Media Business

February 22, 2011 | 7:53 PM EST

Being consistently pro-union puts one in an awkward position when unions start making some very inconvenient demands. The Huffington Post is learning that lesson the hard way.

On the heels of AOL's $315 million HuffPo buyout - the largest such acquisition in the blogosphere's short history - the Newspaper Guild said the following in a letter to Arianna Huffington (h/t Joe Pompeo):

As we look to the future, we look to you, Arianna Huffington, as a leader in web-based news coverage, to demonstrate your commitment to the value of journalism, and to help prevent independent journalists from having to settle for third-world wages.

By Kyle Drennen | February 16, 2011 | 1:30 PM EST

In Tuesday's Kansas City Star, reporter Aaron Barnhart revealed that Current TV, the cable channel launched in 2005 by Al Gore, would be the least missed, only managing to be viewed by 18,000 households in the fourth quarter of 2010. Also on the list of "Cable's Least Wanted" were the DIY network, ESPN Classic, Fox Soccer Channel, Logo, and Sleuth.

Despite such abysmal ratings for Current, Barnhart argued that the addition of former MSNBC Countdown host Keith Olbermann to the channel would turn things around: "The good news for Current is that it won’t be counting its audience in the high five figures, at least not when Olbermann is on the air." He later remarked: "Unlike Current, the rest of Cable’s Least Wanted don’t have a ratings savior waiting in the wings."

By NB Staff | February 11, 2011 | 5:21 PM EST

On Friday's "Fox & Friends," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell and Fox News host Steve Doocy discussed the recent sale of the liberal Huffington Post blog to AOL.

"I'm going to buy popcorn, I'm going to watch this meltdown," a gleeful Bozell told Doocy.

Huffington, who will be editor-in-chief for the new AOL venture, is "not going to get along with anybody," perpetually clashing with AOL executives, Bozell predicted. "It's going to be a complete meltdown, just you watch."

For the full segment, click on the video embed below. For MP3 audio, click here.

By NB Staff | February 11, 2011 | 11:14 AM EST

"AOL giving control to Arianna Huffington. How the mighty have fallen!" NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell quipped on the February 10 edition of FNC's "Hannity."

"Ten years ago, AOL had 30 million members, they were joining forces with the Time-Warner colossus," the Media Research Center founder noted. Now "they're down to 4 million members and they're at Motel 6 getting into bed with Arianna."

"It's a mess of an organization and they're going to make an even greater mess of it with Arianna. I promise you that," Bozell told Hannity during the program's "Media Mash" segment.

[Video, link to MP3 audio follow page break]

By Dan Gainor | February 11, 2011 | 9:42 AM EST

Arianna Huffington's crazy left-wing, pro-Democrat website gets bought out by AOL for $315 million. Professional Angry Man Keith Olbermann follows up by joining Al Gore's deservedly unknown Current TV effort. Before that, decrepit Newsweek was absorbed by one of the lesser liberal lights of the blogosphere - Tina Brown's Daily Beast.

To journalists desperate for a direction - any direction - turning left seems an easy way to go. Forget MSNBC's brief propaganda attempt to "lean forward." That is going nowhere.

Old-style, supposedly neutral journalism is collapsing. Out of the rubble, we are seeing more and more journalists declare themselves to be what we've always known they were - liberal, left-wing, progressive or even "socialist," as MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell admitted late last year.

Faster than a congressman can take off his shirt, journalists have proven every complaint about media bias conservatives have leveled for decades. Yes, journalists are liberal. Yes, they blatantly spin stories to benefit both liberals and Democrats. Yes, hosts like Chris Matthews play "Hardball" with conservatives and play a thrill-ing game of slo-pitch softball with their Democrat buddies.

 

February 10, 2011 | 12:05 AM EST

The other night while watching the Super Bowl, I became increasingly aware that the Angry Left might have a point about the Giant Corporations. Not that the game was not exciting. It was. Those quarterbacks can really heave the ball. Suddenly it is in their hands, and suddenly it is in a receiver's outreached arms, having passed through a forest of opposing players' arms. Both teams were composed of players who apparently were made of rubber. They hurled themselves at one another and occasionally at the hard turf and simply bounced. Occasionally they did not. Sometimes they were injured, occasionally rather badly. But for the most part, they seemed amazingly resilient. It was a hell of a battle, and doubtless the better team won, but I cheered for both teams. They were great.

Had I only to watch the game, I would have been happy, though even happier had I lowered the volume of the inane commentary. Possibly the networks have an agreement to hire garrulous, loud, excessively male commenters who have very little to say but say it repetitiously. Unfortunately, it hardly adds to the excitement of the game. Rather, it adds to the confusion of the programming, and there was a great deal of confusion Sunday night. For whole stretches, I sat there stupefied by the confusion, most of it provided by the ads and by the garrulous commentators. Not much can be done about the ads, which seem to get more stupid and incoherent every year, but something can be done about these excessively virile loudmouths.

By Kyle Drennen | February 7, 2011 | 3:04 PM EST

While both CBS's Early Show and ABC's Good Morning America identified The Huffington Post as a liberal blog when discussing AOL purchasing the web site for $315 million, on NBC's Today, news reader Ann Curry simply described it as an "online news site" co-founded by "pundit" Arianna Huffington.

On Good Morning America, news reader JuJu Chang referred to The Huffington Post as a "top-ten news site" but accurately described it as being "co-founded by liberal commentator Arianna Huffington." The Early Show's Jeff Glor did not label the blog a news site at all and was the most direct in pointing out its ideological slant: "Huffington Post, a left-leaning site, was founded in 2005."

By Brent Bozell | February 7, 2011 | 2:45 PM EST

Editor's Note: Following news reports today that AOL News would pay $315 million to acquire The Huffington Post, NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center president Brent Bozell issued the following statement:

This proves AOL News has lost its mind. They must be in such dire straits that they’ve been blinded by the millions and think an acquisition of The Huffington Post is worth sacrificing credibility and objectivity. AOL News is fooling only itself in thinking there is no journalistic conflict in merging with a hate-filled, vicious, radically left-wing rag.

By Ken Shepherd | February 7, 2011 | 10:59 AM EST

On Thursday evening I noted news reports that the Fox entertainment network would not air an ad by a Christian website, LookUp316 -- referring of course to John 3:16 -- during Super Bowl XLV.

So I was pleasantly surprised last night to find that Fox did air the ad after all, just before the beginning of the 4th quarter of the game.

USA Today religion reporter Cathy Lynn Grossman was also surprised, telling her readers in a February 7 post that she has to look into what made network executives change their mind.

[To view the ad, click play on the embedded video posted after the page break]

February 7, 2011 | 9:22 AM EST

A pair of updates below the fold.

AOL News announced Monday that it has chugged the Kool Aid and put Arianna Huffington in charge of the new Huffington Post Media Group. AOL will pay $315 million for the site, making it the blogosphere's largest ever acquisition.

Decisions to name Huffington president and editor in chief and to brand the new company with the Huffington Post name suggest that AOL has fully embraced a leftist spin on the news.

February 4, 2011 | 2:04 PM EST

Elections have consequences. In the realm of media regulation, the 2008 election meant increased influence for proponents of so-called media "localism." The increased influence of localism at the FCC bore itself out in the recently-approved Comcast/NBC merger.

As a hypothetical, "localism" is relatively innocent. But in practice, it essentially amounts to a back-door mechanism for media regulation, which is why the FCC's most left-wing member, Michael Copps, has been an outspoken advocate of localism as part of his proposed "public value test."

By Ken Shepherd | February 2, 2011 | 3:43 PM EST

Yesterday the pro-life activists at Live Action released a video of a sting operation they conducted at a Planned Parenthood office in New Jersey. The video clearly shows the office manager giving counsel to a couple posing as pimp and prostitute who claimed to have minors employed as prostitutes, some from out of the country.

The edited video presentation can be found here and the unedited footage can be found here.

Yet despite the shocking content of the video, neither ABC, NBC, nor CBS covered the story in their February 1 evening news programs. Likewise the February 2 "Good Morning America," "Today," and "CBS Early Show" also failed to cover the story.