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Don Imus will be simulcasting his radio program from 6-9AM on Fox Business Network starting October 5, the network announced Thursday.
The move had been expected, as reports that Imus was in talks with Fox Business circulated in August, and he left his current TV partner, RFD-TV, last week. The New York Timesspeculated last month that Imus' simulcast could be a turning point for the fledgling network.
"I love FOX," Imus said in the announcement. "Roger Ailes is the preeminent genius of American Broadcasting. Who wouldn't want to do this?"
"We're excited to welcome a renowned broadcaster like Don Imus to the FOX Business team," Executive Vice President Kevin Magee said. "His 40 years of on-air experience combined with his superb interviewing skills and capitalist sensibilities will be a great addition to our lineup."
"Money for Breakfast," which is hosted by Alexis Glick and currently airs from 6-9AM on Fox Business Network, will air its last show on October 2. Glick will remain as the host of "Opening Bell" at 9AM and as Vice President for Business News at the network.
Yesterday, Glenn Beck offered viewers a daffy lecture, no doubt pulled from his forthcoming issue of Oligarchitectural Digest, in which he took a pictorial tour of New York City, pointing out instances of decor that were, in his mind, coded references to crypto-fascist-communism-Obamaism. All of this seemed to be some strange rant against Nelson Rockefeller, but who knows? NBC, New York City, the United Nations, and Communist-themed art in general may have all been targets. It's not really...clear. Our own Nick Graham reported on the segment last night, and you can watch the video, below:
By means of an addendum, I'll tell you that there are a lot of weird ideas going on in the segment. Beck thinks that a bas-relief at Rockefeller Center with fascist imagery was some sort of unique piece of artistic insurgency. In truth, there was nothing unique about it at all. Fascist imagery abounded in America throughout the twentieth century. In fact, the fasces appeared on our own dime until 1945. He also seems to not understand that the concept of "swords-into-ploughshares" did not originate in the Soviet Union, but in the Bible -- Joel 3:10 and Isaiah 2:4.
But the strangest part by far was Beck's discussion of Diego Rivera's mural "Man At The Crossroads," which was originally commissioned to be displayed at the Radio Corporation Arts Building at Rockefeller Center. It's not something that you can drop by and look at, however, because the mural did not last very long at RCA. Beck tells his viewers that "they actually broke it because it became too controversial."
What Beck elides over is that it was Nelson Rockefeller -- the target of his criticism -- who made a stink about it, and the piece was destroyed in a unilateral decision made by Rockefeller Center's own management team. This sort of debunks the whole premise that Rockefeller and the people who ran the Rockefeller Center were stealth Communists, bent on subtly undermining America.
PBS' "American Experience" has an excellent recounting of the Rivera controversy online. As you can read for yourself, Rockefeller commissioned the Rivera piece for the plaza entrance at the RCA building after Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse had turned down the patronage. Rockefeller had some misgivings about Rivera's outspoken Communist beliefs, but rationalized the choice on the grounds that it would be good for business, remarking: "As for Rivera, although I do not personally care for much of his work, he seems to have become very popular just now and will probably be a good drawing card." Rivera offered sketches of the project, won approval, and set about working. Nelson Rockefeller would make "frequent visits" to assay Rivera's progress. Soon enough, Rivera and Rockefeller found themselves in conflict.
On one of those visits, in May of 1933, Nelson was taken aback by an unexpected addition: "While I was in No. 1 building at Rockefeller Center yesterday viewing the progress of your thrilling mural I noticed that in the most recent portion of the painting you had included a portrait of Lenin," he wrote to Rivera. "The piece is beautifully painted but it seems to me that his portrait appearing in this mural might very seriously offend a great many people. If it were in a private house it would be one thing, but this mural is in a public building and the situation is therefore quite different. As much as I dislike to do so, I am afraid we must ask you to substitute the face of some unknown man where Lenin's face now appears."
Rivera refused to do so, and raised the stakes in a letter to Rockefeller, in which he wrote that "rather than mutilate the conception, I should prefer the physical destruction of the conception in its entirety, but preserving, at least, its integrity.'" Rivera thought Rockefeller would not go so far as to destroy the mural entirely. But the management team at Rockefeller Center, which "had never felt comfortable about Rivera's involvement," called that bluff by ordering Rivera to cease his painting, paying him the money he was owed, and sending him packing. Later, that same management team would order the murals destruction:
As they strolled around midtown Manhattan one night in February of 1934, two of Rivera's assistants noticed a dozen fifty-gallon oil drums near the entrance to the RCA building. When they looked inside, they recognized the smashed-up shards of Rivera's mural. The piece had been hammered off the walls, following orders from the center's management team.
So, no one involved in this sage, save Rivera himself of course, turns out to have been a particular fan of Communist art. Rockefeller put his politics aside in hiring Rivera because he thought a Rivera mural would be a "good drawing card," and because he was trying to ingratiate himself with arty high-society types. These are the pure impulses of capitalist fat-cattery. And if the the people who ran Rockefeller Center had some grand design where they would subtly influence American politics by festooning their building with a few items of Leninist kitsch, they sure went about executing this plan in a weird way, smashing Rivera's mural to bits at the first whiff of controversy.
A final note. Watching Beck's segment, I have to wonder if he only recently became aware of the existence of Rockefeller Center. He seems to think that it's best known as the venue where NBC stages outdoor concerts. Actually, it's best known for hosting a Christmas tree. A rather lovely one at that. Tourists flock from all over to take pictures, and retailers in the area do brisk trade.
For fun, here are the opening credits to NBC's 30 Rock, where Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin clearly foment a proletariat rebellion through the subliminal inclusion of shots of the Rockefeller Center's architectural details.
Remember when an anchor stepping down was a huge deal? Tom Brokaw. Dan Rather. Peter Jennings. These names were huge pillars of the news ecosystem, and their departures were big stories — as well as the fraught issue of who had the gravitas, the experience, the journalistic, anchor-ly heft to step into their enormous shoes.
The last transition was just a few years ago, but oh how things have changed. The news that Charlie Gibsonis leaving ABC's World News after only a few years in the top spot is definitely news, but is shaking no foundations. It's also not at all surprising who is replacing him: Diane Sawyer.
And why should it? Sawyer's got a track record a mile long. She's an accomplished journalist, well-known to ABC viewers over the years, a longtime partner of Gibson and equal to him in stature at the network, as well as in the upper echelons of that news ecosystem.
This is interesting: MediaPost referred to a report in the Digits Blog of the Wall Street Journal yesterday that says of 53,000 qualified respondents who said they contribute to Wikipedia only 6,814 of them - 13% - were women.
A commenter to the blog, Drew, made this observation:
"This is significant because Wikipedia is in the top 10 most visited sites on the Internet, meaning that lots of people are going there to get their information. The beauty of Wikipedia is that it's neutrality on subjects is ideally balanced by an editing population that reflects the actual population of the Earth. With such a gender imbalance, the perspective of a significant part of the world's population is being marginalized."
I have a feeling that the perspective of the world has been at risk of imbalance throughout history. It is unlikely that the digital world has done anything to change the ratio of men vs. women chronicling all our endeavours and discoveries.
The explanation is easy: women are too busy. Plus, they're not quite as caught-up in themselves. They don't derive the satisfaction that men do from sitting around in their shorts, swilling swill and swapping war stories. Another commenter alluded to their practical side:
"If Wikipedia would allow payment for the type of skills it requires to actually get through the complicated procedure of publishing accurate articles on their site, maybe they could utilize the amazing workforce of women out there who are struggling to compensate their husband's dwindling incomes and 401k's by working from home."
This is precisely the sort of clear-thinking that has pushed the world to its great endeavours and accomplishments. The men then cozy-up to the fire and write about it. The women continue on by making 80% of the world's purchase decisions.
Such are the important and unimportant imbalances that ultimately matter to the real world.
Rumors that incumbent Democratic Senator Michael Bennet may face a primary challenge from former Speaker of the Colorado House Andrew Romanoff are now arousing commentary on a national level. Referencing yesterday's David Sirota blog on the Huffington Post, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow framed the potential primary as part of a larger trend in which the liberal wing of the Democratic Party is no longer being "used as a doormat." Echoing Sirota's argument, Maddow claimed that Romanoff's threats to primary Bennet have forced Bennet to come out in stronger support of the Public Option
Dana quotes a source close to Gibson and supports the claim with the evidence that Gibson neither mentioned Sawyer in his statement nor referenced his retirement — and her succession — on his broadcast Wednesday night:
Although they worked closely for more than a decade, Gibson makes no direct reference to Sawyer in the statement, and a source close to the departing anchor described him as "livid" that she's succeeding him. An ABC executive called this "nonsense," and Westin said he told Gibson from their earliest conversations about his retirement that Sawyer would be his replacement.
Both Brian Williams on NBC and Maggie Rodriguez (filling in for Katie Couric) on CBS reported the ABC anchor shift. Williams took a personal tone, calling both Gibson and Sawyer "friends" of his and joking, "As a service to our viewers, we will let you know how their transition goes just to save you from the effort of having to watch yourself. My very best to both Charlie and Diane." Rodriguez simply added, "Congratulations to them both" (watch below).
Several reports indicate that Gibson told ABC News President David Westin of his intention to retire (not for the first time) last week, and that Westin immediately knew he would tap Sawyer to replace him. He reportedly considered no other candidates, asked Sawyer to replace Gibson last Thursday, and she agreed Tuesday night.
Sawyer, for her part, was reportedly (again) concerned first about Gibson before she would accept the job. The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz reports that Sawyer's first question when Westin offered her the job was, "Can't we talk Charlie into staying?"
Sawyer had expressed interest in the anchor job when it became available in 2006, but did not want to pursue it if it meant taking it away from Gibson.
Kurtz adds that when Gibson first approached Westin to discuss retirement earlier this summer, he told him Sawyer would likely be his replacement.
"I certainly expressed to him my view it was quite likely that Diane would be the successor," Westin told Kurtz.