Is Extreme Conservative Thought Just Too Hard to Read?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007 at 08:38 PM

What prompts the question is a small item about Richard Mellon Scaife's divorce, noting that the soon-to-be-ex is challenging Scaife's claim that all the money he loses on his Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper is a legitimate business expense. In the eyes of the wife, the paper is just a "hobby" and the lost money should be treated as part of the marital estate which has been used up by the Mister. And we're talking "$20 million to $30 million a year" in subsidy.

I don't give a hoot about Mr. Scaife's marital life and discord, other than the usual aside that it's funny how few of these social conservatives seem to know how to make a family work, but the fact that the newspaper loses money intrigues me. The Washington Times loses money, also, requiring unknown amounts of subsidy from the one and only Reverend Moon.

Yet the television version of these mighty newspapers do right well, as Mr. O'Reilly and Mr. Hannity and many others can tell you. And God knows the radio versions are raking money in big time, at least from what I read.

So what gives? Is the far right version of common sense somehow palatable to the ears, when spoken on radio or television, yet anathema to the eyes when read in print? I'm genuinely confused here.

Is it as simple as the fact that a large number of people receptive to the message aren't comfortable with the written word? Is it that the written word costs some small amount of money out of pocket, while the spoken word is "free" if you ignore the advertising costs of the products that sponsor it? Is it that there really aren't all that many people gullible enough to believe this tripe, so that only national sources like Fox and Clear Channel can pull in enough customers to pay for themselves, while local outlets like the two newspapers can't find nearly enough locals to buy into the shtick?

I'd better stop there, that last one was close to an optimistic thought, which seems inappropriate for this place and time.


Lee, sir, dude: Let's face a fact we do not like....print media is soon to go the way of the Dodo, like it or not. And yes, we can do the whole shebanged debate, on and on, et al on this topic, but, it's the sad truth. This was forecast long ago, wasn't it?

Sorry, sir, that's the way of progress. Beaming up now...

For your correction: Scaife owns the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, not the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

I think you've hit the nail quite squarely. If Mrs. Scaife's claims are true that his newspaper is a hobby, Mr. Scaife's tax and legal consequences could be huge. (IRS law classifies a business as an activity which has made money for 3 out of the last years.) Since they never had a pre-nup, he could have to share what she says is his 45 million dollar per year income, as opposed to what he claims is a 17 million dollar per year income. He has been writing off 20-30 million dollars a year business expense on what should be classified as a hobby!! Tax evasion, pure and simple.

No wonder he's so upset the the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette posted links to all of the paperwork in the divorce case. Where if the IRS when you need them?