Media Business

By Noel Sheppard | May 31, 2010 | 12:41 AM EDT

A Michigan lawmaker wants journalists to be licensed.

"Senator Bruce Patterson is introducing legislation that will regulate reporters much like the state does with hairdressers, auto mechanics and plumbers," reported FoxNews.com Friday.

"Patterson, who also practices constitutional law, says that the general public is being overwhelmed by an increasing number of media outlets--traditional, online and citizen generated--and an even greater amount misinformation."

According to the bill, folks wanting to be considered as reporters would have to provide proof of:

By Ken Shepherd | May 28, 2010 | 12:08 PM EDT

Time's Michael Crowley, late of the liberal publication The New Republic, took to his new magazine's Swampland blog with a salutatory post yesterday. After the obligatory kind words about how excited he was to be on board "another great [journalistic] institution," Crowley laid out his case about why author Joe McGinniss was foolish for renting a house right next door to the Palin family's Wasilla residence.

He did take a few swipes at Palin in the process -- arguing Palin is on a mission to discredit journalists and this just bolsters her argument -- but Crowley's case is the polar opposite of Slate's Jack Shafer, who defiantly praised McGinniss's journalistic "a**holery." Here's the relevant excerpt from Crowley's May 27 post (emphases mine):

By NB Staff | May 27, 2010 | 12:15 PM EDT

President Obama is scheduled to have his first press conference in more than 300 days at 12:45 p.m. EDT today.

So we've decided to open up a chat room for our readers to comment as they watch along. 

You can go to that chat room by clicking here. NewsBusters managing editor Ken Shepherd will be joining the room at 12:40 p.m.

By Ken Shepherd | May 26, 2010 | 3:06 PM EDT

"It's called legwork, it's called immersion journalism, and it doesn't look pretty. But it should come as a surprise to only naive newspaper readers that every day journalists treat the subjects of investigations the way [Joe] McGinniss is treating Palin,"  Slate's Jack Shafer argued in a May 26 post subheadlined, "In defense of a journalist's stalking of a politician."

Shafer wrote his post because, after all, he felt he had to in some way publicly "commend the writer for an act of journalistic a**holery —renting the house next door to the Palin family in Wasilla, Alaska."

Far from crossing any ethical lines, to Shafer, McGinniss's move "honors a long tradition of snooping" and is worthy of applause from hard-bitten gumshoe reporters everywhere:

By Sarah Knoploh | May 26, 2010 | 10:45 AM EDT
“Sex and the City 2” hits theaters May 27 and the media have been promoting the new film. NBC’s “The Today Show” joined in touting the movie by having star Cynthia Nixon, who plays Miranda Hobbes, on May 25. But the interview took a curious turn when Nixon was given a platform to support same-sex marriage in New York.

Host Meredith Vieira was discussing a Hollywood Reporter review that called the movie “proudly feminist, but blatantly anti-Muslim, when she stated, “In real life, you are engaged to Christine Mariononi.”

Nixon began dating Mariononi after splitting with her husband, Danny Mozes, with whom she has two children. Nixon and Mariononi became engaged last year.

After Nixon confirmed she still was, Vieira said, “Your partner for six years. And you have said if the, the same sex-marriage bill passes in this state, you plan to get married.”

By Ken Shepherd | May 24, 2010 | 3:03 PM EDT

Shortly after noon today, during a story about actress Lindsay Lohan's latest legal woes, some footage of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (R) made it into the B-roll loop.

A case of some "Mean Girls" in the editing room, or just an innocent mix-up? I think it's the latter [h/t Tim Graham and Yahoo's Holly Bailey]:

By Mark Finkelstein | May 23, 2010 | 4:06 PM EDT
It's turned into something of a week for TV hosts, if not to bite, then at least to nibble hard on the hands that feed them . . .

First, as noted here, on Friday Joe Scarborough passed along the comment of an unnamed conservative biggie who wondered "what the hell [Rand Paul] was doing on MSNBC?", where during an interview with Rachel Maddow he caused controversy with his comments on the Civil Rights Act.

Today, it was Howard Kurtz's turn.  In the wake of Campbell Brown's withdrawal from CNN, in which she cited her show's poor ratings, Kurtz, host of Reliable Sources also on CNN wondered whether the network's business strategy of offering news in contrast to the opinion-oriented programming on Fox News and MSNBC is "viable."   For good measure, Kurtz also managed to suggest that Brown, Connie Chung and Paula Zahn—all of whose CNN shows failed—weren't strong enough personalities to attract an audience during the 8 PM hour, up against the likes of O'Reilly and Olbermann. Ouch!
By Lachlan Markay | May 20, 2010 | 12:43 PM EDT

The far-left Nation magazine is facing a $1,000,000 budget shortfall. Though it attributes it to a weak market for print journalism, conservative periodicals are doing quite well. In fact, the president the Nation worked so hard to elect could spell the magazine's downfall. The irony is delicious.

The magazine's Washington Editor Chris Hayes wrote a fundraising email saying that "newspapers and magazines are having a rough time." Well, not all magazines. National Review's circulation has increased by roughly 25,000 since 2008. It would have been more accurate to say that liberal magazines are having a rough time.

It's generally accepted that magazines do well when someone of the opposite ideological makeup is in the White House. During the Bush administration, liberal magazines thrived. Since Obama was elected, they've declined while conservative ones have flourished.

Here is the full text of the letter:

By Lachlan Markay | May 19, 2010 | 2:41 PM EDT
A far-left Democratic congressman is accusing conservative commentators of improperly -- perhaps illegally -- conspiring with advertisers to shill for their products under the guise of political opinion. The accusers, however, conveniently ignore liberal commentators that do virtually the same thing, only on a far larger scale.

Rep. Anthony Weiner released a report yesterday alleging that Goldline "has formed an unholy alliance with conservative pundits to drive a false narrative and play off public fears in order to sell its products," according to a release. Under "conservative pundits," read the Fox News Channel, and specifically Glenn Beck.

Weiner has this far neglected to criticize Fox's cable news competitor MSNBC and its parent network, which consistently shill for policies that would dramatically enrich their parent company, General Electric. GE's communications arm consistently further's Weiner's own political agenda, so a double standard seems to be afoot in his failure to call NBC out on its colossal conflict on interest.
By Lachlan Markay | May 19, 2010 | 1:34 PM EDT

Eight former Federal Elections Commissioners today blasted proponents of a Senate bill that would "blunt" the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court decision, which allowed unions and corporations to spend freely on political advertisements.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, the Commissioners called the bill "unnecessary, partially duplicative of existing law, and severely burdensome to the right to engage in political speech and advocacy." They also accused Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md. -- sponsors of the Senate and House legislation, respectively -- of "partisan motives" designed to satiate the Democratic Party's labor union backers.

While some prominent news organizations, including the Washington Post, have raised serious concerns about the  legislation, other ostensibly (or at least presumably) pro-free speech news outlets are either silent or, in the case of the New York Times, simply parrot Democratic talking points and give critics of the bill a mention, though not a voice, and make sure to dub them "the business lobby."

By Ken Shepherd | May 18, 2010 | 5:28 PM EDT

Newsweek's Andrew Romano isn't really anti-Michelle Bachmann, he argues that he just sounds like one on Twitter.

In a May 17 "Web Exclusive," entitled "Tweet the Press," the Newsweek staffer explained to readers how an editor assigned him to write a "Twitter profile" of the Minnesota Republican:

My editor had just stepped into my office to discuss a new assignment. The NEWSWEEK brass is interested in Twitter, he told me, but they're looking for an original way to cover it—which is where you come in.... "I'm thinking you should write a 'Twitter profile' of Michele Bachmann," he said, referring to the outspoken, ultraconservative Republican congresswoman from Minnesota who has accused Barack Obama of being "anti-American" and asked her supporters to "slit their wrists" and be "blood brothers" to defeat health-care reform. "Fly up there, follow her around, tweet as you go. Then we'll publish an annotated version of your Twitter feed in the magazine. Could be kind of fun."

Later in his piece, Romano noted the drawbacks and advantages of live-tweeting a politician's stump speeches, concluding that the format made him sound like "knee jerk Bachmann hater." He denied that, of course, arguing that Twitter made him more of a "color commentator" that was looking for "bite-sized" vignettes that could go "viral" (emphasis mine):

By Lachlan Markay | May 18, 2010 | 3:29 PM EDT
CNN founder Ted Turner, who thinks Christianity is a "religion for losers," apparently believes that the Gulf oil spill could actually be God sending us a message that drilling for oil is bad. Will media liberals read him the riot act as they have Sarah Palin for making similar claims?

"I'm just wondering if God's telling us he doesn't want us to drill offshore," Turner told a CNN interviewer. Recent coal mine disasters, Turner said, may also be signs that "the Lord's tired of having the mountains of West Virginia  -- the tops knocked of of 'em so they can get more coal. Maybe we ought to just leave the coal in the ground and just use solar and wind power."

So far the legacy media have been completely silent on Turner's claims (shown in a video below the fold), in stark contrast to Sarah Palin's statement that the construction of an Alaska natural gas pipeline was God's will.