At a press conference for TV critics, FNC and Fox affiliates chief Roger Ailes announced he will be unveiling a syndicated morning news show next January. Now Fox fans will be able to get their fix without cable:
Ailes and Fox are gearing up for a yet-to-be
named morning show that will air after the local news broadcasts. Mike
Jerrick and Juliet Huddy of the Fox News Channel will host the 9 a.m.
offering, which will focus on light, entertaining fare when there's
little hard news.
The morning show will
launch in January and will go up against the final hour of a
Couric-free "Today" and newly formatted "Regis and Kelly," with a
little less Regis Philbin. Since September, Philbin has been doing four
days a week instead of five.
Leopold (left) and Johnson.The Jason Leopold sock puppet scandal continues to expand as Seixon, the blogger at the center of the scandal has received a death threat and a threatening email telling him to stop exposing the nutjobs pushing the Valerie Plame scandal.
Since I last updated NB readers on this story (you really need the post to understand this one), Leopold or a minion posted more of Sexion's personal information as well as his parents' address and his mother's name late night on his blog and at Ace of Spades, ensuring it would remain overnight.
Sexion then received an email apparently from Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst and state department guy who now seems to spend his time peddling conspiracy theories and promoting Jason Leopold and Joe Wilson. After divulging more of Seixon's personal information, Johnson all but threatened the blogger to stop his reporting
If an MSM movie critic reviews a movie in an empty forest, will
anyone care? That is the question posed by newspaper film reviewer,
Whitty who seems agonized that the general public and the movie
industry increasingly regard him and his colleagues as irrelevant:
[Helping end the days when MSM critics matter more] has
been Hollywood's increasing reliance on pre-sold titles, saturation
advertising and action franchises aimed at teenage boys.
I started at Paramount in the '60s, you opened a picture in four
theaters and hoped for good reviews," says the former studio
exec. "Nowadays, when you open a movie on 4,000 screens, spend
$80 million on ads -- well, you're not exactly dependent on word of
No argument there, and no news to veteran
"I think the studios have finally realized they
have all this power, so why don't they use it," says Dave Kehr,
who reviewed films for the Chicago Tribune, the New York Daily News
and the New York Times before switching to a DVD column for the
Times. "They don't need us. People like Adam Sandler have
demonstrated that you can treat critics with open contempt and it
doesn't make the slightest difference."
There's a lot of truth in Whitty's analysis so far. Since most
people no longer read newspapers, it stands to reason that they'd
stop consulting critics working in their employ. And he is certainly
right about Sandler, whose cinematic corpus delicti demonstrates
contempt not just for critics but for anyone with an IQ higher than
70. Unfortunately, this is about all our erstwhile critic gets right.
If there ever were a contest for the most deranged left-wing
journalist, the guy with the biggest head start would have to be Jason Leopold,
the fabulist most recently
embarrassed for his phony report that White House aide Karl Rove had
been indicted May 12. Since his journalism was exposed as fraudulent,
he's been on a tear lashing out at anyone daring to question him.
But Leopold hasn't stopped there. Most recently, he's been involved in complicated sock puppet
posting comments defending himself under pseudonyms on various blogs,
disclosing others' private information, and hurling around accusations
of forgery and
pedophilia. Instead of being alone in his deranged quest, however,
Leopold seems to have a few others helping him in his quest for truth,
including Larry Johnson, an obsessed former CIA employee who has become
known as one of the most quoted defenders of Bush-hater Joe Wilson.
Leopold's retinue also seems to include his former colleague at the
leftist news site RawStory, Larisa Alexandrovna.
The whole affair was uncovered by the Seixon blog (here and here), run by a formerly anonymous American blogger living in Norway whose identity was exposed by Leopold's monkeys.
story begins where any tale of leftist idiocy should begin, at the
Daily Kos, where Leopold's false reports had finally begun to attract
suspicion from the community.
Calista Flockhart, formerly star of the 90s Fox hit "Ally McBeal" is set to return to television as a Republican pundit. Amazingly, she doesn't seem to be particularly conservative:
ABC reportedly has huge hopes for a new series to
air this fall called "Brothers & Sisters," which will follow the
hit "Desperate Housewives" on the schedule. Calista Flockhart, best
known as Ally McBeal, plays a conservative radio host turned TV pundit. [...]
Flockhart recently explained, "I really want to go back to work. It just seemed like the perfect time and the perfect project."
Asked to describe the pundit, producer Ken Olin
(formerly a star of “Thirty Something’) said, "She's not Ann Coulter.
She's not insane."
Writer Jon Robin Baitz added, "No, I think she's a
thoughtful conservative. She's ideologically, in some respects, very
much in mind with the older parts of the party, the sort of Eisenhower
Republican, the William Buckley conservative. She's also a humanist."
At today's White House press briefing, reporters kept pushing Bush spokesman Tony Snow as to why the administration hasn't been pressuring Israel to go for a non-enforceable ceasefire with Hezbollah in order to avoid bad PR for having a "disproportionate" response to terrorism.
That makes no sense, Snow replied since basically this line of thought involves asking Israel to incur civilian categories in order to look better. Reporters, such as CBS's Jim Axelrod insisted that wasn't what they were saying but provided no evidence to the contrary. Transcript excerpt below. Full text here.
Over at National Review, Richard Nadler reports the results of a comprehensive poll of Iraqis. They don't see things as negatively as the American press it seems:
The International Republican Institute’s “Survey of Iraqi Public
Opinion,” released July 19, 2006, provides a useful reality check to
these assumptions. The survey records that Iraqis overwhelmingly reject
sectarianism and national division; and that they widely support the
government they have elected. Moreover, most Iraqis feel safe in their
poll is the latest addition to a series that the Institute has
sponsored for the past three years. The surveys were conducted June 14
through June 24 this year—a time of high sectarian violence,
particularly in the Baghdad area. The pollsters conducted 2849
interviews in Arabic and Kurdish, balanced for geography, ethnicity,
sex, and age.
The February 22 bombing of the al-Askari shrine
marked a turning point for the insurgency in Iraq. Al-Qaeda in Iraq,
led at the time by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, implemented a long-discussed
plan to target Shiite civilian and religious targets. The object was
not to kill all Shiites—an obvious impossibility—but to generate a
cycle of revenge killings by Shiite militias and police that would
alienate and radicalize the Sunni populations in the most integrated
parts of the country, particularly Baghdad.
In effect, Zarqawi
chose to feed the anti-democracy insurgency in Iraq by narrowing its
base. This paid immediate tactical dividends in both the Western and
pan-Arab press, which covered the daily slaughters. But it was
strategically counterproductive to al-Qaeda. The movement alienated
ever-growing segments of the Iraqi population, and even of the
insurgency, driving them toward the new government rather than away
Internet giants Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft have come under fire
today from Amnesty International for actively complying with the
authoritarian government of China's attempts to censor the internet
in that country.
These companies came in for withering criticism as part of
Amnesty's campaign to raise awareness of political censorship
throughout the world by highlighting its impact in China where
internet suppression is more widespread and effective largely because
American tech companies are "particularly willing to cooperate
with the Chinese government," the group said in a
"The internet can be a great tool for the promotion of human
rights -- activists can tell the world about abuses in their country
at the click of a mouse. People have unprecedented access to
information from the widest range of sources," the statement
continued. "But the internet's potential for change is being
undermined -- by governments unwilling to tolerate this free media
outlet, and by companies willing to help them repress free speech."
An excerpt from the devastating report (PDF) is after the jump. For a look at web censorship in India, read this from Michelle Malkin.
Will we finally see the end of the media-manufactured Plame scandal? Christopher Hitchens thinks so:
Robert Novak's July 12 column and his appearance on "Meet the Press" Sunday night have dissolved any remaining doubt about the mad theory that the Bush administration "outed" Ms. Valerie Plame as revenge for her husband's refusal to confirm the report by British intelligence that Iraqi officials had visited Niger in search of uranium. To summarize, we now know that:
Novak was never approached by any administration officials but approached them instead.
He was never told the name Plame but discovered it from Who's Who in America, which contained it in Joseph Wilson's entry.
Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald had all along known which sources had responded to Novak's questions.
When one thinks of the oceans of ink and acres of paper that have been wasted on this mother of all nonstories, one wants to weep for the journalistic profession as well as for the trees.
Is CNN correspondent Nic Robertson looking to be the next Peter Arnett? I've been getting tips that this may be the case. They're starting to wonder at Israpundit after watching Robertson uncritically relay a Hezbollah claim that Israel had been targeting civilians.
Elsewhere from the sympathy-for-terrorists department, Michelle Malkin has a great vivisection of the New York Times and its terrorist-embedded photographers.
UPDATE 12:42. NB's Rich Noyes has the full details on Robertson's shillery.
Somehow, I don't expect we'll be seeing the leftist Fox-haters trumpeting the latest news about Rupert Murdoch. Seems he was last seen hosting a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton:
Two of the most public people in the world had a chummy breakfast yesterday, but media mogul Rupert Murdoch and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) tried to keep their political get-together as secret as possible.
There were no Fox News cameras to record the odd couple breaking bread together at Murdoch's News Corp. headquarters in midtown, where, after years of attacking her, the conservative Murdoch hosted a fund-raiser for Clinton's Democratic Senate campaign.
The campaign refused to even confirm the time or location of the controversial fund-raiser. No estimate of the take or number of people who attended was released.
One of the frequent complaints liberals make about the Bush admin is that it is far too secret with everything, cutting off the public from information that it has a right to know. It's a complaint that's usually made by either party when it's out of power. The minority party usually tries to paint the majority as a corrupt and less-than-transparent.
Curiously, though, some new Democratic complaints of a lack of transparancy are now arising, but they're not about Republicans. Via Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters, we learn that more moderate Democrats are raising questions about a liberal group lavishing millions of dollars on leftist groups like Air America and Media Matters in exchange for silence about their finances:
An alliance of nearly a hundred of the nation's wealthiest donors is
roiling Democratic political circles, directing more than $50 million
in the past nine months to liberal think tanks and advocacy groups in
what organizers say is the first installment of a long-term campaign to
compete more aggressively against conservatives.
A year after its founding, Democracy Alliance has followed up on
its pledge to become a major power in the liberal movement. It has
lavished millions on groups that have been willing to submit to its
extensive screening process and its demands for secrecy.
These include the Center for American Progress, a think tank with an
unabashed partisan edge, as well as Media Matters for America, which
tracks what it sees as conservative bias in the news media. Several
alliance donors are negotiating a major investment in Air America, a
liberal talk-radio network.
But the large checks and demanding style wielded by Democracy
Alliance organizers in recent months have caused unease among
Washington's community of Democratic-linked organizations. The alliance
has required organizations that receive its endorsement to sign
agreements shielding the identity of donors.
Remember the Adam Clymer incident? Back when George W. Bush was running for president, he called a New York Times reporter an obscenity in what he thought was an unmiked remark to Dick Cheney. For weeks, the liberal elite press corps, notorious for its own love of profanity, was up in arms about how dastardly Bush was for using such horrible, filthy language.
Now it seems Bush will soon be hearing more hypocritical lectures:
It wasn't meant to be overheard. Private luncheon conversations among world leaders, picked up by a microphone, provided a rare window into both banter and substance _ including President Bush cursing Hezbollah's attacks against Israel.
Bush expressed his frustration with the United Nations and his disgust with the militant Islamic group and its backers in Syria as he talked to British Prime Minister Tony Blair during the closing lunch at the Group of Eight summit.
"See the irony is that what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this s--- and it's over," Bush told Blair as he chewed on a buttered roll. [...]
The unscripted comments came during a photo opportunity at the lunch. The leaders clearly did not realize that a live microphone was picking up their discussion.
Asked about the microphone mishap during his final briefing of the summit, Blair quipped that it was "all about transparent government."
The "revolving door" is a
term reporters often cynically use to talk about the close
relationships that political and lobbying people have with each
other. It's certainly true that in American politics, many people do
move readily between working in government posts to lobbying
But what many journos won't tell you is
that there's another revolving door that politicos use, from politics
to media. They also won't tell you that only Democrats seem to have
the key. The number of Republicans moving into positions of influence
inside the media is small enough you can almost count it on one hand.
And in many cases, the sheer audacity of a former Republican politico
daring to set foot in the press has caused left-wingers, journalist
and blogger alike. The recent Ben
Domenech fiasco or the disgraceful hounding that Susan
Molinari experienced after being hired as an anchor at CBS are
potent examples of this.
At the beginning of each TV season, the cable and broadcast television networks trot out their new lineups for an ever-jaded and cynical bunch, the nation's TV critics. Despite their grousing about shows, Aaron Barnhart writes, tv crix realize they shouldn't be complaining because in many ways, entertainment television has never been better in this country than it is now. So why is it that news television fails to inspire much enthusiasm? My thoughts follow this excerpt from Barnhart's piece:
Here inside the Ritz-Carlton ballroom, we may be suffering from chills,
bloggerhea and other work-related ailments, but we're not kidding
ourselves: We know our jobs are great.
And that's because it's a pleasure to write about TV shows that, on
the whole, are now better made and better written than movies are.
Every day, thousands of people walk out of the store with a home
theater and soon discover the joys of staying at home as opposed to the
cineplex, where their choices have dwindled thanks to the
divide-and-conquer demographic madness that has gripped Hollywood. (If
only the Caribbean pirates would wear Prada, as my friend Gary Dretzka recently joked.)
Prime time television is more entertaining, more satisfying and -- as Stephen Johnson convincingly argued in his book Everything Bad Is Good For You -- more challenging than it has ever been. We're living in a golden age for TV entertainment.
So why is it that the situation for TV news is trending in exactly
the opposite direction? Why is it more insipid, sensational and facile
than ever? Why are Americans who rely on television as their main
source of information less informed than ever? [...]
The death of Ken Lay, the founder of the now-defunct energy company
Enron, aroused a lot more passions than a typical CEO's passing would.
Apparently, many liberals out there are letting their anger out in the
strangest place, Lay's entry in the online community encyclopedia,
Wikipedia. Frank Ahrens reports:
10:11 a.m., the Lay article concluded, "The guilt of ruining so many
lives finaly [sic] led him to his suicide." (Is it the speed with which
flamers type that inevitably leads to typos? Or is it a political
statement, a willful rebellion against the bourgeoisie strictures of
so-called conventional spelling? Or are they just idiots? Discuss.)
one minute later, actual news managed to elbow its way into Wikipedia:
"According to Lay's pastor the cause was a 'massive coronary' heart
But the sanity was short-lived. At 10:39 a.m., a
self-styled medical expert opined: "Speculation as to the cause of the
heart attack lead many people to believe it was due to the amount of
stress put on him by the Enron trial."
Finally, by Wednesday
afternoon, the Wikipedia entry about Lay said that he was pronounced
dead at an Aspen, Colo., hospital and had died of a heart attack,
citing news sources.
What does all of this tell us?
That Wikipedia's greatest strength is its greatest weakness.
the statement that "history is written by the winners" is too gross, it
does speak to an underlying truth: All definitive encyclopedia
authorship comes with the point of view of its times. It is
Last week, the media reported rather quickly on charges that conservative author and columnist Ann Coulter had plagiarized material in her writings. Will they be as quick to report that both her syndicate and her publisher believe the charges to be illegitimate?
The syndicator of Ann Coulter's newspaper columns rejected allegations that she had lifted material from other sources, saying a review of the work in question turned up nothing that merited concern.
"There are only so many ways you can rewrite a fact and minimal matching text is not plagiarism," Lee Salem, editor and president of Universal Press Syndicate, said Monday in a statement.
"Universal Press Syndicate is confident in the ability of Ms. Coulter, an attorney and frequent media target, to know when to make attribution and when not to."
Of note: while AP reporter Hillel Italie instantly jumped on the plagiarism charges against "the right-wing pundit", mentioning specific liberal web sites by name where readers could go to investigate the charges, they have failed to do so for a litany of charges made by critics against the equally vocal (but liberal) Michael Moore. Not one of the litany of charges made by sites like MooreWatch.com has been covered by the AP according to Nexis.
Fox News Channel is currently thinking about a new show that is supposed to be a conservative version of the very liberal "Daily Show," seen on Comedy Central.
I've long thought conservatives should take a stab at televised political parody. The last time it was really done was during Rush Limbaugh's short-lived syndicated show which was doomed by niche audiences and unsympathetic programming. In the cable age, though, this type of show really has potential. I was pleased to see FNC has apparently chosen just the person I had in mind for such a show, radio host Laura Ingraham.
TV Newser has more details, noting that the show may never happen since it's only a pilot.
Related: Study says "Daily Show" creates negative perceptions among viewers about politics. The post has an unrelated but interesting item about how Democrats believe the federal government should give more aid to white victims of Hurricane Katrina than black victims. See James Taranto's discussion for more.
Reality often is stranger than fiction, the saying goes. An author writing the story of former anchor partners Dan Rather and Connie Chung's lives would never have had the temerity to have them both get canned within a week of each other. Not after the two's well-known history of bickering and fighting with each other. Yet that's exactly what happened. Seattle Post-Intelligencer TV critic Melanie McFarland looks back at the twighlight of both discarded anchors (Diskussionsleitersdämmerung?), realizing that between Rather's delusions and Chung's bizarre singing debut, the former duo provide another lesson in how not to behave:
More than a decade has passed since Dan Rather and Connie Chung had us shaking our heads at the obvious tension when they briefly shared an anchor desk between 1993 and 1995.
Rather won in the end, using a nasty behind-the-scenes campaign to force out his co-anchor. He remained at CBS; she jumped to ABC and later to cable.
Nobody would have guessed their separate and drastically declined careers would share headlines again -- and in the same week. [...]
Many are the lessons of how to begin a journalism career. These two showed us how not to end one. Different as their career trajectories may have been for a time, Chung and Rather's respective undoings are, in the end, the same. They held on for too long. And you know what happens when you overstay your welcome: You get cast out with a rough push instead of a friendly wave.
This is truer of Rather's departure, of course. Given his inglorious step down from CBS's anchor chair, a muffled exit was inevitable. The 74-year-old newscaster insists he's not done and has announced his intention to host a weekly interview program on Mark Cuban's high-definition channel, HDNet, where he will be watched by a few thousand, if he's lucky. He told The New York Times that he's contemplating a blog.
The original source of the whole blogger investigation was an article printed in New York Times blog (disclosing how Armstrong was found by the SEC to have promoted junk stocks and bonds on the web) which never appeared in the print edition and is unreadable without a paid subscription to the web site. After the story came out, The New York Post printed its own story, and in the process taking the scoop. It's starting to seem as though NYT blogger Chris Suellentrop's editors did not deem newsworthy a story which reflected badly on the left-wing blogosphere despite devoting mucho coverage to it this month.
Writing at NewsMax, Steve Malzberg talks about how the liberal press holds Ann Coulter to a much higher standard than it does for left-wing humorists.
You have to admire the brazen
hypocrisy being exhibited by the liberal media when it comes to the
treatment that Ann Coulter has been receiving from them.
She has been so vilified that at least one liberal columnist has
reportedly suggested she'd be better off dead. He actually asked her,
"Would it kill you to do us all a favor and kill yourself?" But that
columnist, Simon Dumenco of Ad Age, gets away unscathed – as do the
rest of those who have directed vile, outrageous and shameful remarks
in the direction of Coulter and others on the right.
Once again, the alternative media broke news before the MSM. Last May, NewsBusters reported that CBS and Dan Rather were about to part company. Today, the Philadelphia Inquirer's Gail Shister and the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz confirmed it. From Shister's story:
Barring a miracle, CBS will not renew the legendary newsman's contract when it expires in late November. All signs point to it.
Still, like Sisyphus, Rather keeps pushing the rock at Black Rock.
"I don't quit. It's not in me," Rather, 74, said yesterday in a rare
interview about his future at CBS. "As long as there's any chance I can
stay and do meaningful work, that's what I want to do. Not every day
can be bliss."
Bliss? The McCarthy hearings would be bliss compared to Rather's last 18 months at CBS.
Following Memogate, he was forced to step down as CBS Evening News anchor in March '05 after a record 24 years. Mike Wallace, among several other marquee colleagues, said he should have been fired.
MSNBC surprised everyone Monday with its announcement that the struggling channel will now be headed by an executive tag team of "Today" chief Phil Griffin and one of its own show hosts, Dan Abrams.
The appointment of Griffin didn't exactly come as a surprise; last week's scuttlebutt had him being given the top spot. Abrams's elevation did. It also gives insight into what MSNBC's strategy to avoid being known as "electronic journalism's version of the Chicago Cubs."
Some key facts:
Griffin, known officially as "executive in charge," is also keeping his title as executive producer of NBC's "Today" show.
Newly dubbed "general manager" Abrams will keep his job as NBC's top legal affairs analyst but will be giving up his current main job as host of the courts-heavy "Abrams Report."
Griffin will not move his offices over to MSNBC's far-flung New Jersey location.
NBC is in the process of buying out its partner Microsoft's stake in MSNBC entirely. It's already the majority owner.
For Aaron Barnhart, the verdict seems in: "They're letting him keep his network job. Which tells you something about what a high priority fixing MSNBC is over there at GE."
UPDATE 20:54. My take: That Abrams was brought in as Griffin's deputy indicates that there may be relatively major changes in the near future, with a team comprised of a newsie and an exec, it will be harder for competing factions within the organization to resist management. Abrams's hiring also likely means that MSNBC is going to approach news with more irreverence, and give greater latitude to anchors to express their opinions and show emotion (i.e. be more like human beings instead of talking infoheads). [Abrams not getting the top spot also shows that upper management views this as a test of sorts for him. If he pulls it off, expect him to move up the NBC ladder.]
This weekend, we're doing two pictures for the captionfest. Here's the original of the first: "TV cameramen film a photograph displayed at a press conference in
Baghdad, Iraq purporting to show the body of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the
Second: "A Pakistani Muslim reads a newspaper splashed with headlines of the
killing of al Qaeda militant Abu Musab al Zarqawi in Peshawar June 9,