Rush Limbaugh on Thursday mocked new MSNBC host Ronan Farrow, dismissing the 26-year-old, saying, "He's never done anything. He's never gotten good at anything." MSNBC President Phil Griffen explained to the New York Times how he was originally wowed by Farrow, who is either the son of Woody Allen or Frank Sinatra: "Within 20 minutes, I wanted to hire him...He got it."
Limbaugh translated, "In other words, if you're young, if you're charismatic, if you're good-looking, if you're hip, if you're cool, if you're glib -- if you have all the superficial traits that we can say you have -- then that will trump experience, knowledge, humility, and hard work."
"Ronan Farrow received a Cronkite broadcasting award after only three days on the air at MSNBC. When reached for comment, Nobel Peace Prize-winner Barack Obama said: 'I hate when people get awards they're not qualified for.'"
Besides ol' Blue Eyes Jr., NewsBusted's Jodi Miller rips on Hillary Clinton, director Spike Lee, and actress Jenny McCarthy -- we know, sounds like a set-up for a really bad "walks into a bar" joke, but, trust us, it isn't -- in the latest installment of NB's original Web comedy short. Watch the March 7 edition of NewsBusted in the embed below and be sure to subscribe to the NewsBusted channel on YouTube.
The Page Six gossips at The New York Post reported the other day that newly minted MSNBC host Ronan Farrow could not be asked any sticky personal questions -- mostly about his warring family over charges of sexual abuse by Woody Allen against his sister Dylan Farrow -- at an event where he was winning a "Cronkite Award" after being a journalist for three days.
Who demanded the brand-new journalist not be asked tough questions by journalists? In an update after the event, the group honoring Farrow, Reach the World, first told Page Six it came from Farrow’s publicists, then completely flip-flopped and claimed it wasn’t Farrow’s publicists:
Newly minted journalist Ronan Farrow was given the Cronkite Award for Excellence in Exploration and Journalism this week, but he seemed incapable of basic fact checking while interviewing Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards. On Friday, Farrow allowed the pro-abortion Richards to get away with this whopper: "We are not a partisan organization. We're just looking to make sure that people in office respect women's health and rights." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In reality, 100 percent of Planned Parenthood's political donations in 2014 have, so far, been to Democrats. In 2010 and 2012, that number was 99 percent. This hardly qualifies as "non-partisan." However, nothing about Farrow's questions could be described as journalistic. After praising the liberal group's effectiveness, Farrow wondered, "Why do you think that is? Why have you think you've been so successful in the past?"
Reading the transcript isn't enough. Roll the video, listen carefully, and at the end you'll catch Ronan Farrow's nervous little laugh as he asks an African-American guest whether, in assessing movie-industry diversity, it "matters" that Steve McQueen, the black director whose film has been nominated for an Oscar, is British.
Such are the PC pitfalls once one wades into the bog of diversity bean-counting. But beyond the specific subject matter, Farrow's teensy twitter suggests, as other critics have noted, as here and here, how green and unsure of himself is the young man MSNBC hopes to make a star. View the video after the jump.
Yesterday I noted how Washington Post TV columnist Rachel Lubitz made the debut of Ronan Farrow's eponymous afternoon program on MSNBC a "TV Highlight" for the day.
The Post Style section's mission to convince us that we should care about the fair-haired wunderkind -- ermahgerd, he graduated from Yale Law at 21!!!! -- continues apace today with staffer Emily Yahr's mini-bio/timeline, which reads at points like crush-obsessed entries in a diary (emphasis mine):
The hosts of MSNBC know what true courage is. In 2012, Chris Hayes admitted that he was "uncomfortable" calling fallen members of the military "heroes." On February 24, 2014, new anchor Ronan Farrow told viewers who a true role model is, liberal actress Lena Dunham. On the very first Ronan Farrow Daily, Farrow introduced a new segment called "Heroes and Zeroes."
He gushed, "Our hero is Lena Dunham, the authentic, gritty auteur behind HBO's Girls, who is a frequently naked champion of all kinds of female beauty." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Apparently, Dunham's heroism stems from brushing off questions about having a Vogue photo shoot retouched. The 26-year-old host found this "classy" and marveled, "Lena is a modern feminist, the kind that is comfortable with her own body but also grateful for a little air brushing..."
Today is quite the busy day on the cable news networks for new debuts. Maria Bartiromo, late of CNBC, made her maiden voyage on her new Opening Bell program on Fox Business Network, and both Ronan Farrow and Joy-Ann Reid launch their eponymous MSNBC programs at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Eastern respectively.
Big friggin deal, you say. I agree, but oddly enough, Washington Post TV columnist Rachel Lubitz found Bartiromo and Farrow's premieres as worthy of noting in her February 24 TV Highlights column, while ignoring Ms. Reid. By contrast, Lubitz found space today to plug the History Channel's latest fascinating foray into non-historical "reality" programming: Cryptid: The Swamp Beast.
What is wrong with the hosts at MSNBC? Ronan Farrow, who will begin anchoring a network program on February 24, made a tasteless joke on Tuesday night, comparing war hero Cory Remsburg's struggles to that of politicians in Congress. Farrow tweeted, "Cory 'struggles on the left side.' Congress relates.'"
During the State of the Union, Barack Obama movingly recounted the difficulties of the 30-year-old Remsburg who, after being deployed ten times, was almost killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. Farrow has not apologized for the tweet and he's not alone in his cheap shots. MSNBC journalists have been making offensive tweets all week.
During an interview with Lloyd Grove of the Daily Beast website, MSNBC president Phil Griffin strained at gnats when he stated that his network “has never had an ideology” but insisted that the dominant Fox News Channel does.
“An ideology is a single thought across all programs,” he said. “We’ve never had that.” However, Griffin asserted, MSNBC instead has“a progressive sensibility,” which he claimed is not the same as an ideology. “Obviously, I hire people who fit the sensibility” because “we do stay true to facts. You have to build your argument. That's why I call it a sensibility.”
You can tell the New York Times is going to kiss Ronan Farrow’s ring when the headline on his Sunday magazine profile by Jesse Lichtenstein is “Ronan Farrow, Reluctant TV Star.” One rarely attaches the word “star” to someone rumored to be heading to mid-mornings on MSNBC.
Lichtenstein lays it on thick, both about the contours of Farrow’s new “edgy” TV show and about Farrow’s deeply impressive biography: By the time he was 10, Farrow had traveled with his mother to South Africa, where he had private conversations with Nelson Mandela about the power of nonviolent protest.” Oh, and he plays songs on the street in preparation to record an album:
Today’s installment of the Media Research Center’s “Best Notable Quotables of 2013,” as selected by our distinguished panel of judges: The Pantsuit Patrol Award, for boosting Hillary Clinton.
Championing Hillary has been a media fixation for decades; 20 years ago, the Best Notable Quotables of 1993 featured the “I Am Woman” award, won that year by then-Time White House correspondent Margaret Carlson, who cooed in a May 10, 1993 article: “Hillary Rodham Clinton will define for women that magical spot where the important work of the world and love and children and an inner life all come together. Like Ginger Rogers, she will do everything her partner does, only backward and in high heels, and with what was missing in [Lee] Atwater — a lot of heart.”
When you think of the Clintons, does the word "honesty" come to mind?
It does to new MSNBC host Ronan Farrow who actually said on Tuesday's The Cycle (readers are strongly advised not to have any food or fluid in their mouths before continuing reading), "They represent a style of honesty that the public craves right now" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
If journalism school began with a course on Avoiding Puff Pieces, they could use as text this Sunday New York Times article by Michael Schulman: “Ronan Farrow: The Youngest Old Guy in the Room.” MSNBC’s newest star is puffed as large as the Sta-Puf Marshmallow Giant in "Ghostbusters." It invites the neologism "Ipe-cackle." It's so vomitous it's humorous.
This is how it started: “‘Wow, he’s handsome,’ one dinner guest said, peering over a throng of photographers. ‘He’s going to be our president in, like, 30 years,’ another gushed.” It was all downhill from there, at increasing speed:
Just as MSNBC went Hollywood and hired Alec Baldwin as a talk-show host, now they’ve hired the 25-year-old son of actress Mia Farrow. Ronan Farrow, currently buzzed about as potentially the son of Frank Sinatra, has been dabbling as an Obama State Department adviser since he was 22. He's projected to be a weekday MSNBC host starting early in 2014, but there's no word on who's getting dumped. (Uh-oh: straight, white, male Chuck Todd is an ancient 41, for example.)
“We're always trying evolve the message here and how to get ideas across. And he was an original thinker. And that's the most important thing,” said MSNBC boss Phil Griffin. If you believe Al Sharpton represents “evolving the message,” then that might make sense. For his part, Farrow landed in the Lean Forward camp of heavy citizen “involvement” and “empowerment” (bias) in the cable-news product: