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EIB WEB PAGE DISGRONIFIER

How TV and Print Journalists Ended Their Feud

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: You know, as strange as it sounds, I've known people who went to journalism school.  I have known people that graduated from journalism school.  I've known some people that graduated from the University of Missouri Journalism School.  Do you know what? Back in the day... I'm going back decades now. Do you know that graduating journalism students had to take a course in advertising sales, and do you know why?  It's so that they would know what it was that enabled a free press.

It was so that they would have an understanding that it was taking place in a free market.  Now, what happens if all of a sudden that type of instruction is removed from the curriculum, and journalism begins to be taught as something that is a nonprofit or should be a nonprofit, that there ought not be any profit in it at all?  That it is so important and it is so crucial, "Why, look, they gave us our own clause in the First Amendment!"  It's so crucial that we shouldn't even have bottom-line pressures. 

If young skulls full of mush at journalism school are not taught about the role of economics and the free market in sustaining and making a free press possible, what do you think the odds are that they'll be much more accepting of a government monitor, or of the government enabling them to do what they do rather than the market enabling it -- and especially when the journalism professor can point to the First Amendment and say, "Look we've got our own clause in the First Amendment there. 

"So we're entitled to do what we're doing, and we shouldn't have to make a profit," and let me jump forward to when Laurence Tisch of the world famous Tisch family. (interruption) The Paley family owns it still.  That was William Paley, whose wife "Babe" was a brilliant shopper and great socialite.  When William Paley... Well, that's what she's known for. I'm sorry, it takes talent.  We should not diminish it. 

When Paley sold it to Laurence Tisch, the first thing Tisch did -- what anybody would do -- was look at the bottom line.  "Where's this thing bleeding money? Where do I get a handle on outgo?" He saw that the CBS News Division was bleeding money.  So, he's a businessman.  The first thing he did was he announce they were going to lay off 250 people from the news division, and Dan Rather had a cow.  Dan Rather and Charles Kuralt, and that whole crowd, they just went bonkers. 

They went bananas. (interruption) What Black Rock?  (interruption) It was a revolt, even though the broadcast center is not at Black Rock.  The broadcast center is right across the stage from where we did our show.  But at Black Rock on 6th Avenue, there was a revolt in there.  It was led by Dan Rather.  Dan Rather was running around saying (summary), "We ought not have these bottom-line pressures! What we're doing here is too important. 

"Why, we ought to be immune from any bottom-line concerns.  We oughta make what we make and there ought not be any concern at all what it costs," and there was always, back in those days, there was a friction, folks.  Some of you, I'm sure, there remember this.  There was a friction in those days between journalists in print and journalists on TV, and the journalists in print looked down on the TV people.  They didn't think they were journalists.  They thought they were actors reading a script on a teleprompter. 

They didn't think they were anything other than pretty boys.  The problem was, the TV guys were making 25 times what the print guys were.  The print guys are all at Langans drinking straight, no-high-brand scotch or bourbon while smoking cigarettes at the bar and the broadcast guys are at 21 arriving in limousines.  The print guys were just livid, just absolutely livid at all the money that the TV guys were making -- and remember, they were nothing but pretty boys. 

They weren't journalists, they weren't reporters, they didn't pound pavement.  They had producers that did all that.  They had producers and editors and cameramen.  They went out and gathered the news, and the reporters were given a script, it was put on a prompter, and they read it and they got paid a lot of money.  So there was a lot of friction.  Then Dan Rather blew up at the bottom-line concerns -- and the print guys all of a sudden said, "You know what? We better be in solidarity with them or the same thing could happen to us." 

So the print guys, the New York Times print journalists, sided with Dan Rather and the CBS guys who were bellyaching. Even Tom Brokaw.  I was in Sacramento.  This was in 1985 when this happened.  I was in Sacramento.  Tom Brokaw was in town to do a speech to some local group, and I had a chance to interview him.  I asked him about this.  I said, "I don't understand how in the world Dan Rather thinks that news division is supposed to operate in the red all the time. 

"The people that own that cannot sustain that," and he said, "Make the money in some other division.  Make the money in prime time. Make the money somewhere else."  He said, "Yeah, we need to have bottom line concerns because we don't have a blank check.  But what we think is that these networks have plenty of other places they can make the money for us to operate."  Now, this... (interruption) Oh, they hated Tisch! They despised Tisch!  He didn't hang around long. 

It wasn't any fun.  This guy was hated almost as much as I am, just to give you an idea.  Now, this enmity that existed between the print guys and the TV guys, you'll note that has gone away.  Do you know how they made that go away?  You probably would not have this register, but to give you an illustration of how this went away, I'll give you two examples.  There was a program called the McLaughlin Group. 

It started out at about this time.  It started up in the '80s, and the McLaughlin Group brought in print people, put them on TV, got them into the opinion journalism business, and they started making a lot of money.  They became stars, and then they sided with the TV guys, because they became them.  And then PBS did their version of the McLaughlin group, locally in Washington.  It's still on. Gordon Elliott was the host.  Dr. Krauthammer is still on that show.

Robert Novak did his version of it on CNN, and they brought in print people. ESPN has done this. How many have watched on ESPN a feature a thirty-minute documentary on, say, Joe Montana? Look at who the guests are. Look at who the experts that they bring in to add a little commentary here on how great Montana or whoever is. It's always the print reporters from the papers that covered in this case the Fort'iners.

Sometimes ESPN will put on reporters from the Newark Star-Ledger sports page that happened to cover the 49ers when they played the Giants.  Now, the reason this was done was to rid this jealously that the print people had for the TV people. So they brought the print people over, the McLaughlin Group and other such shows, and the print people on TV started exploding in opinion guest slots.  They were paid television money. 

They became stars, where they were no-face by lines at the newspapers.  So it was important in order to keep the unity between all branches of journalism -- and now, if you're in print, it doesn't matter.  You'll end up on the Fox 6:00 show with Bret Baier offering your opinion on something.  If you work at the New York Times, you could be hired at Fox. You might be at the roundtable on Fox on Sunday or roundtable on Meet the Depressed on Sunday. 

But they bring the print people in so as to maintain journalism unity and give the print guys some money, 'cause the TV money has been much bigger than what  print people made. I mean, you've heard of the ink-stained wretch. The print people, before TV, didn't make anything.  Some of the columnists... They're always exceptions.  Some of the columnists did okay.  But now there is an almost... Look at CNN! 

CNN wouldn't know a profit if it came and knocked on the newsroom and door stripped naked. They wouldn't see it.  MSNBC would not know a profit.  They are losing money left and right.  However, CNN is owned by Time Warner, and the money to operate CNN is made in other divisions.  Further able to paper it over.  It's the same thing with MSNBC.  NBC is making money somewhere else that covers the costs of MSNBC.

So whoever buys them (in this case, Comcast) will look at the bottom line and does not do what Larry Tisch did.  Does not say, "We're going to cut the news division.  We've got to get rid of some of these expenses MSNBC. Nobody's watching!" Nope. They'll cover it somewhere else -- or even if they can't cover it financially, they'll absorb the loss and get kudos from everybody else in the liberal community for keeping hope alive, for keeping the cause alive. 

So it was a fascinating thing to watch, and now journalism schools don't teach ad sales.  They don't teach anything about how the free market keeps the news business solvent.  What's taught is that it shouldn't have to be, that the news is as important as any branch of government because it has its own amendment there, its own clause in the First Amendment.  So profit and silly concerns like that can't be responsible for the news not taking place.

When that happened, when the melding of the print and the TV guys took place, a giant unity took place and that was the beginning of, "We don't have to make a profit! We don’t have to be concerned about advertising sales.  We don't want to know about it. We don't want to get anywhere near it.  Eww! Yuck.  All that does is get in the way of our objectivity.  We don't even want to know about it. We don't want to go to client meetings or entertain advertisers. We don't want any part of it," and they're not. 

Therefore the bottom line with all this when a couple of j-schools say, "You know what? We think the government ought to put monitors in the newsrooms to make sure you're doing it right," it's applauded (clapping), because these guys in news already think they're in government, folks.  They have their own clause in government.  They already think they are.  They don't think they're journalists. They think they're part of the government.  They think they're part of moving the agenda, the Democrat Party forward. 

It isn't news anymore. 

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  Something else you may not know, folks, because it's not a big deal.  It's inside baseball stuff.  But in the early days of the news divisions, the soap operas were actually where the money came from.  The profits from daytime soap operas were so astronomical that the news divisions were paid for, were fed (in part) by soap opera profits, and it's one of the reasons why you might see the same group of sponsors on As the World Turns and CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite and Eric Sevareid. 

I don't know. I just love this inside baseball stuff.  But I'll tell you, the story of the unity of the TV journalists when that all got going and the print people? That was crucial to creating a unified journalist (so-called journalist) community of today.  It all involved finding ways to get the print people on TV and getting them paid, and even after that happened, the print people still thought they were real reporters and TV guys were just actors. 

To a certain extent, that's still true today. 

I do have to laugh when they promote whoever it is as the next anchor of the 6:30 evening news and they say, "Yeah, 20 years reporting from Angola, 15 years reporting from Budapest, three years in Gaza and so forth." It's all just a crock.  They're actors!  You've got to have a 14-inch part in your hair.  You have to look good in a trench coat.  It's a business. That's one of the requirements.  Try being the best reporter in the world and looking average, and you'll never be seen. Even today with all the spots on cable TV. Piers Morgan?

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