Free for All: 07/28/14

Posted in Free For All on July 28, 2014 by icn2

What’s on your mind?

Another CNN “Town Hall”…

Posted in CNN on July 28, 2014 by icn2

FTVLive is (not) reporting (much) on a Town Hall CNN had last week with Jeff Zucker leading the way. It’s not that FTV didn’t want to report anything…but that there apparently wasn’t much to report. That said this did make me smirk…

This meeting did not feature any “shock questions” like the last go around.

Sources tell FTVLive that every question was carefully screened this time.

Where There’s Smoke…

Posted in MSNBC on July 24, 2014 by icn2

Yes, it’s another “David Gregory’s Meet The Press days are numbered” article but this one is different because it’s not Page Six or anyone connected with News Corp.’s New York Post. Even more significantly it’s The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove.

In multiple conversations that I had with people inside and outside NBC after the item appeared, it was taken as a given that Gregory is toast.

Why is it more significant because it’s Grove and not the curmudgeonly Page Six which loves to stick it to CNN and NBC/MSNBC? Because Grove, rightly or wrongly, is considered by many to be…ahem…friendly…to 30 Rock. Grove doesn’t write all that often about the goings on at NBC/MSNBC but when he does it’s not usually in…how shall I put it?…provocative tones. So to see Grove come forward with his own sourcing on Gregory being in trouble and then, on top of that, to start speculating about who leaked to The Post (!!!), something I have not seen him do before, and I had to snap to attention and read every little detail…

According to my sources, Scarborough, 51, a Washington-savvy former Republican congressman from Florida, and Brzezinski, 47, the supremely well-connected daughter of former White House national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, have been aggressively angling for the job in the event of Gregory’s all-but-certain demise. If they were to be picked as MTP cohosts, it would represent a complete departure from the 69-year-old program’s traditional format. On Thursday, Scarborough tweeted: “There have been numerous stories with NBC News sources saying Mika and I have been ‘aggressively angling’ for MTP. That is false.” There might be a difference in nuance, of course, between “aggressively angling” and “making no secret” that you want the job, as an informed source told me about Scarborough and Brzezinski.

An NBC insider told me the duo had believed they had an understanding with top news division executives that they would be named cohosts of the Sunday Today show in addition to their Morning Joe duties. Then Turness arrived at NBC from Britain’s ITV News in August 2013 and undid the agreement, I’m told. “They were furious,” my source told me, referring to Scarborough and Brzezinski.

Does this mean that Gregory is indeed in serious trouble? It’s hard to say. NBC did come out publicly with a big backing of Gregory not too long ago. But that isn’t necessarily indicative of anything definitive. Recall that when Ann Curry was rumored to be on the outs at The Today Show, there were conflicting views inside NBC on what to do with some factions advocating dropping her and others looking to keep her. That may be what’s playing out right now with elements at NBC wanting to stay the course and others looking to make a change.

One thing is certain, this story isn’t just a Page Six pushed story anymore. It’s gone mainstream. And that is something I find very significant. What it’s significance ultimately portends is not yet clear however.

Oh Please…

Posted in CNN on July 21, 2014 by icn2

Mediate’s Andrew Kirell puts his brain in park as he makes something out of nothing

In case you’re too lazy to un-mute the above Vine, Cuomo asked Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) to “shoot down” a theory about the missiles having potentially been used by the Ukrainian forces to take down MH17.

To his credit, Cuomo quickly noticed his own poor phrasing and said “Excuse the pun.”

Ugh. Seriously?

Free for All: 07/21/14

Posted in Free For All on July 21, 2014 by icn2

What’s on your mind?

CNN’s MH17 Video Theatrics Denigrate a Tragedy

Posted in CNN on July 19, 2014 by icn2

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CNN crossed a new low in cable news today. We all know that TV News in general and Cable News in particular loses control of its conscience and internal barometer regarding what’s appropriate and what is not when breaking news happens. But to even battle hardened jaded observers such as myself, my jaw dropped this time.

I was watching CNN Newsroom with Jim Sciutto and Poppy Harlow and something was a bit off about what I was seeing. Both Harlow and Sciutto had video wall backgrounds but they were both all gray. It took me a few minutes to realize what it was. It was video of the MH17 crash site looping over and over and over. In fact it wasn’t just being displayed in the video walls behind them but it was being displayed as a border when CNN went to a two shot.

I then rewound the DVR and found that during Fredricka Whitfield’s show they were showing the footage on small monitors behind her.

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So here’s the news anchor talking and behind him is video of the crash site looping over and over again. To call this as being in bad taste just doesn’t seem to do justice to the visceral reaction I had to seeing it happen. There’s really no excuse for it. It’s a naked attempt at gratuitous sensationalism.

Look, I am not arguing against displaying images in times of tragedy. News has a duty to relay such images, within the bounds of taste of course. Nobody would complain about CNN going to a video only shot of the crash site, just as nobody would complain about someone looping footage of the Challenger explosion, or the Reagan assassination attempt, or the towers coming down on 9/11 (though after a while the networks did cut back severely in regards to airing such footage). It is how CNN is using that footage…it’s being used as the equivalent of decorative art…that’s the problem. When I first saw it I thought maybe I was seeing some sort of play on the scorched earth scenes in the first Matrix movie or maybe a video game.

But this wasn’t a movie or a game. It’s a scene from a real news event; an event where over a hundred people were murdered. But you can’t tell what’s going on because CNN has made it all but impossible to get any news value out of the bits of video that come through past the people on the screen. It’s a mood setter. Nothing more. It’s gratuitous and despicable.

Think I’m overhyping this? Let’s consider today’s CNN equivalent of those big breaking news events I mentioned earlier…

CHALLENGER EXPLOSION

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How would you feel if the news anchor was on the screen talking while the footage from any of these major news events looped over and over and over again?

Would you be okay with seeing the space shuttle blow up over and over again while some guy blocks out half the image? How about the Reagan assassination attempt? The towers coming down on 9/11?

Would you be okay with that or would you want to throw a brick through your screen?

So how could you possibly give a pass to what CNN did today?

What? You didn’t see bodies so it’s okay?

The Hazards of Live TV: #25,223

Posted in Hazards of Live TV on July 17, 2014 by icn2

It’s well documented that networks during breaking news events don’t always vet their sources properly…especially when “eyewitness” phone ins are concerned. Well, it happened to MSNBC today as The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple writes

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