A few moments ago on the February 16 "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," NBC's Natalie Morales shared a story with the late night host of actor Alec Baldwin's attempt to score a lunch date with the "Today" show talent.
I'll update later in the morning with video, but basically, a few years ago, according to Morales, Baldwin called her on the phone and told her he was working on a movie about cable news. Was Morales available for say, lunch sometime to help Baldwin with his, well, research.
Morales wasn't born yesterday, so she kindly told the "30 Rock" star that she's married.
This isn't exactly news since he's been saying the same thing to anyone who'll listen for the past 20 years, but Walter Cronkite is a very upset man. You may have heard this before so I've taken the liberty of translating the former CBSer's remarks to keep it interesting:
Pressures by media companies to generate ever-greater profits are
threatening the very freedom the nation was built upon, former CBS News
anchor Walter Cronkite warned Thursday.
In a keynote address at Columbia University, Cronkite said
today’s journalists face greater challenges than those from his
generation. No longer could journalists count on their employers to
provide the necessary resources, he said, “to expose truths that
powerful politicians and special interests often did not want exposed.”
Translation: Journalists are no longer as able to spout leftist talking points and pass it off as news like they did in the days of Egbert "Edward" Murrow.
As the Internet becomes the driving force of the print media, it’s not surprising to hear newspaper moguls talk about their online strategies. However, when the chairman of the New York Times Company says, “I really don't know whether we'll be printing the Times in five years,” one should sit up and take notice.
With that in mind, Haaretz’s Eytan Avriel had a chat with Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., while he was in Davos, Switzerland, during the recent World Economic Forum (h/t Drudge, emphasis mine throughout):
Given the constant erosion of the printed press, do you see the New York Times still being printed in five years?
"I really don't know whether we'll be printing the Times in five years, and you know what? I don't care either," he says.
How much value do people put in a liberal radio network? Well, judging from the top bid garnered by Air America Radio during bankruptcy proceedings, the answer is clearly “Not very much!”
As reported by The Smoking Gun (emphasis mine throughout, h/t Drudge):
Bankrupt and about to lose Al Franken, its marquee star, Air America Radio is set to change hands for the bargain price of $4.25 million, according to new court documents. The sales figure was disclosed in a purchase agreement filed yesterday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York.
Forgive me, but there are a lot of houses in my small town that go for more than this. This is way too funny, and marvelously gets better:
Despite some notable blockbusters, it’s been a pretty bad twelve months for movie studios.
To find some answers, Zogby International recently did a poll of viewing habits (h/t Instapundit). Here are some of the more interesting results:
Theaters may offer massive screens and superior surround sound systems to movie-goers, but most would rather stay in their comfy confines home and watch DVDs, the survey showed. The majority (63%) said they would rather have free unlimited DVD rentals with no late fees for a year than a year’s worth of free unlimited movie passes (30%).
You can certainly count me in on that. Why might this be? You’ll never guess:
This was one of the topics discussed at a conservative bloggers briefing that I attended this afternoon: the media are complaining that Senate Republicans are shutting off a debate on Iraq war policy by, well, voting against shutting off debate.
Now, why is Fox the only outlet reporting that the "Democratic majority failed to shut off debate" instead of the Republicans succeeded in blocking debate. I am no parliamentary expert, that's for sure, but I do know cloture ends debate. So, how do Republicans voting against ending debate get accused of ending debate?
As reported by NewsBusters here and here, there is a battle going on between liberal bloggers and a conservative radio station in San Francisco, California.
Though arriving at the party somewhat late, USA Today covered this story on Wednesday: “In a dispute between the ‘new media’ of the Internet and the ‘old media’ of broadcasting, liberal bloggers and conservative talk-radio hosts are accusing each other of trampling the First Amendment's guarantees of free speech.”
As this issue has surfaced coincident with liberal members of Congress proposing a media reform bill that would require, amongst other things, conservative talk radio stations to give equal time to opposing viewpoints during their broadcasts, doesn’t this raise quite a compelling hypocrisy inherent in what the left sees as free speech?
In a sign of just how much the Internet is changing the way people get their news, the Los Angeles Times rolled out a new strategy Wednesday designed to focus more attention on web-based delivery.
As reported by the Associated Press (h/t Drudge): “The Los Angeles Times Media Group said Wednesday it is reorganizing the newspaper's newsroom into an around-the-clock operation with an emphasis on breaking news on its Web site and offering expanded coverage in its print edition.”
Certainly, one could ask: What took you so long? After all, though most dailies have a web presence that updates news that is reported throughout the day by the nation’s various wire services, most original content is reserved for publication at the start of the new day.
Unfortunately, in an Internet world, this makes such content stale and “old news.” It therefore seems that the LA Times has finally realized what many have known for years:
On January 18, CBSNews.com posted an interview that "Public Eye" blogger Brian Montopoli conducted with business correspondent Anthony Mason. In the interview, Mason explained how he wound up reporting the business beat and why he thinks the media have a tendency to be critical of business, as well as admitting that the media in general have a liberal bias in story selection. You can find the full blog post with a link to the interview audio here.
I also took the liberty of clipping a few sound bites from his interview. It runs almost two minutes and can be found here.
In January 2006, Mason made similar comments about the media's coverage of American business:
CORRECTION: An earlier post incorrectly said none of the
evening newscasts carried a mention of the falling gas prices. I apologize for
Gasoline costs nearly 20 cents less than it did the same
time last year, but the good news merited only a passing mention on the night
before President Bush’s State of the Union address. By contrast, the networks
spent more than 10 minutes combined interviewing 2008 presidential candidate
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.).
"The price of gasoline fell by 6 cents last week to an
average of about $2.16 a gallon nationwide – a 14-cent decline over three
weeks,” the Associated Press reported January 22. AAA's Fuelgaugereport.com,
which displays data from the Oil Price Information Service, shows similar data.
"Retail gasoline prices have fallen 17 cents from this time
last year," and the price of crude oil has also been on a downward track, "down 86 cents at $51.13 a barrel Monday on the New York Mercantile
Exchange," the AP reported.
ABC's Charles Gibson mentioned the drop in a 15-second bit
on "World News," while CBS and NBC had no time for that good news. Each
network, however, gave the junior senator considerable air time on its January
ABC anchor Gibson gave the former first lady the most face
time with 5 minutes and 9 seconds in a satellite interview on "World News." NBC’s Brian Williams and CBS’s Katie Couric gave Clinton about the same time as a full-length
news report. Clinton’s
taped sit-down with Couric lasted 2 minutes and 40 seconds, while Williams’
taped in-studio chat was 2 minutes and 20 seconds.
You gotta love network blogs, if for nothing more they bring out those hidden gems of bias you otherwise wouldn't get from the people behind the camera. Like Ed Deitch, one of the men behind the curtain as it were.
Deitch, a senior producer for the NBC "Nightly News" expressed
bemusement recently on the NBC News "Daily Nightly" blog at the notion that there's opposition to a Bangor, Maine,
ban on smoking in cars with children.
As Riehl posted Saturday evening, Stark was rather cocky leading up to this debate stating at his own website that “CNN will want to hire me as a sanitation engineer because I will have mopped the floor with Mr. Riehl.”
Well, the reality is that CNN might indeed want to hire Stark as a janitor, for he certainly didn’t come across as qualified to do much else as this video of the segment (provided courtesy of Ms Underestimated) clearly demonstrates.
Fans of Fox News's the "O'Reilly Factor" are familiar with a war started by the host over liberal bias in the media. It appears that Bill O'Reilly's employer is also interested in this fight, and that the battle over media bias is on:
For its opening salvo, Fox News aired a new promo Saturday which pointed a huge and unmistakably accusatory finger at its liberal competitors (hat tip to Hot Air with video available here). In it, the script deliciously read:
For those unfamiliar, the Council on
American-Islamic Relations typically doesn’t look favorably upon
television programs, movies, books, and articles that address any
connection between terrorism and radical Muslim extremism. With that in
mind, Fox sent a statement to CAIR on Wednesday concerning recent and past episodes of the hit series “24” (hat tip to LGF):
24 is a heightened drama about anti-terrorism.
After 5 seasons, the audience clearly understands this, and realizes
that any individual, family, or group (ethnic or otherwise) that
engages in violence is not meant to be typical.
She practically blamed Mel Gibson* for why diet supplements are not regulated as drugs by the FDA and attempted to scare viewers with the extreme case of a woman's nose falling off, but Sharyn Alfonsi's hit pieces on nutrition supplement makers weren't biased enough for CBS's in-house blogger-cum-media critic Brian Montopoli.:
"The real problem is that any topical product such as the one described in this section of Mr. Hurley's book is not a dietary supplement, and cannot be legally sold as one in the United States. By law such products are drugs. If either Mr. Hurley or his editors had bothered to look at the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act, they could have avoided this fundamental mistake," wrote Marc S.Ullman, a New York attorney who represents clients "in the dietary supplement/natural products industry."
Those not fortunate enough to live in the San Francisco Bay Area might find it hard to believe that this liberal community sports an extremely conservative radio station. Conceivably less shocking is that in recent weeks, it has come under attack from liberal bloggers unhappy with its content.
For those unfamiliar, KSFO is a Northern California broadcaster of radio programs hosted by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Dr. Laura, and Mark Levin. In the Netroots’ crosshairs are local conservative personalities such as Melanie Morgan (who should be familiar to Fox News watchers), Lee Rodgers, and Tom Benner (AKA Officer Vic), all of the drive-time “Morning Show.” Also under attack is Brian Sussman, a former local weatherman turned radio host.
The troubles for KSFO began in 2006 when a fifth-tier liberal blogger from San Francisco, hiding behind the pseudonym “Spocko’s Brain,” started sending the station’s advertisers complaint letters. Such correspondence included cherry-picked audio clips and mini-transcripts from previous broadcasts. One such letter, as posted by Daily Kos contributor Mike Stark on January 3, began:
In a story about politically indexed mutual funds the Gray Lady notes:
Two funds started recently by Blue Investment Management, a New York fund company that is less than a year old, will limit their holdings to companies that donate the majority of their political contributions to Democrats...
What isn't mentioned is that one of the companies that the Blue Fund finds slanted far enough to the Democratic side of the aisle to invest in is...the New York Times Company (CBS, too).
Have the brain-trust at Time magazine stepped out of a cold pool to recognize that their publication is not the brand it used to be, or are they finally wising up to political and technological shifts in the population they market to? Regardless of the answer, New York Times media critic David Carr had some harsh words Monday for the incredibly shrinking periodical that recently named “You” as the Person of the Year (emphasis mine throughout, hat tip to Drudge):
Time Inc. management, with the help of air cover from the consultants from McKinsey, is trying to cut costs to reflect brutal realities in the mass magazine business. At the end of the month, there will be significant layoffs at the magazine division, and it will not end with Time’s 280 editorial employees.
According to Carr, this is just the beginning of changes in store for Time:
Many people might not be familiar with Denver, Colorado’s most popular radio talk show host Mike Rosen. Regardless, he wrote an op-ed in Friday’s Rocky Mountain News which was an open letter to CBS president Sean McManus (hat tip to TVNewser, emphasis mine throughout):
Unfortunately, CBS News has been mired in last place behind NBC and ABC in recent years. Your response has been to hire Katie Couric to "perk up" your evening newscast. That was a mistake. Although she scored some good ratings numbers during her first week, this was likely a flash-in-the-pan reaction to a big promotional campaign and viewer curiosity. In the November sweeps, she's settled into a "distant third," as Variety recently phrased it.
Fascinated? Well, here was the marvelous payoff pitch:
Rather can't have it both ways. If he says FOX News gets White House talking points, he'd better be able to back it up. And so far, he can't, no matter how many interviews he does with CNN. Mr. Rather is welcome here to explain himself, but he should have done that already.
As he introduced Malkin, O’Reilly made his case even stronger:
Regret the Error, a blog
corrections has released its annual
list of funniest mistakes, apologies, frauds, hoaxes, and
embarrassments perpetrated by and on the self-styled arbiters of the truth.
Some of my favorites:
Reuters, the news agency that brought you the fraudulent
Adnan Hajj, also makes real mistakes. In an Oct. 25 story about bees,
it mistakenly said that Queen Elizabeth has "10 times the life
expectancy of workers and lays 2,000 eggs a day."
In the dubious sources category: "Don Spille -- A man who
told the Tallahassee Democrat that he lost
everything in Katrina – including his father. Ed Spille Sr.,
father, later contacted the newspaper to disagree. 'I might be dead to
him,' he said. 'At 80 years old, I’m dead to a lot of
student newspaper at Purdue University had a real scoop about Supreme
Court justice Samuel Alito during his nomination process: "His motive
for shooting John Paul in the abdomen on May 13, 1981, remains
unclear," the paper asserted in a caption of Alito being sworn in at a hearing.
One of the most persistent tics of the passive-aggressive press is its denials of its power, that it doesn't run the country, or at least try to run the country. All that journalism-school boilerplate about how the media is merely a watchdog, or like it's the BASF of democracy, you know, it doesn't make everything, it just makes the secret ingredient that makes everything better? Baloney. Some of us signed up for the media-criticism business because the media want to pretend they're not major players in the political process that make every other actor in the political system try to figure out how to capture the warm glow of media adulation, or at least avoid it like an obstacle course. So when Dow Jones Chairman Peter Kann wrote an editorial on the press (see it over on his company's Opinion Journal), I liked the end the best:
Is Keith Olbermann just a modern-day reincarnation of the crazed anchorman depicted in the 1976 Academy Award-winning film “Network?” In a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article published Tuesday, KO said no (emphasis mine throughout): “‘I am not Peter Finch walking around the streets of New York in my pajamas as Howard Beale muttering to myself and saying, 'I must bear my witness.' It's not like that.’"
One NewsBusters’ contributing editor didn’t agree with Olby’s position:
“My concern is that people are mistaking his show for real news," said Noel Sheppard, a blogger with NewsBusters.Org, a Web site founded by conservative media watchdog Brent Bozell. "But there's no question he is indeed Howard Beale. The whole Paddy Chayevsky [sic] concept in 'Network' was that news had to be entertaining. You had the anchorman flip out one day, and the ratings exploded. The same is going on with Keith Olbermann, who really does get into a snit like Beale did."
As a little background, the film “Network” was based on a fictitious media outlet whose ratings were doing very poorly, in particular, its news division.
Joining an undistinguished list of Hollywoodans biting the hand that feeds them, actress Gwyneth Paltrow declared on Saturday that she prefers the British to her own countrymen, slamming the civility and intellectual capacity of all us uncultured Americanos. As reported by Agence France Presse (hat tip to Drudge, emphasis mine throughout):
Oscar-winning US actressGwyneth Paltrow feels dinner talk is far more interesting in her adopted homeland Britain than back in her native country.
"I love the English lifestyle, it's not as capitalistic as America. People don't talk about work and money, they talk about interesting things at dinner," she told "NS," the weekend magazine supplement of daily Portuguese newspaper Diario de Noticias on Saturday.
Isn’t that special? Not as capitalistic! Dontcha love all the Hollywoodans that complain about American capitalism as they charge movie producers tens of millions of dollars for four months work? Regardless of the oozing hypocricy, her worst insults were yet to come:
In traditional union style, the employees of the Inquirer and the Daily News are up in arms over the newspaper's new management and ownership. Their demands? The usual: Permanent pensions despite company fiscal performance and seniority privileges for long-time employees regardless of job performance. From the list of demands:
Seniority. As with most labor unions, the current Guild contract calls for workers with more experience at the company to be protected in case jobs are cut for economic reasons. After a drop in national advertising, the newspapers are considering as many as 190 layoffs company-wide, and they have floated the possibility of up to 150 job cuts in the Inquirer newsroom. The company wants wider latitude in being able to pick who goes; the union says the company has not developed any objective alternative system for choosing who would keep their jobs.
Pensions. Current Guild employees qualify for pensions equal to 1.6 percent of their yearly pay for each year served, within certain limits. While that is less than what teachers and many other public-sector employees earn, Tierney says the pension liability is more than the company can afford at a time when other companies are shifting from traditional pensions to 401(k) plans and other retirement arrangements whose costs are less expensive and easier to predict. The union says the company has not proposed an alternative of comparable value.
If they don't get what they're demanding, then they're threatening to strike. The current publisher plans to continue operating the paper with non-union work. The site that will host the news from the picketing journalists in that event is here.
The Iraq government has set up an agency to monitor false news coming out of Iraq. After the Associated Press used a government source that doesn't exist, the government wants to make sure the AP and other media outlets cannot get away with similar fraudulent activity. Reports the UK Guardian.
Iraq's interior ministry has formed a press monitoring unit in response to what it described as "fabricated and false news" that misrepresents the country's security situation.
Singling out the Associated Press for criticism, spokesman Brigadier General Abdul-Karim Khalaf said yesterday that dedicated unit would monitor news coverage and even initiate legal action if journalists do not correct stories it believes to be incorrect.
Imagine a world where the media felt their primary obligation was to inform society of important events and issues “with an openness to consider the different views out there before arriving at any conclusion.” Sounds like heaven, right? Well, NB member ‘lostincyberspace” has shared a fabulous editorial from a Malaysian newspaper called the Sun Daily that should be must reading for American editors and journalists:
When people pick up their newspaper in the morning, they have one thing in common - no matter what their personal interests and views may be. They want news and views.
They want to know what happened in the community they call home, and the larger world which the community is inextricably a part of.
They want to know about the decisions that are being made that could affect them, and the community and world they live in.
They want to know about the different views that exist and are being debated out there.
They want to have a say in these because they would be affected, directly or indirectly.
The editorial gloriously continued (emphasis mine throughout):
The New York Times is trying once again to convince the public that tipping off alleged terrorist front groups about an upcoming government search somehow falls under the umbrella of “the public’s right to information”.
Lawyers for the newspaper tried unsuccessfully to prevent special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald from reviewing telephone records that could be used in helping the government determine who leaked the classified information to the newspaper in the government’s obstruction of justice investigation.
Michelle Malkin writes in her syndicated column that journalists complain about "the Bush administration for stifling its free speech, endless court filings demanding classified and sensitive information from the military and intelligence agencies, and self-pitying media industry confabs bemoaning their hemorrhaging circulations."
But this is nothing compared to what other countries' journalists face.
Give thanks we don't live in Bangladesh, where you can be put on trial for writing columns supporting Israel and condemning Muslim violence....
Give thanks we don't live in Egypt, where bloggers have been detained by the government for criticizing Islam and exposing the apathy of Cairo police to sexual harassment of women...
Last Thursday I noted an I Want Media vote about who should be the 2006 Media Person of the Year. I asked for nominations for our own tally, and now that the choices are in, you can vote for who you think most impacted the media/country in the last year.
The choices: Al Franken, Katie Couric, Ann Coulter, Keith Olbermann, George Allen and Mark Foley, Tony Snow, Chris Wallace, Washington Post, Green Helmet Guy, and the Media.
If you have a "write in" candidate, include it in the comments section. Sorry, you can only vote once, this not being a Democratic primary.