Conservative Media’s Pay-To-Play Deals

June 15th, 2011 at 4:23 pm David Frum | 95 Comments |

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Why are conservatives so ready to accept behaviors in their own media that they themselves would damn as outrageous if they occurred in non-conservative media? This is an issue I address in my latest column for The Week.

Regular listeners to the Rush Limbaugh program will rarely, if ever, hear the broadcaster cite the work of the American Enterprise Institute. Or the Cato Institute. Or the Manhattan Institute. Or other right-of-center think tanks.

The rival Heritage Foundation does, however, get frequent and favorable mention on the most popular conservative talk show in America. In part, Heritage owes this attention to Limbaugh’s genuine admiration for the institution:

“There were a lot of people who nobody ever heard of who were responsible for people like me all over the country amassing and acquiring knowledge that’s not available in a classroom anywhere, or not very many classrooms, and then being able to explain it to people who have not been able to access that information. These are academics, people that work at think tanks, laboring in the basements in anonymity, writing, researching, publishing so that people like me — I include Mr. Buckley, but he was well known — but were are all kinds of people who were producing brilliant things, research, opinion pieces that I was able to access, and I was an omnivorous and voluminous reader when it came to public policy and current events and history and things.

“One of the places that was invaluable to me in acquiring a bedrock or foundation, understanding of conservatism — and Mr. Buckley was one, of course, and Ronald Reagan — but the Heritage Foundation, and to this day we quote work that comes out of the Heritage Foundation …”

But there’s another reason that Heritage gets such unique and favorable treatment on the Limbaugh program. It pays for it.

Politico reports:

“The Heritage Foundation pays about $2 million to sponsor Limbaugh’s show and about $1.3 million to do the same with Hannity’s — and considers it money well spent.

“‘We approach it the way anyone approaches advertising: Where is our audience that wants to buy what you sell?’ Genevieve Wood, Heritage’s vice president for operations and marketing. ‘And their audiences obviously fit that model for us. They promote conservative ideas and that’s what we do.’

“Last month, in the midst of a flurry of scrutiny of GOP presidential candidates’ stances on health insurance mandates similar to one included in the 2010 Democratic healthcare overhaul, Limbaugh took to the airwaves to defend Heritage’s past support for such a proposal.

“‘The Heritage Foundation to this day says they are being impugned and misrepresented in terms of their advocacy for such a thing,’ Limbaugh said, explaining that the venerable think tank ‘abandoned the idea once they saw it implemented’ and realized ‘it doesn’t work’ …”

(Read the whole Politico story here.)

Understand: We are not talking about commercials, separated from the main flow of editorial content. Heritage work is embedded and inserted directly into the editorial flow of the Limbaugh program, as if selected without regard to the money paid.

Also understand: It’s not just Limbaugh, and it’s not just Heritage.

Heritage pays for similar treatment on Sean Hannity’s radio program. FreedomWorks pays for mentions on the Glenn Beck show. Americans for Prosperity pays to be promoted on Mark Levin’s show. The endorsements often obscure the paid-for nature of the broadcaster’s endorsement.

Ditto for the relentless advocacy of gold purchases by almost every radio host.

Just imagine if the CBS Evening News were to accept $2 million from a pharmaceutical company, and then run news spots about the excellent benefits from taking that company’s medication. Imagine if the Los Angeles Times accepted $2 million from a company promoting a natural gas pipeline, and then published editorials advocating government approval of the pipeline route. Imagine if columnists at the Financial Times accepted money to tout British bonds or German stocks.

Shocking, right? Yet for millions of Americans, conservative talk radio is a news source much more trusted than CBS or the Los Angeles Times or the Financial Times.

Read the rest of the column here.

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95 Comments so far ↓

  • Smargalicious

    First!!

    Ol’ Rush is lookin’ mighty slim these days…

  • Nanotek

    Limbaugh’s tongue is like a prostitute? who’d thunk?

  • ottovbvs

    Conservative radio, bought and paid for. And who funds Heritage. Big business of course. And the rubes like Smarg fall for it every time.

  • ScoopAway

    I looked at that old picture of Rush, and my first reaction was ‘now there is an evil man.’

  • armstp

    4) their conservative ideology says that it is all free market. why should i not get paid? i provide a service promoting points of view for money. business is business. free market is free market.

    no different then the mentality of someone like a Gingrich or Palin who make millions off of being politicians. or with the GOP taking money from big business to promote their agenda. business is business and free market is free market. fits right in with their ideology. not sure where this leaves the little guy though… it just becomes an arms race to see who can pay the most to get their agenda moved forward. ultimately this is uncompetitive behavior which moves us to monopolies and facisim. a society that is dominated by the largest and richest corporations. very 1984.

  • Deep South Populist

    The left-leaning think tanks are not funded by money that grows on trees; they’re funded the same way that Heritage is funded — by donors with an agenda.

    In addition, Rush Limbaugh is a partisan editorialist by his own admission so the comparison to the CBS news does not make much sense. Limbaugh provides a partisan interpretation like Frank Rich or Maureen Dowd. The only difference is that Limbaugh’s medium is a 3 hour radio show instead of a column in the NY Times. Limbaugh doesn’t purport to provide balanced analysis like the CBS Evening News claims (falsely) that it provides.

    • Nanotek

      DSP … fair enough … but if he’s not giving people the whole truth as he see it — he’s being paid for hawk for HS — he’s still a snake oil salesman. If they know it, it’s a free market.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qam1fbQmA_s

    • ottovbvs

      The left-leaning think tanks are not funded by money that grows on trees; they’re funded the same way that Heritage is funded — by donors with an agenda.

      Except there are far fewer of them and they don’t have anything like the budgets of organisations like Heritage, Manhattan, Cato, AEI, et al. These organisations are fronts for the views of conservative big business. Now if you think your interests are exactly aligned with those of conservative bankers, energy companies, etc you’re welcome to swallow the propaganda from Limbaugh and the rest of them. I’m sure these guys have got your best interests at heart DSP. That’s their primary concern. Your wellbeing.

      • Deep South Populist

        Otto, you’re preaching to the choir. You don’t have to convince me the conservative think tanks are fronts for big business that do not represent my or most peoples’ interests. Still, Fox, talk radio, and the conservative think tanks serve a useful purpose (IMO) because without them the media would only offer one perspective, and not a neutral one (again IMO).

        • ottovbvs

          because without them the media would only offer one perspective, and not a neutral one (again IMO).

          So on a scale of one to 10 ( 10 being most partisan) you consider ABC, NBC, CBS, the NYT, Fox and Limbaugh to be all at 9 or 10? In fact I’d say the evidence points in the other direction. Most of the MSM bends over backwards to treat the likes of Palin and Gingrich seriously. I have yet to see any of the major TV networks to do a proper analysis of Ryan’s totally fraudulent budget (the NYT, the FT and the WSJ (on their news pages) have). Fox, Limbaugh and the rest of conservative talk radio, Regnery publishing, Beck et al exist to feed and make money off of right wing conservatives like yourself. The view that the MSM is so massively biased that it has to be counterbalanced by the objectivity of Fox News and Limbaugh pigeonholes you rather precisely I’m afraid.

  • sparse

    such policies would never have happened at the traditional media outlets, it is true. but that is because they cherish their reputation as being fair and impartial. rush limbaugh has never given a fig about that. not for one second. i have to confess i have not listened to him since maybe 94, but he could not, then, conduct a fair debate and i doubt it has changed. deception has always been his stock in trade. why not get paid at the same time? really. why not?

  • Rush Limbaugh, Hannity get millions from Heritage to shut out other Think Tanks  | Politisite

    [...] Conservative Media’s Pay-To-Play Deals | FrumForum. Post Published: 15 June 2011 Author: politisite Found in section: Entertainment, Politics, [...]

  • mlindroo

    > The new technology of the 21st century is thrusting our media culture back
    > toward the standards of the 19th century, when media and journalists candidly
    > advocated the powerful interests that owned or employed them.

    It’s already happening in several non-Third World countries. Just look at Silvio Berlusconi’s Italy or Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

    Regarding today’s conservative media in the U.S., I am not sure if there is much “conflict of interest” in practice these days. After all, we are taking about an increasingly homogenous “tribe” of like-minded people without much internal disagreement. There are few apostates or dissidents left within the mainstream conservative movement. Limbaugh and a propaganda outlet such as Heritage probably agree 99% of the time regardless Limbaugh’s sources of revenue. The hidden “product placement” references seem fairly harmless to me for this reason. I would feel different about it if some really good and well respected, investigative media person changed his partisan affiliation because he was bribed the groups he used to denounce. And Limbaugh or Levin do not exactly fit the description!

    MARCU$

    • Drosz

      If that was true, though, why would Heritage have to pay him at all? Just to cite their studies? He said he would’ve done that already…or maybe he was paid to say that as well. I don’t find that someone who would never consider himself unbiased in the first place, taking money from a biased organization to be a big deal, but I still don’t really see why Heritage pays him.

  • Chris Balsz

    Limbaugh regularly knocks down the Fourth Wall and talks at length about how he gets paid so much. That’s part of the “regular editorial commentary” that these ads “interrupt”.

    Also, he’s scrupulous about sourcing material he references, print or online, paid or not. Unless you’ve been paying him too, David.

    • ottovbvs

      He tells suckers like you Balsz what you want to hear. Sure the paymasters of Heritage are looking out for you, that’s their only concern. The public good.

      • Chris Balsz

        The price is right though. How much do you pay each month to hear the commercials on CNN?

        • ottovbvs

          How much do you pay each month to hear the commercials on CNN?

          CNN is being covertly funded by big business to feed propaganda to viewers? It doesn’t surprise me you can’t tell the difference between the normal business model of commercial radio/TV that have existed since the 20′s and covert propaganda aimed at suckers like you. After all it’s your naivete and suggestibility that makes you suckers.

        • Chris Balsz

          “It doesn’t surprise me you can’t tell the difference between the normal business model of commercial radio/TV that have existed since the 20’s and covert propaganda aimed at suckers like you.”

          What’s that model got to do with CNN? They get paid by advertisers, and then you also pay for their network whether you watch it or not. I’m a sucker for paying $0 to hear Rush Limbaugh?

        • Nanotek

          “I’m a sucker for paying $0 to hear Rush Limbaugh?”

          still paying too much for your whistle

  • Frumplestiltskin

    I am with Marcus on this, this is like finding out a sheep raper also rapes dogs. It truly would be hard for me to have a lower opinion of this creature.

  • mlindroo

    Yup … this only becomes an important issue if somebody is bribed to change sides. Let’s assume the Sierra Club starts paying Rush millions to carefully and gradually revise his position on man-made global warming. *That* would be very valuable indeed considering the average Rush Limbaugh listener probably tends to believe what he is told. Especially if the issue is complicated and difficult to understand in pure left-vs-right terms, like man made global warming or health care reform.

    How unpopular would ACA be today if Rush, Levin, Hannity, the WSJ editorial page etc. (paid for by pro-ACA lobbyists) all had enthusiastically endorsed the individual mandate as a conservative concept dreamed up by the Heritage Foundation and Mitt Romney? What if they had gleefully pointed out that the Dems now were forced to settle for Romney’s and Heritage’s old alternative to HillaryCare? Such spin is entirely possible, and I don’t think the townhall demonstrations or Mitch McConnell’s obstructionist strategy had been possible if the conservative media had not supported a particular narrative.

    MARCU$

    • ottovbvs

      What if they had gleefully pointed out that the Dems now were forced to settle for Romney’s and Heritage’s old alternative to HillaryCare?

      Absolutely correct. These mediums exist to tell people like Balsz, Sinz, DSP, Carney, et al what to think. If they’d told them Obama had been forced to bow the knee to what was originally a Republican/Heritage concept that’s all we’d hear all day. These folks are a car salesman’s wet dream.

      • Chris Balsz

        What right-wing business interest do you think got to Rush, so that he said Romney should forget the 2012 nomination?

        • ottovbvs

          It may amaze you Balsz but some of these right wing businessmen consider Romney suspect. He did after all introduce an earlier version of Obamacare. Whatever makes you think Republican business is monolithic?

        • Chris Balsz

          So the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy is funding totally opposite positions. Some of them, support Romney. Some of them, oppose Romney. All of them do it for corrupt motives, though!

          That’s an awfully lazy conspiracy theory.

    • Chris Balsz

      Or, if Rush were being paid to talk for hours about what a great time he has being invited to the sidelines at the Superbowl. It was obvious to me that Heritage paid him for the blurb, because it included information on how to reach Heritage for payment.

      I was more upset to hear Glenn Beck accused of getting material off the web, and not attributing it. After his weak defense that he “tries to cite everybody” I don’t listen to him.

  • esther

    So even as Limbaugh loudly proclaims that he is a conservative, he openly colludes with the conservative Heritage Foundation to promote publicly the conservative agenda.

    Who the hell does he think he’s fooling!

    • ottovbvs

      Who the hell does he think he’s fooling!

      Answer: large numbers of right wing rubes like Balsz who by some bizarre alchemy believe they share a community of interest with reactionary billionaires. He’s certainly not fooling me. I’ve always known he was a paid drummer for conservative big business interests.

      UPDATE; as an indicator of just how much control these reactionaries have over the minds of rubes like Balsz, note the way he attempts to rationalize the process of controlling his responses with talk of ball games and other irrelevancies or dismissing payments of millions as paying for a blurb. It’s pure Stockholm syndrome.

      • esther

        Accusing Limbaugh of conspiring with the Heritage Foundation is like accusing Gladys Knight of conspiring with the Pips. The association is self-evident. The Politico story is not an expose. It is a revelation of the obvious.

        • zephae

          “So even as Limbaugh loudly proclaims that he is a conservative, he openly colludes with the conservative Heritage Foundation to promote publicly the conservative agenda.”

          You just missed the point entirely. While paying an editorialist to act as a PR guy for your organization is bad, the more troubling part is what it says about conservatism as a whole. “The conservative agenda” is not a monolithic idea and what you’re missing is that these different think tanks are competing with each other to become the leading voice. There might be some general lines of agreement running through all of them, but in general they’re vying for the position of manipulating the most people they can. Do you not object to this idea at all? Do you not mind “the conservative agenda” being defined as the organization which has the most money to claim that prize?

      • Chris Balsz

        “UPDATE; as an indicator of just how much control these reactionaries have over the minds of rubes like Balsz, note the way he attempts to rationalize the process of controlling his responses with talk of ball games and other irrelevancies or dismissing payments of millions as paying for a blurb. It’s pure Stockholm syndrome.”

        Yes, it’s almost as if I were totally unaware of the RELEVANT comments you had scripted for me, and were making up my end of the conversation as I went along. Curious neurosis.

        • ottovbvs

          I didn’t script anything you did it all yourself and proved my point in the process.

  • shediac

    Rush has a habit not easy to support!

  • jakester

    It’s all a joke and a fraud anyways!

    • Smargalicious

      Jealous.

      Why don’t you listen to the alternative Air America? Oh, that’s right…they went bankrupt.

      Next.

  • PracticalGirl

    Chris Balz:

    I’m a sucker for paying $0 to hear Rush Limbaugh?

    No, you are a sucker to think that Rush gets paid because you listen to him. He doesn’t. He gets paid because you listen to the commercials. Strong industry studies over time and concerning ratings confirm: The greatest listenership within a Rush Limbaugh show occurs during the commercial breaks.

    It’s a fantastic gig for an entertainer who understands how to psychologically manipulate an audience for fun and profit. The agenda here is money, pure and simple, and like all good drug dealers Limbaugh and his advertisers know exactly how to collect.

  • PracticalGirl

    I find it fascinating that Politico would report Heritage’s support of Limbaugh and Hannity without once mentioning that Laura Ingraham is provided an entire studio at the Heritage Foundation from which to broadcast.

    • Nanotek

      “I find it fascinating that Politico would report Heritage’s support of Limbaugh and Hannity without once mentioning that Laura Ingraham is provided an entire studio at the Heritage Foundation from which to broadcast.”

      did not know that … thank you

  • Xclamation

    It’s kind of hard to get worked up about this conservative payola racket. None of these guys (Limbaugh, Hannity, Levin, etc) claim to be reporters, they openly admit to being editorialists. On top of that, every time they get called out for saying something dumb/dubious/hateful they all fall back on the old, “hey, I’m just a comedian, why are you getting so upset. I was just joking, guy.”

    Essentially, these guys are the right-wing equivalent of gangsta rap. There’s an common saying that gangsta rap is hilarious, provided you’re in on the joke. I think right-wing commentators work on the same principal.

    The big problem in my mind isn’t the money, and it isn’t that conservative think-tanks are outspending each other to get their messages heard. It’s that their messages are indistinguishable from the rest of the comedian’s routine.

    This is off topic, but I’m curious about one aspect of talk radio (which I only hear when I’m riding in someone else’s car). Are any of these on-air personalities known or distinguished for their ability to use English? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not calling them inarticulate; I readily admit that speaking for huge chunks of time on end (often extemporaneously) is a skill. But by what metrics are their oratory skills measured? I mean, both Ice-T and Easy-E were gangsta rappers, but no one familiar with the style would confuse the artistry of Ice-T with the pedestrian work of Easy-E. Who among the right-wing radio stars stands out as a compelling master of English?

    • PracticalGirl

      X-

      But by what metrics are their oratory skills measured?

      To your musical example: A gangsta rapper’s oratory skills- frequently breaking the rules of proper English- are markedly different from that of Suzanne Vega (80s singer), famously known for her adherence to grammar rules within her music. But their success is measured by their ability to connect with specifically targeted audiences.

      So, too, are the metrics of successful communication different for a talk radio host-primarily an entertainer-from a reporter or an anchor, primarily a content deliverer. News people need to communicate content (who what where) concisely. A talk radio host’s major connection point, however, is through emotion. Clearly communicated content-even political ideology- isn’t as important as capturing an audience through emotion, and the more negative that emotion and the tone of the host, the better to sustain listeners. The metric of measurement here isn’t the quality of their content or their eloquence. It’s their ability to hold an frothed-up audience through the commercial breaks. People high on emotion are much more susceptible to buying messages, and the advertisers as well as the hosts understand what’s most important for the listeners to buy. And it’s not the content.

    • ottovbvs

      It’s that their messages are indistinguishable from the rest of the comedian’s routine.

      The problem is it’s not comedy or musical entertainment (if that’s what rap is) it’s political propaganda intended to motivate rubes like Balsz to behave irrationally and almost certainly against their own and indeed the national interest. It’s political fraud and essentially no different from financial fraud.

    • jakester

      I agree, what is there to be worked up about? They are both highly paid entertainers and shills and nothing they say is anything more than propaganda

  • ChallengingFrum

    Maybe Heritage should give some money to Chris Mathews and he will start parroting conservative talking points….oh wait…thats right…Mathews is a huge liberal who wouldn’t change his deeply held political views for money. You know what…I bet Hannity or Rush probably wouldn’t change their views for money either. Especially considering they have already made tens of millions of dollars already.

    Maybe if i was some guy running a website with 100 visitors a day…those are the guys I would be worried about changing their views for money.

    • ottovbvs

      Especially considering they have already made tens of millions of dollars already.

      And how did they make it? Feeding the prejudices of a lot of rubes. The same way porn movie makers feed the appetites of guys. Or televangelists feed the appetites of religious nuts. There’s a demand from folks like you and Balsz and Limbaugh and Hannity satisfy it and get well paid for it. There’s nothing particularly original about it. People who sell yachting and classic car mags make money off me. You and Balsz are too stupid to understand the simple facts of life. And if Heritage paid Matthews enough to make it worth his while he’d probably start telling us Republicans were wonderful. God you guys are naive.

  • ottovbvs

    Chris Balsz // Jun 15, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    So the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy is funding totally opposite positions.

    They are not totally opposite positions or do you think Romney is a democrat? Romney is mid right conservative like Frum, and there are a lot of people to right of him or hadn’t you noticed. If you haven’t you must be even dumber than I thought

    • Chris Balsz

      Yes, “Mitt Romney should be the 2012 Republican nominee” and “No Mitt Romney should not be the 2012 Republican nominee” are opposite positions. You’ve got all your bases covered by the conspiracy.

  • ottovbvs

    I’m a sucker for paying $0 to hear Rush Limbaugh?

    No you’re a sucker because you swallow his propaganda hook, line and sinker. And while you’re doing it you’re also listening to to ads.

  • nwahs

    Frum, who care’s really? Limbaugh is private individual making money doing his shtick. Just like YOU. There’s no corruption here. If people pay him for his allegiance SFW? He’s not elected. You are paid for YOUR allegiance. You think we miss that?

    “Shocking right?” No. What would be shocking is intellectual honesty from you in regard to Limbaugh or Palin or anyone that has “wronged” you in the past. That would shock the hell out of me. You are a writer with a grudge. Pay to play is only bad if it concerns government. Between private entities its capitalism. You have a problem with capitalism?

    • PracticalGirl

      Nwahs:

      Frum’s point isn’t that Limbaugh makes money from his propaganda. It’s the hypocrisy of the position of those Conservatives (Limbaugh included) who scream about liberal content on liberal media outlets and the dirty liberals who fund them (NPR and all the crazy shit they accuse George Soros of)…And then sit quietly by as worse is true about conservative media outlets.

      I encourage you to re-read his summation:

      “Just imagine if the CBS Evening News were to accept $2 million from a pharmaceutical company, and then run news spots about the excellent benefits from taking that company’s medication. Imagine if the Los Angeles Times accepted $2 million from a company promoting a natural gas pipeline, and then published editorials advocating government approval of the pipeline route. Imagine if columnists at the Financial Times accepted money to tout British bonds or German stocks.

      Shocking, right? Yet for millions of Americans, conservative talk radio is a news source much more trusted than CBS or the Los Angeles Times or the Financial Times.

      • ottovbvs

        Shocking, right? Yet for millions of Americans, conservative talk radio is a news source much more trusted than CBS or the Los Angeles Times or the Financial Times.“

        Not shocking at all. As H. L. Mencken pointed out long ago “No one ever went broke underestimating the stupidity of the American people.” All Frum and others are pointing out is that Limbaugh is acting as a mouthpiece for conservative business interests whose agenda is protecting their bottom line not the public or the national good. Is that really so hard to understand?

  • Russnet

    Give me a break. Somebody call a waaaaaaambulance!

  • ottovbvs

    Frum, who care’s really? Limbaugh is private individual making money doing his shtick.

    And his shtick is conning right wing rubes and he’s being well paid to do it by reactionary conservative business interests. You don’t think the rubes at least aught to know whose paying the piper. I thought you conservatives were always talking about transparency.

    • nwahs

      And Frum’s shtick is to play a conservative writer for left leaning audiences. Do you think he is introduced as the conservative writer who was removed by a conservative think tank (AEI)?

      No, he’s presented as a typical “conservative” when one is hard pressed to find anything conservative about Frum other than in some abstract theoretical manner. He’s definitely not a social conservative, and he’s not really a fiscal conservative. He’s sort of a Colbert conservative. He plays a conservative (actually what the left wish conservatives were)on TV.

      His shtick is not much different than Rush’s shtick. He says what his audience wants to hear and gives the illusion of veracity. Rush just gets paid a whole lot more.

      • PracticalGirl

        Rush just gets paid a whole lot more.

        Yep, by a think tank who had Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as their keynote speaker at their annual President’s Club meeting in November 2009.

        Wake. Up. This is much more problematic than you are portraying it to be.

      • ottovbvs

        And Frum’s shtick is to play a conservative writer for left leaning audiences.

        What bs. Frum is a establishment conservative who holds entirely conventional conservative neocon and anti immigrant positions. He has however been mugged by reality on economic issues. Limbaugh is a drummer for reactionary business interests. I know that, you know that, most of his audience have been flim flammed into believing he’s in some way trying to help them understand the world when in fact he’s practicing a fraud on them. I don’t think Frum is practicing a fraud on anyone.

      • zephae

        And Frum’s shtick is to play a conservative writer for left leaning audiences.

        If you honestly believe this, I can only assume you were in a drug-induced coma for the week that Bibi was in the US. The only thing that makes Frum the “fake conservative” you’re trying to make him out to be is the fact that he generally supports and follows an idea all the way through.

      • Drosz

        I would disagree. I see Rush and Hannity and Levin and Beck, etc. to be more like populists and Frum to be more of a conservative. I guess it depends on one’s POV.

  • TerryF98

    The fat bastard is irrelevant to 99.5% of the population of America. Let him spew his hatred and let his listeners be morally corrupted by him. Serves them right.

    Jabba the tool of the far right.

    • PracticalGirl

      LMAO.

      No better bookend to the conversation.

    • nwahs

      No, Weiners scrotum twitters were irrelevant to Frum. When it comes to Limbaugh or Palin, the world hangs in the balance.

      • ottovbvs

        That’s it nwahs change the subject to Weiner’s scrotum because you don’t want face up to the issue that Frum raises which is a perfectly valid one.

      • zephae

        No, Weiners scrotum twitters were irrelevant to Frum. When it comes to Limbaugh or Palin, the world hangs in the balance.

        You realize that the original purpose of this site was stated as “building a conservativism that can win again,” right?

  • nhthinker

    Anyone seen MSNBC “Lean Left..” ad campaign?

    • PracticalGirl

      Anyone see a Supreme Court Justice as the keynote speaker at the annual shareholders meeting of ANY of MSNBC’s advertisers?

      But SCOTUS Justice Scalia gives a speech at the Heritage Foundation’s annual President’s Club Meeting, and we’re not supposed to notice that this organization is a sponsor of Rush ” I want President Obama to fail” Limbaugh?

      Also discussed at this meeting:

      —”A panel of experts including Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) and Heritage’s Stuart Butler and Bob Moffit explored the challenges of health care reform and strategies conservatives can use to halt the progressive agenda and enact principled reforms.”

      Wake up, nwahs. You’re nothing but a tool of a tool of the right wing.

      • Chris Balsz

        Right, because in a free society like-minded people must never gather to discuss politics.

        • valkayec

          Chris, prior to this Court, Supreme Court Justices considered it improper to attend or give speeches at partisan political functions. Historically, the Justices believed it tarnished the Court and would lead to a lack of trust in the Court’s impartiality. Even though the SCOTUS made itself immune from most judicial ethics rules, the rest of the federal bench is supposed to avoid any partisan political conferences, not give speeches to partisan organizations, or become involved in any partisan politicking (I say supposed because the 5th District fails at all of these ethics rules). In other words, there’s an ethical standard of conduct that precludes federal judges from engaging in any political activities. If they do, they can be removed from office.

        • PracticalGirl

          Chris,

          Heritage is an organization whose stated mission is to create and promote public policies based on conservative ideals and then market them to key decision makers. Do you really think that this sort of lobbying effort- tax exempt or not- is an appropriate venue for a Supreme Court Justice to be in-ever?

          Put another way: How would you feel if Justice Sotomayor showed up at a board meeting for the Brookings Institution (period) but then you found out that they are a direct sponsor of Rachel Maddow or Chris Matthews etc? My guess is that you’d be a bit fired up, and would also begin making connections- Brookings gives big dollars to the Annie E Casey Foundation, which in turn supports NPR which is a big liberal front.

          Or if Justice Kagan appeared at the Center For American Progress’ annual power gathering and then you found out they contribute directly to Bill Maher’s show- what would you say then?

        • Chris Balsz

          “It is funny, but at the same time endlessly fascinating, how all the usual suspects exhibit the classic self confirming behavior of fanatics.”

          Anybody who doesn’t buy your biases is a “fanatic”, devoted to “irrelevancies”. They lack the “credibility” to “debate”.

    • ottovbvs

      Anyone seen MSNBC “Lean Left..” ad campaign?

      Is MSNBC receiveing covert payments from George Soros or the unions? No I didn’t think so. So what’s the relevance of this?

      • Chris Balsz

        If you’re an honest man, why do you earn covert income?

        George Soros does fund Media Matters for the express purpose of airing FoxNews’ “distortions” and by an amazing coincidence MSNBC uses their material.
        http://www.politico.com/blogs/onmedia/1010/Soros_gives_1_million_to_Media_Matters.html

        I guess he did that in the blind hope SOMEBODY would read the press releases, and its just his dumb luck MSNBC is there to fulfill Soros’ stated intention to ” more widely publicize the challenge Fox News poses to civil and informed discourse in our democracy.”

        • ottovbvs

          George Soros does fund Media Matters…and its just his dumb luck MSNBC

          Since when was Media Matters MSNBC? And guess what MSNBC also publish info from the Republican National Committee becasue they are NEWS ORGANISATION. It’s called balance. They are NOT however being paid covertly by Soros or the Unions as propagandists for the Democrats.

        • PracticalGirl

          +1 otto

          Chris- Media Matters is a watchdog organization, not a news organization. Their purpose is strictly to shed light on erroneous statements and reports from conservative talkers, including those from the network that has sold its base on Fair and Balanced at the same time expressly beginning the network to give the Conservative POV of news.

          While MM definitely (and up-front) have an agenda, they do not put out any news content on which they put their own spin. They correct the record, not distort it. It’s a completely legitimate investment for an individual with a political ideology.

  • ottovbvs

    Never give a sucker an even break
    W. C. Fields

  • Deep South Populist

    This thread was on my mind when I watched Hannity! tonight at my parents’ home. I don’t have satellite TV in my house, so it’s not something I usually watch.

    Hannity comes across to me as a joke but no better or no worse than Keith Olbermann or Rachael Maddow.

    As for this:

    “Yet for millions of Americans, conservative talk radio is a news source much more trusted than CBS or the Los Angeles Times or the Financial Times.”

    Give me a break. I trust the National Enquirer, talk radio, Fox, Al Jazeera, RT.com, Pravda, Reuters, the UK Guardian and random bloggers more than CBS, the Los Angeles Times or the rest of the American mainstream media (which is corporate owned, BTW).

    This is what Frum and everyone else who whines about talk radio is really mad about. A lot of people no longer care what the American “mainstream media” has to say about anything.

    • jakester

      So you think FOX or the National Enquirer is not only not mainstream but more credible than mainstream media? Talk about non logic!

      TO NH”Thinker”, so Reagan was writing the Old Testament? Most cons need talk radio because the stupid ugly propaganda & slogans it spews is vital to their group think. The same ones who whine the most about how dumbed down America has gotten are the first to swallow that rubbish on face value. When people who watch FOX & listen to talk radio start whining about media bias & the lamestream media, all I can say is that some people are too slow to understand irony.

      If this revelation that Limbo et al take payments on the back end to incorporate their sponsors’ messages in their spiel doesn’t bother you or your estimation of their quality, then you have no credibility or intellect worth debating with. So every time you whine about the MSM bias, you are just monstrous hypocrites. In other words, you sound like every other barely literate jerk who calls those people to show off their peabrain on national radio.

    • zephae

      “Hannity comes across to me as a joke but no better or no worse than Keith Olbermann or Rachael Maddow. ”

      Admittedly, I don’t watch a whole lot of Maddow, but from what I have seen, she definitely comes off as credible and fair, much more than I can say for most of her conservative counterparts. Not nearly the same thing as Olbermann or Schultz.

    • ottovbvs

      “Give me a break. I trust the National Enquirer, talk radio, Fox, Al Jazeera, RT.com, Pravda, Reuters, the UK Guardian and random bloggers more than CBS, the Los Angeles Times or the rest of the American mainstream media (which is corporate owned, BTW).”

      DSP considers the National Enquirer, talk radio, Pravda and random bloggers a more reliable source of information than CBS or the LA Times. I’ve said before it’s difficult to satirise these fruitcakes because the originals are much funnier than anything that Cleese could produce (which of course is the source of Colbert’s, Stewart’s and Maher’s fortunes).

  • nhthinker

    Remember last year when Frum was complaining that he couldn’t get on a particular conservative web advertising ring.

    And he continues to not understand why they don’t consider him a member of the club when he continues to piss on most conservative media. What a surprise!

    Frum never learned the Reagan 11th Commandment and wonders why he gets treated like a social outcast.

    • valkayec

      Being a “social outcast” to the current hate-filled club raises his standing considerably with moderates and independents and even many of those Democrats you’d like to see destroyed.

      The GOP could use more thinking people like Frum and Huntsman.

      • nwahs

        The left likes Frum because he takes a hint. His criticism of the left is mild and vague. His criticism or the right is personal and vicious. He knows if he were personal and vicious against the left, he would no longer have a job as the left’s go to “conservative.” But aside from that he has vendetta against the right. Since AEI removed him, his articles have shifted from “conservatism that can win” to ripping apart anything that’s American conservatism or traditional. He like a kid bashing up an enemy’s trophy room.

        Google some of Frum’s articles when he was at NRO and compare it to today. He’s unrecognizable.

        Here’s one to get you started. This before he had a grudge.

        http://frum.nationalreview.com/post/?q=Yzc5ZDcwMDcwNDY1NTRjNWFiMjMxOWU2MDQ1ZGQwOTc=

        Now compare this article where he defends Tom Delay with this current Frum blog insinuating Rush’s pay to play is somehow corrupt.

        http://frum.nationalreview.com/post/?q=OWM1MDA1ZTQ3NDg4Y2Y1MGNiMjUxNDVhYzEzN2VmYTM=

        What an amazing transformation.

    • jakester

      Obviously, the most important thing for any con is to repeat the same rubbish as the rest of them, while taking kickbacks on the sly. Then, go bitch about media bias & how you are going to expose it.

  • nhthinker

    Frum is like Alan Colmes… A caricature of the “other” political POV to poorly represent the POV to the advantage of partisan media.

    Huntsman’s John Weaver is seemingly on track to become the mirror image of Dick Morris.

  • ottovbvs

    It is funny, but at the same time endlessly fascinating, how all the usual suspects exhibit the classic self confirming behavior of fanatics.

  • mlindroo

    Chris Balsz wrote:

    What right-wing business interest do you think got to Rush, so that he said Romney should forget the 2012 nomination?

    That’s a good point.

    Of course, the GOP media elite does not always manage to persuade Republican primary voters to do “the right thing.” As I recall, McCain faced relentless hostility from almost everybody. Only Michael Medved was willing to sometimes defend him on the NRO Corner bulletin board, for example. Rush, Levin and Hugh Hewitt were particularly negative. Yet McCain won the primaries in the end.

    MARCU$

  • ottovbvs

    TV pitchman accused of bilking 220,000 out of $52M

  • Nanotek

    “George Soros does fund Media Matters”

    so why aren’t you thanking him? Media Matters quotes media conservatives.

  • LauraNo

    Which think tanks have to spin propaganda and pay media outlets to do it too, in order to tell liberals what to think?

  • lilmanny

    Consumers of “conservative” media view their content as they would ordering a hot dog or a steak – I want it to taste like this and say these great things about what I already believe. Anything outside of that is considered “bias” and “political correctness”. Rush, et al, are simply serving up what the consumers want, ingeniously having framed competitors in the market (actual news) as a leftist plot. Hence these consumers represent an incredible chance for marketers, consumers who accept almost anything the content provider says, regardless of its good or harm to the consumer.
    Gold investments are a perfect example. The gold investments offered on the conservative media sites are not investment in gold as a commodity, that’s not necessarily a bad investment. These gold investments are in collectible coins, subjective in value and highly speculative. Every single person who buys these coins starts off deep in the hole. Essentially Glenn Beck, Rush, etc. are accepting money in return for the right to rip off their listeners and website patrons. That’s right in line with their philosophy and I don’t begrudge them for that, but please don’t try to convince me that Rush respects his listeners. He thinks they’re stupid and he intends to cash in on that, and as Frum’s article shows, he doesn’t need credibility to do so.

  • Chris Balsz

    David Frum links to a transcript of Rush talking about the Heritage Foundation.

    “Here’s just a brief excerpt from a Heritage piece: ‘Yes, in the early 1990s, we, along with other prominent conservative economists, supported the idea of such a mandate. It seemed the only way to solve the ‘free-rider’ problem, in which individuals can, under federal law, walk into any hospital emergency room nationwide and rack up big bills at taxpayer expense. Our research in the ensuing two decades has led us to realize our initial idea was operationally ineffective and legally defective.’ So they abandoned the idea once they saw it implemented, and it’s been implemented in Massachusetts, and we can see that it doesn’t work. Heritage has admitted that it was flawed. That’s from a Washington Post editorial posted back in April of 2010 by Robert Moffit of the Heritage Foundation.”
    http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_051811/content/01125107.guest.html

    That page has a link to the Washington Post editorial that Rush is reading from.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/18/AR2010041802727.html

    Robert Moffitt of Heritage Foundation was certainly on a roll that week, as he also offered an exclusive interview with FrumForum on that subject.
    http://www.frumforum.com/heritage-denies-ties-to-obamacare

    The fact is media doesn’t have to be bought off, to cover what Heritage Foundation is doing (though to read year-old editorials, there’s probably a fee involved.)

  • nwahs

    ““It is funny, but at the same time endlessly fascinating, how all the usual suspects exhibit the classic self confirming behavior of fanatics.”

    Anybody who doesn’t buy your biases is a “fanatic”, devoted to “irrelevancies”. They lack the “credibility” to “debate”.”

    The would be the left’s “Mean Girls” peer pressure.

    • Traveler

      You couldn’t have described yourself any better. “A biased fanatic devoted to irrelevancies with no credibility to debate issues”.

      No peer pressure involved, dude. It just that truth hurts, doesn’t it?

  • Danny_K

    Who funds the think tanks? The Heritage Foundation and AEI don’t support themselves, my understanding is that they’re largely funded by a handful of deep-pocketed donors. So really, it’s just a transmission system:

    Big Donors -> Think Tanks -> Talk Radio to channel conservative outrage in useful and profitable directions. It maintains discipline because people (like Frum and Bruce Bartlett and Will Wilkinson) who go against the party line too often get cut out of the system.

    It’s a very powerful machine that coordinates and executes beautifully, and that’s a strength of conservatism. The weakness is that it’s all top-down and someday the base may get tired of being led around by the nose. They haven’t yet, though… maybe they never will.

  • sdspringy

    Since when is Rush considered conservative media? Influential talk radio maybe but conservative media in the same catagory as CBS that maybe considered a stretch.

    A FoxNews/CBS/CNN comparasion is apples to apples but to throw Rush into that mix would be inappropriate. Rush offers commentary, not news. His commentary is based on resources of his own choosing same as Frum’s.

    Frum isn’t comparing his site to CBS and he may wish someone thought that highly of his opinion that they were willing to sponsor to the tune of millions but he just isn’t that good.

    So its David with the sour grapes, oh by the way didn’t Dave draw a salary for some think tank prior to this recent soapbox sermon.

  • In defense of pay-to-play journalism | The Daily Caller

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