There is the scent of schadenfreude in the air as Ralston TV show goes dark — bridge burning to follow

I’m sure there are more than a few people out there today who are feeling a bit of schadenfreude.

That is one of Jon Ralston’s favorite words. He uses it all the time. It is the pleasure one derives from the misfortunes of others. It is German for “harm-joy.”

Jon Ralston

Ralston’s TV gabfest goes off the air on Dec. 12. Channel 3’s new owners apparently have other plans for the little watched time slot. Ralston now adds former TV pundit to his resume, which already includes former Review-Journal reporter and columnist, as well as former Las Vegas Sun columnist.

The Las Vegas newspaper account of this appropriately referred to the show as his bully pulpit. The sources Ralston could not develop by trading favors, he got by bullying, threatening and browbeating. I’ve heard him.

“His website,, offers a daily mix of tidbits about Nevada’s political scene, often delivered with acerbic personal attacks and name-calling, but sometimes injected with levity,” the R-J account of his departure says. “He recently called the activist group Citizen Outreach ‘Citizen Outhouse clowns’ and called conservative Republican legislators a ‘gang of loons.'”

Some might call that sophomoric.

The clowns at Citizen Outhouse return the favor:

Ralston Reports, the little-watched left-wing public affairs show originating out of KSNV Channel 3 in Las Vegas, was cancelled today.  The last show for the man who never met a bridge he didn’t burn will be on December 12th.

Watch parties for the defrocked TV pundit’s last hurrah are being organized as we speak.

The over-under for when Ralston will start trashing KSNV and its new owners after his swan song has been set at 48 hours.

Defrocked was the word Ralston frequently used when deriding his former, also now former, supervisors at the R-J. He also cast aspersions on the publisher of the Sun after his exit, as well as everyone else.

The tune “Always Burning Bridges” will be in my head all day.


Conservative television group purchases KSNV-Channel 3

The rumor at the time of the death of KSNV-Channel 3 owner Jim Rogers was that conservative Sinclair Broadcast Group might buy the station and turn its editorial policy 180-degrees and spell trouble for its stable of liberal pundits.

Today the Baltimore company announced it has purchased the NBC affiliate for $120 million.

Jim Rogers

“We are pleased to add KSNV to our portfolio,” the press release quoted Steve Pruett, co-chief operating officer of Sinclair’s television group as saying. “With the addition of the station, our news footprint will cover all the major cities in the state of Nevada, allowing us to be a leading provider of local and regional news.”

Note the immediate reference to the news footprint.

The left-wing MediaMatters compiled a litany of conservative deeds by the group, saying “Sinclair has used its stations to promote a conservative, anti-progressive message.”

Its newscasts often include editorials by conservative commentator Mark Hyman. The stations supported Mitt Romney. In 2010 they ran a 25-minute piece that said Obama “displays tendencies some would call socialist.”

KSNV liberal pundit Jon Ralston, a defrocked newspaper columnist, is already hinting at things to come, saying in his morning email: “Big news in the TV (and my) world this morning. Sinclair has purchased KSNV, which means the huge company now owns the two major NBC outlets in Nevada. Sinclair has conservative owners, a dramatic change from the Jim Rogers days.”

The sale is expected to be completed in first quarter of 2015.




How to irritate a rich, liberal television station owner without hardly trying

I met Tina Trenner at a luncheon meeting the other day. She was working the room, handing out fliers urging people to file complaints with the FCC about their local NBC affiliates for not operating in the “public interest.”

Tina Trenner

Now, my principled position on such matters is generally to oppose efforts to gag opposing viewpoints but rather engage them with more free speech and dialogue to reach a Miltonian outcome in which truth prevails. But I might have to make an exception in this case, since the endeavor is a surely a futile gesture, and because it appeals to a certain pleasure obtained by being nettlesome to the overly comfortable and self-assured.

The local NBC affiliate — KSNV-TV, Channel 3 — is Jim Rogers, a wealthy liberal who personally takes to the airwaves to editorialize when it suits his politics and pocketbook. He once did a 10-part editorial series on a news story the Review-Journal was covering though his station never did any news coverage. He also blasted newspapers for not paying sales taxes on ink and paper — the standard manufacturing exemption of materials that produce a final product — even though his family had lobbied for a tax exemption for television commercials.

Trenner argued that much of the news media today is little more than a propaganda arm of liberal politics. Her Battle Born PAC  hopes to at least get the attention of NBC affiliate owners like Rogers who must jump through hoops with the FCC when enough complaints are filed. Why, carrying Jon Ralston’s program alone amounts to an affront to common decency and fairness.

In arguing that NBC affiliates are not broadcasting in the “public interest,” Battle Born PAC states, “We here at Battle Born PAC do not believe NBC feeds its affiliate’s honest or accurate news every night on NBC’s Nightly News. Thereby NBC is causing each affiliate to circumvent the laws of broadcasting and to deliver erroneous, misleading and outright dishonest reports.  It is then impossible for each affiliate to live up to the mandate set forth by Congress. This cannot be in the public interest … to the contrary it is the exact opposite.”

On the website, the PAC points out that each of the approximately 200 NBC affiliates has to renew its license every five years. If they to operate in the “public interest, convenience and necessity,” as the law dictates, that license can be revoked. All complaints go into public files, which must be available for inspection.

The website has instructions for filing such a complaint.

So, if you are feeling nettlesome, procede.