Bye Bye Kate?

Posted in CNN on November 26, 2014 by icn2

The Wrap’s Jordan Chariton is hearing stories that Kate Bolduan may get taken off New Day.

Two CNN insiders told TheWrap that Bolduan, who has been on the hot seat for months ahead of her leave, will exit due to lack of chemistry with co-anchors Chris Cuomo and Michaela Pereira. Another individual with knowledge of Zucker’s thinking said the news president has not yet made a final decision, but is strongly considering that option.

The show is up 23 percent in total viewers year-over-year from mid-September to now; the time period Bolduan has been on maternity leave after having her first child, Cecilia. She has been co-anchor of the CNN morning show since the show’s launch in June 2013. The show is also up 11 percent in the all-important 25-54 news demographic year-over-year during Bolduan’s maternity leave.

(snip)

If Bolduan is replaced, it is likely it would not come until after she officially returns to “New Day” from her maternity leave.

I’m not going to say “I told you so”…

well…actually…I am

Whatever problems New Day has…and it has plenty, Kate Bolduan not being up to the task isn’t one of them. Yes there is a chemistry problem between Bolduan and Cuomo and, regardless of who is or isn’t to blame for that, Bolduan will catch all the heat because she wasn’t the high priced talent Zucker poached from another network and those people never catch the blame right away whether deserved or not. It’s not fair for Bolduan but it is the way the rules are played. It’s called a pecking order for a reason you know.

That was written over a year ago and it’s still all true a year later. Bolduan isn’t the reason for New Day’s ills.

But let’s decode this “chemistry” thing, shall we?

To get chemistry it requires more than one person. It takes two (or more). So which is to blame for the chemistry problem?

Well unless there are full blown fireworks erupting on the set and/or the long knives whipped out behind the scenes, the talent probably like each other and get along fine…but it’s just not translating across the TV screen. In that instance you could replace one host, but which one since neither is really at fault here.

And this gets to the heart of the matter. When we hear the words “chemistry problem on New Day” what that really means is “whoever is not named Chris Cuomo is on the chopping block”.

Why? Because, as I said a year ago, Cuomo was Jeff Zucker’s big steal from ABC. He’s the high priced talent. So obviously it couldn’t possibly be him that’s part of New Days’ problems because…

well…

ummm…

hmmm…

…did I say that he was Jeff Zucker’s big steal from ABC? They pried him off ABC so he must be good and any chemistry problems can’t be him…right?

Right?

So of course it’s ABC time again at CNN; Anyone But Cuomo…

And it kind of has to be this way, whether Cuomo is or isn’t part of the problem. He was the big get. He was an early Jeff Zucker hire. Zucker has just too much invested in Cuomo to do anything to diminish him because that comes right back to Zucker’s lap since he went out and got him.

So instead Bolduan gets tossed on the block and Jordan Chariton starts hearing about “chemistry issues” between Bolduan and Cuomo.

Except Zucker can’t escape from criticism with that strategy either because…well he’s a network President and I’m a blogger with a long memory. Network Presidents shoot their mouths off all the time without thinking about the long term ramifications…and that’s where I come in.

Exhibit A:

He added that the lesson he took from the Curry fiasco at “Today” was that chemistry between co-hosts is the key ingredient to a successful show. He said he had tested Cuomo opposite five different anchors before settling on Bolduan.

“When we put Kate next to Chris, you just knew and [the chemistry] was there and as it unfolded, you saw it,” he said.

So…uh…what? The chemistry used to be there but it isn’t now? Or was the chemistry never there to begin with and you went ahead with it anyways and hoped things would improve eventually?

It’s got to be one of the two.

Doesn’t matter. Both reflect badly on Zucker though one is worse than the other.

So now it looks like Bolduan will get the heave ho. The real question is does she land elsewhere at the network or is her CNN career all over now? The follow up question is who will replace Bolduan and what happens if it turns out that Zucker guessed wrong on the Bolduan/Cuomo chemistry issue?

The only thing I know for sure is that this is going to keep me and others busy writing for a while.

BOOOOM!

Posted in FNC on November 25, 2014 by icn2

The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple just destroys Bill O’Reilly over his now discredited Ebola paranoia… (via J$)

Turns out that O’Reilly had it precisely wrong. The United States is now Ebola-free and, just as medical experts have said throughout, the pivotal consideration in keeping it that way is providing aid to the countries where the virus resides. Just how important is free travel to the aid effort? Daniel Epstein, a Washington-based spokesman for the World Health Organization, told the Erik Wemple Blog earlier this month that the organization had ferried 600 people in and out of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea since the virus broke out in March (some of those folks have made more than one trip). When asked how WHO had reacted to O’Reilly’s calls for a travel ban, Epstein said, “We never tried to get on his show or tried to rebut his statements but we did issue statements about our position about international travel and Ebola.”

Such statements and other appeals to simple logic didn’t work with O’Reilly, who thrust upon his viewers an ugly dark-ages isolationism. Which would have been fine, if only he’d been right. O’Reilly said in an August 2013 program: “When you make a mistake, admit it.” Surely he’ll do just that on Ebola.

More Ferguson…

Posted in CNN on November 25, 2014 by icn2

The Washington Post’s Peter Holley uses CNN’s coverage of Ferguson last night to take some shots at Don Lemon…

It remains unclear which came first — Don Lemon inserting his agitating personal opinion into his coverage or his bosses rewarding him with more air time for doing just that. Either way, the combination has been a volatile one. In a matter of months the one-time golden boy with the charming smile has gone from a talking head to a head that seems incapable of not talking when other people are trying to answer his questions. Not since gaffe-laden Rick Sanchez has a CNN anchor courted this much controversy. It’s difficult to pinpoint the moment “Don Lemon, CNN anchor” became “Don Lemon aggressively subjective CNN polemicist,” but experts trace his emergence to at least as early as last year, when Lemon sided with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly in a discussion about young black men’s social decorum and use of belts.

(snip)

Don’t expect Lemon to mellow anytime soon. An Associated Press article noted that CNN is in favor of the anchor’s editorializing “so long as he’s not predictably partisan.” “Predictable” might be the operative word there, considering Lemon is proving that he is anything but.

Janelle Rodriguez, vice president of programming at CNN U.S., told the AP that Lemon talks to viewers instead of talking down to them.

“Having a personality is a positive attribute,” she said.

Um..yeah. Tell that to Rick Sanchez…the former CNN anchor whose throne Lemon is apparently trying to lay claim to.

Ferguson Coverage…

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on November 25, 2014 by icn2

The Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawik writes about last night cable news mayhem in Ferguson…

But all the good reporting by Carroll and others at CNN was seriously compromised by the terrible decision to have political commentator Van Jones on the ground with Lemon.

At 10:23 p.m. (ET) as the violence seriously escalated, Jones cut in on Lemon with, “I just want to say… it’s that same thing again: You have a small number of knuckleheads who are out here causing the problems.”

How could Jones possibly know that being essentially in one location on the street?

As subsequent events quickly revealed, the former Obama green-jobs adviser didn’t know it. He wasn’t even close.

The question was: What was Jones, a CNN political analyst from the canceled “Crossfire” show, doing out there on the street in Ferguson in the first place when the need could not have been greater for real, honest, experienced reporters – something CNN has more of than anyone else in TV news?

Jones was so far out of his depth and so far off in his assessment of the actual situation all night that you had to wonder if CNN President Jeff Zucker, or any of his executives, were actually watching the coverage.

Press Releases: 11/25/14

Posted in Press Releases on November 25, 2014 by icn2

MSNBC (1)

AS A SIGNATURE MEDIA PARTNER FOR #GIVINGTUESDAY, MSNBC SHINES A SPOTLIGHT ON GIVING BACK

Across All Platforms, MSNBC Will Promote the Global Day of Giving

NEW YORK – November 25, 2014 – MSNBC is a signature media partner of the third annual #GivingTuesday, the rapidly growing social media movement that culminates on Tuesday, December 2, 2014. Following Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the holiday season with a global day dedicated to giving. Across all on-air and digital platforms, MSNBC will highlight people and organizations that are giving back to their communities.

MSNBC shows will be participating in the giving as well:

Lawrence O’Donnell and “THE LAST WORD” will officially launch #GivingTuesday on MSNBC with an update on his KIND (Kids in Need of Desks) Fund, an organization he began with UNICEF five years ago to build school desks for the children of Malawi. To date, KIND has raised over $7 million towards desks and scholarships for girls in Malawi.

Andrea Mitchell will be focusing on two causes close to her heart for #GivingTuesday. On Tuesday, she will interview Pat Quinn, spokesperson for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, on the CrowdRise project they are launching for #GivingTuesday. And on Wednesday, Andrea will interview Alma Powell, Chair of America’s Promise Alliance, which she founded with her husband General Colin Powell recognizing 30 programs across the country that support traditionally underserved students to stay in school.

“Ronan Farrow Daily” is planning a special week long ‘Call to Action’ supporting #GivingTuesday. The week kicks off with Academy Award nominee Edward Norton, founder of CrowdRise, discussing how crowd-sourcing fundraising is the new model for charitable giving. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) will also talk about the Millennial Bipartisan Giving Caucus that is introducing a #GivingTuesday bill (H.R. 761) from the Future Caucus, a millennial-led caucus from the House of Representatives. The resolution recognizes that philanthropy and charitable giving knows no party divide, and has the power to unite people across boundaries. And, Maria Shriver will join Ronan to talk about her non-profit group, A Woman’s Nation, that aims to elevate girls and boys to a place of equality by creating a more compassionate and caring culture where all lives and all work are respected, recognized, and valued.

“The Reid Report” will feature a story being launched on #GivingTuesday by the UN Foundation’s “Girl Up” club. Morgan Wood, one of the group’s teen advisors, will join Joy to preview the ‘SchoolCycle’ program, which will provide girls in Malawi with bicycles so they can ride to school.

“NOW with Alex Wagner” is planning another installment of ‘The Invisible US’ series with a focus on poverty and hunger. On #GivingTuesday, “NOW” will work with a CrowdRise to raise awareness for Owsley County Outreach in Kentucky, one of the programs that will be featured on the show.

MSNBC is also asking its community of viewers and digital users to share the ways they are giving by writing them down on a piece of paper and taking a selfie with the note, and then posting on social media @MSNBC using the hashtag #GivingTuesday. Photos will be displayed at http://www.msnbc.com/giving-tuesday-gallery.

“MSNBC has an incredibly passionate and engaged community of people who want to make a positive impact,” said MSNBC President, Phil Griffin. “In celebration of #GivingTuesday, we’ll share some of the many ways our hosts, audience and others around the globe are giving their time, energy and money, not just on this day, but every day.”

Rachel Racusen to Head MSNBC PR…

Posted in MSNBC on November 21, 2014 by icn2

White House Associate Communications Director Rachel Racusen has joined MSNBC and will be its VP of Communications.

Today MSNBC announced the hiring of Rachel Racusen as its new VP of communications.

Racusen, who will handle comms and media strategy while partnering with editorial and business leads at the network, will also serve as MSNBC’s primary spokesperson moving forward.

For those of you wondering if this was an accident or coincidence…it apparently wasn’t

We just heard from an anonymous source who applied for a top media relations job at the network. The source tells us that the planned rebranding played a large role in the interview process and that MSNBC demanded someone with close “White House connections” for the job.

I am very curious how someone with “White House connections” can make a difference in a PR position for a cable network. How will this play out? More outreach to progressive blogs? Bypassing traditional media outlets? What’s going to happen next?

Don Lemon Just Doesn’t Get It…

Posted in CNN on November 20, 2014 by icn2

TVNewser’s Mark Joyella writes about what Don Lemon did last night…

On Wednesday night’s “CNN Tonight”, CNN’s Don Lemon again addressed the fallout from his comments on the same program one night earlier. “As a victim myself, I would never suggest any victim could have prevented a rape,” Lemon said at the top of the broadcast, making his second on-air apology of the day.

I already covered why Lemon did suggest just that yesterday so I won’t repeat myself here. I will say it still hasn’t sunk in to Lemon’s head that he crossed a line he shouldn’t have crossed.

This time, however, Lemon brought back Joan Tarshis, who says she was raped by Bill Cosby, and to whom Lemon made the remark “you know, there are ways not to perform oral sex if you didn’t want to do it.”

“If I offended you, and I don’t think I did, I’m sorry for that,” Lemon told her. Tarshis said despite the uproar over Lemon’s comments, she was not personally offended. “You didn’t offend me at all.”

Ugh.

This is like saying it’s not harassment if you don’t feel harassed.

Who the hell is advising Lemon at CNN? Whoever it is has done a piss poor job of it. They should have put him on air and forced him to do a full unequivocal apology, whether he really felt that way about it or not, and then put a gag order on him talking any more about this subject.

Instead we have not one but two non-apology apologies followed by Lemon bringing back the woman he suggested could have avoided being raped and basically asking her if he had offended her. What was he looking for? Absolution?

It doesn’t matter if she wasn’t offended if the bulk of your audience was offended. Absolution from your guest is of little comfort if your audience doesn’t absolve you from your reckless insensitivity.

Lemon doesn’t get it. CNN doesn’t get it. Every decision, every utterance, since the original interview has just made matters worse.

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