Friday, March 27, 2009

Hubris and Masters of the Universe: Right Wing Radio Edition

Rolling Stones has a great article about the financial crisis that several people have recommended that I'll check out. But since I follow the media and especially talk radio I'm going to do a little comparing and contrasting.

Regular people understand a lot more about how this game works than the elites want to give them credit for. Scrape away the complex "financial products" talk and you can see right through to the greed, the love of money above all things.

When the system started falling apart there were a couple of ways to handle this. Some of them choose the Republican, right-wing crisis mode (which actually works to some degree at first--the eventually it fails catastrophically).

It is a mode that appeals to powerful Conservative men because it doesn't involve admitting guilt and mistakes. I've seen powerful men reject any mode but this one, because they figure, "My way of thinking got me this far, I'm riding this out MY way, to heck with the consequences! Screw those lawyers, operations people, PR people and crisis experts who tell me otherwise!"

What are they really saying? "I've got the biggest phallus in the room! Screw all of you!"

I'll let you in on a secret that they won't admit to themselves. They would really rather be taken all the way down than admit a mistake or take advice from someone else. That is the ONLY way that they can save face. It seems strange, but like a man who can't admit that he is lost and ask directions, they will not listen to advice on how to handle getting busted. Especially if they see this advice coming from people they don't respect, and that is pretty much everyone. Some times if there is a boss or outside board director that they respect they might listen. A few have the insight to see that when their actions are hurting others, but many don't. Their attitude?
"Hey, I did it my way. Sure I lost millions, people were fired but that's not MY fault! The important thing is that I never compromised my 'values'."
Therefore we are doing them a FAVOR when we bring them all the way down with criminal charges and clawback their ill-gotten gains. I'm going to remember that if I get any calls from "the little people" who lost their jobs. "Hey, they WANTED this to happen, your bosses boss had plenty of chances to stop this."

One thing that some of these people don't get is that the, "I don't apologize to anyone!" game only works for a few people. Those people need to be the absolute top and those people don't care about anyone except themselves. So you can see how some men would LOVE this strategy. The can pretend they are the top dog (even when they are not) and they can ignore the impact that their attitude can have on others.

Look at how the people in the financial industry dealt with the problem:
  • Deny the Problem, "It's just a liquidity problem."
  • Attack others who were a small part of the problem to deflect blame to a pre-hated group, "It's those loans to poor people who didn't pay it back!"
  • Hire lawyers for the legal argument, "They can't take the money way, they have a sacred contract!"
  • Hire PR people for the sympathy vote, "The janitors at AIG are going to lose their bonuses too!"
  • Buy influence with political people
  • Threaten critics
  • Attack people on their side who "don't get it" especially if they act "weak", "They are apologizing like big babies!"
  • Claim victim status
I've seen these types of attitudes from the right-wing hosts at KSFO. Now that they are two years away from the financial hit that was dealt them by us low status bloggers, "Crackpots with keyboards I believe was what they called us" they seem to think that how they handled their crisis was the right way to handle it.

I guess because they didn't lose ALL their advertisers (just 27) and they didn't lose their license or get fined (because we didn't go the FCC route) they think their response was the right one.

I suppose that getting rid of Melanie Morgan was the smartest choice since her work had the greatest potential for costing the station it's FCC license or lead to a serious lawsuit. One of her "counter protests" was going to get someone killed and then ABC/Citadel would be stuck holding the bag.

Morgan also had the highest TV profile at the national level so she was the most noticed by "The Powers that Be." ( Chris Matthews would never have Rodgers on his TV show because he isn't a blond woman. His angry white man shitck would just embarrass the station.)

Lee Rodgers' Dreams
Lee Rodgers had a dream of being broadsided by a semi-trailer truck during his vacation in 2007. He said that the truck was coming from the left. He ignored the dream.

He didn't see all the ways that he was propped up by Disney and the media that he hates so much. He ignored the Disney lawyer's advice. He was backed by management because they want to keep the angry conservative white man audience in the KGO/KSFO family. KGO can subsidize a money losing station for a long time with the justification that they don't have to give up the angry right-wing audience. [UPDATE] Massive media companies can arrange the financial data so that nobody outside the organization EVEN STOCKHOLDERS can see how a money losing group is being subsidized because the corp owners like its ideology. Conseratives love to talk about the bottom line and the free market, but they are willing to lose millions to push an agenda that they feel benefits the organization in the long run. [close Update].

Eventually someone had to pay the price for losing money, but it wasn't him, it was Melanie Morgan. That's fine with Rodgers, he pretty much looks out for number one. You would think that after he "coded" on the table four times recently he might have decided to mellow out. Nah. He wants to rumble! Like a boxer with one too many blows to the head he stands screaming in the ring, "Come on! You want a piece of me! I could whip you all!"

And the management is going to let him. Because it's entertaining to some people. He's not really a noble figure like Howard Beale, he's a weak sad man at the end of his life still spoiling for a fight.
I expect him to get more and more outrageous in the coming weeks. He's got nothing to lose. He thinks all publicity is good publicity. The shouting, anger and hate will probably lead to a relapse. Then we will get more Brian Sussman in the morning [shutter].

And then the long time radio people will have to say what a "principled conservative man he was" because they can't say that he was an angry SOB who pretty much hated everyone and every thing except a few Japanese, his current wife and his dog.

Rodgers wants to go out swinging. Lessons were not learned. That is not surprising, the right wing is all about repetition and doing the same thing over and over. Which reminds me of a joke:

Man walks into a doctor with a frog on his head. The doctor says, "What seems to be the problem?"

The frog says, "I don't know Doc, but I need a tax cut."

Back in 2005-2006 I kept telling the management at ABC Radio and Disney what was happening at KSFO and what was going to happen. Just like for years people were telling the world what was happening and what was going to happen with this CDS financial bubble. No one listened until the crash.

Anyone who could talk to Rodgers to tell him to tone down his violent rhetoric and racial epithets in violation of company policy is too busy with other things or has no respect in Rodger's eyes. He already said what he thinks of corporate PR people, "Well corporate PR people in general are a bunch of ass kissers." Remember what he said about the management of another ABC Radio station that made a host apologize?

Listen to what Rogers thought of the response of Chris Berry, president and general manager of WMAL, to Michael Graham's anti-Muslim statements at WMAL-AM in Washington. (Graham was asked to apologize and when he didn't he was fired.).
"Yeah, because that station in Washington DC was run by a gutless nothing." (link. 3o seconds)
--Lee Rodgers on WMAL station manager Chris Berry
I think that more people need to hear what Rodgers really stands for and says. The things that he never apologized for, the things that he seriously believes and the things he sickly jokes about. I'm really not a "I told you so" kind of guy, but I've been telling management what is going on for a while, I keep hoping that someone would tell him to knock it off, but that's not going to happen. It's sad really, he has told the world what he is going to say and do and they are going to watch him do it, even if it costs them more money and advertisers.

I suppose he'll get some sort of broadcaster's award if he has an attack on the air and collapses in mid name calling rant. I'm sure Ben Fong Torres will do a nice piece on him in Radio Waves based on his "body of work" and the ratings.

You see ratings for some of these radio guys is the same as money for the Wall Street MOtUs. They don't care how they get them, they just want them. If they think they have to call for the deaths of a few thousand Muslims or the torture of a few common criminals with electrodes attached to their testicles so be it, if they have to violate corporate HR guidelines on racial epithets or sexual harrassment, too bad. HR rules are for "the little people" not for the "talent".

As for me? I'm just a brain in a box that likes to help people's dreams come true.

Labels: , ,


Blogger Rich said...

There's also a great article on usury in Harper's: "Infinite Debt."

It's available on Scribd and excerpted here:

Please do read the Taibbi article in RS -- I'm still not sure why I compare badly to many executives, except I can't lie so well.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

Here's a fuller but only immediate resource list:

No Banker Left Behind

11:59 AM  
Blogger Rich said...

I'm interested in your theories and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

But really, do you have more on the list of typical industry reactions? You know, Deny the Problem, Attack others, etc.

It seems like there might be a checklist of things to look for when most issues become public.

7:20 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home