CBS's $15 million experiment of hiring Katie Couric has not
paid any dividends. Six months into her tenure as anchor of the
"Evening News," Couric has actually fallen in the ratings from her
predecessor, Bob Schieffer, sparking talk within the network that the
former NBC star will soon be shown the door.
Besides ratings, CBS insiders and TV observers quoted by
Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Gail Shister take
issue with Couric over
her inability to relate to the 50+ news viewer and fluff news
Couric's personal pride seems to be the stickler, though:
If one were to contemplate all the horrible results of the actions of this murderous psychopath in Virginia, if one were to wonder how hard and emotional have become the lives of the survivors of those whom this sick individual killed, it would seem axiomatic that the Mainstream Media would be the last group such a reflection would see as a recipient of the "tough decisions" resulting from the murders . We would naturally feel pain at the loss of the families of the VT victims. Our hearts would go out to the turmoil that surviving students would face upon trying to resume their education schedules after this monumental outrage. We would even feel bad for residents of the surrounding Virginia communities as they attempt to cope with the crime. Yes, there are a lot of people to empathize with and to feel sorry for.
Eric Alterman recently got his dander up over at the Nation about many of the MSMs political pundits today, calling them "lazy" and blasting them for their near universal refusal to address Blogger's critiques of their work. Obviously he isn't happy over the treatment he received at the hands of Time Magazine's Joe Klein who dealt him a series of "schoolyard insults", as Alterman phrased it, after he criticized some of Klein's work. But, this personal vendetta aside, Alterman is on to something.
Alterman is filled with disgust at many Pundit's arrogance as they ignore the ankle biting leveled at them by Internet opinionists and Bloggers. And I cannot say that I disagree with him over his contention that the MSM is trying so hard to ignore rising Internet pundits and the influence they are garnering that they have damaged their own credibility in the process by overlooking substantive critical analysis offered at lightening speed by Internet writers.
In the post-Walter Reed world, the MSM is on the prowl for stories that fit the template -- troops suffering at the hands of an indifferent military health bureaucracy. Yesterday's episode of the Montel Williams show demonstrates what happens when a soldier doesn't stick to the victimization script.
Have a look at this article from the Grand Junction [Colo.] Sentinel, which reports on the appearance on the Williams show of Kelli Frasier, a resident of Clifton, CO in the Grand Junction area. Frasier, who served 11 months in Iraq, was invited onto the show to discuss her experiences in Iraq and once she returned home. According to the article, "Frasier suffers anxiety attacks and bouts of unexplainable anger and has been diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder." But while Williams was eager to emphasize the problems Frasier has encountered, according to the article:
When she told Williams she was treated well by the Department of Veterans Affairs, he seemed to lose interest and moved quickly to another segment, she said.
If soon-to-be-Dr. Al Gore’s testimony on Capitol Hill yesterday wasn’t funny enough for you, Conan O’Brien’s satirical cast of a new NBC, made for television movie about problems facing the White House is sure to give you a chuckle.
The video is here courtesy of YouTube (h/t Allah at Hot Air), and a list of the cast follows after the break for those of you who prefer your comedy in writing.
However, please be forewarned that some degree of liberal bias is in this casting, as O’Brien clearly took stronger swings at Republicans. Yet, all in all, it’s pretty funny:
Why is it that sitcoms always go for the cheapest gags? And why is it that those gags are always shibboleths of leftist ideas? Does Hollywood imagine that the left never does anything that can be made fun of? Apparently Conan O'Brien and Andy Richter of the new sitcom "Andy Barker, P.I." don't think so, anyway.
In the pilot episode for the new sitcom from NBC starring former Conan O'Brien sidekick Andy Richter, within the first few segments we get one joke that makes Christians out to be mean-spirited and another that presents Americans in general as being reactionary racists post 9/11. In fact, these two jokes are back to back.
In the pilot episode, the main character rents a storefront in a small strip mall styled complex to open his CPA business. He meets the video store Owner downstairs who takes him on a tour to give him the lay of the land of the other shops in the complex.
Before I started as NewsBusters managing editor, I finished up a study of the media's bias when it comes to reporting on prescription drugs. The study was released on March 14.
After the page break are some findings from the executive summary. Here's a link to the PDF version of the study.
Even when one new drug was hailed as a “major advance in combating
breast cancer” and a “major medical breakthrough,” its manufacturer was
given only a passing mention on one network. BMI looked at 132 stories
on prescription or over-the-counter drugs from the ABC, CBS, and NBC
evening newscasts between January 1 and Sept. 30, 2006.
The new media revolution brought about by the Internet Age leaves a constant vacuum to be filled for the traditional entertainment cycle on broadcast TV. You'll notice a lot of broadcast Web sites doing what they can to fill that void with extra footage, behind-the-scenes stuff, bloopers, "webisodes," and the like.
But let's face it, when the new episodes are exhausted on the networks, we're not likely to stick around for reruns. There's too many other things to do, and we've probably already rewatched the best clips of those shows on YouTube. There goes millions in advertising revenue for the nets.
Trying to find a way around that, NBC is taking that to the airwaves with "newpeats" of "The Office." (h/t TVTattle.com)
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]
NBC Nightly News anchor, Brian Williams graces the cover of Men's Vogue this month and is profiled by Deputy Editor Ned Martel as being an anchor who, because of "today's debunking culture" (Wink Wink Newsbusters.org), is both "in the know and in on the joke."
Martel panders to Williams as an anchor who is "affable", "witty", and even "an unapologetic throwback to the era of Cronkite".
Martel says that viewers can relate to Williams because he, "has a vast interest in so many of their passions." He further says that Williams "embraces his regular-guy status" and "trumpets his middlebrow tastes".
Williams apparently considers his "instinctive understanding of Middle America" to be a payoff for Nightly News. That understanding must be a tall order for someone who wears a "black-faced Rolex and Supreme Court cufflinks" and splits his time between a "pied-a-terre in a new Upper East Side tower" and a "restored farmhouse in Connecticut".
A few moments ago on the February 16 "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," NBC's Natalie Morales shared a story with the late night host of actor Alec Baldwin's attempt to score a lunch date with the "Today" show talent.
I'll update later in the morning with video, but basically, a few years ago, according to Morales, Baldwin called her on the phone and told her he was working on a movie about cable news. Was Morales available for say, lunch sometime to help Baldwin with his, well, research.
Morales wasn't born yesterday, so she kindly told the "30 Rock" star that she's married.
I just caught this, originally posted on February 1 to the Web page for People's Weekly World. It's from a diatribe against the Fox television program "24" by PWW's John Wojcik.
Notice how the writer goes on to explain just why terrorism is such a bad thing. I mean, Stalin was just so much better at systematically killing people than some rinky dink terrorists. </sarcasm>
MSNBC commentator Keith Oberman [sic] rightly described "24" as "naked brainwashing."
All people of good will, of course, oppose terrorism. The Communist Party USA has often pointed out that terrorism substitutes individual acts of violence for the mass action essential for real progressive change.
Wojcik also cited NewsBusters as evidence of why "24" is an evil neo-conservative/Bush White House agitprop:
Most media storylines on the economy are predictable. Tax cuts "cost" the government money. The wealthy don't pay their fair share, and, socialized medicine is the only comprehensive way to address health care problems.
That last one's been in vogue lately as Democrats have raised health care as part of their "100 Hours" agenda. So our very own Julia Seymour took a look at the media's push for Big Brother to play doctor to 300 million Americans.
But then there's the ones that are just patently laughable. Like where the media pick the interests of say fish, over people. Look to none other than our friends at The Washington Post for that one. You can find our writeup on that here.:
So when are the Big Three Networks going to do something about their hopelessly outmoded and out-of-touch evening-news dinosaurs?
The 2006 report on The State of the News Media from Journalism.org, which covered 2005 results, showed that the Big 3 Networks' evening news audience that year averaged 27 million (the exact number is not noted, but inferred from reading the graph at the link; if anything, the actual number may have been slightly higher).
Rounding up slightly, that's a total of 24.3 million -- not exactly the disaster yours truly thought might occur this summer after a particularly bad week for evening news viewership, but a pretty steep decline nonetheless. On average during 2006, over 200,000 fewer people each month tuned in to see NBC's Nightly News (currently anchored by Brian Williams), ABC's World News Tonight (currently with Charles Gibson), or the CBS Evening News (with Katie Couric).
Eyeballing the following graph from last year and looking at the 2006 numbers above, it looks like NBC was down about 14%, ABC about 11%, and CBS about 6%:
ABC News is trying to assure us that young girls who have a "fascination with itsy-bitsy clothing, misogynistic hip hop music and porn star-esque celebrities " is just behavior that "isn't cause for alarm".
Wearing short-shorts and belly shirts, grinding to hip-hop hits, and posting provocative pictures of themselves on the Internet — the behavior of many teen and tween girls has parents wondering if their daughters are bound for a lifetime of promiscuity and loose morals.
In a gratuitous insult to all intelligent Conservatives everywhere, Mr Kane has declared you all to be slobbering Neanderthals who would rather beat your enemy to death with a club than use diplomacy and that the law obviously means nothing to you.
Some speculate one reason "24" is such a favorite of the Bush crowd is that Bauer is presented as a guy with no qualms about torturing his prisoners in order to get information as quickly as possible. In light of criticism the Bush administration gets for its torture policies, it doesn't take a think-tank expert to see why some hail the show as a breath of clean air.
Miami Herald TV critic Glenn Garvin is blogging from the annual Television Critics Association tour, and found some hot talk in recounting the Clintonista war against ABC's movie on 9/11.
Asked during his appearance on the TV critics' tour if he was embarrassed that the network had to "backpedal" on its Clinton-unfriendly movie The Path To 9/11, [ABC programming chief Stephen] McPherson took no prisoners -- particularly when it came to Clinton's national security adviser Sandy Berger, one of the film's chief critics. "We didn't backpedal," McPherson said. "We aired the movie. We didn't change anything for those guys. We aired it as planned on the dates that were planned. I mean, it's a little odd to have Sandy Berger telling you about what's truthful or not when he was indicted for stuffing documents into his pants on this very subject."
The AP isn't the only one going ga-ga over the ascension of Nancy Pelosi to become the "first Female Speaker of the House". We are seeing the fawning on just about every news outlet out there. And it is, indeed, quite an historic change from the long line of gentlemen that have taken the Speaker's gavel.
The story of James Kim, who died of hypothermia in a remote part of Oregon after setting out on foot to seek help for his stranded family, was a sad capper to the year 2006 for many. A lot of things went wrong for the Kims as they started out for a holiday trip only to have it end in disaster.
Spencer H. Kim, James Kim's Father, has today a plea appearing in the Washington Post titled The Lessons In My Son's Death. It is a message to Oregon's emergency services community to help stop another tragedy such as befell his son from happening to anyone else.
NY Times theatre reporter Jesse Green's "Not Everybody Loves Patricia" is about actress Patricia Heaton, former co-star of "Everyone Loves Raymond" who is currently appearing in an off-Broadway play. Heaton is also nearly unique in Hollywood for being an outspoken pro-lifer, which explains the slightly mean-spirited Times headline.
How long do you think it will be that we must stay under the thumb of the kind of PCism that posits that all white people are evil, wrong, losers, stupid or otherwise weak and bad?
Apparently Cisco Systems hasn't seen the end of it and that is why, in their TV commercial for their new TelePresence video conferencing system, the white kid loses.
The commercial starts off with a white boy in an obviously American class room staring at the camera. Then cuts to an obvious foreign class room with a little Asian boy doing the same. As the commercial rolls all the children in their two respective classes gather around their intensely staring classmate to see what will happen.
Then the white boy blinks.
The white boy's classmates erupt in a raucous yell, while the classmates of the Asian child jump up in victory because their boy won the staring contest being made possible by the video conference system that can obviously span the globe.
We've often noted here on NewsBusters the astonishing and undisputed lack of political diversity at the highest levels of the media but it's also true that despite the fact that liberals dominate the media, they are decidedly hypocritical when it comes to non-political diversity, something liberals supposedly value.
That hypocrisy was manifested in spades Tuesday night for any television viewer flipping through the channels to see. Despite all the media's odes to diversity, when it comes to the highest levels of power, women need not apply, especially when it comes to television.
As New York Times tv critic Alessandra Stanley noted yesterday, "On a night that crowned Nancy Pelosi as the first female speaker of the House and Hillary Rodham Clinton as the Democratic front-runner for the 2008 presidential race, the tableau of men talking to men all across prime time was oddly atavistic — a men's club from around 1962."
The arrival of Katie Couric to the CBS anchor desk hasn't panned out like the suits had thought. It's really no surprise considering that she's made essentially no real editorial and staff changes to introduce ideological diversity to broadcast television. Last week, the CBS News staff nearly revolted when Couric and her producers dared to allow someone to say on the show that school violence is the product of people taking religion out of public schools.
Five weeks into her tenure at the "CBS Evening News," Katie Couric's
broadcast continues to slip in the ratings, falling into third place
last week for the second week in a row.
With an average of
7.04 million viewers, Couric's audience last week was the smallest
she'd had since taking over the evening news anchor desk, and it's
lower than the number that tuned in for her predecessor Bob Schieffer's
last week on the air in late August, according to Nielsen Media
ABC anchor Charles Gibson doesn't have much of a nose for business it appears. In an interview with Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Gail Shister, he asserts that if the broadcast networks stopped running advertisements for products that target older viewers (denture cleaners, medication, etc.) and started running ads for products younger viewers like (cars, vacations, etc.) the younger folks would somehow tune in.
Sorry, Charlie, it doesn't work that way. Advertisers cater to those who watch your shows, not vice versa. A better solution would be to stop running healthcare hype stories and stop trying to scare viewers about various bugaboos.
With its lead anchor having such a poor grasp of how his own industry works, is it any wonder that ABC and the other liberal-dominated networks can't seem to understand the slightly more difficult concepts of basic economics?
Note to Shister: Cool people don't use the phrase "hip-a-doodle-do."
Liberal comedian Jon Stewart regularly analyzes and criticizes the cable and broadcast news programs. When someone tries to do the same to his "Daily Show," however, the Stewart says he's just a comedian doing "fake news."
That used to be true back in the day when "Daily" was primarily comprised of spoof reports and fake interviews. But since Iraq war started, "Daily" has largely turned into a nightly bash-Republicans program, with the news of the day as the cudgel. In so doing, Stewart has evolved his show into a news program, despite his protestations to the contrary.
Here at NB, we've long thought that "Daily" should be treated as a news show, even if its host is too timorous to want that kind of scrutiny. Now, a new study has come out confirming our point of view:
Did Aaron Sorkin finally realize that singling out Christians for mockery on his new show wasn't fair (or particularly brave)? We did criticize him pretty severely for his two-dimensional stereotyping of Christians in the opening show, and again, when he expanded on the slurs in "Studio 60"'s second week.
This time, "Studio 60" featured a skit on this show about a show that mocked not only Christians, but also "Meir Kahane" Jews, the Taliban, Tom Cruise the Scientologist, and a witch. They were all contestants in a skit about a show that denies science. This is certainly an improvement compared to singling out one religion. But does it mean that Sorkin and his writers are responding to critics?
The latest "Media Myth" study from the MRC's Business & Media Institute is out. BMI deputy editor Amy Menefee and researcher Julia Seymour found that the media were quick to hype rising gas prices but slow to recognize the ground-rocketing they've been taking lately.
In 35 straight business days of falling gas prices, evening news shows emphasized “high” or “rising” gas prices more often than falling prices.
In half the stories where journalists mentioned falling gas prices, they undermined the news with warnings of future price increases.
It took NBC three weeks to report falling prices on the "Nightly News." By that time, the average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline had fallen 24 cents.
Back when I was in college, I was involved in journalism in various capacities, in the classroom and at student newspapers. I couldn't help but notice in each place I went, women far outnumbered men. The Star-Tribune of Minnesota has picked up on a similar trend in the television industry. Men seem to be disappearing:
In TV news these days, a good man is hard to find.
networks, men still rule -- Katie Couric notwithstanding -- but at the
local level, women have taken the lead. Nationally, they account for 57
percent of TV news anchors. [...]
The male disappearing act
starts in the classroom. At the University of Minnesota this fall,
women outnumber men 227 to 125 in the professional journalism major,
which includes broadcasting. Ken Stone, a broadcast journalism
professor who spent 20 years working in radio and TV news, has 10 women
and six men in his advanced reporting class; he said that's as balanced
as it gets.
Stone traces the trend to the 1970s, when women and
minorities protested about domination of the airwaves by white men. One
of his first journalism professors asked the men in his class to stand
up, then told them, "Get a new career, there are too many of you." [...]
Not exactly media bias but worth noting: Dan Rather is hard at work on producing his new HDNet show. The report comes from the same Freeper, MindBender26, who correctly announced the departure of Dan Rather from CBS.
Rather is working overtime on his new satellite-fed dinky cable show.
Editors who have seen first drafts of story treatments say it is WAY
over the top, sort of a "Howard Beale on LSD reading Rolling Stone
straight to camera, with a Texas accent" concept.
In other media business news, Sean Hannity is apparently set to leave his perch at ABC Radio.