When Jeff Zucker became president of CNN earlier this month, some people in the mainstream media feared that this might be the end of “the last bastion of television journalism” since the former head of NBC Universal was expected to make many significant changes in the network personnel and schedule.
Those changes took off on Tuesday, when ABC's Chris Cuomo, who had served as the news anchor on “Good Morning America” from 2006 to 2009 and then moved on to the "20/20" prime-time program, was reported to “have a major role in a new CNN morning show and across the network, anchoring and reporting on major events.”
Three of CNN’s political analysts- Jeffrey Toobin, David Gergen, and Gloria Borger- all gave President Obama B’s or B-pluses on the economy and overall job performance during the network’s special “The National Report Card: The Second 100 Days” on Thursday. These grades from these “non-partisan” analysts lined-up with the A’s and B’s that Democrats Paul Begala and Donna Brazile gave the president.
CNN conducted a non-scientific poll by phone and on the Internet of how the American people graded the President mainly on several issues, and others such as Hillary Clinton, Vice President Biden, and the news media in general at the 200-day mark of Obama’s presidency. As Wolf Blitzer and his so-called Best Political Team on Television presented the polling results, anchor Campbell Brown polled the “front panel” of Toobin, Gergen, and Borger, as well as the “back panel” of Begala and Brazile, and Republicans Alex Castellanos and Bill Bennett, for their personal grades of the subject in question. All of the participants held up placards with their grade, and explained how they came to that conclusion.
Just after the beginning of the 8 pm Eastern hour, Brown turned to the CNN analysts’ panel for their grade on President Obama’s handling of the economy. Senior legal analyst Toobin unsurprisingly replied, “I’m giving him a B. You know- he’s off to a decent start. He got a stimulus package planned. It passed. It seems like it’s having some impact, but the economy stinks and he’s the president and the buck stops there.”
Meredith Vieira, apparently believing "NBC News" caught Sarah Palin in some credibility-destroying gaffes, questioned Bill Bennett, about Palin's "trustworthiness," on Thursday's "Today" show.
Vieira, reciting charges made on last night's "NBC Nightly News," hit Bennett on relatively trivial matters about Palin's record, such as whether or not she had crossed the Iraqi/Kuwaiti border or if her plane had stopped in Ireland.
MEREDITH VIEIRA: Hey, listen, you have referred to Sarah Palin as an extremely strong candidate, even electrifying. You've called her electrifying. But what about her credibility? You just heard this report, she claimed her state produced 20 percent of the energy in this country. Not true. Her campaign aides say she had visited Iraq. Not true. And then there's that Bridge to Nowhere that she did support before, she said she was against it. McCain has come out against Obama in terms of his trustworthiness, but what about her trustworthiness?
Late Monday afternoon live on CNN, Bill Bennett rebuked -- as an “outrageous” piece of “advocacy” and “attack journalism” that “has no place on CNN” -- a story the channel had just run which used the pregnancy of Sarah Palin's daughter to score political points by relaying as fact the talking points on sex education from a left-wing group. A defensive Wolf Blitzer kept saying “hold on” as he tried to justify raising the supposed hypocrisy.
Live from Anchorage at 5:33 PM EDT/4:33 PM CDT/1:33 PM ADT, Kyra Phillips revealed “there were a number of things that we were sent here to investigate,” including “trooper-gate,” but before that, she stressed “here's what's interesting,” that Palin ”has gone on the record and said that she is in full support of abstinence, and that she doesn't believe in contraception on school grounds and sex education.” Phillips then highlighted:
The Alliance for Reproductive Justice...says abstinence doesn't work, we've got to have better sex education in schools and this is just one example, this just underscores -- the pregnancy of the Governor's daughter -- to why we need sex education in schools.
Audio: MP3 audio clip (2:10, 600 Kb) which matches the video above rendered for me by the MRC's Michelle Humphrey.
Yesterday, in a stinging indictment of his Old Media colleagues' la-la-la treatment of the story of John Edwards's affair with Rielle Hunter, Los Angeles Times columnist Tim Rutten asserted that Edwards "may have ended his public life but he certainly ratified an end to the era in which traditional media set the agenda for national political journalism."
I'll get to Rutten's mostly perceptive points in a bit.
That's because recent developments indicate that Edwards may still be believe he can eventually re-enter public life, and they are relevant to Rutten's assertion:
Who cares if Barack Obama won't protect a child who is born alive after an abortion? Gas is over $4/gallon!
So argued Donna Brazile when Bill Bennett pressed her on the matter today. The issue arose during a post-Obama press conference kibitzing session on CNN's Situation Room. Bennett was making the point that the complaisant media in attendance had failed to press the candidate on tough issues.
During CNN's Super Tuesday election coverage, both liberal and conservative commentators took shots at conservatives as liberal Paul Begala declared that Mike Huckabee "don't believe in evolution or photosynthesis or gravity or anything," and liberal Carl Bernstein declared that Republican candidates were "trying to satisfy Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham rather than the people of the country." Conservative Bill Bennett quipped that conservative opposition to John McCain is a "kind of Trotskyism," and a "purification" of the Republican party. (Transcript follows)
Thursday’s “American Morning” program, while reporting retired Brigadier General Keith Kerr’s connections to the Hillary Clinton campaign, failed to mention one key revelation made by debate moderator Anderson Cooper during the post-debate coverage - that Cooper knew that Kerr was “an activist of some sort.”
Co-host John Roberts not only reported on Kerr’s membership of Clinton’s “LGBT Americans For Hillary Steering Committee” during all 3 hours of “American Morning,” but conducted a live interview of Kerr during the 7 am Eastern hour. Six minutes into the 6 am Eastern, Roberts gave the following brief on the Kerr story.