Network morning news programs showcase musicians all the time with concert series and the like, and sometimes musicians make political statements in between songs, as Bruce Springsteen did on the September 28 "Today" show. But usually those segments are fluffy revenue raisers meant to hook audiences with popular musical acts. The politics are notable for their general left-wing slant, but otherwise unconnected to the news reporting on the program or the network.
Not so with Michael Stipe's appearance on the October 10 "Anderson Cooper 360," which will give Stipe and his band REM a platform to make a politically correct ecological statement in line with CNN's upcoming special, "Planet in Peril."
According to CNN.com:
(CNN) -- Rock group R.E.M. plans to debut a song from its upcoming album Wednesday on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360°" program.
The MRC's Culture and Media Institue, a defender of traditional values, says it is an attempt to influence this fall’s congressional debate on abstinence education programs. The show also depicts abstinence-only education as "useless, if not actively harmful."
From the birds-of-a-feather department comes news that former ABC "Nightline" host Ted Koppel is "hurting" for former CBS anchor Dan Rather.
The latter's ouster was a "travesty," Koppel said, on account of the fact that Rather's infamous National Guard story was "much more correct than incorrect." More:
“Dan Rather was squeezed out” with such little class from CBS News, Mr. Koppel said today at a forum at Fordham University in New York City that was put on by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
There's a fabulous column by Ed Driscoll (HT to NixGuy in an e-mail) about the evolution of media and reporting from the invention of radio to our current circumstances.
It's the title of Driscoll's work, "Atlas Mugged: How a Gang of Scrappy, Individual Bloggers Broke the Stranglehold of the Mainstream Media," that misses the mark a bit.
Ed has the "stranglehold" part nailed:
By the early 1970s, mass media had reached its zenith (if you’ll pardon the pun). Most Americans were getting their news from one of three TV networks’ half-hour nightly broadcasts. With the exception of New York, most big cities had only one or two primary newspapers. And no matter what a modern newspaper’s lineage, by and large its articles, except for local issues, came from global wire services like the Associated Press or Reuters; it took its editorial lead from the New York Times; and it claimed to be impartial (while usually failing miserably).
Besides omitting Iran’s terror ties in their coverage Iranian president Ahmadinejad’s planned visit to Ground Zero in New York City, as Scott Whitlock noted in his earlier post, ABC and CBS, as well as NBC, failed to mentioned that Ahmadinejad is also giving a lecture at Columbia University. The lecture, sponsored by the University, is planned on September 24, the same day Ahmadinejad will be addressing the United Nations.
The statements in Dan Rather's $70 million lawsuit, filed Wednesday against CBS for terminating him nearly two years after his discredited story on President Bush's National Guard service, reflect a conspiratorial paranoia about how he sees himself as a victim of Bush White House pressure and is unable to accept responsibility for his sloppy and politically-driven story.
The former network star charged that he was made a "scapegoat" for the 2004 story because CBS wished to "pacify the White House." CBS management "coerced" him, Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz on Thursday quoted the lawsuit, "into publicly apologizing and taking personal blame for alleged journalistic errors in the broadcast." Josh Howard, the Executive Producer at the time of the weekday 60 Minutes who was forced to resign, rejected Rather's claim that he was just a passive narrator, telling Kurtz: "He did every interview. He worked the sources over the phone. He was there in the room with the so-called document experts. He argued over every line in the script. It's laughable."
Dan Rather (file photo from Memogate days) is now suing his former employer for a cool $70 million. Jacques Steinberg of the New York Times has more.
Although it's impossible to sue the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy itself, Rather makes clear conservative groups and bloggers are to blame for his allegedly unfair dismissal from the former Tiffany Network:
At the risk of giving third-rate left-wing comedian Kathy Griffin more than her due of publicity, I thought I'd pass along something I saw over at Brutally Honest. The one-time 'The View' co-host prospect making light of award winners who thank Jesus or thank God for their accomplishment at the podium:
Writing for the September 9 Style & Arts section, Washington Post staff writer Jonathan Padget found a queer angle on an upcoming NBC action drama. The ratings-challenged network is remaking the 1970s "Bionic Woman" sci-fi series. It's a ratings gamble for the peacock network with any demographic, yet Padget seems to peg the success of the show on gay viewers, and finds a way to smack around former "Grey's Anatomy" co-star Isaiah Washington in the process:
What's a thoroughly postmodern gay to do when one of the iconic heroines of '70s television is relaunched on a network that eagerly embraces an actor who gets dumped from his hit show on another network after proving himself all too comfortable with a certain homophobic slur?
It seems not even Al Gore and his stable of celebrity talent could keep Live Earth at the top of the ratings this past weekend. Greg Pollowitz from The Corner has the breakdown from Nielsen Media Research:
Saturday 7/07/07 Note: The following results are based on the fast affiliate ratings (Live Plus Same Day data).
That's right; NBC had a total of 2.75 million viewers for their three-hour airing of the Live Earth concerts. As a small consolation, they had more viewers than this spot in Brisbane, Australia, where a large outdoor screen had been set up for the anticipated throng.
Right on cue, as the illegal immigrant amnesty bill failed to get the required support for passage in the Senate, the MSM is here to tell us mean spirited LEGAL Americans how "hard" it is on all those poor, innocent ILLEGAL migrants who break the law to come here by the millions. Yes, folks, women and children hardest hit, as the old saw goes. Of course, it is nearly ignored by the MSM that these people are not just "innocents" but are here knowingly breaking our laws and then blaming us when they find life a bit uncomfortable -- and a bit uncomfortable is all they are facing it should be remembered.
Three quick reports are indicative of how the MSM is making the average, legal American out to be an evil, racist, selfish creep by urging their elected officials to think of their own constituents before they think of undeserving foreign invaders.
Tim Graham appeared on "Live Desk w/Martha MacCallum" today to discuss what appears to be NBC paying for a post-incarceration interview with hotel heiress Paris Hilton. He joked: "It just sounds like a bad MTV reality show called Pimp My News."
There's nothing biased here, just some industry news. Politico and Media Bistro's fishbowlDC are reporting that it looks like NBC/MSNBC will be giving up their Capitol Hill cubby hole digs and moving most if not all of their DC bureau operation out to Nebraska. Avenue that is.
For those unfamiliar with Washington, the NBC offices on Nebraska are considerably farther from Capitol Hill than the stone's throw from the Senate that NBC now enjoys.
The bottom line: this could make it harder to get congressmen and senators who need to stay close to the Hill for legislative votes to appear on camera on MSNBC.
Al Roker was one of the villagers with torches who stormed the castle demanding that Don Imus be fired, but now the foot is in the other mouth. On the June 7 edition of the “Today” show, during a segment discussing London's truly horrible 2012 Olympic logo, which was said to have driven people into epileptic seizures upon viewing, Roker cracked a joke about the disorder. Without turning inflecting a politically correct tone or blowing the situation out of proportion, the New York Post reported his comments and next-day apology (hat tip: Insignificant Thoughts):
"Remember that controversial Olympic logo for the 2012 Olympics in London? Some folks have complained that the campaign actually sent them into epileptic seizures," Roker said on Thursday's show.
"Well, we asked you to weigh in on our Web site in an informal poll; those of you who could get up off the floor after shaking around were able to actually log in…"
I guess things have changed since Roker wrote in his blog that he was sick of the “ 'humor' at others expense” and “the cruelty that passes for funny” (bold mine throughout):
I was wondering when the New Republic Magazine began to delve into comedy? I guess it's all the rage with the comedic stylings of Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, and John Kerry, but I had always thought the New Republic fashioned itself a magazine of "serious" political commentary. After reading a fawning, nay slobberingly sycophantic, assessment of the career of David Gregory, NBC News' White House correspondent, I have my doubts about TNR’s claims to serious analysis. The title even seems a stab at humor, or at least wild hyperbole, as they absurdly seem to think that Gregory "Saved the Press Corps". (Registration required for the New Republic)
I mean, this thing might have been written by the best The Simpsons writers or the inventive crew from the joke-shop operated by that red-headed rake, Conan O'Brien.
Sadly, I believe the magazine published this in all seriousness. I mean, imagine? They truly are positing that this ill tempered, easily provoked, admittedly "showboating", loudmouth of a reporter is something to admire and emulate!
News magazines love to float above the real news and focus on nebulous trends, and perhaps none are more nebulous than the sudden popularity of the "beta male," as represented by Al Gore. The "cultural dispatch" by writer Jennie Yabroff celebrates Gore as "the proto beta male" who’s "having the last laugh as a movie star, an ecosavant, a best-selling author, and a potential dark-horse presidential candidate."
Yabroff’s article in the June 4 edition was headlined "Betas Rule: What do Jim from 'The Office,' Shrek and Al Gore have in common? They're beta males—losers who are winning. Look out, alpha dogs." While the grasping, ambitious "alphas" are out, Gore and Bill Clinton are singled out as the hottest political embodiments of sensitively surrendering men, as if they have no ambitions at all:
“Entertainment Weekly's” online site, EW.com, is usually politics-free, but not this week. Who would have thought that EW's “Lost” blogger could inject a little Bush Derangement Syndrome into a review of the show's May 23 season finale? Somehow, writer Jeff Jensen managed to find a way (spoilers ahead).
In case you aren’t a “Lost” viewer, here’s what you need to know to help explain this article about the show's season closer entitled “Through The Looking Glass.” Ben, the leader of the Others, intercepted the retreating Losties to negotiate with their leader Jack. Three Losties stayed behind to attack the Others’ but were taken hostage in the process. Ben threatened to have them killed by their captors if Jack didn’t follow his demands. So, now that the scene is set up, here is the BDS in full glory (emphasis mine):
The TV industry is a fickle business, just ask any veteran of the small screen. While most actors in Hollywood would probably tell you that they're at the mercy of you the viewing audience, blogger LaShawn Barber noticed that comedian George Lopez whipped out the race card to complain about his five-season-long show being canned by the alphabet network.
"TV just became really, really white again," complained Lopez, who was reacting to the premise of "Cavemen," the sitcom that will replace his show. "Cavemen" will basically transform the Geico commercial cavemen premise into a half-hour laugh riot (you can tell I suspect it will be even less funny than Lopez's show).
If television news were covered the same way the media covered Iraq, Katie Couric would surely be out of a job by now. I can imagine the New York Times lede:
The news just keeps getting worse for the administration. After spending millions of dollars and manpower to sell a leadership transition, the situation continues to deteriorate. External critics are stepping up their attacks and cracks within the administration's iron-clad discipline are beginning to show as dissenters leak secrets, express discontent and demand an exit strategy to an eager press.
That, of course is not a lede you'll ever see in any American newspaper but it is dead-on accurate as far as the facts go. The "CBS Evening News" continues to sink in the ratings despite the fact that former "Today" star Katie Couric was brought in to save the show from oblivion. Here's the actual New York Times:
One-third of Americans say
they have a negative view of Katie Couric, her personal popularity
lagging behind rivals Charles Gibson and Brian Williams just as her
evening news program trails in the ratings.
Michelle Malkin noticed that comedian Roseanne Barr wrote recently on her blog that she's too biased against Israel to be hired for the Barbara Walters daytime gab-fest. Here's what Barr wrote:
In reality, I could never host that show, or any network show, because I have opinions that are not sanctioned by the powers that be who refuse to allow even one dissenting voice over the airwaves of television(in this a "free" country).
I truly believe that millions of jews are not zionists, and that even if they are, they do not support Israeli occupation. I believe that Jews all over this planet choose peace in the middle east over the never ending death machine of hatred and division and terror that exists there now.
As we've noted in an earlier post, Rosie O'Donnell and ABC couldn't work out a contract renewal for her slot on "The View." But when I read the "exclusive" story this morning by ABC News's Monica Nista, I noticed the reporter left out any mention of Rosie's numerous controversies such as her 9/11 conspiracy theories, her suggestion that the British hostage crisis in Iran was a conspiracy, her "ching-chong" gaffe, or her swipe at "radical Christians" being just as dangerous as "radical Muslims" like Osama bin Laden. Instead Nista focused on an a feud with rival network NBC's "Apprentice" host Donald Trump:
Update at bottom of post: Other bloggers react to Rosie announcement.
Controversial daytime television host Rosie O'Donnell just confirmed rumors on "The View" today that she will be leaving the show.
"I can't come to terms," O'Donnell said, referring to an ongoing contract dispute that she had been having with ABC, the owner of the show.
Despite her departure, O'Donnell will be a "frequent guest host," she said. "View" founder Barbara Walters said she was not involved in O'Donnell's negotiations with ABC and said that she was "sad" that the former solo daytime host was going to be leaving after such an "interesting" year.
O'Donnell's role as co-host of the syndicated talker has come under scrutiny in recent months for injecting her strident brand of left-wing politics into the show.
Ironically, after Rosie made her announcement, Walters made some left-wing remarks of her own, stating that George W. Bush "is the president, not a king" in response to her walk home from the office.
Video: Real (3.3 MB) WMV (3.8 MB), plus MP3 (604 KB)
Full transcript from NB's Justin McCarthy below the fold.
Barbara Walters used to have a reputation as a serious journalist. That was before the bull-in-the-china-shop that is Rosie O'Donnell came bellowing into her life. Could Walters finnaly have reached her last straw with O'Donnell, though? If rumors of Rosie leaving the daytime TV talker "The View" after a blue and vulgar performance at an award ceremony for teen girls in New York is any indication, we might soon be seeing the end of the wild-eyed, late morning rants of this uninformed wind-bag, O'Donnell.
The New York Post reported on the 24th that Barbara "lowered her head on the dais and covered her face with her hand" as Rosie spoke. During her now boring schtick, Rosie unleashed the "F" word and a slew of vulgar sexual references as she spoke before the collected elite of the female movers and shakers of the news biz as well as a bevy of teen-aged girls who were on hand to receive awards for their own efforts to enter the field of communications.
Roger Friedman, gossip blogger for FNC has an interesting item about the anti-Katie Couric piece that I blogged about yesterday. According to Friedman, the piece was done partly at the behest of Couric's predecessor, the seemingly avuncular Bob Schieffer.
That wouldn't surprise me, but before I get into why, here's Friedman:
[O]ne of Couric's frequently
mentioned enemies is Bob Schieffer, the lovable, durable veteran
journalist who filled in as anchor of the "CBS Evening News"
between Dan Rather's departure and Couric's arrival.
But sources say that Schieffer has been
unhappy lately, mainly because his airtime, which was prominent when
Couric first started, has dwindled in recent weeks.
It's been suggested that a hit piece on
Couric written by Gail Shister in yesterday's Philadelphia Inquirer
was inspired by Schieffer as its main source.
"He has a direct line to her,"
one insider said.
This type of thing is hardly unprecedented within the television news business. CBS isn't quite the San Diego of "Anchorman," but it's had no shortage of anchor feuds.
CBS ombuds-blogger Brian Montopoli advises "Taking a Step Back In the Cho Debate" in an April 23 post, as he takes issue with conservatives like Hugh Hewitt who objected to NBC News (and other media outlets) airing the videotaped "manifesto" of the Virginia Tech mass murderer. Montopoli concludes on this note:
If, as a culture, we want to suppress the Cho manifesto, than we have
to ask ourselves what else we are willing to suppress. After all, the
Cho materials at least had some value beyond entertainment; it's harder
to say the same for cultural products like "Grand Theft Auto" or "300."
It seems to me that anyone criticizing NBC News for releasing the
materials – and CBS News and its counterparts for airing them – should
be thinking long and hard about how far down that path they are willing
CBS's $15 million experiment of hiring Katie Couric has not
paid any dividends. Six months into her tenure as anchor of the
"Evening News," Couric has actually fallen in the ratings from her
predecessor, Bob Schieffer, sparking talk within the network that the
former NBC star will soon be shown the door.
Besides ratings, CBS insiders and TV observers quoted by
Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Gail Shister take
issue with Couric over
her inability to relate to the 50+ news viewer and fluff news
Couric's personal pride seems to be the stickler, though:
If one were to contemplate all the horrible results of the actions of this murderous psychopath in Virginia, if one were to wonder how hard and emotional have become the lives of the survivors of those whom this sick individual killed, it would seem axiomatic that the Mainstream Media would be the last group such a reflection would see as a recipient of the "tough decisions" resulting from the murders . We would naturally feel pain at the loss of the families of the VT victims. Our hearts would go out to the turmoil that surviving students would face upon trying to resume their education schedules after this monumental outrage. We would even feel bad for residents of the surrounding Virginia communities as they attempt to cope with the crime. Yes, there are a lot of people to empathize with and to feel sorry for.
Eric Alterman recently got his dander up over at the Nation about many of the MSMs political pundits today, calling them "lazy" and blasting them for their near universal refusal to address Blogger's critiques of their work. Obviously he isn't happy over the treatment he received at the hands of Time Magazine's Joe Klein who dealt him a series of "schoolyard insults", as Alterman phrased it, after he criticized some of Klein's work. But, this personal vendetta aside, Alterman is on to something.
Alterman is filled with disgust at many Pundit's arrogance as they ignore the ankle biting leveled at them by Internet opinionists and Bloggers. And I cannot say that I disagree with him over his contention that the MSM is trying so hard to ignore rising Internet pundits and the influence they are garnering that they have damaged their own credibility in the process by overlooking substantive critical analysis offered at lightening speed by Internet writers.