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Smerconish Blames “Pro-Wrestling” Approach to News for D.C Divisions

Smerconish said the rise of hosts like Rush Limbaugh and others of his same ilk changed the business model, shifting focus away from local hosts to nationally syndicated ones.

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Photo by IVN News CC BY 2.0

Media personality Michael Smerconish took to Twitter early Wednesday morning to share his thoughts about what and who was driving the deep partisanship in Washington D.C.:  The professional wrestling approach to news, fathered by Rush Limbaugh and followed by many others.

Smerconish teased his revelation on Twitter with a link to his website that contained an extended nine minute clip from Smerconish’s recent documentary, The Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Talking. In a post to his website, which has since been deleted, Smerconish urges readers to purchase the entire full length documentary, but “this nine minute clip is the most important to show how the media is driving the partisanship in Washington”. The clip can still be found on Facebook.

“When I first started out in radio 30 years ago, (hosts’) personality mattered, not ideology,” Smerconish said in the clip. “They weren’t on air because of a political perspective but because they could tell stories.”

Smerconish said the rise of hosts like Limbaugh and others of his same ilk changed the business model, shifting focus away from local hosts to nationally syndicated ones.

“When I was getting started, AM radio was in trouble, FM was taking over,” Smerconish said. “AM radio needed a savior and they found it in Rush Limbaugh… Conservatives rightfully felt shutout of the mainstream media and he is a gifted showman who filled that void and created this clubhouse for conservatives.”

While Smerconish believes that Limbaugh provided a needed voice for conservatives, he and similar radio and TV hosts that followed changed the political climate in Washington.

“When Fox News came along in 1996 and later MSNBC, they took a page from that playbook,” he said. “Now the business model was toned down to entertainment masked as news. It’s like professional wrestling, good for ratings, good for revenue bad for the country. You have good guy vs bad guys, constant conflict and a predetermined outcome.”

Smerconish concludes that the pro wrestling approach to news is the major driving force between the political divisions within the United States.

“The media has moved to extremes,” he said. “The rise of polarization in Washington directly correlates with the changes in broadcasting I am describing. Pre-Limbaugh, 60 percent of the House and Senate were comprised of moderates. By 2010, every Senate Republican was more conservative than every Senate Democrat and every Senate Democrat was more liberal than every Senate Republican. In the 1970’s, members of Congress would vote with his or her party about 60 percent of the time. Now the typical member of Congress votes with their party more than 90 percent of the time.”

The clip ends with Smerconish claiming that while there were many factors that caused this change, media was the driving force behind it.

“Look, I’m not trying to blame this all on the media,” he said. “Social media is an issue. The beer muscles that come from anonymity online has fueled incivility and polarization, but mostly this is what happens when Washington takes its ques from those with microphones and not the vast majority of the people. When politicians follow the modern era pro-wrestling approach to news, the nation suffers. For that to change, people need to change the channel.”

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Kara Swisher: Elon Musk “Has to Be” Rethinking Buying Twitter at $54 a Share

Swisher does believe a deal will occur with Twitter seeing Musk as its new owner despite these claims. However, she thinks the entrepreneur might have another idea: reprice the bid.

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Elon Musk made headlines a couple of weeks ago with his decision to purchase Twitter for $44-billion; however, New York Times reporter Kara Swisher stated on the latest episode of The Interview that the Tesla CEO is having second thoughts. 

“He has to be. This price is too high,” Swisher said. “[Twitter] is not worth $54 a share. It’s crazy. It’s like throwing money down a hole.”

Swisher does believe a deal will occur with Twitter seeing Musk as its new owner despite these claims. However, she thinks the entrepreneur might have another idea: reprice the bid.

“He should walk away, pay the billion-dollar breakup fee and then wait until it declines. He could pick it up for $15 billion versus $45 billion. That’s a nice savings. There’s a lot you can do with $30 billion,” Swisher said. 

Walking away from the deal for the social media company might not be easy. But, either way, Musk is undoubtedly taking a hard look at his bid of $54.20 per share by what Swisher is conveying, wrapping up that her relationship with the possible new owner of Twitter as an “up and down” one.

“We’ve had beefs,” Swisher said. “He hasn’t returned my emails. He usually does. He’s talking to right-wing people. He’s friends with Mike Cernovich. Good for him. He’s making new friends. I don’t care. I have four children; I don’t need Elon Musk.”

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New Texas Law Will Make It Illegal to Block, Ban Posts on Social Media Outlets

Texas lawmakers ruled last week that makes it illegal to block, ban, remove, deplatform, demonetize, and de-boost posts on social media platforms.

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Texas lawmakers have put Big Tech on notice following a ruling last week that makes it illegal to block, ban, remove, deplatform, demonetize, and de-boost posts on social media platforms with 50 million or more US monthly users.

The 15-word ruling will most likely set the stage for an intense debate in the Supreme Court and could further divide a nation struggling to interpret free speech and the First Amendment.

According to MSN, Texas’s law, HB 20, which seeks to address the perceived imbalance, was blocked in December by a district court judge who ruled it was unconstitutional under the First Amendment.

Trade organizations NetChoice and the Computer Communications Industry Association have appealed directly to the Supreme Court, according to The Verge. In a statement, NetChoice counsel Chris Marchese said the law strips private online businesses of their speech rights.

“The First Amendment prohibits Texas from forcing online platforms to host and promote foreign propaganda, pornography, pro-Nazi speech, and spam,” he added.

The Texas attorney general’s that the appeals court made the right decision and said it would continue defending the Texas law.

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Ted Sarandos to Staffers: Quit Netflix if You Find It Hard to Support Our Content

The Netflix CEO sent an internal memo discussing the diversity of its products and suggested that some content may conflict with people’s personal beliefs. 

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As streaming giant Netflix continues to hemorrhage subscribers, the company has reportedly told its employees to find a new job if they’re offended by some of the content that is being created.  

According to Variety, CEO Ted Sarandos sent an internal memo discussing the diversity of its products and suggested that some content may conflict with people’s personal beliefs. 

“Depending on your role, you may need to work on titles you perceive to be harmful,” the memo said. “If you’d find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you.”

According to the company’s first-quarter earnings report, Netflix lost 200,000 subscribers during the January-March period. Some employees staged a walkout when Dave Chapelle railed against transgenderism. At that time, the company vowed not to silence its artists. 

Sarandos reiterated that Netflix supports individualism and respects the principles and values of its subscribers. 

“While every title is different, we approach them based on the same set of principles: We support the artistic expression of the creators we choose to work with; we program for a diversity of audiences and tastes; and we let viewers decide what’s appropriate for them, versus having Netflix censor specific artists or voices,” the memo added.

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