Media Business

By Lachlan Markay | May 12, 2010 | 2:28 PM EDT
In the latest example of a pattern of opacity, the White House has cut off the press's access to Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. Kagan has extensive ties to journalists, which only serves as a testament to this administration's determination to control the message on its major initiatives, including Kagan's nomination.

"Tell her we're deeply frustrated," one reporter told White House press secretary Robert Gibbs of the administration's refusal to grant Kagan a traditional interview with the press. Kagan did do a short interview with a White House staff member released only online, in what CBS White House correspondent Peter Maer called "Kagan 'in her own words' without anyone else's words."

Washington Examiner White House correspondent Julie Mason was harsher in her criticism. The White House interview "doesn't count toward the administration's 'accountability' totals," she wrote on the paper's Beltway Confidential blog. "It's just another campaign commercial, masquerading as openness."
By Lachlan Markay | May 8, 2010 | 2:42 PM EDT

One of the worst ways that the lack of ideological diversity in America's newsrooms shows forth is in the media's treatment of sensational accusations against the current president.

Oftentimes, explosive allegations against presidents are either untrue or drastically overstated: George W. Bush deliberately lying to get the U.S. to war so he can cash in or deliberately ignoring Hurricaine Katrina due to his hatred of black people (a la Kanye West), Bill Clinton's supposed involvment in the drug trade, truthers, birthers, so on and so forth.

Journalists do the public a service by rebutting absurd conspiracy theories and wacko charges. In recent memory, though, they have taken a much greater zeal toward stamping out allegations against Democrats, particularly President Obama, a stark contrast to the kidglove or even promotional attitude they took toward books by liberal authors alleging all sorts of anti-Bush absurdities.

World Net Daily-affiliated author Aaron Klein recently discovered this when he sent his new book, "The Manchurian President," to members of the media he hoped would review it. He got some very angry responses. Here are some of the more colorful ones:

By Ken Shepherd | May 6, 2010 | 4:14 PM EDT
"Everyone is entitled to his opinion, but not his own facts," Daniel Patrick Moynihan is credited as having once said. MSNBC's Chris Matthews would do well to heed the counsel of the late liberal New York senator.

The "Hardball" host yesterday smeared former Bush FEMA Director Michael Brown as having this kooky notion that President Obama approved of offshore drilling in March only because he knew the BP oil rig disaster would happen.

But as the video embedded at right shows, this is Matthews's own warped misunderstanding of Brown's argument about how the Obama administration is poised to take advantage of a disaster for political ends. [MP3 audio available here; WMV video for download here]

Matthews is certainly entitled to disagree with Brown's assessment about the Obama administration's motives behind its slow response to the BP oil spill, but not to lie to viewers about Brown's argument.

Below the page break you'll find a transcript excerpt:

By Lachlan Markay | May 5, 2010 | 12:47 PM EDT
The Washington Post is making the transition from a powerhouse liberal newspaper to a network of powerhouse liberal blogs. While the paper's Old Guard is worried that the move will tarnish the Post's supposed reputation for political neutrality, it should be seen more as a embrace of the agenda the Post has evinced for years.

"Traditionalists," wrote Politico today, "worry that the Post is sacrificing a hard-won brand and hallowed news values." One such "traditionalist," Rem Rieder of the American Journalism Review, said a more openly-liberal approach to reporting, mostly done online in the form of various blogs, would be "a danger to the brand."

To the extent that the Post still pretends to be objective -- and to the extent that its readers believe that claim -- then yes, an opinion blog-centric approach is tarnishing the brand. But for those who acknowledge the Post' consistently liberal approach to the news, the only change is the way that that news is delivered.
By Ken Shepherd | May 5, 2010 | 12:13 PM EDT

Apparently all those loyal subscribers from dentist offices all over the fruited plain just isn't cutting it anymore.

Andrew Vanacore of the Associated Press has the story:

NEW YORK—The Washington Post Co. is putting Newsweek up for sale in hopes that another owner can figure out how to stem losses at the 77-year-old weekly magazine.

While magazines in general have struggled with steep declines in advertising revenue because of the recession, news magazines such as Newsweek face the added pressures from up-to-the-second online news. Once handy digests of the week's events, they have been assailed by competitors on the Web that pump out a constant stream of news and commentary.

By Lachlan Markay | May 3, 2010 | 11:57 AM EDT

It took a while, but MSNBC President Phil Griffin has finally admitted and embraced his cable network's hard-left slant. He told the Chicago Tribune that he will try to carve out a niche on the left, hoping some day to rival the Fox News Channel's record-setting ratings.

Not so long ago, Griffin insisted that MSNBC was not "tied to ideology" -- unlike Fox, which simply could not be trusted, he claimed. Griffin even knocked FNC President Roger Ailes's business model, criticizing him for "creat[ing] an ideological channel… I give them total credit. I tip my hat to them. They scored. But it was ideological and opportunistic. It was a business plan."

Griffin has apparently abandoned his disdain for that business plan. He spoke glowingly of Ailes in an interview with the Tribune, saying the FNC president "changed the world" with his wildly successful business model, which went beyond just reporting to create brand loyalty and provide viewers with commentary that speaks to their views and preferences. MSNBC will now be (openly) emulating that model.

By Lachlan Markay | April 28, 2010 | 5:35 PM EDT
Is President Obama incapable of dealing with journalists who question his policies? The White House press corps is becoming increasingly agitated with an administration that reacts particularly strongly to criticism, and even skepticism.

The White House has adopted a pugilistic attitude towards the press, lashing out at journalists who criticize the president, shutting others out, and adopting a deferential attitude towards the press corps that has some journalists reminiscing about the openness of -- gasp -- the George W. Bush presidency.

The Obama administration "came in with every reporter giving them the benefit of the doubt," one journalist told Politico's Josh Gersten and Patrick Gavin. "They’ve lost all that goodwill." It seems that the press corps's offense is questioning the administration's positions.
By Tom Blumer | April 26, 2010 | 3:58 PM EDT
ABCauditButton0410Update: The well-publicized announcement that Editor & Publisher was going to "cease operations" last December and that was stated as a given in the original version of this post was apparently premature, as it's still there on the web. E&P is also covering the circulation news (daily; Sunday; HT to a BizzyBlog commenter).

Advertising Age (AA) had the unenviable task (given that it's supposed to stay on its vendors' and customers' good sides) of figuring out a way to cast yet another dreadful newspaper circulation report in a non-negative light. The educated guess here is that most newspaper execs are not going to be wearing the button pictured at the top right very frequently during the foreseeable future.

Here are the figures cited by AA as overall newspaper circulation declines during the past five six-month ABC reporting periods (percentages represent declines from the same six-month period of the previous year) --

March 31, 2010: - 8.7% daily, -6.5% Sunday
September 30, 2009: -10.6% daily, -7.5% Sunday
March 31, 2009: - 7.1% daily, -5.4% Sunday
September 30, 2008: -4.6% daily, -4.9% Sunday
March 31, 2008: - 3.6% daily, -4.6% Sunday

Given the results, here is AA's headline, sub-headline, and "hey, it's not really that bad" first sentence:

By Lachlan Markay | April 20, 2010 | 12:17 PM EDT

Update - 12:48 PM | Lachlan Markay: David Brooks weighs in. See his thoughts below.

One of the gripes about online journalism often aired by the Helen Thomases and the Chuck Todds of the world is that online news consumers will only consume news that reinforces their worldview or political beliefs. A new scholarly study challenges that assumption.

The study, conducted by Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse Shapiro, both of the National Bureau of Economic Research, found that there is "no evidence that the Internet is becoming more segregated over time." In other words, contrary to Old Media's accusations, the Internet is not an overwhelmingly polarizing force.

The study found that the Internet exposes people to ideas that they do not normally encounter in face-to-face interactions during their daily lives. Though this should come as little surprise -- with the wealth of information the web provides, how could it not regularly challenge worldviews and preconceptions? -- it is perhaps worth reminding the skeptics.

By NB Staff | April 16, 2010 | 3:23 PM EDT

On Thursday evening our good friend Mark Levin cited and read from the latest Media Research Center special report, "TV's Tea Party Travesty: How ABC, CBS and NBC Have Dismissed and Disparaged the Tea Party Movement."

You can hear that segment by clicking here for the MP3 audio file (courtesy of Levin's producer Richard Semanta).

Here's the transcript by MRC intern Alex Fitzsimmons:

Where are all the big taxers and spenders today? You heard from any of them? But the Tea Party protestors are out there and that's a good thing. All over the country-and the media hate them. And we know this is a matter of empirical fact now thanks to our friends at the Media Research Center. Hat tip to Drudge Report who links to them: MRC.org. And they've done an analysis that reviewed every mention of the Tea Party on ABC, CBS, and NBC morning and evening newscasts, the Sunday talk shows, ABC's "Nightline," from February 19, 2009 through March 31, 2010.

Now here among their major findings is how our "news outlets" our big news outlets, our liberal news outlets, treat the American people who attend these rallies. They write:

By John Nolte | April 15, 2010 | 5:12 PM EDT
Originally published yesterday at Big Hollywood. For a related blog post, click here.

Must be nice being a leftie and NEVER having to worry about some childish television creator taking a gratuitous shot — from completely out of nowhere — at what you believe in. Not so for we righties. When all we want after a hard day of gay bashing, cross burning and kitten punting is to get lost in mindless entertainment, we always have to worry about stuff like this (see video embed at right).

This is why I stopped watching television over a decade ago. Tired of being insulted. Tired of being disappointed. And you can practically feel the people behind the childish political shot laughing at your Charlie Brown as they once again pull the football away.

“Glee” spent all of last season building up buzz and an audience, and as soon as they get one: POW!

Screw you, righties. We don’t like you and we think you’re stupid for liking Palin.

But it’s more than that. This stuff matters.

By NB Staff | April 15, 2010 | 4:40 PM EDT

Media Research Center Research Director Rich Noyes will appear on Breitbart.tv's "The B-Cast" Web-cast program at 5 p.m. Eastern time today. The NewsBusters senior editor will be discussing his latest report, "TV's Tea Party Travesty: How ABC, CBS and NBC Have Dismissed and Disparaged the Tea Party Movement."

You can watch the live Web cast by clicking here or by watching the embedded video below the page break.