Although it remains in distant third in the U.S. television ratings behind Fox News Channel and MSNBC, CNN has consistently been a good revenue generator for its parent company Time Warner. In fact, in terms of profits, CNN is on track for record numbers this year.
How is that possible in the face of continued failures in both the daytime and primetime dayparts? The short answer is CNN's self-proclaimed stance that it is non-ideological. While the network is far from ideologically diverse, it still isn't as liberal as MSNBC. That non-partisan angle has led the network to rake in the big bucks:
As the clock in the Eastern time zone officially tells me that it's Memorial Day, it occurs to me that the men and women we honor today did not fight and die so they would see their country become one where a person could be hounded from their home, see themselves and/or loved ones lose their jobs, worry about the safety of their kids, or be visited by police with guns drawn as a result of a false anonymous tip -- all of which has "just so happened" to occur in close proximity to having blogged about the activities of a certain person or his associates.
It also occurs to me that part of the way of life these men and women died to preserve had to do with defending the rights of the press (which at the time of our Founders was understood to be anyone "down" to the level of a pamphleteer) to conscientiously do their jobs, and that part of the reason why what is happening as described in the first paragraph goes on may be because those involved know that they often won't be called out by the local, regional, or national press -- virtually no matter how egregious their offenses.
On Tuesday, May 16, CNN did something that hadn't happened to the network since 1997: The 9 p.m. edition of Piers Morgan Tonight drew an audience of only 39,000 viewers in the important 25-54 age demographic.
These numbers come as a huge blow to the host, liberal, former tabloid editor Piers Morgan.
Mockery of religion in general and Catholicism in particular is commonplace in Hollywood– from Showtime’s “The Borgias” to the recent “Three Stooges” movie which features Kate Upton wearing a “nun-kini.” The latest installment of Catholic-bashing, “The Perfect Family,” is slated to come out May 4 – and predictably stereotypes Catholics who believe and practice what their Church teaches as unfeeling busybodies.
The About section for the “The Perfect Family” declares: “Suburban supermom Eileen Cleary (Academy Award® nominee Kathleen Turner) is the ultimate Catholic.” And indeed, the trailer for the movie perfectly reflects Hollywood’s twisted conception of Catholicism. One quote from Turner’s character reflects the view that faithful Catholics are heartless drones: “Well who cares if you’re happy? You’re living in sin!” Another quote is even more explicitly anti-Catholic: “I don’t have to think! I’m a Catholic!”
Based on its past track record, it would have been unsurprising if the Discovery Channel's new and heavily-promoted miniseries "Frozen Planet" pushed heavy on themes of global warming and man-caused climate change. But it doesn't - a surprising change for the cable network that has, for years, pushed the climate change message.
The New York Times took note of the change in a Friday article that surmised that the Discovery Channel was influenced by a desire for ratings:
The sexualization of children is now promoted on “edgier” cable entertainment outlets. “Angry Boys,” an Australian “mockumentary” shown by HBO, showed a young girl drinking out of a pink plastic cup shaped like a penis in Episode 12.
The incident is meant to be comedic. But showing a young girl sucking on a penis in a comedic fashion is akin to showing child pornography.
In her syndicated column today (at NewsBusters; at her home blog), Michelle Malkin runs down how CNN news anchor Soledad O'Brien has an affinity for the work of the late Harvard Professor Derrick Bell, particularly his "critical race theory" (CRT) that she has to this point not disclosed to her CNN viewers.
O'Brien also had a guest professor on her program who told the audience that CRT has nothing to do with, in Michelle's words, "bashing America as a white supremacy-ruled government." Trouble is, the professor has written that CRT “highlight(s) the ways in which the law is not neutral and objective, but designed to support White supremacy and the subordination of people of color.” As Michelle wrote: "Oops." An NB tipster noted that O'Brien's O'Babbling should not have surprised anyone given her supportive reaction, noted at the time at Media Bistro, to a particularly odd and pathetic speech (transcript here) the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ (y'know, the guy whose inflammatory, anti-American sermons Barack Obama never heard despite almost two decades as a TUCC member) gave at an NAACP dinner in Detroit on April 26, 2008 (internal link was in original):
Andrew Breitbart, the conservative blogger and publisher who died suddenly yesterday was going to really shake up the self-described mainstream media according to a report that he was in talks with CNN to co-host a television show with Anthony Weiner, the disgraced liberal Democratic congressman who famously sent pictures of his underwear-clad genitals to women on the internet.
The idea certainly would not have been out of the realm of possibility for either CNN or Breitbart; the cable network famously invited another disgraced Democratic politician, former New York governor Elliott Spitzer, to co-host a program with moderate conservative columnist Kathleen Parker. Bringing in a real conservative who could hold his own and coherently state conservative beliefs would certainly have been an improvement. The Parker-Spitzer show was a short-lived affair which died soon after it was launched.
It's bad enough when items which should so obviously be leading the news aren't. It's worse when you realize that one of the reasons for the deliberate avoidance is that the press is allowing itself to be coopted into treating insignificant orchestrated political stunts to chew up scarce time and resources.
Readers who are wondering why outfits like CNN (covered yesterday by Matt Hadro at NewsBusters), the New York Times (as noted by NB's Clay Waters) and the Associated Press (caught Tuesday by yours truly) would bother to prepare reports on a dozen-person anti-Mitt Romney demonstration at the Westminster Dog Show can stop wondering. At Polititicker, Hunter Walker and Colin Campbell report that Americans United for Change (home page; Facebook page), a Democratic Party-connected group, is driving it (bolds are mine):
Editor's Note: What follows is a letter that NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center president Brent Bozell sent to the presidents of the news divisions of ABC, CBS, and NBC as well as to CNN president Jim Walton. It has also been carbon copied to 10 leaders representing various Catholic and Protestant faith organizations.
The broadcast and cable television networks need to report the current, unprecedented assault against freedom of religion in this country, as well as the millions of Americans who would be left out in the cold by the Obama administration if it does not rescind HHS’s recently issued insurance mandate requiring contraceptive coverage. As our statistics and analysis below outline, they are not, and it’s a glaring double standard.
It was a routine Saturday morning at Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH forum, broadcast nationally on the Word Network. He was all over the map. Jackson trashed Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater, Newt Gingrich, and Mitt Romney. He warned that enterprises such as black funeral homes and black insurance companies are “under attack.” He condemned a proposed change in Grammy Award classifications. Jackson also spoke out against Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who, he said, “did the ultimate insult. She put her finger in his (President Barack Obama) face.” Jackson wants people to call and complain (video here):
Mitt Romney appeared on all six network and cable morning shows on Wednesday and endured repeated liberal attacks about whether he'll be able to "defend" his business background, and even an assertion that a 16 point New Hampshire win was "not a victory." [UPDATED: See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The Republican presidential candidate showed up on CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News and MSNBC. However, it was CNN's Soledad O'Brien who offered the most transparently partisan attack. Citing DNC Chairman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, O'Brien parroted that this "was not a victory." The "Starting Point" anchor admitted that Wasserman-Schultz's job was to "spin," but continued, "But doesn't she have a point [that]... this is a place [New Hampshire] where you have lived, and that number, while very good, is not 60 percent, or 70 percent?"
As surely as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, it seemed inevitable that moonbat cable news personality Keith Olbermann would soon do something to sour his relationship with his current employer, obscure cable channel Current TV. After all, he still remains the same man who famously spent days in the bathroom in fits of rage rather than report for work.
We don't know what that something was, but it appears that the former ESPN-MSNBC-Fox Sports-MSNBC anchor has managed to commit it for, as noted by New York Times media reporter Brian Stelter, Olbermann does not appear to be part of the channel's lineup to cover the Iowa caucuses or the New Hampshire primary election. Instead, viewers will be treated to performances by Current's usual stable of failed politicians and MSNBC rejects:
Imagine if it were discovered that free-market think tanks were caught vetting scripts of Fox News programs, intervening to prevent free-market sceptics from receiving air time, and consulted with the network about how it should alter its programing in a free-market direction. The howls of outrage would be loud, long and unrelenting from other news networks, the wire services, and leading U.S. newspapers.
What I have just described, and more, characterizes a decade-long relationship between the British Broadcasting Corporation and UK-based climate scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) -- except that the BBC is government-funded and disproportionately controls the flow of broadcast news in the UK. What the UK Daily Mail has revealed today as part of its ongoing review of the second set of Climategate emails released before Thanksgiving has caused Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Foundation to write that the BBC is "in cahoots with Climategate scientists." What follows are excerpts from the David Rose's Daily Mail story (bolds are mine):
In a report filed at the Los Angeles Times's Politics Now blog earlier today, Washington Bureau reporter James Oliphant relayed a number of whoppers delivered by Vice President Joe Biden without anything resembling a challenge. In Part 1, I noted how Biden, who in August described Tea Party sympathizers as "terrorists" and in September as "barbarians," today spoke in complimentary terms of how much the Occupy Wall Street crowd has in common with them. In Part 2, I dealt with the Veep's hit at financially struggling Bank of America for having the nerve to try to recover some of what the Dodd-Frank "financial reform" legislation took away by charging some customers a $5 monthly fee for debit-card use.
This final part will deal with Biden's rendition of how the "bank bailout" portion of TARP operated, which is quite different from the reality. The relevant excerpt from Oliphant, which necessarily overlaps the first two parts, follows (bolds are mine throughout):
That civility thing which Democrats and the Left thought to be all-important earlier this year is sooooo January. Unless it changes its stripes overnight, the incivility and hostility on display today in Detroit, which hasn't been seen much in establishment press reports to this point, won't appear on the Big 3 Networks' morning shows tomorrow. The American people really need to see what has become of the labor movement, and the type of behavior its head cheerleader in the White House condones.
Showtime's TV series "Dexter," whose sympathetic portrayal of a serial killer already plumbs the depths of depravity, managed to sink to a new low by adding blasphemy to its formula of grisly vigilante murder. Two promotional videos released by Showtime, previewing Season 6 of "Dexter," mingled sacred images with the show's recurring theme of vigilante murder.
The first video (cynically titled "Thank God"), showed serial killer Dexter Morgan walking through a room of statues of Jesus, angels, and Catholic saints and ruminating on his purpose in life - which just happens to be murdering guilty people.
After letting it wither on the vine for a while, CNN has canceled the nightly television program hosted by disgraced former New York governor Eliot Spitzer.
The show, known as "In the Arena," had initially paired Spitzer with moderate conservative Kathleen Parker who proved no match for her much more vociferous liberal counterpart. AP reports on the lineup shuffle:
My first reaction to this was, "Well, if this became a common practice, at least we'd hear the word 'unexpectedly' a lot less often."
Over at Mediaite on Friday (some R-rated content is at link; HT Doug Powers at Michelle Malkin's place), Josh Feldman ripped CNN business reporter Felicia Taylor, whose background includes stints at the Financial News Network, CNBC, for devoting nearly three minutes to the economic predictions of psychics.
I watched the segment myself, hoping against hope that it would come off as a spoof. It didn't.
Here's some of what Feldman had to say (internal link, bold and italics are in original):
Last night, Jon Stewart addressed the fact check of his claim that Fox News viewers are consistently the most misinformed about politics compared to the audiences of other news networks and shows– in “every poll,” he said. Though much of the conservative blogosphere went to town on that bunk claim right away, the backlash against Stewart found a rallying point in an article by the normally left-leaning Politifact:
On Friday, Cass Sunstein, the White House's 56 year-old Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (pictured at right), attempted to disavow a 42-page paper he wrote called "Lives, Life-Years, and Willingness to Pay," which recommended that the government reduce resources directed at benefitting the elderly in favor of increasing what goes to young people, because young people have more years of life ahead of them. His statement, as carried at CNS News:
“I’m a lot older now than the author with my name was, and I’m not sure what I think about what that young man wrote,” he said. “Things written as an academic are not a legitimate part of what we do as a government official. So I am not focusing on sentences that a young Cass Sunstein wrote years ago.
So, dear readers, before you go to the rest of this post, guess how "young" Sunstein was when he engaged in his de facto "death panels" advocacy.
President Obama chided the news media Wednesday for continuing to focus national attention on the non-issue of his American citizenship. "Fascinating how many of Obama's birther remarks…were aimed at the media for stoking this," tweeted Howard Kurtz shortly after the speech.
The birth certificate issue was a distraction, Obama stated, and the White House decision to release his long-form birth certificate was an attempt to re-focus national attention on the important issues, specifically his budget proposal. But which media outlets were most guilty of sustaining attention on the issue? On cable news, at least, the answer runs contrary to the usual media narrative.
As it turns out, one was 35 times more likely to hear about the birther issue on CNN or MSNBC than on Fox News during the week of April 11 through 17, when Obama was touting his budget. The cable network most often railed against as the birther-enabler was least likely - by far - to even mention the issue.
On the surface, TLC's "Extreme Couponing" -- premiering tonight at 9:30 p.m. EDT -- may look to you and me like an innocently voyeuristic look into the lives of fellow Americans who take penny-pinching to the extreme, saving at times hundreds of dollars on grocery store runs.
But that's why we're not TV critics for a liberal metropolitan newspaper.
Washington Post's Hank Stuever worked in a healthy share of left-wing grousing about capitalism and insisted that the coupon-clippers highlighted by the program were insufferably selfish souls.
Demonstrating the ability to go unhinged without provocation, movie critic Roger Ebert looked at this Hollywood Reporter item discussing CNN's audience increase on Friday as an excuse to tweet the following at about midnight Eastern time last night:
Lisa Ling, a self-admitted "severe gay rights activist," was much tougher on Christians who hold fast to the traditional teachings against homosexual behavior on the Tuesday episode of her series on the Oprah Winfrey Network, "Our America." Ling wondered if ministering to homosexuals with this belief system "cause more harm than good." By contrast, she was sympathetic of a camp for teenage homosexuals where "they can feel accepted as both gay and Christian."
At the very beginning of her hour-long program, Ling featured the annual conference of Exodus International, an interdenominational ministry that preaches "freedom from homosexuality" for people who have same-sex attraction. As she headed into the conference, she stated that "I just want to go into this with the intention of trying to understand why people believe what they believe, and that's it." The journalist gave a similar line during a February 22, 2011 online interview, but then made the following admission:
The Fox News Channel absolutely dominated its cable news competition in February. In terms of overall viewers, the top 11 cable news shows were all on Fox. In the coveted 25-54 demographic - the group that advertisers pay particularly close attention to - Fox took 11 of the top 15 spots.
The Rachel Maddow Show earned the top spot for an MSNBC program. Despite her struggles with factual accuracy of late, it seems Maddow has assumed the role of leading prime time anchor left vacant by Keith Olbermann's departure.
CNN's AC360 led that channel, beating out Maddow in the demo with 304,000 viewers, but trailing MSNBC and Fox leaders in total viewership.
On Wednesday, the Hollywood Reporter tried to dissect cable news's strange fascination with Sarah Palin. For Fox it's more apparent: Palin is a paid contributor, after all. But for MSNBC, whose primetime hosts have mentioned her more than any other cable news personalities, it seems to be a case of mutual dependency. MSNBC needs Palin.
In a response to the THR article, filmmaker John Ziegler delved deeper into the lefty cable network's strange obsession with all things Palin. Ziegler made plain what THR only touched on: Palin fits perfectly the "bogeyman" role that MSNBC needs to keep its lefty viewers tuned in.
As for MSNBC programmer BIll Wolff's insistence that the channel simply "holds up a mirror" - tells it like it is, in other words, with no partisan spin - Ziegler callled the claim "laughable."
Earlier this morning, NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center (MRC) president Brent Bozell sat down with C-SPAN's Libby Casey for an interview on "Washington Journal."
Among other topics, Bozell addressed media coverage of the Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona) shooting.
"Where's the harm in having this discussion about civil discourse?" Casey asked Bozell.
"I think it's a very good discussion, don't get me wrong.... But don't tie it to what happened [in Arizona]," Bozell answered. "Don't say it's because Sarah Palin and the crosshairs [on her PAC's targeted midterm race map]."
For the excerpt, check out the video embedded below the page break or click here for MP3 audio.