You are on page 1of 6

Gud og fdreland i teren og p nettet

Information | 05.02.2014 | Side 14 | 1420 ord | Artikel-id: e43edaa1 |

Original artikel

Et kristent radioimperium har i 2013 opkbt Teaparty-inspirerede websites og forlag i stor stil. Det har
givet et publikum p 11 mio. brugere, og resultatet er en strk, rig og samlet konservativ stemme i den
amerikanske medieoffentlighed
af Annegrethe Rasmussen Washington, D. C.
Smag bare p navnet: Salem Communications.
Det er nemlig en virksomhed, De vil komme til at hre mere til i rene, der kommer. Salem, der siden
sin start i Californien i 1986 har specialiseret sig i kristne radiostationer, er ukendt i Danmark, men har
stor betydning for meningsdannelsen i USA. For det har nemlig diskret, men srdeles effektivt vret
ude med den store tegnebog i 2013, hvor mediehuset har kbt nogle af de mest kendte konservative
websites i USA.
De mange opkb og fusioner har inden for det seneste r gjort Salem til en ny strk stemme p den
amerikanske hjreflj. En stemme, der dagligt nr over 10 millioner brugere og lyttere, hvilket er langt
flere end det bedst kendte konservative mediefnomen, Fox News, hvis samlede seertal ligger p
omkring 2,5 millioner. Opkbene har med virksomhedens egne ord gjort Salem til USA's ledende
medievirksomhed med speciale i kristent og konservativt indhold. Konkret ejede Salem
Communications 99 radiostationer i 2013 (se boks, red.). Tallet giver imidlertid ikke et korrekt billede,
fordi mange af stationerneindgr i syndikater og derfor krer p mange platforme p n gang - iflge
Salems rsrapport for 2013 betjener virksomheden alt i alt 2.400 radiostationer og leverer over 200
timers egenproduceret radioindhold daglig.
Magtfuldt ejerskab
Men dette er blot radiosiden. Ekspansionen, som har vret dkket intenst af de amerikanske
nyhedsmedier i denne mned, har frst og fremmest fundet sted p nettet.
Flere af USA's mest besgte hjemmesider og konservative blogs blev ved udgangen af sidste r en del
af Salem-imperiet. Og det er disse sites, der har fet iagttagere til at tale om opkomsten af en ny
indflydelsesrig politisk stemme i det amerikanske samfund.
Politico: A player in Christian and talk radio stations is buying up popular conservative
websites moves that could make Salem Communications the next big thing in rightwing media.
Det drejer sig om websites som eksempelvis radiovrt Michelle Malkins Twitchy. com, virksomheden
Eagle Publishing Group, der har ansat to af de mest kendte Tea Party-stemmer i USA, RedState. com

samt nettidsskriftet HumanEvents og det konservative forlag Regnery. Salem ejede i forvejen flere
websites, herunder HotAir. com og TownHall. com, og det samlede tal er nu over 100.
Alle disse hjemmesider og blogs fandtes i forvejen. Det nye er, at de nu ligger under et samlet magtfuldt
ejerskab, som vil f adgang til et enormt marked af brugere, der vil vre attraktivt for annoncrer,
virksomheder og politiske krfter.
Der findes intet tilsvarende medieimperium p venstrefljen, hvor de liberale kanaler, hjemmesider og
blogs er individualiserede og spredte med myriader af ejere.
Politico: The California-based company has recently gobbled up sites that reach millions
of readers, like Michelle Malkins Twitchy.com, the Eagle Publishing group which is home
to RedState.com, HumanEvents.com and the conservative publishing house Regnery.
The Salem empire already includes more than 100 Christian and conservative talk-radio
stations and several Christian-themed websites, as well as HotAir.com and
TownHall.com.

Though Salem doesnt appear to be planning major changes to the sites, media
experts say the move represents a bid to consolidate the huge conservative market
and power up the companys effort to reach beyond its core conservative Christian
devotees to possibly become more of a powerful political force on the right. The
consolidation Salem is undertaking is unlike anything seen on the left, where media
efforts are generally much more individualized.
Forventningen er - som hjemmesiden TalkingPoints-Memo skrev i januar - at Salem vil kunne udvide sin
konservative indflydelse betydeligt ved at f nye brugere, som er sstre, ftre og kusiner til de mere
hardcore Tea Party-sympatisrer, der i forvejen var kunder i butikken.
Politico: With the expansion, Salem is well-positioned to expand its audience - and its
conservative influence - by tapping a new group of listeners and readers described by
one media observer as those who are the sister or cousin of the hardcore Tea Party
member whos already tuned in.
Ind i folden
Ekspansionen p netsiden betyder, at Salem nu har mere end 130 millioner sidevisninger hver mned
med over 11 millioner unikke brugere. Nogle af de mest medieeksponerede konservative
meningsdannere - kendt fra tv, der bruger dem som kommentatorer og analytikere - som Erick Erickson
og Michelle Malkin er nu i stald hos Salem.
Politico: Adding Twitchy into its portfolio, Salem called itself the largest social media
driven conservative platform on the Web with nearly 10 million unique readers and over
100 million page views each month. The expansion also brings some of the bigger
names of conservative blogging, like Erick Erickson and Mary Katharine Ham, under one
roof.

Erickson blev brugt som uof-ficiel talsmand for Tea Party-bevgelsen op til prsidentvalget i 2012 af
bde CNN, Fox News og MSNBC. Han er chefredaktr for en af de opkbte blogs, RedState. Malkin er
den mest kendte kvindelige, konservative radiovrt i USA. At der har vret penge nok til at kbe ind
for, fremgr af virksomhedens rsregnskab. Resultatet for 2013 er ikke tilgngeligt endnu, men i 2012
kunne Salem, der blev brsnoteret i 1991, fremvise et overskud, der ville f enhver medieejer til at smile
huldsaligt - og konkurrenterne til at skele misundeligt til bundlinjen: 108 mio. dollar (590 mio. kr.) ud af
en omstning p 229 mio. dollar (1.250 mio. kroner).
Politico: And Salem has the funds for a substantial platform: In 2012, the publicly traded
company generated $108 million of gross profit on $229 million of revenue.
Jonathan Garthwaite, der er grundlggeren af Salems onlinemagasin, Town Hall, er i dag
viceprsident for Salems politiske netforretning. Han siger til Politico.com, at Salem har forstet
vrdien af det digitale forretningsomrde, og at man derfor agter at fortstte sin aggressive udvidelse
p nettet i de kommende r; Vi kan roligt sige, at vi langtfra er frdige. Vi er konstant p udkig efter
organisk vkst gennem fortsatte opkb. Vi leder bde efter muligheder og personligheder, siger han.
Politico: Jonahtan Garthwaite, the founder of Town Hall and now vice president and
general manager for Salems political web businesses, said Salem understands the value
of digital properties and plans to continue to grow its holdings in that area.
Its fair to say that we are not done, Garthwaite said. We are always looking to grow
organically and through acquisition. Were always looking for opportunities,
personalities to fuel that growth. Websites can build up personalities, groom people
for prime time. It works really well in that sense.
Aktivisme for republikanerne
Salems grundlggere, administrerende direktr Ed Atsinger og hans svoger, Stu Epperson, der er
bestyrelsesformand, er begge kristne aktivister. De har vret involveret i politik, lige siden Salem blev
grundlagt for 26 r siden. I 2000 investerede de to iflge magasinet Mother Jones sammen med en
tredje pengemand 780.000 dollar (4,23 millioner kroner) i kampagnen mod homogteskaber i
Californien. I 2004 var Atsinger en af de store bidragsydere bag George W. Bushs valgkampagne,
samtidig med at han var formand for Americans of Faith, en kirkelig forening, der arbejder for at f
evangeliske vlgere til stemmeurnerne. Og samtlige Salems radiostationer blev involveret i indsatsen.
Efter prsidentvalget, som Bush vandt, krede Time Magazine i 2005 Epperson til en af USA's 25 mest
indflydelsesrige evangeliske kristne i USA. Samme r kaldte The New York Times Epperson og
Atsinger for de egentlige ledere af Det Republikanske Parti.
Politico: Salem was founded more than 26 years ago when CEO Ed Astinger and his
brother-in-law, chairman of the board Stu Epperson, combined their radio assets to create
a for-profit Christian media company. Epperson and Astinger, both devoted Christians,
have also been involved in politics for years, supporting conservative causes and
candidates. Astinger and Epperson, along with a close political ally, poured some
$780,000 into promoting the 2000 California Defense of Marriage Act, according to a
2005 Mother Jones profile. In 2004, Atsinger donated heavily to George W. Bushs

presidential campaign and co-chaired Americans of Faith, a church-based get-out-thevote campaign, promoting their efforts on Salem radio stations. In 2005, Epperson was
named one of Time Magazines 25 most influential evangelicals in America.
Jonathan Garthwaite siger til Talking Points Memo, at opkbet af de nye hjemmesider vil give Salem
adgang til et publikum og en offentlighed, som virksomheden ikke haft adgang til tidligere.
De websites, vi har kbt, er ogs nogle af mine egne foretrukne netsteder.
Det var oplagt for os at ser p dem. Det afgrende er, at vi fr radio, det digitale og nu ogs
forlagsvirksomhed samlet under t tag. Det er afgrende i det nuvrende cross-PR, multiplatform
mediemilj. Salem har ogs en PAC (political action committe), der udelukkende har stttet
republikanske kandidater ved valg til kongressen. Salem har haft forskellige slogans over rene, bl. a.:
Et forsonet gteskab. En genvunden barndom. En genskabt tro. En radioudsendelse ad gangen..
Talking Points Memo: Jonathan Garthwaite, Salem's vice president and general
manager for TownHall and Hot Air, said that the new outlets should give Salem access to
an audience and a space that it currently doesn't have.
"These sites are some of my favorite sites. It seemed like a pretty logical thing for us to
look into," Garthwaite told TPM.

The addition of Regnery Publishing, which is a part of Eagle Publishing, gives Salem
the opportunity for "full-brand management": radio, digital and book deals can all
co-exist under one roof. That is critical in the current cross-promotional, multiplatform media environment.
Stridsmnd
Naturligvis er Salems udvidelse og konsolidering ikke noget, det liberale (ls: venstreorienterede) USA
er begejstret for.
Vi taler om en gruppe, som konsekvent sttter kampen mod fri abort, promoverer skaldte
familievrdier, er lobbyister for militrindustrien og alt i alt m betragtes som stridsmnd for det
ekstreme hjre, ld det i starten af januar p den liberale blog Daily Kos.
Salem har ogs stttet adskillige lokale antiabortcentre i form af skaldte ressourcecentre for gravide
kvinder, bl. a. i North Carolina. Her blev bl. a. juleevangeliet brugt lige fr jul som hjlp og sttte til de
gravide kvinder, som henvendte sig til centret for at f hjlp.
Uanset det bizarre i at bruge juleevangeliet som grundlag for rdgivning illustrerer det tydeligt den
mde, hvorp tro bliver udnyttet af hjrefljen til at propagandere for alt lige fra regulering af
skatteforhold til abort.
Mlet har intet med udbredelse af kristendommen at gre, men alt med implementeringen af
hjrefljspolitikker under dkke af det kristne budskab at gre. Det er et magtfuldt mix, specielt i
landdistrikterne og i Sydstaterne, hvor Tea Party-bevgelsen ogs har sine mest trofaste sttter,
skriver Daily Kos videre i sin analyse af Salem.
Daily Kos: The Council for National Policy is a shadowy group comprising leaders in the
family values, national defense and ''decency'' movements, dubbed "Sith Lords of the
Ultra-Right" by the liberal blog DailyKos.


Atsinger and Epperson's commitment to conservative activism extends to their local
community involvement. While Atsinger's political donations at the state and local level
reveal his priorities, Epperson is also founder of the Salem Pregnancy Center, a
"women's resource center" in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Their website is billed on
the web as an alternative to abortion and contains a full page of warnings about "postabortion syndrome." His son, Stuart Epperson Jr., a board member for the Center (and
amazingly a radio station general manager and talk-show host in his own right) penned a
bizarre Christmas piece for the Winston-Salem Journal two weeks ago that begins as
follows:
The night was dark. The times were desperate. An oppressive government was calling for
a universal tax and a young teenage girl was well advanced in her crisis pregnancy.
Under these desperate conditions, Joseph and Mary traveled by foot and donkey over
100 miles south to Bethlehem, but found no room at the inn. The only place to lodge and
deliver this child was a dark, dank stable, a disheveled pen for animals and beasts of
burden.
As bizarre as this formulation of the traditional Christmas story might be, it serves as a
good illustration of the way the right views the extrapolation of its "faith" to other issues
like regulation, taxation and abortion given puzzlingly short shrift in the actual Bible. The
goal here is not only to spread Christianity, but to implement right-wing policies under the
guise of Christianity, as by their engagement with Sean Hannity, William Bennett, and
other assorted Limbaugh wannabees. That is a potent mix, especially in rural areas and
in the South where (not coincidentally) the "Tea Party" has its most virulent adherents.
Lokalradio betaler prisen
Andre liberale stemmer er bekymrede over konsekvenserne for den lokale amerikanske radioverden.
Carol Pierson, der er prsident og administrerende direktr for The National Federation of Community
Broadcasters (sammenslutningen af lokale radiostationer i USA, red.) siger, at vksten i antallet af
religise radiokanaler er sket p bekostning af lokale og uafhngige public servicestationer: Vi ser nu
lokalstationer, hvor der tidligere blev sendt jazzprogrammer eller NPR's nyheder (NPR er USA's svar p
DR, red.), men som nu sender kristne programmer. P det kommercielle radiomarked kan virksomheder
som Salem, der har masser af penge, nemt udkonkurrere alle andre, og det pvirker demokratiet.
Pierson frygter, at mlet i det lange lb er et benhrdt fokus p offentlige nedskringer og begrnset
statslige indflydelse. P lngere sigt vil satsningen p netbaserde medier f langt strre betydning end
opkbet af radiostationer; vi ender ikke bare med ' en begrnset stat', men med et teokrati.
Mother Jones: Carol Pierson, president and CEO of the National Federation of
Community Broadcasters, says the growth of religious broadcasting behemoths has come
at the expense of locally produced public-interest and independent radio stations. In
some areas, stations that once played jazz or broadcast NPR now feature religious
programming. Several religious networks own a huge number of licenses, Pierson says.
The nonprofit Educational Media Foundation is gobbling up parts of the spectrum
reserved for educational programs and broadcasting religious programming. In the for-

profit market, cash-rich companies like Salem are pricing everybody out of the market,
Pierson says. I think this is a major issue, and its impact on democracy is incredible.
Daily Kos (tillgges fejlaftigt Carol Pierson i forlngelse af ovenstende): The
corporate media credit the Tea Party as a "grassroots movement" of disaffected
Republicans eager to "get Uncle Sam off their backs" and supposedly committed to
reducing Federal spending, cutting "entitlements" and shaving the deficit, all working
towards the goal of more "limited" government. As the media interests that support them
begin to consolidate and expand beyond radio to the Web, the right's pretension to
"limiting government" increasingly appears to include the imposition of a Theocracy in its
place.
anra@information.dk
Fakta: FAKTA
Salem Communications I 2013 ejede virksomheden 99 radiostationer.
Heraf ligger 62 inden for de frende (alts strste) 25 markeder, og 31 af dem er at finde p top-10.
39 stationer fokuserer p ' Christian Teaching & Talk', og 27 stationer har specialiseret sig i NewsTalk en genre, som vi i Danmark kender fra Radio24Syvs format.
Hertil kommer en musikstation kaldet The FISH, som krer p 27 stationer, ti stationer, der specialiserer
sig i erhvervsstof, Business Talk - The Wall Street Radio Network, samt syv spanske kristne kanaler,
Radio Luz.
Brugerne kan lytte til samtlige stationer online via TuneIn Radio, iHeartRadio og forskellige specifikke
apps, der veksler fra station til station.
Ud over radiostationer ejer virksomheden ogs over 100 websites, deraf flere af USA's mest besgte
konservative hjemmesider og blogs.

Politico: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/01/salem-communicationsconservative-media-101739?o=0
Talking Points Memo: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/salem-communicationstwitchy-red-state-conservative-media
Daily Kos: http://www.dailykosbeta.com/stories/1267362/full_content
Mother Jones: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2005/12/higher-frequency