation of technology, a concept of strategic business structure, and a knack for exploiting political power — in a new and uniquely effective way. His is not the largest media company, but it is now the model to beat — or to imitate.”

James Fallows, writing on “The Age of Murdoch,” in the September issue of the Atlantic Monthly

Madonna ‘over’?

“The much anticipated Madonna ad is a total dud. In it, she dances about on a city-street movie set, lip-syncing a song that mixes the beats of ‘Into the Groove’ with lyrics from the more recent single ‘Hollywood.’ Then Missy Elliott pops up and does a short rap on the subject of Gap jeans, and the two improbably prance about like good, Gap-shopping friends. … Totally limp.

“As a failure, the ad is interesting because Madonna has always been praised as much for her ability to market herself as for her actual talent as a singer and performer. Long before the ‘cool hunter’ idea entered mainstream marketing discourse, she was renowned for spotting new trends and exploiting them for her own benefit.

“But in the wake of yet another box office tanking (what was that last movie called?) and disappointing album sales, she can’t even get an actual commercial right. Maybe Madonna really is over.”

—Rob Walker, writing on “Madonna Falls Into the Gap,” Monday in Slate at www.slate.com

Heroic ‘flimflam’

“[Former Army Pfc.] Jessica Lynch recently was awarded a Bronze Star Medal, a Purple Heart and the POW Medal. …

The Army’s official After-Action Report said she was in a vehicle that crashed while … trying to escape an enemy ambush. She was knocked unconscious and woke up at a nearby Iraqi hospital. …

“This was probably the first incident in U.S. military history in which an American soldier was awarded our country’s fourth-highest ground-fighting award for being conked out and off the air throughout a fight. …

“But all this flimflam wasn’t Jessica’s doing. She was used right from the first — a frail prop in the Pentagon’s public-relations campaign to sell the war to the American people and to encourage their daughters to join up and be heroes. …

“[W]hen the propagandists conned the highly respected Washington Post into reporting on how Lynch was shot and stabbed but continued to kill Iraqis until her last round was spent, heroic stuff that would make Audie Murphy look like a slacker — which the Post then took several months to correct — other media were fast to pick up the fairy tale, and the Army was besieged by proud Americans demanding that Jessica be awarded the Medal of Honor.”

—Retired Col. David Hackworth, writing on “Using Jessica Lynch,” Tuesday in WorldNetDaily at www.worldnetdaily.com

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide