Media Business

By Kyle Drennen | July 6, 2010 | 11:15 AM EDT
In an interview on's 'Media Beat,' MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer told TVNewser editor Kevin Allocca about the cable network's high standards in its audition process: "'s got to be like the Marine Corps obstacle course in order to land this job." She later complained about "difficult" guests: "When someone comes on with an agenda and their agenda is to take you down."

Allocca asked Brewer about some her toughest interviews. She responded by describing certain guests who "come on and they are prepared to be challenging and to be difficult." Two examples came to her mind, former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Republican Senator Judd Gregg.

In recalling a January interview with Gregg, Brewer whined about how "it was a difficult interview to conduct." In reality, Gregg simply pointed out Brewer's liberal bias on the issue of government spending, after she equated Republican calls for less spending with cutting off funding for schools. Gregg pointed out that she was "being fundamentally dishonest" in her reporting.    

During the Media Beat interview, she said of guests like Gregg: "...when you have guests on who are difficult or if they're – if they're sticking they're heels in the ground and they're really – you just end it, you move on."
By Jeff Poor | July 2, 2010 | 3:25 PM EDT

The Twitter "Fail Whale": An irritating part of anyone's day that regularly uses social networking in their day-to-day activities. But could this endanger the viability of Twitter as long-term business?

A couple of analysts say think so. Both senior editor Natali Del Conte and Herb Greenburg of CNBC Business News suggested Twitter's infrastructure problems could pose issues for Twitter's survival on CNBC's July 2 "Power Lunch."

"Twitter's down all the time," Greenburg said. "I love using Twitter. I will say it here and now - if Twitter were a business, it would be broke. Wait! Twitter is a business, but it's a private business. Maybe it's the type of business that should go public in this environment because those are the kind of companies that go public.

By NB Staff | July 1, 2010 | 2:42 PM EDT

Below is a photo of CBS "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric and CNN's Wolf Blitzer hanging out with President Bill Clinton at the World Cup last Saturday. Couric posted a link to the photo from her Twitter account, where she noted that "Clinton's people invited [her] to [the U.S. vs. Ghana] game last minute."


Couric's original caption reads, "One more photo from Saturday at the World Cup..."

By Matt Robare | July 1, 2010 | 12:50 PM EDT
TV LogosThe big three nightly news broadcasts, NBC Nightly, CBS Evening and ABC World, lost a combined one million viewers in the second quarter of 2010, according to TVNewser.

These numbers are comparable to the first quarter, which saw Evening News and World News get their lowest average viewers ever, while NBC's Winter Olympics coverage helped it get their highest average viewers since 2005. In the second quarter, NBC lost 440,000 viewers, ABC 260,000 and CBS 340,000. It was about this time last year that ABC and CBS' news programs had their lowest ratings ever.

These numbers are not at all surprising in light of the public's continued distrust of the old media. As Newsbusters' Rich Noyes wrote of a Rasmussen poll released earlier this month, "Perhaps as a result, the poll finds an astonishing two-thirds of the public (66 percent) say they are angry with the media, ‘including 33 percent who are very angry' with the press."

By Dan Gainor | June 30, 2010 | 3:01 PM EDT

This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a blogger. Millions of bloggers, actually. And they are taking back freedom of the press from journalists unwilling and unable to use it in a fair and responsible manner. A few weeks ago, we saw Helen Thomas confess her nutty anti-Semitism because a blogger caught her in an unusually candid moment. We found out what many have long suspected: that she's a disgusting bigot. Then there was the Gen. McChrystal controversy as our top general in Afghanistan reportedly criticized the Obama administration to a Rolling Stone reporter. Blogger critics argued "The Runaway General" showed the journalistic beat system prevents warts-and-all portrayals such as this one. Reporters are often too cozy with sources to make them look bad. Adding to that ethical issue, The Washington Post followed with a story saying the reporter in this case might have violated rules about what would be off the record. Rolling Stone denied it of course. But nothing got more press than the seemingly simple resignation of self-immolating Washington Post blogger Dave Weigel. Weigel was hired by the Post three months ago and continued his previous anti-conservative efforts with an attack on those "anti-gay marriage bigots" and making a joke about Matt Drudge "diddling" an 8-year-old boy. He was forced to apologize but remarkably kept his job.

By Jeff Poor | June 30, 2010 | 12:58 AM EDT

First it was long-time anchor Lou Dobbs, who retired last fall from CNN. Now another fixture of the network will soon be playing another role in the cable news universe.

On CNN's June 29 "Larry King Live," host Larry King, who had never been terribly friendly with conservative guests, announced his decision he would be giving up his show this fall.

"Before I start the show tonight, I want to share some personal news with you," King said. "Twenty-five years ago, I sat across this table from New York Gov. Mario Cuomo for the first broadcast ever of ‘Larry King Live.' And now, decades later, I talked to the guys here at CNN and I told them I'd like to end ‘Larry King Live,' the nightly show that -- this fall and CNN has graciously accepted to agree to, giving me more time for my wife and I to get to the kids' little league games."

By Dan Gainor | June 28, 2010 | 10:16 PM EDT

Since I've been accused of leading "something of a crusade" against former Post blogger Dave Weigel, how could I resist this announcement? Weigel, who left the Post amidst a controversy where he bashed tons of conservatives, has joined the leftwing convention at MSNBC (video right).

According to a Tweet from "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann, Weigel has come on board as a contributor. "And confirming, @DaveWeigel is now MSNBC contributor @DaveWeigel Welcome aboard and my condolences, uh, congratulations!" wrote Olbermann.

Now Weigel has joined the team of Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz. This from the guy who just today told the world of his wonderful career saga that started out as editor of a campus conservative paper at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. "Was I really that conservative? Yes," he wrote, somehow expecting readers to believe him. While he admitted some of his troubles came from "hubris," much of what he wrote most already knew, that he was no friend to the right. "At Reason, I'd become a little less favorable to Republicans, and I'd never been shy about the fact that I was pro-gay marriage and pro-open borders."

Throw in Weigel's parade of assault on conservatives, prominent figures on the right from Rush Limbaugh to Matt Drudge and Newt Gingrich and the bigger question becomes, does he agree with the right on anything? The answer is: it doesn't matter anymore. He's gone from an organization fighting to keep its credibility to one fighting to lose what little it has.

By NB Staff | June 25, 2010 | 11:42 AM EDT
"The media, for like five seconds, those with thrill up and down their legs, they were a little critical of the Anointed One and what was one of the worst speeches in the Oval Office... but as soon as he fired McChrystal and hired Petraeus, they went nuts," Sean Hannity observed last night at the beginning of his recurring "Media Mash" segment with NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell.

The Fox News host then rolled a montage compiled by Media Research Center (MRC) analyst Kyle Drennen which showed the mainstream media hailing Obama as "brilliant" for the personnel move.

After the montage, Bozell noted that the same media that proclaimed Obama sacking McChrystal as "brilliant" were claiming that the president really had no choice but to fire the Afghanistan commander. "If he had no choice, then it really wasn't really altogether all that brilliant," the MRC president observed.

Bozell and Hannity also discussed  the media's double standard in bashing BP CEO Tony Hayward -- who had been relieved of duty for overseeing the cleanup operation -- for yachting over the weekend, while ignoring President Obama's weekend golfing excursion and MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski admitting she was parroting White House talking points to defend the administration's handling of the ongoing crisis.

For the full MP3 audio of the "Media Mash" segment, click here. For video click here for the WMV file or watch the video embed above.

By Lachlan Markay | June 24, 2010 | 4:52 PM EDT

UPDATE - 6/25, 2:20 PM | Lachlan Markay : Weigel resigned Friday after the Daily Caller published a number of additional emails that put these to shame. Details here.

Many conservatives, including a number of NewsBusters contributors, have been skeptical of Washington Post blogger Dave Weigel since he was hired in March to cover the right. Time and again, those concerns have been vindicated as Weigel has ridiculed a number of conservatives and conservative positions.

It seems that the Washington Post has little interest in an objective blog-based approach to the news -- something this humble blogger has noted previously. Likewise, Weigel seems to have little interest in covering the right with an even hand; he has consistently shown his disdain for the movement and its members.

The website Fishbowl DC today published a number of excerpts of emails from Weigel to an email list created by fellow Post blogger Ezra Klein ridiculing various conservatives. He says he hopes Matt Drudge will "set himself on fire" and dubbed Tea Party protesters "Paultard[s]," a crude reference to Ron Paul.

By Noel Sheppard | June 24, 2010 | 11:36 AM EDT

A new study found significantly more people trust tech giants Apple, Google, and Microsoft than they do traditional media.

Adding insult to injury, the relatively new social networking website Facebook is even more trusted than the media which 88 percent of respondents said they had little to no trust for. 

As reported last week, "A Zogby Interactive survey of U.S. adults found that among Apple, Microsoft and Google, 49% had trust in each of these brands. Twitter and Facebook were rated much more poorly, with trust levels of 8% and 13% respectively."

And here's the marvelous punch line (h/t NBer pvoce):

By Tom Blumer | June 22, 2010 | 2:12 AM EDT
cnnapCNN has announced that it will cease using all content from the Associated Press effective June 30, and from all appearances will take a run at becoming a credible wire service competitor.

Although it would be easy to dismiss this as the blind leaving the blind, this development seems like it has the potential to alter the news landscape and temper some of the worst excesses of press bias and ignorance.

Here are a few paragraphs from CNN's internal announcement, as carried at Media Bistro:

To: CNN Staff
From: Jim Walton

We are taking an important next step in the content-ownership process we began in 2007 to more fully leverage CNN's global newsgathering investments. Starting today, CNN newsgathering will be the primary source of all content for all of our platforms and services. We will no longer use AP materials or services. The content we offer will be distinctive, compelling and, I am proud to say, our own.

By Lachlan Markay | June 16, 2010 | 11:29 AM EDT
MSNBC contributor Lawrence O'Donnell will take over at the 10 pm slot, the cable network announced Tuesday. O'Donnell, who guest-hosted "Countdown" while Keith Olbermann was on leave, is a self-described socialist, and will fit in nicely with the rest of MSNBC's prime-time lineup.

The 10 pm slot has up to this time been "Countdown" reruns, so MSNBC viewers will now be treated to a tad different far-left rant than Olbermann's 8 pm far-left rant.

That said, O'Donnell's segment will hardly be a breath of fresh air if his previous antics are any indication. He has a short, if colorful history of liberal outbursts. Let us review some of his greatest hits: