Media Business

By Matthew Sheffield | January 14, 2014 | 4:25 PM EST

The Newsroom, HBO’s low-rated series about a fictional television news channel will end after its third season, the premium cable channel announced Monday.

Besides struggling to get viewers, the Aaron Sorkin drama was widely criticized as being unrealistic and pompous. The show also was notable for its very liberal political slant and incredible lack of self-awareness about that slant. Throughout its brief time on the air, the show repeatedly denounced a lack of civility on cable television while also frequently slamming conservatives.

By Tim Graham | January 12, 2014 | 9:10 AM EST

The Los Angeles Times reports that the Comcast-owned Weather Channel is starting to play hardball over demanding higher fees to air on the DirecTV satellite TV system.

Everyone needs their weather news to stay safe, they argue, so DirecTV is threatening public safety by not knuckling under. They're even pressing DirecTV viewers to write Congress and insure Comcast gets more profits for this "critical public safety resource," like your local TV station doesn't cover the weather:

By Matthew Sheffield | January 6, 2014 | 7:41 AM EST

After a string of high-profile embarrassments, MSNBC appears to have decided that perhaps letting the inmates run the asylum is not the best of ideas.

According to a piece out today by National Review, the low-rated cable news channel has assigned an executive to review the scripts of its shows before they are aired as a way of trying to prevent such premeditated disasters like Martin Bashir wishing for Sarah Palin to be defecated upon.

By Tim Graham | January 4, 2014 | 6:24 PM EST

Conservative Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby has offered some New Year’s resolutions for the news business. He began by noting legendary columnist H. L. Mencken in his day at the Baltimore Sun said he was hard-pressed to to name five papers that conducted themselves as fairly and honestly “as the average nail factory.”

“If Mencken were alive today, would his opinion of the news business be less pungent? My guess is it would be even more so,” Jacoby guessed. “The journalistic sins and scams he was blasting a century ago are still being committed, only now the perps are more likely to have Ivy League degrees and to regard their occupation as a lofty profession.” But he offered some suggestions for self-improvement:

By Ken Shepherd | January 3, 2014 | 1:10 PM EST

MSNBC president Phil Griffin announced this morning that 11 a.m. anchor Thomas Roberts would be getting a new year's promotion... to the 5:30 a.m. Eastern program, Way Too Early, the lead-in to Morning Joe. Roberts will vacate his present MSNBC Live gig but also be awarded a regular contributor slot on the Morning Joe panel.

“This is a very exciting opportunity and right in line with my career goals and aspirations,” Roberts was quoted in an story, adding:

By Howard Portnoy | January 1, 2014 | 1:43 PM EST

A recurring theme during the Obama presidency has been that, despite the distinct sense he gives of a man who sees himself as “above it all,” the president is a regular down-to-earth Joe. His efforts to connect with the hoi polloi have not always succeeded. His most recent attempt, enrolling in Obamacare, was sullied by the revelation that he didn’t actually dirty his own hands navigating the exchanges — his “staff” enrolled for him — and the gesture was purely symbolic anyway.

Former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen observed at the Washington Post that the cynicism of the move would be matched if the Obamas announced that they were “symbolically” sending their daughters to D.C.’s failing public schools as a show of solidarity, while keeping the girls enrolled at the tony Sidwell Friends.

By Matthew Sheffield | December 20, 2013 | 1:56 PM EST

Following the suspension of Phil Robertson from A&E’s hit show Duck Dynasty, his family appears to be reevaluating their relationship with the cable channel.

In a statement released on their Duck Commander company website, the family said it “cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm” and is currently in discussions with A&E about what that means for the future of Duck Dynasty.”

By Ken Shepherd | December 19, 2013 | 6:23 PM EST

While many in the liberal media are cheering A&E's decision to suspend Phil Robertson from further filming of the network's Duck Dynasty reality show, MSNBC's Thomas Roberts suggested that the move by the network may not be "enough."

In a Facebook post, the openly gay MSNBC Live host posed to his fans the "big question" of the day (screen capture below page break):

By Dan Gainor | December 19, 2013 | 4:50 PM EST

Editor's Note: Dan Gainor, MRC's Vice President for Business and Culture addressed the recent suspension of "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson in the following statement to Variety today:

TV networks might claim they support free speech, but the suspension of “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson shows that to be an utter lie. They only support free speech they agree with. Foul comments by MSNBC’s Martin Bashir take weeks to resolve, but utter your Christian beliefs in an inartful way and you are instantly suspended by A&E. This is just the latest example of media outlets bowing to the militant LGBT agenda that would remove all voices for traditional marriage from TV. [statement continues after page break]

By Randy Hall | December 19, 2013 | 5:30 AM EST

As 2013 draws to a close, Fox News Channel continues to dominate cable television news programming, according to Nielsen data through Dec. 8.

In an article for Variety, Rick Kissell stated that Fox has averaged 1.774 million viewers in prime time -- down 13 percent from last year's presidential election-driven numbers -- while the Cable News Channel fell 15 percent, and MSNBC lost 29 percent.

By Ken Shepherd | December 18, 2013 | 1:30 PM EST

"Top journalists from The New York Times, NBC News and CNN acknowledged Wednesday that, generally speaking, the national media has a liberal bias," Politico's media reporter Dylan Byers noted in a December 18 post recapping a Politico Playbook breakfast discussion held earlier on Wednesday morning.

More than one panelist opined that it's not just that journalists tend to be liberal on policy questions but that they live and work in environments which are socially liberal. "I live in northwest Washington, none of my neighbors are evangelical Christians [and] I don't know a lot of people in my kid's preschool who are pro-life," New York Times writer Mark Leibovich noted. Fellow Washington, D.C.-based journalist Jake Tapper picked up on that thread:

By NB Staff | December 18, 2013 | 11:53 AM EST

NewsBusters's parent company the Media Research Center (MRC) proudly announced the Best Notable Quotables of 2013: The 26th Annual Awards for the Year’s Worst Reporting earlier this morning, with former MSNBC host Martin Bashir taking home the “Quote of the Year” honor for a disgusting, misogynist rant aimed at former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Not only did Bashir’s November 15 quote take the year’s top prize, he won by one of the largest margins in the 26-year history of Notable Quotables. Here's the offensive garbage which ultimately got him fired: