Allow me to construct a sports metaphor (UPDATE: Which I see the NYT also used in its lead sentence, DAMMIT. Oh well, forge ahead) that would sound stale to serious sports fans, but which I believe will sound fresh and insightful here, where we have only seven (7) total sports fan readers: Fox News is the New York Yankees. MSNBC is the Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees throw huge contracts at aging veteran superstars, trading away their young players for big-name talent that tends to quickly prove to be over-the-hill. Tampa Bay had a string of bad years but stuck to its strategy of focusing on affordable young talent, nurturing them, and building from within. Now, Tampa Bay is in the World Series. The Yankees are sitting at home. My, this metaphor just gets more and more awesome: Fox just signed Bill O'Reilly, the most predictable shouting head on television, to a new four-year, $40 million contract. They just "lured" Glenn Beck from CNN (if you consider him a man who needs "luring") with a multimillion-dollar contract. Other Fox News names like Shep Smith and Sean Hannity get paid huge salaries to stay on. Meanwhile, MSNBC's new star Rachel Maddow came out of nowhere, in cable news terms. She was with Air America not too long ago, for fuck's sake, which is definitely the minor leagues. MSNBC took a chance on her, got her on air, saw how well she did, and then took the leap to giving her her own show. Which has paid off. The best part? They are probably paying her—in cable news terms, again—peanuts. Where are Fox News' Maddows? Where is the young talent that they nurture and build into a star while still paying them the wages of a rookie? These things are important. The economy is shit, advertising revenue is dicey, and homegrown stars are the wave of the future. I'm taking bets on Tampa Bay. Get at me, O'Reilly.
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