Baltimore Sun TV critic David Zurawik had some harsh words for MSNBC and NBC News Sunday in the wake of Martin Bashir’s vile comments about former Alaska governor Sarah Palin.
After accusing MSNBC of debasing “our civic and political conversation on cable TV,” Zurawik asked Fox News MediaBuzz host Howard Kurtz, “Where are people like Tom Brokaw and Chuck Todd who claim to speak for NBC News and the brand? Why haven't they called Bashir out and the lack of punishment for him?” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Over the years, we’ve written a lot about long, slow ratings collapse of broadcast news. But ABC, CBS, and NBC aren’t the only ones experiencing this decline. As reported by David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun, the ratings for PBS NewsHour show are almost in a freefall, even compared to their commercial competitors.
By its own count, NewsHour had 2.5 million viewers in 2005. This year the show is at 1.3 million. That’s an astonishing drop, nearly 50 percent, unmatched by any of the commercial broadcast evening news shows.
On Sunday's Reliable Sources, guest David Zurawik mocked "out of town reporters" who met with the White House about sequestration and simply repeated the administration's talking points back to their local channels, "like an Obama commercial."
However, CNN displayed that same uncritical journalism over and over on the sequester. Obama administration officials freaked out about looming budget cuts to their respective agencies and CNN simply relayed the hype to its viewers, comparing the cuts to the asteroid and calling them a "man-made disaster." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Nearly one month after the Newtown, Conn., shooting, the official police report on the crime scenes is nearing completion, and a police spokesman tells the Daily Beast's Diane Dimond that there will be some shocking, eye-opening conclusions that counter much of the media' faulty initial reporting.
One such piece of misinformation was the early, egregious rumor that the shooter's mother, Nancy Lanza, was a survivalist or "doomsday prepper," a paranoid hoarder obsessed with what she considered the imminent collapse of society. In a January 7 post at the Daily Beast website, Dimond quoted a Lt. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police debunking that notion and saying a forthcoming police report will help to dispel urban legends that have crystallized in the public imagination:
David Zurawik, a TV writer for The Baltimore Sun, slammed "pretend journalist" Chelsea Clinton on The Daily Download for her work on NBC.
"I continue to be fascinated by a network news division putting someone as outrageously unqualified as Clinton on a prime-time newsmagazine," he wrote. "I watched her again last week in a softer-than-soft piece on a weight loss program started by Pastor Rick Warren at his Saddleback Church, and I can say with absolute certainty that she has not improved one lick in the last year."
Suffice it to say the media coverage of the recent tragedy was an abject failure. Perhaps the most egregious example was how CNN initially reported that Ryan Lanza, brother of the real shooter Adam Lanza, was the culprit eliciting screenshots and information about his Facebook account that was disseminated on the Internet – and on the airwaves. David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun wrote on December 14 that:
Now that former NBC News president Jeff Zucker is set to take over as president of CNN, the fate of the cable news network is an open question. In a Sunday discussion about the transition, CNN media critic Howard Kurtz and his guests passed over the network's left-of-center reporting, implying instead that CNN is somehow devoid of bias compared to its primary competitors, MSNBC and Fox News.
During a segment on “Reliable Sources,” panelist David Zurawik -- media critic for the Baltimore Sun newspaper -- asserted that the news organization is “the nation's last bastion of television journalism.”
As NewsBusters reported Friday, HBO's Bill Maher recently gave $1 million to pro-Obama Super PAC Priorities USA Action.
On CNN's Reliable Sources Sunday, host Howard Kurtz correctly observed, "There’d be a bigger fuss if comedian Dennis Miller gave a million dollars to a pro-Romney or a Santorum Super PAC" (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
As NewsBusters reported Saturday, Rachel Maddow wasn't the only MSNBC commentator last week that lied to viewers about the budget battle in Wisconsin.
Having misrepresented the same nonsense as Maddow about the Badger State having a surplus instead of a deficit Friday, Ed Schultz was exposed by Politifact for dramatically exaggerating how much Gov. Scott Walker's repair plan would cost public employees (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Some on the left have been crying foul at CNN's decision to air live Rep. Michele Bachmann's response to the president's State of the Union address Tuesday night. None have been more vocal than MSNBC libtalker Rachel Maddow.
One media critic had enough. On Thursday, the Baltimore Sun's David Zurawik laid into Maddow's criticism, saying it derives from "the mentality of a lockstep party member, not a journalist." Zurawik's gripe was Maddow's insistence that because Bachmann was not officially representing a political party, her speech should not have been given comparable treatment to the president's or to Rep. Paul Ryan's Republican response.
Journalists "don't let political parties tell us who we should and shouldn't cover," Zurawik added. "I have a West Highland terrier named Bugsy who has better journalism credentials and chops than you do," he quipped.
The Baltimore Sun's media critic is still fuming about MSNBC's pathetic coverage on election night.
In his piece published Saturday, David Zurawik called the cable news network a "liberal prep school" while claiming the behavior of folks like Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, Lawrence O'Donnell, and Keith Olbermann was "so egregious" that the "entire realm of TV journalism was diminished in the public mind":
There's a cable news channel out there operating with a single partisan voice, and doing its best to scare the pants off of viewers as the new Congress approaches. Listening to much of the media, you might think that network was Fox.
But in fact Fox has a wealth of opinions on air, though most of its prime time hosts are consistently conservative. And while certainly a number of critics try to paint FNC as "fear-mongers," it's been MSNBC that has really gone full force with the doom-saying this week.
Baltimore Sun media critic David Zurawik is absolutely livid about it, and has devoted considerable space this week to bashing MSNBC for its apocalyptic tone.
It's turned into something of a week for TV hosts, if not to bite, then at least to nibble hard on the hands that feed them . . .
First, as noted here, on Friday Joe Scarborough passed along the comment of an unnamed conservative biggie who wondered "what the hell [Rand Paul] was doing on MSNBC?", where during an interview with Rachel Maddow he caused controversy with his comments on the Civil Rights Act.
Today, it was Howard Kurtz's turn. In the wake of Campbell Brown's withdrawal from CNN, in which she cited her show's poor ratings, Kurtz, host of Reliable Sources also on CNN wondered whether the network's business strategy of offering news in contrast to the opinion-oriented programming on Fox News and MSNBC is "viable." For good measure, Kurtz also managed to suggest that Brown, Connie Chung and Paula Zahn—all of whose CNN shows failed—weren't strong enough personalities to attract an audience during the 8 PM hour, up against the likes of O'Reilly and Olbermann. Ouch!
Contrary to how most of the President's sycophants saw his interview with Bret Baier Wednesday, a media critic from the Baltimore Sun felt it was "a textbook encounter of how the press should engage the executive branch of government."
"As much credit as I give Obama for taking his healthcare message to Fox News and staying on point, I also praise Baier for being thoroughly prepared and hitting a very difficult tone of being appropriately aggressive without being hectoring or rude," wrote David Zurawik Wednesday.
"Think of it as the antidote to NBC anchorman Brian Williams' bow to Obama in his prime-time White House special last year" (video of part one of the interview embedded below the fold, h/t TVNewser):
Howard Kurtz must have woken up on the wrong side of the bed Sunday, for his "Reliable Sources" review of John Stossel's new Fox Business Network show was uncharacteristically way off base.
After presenting a cherry-picked video clip of Stossel talking about how he wished Nobel Laureate Al Gore would come on the program to debate man's role in global warming, Kurtz asked guest David Zurawik, "[D]oes this continue a trend of partisan people going to partisan networks and putting them on partisan shows?"
After Zurawik's answer, Kurtz carped, "My only problem with that first program is that he basically had one guest for three-quarters of the show, a guy from the Libertarian Cato Institute who is also very skeptical of global warming. And so, except from the studio audience, you didn't hear a lot of contrary voices."
Unfortunately, Kurtz edited out the segment when Stossel read an e-mail message from Gore's representative saying the former Vice President had to decline the invitation to appear on the program because he was too busy (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript):
David Zurawik, the Baltimore Sun’s TV critic, didn’t even wait a full 24 hours after Robert Novak’s death to launch a stinging criticism of the former Crossfire host on the newspaper’s website on Tuesday. Zurawik lamented the apparently contaminated state of political discourse on cable TV and placed much of the blame on Novak in the blog entry titled, “Robert Novak on cable TV: A Polarizing Presence.”
The critic began by announcing his intention to focus on the conservative’s television legacy, instead of his “place...on the political and journalistic map.” He then when right into his attack on Novak, which read like a thinly-veiled critique of the Fox News Channel: “Novak titled his 2007 memoir, ‘The Prince of Darkness,’ and he was indeed a very dark force in cable TV news contributing mightily to the toxic culture of confrontation, belligerence and polarization that so defines cable TV and American political discourse today. There is no way to be nice about his impact on cable TV during its formative years -- and his contributions for the worse to the tone and style of what passes for political conversation today.”
David Zurawik, a TV critic for The Baltimore Sun, has called for the “TV press...to step back and question how it is covering President Barack Obama.” Moreover, Zurawik gives a laudatory nod to Fox News for its balanced coverage of the President: “I hesitate to write these words, but good for Fox. It must be doing something right, if it has the President complaining about the tiny bit of scrutiny he gets on TV.”
The Sun critic is referring to a CNBC interview this past Tuesday, where President Obama complained that "one television station is entirely devoted to attacking" his administration. While he declined to name the network when asked by CNBC interviewer John Harwood, it is undoubtedly the Fox News Network.
Baltimore Sun TV critic David Zurawik should check into a clinic somewhere to have his delicate mental balance checked. Maybe they might have some nice medication he can take to temper his Palin Derangement Syndrome (PDS)? He has PDS so bad he can't even write about a little reality TV show without indulging unnecessary vitriol and hate.
It's interesting that critic Zurawik gets so filled with hate in such a short space. In fact, the tiny four paragraph "review" spends more time name calling and attacking Governor Palin than it does in discussing the TV show on which she is about to appear; TLC's American Chopper.
Did you know that elderly people are utterly hopeless sad sacks who can't adapt to change?
That's what readers of the Baltimore Sun were basically greeted with in a February 17 story -- "Some left out in switch from analog to digital signal" -- which dutifully found two elderly women who are unprepared for a partial TV-less existence since two Baltimore stations ditched their analog signals at midnight.
Baltimore Sun reporters David Zurawik and Sam Sessa told the sad tales of 68-year old Janice Stephenson and 84-year old Eula Riggle. Sandwiched between their tales of woe, Zurawik and Sessa quoted a college professor who blamed the federal government for the supposed catastrophe and a politician who complained about the voucher program and the quality of the converter boxes that have been installed for senior citizens.
Yet when it comes to the Sun's actual poster women for TV deprivation, Stephenson and Riggle, the former had planned to start a cable subscription -- she postponed it having heard of the nationwide DTV conversion deadline being pushed back to June -- and the latter bought a converter box, only to end up selling it to someone else.