Media Business

By NB Staff | October 2, 2010 | 11:56 PM EDT

Edward R. Murrow Award-winning radio journalist Howard Arenstein was arrested Friday by the Metropolitan Police Department for growing marijuana plants in his Georgetown backyard. 

Arenstein is the manager for the Washington, D.C. bureau of CBS Radio.

CBS network officials have declined to comment, but feel free to leave yours below.

By Lachlan Markay | October 1, 2010 | 1:10 PM EDT

When news broke in August that News Corporation, the media conglomerate owned by Rupert Murdoch, had donated a million dollars to the Republican Governors Association, liberals howled that Murdoch's personal political views - reflected in that donation - compromised the neutrality of News Corp's subsidiaries. The same arguments are being offered today, as news emerges that Murdoch's company gave another million to the Chamber of Commerce.

But Murdoch testified before a congressional subcommittee on Thursday in support of amnesty for illegal immigrants. Almost immediately, the left began asking why Murdoch had not incorporated his own views on the issue into Fox News's programming.

So now that liberals may have some common ground with Murdoch on the immigration issue, they are pleading for him to do exactly what they criticized when it benefitted Republicans: inject his own personal political views into reporting by News Corp. outlets.

By Brent Bozell | September 29, 2010 | 3:23 PM EDT
The following is NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center (MRC) founder Brent Bozell's statement regarding news of James O’Keefe’s sting operation attempt to embarrass CNN.

The MRC unequivocally denounces James O’Keefe for his attempted assault on CNN. It isn’t just childish and immature; it’s ugly, dishonest and filthy. There is no place in the conservative movement for this type of behavior and that’s exactly what I warned about in a commentary piece I submitted to CNN.com just two days ago.

"Could the Citizen Journalist abuse the public trust?" I wrote in this piece that should run in the next few days. "Hypothetically, of course. Conservatives must all guard against this. Let there be scrutiny, by all means." And I repeat: there must be scrutiny.

Bottom line: We want nothing to do with O’Keefe or his dirty antics.

By Lachlan Markay | September 21, 2010 | 1:40 PM EDT
Are you one of the many Americans who can't stand Newsweek Magazine's unending tripe of liberal condescension? Good news: you may not have to put up with it much longer - at least not in its print form.

Outgoing Newsweek columnist Howard Fineman, who recently announced he would exit the sinking ship for the Huffington Post, gave the magazine's print edition five years. "My guess is that there will be several years of a fond embrace of the traditional magazine," he said. "But that stuff is going because the economics are too difficult." Pressed for a specific time frame, Fineman gave his five-year prediction.

Since it was sold for a dollar to media mogul Sidney Harman, Newsweek has shed some of its most prominent names. The Business Insider reported that "of the roughly two dozen Newsweek journalists who have run for the door in recent months, some of the most high-profile names have joined news outlets without dead-tree versions."

By Tim Graham | September 3, 2010 | 7:10 AM EDT

The Poynter Institute welcomed disgraced former CBS anchor Dan Rather to share his thoughts on his long career and on the media in general this week. In an interview with Poynter's Mallary Tenore, he complained "So often, particularly covering politics, enterprises that describe themselves as journalistic enterprises, and journalists who describe themselves as journalists, in fact just become transmission belts."

That's exactly what Poynter's interview was, a transmission belt for Rather's lamest hits, including how the press needs a "spine transplant" and his shameless insistence that his phony-documents Texas Air National Guard story is still true. If Poynter cared about the reputation of journalism, why continue to entertain and spread doubt about the falsehood of Rather's most atrocious "scoop"?

The only thing fresh here is Rather's growing socialism, as he insists (just like Bill Moyers) that money is corrupting politics and the government needs to break some alleged media monopoly where only four mega-corporations distribute most of America's news:

By Lachlan Markay | August 25, 2010 | 10:37 AM EDT
For some in the White House Press Corps, literally thanking God for the existence of a terrorist organization is less controversial than being owned by a company that gives more money to one political party than the other.

That, at least, is the standard former WHCA president Edwin Chen has set forth. In an interview with the far-left blog Media Matters, Chen dubbed "a travesty" the WHCA's decision to award a front-row seat in the briefing room to Fox News. His objection? "The vacancy was created because of an ideological conflict," and would be filled by "another cloud of ideological conflict."

The first ideological conflict to which Chen referred was Helen Thomas's retirement, forced by a video showing her making anti-Semitic comments. The second: the political contributions of Fox's parent company, News Corp.
By Ken Shepherd | August 24, 2010 | 3:59 PM EDT

It was inevitable that someone with enough time on their hands would compile a list of the best viral campaign video ads of 2010. There sure have been some doozies this year, so I can't fault Time magazine for including hits like "Demon Sheep" and the Dale Peterson ad in their top 20 list.

That said, of the 15 Republican ads in the list, most were panned by Time staffers. By contrast, two Democrats' ads -- Rep. Tom Perreillo (Va.) and  Sen. Pat Leahy (Vt.) primary opponent Dan Freilich -- were panned,  yet neither candidate's Democratic affiliation was mentioned in the blurbs about the ads.

By contrast, Democratic Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (S.D.), who's presenting herself to voters as a fiscal conservative, was praised for an ad featuring her toddler son, and Time's FeiFei Sun cheered Colorado Democratic gubernatorial nominee John Hickenlooper for his "Clean Campaign" in which he humorously promised to eschew negative campaign ads.

By Alana Goodman | August 19, 2010 | 4:10 PM EDT
In an unusual move, the Associated Press has publicly released an advisory memo to its reporters on how to cover the Ground Zero mosque story - and the first rule is that journalists must immediately stop calling it the "Ground Zero mosque" story.

"We should continue to avoid the phrase ‘Ground zero mosque' or ‘mosque at ground zero' on all platforms," reads the advisory, which was issued by the AP's Standards Center.

Instead of the "Ground Zero mosque," AP recommends that reporters use the terms "mosque 2 blocks from WTC site," "Muslim (or Islamic) center near WTC site," "mosque near ground zero," or "mosque near WTC site."

The AP suggests that it might "useful in some stories to note that Muslim prayer services have been held since 2009 in the building that the new project will replace." In addition, the news service offers a "succinct summary of President Obama's position" on the mosque, but doesn't include the positions of any other politicians.

By Ken Shepherd | August 19, 2010 | 3:42 PM EDT

Back in September 2008, MSNBC's Chris Matthews floated a specious allegation that then-Governor Sarah Palin had ties to an advocate of Alaskan secession named Joe Vogler. Although the charge was roundly discredited, it was one of the many early attempts to smear Palin as a wacky extremist.

Two years later, it appears at least one writer for a liberal magazine thinks Alaskan secession would be a fun little topic to bat around the Web.

"Thought Experiment: Should Alaska Secede From the U.S.?" asked the headline for Daniel Stone's August 18 The Gaggle blog post at Newsweek.com:

August is slow around Washington, so we figured it’d be high time to toss around the idea of kicking Alaska out of the unionor the state leaving on its own accord.

The reason? Those darn Alaskans are too conservative, too critical of federal government intrusion, yet they are net recipients of federal aid from Washington spending:

By Ken Shepherd | August 16, 2010 | 12:00 PM EDT

While Newsweek's David Graham is hard at work defending President Obama's summertime leisure -- "A Short History of Presidential Vacation Outrage" -- by insisting that the press corps always complains about any president's vacation habits, it's instructive that he failed to indict his own magazine.

"War on terrorism stalled, economy on precipice, time for a month on the Crawford ranch."

Accompanied by a disapproving down arrow, that's how the August 5, 2002 Newsweek feature "Conventional Wisdom" derided President Bush's working vacation a mere three months before midterm elections in his first term.

Elsewhere in Newsweek's coverage at the time, writers put the term working vacation into derisive quote marks, and otherwise presented President Bush's time away from Washington, including a quasi-campaign swing called the "Heartland Tour," as a nakedly political move to bolster his sagging approval numbers.

From Martha Brant's August 7 "Web exclusive" entitled "Look Who's Back":

By Kyle Drennen | August 13, 2010 | 6:00 PM EDT

Storm Coverage, WUSA9 Live, August 12 program | NewsBusters.orgOn Thursday, instead of showing the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, the network's Washington DC affiliate, WUSA-TV, decided to continue with live storm coverage. The last time the CBS broadcast was preempted by local coverage occurred during the massive winter blizzards, which buried the region in a few feet of snow.

The Evening News has consistently ranked third among the network evening newscasts during Couric's tenure. During the week of August 2, the Evening News was around 2 million viewers behind competitors ABC Worlds News with Diane Sawyer and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. Couric is about to mark her 4th anniversary in the anchor chair.

By Lachlan Markay | August 11, 2010 | 9:58 AM EDT
On last night's 'O'Reilly Factor,' Fox Business Network reporter Charlie Gasparino claimed that during his time at CNBC, General Electric Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt suggested to senior CNBC staff that they were being too hard on President Obama.

Gasparino did not say that it became official CNBC policy to tone down criticism of the president. But he claimed that "the question of whether they were being fair to the president was brought up" and that he had "never heard that before." Keep in mind that at the time GE stood to make a whole lot of money from some of Obama's key policies. NBC and its affiliates have conspicuously shilled for such policies before.

Even absent an official NBC or CNBC policy on criticizing the president, the incident demonstrates a profound lack of journalistic neutrality. There has always been a looming conflict of interest at GE's television arm. The possibility that higher-ups suggested reporters go easy on the president raises all sorts of questions about the abilities of NBC, CNBC, and MSNBC to fairly and accurately report the news (video and transcript of Gasparino's statement below the fold).