Jed Babbin, the editor of Human Events, has written what may be the stupidest article of the year. In it he wastes 1200+ words arguing that GE/NBC is terribly upset with the prodigious success of its cable news network MSNBC. Obviously – anyone would be disturbed with a business enterprise that doubles its audience year after year. As evidence of the concern, Babbin introduces two “exhibits” to affirm his hypothesis.
Exhibit A is a letter sent by presidential counselor Ed Gillespie complaining about an interview of President Bush conducted by Richard Engle. Babbin doesn’t actually explain why whining by a White House crony demonstrates any discomfit in the halls of NBC’s executive suites. The fact of the matter is that it’s just another politician working the refs to try to get more positive coverage.
Exhibit B is the contention that Keith Olbermann has a relationship with his bosses. Why Babbin thinks that there is something extraordinary about the host of a network’s number one program receiving accolades from the network honchos is also not explained.
But the truly idiotic part of the column is Babbin’s assertion that Bill O’Reilly is responsible for the poor performance of GE stock:
“O’Reilly’s high-temperature criticism of GE and Immelt — calling him a “despicable human being” responsible for the deaths of American troops in Iraq — may even have contributed to GE’s stock slide. From a high of $42.15 on October 2, 2007, GE’s shares have lost 36% of shareholder value, closing last Friday at $26.83.”
That’s a lot of power that Babbin has placed in the hands of a lowly TV blowhard. However, GE’s stock is not alone in suffering severe losses. Maybe Babbin hasn’t heard that the economy is near (or in) a recession. Perhaps he has also not heard that the stock of News Corp., the parent of Fox News is itself down 38% – even worse than GE. Is that also the work of Market Magician O’Reilly? Or has Olbermann been casting counter-spells of his own?
Indeed, O’Reilly has been tough on GE, NBC, MSNBC, and Jeff Immelt (although O’Reilly will never utter the name Olbermann). Just last week O’Reilly wondered how Immelt kept his job. Does he also wonder how Fox News chief Roger Ailes keeps his? At least MSNBC has been increasing their viewership, while the Fox News audience has been cratering. But the extremity of O’Reilly’s pique goes even further with overt threats aimed at GE’s CEO:
“That Immelt man answers to me…That’s why I’m in this business right now, to get guys like that.”
And lest you dismiss O’Reilly’s intent, he has made it clear that he is serious:
“[T]here is a huge problem in this country and I’m going to attack that problem. I’m going to attack it. These people aren’t getting away with this. I’m going to go right where they live. Every corrupt media person in this country is on notice, right now. I’m coming after you…I’m going to hunt you down […] if I could strangle these people and not go to hell and get executed…I would.”
[For more on O’Reilly’s sociopathic paranoia, see The O’Reilly Fear Factor: Collected Verses]
Babbin concludes his article by attempting to foment an insurgency within the ranks of NBC News. He advises NBC journalists to issue ultimatums directed at the NBC brass and, if they do not get satisfaction, to resign forthwith. I’m not sure why anyone would take advice from the likes of Babbin. He has proven with this article to be intellectually deficient, and a poor editor to boot. But one person has already taken advice proffered in this column. John McCain has initiated a “Truth Squad,” and staffed it with well known liars. I guess that’s something Babbin can take comfort in.