Them at Their Own Game
by P.F. Jones
When you’re on top, everybody
wants to tear you down.
The more power, money and audience reach I acquire, the more people
come out of the woodwork to criticize my personal life and business
I get criticized for not acting more like Ted Turner, Rupert Murdock,
Bill Gates, or my good friend Sir Richard Branson.
We do have some things in common.
People with millions and billions of dollars do see the world differently.
I, for one, try to get the most out of it.
That’s why I haven’t set foot in an office in three years-
I don’t have to.
I can enjoy the world on my terms and my empire continues to grow.
That’s why I went into business- to make a difference.
You see, I went into journalism to seek out the truth.
I spent 22 years working for the Chicago Tribune, Washington Post and
Thousands of stories and two Pulitzers later, I came to realize I wasn’t
making much of a difference.
American news media was changing in the 1990s, and there were so many
talking heads competing for viewers and readers that the truth got drowned
out. (which only got worse after September 11)
News organizations were sensationalizing and setting the agenda of their
content more than ever.
I knew that the only way I would ever be able to get any kind of ideas
across to the public was to control major news outlets in every medium.
You’ve got to run the game to win it.
So, I saved my prize money and convinced a few investors, and in less than
a decade I had the money to buy out the family-owned Morning Star Gazette chain of papers, which made up more than half what would become the
Morning After Post newspaper network.
Money from the Post allowed me to launch
ABS in 1996, which quickly climbed up to the third-highest watched network.
I used my media profits to buy Cellular One, and launched Jones Mobile, which now has the largest 3G cellular network in North America.
In 2002 I merged my media interests into the Jones Media Group.
I get criticized for having too much reach with my TV channels, movies and
the OnlyChoice radio network.
If the FCC says I can reach 39.4% of the television audience, I’m
going to make my way into every living room I can with the best network
programming on ABS, the best news coverage on DNN and your favorite
syndicated shows on Velocity.
Predictably, my greatest reach is with DNN, which has more truth and
edge than any other cable news channel.
Sure, I get criticized for DNN’s share of sensationalization and
conservative blowhards like Chip Foxx.
Blame Rupert Murdock for that- he set the cable news tone years ago,
I’m just beatin’ him at his own game.
People criticize me for not subscribing to wire news services like Reuters
or Associated Press for the Post.
Why should I?
I have a network of newspaper, magazine, TV and radio
correspondents in 47 states and 19 countries.
If we don’t hear about it, it’s not worth reporting.
Does anybody else have a temporal news correspondent?
I think not.
Now that I’m one of the five major players in America, the competition
all want to criticize my lifestyle.
They try to dismiss me as a hedonistic billionaire playboy.
They say I have a conflict of interest by owning oil companies, airlines
and defense contractors.
I say as long as people want to drive, fly or wage war, I should be
able to make money off it.
After all, if I don’t someone else will.
In America, money is power, and trust me- you’d rather I had it
rather than some of these other corporate gangsters.
I finally have the power to convey the truth as I see it, and not let
someone else set the terms of every debate.
And I've achieved it all with my own hard work and inginuity.
I am the American dream.
Remember that next time you hear someone call me a communist, a socialist
or, my new favorite, a terrorist sympathizer.
And next time you hear some cable-TV errand boy criticizing me, ask
yourself a question or two about that person:
Did that person graduate from Columbia with a Masters in Journalism?
Was that person a White House correspondent?
Did that person go to Panama, Lebanon, Rwanda, the Sudan, Afghanistan
Did that person win two Pulitzer Prizes?
Did that person build a multi-billion dollar conglomerate from scratch?
If not, consider the possibility that that person might be a little
envious, and I might not be such a bad guy after all.