Interesting news today out of Los Angeles. Looks like CNN is going to try and tap the political entertainment market that was formerly served by the departed "Half Hour News Hour." My comments below the fold:
Headline News will be sacrificing newsmakers to the comedy gods with "Not Just Another Cable News Show," a half-hour skein set for the 7 p.m. timeslot Saturdays and Sundays starting April 5. It will re-air at 9 p.m. and midnight. [...]
"News Show" will pull footage from CNN's archives as well as from recent news.The first episode will feature commentators including Time.com's Washington editor Ana Marie Cox, L.A. Times columnist Joel Stein, Republican strategist Amy Holmes, Huffington Post media editor Rachel Sklar and comic Hugh Fink.
According to Media Life Magazine, the three big network evening news broadcasts have slipped badly in the key 18 to 34 age bracket. At the same time, though, the Cable news nets have picked up among that same demographic. All three network newscasts have lost numbers since last year, with Katie Couric having the worst slide of the three.
According to Media Life, the main reason the evening news shows have been losing so steadily is because the Internet and Cable can give news at any time the viewer is ready to take their news whereas the evening news must be specifically scheduled into the viewer's lives. Media Life claims that the 18 to 34 age group just "never got into the evening news habit" -- a pretty plausible point.
Finally: a news network that made Gov. Eliot Spitzer's party affiliation clear. Chances are you've never heard of it, however.
During live coverage of Spitzer's resignation announcement, Washington, D.C.-area News Channel 8 informed viewers of Spitzer's party affiliation in an on-screen graphic reading "Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) NEW YORK." (see screen grab at right)
NewsChannel 8 is carried on D.C.-area cable systems and is owned along with ABC affiliate WJLA by the Allbritton Communications Company.
Standard-free journalism on parade all day on NBC's Sunday
Forgotten But Not GoneIt was another do-as-we-say, not-as-we-do day for the National Broadcast Company this past Sabbath.
Over the weekend NBC offered up their latest versions of Tim Russert's Meet the Press and the Chris Matthews Show -- the latter being political television's answer to Jerry Springer. In them we were treated to two more glittering examples of all that is wrong with the Jurassic Press.
That being the woeful lack of journalistic ethics demonstrated by those at the heights of the media mountain, and the utter shamelessness they and their colleagues exhibit upon their being outed as amoral hacks.
If you were to write an article about how the three cable news networks are covering a story, would you address the one with the highest ratings first, or the also-ran?
At the Washington Post, the answer is "the also-ran."
On Tuesday, in a piece about how political pundits are "overpopulating the news networks," staff writer Paul Farhi first highlighted what was going on at third-place MSNBC, and even gave Keith Olbermann the first crack at commenting on the matter (emphasis added throughout):
Now, this is how we expect the more "civilized," more "caring," more "intelligent" folks over at CNN to act, isn't it? The Page 6 column in the New York Post found that CNN has instituted a "a blanket boycott" of anyone from Fox News from appearing on their precious airwaves, even though Fox has had several CNN folks on their shows when those CNNers were flogging their books and side projects. It seems civility is something that CNN just cannot muster these days.
THE folks at Fox News Channel are magnanimous enough to put their rivals from CNN on air, but CNN isn't big enough to return the favor. Geraldo Rivera - who has a new book coming out, "His Panic: Why Americans Fear Hispanics in the U.S." - was booked to appear on Nancy Grace's CNN show on Feb. 28. But then he was disinvited and told CNN had "a blanket boycott" against anyone from Fox. " 'The Most Trusted Name in News' just chickened out," Rivera told Page Six. "This reveals a corporate insecurity." Fox has had on as guests both Wolf Blitzer and Glenn Beck. A CNN rep denied any boycott and blamed a scheduling conflict.
It's bad enough that CNN is so anti-social that they won't return Fox's kindness, but even worse that they went ahead and booked Geraldo and then pulled the rug out from under his invite after all the plans were made!
Isn't it often the case that over-confident braggarts are typically insecure types masking their own short-comings with undeservingly cocky bravado?
After all, one would think the president of the cable news network whose ratings in virtually every time slot have plummeted for years would be a little humble when referring to his competition in the industry.
Quite the contrary, in an interview with the New York Observer, CNN's Jonathan Klein behaved like he was running the Yankees, and Fox News Channel was the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (emphasis added throughout):
Hillary Clinton's performance in her interview with Maria "Money Honey" Bartiromo of CNBC last week was so bad that she must have sent a double (stop shivering at the thought, will ya?).
After all, the genuine Smartest Woman in the World couldn't possibly have said the things she said, as noted at Rush Limbaugh's site last Thursday. It got so bad that Bartiromo, who seemingly has barely cracked a smile since George Bush became president, felt compelled to challenge her.
Here is one of the choice offerings Mrs. Clinton served up:
(There are ) lots of people who come on your show who, you know, are gung-ho, protect the tax cuts for the wealthiest of Americans, that will not work if the economy slows down. You need to get money in the pockets of tens of hundreds of millions of Americans, and that's what I intend to do.
Wash, spin, rinse, spin. Phone, spin, report, spin, poll, spin. The similarities between the work of the mainstream media and a laundry machine are striking. Yet there is nothing about the cycle -- the spin-report-poll-spin cycle -- that does for political events what detergent does for your boxers or briefs.
The media, as One, spend days or weeks bashing someone or something they do not like. They then conduct a poll to prove to you that they were right all along. In a campaign season, their one-sided coverage is calculated, then executed to produce a result. It’s not about reporting the events, it’s about changing the prevailing view.
And the polls -- such as the ones by the media, which are not independent surveys like those undertaken by the likes of Rasmussen or Gallup -- aren’t intended as much to gauge the public view of a candidate or events as they are to reinforce that which they have “reported”, or provide the media guidance on how effective their spinning of the news has been.
Even a stopped clock is right twice a day, the old saying goes. It's certainly applicable to liberal talk show host Bill Maher, who got a taste of venom from the far-left 9/11 conspiracy crowd during a recent taping of his "Real Time" program before a live studio audience.
Like business news on television but don't like CNBC's association with the left-dominated NBC News? Then the newly launched Fox Business Network is probably for you:
Rupert Murdoch has entered a dark horse in high-stakes races before, and won. On Monday, the News Corp. media titan trots out the Fox Business Network.
Two years in the making, the channel will challenge General Electric Co.'s highly profitable CNBC network as it seeks to redefine business news for average Americans faced with increasingly complex decisions about their financial futures.
Murdoch already has knocked CNN off the cable news throne with Fox News Channel. Can he do the same to NBC Universal's profit machine, whose audience of affluent professionals is one of the most sought-after advertising targets? [...]
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.
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).
Still smarting from his Memogate spanking, disgraced former "CBS Evening News" anchor Dan Rather is trying to reclaim journalistic glory by trumpeting the claims of a supposed Boeing whistleblower. Paul at Wizbang sees an all-too-familiar scenario:
Stop me if you're heard this one....
A has-been anchorman, trying to reclaim past [false] glory tries to destroy a person or an institution by using accusations from a dubious source back-up by documents of dubious credibility. A big blogosphere welcome back to Dan Rather.
This time his target is Boeing but his reportage skills are about the same. Even without benefit of seeing the report (it airs tonight) there are already problems with it.
What problems? Well apparently the Seattle Times has found that the would-be whistleblower, Vince Weldon, has credibility issues:
Ah to be a liberal, to proclaim my tolerance and open-mindedness with a few tacky bumperstickers and then turn around and try to silence any type of political divergence:
Liberal activists are stepping up their campaign against Fox News Channel by pressuring advertisers not to patronize the network.
MoveOn.org, the Campaign for America's Future and liberal blogs like DailyKos.com are asking thousands of supporters to monitor who is advertising on the network. Once a database is gathered, an organized phone-calling campaign will begin, said Jim Gilliam, vice president of media strategy for Brave New Films, a company that has made anti-Fox videos.
In today's Washington Post, Paul Farhi asks a question I've wondered: Why is it that every single story you hear about on cable is "developing," "breaking," or a "news alert?" Whatever happened to the regular TV news report?
This just in! There's no more news on TV, at least not on the cable news networks. Plain old news apparently just isn't good enough anymore, so TV news stories have been getting new and improved names.
President Bush's latest news conference? CNN labels it a "Developing Story." A car bombing in Baghdad? The banner on MSNBC reads, "Breaking News." A blown transformer in New York City? Fox News Channel is on it, with a graphic that announces, "Very Latest."
The first part of Spike TV's mini-series, The Kill Point, on Sunday night featured a scene in which an Iraq war veteran bank robber holding hostages earned applause from a crowd outside the bank when he denounced the war. Walking outside the bank to meet the police negotiator, “Mr. Wolf” played by John Leguizamo (IMDb bio), a former Marine Corps Sergeant who served a year in Leavenworth for disobeying an order that apparently led to the deaths of other Marines, removed his shirt and pants to show scars from his war wounds. He proclaimed: “I didn't spill my blood for this country for freedom to have it taken away when I came home. I got some demands because they took everything away from me,” citing the loss of medical coverage for his wife after his conviction. “Wolf” shouted his demands: “I want a flak jacket for every soldier in Iraq! Because our stupid-ass government doesn't think that they're necessary. And I want the son of every Senator who voted yes for this war to sign up for active duty.” That led to applause from the civilians in the street watching the unfolding drama, with a few even jumping up and down in approval.
As NewsBusters reported Wednesday, this Sunday the Spike TV cable channel will start a mini-series, The Kill Point, centered around Iraq war veterans who rob a bank and end up with hostages in a standoff. A review in Friday's USA Today related how the leader of the robbers, Iraq vet “Mr. Wolf” played by John Leguizamo, “plays for sympathy before the news cameras, stripping down to show war wounds as he talks about how combat soldiers were poorly served.” USA Today's Bill Keveney also relayed how “Leguizamo says Kill Point isn't trying to stereotype returning soldiers or their behavior. 'They're good guys but they made a bad call, and they happen to have (post-traumatic stress disorder) and they happen to be against the war.'” When will we see a TV movie with Iraq vets doing good things who “just happen” to be for the war?
Those who oppose the Iraq war are always adamant that they support the troops, but how do you characterize people who think it's good television programming to portray Iraq war veterans as violent criminals? This Sunday at 9pm EDT/PDT, the Spike TV cable channel, part of the CBS/Viacom empire, starts The Kill Point, a four-part, eight-hour mini-series “event” revolving around a group of Iraq war veterans who rob a bank and take hostages. John Leguizamo (IMDb bio page), “Dr. Victor Clemente” on NBC's ER, stars as the leader of the heavily-armed robbers and the Spike Web site for the show describes his character as a man who is “fighting his own personal demons from the Iraq war.” Spike TV, best known for incessant re-runs of CSI, will air The Kill Point in two-hour blocks over four successive Sundays, starting this Sunday, July 22.
Talking to our Matt Sheffield on "Fox & Friends" this morning, FNC's Steve Doocy referred to an AP story that his network has noted repeatedly in recent days: that the Project for Excellence in Journalism found that FNC's doing less Iraq coverage than CNN or MSNBC. David Bauder sought out the MRC for balance, and we said the problem we have with the media elite is that they clearly see Fox as pandering to an audience and they don't see CNN as pandering to an audience. Media liberals routinely isolate Fox as a less journalistic, more propagandistic outlier -- they don't see networks inside their liberal bubble as the slightest bit questionable.
On his program last night Fox News host Bill O'Reilly blasted his cable competitors for their "delight in showing Iraqi violence," a product of an editorial mindset at CNN and MSNBC that "want[s] Americans to think badly of President Bush."
"And that strategy has succeeded," he added.
O'Reilly's words came in response to remarks made by CNN president Jon Klein who accused FNC of dialing back Iraq coverage as violence in Iraq has increased.
"It illustrates the danger of cheerleading for one particular point or
another because they were obviously cheerleaders for the war," He told the AP. "When the war went badly they had to dial
back coverage because it didn't fit their preconceived story lines."
A senior Pentagon official has refuted "Time" magazine's depiction of a "broken" Army. Accusing "Time" of using incendiary language and of hyping the facts, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Military Personnel Policy Bill Carr made his remarks in the course of his appearance yesterday on the TV show this NewsBuster hosts, and in subsequent written comments.
Sec. Carr was responding to claims made by "Time" in a story by Mark Thompson dated April 5, 2007 entitled America's Broken-Down Army, a headline Carr called "incendiary."
Sec. Carr offered the following refutation of a number of assertions contained in the "Time" article:
TIME: Recruits from the least-skilled category have climbed eightfold, to nearly 4%, over the past two years.
CARR: This refers to the percentage of recruits drawn from the bottom-third of math/verbal aptitude (we refer to them as "Category IV"). For the past 15 years, the Pentagon quality benchmarks have stipulated a ceiling of 4% for CAT IV and Army is within it. As recently as 1980, the Army was bringing in more than half (56%) from the bottom third and ten years later took that Army to war. A decrease from one-in-two, to one-in-twenty today, is hardly consistent with an explosive word like "broken" -- TIME is hyping the facts by hiding the historical context.
With Representative Kucinich already talking about reconstituting the Fairness Doctrineas
far back as January, a far from Conservative radio talker may have provided
said Congress with just the opening it seeks. The ultimate prize the liberals in
Congress are after has nothing to do with race, as always, it's about politics
more than anything else.
An excerpt from Roberts' exchange with A.B. Stoddard of The Hill on "American Morning:"
STODDARD: Well, at this point the problem, of course is the cover-up and not the crime. Monica Goodling was the liaison for the White House and the Justice Department. If there was some serious meddling here and the decisions were made for political purposes, she's going to know the most how much the White House was involved. And so, you know, I can see why, if something is up here, she needs to plead the Fifth. But for the purposes of the committee, at this point, it just couldn't -- it couldn't fire them up more. They're going to be looking, of course, to talk to Kyle Sampson, and then, of course, the attorney general later.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. That was the focus of Bob Franken's report on CNN's "American Morning," which focused attention on the pork barrel spending proposals in the emergency funding bill for the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The key excerpt:
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) HOUSE SPEAKER: "With today's convening of the 110th Congress, we begin anew."
FRANKEN (voice over): "That was the rallying cry from the newly in-charge Democrats, the wheeling and dealing and hidden pork barrel spending would be no more. Fast forward just 10 weeks. Democratic leaders face their biggest challenge so far. The legislation providing $124 billion in war funding, combined with a troop pullout from Iraq next year. And they're using every tool at their command. The same tools they criticized the Republicans for using -- good, old fashioned pork."
We've often noted here on NewsBusters the astonishing and undisputed lack of political diversity at the highest levels of the media but it's also true that despite the fact that liberals dominate the media, they are decidedly hypocritical when it comes to non-political diversity, something liberals supposedly value.
That hypocrisy was manifested in spades Tuesday night for any television viewer flipping through the channels to see. Despite all the media's odes to diversity, when it comes to the highest levels of power, women need not apply, especially when it comes to television.
As New York Times tv critic Alessandra Stanley noted yesterday, "On a night that crowned Nancy Pelosi as the first female speaker of the House and Hillary Rodham Clinton as the Democratic front-runner for the 2008 presidential race, the tableau of men talking to men all across prime time was oddly atavistic — a men's club from around 1962."