For those of you wondering why CBS reversed its longstanding anti-advocacy ad policy in the blink of a network eye, the answer may lie in the attractiveness of $2.5 million for a network whose economic fortunes are sinking….and the biggest buoy onto which to grab may be the Christian conservatives willing to put up big money to buy time.
This past Tuesday, according to Felix Gillette of the New York Observer:
CBS News executives and bureau chiefs, led
by senior vice president Linda Mason, told their employees that 2009
had been a disastrous year in the ad market. They had no cable
operation to buoy the sinking revenues.
That morning, according to the Gillette, CBS laid off "dozens of employees—including staff members in D.C., San
Francisco, Miami, London, Los Angeles and Moscow."
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changes were effective immediately. There would be no buyouts.
According to one longtime staff member, the network had long ago
negotiated away most of the severance clauses in staff members’
"The cuts were surprisingly deep."
Monday afternoon, staffers from Washington to L.A. were sputtering in
disbelief as they heard of top producers on the chopping
block—particularly Mark Katkov and Jill Rosenbaum in D.C. and Roberta
Hollander and Barbara Pierce in L.A. These were seasoned veterans, part
of the old school known back in the Dan Rather days as “the
Hard Corps.” Over the years, they had somehow managed to outlive every
big buzz saw to cut through the newsroom. They knew how to get more
The most disturbing news of the day for many observers was that Larry Doyle would no longer be working for CBS News.
Mr. Doyle, according to CBS News
legend, joined the organization some 40 years ago, when then D.C.
bureau chief Bill Small found him working as a porter at a Washington
hotel. Mr. Small promptly made Mr. Doyle the bureau’s go-to
“dogrobber”—the guy you sent into nasty situations to stare down
snarling subjects and get the job done. From there, Mr. Doyle gradually
worked his way up the news ladder, eventually becoming the network’s
top war producer, churning out great television from every hellhole on
the planet—including Baghdad, where he served as the network’s bureau
chief during the early years of the ongoing war.
So Focus on the Family and CBS may share an agenda. Both organizations have now laid off a large number of employees. Focus on the Family needs a means of driving donations and traffic to its website. CBS needs ad revenue. Its no secret that corporate network media has become increasingly driven by conservative agendas and money.
Marriage made in conservative heaven?