The Daily Caller’s out with a breathless report today about Obama supporter and rumored Commerce Secretary candidate Leo Hindery Jr. Titled ‘Employees: Obama donor in process of buying up and ‘destroying’ America’s top pro-gun media outlets,’ the piece advances the story that “Employees of Obama donor Leo Hindery Jr.’s media conglomerate InterMedia Partners, which now owns most of the top gun-culture media outlets in the country, believe that Hindery plans to gut and destroy all of them as part of a business plan that has already led to numerous layoffs and the virtual shuttering of prominent television production facilities in Minnesota and Montana.” Well, maybe . . .
InterMedia Partners, a private equity firm, owns something called InterMedia Outdoor Holdings which in turn owns a goodly number of “gun culture media outlets.” Names like Guns & Ammo, Handguns and Rifle Shooter. That’s right, good ol’ G&A is owned by a Barack money man. Looks like blood (and money) is thicker than water. Or politics. Or so they say.
Anyway, IOH, which has owned the Sporsman Channel for six years, is in the process of adding the Outdoor Channel to their stable. At this point, they’re just waiting for SEC and FCC approval (gee, what are the odds one of the President’s top donors will get the go-aheads they need?). And the DC article quotes anonymous employees implying that it’s all just a part of a nefarious plot to chloroform pro-gun media outlets.
Now, as anyone who frequents sites where supporters of the RKBA congregate can tell you, there’s no shortage of conspiracy theories floated about just about anyone’s and everyone’s anti-2A motives and activities every damned day. But as anyone on this side of the argument can also tell you, just because you’re paranoid, that doesn’t mean they’re not really out to grab your guns.
Except that the examples the Daily Caller cites of InterMedia’s gun media genocidal motives aren’t terribly persuasive:
Prior to its acquisition by InterMedia, the media brand Petersen’s Hunting, the television arm of which is broadcast by the Sportsman Channel, was housed in a “beautiful” facility in Baxter, Minnesota, overlooking the Mississippi River. The facility had approximately 60 employees, a massive studio, at least nine editing bays and fully-wired machine rooms and was conducting about four studio shoots per year with a full production crew.
That facility now mostly consists of about 12 employees — “basic administrative types,” who “think every day they go into work is going to be their layoff day,” according to an InterMedia employee who spoke on condition of anonymity.
So this lavish, no doubt expensive, space was staffed with by sixty people who produced…four shoots a year? what did they do during the other seven months? Now that InterMedia’s in charge . . .
“They have people working out of rental strip malls doing all of their TV production,” the source said.
Employees of the Baxter facility were offered the chance to move to Peoria, Ill., which offers a tax credit to companies who “create” jobs in town, in order to keep their employment.
Maybe Hindery can fairly be accused of being a heartless corporate raider. A modern-day Gordon Gekko. But cutting fat and reducing operating costs through consolidation are part of private equity’s stock-in-trade. Like the scorpion on the frog’s back, that’s just their nature.
InterMedia also purchased a company called Barrett Productions in Missoula, Mont., which was previously a thriving and well-respected television production company. The Barrett facility is now “gutted.”
“There’s nothing there but one intern slash production assistant and one administrative type. All the production people are gone. It’s a shell,” according to the employee.
“Now that Hindery has the Outdoor Channel, he’s in a position to consolidate all of the major pro-Second Amendment media titles in this country, strip them down, and destroy them, like venture capitalists do sometimes,” the employee said.
Again, reading between the lines, it sounds like InterMedia bought Barrett to — in consultant-speak — add another player in the same space (outdoor content production) with positive synergies. So they’re cutting/combining common functions and consolidating the whole thing to save overall production costs.
Is that a messy, unpleasant, job-killing process? Yep. Will there be plenty of former employees pissed off about losing the great jobs they used to have? You betcha. And they’ll be all too happy to talk to a reporter about the a-holes who bought the company and fired their asses. But is that evidence of some kind of hoplophobic cabal looking to kill off pro-gun outdoor media? Not so much.
As for those gun mags InterMedia owns, in case you hadn’t noticed, they’re dying a long slow death on their own. Just like your local
fishwrap newspaper, dead tree print is dead or on life support. Thanks to sites like this one and others, they’re headed the way of Blockbuster, Waldenbooks and Borders.
All of this seems eerily reminiscent of that hoary “George Soros owns the Freedom Group!” wackitude that was so prevalent a few years back . . . and has since been thoroughly debunked. Again, given the current climate, it’s kinda hard to blame gunnies for donning the Reynolds Wrap yarmulke every now and again.
And if Hindery was using his own personal fortune to buy up gun mags and cable properties, maybe denizens of the gun culture would have a little more reason to worry. With only his own millions on the line, he’d be free to indulge his personal political leanings and do whatever he wanted with all of those properties. Including shit-canning them.
But no matter what Hindery’s political predilections may be, by owning all of these outlets through InterMedia and its subsidiaries, he’s risking his partners’ money, too. Which means he has a responsibility to maximize profits. And to make damned sure there are plenty of digits on those distribution checks at the end of every year.
A quick glance around the tragedy TV dial, the Intertubes and, yes, these pages will demonstrate all too clearly that the pro-gun culture has plenty to worry about these days. But Leo Hindery’s InterMedia-related activities don’t appear to be among them.