Your Moment Of Glenn: Van Jones Resignation Is Not A Victory

Picture 9If you were expecting Glenn Beck to gloat over Van Jones‘ weekend resignation you may be waiting for a while: “I am not the one to congratulate,” says Beck. So who is? You, the viewer, that’s who! And, if you were waiting to see who his next target is, the answer (for the time being, anyway) is…Van Jones! Who now may be more dangerous outside the White House than in, according to Beck. Also, the mainstream media who didn’t begin covering the story until this weekend (he does sort of have a point, there). On the whole, Beck’s response is strikingly subdued — Beck is nothing if not an excellent entertainer and he is a genius at knowing how to keep his audience coming back for more.



New Fox Host Don Imus Calls Pres. Obama A “Hypocrite” And “Phony”

imus_9-8Radio star Don Imus begins his broadcasts on Fox Business Network next month, but he was on Fox News last night talking about Pres. Barack Obama.

It was a previously unaired portion of an interview Sean Hannity conducted with Imus and his wife Deirdre last month. And Imus still seems a bit bitter about something that happened more than two years ago.

In April 2007, after Imus’ “nappy-headed hos” comment, then Senator Barack Obama was the first presidential contender to call for Imus’ firing. “I would also say that there’s nobody on my staff who would still be working for me if they made a comment like that about anybody of any ethnic group,” said Obama at the time.

It appears Imus still has hard feelings over those comments. “My own personal experience with him, and I thought he was a hypocrite and a phony,” he said in the FNC interview that aired last night.

But he had some harsher words for “Plugs” – or VP Joe Biden. “He’s a moron,” said Imus. “Joe Biden has said a lot worse things.”

Still Imus had mixed feelings about the Obama presidency so far. “It’s refreshing to have somebody who can go around the world and people aren’t throwing shoes at him like they were your guy,” he said, referring to Hannity’s guy former Pres. George W. Bush. But also: “I think it’s business as usual. He’s appointed too many questionable people.”

He also objected to some of Obama’s decisions from the left, including sending more troops to Afghanistan.

Although he will be on the business network, Imus’ radio show often drifts into political territory. It will be interesting to see how his mixed feelings for the President become part of his daily program. And whether his audience agrees with his blunt statements.

Here’s part of the interview:

Why Losing The Press Is A Win For Obama

tumblr_kp7iqyifao1qz7908o1_500Andrew Sullivan writes that President Obama has gone from ‘The One’ to “The Doomed.” Politico says Obama appears to be “surrendering” to the right-wing lunatic fringe (also, Fox). And yesterday New York Times columnist David Carr noted that Obama, “the silkiest executive communicator to come along since Ronald Reagan,” is no longer the master of his own message.

Sounds dire doesn’t it. Especially considering this is a key week for Obama: he’s made the unusual move of calling a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, in order to talk one final time about the health care bill (keeping in mind the Van Jones debacle perhaps he should reconsider using a chalkboard). Then again, it also sounds like perfect timing.

More than one person who watched President Obama’s Labor Day speech in Ohio noted that the President sounded like he was back on the campaign trail. Fired up! Ready to Go! And what is the first rule of good campaigning? Lowered expectations. It’s a trick most of the candidates employed before big debates last year (or in the case of Sarah Palin, before most appearances). Make the public believe you are down and out, show up in a blaze of glory (or at least coherent) and voila! The storyline is all about your triumphant return.

The cable and blogosphere meme between now and tomorrow night will be that Obama has lost the message, has lost support, has lost his ability to own his own coverage. Between the Town Halls, Van Jones, and boycotting school children, the seven and a half month old presidency has not had a lot going for it these past two months, which basically means that the stage (and the news cycle) is perfectly set for Obama’s triumphant return from the summer of his discontent. The summer is over, people have less time on their hands, Glenn Beck has just succeeded in ousting a White House official. News cycles don’t like it when there’s one winner for too long. Obama has had his knocking down, get ready for the Obama Returns! Impresses! Surprises! headlines.

Glenn Beck, The New Edward R. Murrow Of Fox News: Who’s The Next Target?

Picture 1A little over six weeks after Glenn Beck introduced the world to Van Jones (tell the truth, how many of you knew who he was prior to this August?), Jones has resigned. Time’s Joe Klein says good riddance: “The work of this presidency is too important to be side-tracked by a too-angry blowhard spouting foolish radicalism. ” But really, if Beck hadn’t relentlessly pounded Jones for the past two weeks especially, would the “work of this presidency” have been side-tracked enough to lead to Jones’ resignation? Doubtful. Beck is officially playing in the big leagues now.

Up until Jones’ resignation Glenn Beck has been an incredibly popular and successful cable news version of the snake oil salesman — in the hands of anyone else Jones might have merely remained a blip on the talking points radar, in the mesmerizing, entertaining hands of Beck he has become a national villain, and now Obama’s Achilles heel. Whether or not Jones should have been hired by the administration in the first place pales in comparison to the fact that Glenn Beck (Glenn Beck), the most extreme anchor on cable today (frequently to the point of ridiculousness, though not so funny now!) is mostly responsible for bringing him down. It’s like some bizarro world version of Edward R. Murrow and Senator McCarthy.

Jones’ resignation has arguably just elevated Fox to the role of serious political power player (maybe the town hall meme that took hold in August should have been an early warning sign), and furthermore does not bode well for the White House, who now runs the risk of appearing to kowtow to Fox. Will the big media guns take this lying down?

Fox is a great punching bag, but no one wants to admit its anchors have the power to bring down a White House official. Keith Olbermann has issued a “Fox Twa” requesting viewers and Daily Kos readers alike dig up whatever dirt they can on Beck. No doubt there will be some dug up. Will it matter? Advertisers and ratings matter on TV, not “dirt.” The genius of Beck in choosing Van Jones to focus on — as opposed to, say, President Obama directly — is that Jones didn’t have a national reputation Beck had to contend with, he was a relative unknown, which allowed Beck to define him nationally, and destructively, almost from scratch. Beck already has a well-established national identity, it’s going to be hard for someone like Olbermann, who has made himself ridiculous crying wolf at Fox characters for the last two years, to do any real damage to it (being the ‘Worst Person in the World’ is now considered a badge of honor by many). Perhaps Olbermann should consider focusing on the lesser-known message makers whose ideology Beck picks up on if he wants to make a real difference. Perhaps, this is a good time for cooler heads (calling Rachel Maddow!) to step in and calmly fact-check Becks future storylines.

Also, perhaps everyone upset about the outcome should take a page from Beck’s notebook (chalkboard?) and understand all of this is very much the result of sustained attention to one subject. Not a bad media philosophy in the larger scheme of things, ahem. Something else to consider: Beck now has in hand his first “scalp.” Who’s next? The money seems to be on Cass Sunstein, Obama’s Regulatory “Czar” (also, recently married to media favorite Samantha Powers). More importantly, once the Beck spotlight finds him, or them, will they too run scared?

Glenn Beck Stays “Entertaining” While Seeing Real Results

beck_8-18Van Jones‘ resignation yesterday can be easily traced to the exposure of key information by Fox News anchor Glenn Beck and a couple others.

It is the latest way Beck is “winning” recently – in the ratings and in the media conversation. Beck weighed in with reaction to Jones’ decision.

From his statement on GlennBeck.com:

The American people stood up and demanded answers. Instead of providing them, the Administration had Jones resign under cover of darkness. I continue to be amazed by the power of everyday Americans to initiate change in our government through honest questioning, and judging by the other radicals in the administration, I expect that questioning to continue for the foreseeable future.

While Beck continues, he’s attracting attention from all corners. And as David Zurawik of The Baltimore Sun writes, one place may be 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.:

I think those of us who write about media should ask some hard questions about how much the White House knew about the boycott activities of the group founded by Jones — and whether there are other such organizing efforts targeting other media outlets that are critical of the president.

The link between Jones and ColorOfChange, currently leading an advertiser boycott of Beck, may be just a coincidence. But it shows the immense power the FNC host has gathered in less than a year at the network that people are now wondering if the White House may be retaliating for critical coverage.

Beck’s newest “special” airs Saturday from 1-3pmET, where he will lead a rally in Washington, D.C. as a continuation of his “9/12 Project.” It will likely elevate Beck to a new level, as he connects with those who watch religiously ever day. (Mediaite will be there to cover the event.)

We brought up Beck with MSNBC’s Willie Geist last week during our “Office Hours” Web show, after Glynnis described the FNC host as “mesmerizing.”

“You have to give him that he’s entertaining. He might be totally nuts, he might be totally wrong about everything, and everything he says might be bad, but he is entertaining,” said Geist. “He knows how to put on a show, you’ve got to hand it to him.”

Here’s Geist’s appearance on Office Hours (the Beck discussion begins at 30:00):

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The rise of conservative blogs during the Obama era

Many mainstream news outlets are beginning to pick up on a trend I’ve been noting here for months — that the Obama administration seems to be fueling an upswing in conservative blog traffic, mostly due to their blogs transitioning to the opposition. My research is referenced in this Fox News article on the subject:

Social media consultant Simon Owens said he found that conservative blogs had lost fewer readers since November. While the conservative blogs are now getting 37 percent fewer page views than during the election season, the liberal blogs have lost almost twice as many: 64 percent of their Web site hits.

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