WAS IT SOMETHING HE SAID?
Today I heard Rush Limbaugh say, "Salon goes out of business today and blames me."
But no one start collecting on bets yet, because as far as I can tell
, this is just one more example of Limbaugh's wishful thinking
The "going out of business" part is, at least. Salon is
blaming Limbaugh for its troubles
. A plea from editor and founder David Talbot attempts to bluebait liberal readers into becoming subscribers with the promise
that such an action will "Raise Rush Limbaugh's blood pressure!"
Some might argue that bringing on a heart attack in one's opponents is an unseemly way to promote a magazine. Then again, as Talbot earlier observed
, ugly times call for ugly tactics.
I'm not exactly sure if one acts in Talbot's defense to say that he's joking about wanting Rush to physically suffer--that still leaves open the possibility that Talbot actually thinks Salon's existence matters at all to Rush. To be honest, I think the real reason for Talbot's reference is more pecuniary than mercenary: Picking a fight with someone more famous than yourself is sometimes the only way to get attention. Just ask Vanilla Ice
But regardless of whether Talbot is sincere in his belief that Salon is failing because of some vast right-wing conspiracy, he is at least consistent. His review
of Eric Alterman's What Liberal Media?
concerns itself less with the text of the book than with reciting Talbot's attempts to get a Salon-produced talk show on the air. More fiscally minded types can discuss whether or not it would have been a good use of site's dwindling cash reserves to fund a televised debate between Joe Conason and Andrew Sullivan, I'm just thankful no one has to watch it.
Talbot expresses some surprise that the only network to seriously consider airing The Salon Show is Fox News. (Considering Salon's other, potentially more lucrative, areas of coverage
, I'm surprised it wasn't the Fox network, er, proper
Talbot says that Fox--and Dark Lord Ailes himself--took the meeting because, essentially, they could afford to gloat: "Now here was a man so supremely confident in his domination of talk-TV that he could grant a meeting to the enemy." But, really, no one has that much time.
Ailes probably met with Salon because, essentially, their programming format is identical to that of Fox News: Rapid-fire punditry
to its audience's own sense of persecution
. Salon would like to define itself in opposition to Ann Coulter, but in reality, Salon is
Ann Coulter: a commentator who sounds
like she's saying something that lots of people disagree with and who's sexy, brash, and way more concerned with how her ass looks than in fact-checking. Of course Ailes was interested.
Salon has basically flaunted its style over substance
over the years, which, to me, is what really makes Talbot's protestations of de facto censorship by the networks (CNN's "reply was vague and noncommittal," the head of MSNBC "said he would get back to me. That was in December.") ring hollow. No one who thinks that having both David Horowitz and Arianna Huffington on the same site is some kind of debate is seriously interested in politics of any kind.
All this begs the question of Salon's precariousness. How can something so shameless make so little money? We're conditioned to believe that selling out brings success, but Salon seems to have auctioned off its self-respect in a weak market.
I know how they feel