The Profit Bias

by Patrick Appel

Reihan's argues that Rupert Murdoch isn't Glenn Beck's puppet-master:

I’d submit that [Rupert Murdoch's] own political proclivities matter very little to the substance of the various media outlets he owns. Consider this: MTV’s political coverage, to the extent it has any, tends to be fairly left-of-center. Do you seriously believe that Sumner Redstone, the majority owner of National Amusements and, indirectly, MTV’s owner Viacom is an enthusiastic left-winger who is bitterly opposed to “The Man”? Given that Sumner Redstone can make a pretty plausible claim to being “The Man” himself, my guess is that he recognizes that MTV is a for-profit enterprise that will either flatter the sensibilities of its youthful audience or go out of business.

In a similar vein, Fox News has been a commercial success because it connected with an audience that felt underserved, and that was eager for news and information that matched its sensibilities. Murdoch did not invent Fox News. Instead, Roger Ailes came to him with the idea, and he demanded a large amount of capital and near-total autonomy. And that’s what he was given.