Media Business

By Ken Shepherd | June 7, 2010 | 12:03 PM EDT

Time's Joe Klein, no fan of the present Israeli government he, has weighed in on Helen Thomas's now infamous "get the hell out of Palestine" comments.

Writing for his magazine's Swampland blog yesterday, Klein denounced the Hearst columnist's comments as "odious," but stopped short of demanding her ouster from the White House press briefing room. Instead, Klein urged in his June 6 post that Thomas should forego her front row seat and get pushed towards the back of the room:

[I]t's not unprecedented for journalists with odious views to have access to the press room. What is unprecedented is for such a journalist to have a front-row center seat. Thomas should no longer have that privilege. The front row should be occupied by working reporters, not columnists. The WHCA should sanction Thomas by sending her back to the cheap seats. This would accurately reflect her current status as a journalist while preserving her First Amendment right to be as obnoxious as she wants.

Of course Thomas has a First Amendment right to be obnoxious, but that doesn't mean she has a constitutional right to a slot in the press briefing room. Perhaps Klein thinks his is a reasonable middle ground for the WHCA to stake out, but there were plenty of reasons to boot Thomas from the front row long before her anti-Semitic ranting made for viral video.
By Tim Graham | June 7, 2010 | 6:31 AM EDT

The Federal Trade Commission's attempt to noodle the "reinvention" of journalism sounds to many conservatives like "The Great Newspaper Bailout" -- just as Dan Gainor and Catherine Maggio wrote for the Business and Media Institute last fall. Here's Dan's latest update

Laurence Jarvik, an author of several fine books on public broadcasting like "PBS: Behind the Screen" (and a friend), shared the comments he's offering to the FTC on his blog. He says subsidizing newspapers is like supporting horsewhip vendors and buggy manufacturers:  

[T]hese FTC proposals for revisions in copyright, antitrust, and tax law appear designed to favor printed newspapers over new media. They are backward looking, regressive, unimaginative (the FTC’s proposed tax on electronics recycles a fifty-year old proposal the Johnson administration attempted to implement for public broadcasting finance) and would serve to undermine innovation, creativity, and the public’s right to know. Indeed, they would serve to stifle the progress of science and the useful arts.

Today, in the age of the Internet, anyone and everyone can be a journalist. Anyone can print anything on the web. That is progress for freedom of the press and a boon to journalism, not reason to despair.

By Lachlan Markay | June 2, 2010 | 12:16 PM EDT
It seems that the vast majority of journalists who bemoan unaccountable, unabashedly opinionated digital reporting are the same ones who have, without challenge, pushed a liberal perspective through their own reporting.

The latest such journalist, Newsweek's Howard Fineman, is concerned that "nobody is cross-examining" the "position papers" that supposedly comprise a critical mass of new media journalism. Of course without new media, Fineman's position papers would be virtually immune from meaningful cross examination.

His position is common among the media's old guard: accountability for thee, but not for me. This view stems both from a sort of meta-double standard: Fineman and his ilk extrapolate a few bad apples among the new media crowd into a larger trend of malfeasance, while treating instances of journalistic malpractice among old media reporters as isolated incidents that have no real bearing on Old Media's accountability (or lack thereof).

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 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.