GE, Fox, and Clear Channel let the crazy-train roll


What happens when you get three pumpkin heads of the airwaves shouting at each other as their conglomerate parents try to rein them in? You get a whole lot of crazy! But the question is whether that is crazy as in loony bin or crazy like a fox (and I do mean with a small f here). I think the answer is crazy like a fox -- because all this media attention about the pumpkin heads and their corporate minders is good for ratings.

Which pumpkin heads? General Electric (GE) has Keith Olbermann of MSNBC, News Corp's (NWS) Fox News Channel has Bill O'Reilly and Clear Channel Communications -- which is owned by a consortium of private equity firms -- has Rush Limbaugh. Each is crazy in his own way as he seeks followers who resonate with his particular brand of anger.

And their corporate minders pay them well for the privilege. Olbermann's contract pays $7.5 million a year; O'Reilly gets the princely sum of $10 million to $12 million a year; and Limbaugh tops the bunch with $400 million through 2016 which came last July with a $100 million signing bonus.