Sam Boyd

Sam Boyd is a former assistant web editor at the Prospect

Recent Articles

MSNBC'S RATINGS UP 82 PERCENT IN 2008.

All the cable networks naturally saw big ratings gains in 2008, but MSNBC led the pack: Fox News racked up its seventh straight year as the most-watched cable news channel, delivering an average prime-time viewership of 2.1 million, 40% more than 2007, according to data released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research. CNN placed second with 1.3 million, up 69%, while MNSBC drew 920,000, a boost of 82%. Part of that increase is due to Rachel Maddow , who dramatically increased ratings in her 9 PM timeslot when her show debuted this fall (if these figures just covered the last three months, I'd expect the difference to be even larger). I looked at why liberals like her so much and what her rise says about liberal media in September. --Sam Boyd

HERTZBERG AND KENNEDY.

Hendrik Hertzberg tries to make an affirmative case for appointing Caroline Kennedy to the Senate, which is a relief from all the "but lots of people in the Senate suck too" responses by her supporters to her critics: To harp a bit on the theme of my current Comment , one of the plus sides of getting a senator by appointment is that he or she doesn't have to “earn” it—i.e., doesn't have to spend years begging for money over the phone, doesn't have to establish “roots” in some Podunk locality at the cost of forgoing any understanding of the rest of the world, doesn't have to make nice with local realtors and the like—in short, doesn't have to have organized his or her entire life around the American way of office-seeking. This makes it possible, of course, for an appointed senator to be an absolutely clueless nonentity. But it also makes it possible, at least in theory, for an appointed senator to be interesting in a way that adds some spark or variety to the institution. This is fine...

OBAMA GOES TO WARREN.

Sarah's post critiquing Alan Wolfe 's essay in TNR is interesting. The whole Rick Warren kerfuffle (actually it may have reached windspeeds high enough to upgrade it to a brouhaha at this point) has inspired a lot of fuzzy thinking (not from Sarah though) -- one reason I haven't written anything is that I couldn't quite explain to myself or anyone else why I wasn't that bothered by it. But I think Ed Kilgore does a very good job of summarizing the politics here : Warren's motivation seems to be to reestablish the political independence of conservative evangelicals. Best I can tell, he dislikes the "marriage" between his religious flock and the secular-conservative GOP because (a) he is a more thoroughgoing fundamentalist than others, and takes seriously biblical injunctions like "creation care" and anti-poverty efforts, along with the usual social-conservative agenda, and (b) he thinks the Christian Right hasn't gotten much from its relationship with the GOP, and needs to regain some...

PATERSON'S WEIRD BUDGET.

New York Gov. David Paterson revealed his budget proposal for the next fiscal year earlier this week. He deserves credit for the care with which he managed budget cuts; though some social programs are being cut, he's not really going after schools or entitlements. And given that he is legally required to introduce a balanced budget, and the state is facing massive losses in revenue from the cratering financial services industry, cuts were probably unavoidable. But when it comes to Paterson chose to increase revenues, his choices were much less sensible. Basically, he seems to have tried to mask the fact that he's increasing taxes by dividing them into 88 fees and special sales taxes on things like taxis, non-diet sodas, and movies -- the main burden of which seems likely to fall on the middle class. This was probably primarily a political calculation. But I think Patrick Ruffini , despite his general neo-Hooverite policy recommendations, makes a pretty good case that the sheer volume...

TAPPED COSTS MONEY.

For those of you who don't know, I've edited TAPPED for the last nine months (so yes, you can blame me for any typos). It's been a remarkable time -- from the primaries to the general election to the transition, we've always made every effort to offer a unique progressive and opinionated perspective on political news -- and I think we've succeeded. What sets us apart is that we have always considered TAPPED a core element of coverage, whatever the issue. TAPPED is not an afterthought -- we consider it central to the magazine's identity. But doing so is expensive -- our writers and editors all need to eat. TAPPED has remained a vital progressive voice and unique presence in the blogosphere. What's more, we'd like to do more, from podcasts, to video content, to more reporting on the blog. But we can't do it without your financial support . --Sam Boyd

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