The blog, The Cable Game, relaunched earlier this year. The original blog was controversial and after it shut down, Gabriel Sherman reported in his Roger Ailes biography that Ailes and Fox News were behind the website. Now, the website is back and written by Sydney Bloom which may not be the author’s real name. Bloom agreed to talk to us for a wide-ranging interview from the relaunch of the website to CNN’s Brian Stelter. One of the first articles criticized Stelter and Bloom wrote another piece investigating Stelter’s past and finding evidence of liberal views.
The interview was conducted over email so the following is quoted from the interview. One change was made to one of my questions in order to fix the punctuation. Other than that, it is the exact same. [UPDATE, 5:41: We have edited one of the questions after it was pointed out that we had a redundant word.]
Tyler, TKNN: Is there any reason that you’re hesitant to discuss your identity and/or your background?
The Cable Game: Aside from my inherent humility? Yes. I don’t want to be identified. Then there would be no mystery.
T: Does this iteration of The Cable Game have any relation to the previous Cable Game blog?
TCG: It’s intended to be a continuation, or more properly perhaps a reboot.
T: Is there any reason you decided to reboot The Cable Game specifically? Rather than start a new blog or resurrect a different another one?
TCG: Because of its real or presumed notoriety, and the unanswered questions about its provenance. I thought that would be a more interesting choice than just another new blog or rebooting some site that came and went without notice or controversy. Would you be asking me these questions if I had just kicked off a blog called, say, Sydney’s Cable News Commentary?
T: Will your blog be more reports or opinion?
TCG: There are lots of reports out there, and I do some of that. But I’m looking more to give some perspective and analysis on cable news, both the content and influence of the reporting as well as behind-the-scenes intrigue and power struggles. Lots of ratings numbers get published every day but I like to look behind the numbers to see if any trends or possibilities can be inferred from them. Insider tips welcome; confidentiality guaranteed.
T: What are your thoughts regarding the cable news channels?
TCG: That’s pretty wide open. Can you sharpen the focus a bit?
T: Are you a fan of Fox News?
TCG: Sometimes. They have some vulnerabilities but I’ve been focusing elsewhere so far. Still I probably find less to dislike than at the other major news channels or MSNBC.
T: You wrote a very thorough piece attacking CNN’s Brian Stelter. Do you have something against Stelter?
TCG: Any time anyone writes something critical, they have “something against” the subject. If you’re asking or suggesting if there’s some long-held grudge between us, nope. Never met the man or talked to him face to face.
T: What was the reasoning behind the piece?
TCG: I think it’s strange when they put him on the air and he doesn’t do Reliable Sources because he’s in “breaking news mode.” Not to be disrespectful to him but he’s not a professional broadcaster. It doesn’t make sense for him to anchor breaking news when CNN has a huge staff of people with decades of on-camera experience. It makes me wonder why he’s getting this kind of exposure. (It can’t be as a reward for soaring ratings.) And that leads to the corollary that it doesn’t make sense for him to report news when the following week he’s going to switch hats and critique how his competitors are covering that same news. I’m also struck by how eagerly he dives into stories about Bill O’Reilly and Fox News while taking a very different approach with Fareed Zakaria, Jim Clancy, and Carol Costello. What IS it that those three have in common, anyhow?
T: I noticed that two of your followers are high-profile Fox News employees (a director of Special Programming and a contributor), do you see a reason for that?
TCG: Two of my EIGHT followers. My @thecablegamer twitter account is rapidly becoming a must-read, isn’t it? I’m very new to the twitter, so I’m surprised I even have eight. If I recall correctly that Special Programming follow came when I did a piece on Strange Inheritance and plugged it on twitter. That’s a show he produces so that could be a clue. The other one I think was when I tried plugging a post to a bunch of people who might find it interesting and got that particular follower out of it. (I don’t think he gave me an RT however, which was what I was trying for.)
T: Gabriel Sherman reported that the original Cable Game blog was started and run by Fox News PR. How do you fight that perception?
TCG: I’m not trying to fight it. I’m not sure if it’s true–it’s certainly never been confirmed that I know of–but that’s why I’ve adapted some of the set-up and design of the old Cable Game. I want people to be curious and at least drop by once in a while, and maybe that will help. Unless it doesn’t. Or maybe I was behind the original Cable Game blog too. How devious would that be?
T: You said that you do not want to reveal who you are. Does that mean that Sydney Bloom is a pseudonym? Your profile image is from the tv show VR.5, is there any significance to that?
TCG: Yes it is significant, at least to the extent that it could suggest the answer to your question directly previous.
T: Is the use of a fake image and possible pseudonym part of the “mystery” you brought up before?
TCG: I suppose. There are lots of pseudonyms in the wide world of blogs, and emblematic (I think I prefer that term to ‘fake’) images as well. In this case the intention isn’t to mislead; nobody is going to confuse me with Lori Singer. It just for the fun of it.