Tough to wake up and read two, count ’em, two puff pieces on Big Media moguls: The New Yorker‘s millimeter-deep piece on News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch, and the Los Angeles Times‘ pale profile of Disney’s Bob Iger. The LAT sucks up even without scoring an Iger interview (though he’s well-known for giving those background briefings to spin the media his way). First, its premise is all wrong: Iger has not been “quietly keeping the spotlight on Disney”: if anything, he’s front and center with every announcement, flashing his pearly whites over and over ad nauseum. But it’s shameful that the paper fails to point out that the turnaround at ABC had nothing to do with Iger but then gives credit to him for it anyway. Not only is it well-documented that Iger hated Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy and Lost — but he fired the team most responsible for his big hits, Susan Lyne and Lloyd Braun. Gosh, get a clue. That said, The New Yorker‘s Murdoch piece (not online yet) is one of those typically cozy journalist-birddogging-jerk mogul pieces: one full paragraph is nonsensically devoted to an elevator ride with Murdoch. The thrust of the article is Murdoch’s behind-the-scenes politicking (“Murdoch’s Game; Will He Move Left in 2008”?). Rarely has a more admiring piece been penned not part of the right-wing echo chamber. But it doesn’t even mention the real reasons why he’s scared of a Democrat insurgency and might be making a marriage of convenience with Hillary: because Congress could upset his winning broadcast strategy. There’s nothing about his spending gazillions lobbying to block 1) TV ratings changes that could shrink its Fox Broadcasting ad revenues and 2) à la carte cable proposals which would body-check Fox sports and hamper the start of the new Fox business news channel. Plus the 10th anniversary of Fox news timing of this “progressive Rupert” profile comes when Murdoch needs all the help he can muster since his carriage deal with Cablevision Systems is expiring; these tough negotiations will influence how bargaining goes with bigger Comcast and Time-Warner cable systems later. Gosh, get a clue.
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