Hinderaker of Power Line points out the broader implications
of CNN being foisted upon Glenn and many other travelers:
This has become my major issue with air travel, worse even
having to throw away my shaving cream and toothpaste. (Want a stock
tip? Invest in a company that makes really, really small toiletries.)
The airports of America--as far as I can tell, there aren't any
exceptions--have entered into a contract with CNN whereby CNN's
outrageously one-sided coverage blares non-stop at every airline gate
in the U.S. Talk about a captive audience! You really don't have any
choice but to sit at the gate, waiting for your plane to load, and the
volume is turned up so loud that you can't miss a single snarky attack
on the Bush administration. Frankly, I think I'd rather be
waterboarded. Do you suppose John McCain can do something about this?
This is just one of many manifestations of the fact that the
Democratic Party is the "home team" of American politics. CNN is the
"official" news network, viewed by corporate America as neutral and
unobjectionable even though, in fact, it is relentlessly liberal. If
anyone proposed that they shift the contract over to Fox, for the sake
of more competent news coverage if nothing else, the reaction would be:
we can't do that, Fox is conservative! It isn't, actually, for the most
part. But occasional moments of conservatism will drive a network more
or less underground, while constant liberalism is considered middle of
the road, and suitable for infliction--like it or not--on the air
travelers of America.
had the same experience, most airport TVs I've run across show
CNN. But CNN is not only the channel of most major airports,
it's also the channel in most public spaces where ESPN isn't being
shown, simply because liberalism is the default political viewpoint set
up for Americans. It's not the raving, Bush-is-Hitler bile that
left-wing blogs and Air America pine for, but it's there nonetheless,
surrounding us all like a comforting political amniotic fluid, helping
us know what's right, who's evil, and what's sensible and moderate.
It's also probably one of the bigger reasons why liberal media bias
We're all familiar with this definition of a conservative: "a liberal who's just been mugged." This morning, Ted Koppel devised a variation on the theme that could be taken as an insult to his fellow lefties: "a liberal is a conservative who just got arrested."
Koppel's line came in the course of a Today show interview with Matt Lauer to discuss a special that Koppel is about to air in his role as Managing Editor of the Discovery Channel [so that's where he went after leaving ABC!]. As Lauer described it, the documentary, entitled 'The Price of Security,' addresses "the balance between securing the nation and protecting our individual liberties."
I usually wouldn't make a big deal out of something like this, but today's just the wrong day for the gratuitous slam of FOX News as "fake news." You know, because two of it's journalists were just freed from the very real experience of being kidnapped while on the job and then held hostage for 13 days.
At the beginning of each TV season, the cable and broadcast television networks trot out their new lineups for an ever-jaded and cynical bunch, the nation's TV critics. Despite their grousing about shows, Aaron Barnhart writes, tv crix realize they shouldn't be complaining because in many ways, entertainment television has never been better in this country than it is now. So why is it that news television fails to inspire much enthusiasm? My thoughts follow this excerpt from Barnhart's piece:
Here inside the Ritz-Carlton ballroom, we may be suffering from chills,
bloggerhea and other work-related ailments, but we're not kidding
ourselves: We know our jobs are great.
And that's because it's a pleasure to write about TV shows that, on
the whole, are now better made and better written than movies are.
Every day, thousands of people walk out of the store with a home
theater and soon discover the joys of staying at home as opposed to the
cineplex, where their choices have dwindled thanks to the
divide-and-conquer demographic madness that has gripped Hollywood. (If
only the Caribbean pirates would wear Prada, as my friend Gary Dretzka recently joked.)
Prime time television is more entertaining, more satisfying and -- as Stephen Johnson convincingly argued in his book Everything Bad Is Good For You -- more challenging than it has ever been. We're living in a golden age for TV entertainment.
So why is it that the situation for TV news is trending in exactly
the opposite direction? Why is it more insipid, sensational and facile
than ever? Why are Americans who rely on television as their main
source of information less informed than ever? [...]
What is it with Boston Globe sportswriter Dan Shaughnessey and Florida cities? Trouble booking a tee time? Lines too long at his favorite Disney World ride? Bad OJ in his screwdriver, perhaps?
For the second time this year, Shaughnessey took the occasion of a TV appearance to gratuitously label a Florida city a 'yahoo town'. As I wrote about here, back in January, appearing on ESPN's 'Rome is Burning', he called Jacksonville a 'yahoo town,' comparing it unfavorably with Detroit, which he dubbed a 'real city' because "you can get the New York Times here."
Appearing again today on 'Rome is Burning', Shaughnessey was back on the yahoo beat.
"We are excited about it," Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks
basketball team, said yesterday. He described the show as "an
opportunity to do news in what I like to call 'fearless mode,' what Dan
calls 'with guts.' Go out there and find the stories we think will have
Well, hurricane season is almost upon us again.
He added: "Traditional broadcast and cable news is all about numbers.
Get a pretty face, pay for it in the upfront," the annual conference
for advertisers. " 'How does MSNBC beat Fox?' The lead story is never
the reporting or news itself."
Funny. I thought the reason for Rather's being exiled in the first place was that the reporting became the story.
CORRECTION: In accordance with one of the comments, HDNet is apparently available at least on Adelphia cable, in at least some markets. I haven't had time to check the others, but HDNet is, in fact, not dish-only. The WaPo only mentions the two dish networks, so I assumed that was the extent of HDNet's distribution.
As for the quote, "How does MSNBC beat Fox News?" debated in the comments, I believe that Cuban is putting himself in the position of an MSNBC exec, asking that rather hopeless question when the season's programming is being set up. It's rhetorical, not unlike discussing the NBA draft and having a mythical GM ask, "How does Dallas beat Miami?"
Rocker Bruce Springsteen says he has every right to speak out on politics, as much as Ann Coulter does, and that the "idiots rambling" on cable talk shows have no more right than him to let their voices be heard.
The singer/songwriter spoke with anchor Soledad O'Brien on CNN's American Morning.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Are you sending a political message with this album?
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: I like that to be an organic part of what I'm doing. I think because I -- I always search those -- in trying to explain the world and the times to myself, I search those elements out and the music that I like. And so it wouldn't -- I mean, Pete Seeger record without politics in it wouldn't feel right.
Here's what BMI's Dan Gainor posted Thursday about Lauer's Tuesday night foray into documentary-making (click here for the full article):
“We are the problem,” declared NBC’s “Today” co-anchor Matt Lauer doing a stint as host for the SciFi network. Lauer was referring to mankind’s alleged misuse of planet Earth, but his comment better suits the media and his apocalyptic documentary.
Lauer’s program, “Countdown to Doomsday,” merged nearly every science-fiction disaster flick ever made – “The Terminator,” “Deep Impact,” “I, Robot” and, of course, the SciFi Channel’s own “Battlestar Gallactica.” Lauer’s news background gave an air of respectability to the documentary and the show was filled with news footage from Hurricane Katrina, 9/11 and more to reinforce that impression.
MSNBC surprised everyone Monday with its announcement that the struggling channel will now be headed by an executive tag team of "Today" chief Phil Griffin and one of its own show hosts, Dan Abrams.
The appointment of Griffin didn't exactly come as a surprise; last week's scuttlebutt had him being given the top spot. Abrams's elevation did. It also gives insight into what MSNBC's strategy to avoid being known as "electronic journalism's version of the Chicago Cubs."
Some key facts:
Griffin, known officially as "executive in charge," is also keeping his title as executive producer of NBC's "Today" show.
Newly dubbed "general manager" Abrams will keep his job as NBC's top legal affairs analyst but will be giving up his current main job as host of the courts-heavy "Abrams Report."
Griffin will not move his offices over to MSNBC's far-flung New Jersey location.
NBC is in the process of buying out its partner Microsoft's stake in MSNBC entirely. It's already the majority owner.
For Aaron Barnhart, the verdict seems in: "They're letting him keep his network job. Which tells you something about what a high priority fixing MSNBC is over there at GE."
UPDATE 20:54. My take: That Abrams was brought in as Griffin's deputy indicates that there may be relatively major changes in the near future, with a team comprised of a newsie and an exec, it will be harder for competing factions within the organization to resist management. Abrams's hiring also likely means that MSNBC is going to approach news with more irreverence, and give greater latitude to anchors to express their opinions and show emotion (i.e. be more like human beings instead of talking infoheads). [Abrams not getting the top spot also shows that upper management views this as a test of sorts for him. If he pulls it off, expect him to move up the NBC ladder.]
With Rick Kaplan out at MSNBC (fired, just as I surmised), TV news observers are wondering what's next for the third-place cabler.
Word has it that Phil Griffin, a veep at the network's broadcast parent NBC, might be given the MSNBC healm. Previously, he was MSNBC's primetime veep.
During his tenure, Kaplan tried his hand at a number of new projects, none of which succeeded particularly well. He also seems to have stubbornly clung to things that less ideological (Kaplan is outspokenly liberal) president would've canned, such as the retaining the increasingly unhinged Keith Olbermann. Observers also say he gave host Chris Matthews too much latitude over his show "Hardball."
The runaway success of Rupert Murdoch's Fox News Channel, founded on
the premise that other news outlets are biased, is the source
of much anger to lefty journalists. Most elite journalists I've encountered hate the network and the fact that it's broken through the liberal glass ceiling of news.
A great example of this was a Monday column
in the LA Times by Scott Collins which instead of leading with a 38
percent ratings drop at CNN (something that's causing turmoil and
repeated personnel shifts), focused on a 17 percent drop at FNC.
Inside the article, Collins allows CNN president Jonathan "Pajamas"
Klein to comment on why the rival network has fallen [by half the
amount his has]. Perennial ratings dropout Keith Olbermann is also
Every morning I log onto the worldwide web, not because I'm
a computer geek, but because I want to understand what's going on in
the world. I've
long since turned my back on the print media for accurate and timely
reporting, and it's getting to the point where I can't even bring
myself to watch a televised news broadcasts anymore, simply because tv
networks can't seem to report on much of anything these days without
intelligence with some sort of politically correct blather.
I also tune into various talk radio programs throughout the day,
because the conservative hosts which dominate the AM dial usually
manage to unearth interesting news articles that I just can't find
anywhere else, and they are the best in the business at researching the
facts behind the stories they cover, affording me a better perspective
on the news than I would otherwise have.
The lead story today is Rep. John Murtha's call for US troops to be pulled out of Iraq. The media is trumpeting this as a huge blow to the Bush Administration since Murtha was one of the Democrat's "hawks". According to the AP:
"Murtha's shift from an early war backer to a critic advocating withdrawal reflects plummeting public support for a war that has cost more than $200 billion and led to the deaths of more than 2,000 U.S. troops."
According to an article in Roll Call from May 6, 2004, Murtha's bring them home now stance is nothing new.
Are overtly liberal media ventures like Air America or Al Gore's Current TV doomed to failure? Yes, according to NBC Universal president Bob Wright.
The media exec ventured this opinion during an interview with his MSNBC employee Tucker Carlson at a media symposium. Broadcasting & Cable gives this account:
Carlson made a suggestion: Why not start a channel that overtly caters to liberals? "There's tons of liberals out there," Carlson said.
Going after a lefty audience would be futile, Wright said. "For some strange, probably genetic, reasons"—we're pretty sure that was a joke—"they don't listen to a lot of radio and they don't watch a lot of television."
Another disincentive: Despite all the media attention given to cable-news programming—from Bill O'Reilly's histrionics on Fox to Anderson Cooper's exhibitionistic empathy at CNN—American viewers are not all that interested. Wright pointed out that the cable-news networks combined draw fewer unique viewers all night long than a single half-hour of NBC Nightly News.
"You'd think it would be 25 million people. It's smaller than that, it's 5 million-6 million," Wright said. "It's not a very large group."
Unsaid by Wright was that programs hosted by outspoken and overtly liberal talking heads are going after a market that's already saturated with shows hosted by people who won't admit they're liberal.
Broadcasters turn news into 24-hour speculation cycle about $5 per gallon post-hurricane gas prices.
Broadcast journalists have been the only ones bidding up gas prices lately. While they foretell a horizon of $4 and $5 gas, consumers on U.S. streets are paying an average of $2.81 – up just 6 cents since hurricane Rita.
ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and Fox News all covered the constant speculation about Gulf refinery damage and subsequent gas price spikes before and after Hurricane Rita’s September 24 impact. CNN used its 24 hours each day to raise fears about higher gas prices with show after show. A Nexis search of CNN transcripts around Rita’s landfall (from September 21 to 25) showed more than 20 mentions of the possibility of $4 or $5 gas from at least 12 different reporters in just five days on that network.
Columnist Matt Towery, writing today on townhall.com, lays out a compelling – and, once you see the time line, plainly true – case that Big Media, stuck in its Eastern coastal elite attitudes, failed to provide anything like proper coverage of Hurricane Katrina.
"…If New York City were underwater, and thousands were presumed dead with countless others' lives still hanging in the balance, these same networks would have suspended regular programming to cover every developing second of the disaster's unfolding events."
That was the case in New Orleans by Wednesday. Yet most networks continued regular programming.
Network execs, Towery says, "just can’t get a handle on the South."