The MSM seems to be focusing on the replacement of Katie Couric's producer as a story about her poor ratings.
Six months after Katie Couric's much-ballyhooed debut as "CBS Evening News" anchor, the network signaled on Thursday an overhaul of her flagging newscast by hiring one of the industry's most experienced hands to oversee her program.
But despite Couric's ratings being at the predicted "bottom of the toilet bowl" range, it appears there's something else behind this move. The new producer is Rick Kaplan. He's being billed as:
"...among the most experienced, and most traveled, producers in TV news, having worked for ABC News, CNN and MSNBC as well as CBS over a 35-year career.
If I were a rich man, the media would likely bash me. But if I were a female billionaire, I would become "good news" according to ABC and NBC.
While both ABC and NBC have called very successful CEOs examples of "runaway pay," there was no animosity to be found toward extremely high-earning women during the March 8 "World News with Charles Gibson" or "Nightly News."
In fact, after CNBC's Maria Bartiromo stated that 83 women made Forbes magazine's billionaires list on NBC "Nightly News," anchor Campbell Brown chimed: "All right, that's good news."
ABC's "World News" lauded the 1 percent club: "self-made members of the fairer sex," but left out Forbes statement that 60 percent of those on the billionaires list all made their fortunes from scratch.
On Friday’s "Good Morning America," veteran journalist Ted Koppel talked with co-host Diane Sawyer about his new Discovery Channel special on the war against terror, "Our Children’s Children’s War." Koppel used the appearance to suggest that America stop calling the conflict a war, rely more on negotiations and he also blamed the U.S. for actually making things worse, asserting that " we turned al Qaeda into the biggest franchise since McDonalds."
Throughout the interview, Koppel discussed the need to take the long view. A plan that apparently means pulling out of Iraq:
Over at TVNewser, Brian Stelter has posted an MP3 of a song that is apparently being played today on WPLJ in New York City, ridiculing the poor ratings performance of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, with lyrics offering several suggestions for Ms. Couric and her producers. Safe to say it's a bit on the cruel side, especially the line about "if you want big success....find Dan Rather's home address."
Here’s a link to the audio file, and what follows is my transcription of the song’s lyrics (although you need to hear the tune to get the full effect):
Host of American Public Media's (APM) Marketplace broadcast, Scott Jagow, asked “why would the U.S. or any other country go along” with the European Union's carbon reduction plan if there is “so much skepticism about whether they can actually do it.”
European correspondent Stephen Beard expressed his concern, in the March 8 report, entitled “Climate pressure building in Europe”, saying, “We’ve had already so many examples of performance falling well short of promise” from the European Union’s emission’s trading system and ultimately, "Cutting greenhouse gases is going to involve some economic pain.”
The AP reviews a new documentary at the Austin, Texas film festival, South by Southwest. "Manufacturing Dissent" is one of the films premiering at the well-regarded festival, and the documentary is about controversial director, Michael Moore, who made 2002’s gun-control statement movie, "Bowling For Columbine," and 2004's problematic anti-war critical and financial hit, "Farenheit 9/11," which focused on the war in Iraq. His work is best known for creative editing and ambushing interview targets in the name of entertainment and shock. The new documentary about Moore is generating quite a lot of talk at South By Southest, and includes a scene that demonstrates that the whole premise of the movie that made his name,“Roger & Me,” is not what it seemed:
Does Karen Greenberg believe the United States is involved in a war with Islamist terrorists? Judging by her column in today's Los Angeles Times, The military's Gitmo script, you really have to wonder. Greenberg is executive director of the Center on Law and Security at NYU law school. Her bio there [from whence her photo here comes] indicates that she is a former Vice-President of George Soros' Open Society Institute. Her colleague at the Center, NYU prof Stephen Holmes [pictured here], lists as one of his areas of specialization: "the disappointments of democratization after communism." Ah, remember the good old days under Uncle Joe?
In any case, Greenberg recently toured the detention facilities at Guantanamo, and several of her comments make clear her skepticism as to the seriousness of the terror threat. Examples:
Tonight's episode of NBC's "Las Vegas" apparently has an Iraq sub-plot that, at least the abstract below suggests, may carry an anti-war message.
SEASON FINALE-- Mike finds out that Sam has been kidnapped
by one of her whales. Meanwhile, Danny takes drastic measures to help a
friend avoid being deployed to Iraq. Elsewhere, Delinda learns
life-altering news for she and Danny. James Caan and Nikki Cox also
stars in this unpredictable and explosive season four finale. TV-14
In a previous season of "Las Vegas," actor Josh Duhamel's character (Danny McCoy) suffered post-traumatic stress disorder following a harrowing tour of duty with the Marines in Iraq.
Vegas co-star Molly Sims (Delinda) and creator Gary Scott Thompson will participate in a live chat at NBC.com following the program's 9 p.m Eastern (8 p.m. Central) airing. [continued after page break]
The upgrade is proceeding but rather than shut down everything, I've decided we'll continue to post but we may lose some comments, just fyi.
Here's a joke to start your weekend:
A young man, hired by a supermarket, reported for his first day
of work. The manager greeted him with a warm handshake and
a smile, gave him a broom and said, "Your first job will be to
sweep out the store."
"I once had a diary promoted to the front page on Daily Kos," the young man said under his breath, thinking the manager wouldn't hear.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't know that," said the manager. "Here, give
me the broom, I'll show you how."
WASHINGTON - It turns out that Republicans were right: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did violate C-SPAN's copyright by using its televised footage on her blog promoting Democrats.
Officials for the cable TV network that provides daily gavel-to-gavel coverage of House and Senate proceedings at first said the blog was in violation, then announced it wasn't. On Wednesday, they said that it was but that they're changing their policy so that it won't be in the future.
Back in the '70s, an exchange of ping pong players between the United States and China began a thawing of relations between the two countries that paved the way for Richard Nixon's famous trip to Beijing. Could we be entering a similar stage with Iran that could come to be known as "orange juice diplomacy"? Diane Sawyer certainly seems to hope so, judging by the way she pressed US ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad on Good Morning America today. Along the way, Sawyer seemed to willfully downplay the degree of Iran's responsibility for the Shia insurgency in Iraq.
Sawyer spoke from New York with Ambassador Khalilzad in Baghdad on the eve of a regional conference on security issues organized by the Iraqi government that will bring representatives of the United States into the same room with those from Iran and Syria. Sawyer quoted to the ambassador the recent remarks of David Satterfield, the State Department's Iraq coordinator: "If we are approached over orange juice by the Syrians or the Iranians we're not going to turn and walk away."
Sawyer seized on Satterfield's statement: "Are we talking to the Syrians and the Iranians, or are we dependent on orange juice?"
Khalilzad: "As you know, for some time Diane, we have said that we are willing to talk to the Iranians if we think it will be useful to the situation in Iraq."
While members of "mainstream media" have eagerly covered Ann Coulter’s use of an vulgar term at a conservative conference, HBO host Bill Maher’s obnoxious comment about the Vice President, that "more people would live" if Dick Cheney had been assassinated, drew only sparse attention from the press.
Commenting on the diversity of the 2008 Democratic contenders, MSNBC host Contessa Brewer remarked of Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, "It’s sort of like we’re rooting for everybody all at once."
Bloggers, vloggers and Youtubers everywhere can rejoice! Thanks to some wrangling between a Republican group, C-SPAN and Nancy Pelosi along with lots of questions by bloggers from all political spectrums, people now have free access to much of C-SPAN’s content. This means that your favorite blog—or you—can post embarrassing shots of a Senator sleeping during a Congressional hearing or a Congressman wailing about the plight of polar bears. The stalwart presenter of Congressional reporting and longwinded rants announced, “C-SPAN takes the lead” in relaxing the reins on their product; they are allowing non-commercial use of some of their programming and video as long as there is proper attribution, effective immediately:
Does the Washington Post practice bias by omission out of sensitivity to fellow liberals? Open to Friday's Style section, and the bias by omission (and delay) is, at least to a conservative, utterly mind-boggling. As Howard Kurtz covered the story of Rick Kaplan arriving at what seems like his 26th appointment at the top of a liberal network or show, when did Kurtz explain that then-ABC producer Rick Kaplan was an unpaid adviser to Bill Clinton through his first Gennifer Flowers scandal, told him which shows to do and how to be credible? He mentioned in paragraph 16 -- and, um, not at the beginning of paragraph 16 -- Kurtz related "A personal friend of Bill Clinton, he drew some criticism for twice sleeping in the Lincoln bedroom but said it did not affect his journalism." That was it. (Kurtz also never explains Kaplan was his boss at CNN for years.)
But the truly stupendous act of omission was the largest piece on the front of Style, William Booth's big profile of Bill Maher, which does not even mention -- even as the reporter described last Friday's show in detail as he witnessed it live -- Maher's passionate defense of commenters at the Huffington Post who desire Dick Cheney assassinated.
As noted Thursday morning on NewsBusters, CBS News has hired Rick Kaplan, a former Executive Producer of ABC's World News Tonight and Nightline who later ran both CNN and MSNBC, to serve as Executive Producer of the ratings-challenged CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.
As documented in a Thursday MRC CyberAlert posting reprinted here, Kaplan has had a long record of friendly relations with former President Bill Clinton, advising Clinton on how to respond to the Gennifer Flowers scandal in 1992 and blocking anti-Clinton stories from appearing on Nightline. Kaplan has also been hostile to conservatives and once even declared that disgraced CBS anchor Dan Rather's "legacy" was "the gold standard journalists today have struggled to live up to."
My headings over excerpts, see below, from a 1998 Vanity Fair magazine profile of Kaplan: "Clinton Cries on Kaplan's Shoulder/Kaplan Hired Hillary," "Helped Clinton Play Media to Overcome Flowers," "Donaldson Says Kaplan's Pro-Clinton Bias Showed" and "Kaplan Called Hillary the Night Foster Died."
The game has been played frequently in recent years, usually after the vice president, who has suffered several heart attacks, has had a health scare or has done something particularly embarrassing, like blasting a fellow hunter with birdshot.
CNN put together a story featuring reporter John Roberts that absolutely hammered Vice President Cheney on Wednesday night’s Paula Zahn Now, concluding with an anonymous Republican suggesting the party needed an "exorcism" to rid itself of all its missteps and corruption.
When the Laura Ingraham show played clips, Ingraham suggested reporter John Roberts should call in – and he did. Roberts protested that the source was a "devout Republican," and not former Clinton aide David Gergen, as callers joked.
He suggested his story was "very narrowly sliced" to deal just with Cheney, and not the Libby trial. It was narrow, alright. (MP3 audio at NRO.)
Time magazine's cover story image as reality? Displaying a mini-instance of pack journalism, MSNBC and CNN shows on Thursday afternoon and night pounced on Time magazine's cover story, “The Verdict on Cheney” beside a picture of Cheney under some dark clouds, as evidence Cheney's influence is declining in the White House in the wake of the Scooter Libby verdict. It may be, but the graphics on a magazine cover hardly proves it. Plugging an interview with Michael Duffy, the author of the cover story, MSNBC's Chris Matthews asserted on Hardball: “More coming here about amazing problems facing the Vice President. He's on the cover of Time magazine as we speak and it looks bad.”
On CNN's Paula Zahn Now, Zahn trumpeted how “tonight we're bring out into the open Vice President Cheney's downhill slide” which is “not pretty” and is illustrated by, as she instructed viewers, “Look at the cover of the new Time magazine: The Vice President under a dark cloud. The headline: 'The Verdict on Cheney.' The story inside even brands him as 'the enemy within' the White House, dragging the whole administration down with him." Over on MSNBC's Countdown at the same 8pm EST hour, fill-in host Alison Stewart highlighted how “special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald referred to the quote, 'cloud over the Vice President' in his summation at the Libby trial. The folks at Time magazine painting that cloud over Mr. Cheney quite literally in their art for the new cover story, going as far as to call him quote, 'one of Bush's biggest liabilities.'"
Reuters’ environment correspondent, Deborah Zabarenko, debunks the idea that there is a “scientific censorship” by the Bush Administration about global warming, although that isn’t what the headline, “’Don’t discuss polar bears’: memo to scientists,” indicates. Just another example of a headline not reflecting the content of an article. The March 8 article explains the disagreement in perception between the environmentalists and the Bush Admnistration policy that restricts some American scientists engaging in meetings abroad from discussing certain topics, from polar bears to polar ice, that have to do with the environment and global climate change:
Reuters has a cute little human interest story about funny people from Vermont holding "town meetings" where they call for President Bush's impeachment. What caught our eye was not the darling little Vermonters, though, but something in this paragraph:
It turns out that the utopian dream, Wikipedia, has a problem. And I don’t just mean the consistent subtle, and at times, blatant leftward tilt. Wikipedia is an “open-source” encyclopedia—an online encyclopedia created by users instead of contributors who are chosen for their expertise. The idea is that “the community” can do just as well or better than the professionals. The anonymity of the Internet and the lack of oversight on Wikipedia means that all contributors may not be who they seem. A prominent and influential editor, “Essjay,” lied about his credentials and education, exposing one of the problems with the open-source encyclopedia model. (A Wikipedia editor isn’t the same as an editor for Encyclopedia Britannica; everyone who contributes material is called an editor) The New York Times describes who this Wikipedia editor said he was, who he really was and what he did:
NBC had some "horror stories" to share with its audience on March 7, according to "Nightly News" anchor Campbell Brown. Brown introduced the report by Lisa Myers that told the story of Wesley Wannemacher, a man who's $3,200 credit card debt ballooned to $10,700 after interest and penalties.
Wannemacher's plight also featured prominently in similar segments on ABC "World News with Charles Gibson" and CBS "Evening News" for the same day. [continued after jump]
Something is happening on the ground in Iraq. Something that even certain representatives of the MSM can't deny. Earlier this week, as NewsBusters noted here and here, NBC's Brian Williams, reporting from Iraq, offered some unusually positive observations. Now comes this eye-opening exchange from earlier this afternoon on CNN International between host Jim Clancy and correspondent Michael Ware, also reporting from Iraq:
JIM CLANCY: "The Democrats are pressing for a deadline, be it at the end of 2007, 2008 to bring all U.S. troops home. How is that going to affect General Petraeus, the Iraqi government and the Iraqis themselves?"
For all those wondering just how many Americans view the media as a major contributor to the moral decay in the country, Cheryl Wetzstein’s article in Thursday’s Washington Times is a must read (h/t NB reader bulletproof, emphasis mine throughout):
Most Americans think culture is becoming more immoral, and they view the media -- both entertainment and news -- as prime culprits, according to a new survey.
If the media continue to "singularly promote" secular values while undermining orthodox faith and values, it will be very difficult to reverse America's moral decline, said the National Cultural Values Survey, released yesterday by the Culture and Media Institute (CMI) of the Media Research Center.
Wetzstein shared some fascinating data from the CMI survey:
Remember how Team Clinton always disparaged their enemies as peddlers of "trash for cash," selling their stories to book publishers and movie studios? The liberal media played along then, but not now. The March 5-11 edition of Variety notes that Warner Bros. moved quickly to secure the screen rights to "Fair Game," Valerie Plame’s upcoming memoir of her life at the CIA. Michael Fleming sells it: "It’s a delicious political thriller of secret government power, covert identity and White House manipulation tht would make for a great movie." Fleming doesn’t note the tale is much more "delicious" if you hate Team Bush.
With the story arriving before the verdict, Fleming warned "the path to release is strewn with land mines" with movies based on real life. Plame’s memoir has yet to be approved by the CIA, and sometimes real-life stories take "unpredictable turns." It turns out that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and the D.C. jury that convicted Scooter Libby enhanced the bankability of Valerie Plame, The Movie.
UPDATE (March 9 | 13:35 EST): A very reliable source sent along an updated list that reflects 19 additional Gore critics within the scientific community. I've uploaded that new list to the media server. It's in Microsoft Excel format (29.5 KB).
On the March 5 "Hannity & Colmes," the conservative co-host ran
a scroll of nearly 80 scientists who say Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" is misleading hysteria. My colleague Dan Gainor wrote about that here and here.
Well, yesterday a reader sent along a comprehensive listing of those 76 experts and after checking into it, decided to pass it along to you.