With huge carriage standoffs for regional sports networks in New York and Los Angeles continuing to grind on, analysts say sports program licensing costs have finally reached a tipping point.

"I believe that finally sports TV is in crisis mode," said Jimmy Schaeffler, head of media and telecom consultancy Carmel Group, to the Wall Street Journal

Read more: With SportsNet LA and Yes Network pay-TV impasses, sports TV is in 'crisis mode,' analyst says

Criticize Fox, in any form or fashion these days, and even if you are completely correct in your criticism, you are almost automatically branded a liberal, a commie, a socialist, or worst of all, a “non-believer.” Well, at the risk of all those labels, I am intentionally going out on a limb today to call out, and criticize, the organization that calls itself “Fox News.”

While in midtown New York City for some meetings early this week, I had an occasion to spend the night at a midtown hotel, and to walk down to 49th street for a quick fish dinner. When I departed the restaurant, I glanced to the right as I turned up 6th Avenue, and read a large red scrolling headline at the News Corp building that was so subtly at odds with the truth, that I read it first and continued walking the other direction. Yet, when I ran it through my head a couple of seconds, I thought to myself, “That’s not true…that’s not what happened…and it creates a false narrative, a truly false impression, and an undue advantage -- when it is stated that way.”


The bold headline, pictured below, read exactly, “He’s No. 1…Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, 44, becomes first high-profile candidate to announce…”

But, importantly, the first part, the part that is read first, and the part that has the first and thus probably most important impact, is absolutely wrong, because it is not what happened today.

On Monday, March 23, 2015, Texas’ U.S. Senator Ted Cruz did become the first, timing wise, to announce for president. But, to be clear, nothing about what Ted Cruz did made him “Number One,” and that’s a very important difference.

Nothing that Ted Cruz did today brought him qualitatively further up any ladder, yet “Fox News” suggests exactly otherwise when it states that by simply announcing his candidacy, Senator Cruz becomes “No. 1.” In short, being “first” to announce does not make Ted Cruz “Number One” of anything near or worth that “No. 1” headline.

This is a huge distinction, because some, maybe many, people will miss the distinction, which gives Ted Cruz and undue and unearned advantage over other candidates (of every party affiliation). The “No. 1” moniker also suggests people should support his candidacy and vote for him for the wrong reason.

Indeed, a good “news” editor, one bent on telling the truth, stating facts, and avoiding sending improper and inaccurate implications or messages, would have immediately caught the inaccuracy and removed the words, “He’s No. 1.”

Why is that important? It is important because by stating that “Ted Cruz is Number One,” the headline states that he did something that represents quality, or a choice by others, of some kind. The headline suggests Mr. Cruz took actions which allowed him to rise above others for some important and substantive reason. But Ted Cruz did not do that today...at least not in any way that can yet represent that judgment by anyone at all. Indeed, by announcing “first” according to the calendar, Ted Cruz may have actually become even less of a “No. 1” candidate. “Fox News” saying Ted Cruz is “Number One” for being the first to announce is saying he’s the “best” because of the procedural timing of announcing whenever he did. It makes no sense. And no one can yet say that any candidate is “No. 1,” for any reason.

Again, to be clear, importantly, Ted Cruz did not do anything worthy of a quality judgment or ranking on the part of “Fox News” that was based solely on the timing of his announcement. Yet, that that substantive quality measurement is what “Fox News” intentionally led with, and put in people’s heads, globally, when it wrote, edited, and posted in front of America and the world these kinds of “news” headlines. It is perhaps somewhat subtle, and “Fox News” folks and their supporters will say “they didn’t mean it that way,” but the best at their jobs know the difference, or sometimes as important…they should know the difference.

When I presented this column to several critiques, including a handful of true “conservatives,” one even hinted that “Fox News” intended the inaccuracy, testing whether anyone would call them out and, if not, then using that as a springboard to more substantial inaccuracies and nuances. Worth remembering here is that if that is true -- which I do not believe it is – then that, too, is certainty not worthy of a bona fide “news” organization.

Call me liberal/commie/socialist, and non-believer (or yes, Sarah Palin…’lame stream media’), but I just don’t believe in this kind of hyperbole and rating/ranking on the part of a “factual teller of the truth,” i.e., a news organization. A substantive rating or ranking –especially for something as important as president of the United States -- is appropriate when there is some valid basis, in fact, for what is stated as fact…which clearly here, in this headline, there was not. In summary, being “first” is simply is not being the “best,” which was certainly the implication among this handful of words.

“Fox News” has been on the ropes for this “non-news-as-news” and “non-truth-as-truth” for weeks now, and it’s high time as true and truthful news people -- which they say they are which I assume they are -- that they not only should know the difference, but do know the difference, and that they act to make it right…before it is stated! (Plus, in this instance, to offer a correction and an apology to its audience!)

And if he truly merits consideration as president of the United States, Ted Cruz should call them out, and make the correction, as well.

Since 1996, Doug Gaston has worked as one of the lawyers assisting Comcast’s team at Comcast’s base in Philadelphia. In that almost 18 years, Gaston has advanced to Comcast Cable’s senior vice president and general counsel, working closely with head corporate attorney Art Block, Esq.

Gaston provides day-to-day support to the company’s operating departments at headquarters, and in each of the three divisions. His cable law department provides legal support across a wide range of subjects, including, among others, commercial contracts, content acquisition, customer service, litigation, marketing and advertising, patent prosecution, and privacy.

Read more: Telecom Lawyers, Part 3: Comcast Cable’s General Counsel, Doug Gaston, Esq.

Since 1993, Michael Fricklas has worked as a lawyer for Viacom at the company’s base in New York City. In that time frame of almost 21 years, Fricklas has advanced to Viacom’s Executive VP, General Counsel and Secretary, working quite closely with Viacom’s top three executives, Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone, Esq., Viacom president and CEO, Philippe Dauman, Esq. and Viacom’s COO, Tom Dooley.

Read more: Telecom Lawyers, Part 4: Viacom’s General Counsel, Michael Fricklas, Esq.

Stanton Dodge has worked since 1996 as one of the dozens of lawyers assisting Dish Network’s chairman, Charlie Ergen, and their team of thousands of employees at the DBS provider. 

In that more than 17 years, Dodge has advanced to corporate secretary, executive vice president, and general counsel, but more importantly, he says he has learned to mentor and help make those around him better at what they do. Indeed, as the answers below connote, during those years at Dish Network/EchoStar, he’s been quite fortunate to have gained a rather bountiful plate full of experience and perspective to apply to his core tasks of legal and regulatory affairs.

Read more: Telecom Lawyers, Part 1: Dish’s General Counsel, Stanton Dodge, Esq.

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