Archive for April 4, 2012

The Hazards of Live TV: #25,153

Posted in Hazards of Live TV on April 4, 2012 by icn2

A story by Scott Wooledge on Daily Kos talks about MSNBC picking up and running a satire Wooledge wrote as actual news. Oh boy…

Monday, Huffington Post was kind enough to publish a parody post I authored on their comedy blog, “Microsoft, Apple Unite to Demand That the National Organization for Marriage Boycott Them.” It was kind of hit, and may have even inspired a copycat.

But the premise was absurd. And the “public relations” people I “quoted” didn’t exactly speak like PR flacks.


I also included this disclaimer at the end:

NOTE: This piece is satirical. All quotations are fabrications for the purpose of satire.

Apparently this and the fact it was published on Huffington Post’s Comedy vertical escaped the eagle-eyed journalists at MSNBC, who reported the story as news this morning. (Do they know about The Onion, you think? Should we tell them?)

Update: Mediaite’s Tommy Christropher writes that Thomas Roberts apologized on the air for this…

In his brief apology today, Roberts noted the disclaimer, and added, “We take issues of equality seriously, not as satire. It was my error.”

ICN Reaction: POV has its limits. Three times in eight days NOM and NOM related issues has caused Roberts to go too far and make MSNBC look bad in the process. This is a real problem.

MSNBC’s POV Metamorphosis: How a Cable News Network is Becoming a Cable POV Network

Posted in MSNBC on April 4, 2012 by icn2

(Editor’s Note: This was originally going to be a two part chronological article but was reworked to move most of the older history to two Appendices which are referenced in this article)

By the end of 2010, MSNBC had established a solid POV block from 5pm to 11pm and had the equally successful POV Morning Joe airing from 6-9. Dayside had reverted to straight news after sustaining a radical wholesale quasi-POV overhaul in mid 2009 which didn’t work out as planned (see Appendix B).

But while MSNBC President Phil Griffin told the AP in December of 2009 that MSNBC was going back to “more aggressive headline and information programming”, by early 2010 the re-implemented straight news dayside had ratings issues. By May Mediaite’s Steve Krakauer wrote that MSNBC was on a path to its worst dayside demo year since 1999.

Whether there was a direct correlation between dayside’s lagging numbers and what happened next is not known. What is known now is that 2010 would be a year when Griffin and MSNBC would revisit the concept of expanding POV across MSNBC. This is the story of that second attempt; a process that is still ongoing.

There were small indications here and there that Griffin was experimenting with dayside in early 2010 but nothing you could define a trend out of. The most telling sign that Griffin was again seriously considering extending POV across all of MSNBC came in the form of an NBC News viewer survey that leaked and was forwarded to ICN in June 2010. Quoting from that story I wrote about the survey…
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MSNBC’s POV Metamorphosis: Appendix A

Posted in MSNBC on April 4, 2012 by icn2

(Appendix A of this series chronicles MSNBC President Phil Griffin’s first attempt at extending POV into territory previously reserved for straight news anchors; MSNBC’s 2008 primetime POV election coverage pairing of Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews.)

MSNBC’s journey to successful POV-dom started, of course, with Keith Olbermann’s leftward turn approximately six to seven years ago when Countdown changed from a smart, clever, informative quasi-news show into a pointed, argumentative, left sided opinion show neither interested in hearing the other side nor taking it into account. Countdown found an audience; not a huge audience by O’Reilly standards but an audience nonetheless. For the first time in the network’s history MSNBC achieved some modicum of success in primetime.

The network now had something it never had before; a success story. POV primetime of a liberal nature could work for MSNBC the way POV primetime of a conservative/libertarian nature would work for FNC.

Enter one MSNBC President: Phil Griffin. Griffin is very very good at one thing…spotting a trend and running with it. It was Griffin who saw what Olbermann had done all on his own and decided to extend it by cancelling Dan Abrams’ show “Verdict” and installing Rachel Maddow at 9pm (Abrams was offered a different slot and in addition to a legal role at NBC but opted not to accept it). And it worked. MSNBC’s primetime numbers went up and CNN found itself forced down a path by that network which would eventually take it to 3rd place in prime.

However, there were bumps in Griffin’s POV primetime roadmap to success. In 2008 Griffin wanted to do something no news network had dared attempt before, not even FNC. He paired Olbermann and Chris Matthews, two non-journalists with a reputation and flair for POV, to lead MSNBC’s Campaign 2008 political coverage. Griffin’s reasoning probably was that they were the face of primetime where all the eyeballs are so why not make the most use of them?
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MSNBC’s POV Metamorphosis: Appendix B

Posted in MSNBC on April 4, 2012 by icn2

(Appendix B of this series chronicles the failed 2009 attempt to overhaul MSNBC’s dayside into POV analysis)

Despite whatever bumpiness that had occurred with regards to the election coverage in 2008, the storyline for MSNBC had been very positive overall. The network was flirting with beating CNN in primetime and Morning Joe was starting to give that network’s American Morning a severe identity crisis. But MSNBC President Phil Griffin wasn’t satisfied.

Afternoons and dayside for MSNBC were still kind of rough. While Hardball had achieved close to institution status because of the years the show had been on MSNBC and CNBC before that, it was basically an island in the afternoon surrounded by a series of programs that couldn’t gain traction. Griffin saw what prime and mornings were doing and saw what daytime and afternoons were doing and probably wondered how to translate the success of primetime and mornings to the rest of MSNBCs critical hours. What was the secret?

Evidently Griffin decided the secret was POV analysis. It was all over primetime, it was a staple of Morning Joe, and it was on its way to becoming a fixture of MSNBC’s political news event coverage (See Appendix A). MSNBC’s POV was the beginnings of a brand and an identity. The question and challenge for Griffin became how to extend and unify that brand across all of MSNBC. The solution Griffin came up with: less news and more POV analysis.
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Press Releases: 04/04/12

Posted in Press Releases on April 4, 2012 by icn2

Bloomberg (1)



- Featuring interviews with Magic Johnson and those closest to him –

Tune in tomorrow April 5th beginning at 8 pm ET/PT

Tomorrow night at 8pm ET, Bloomberg TV’s Trish Regan hosts “The Big Deal,” a live one-hour report on Magic’s latest acquisition…the LA Dodgers.

Join Trish and Bloomberg “Sportfolio” host Rick Horrow to learn about the successful $2 billion deal and hear from special guests including Miami Dolphins owner and Related Companies CEO Steve Ross, former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda and Chris Bevilacqua, former chairman & CEO of CAA Sports Media Ventures and co-founder of College Sports Television.
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Willie Geist Interview

Posted in MSNBC on April 4, 2012 by icn2

GQ’s Alex French interviews Willie Geist…

GQ: One of the big reasons I’m so drawn to Morning Joe is the panelists. You’ve got some serious people, some smart people on there every day. Steve Ratner, John Heilemann, Mark Halperin, Donny Deutsch.
Willie Geist: Donny’s less serious. He wears tight T-shirts.

GQ: Donny gets a bad rap.
Willie Geist: It’s all love. But listen, if you’re a grown man and you’re going to wear a Baby Gap T-Shirt, you’re going to get a little shit.

GQ: [Mike] BarnIcle recently wore some kind of sweat wicking Nike pullover on the show.
Willie Geist: There’s never a rational for Barnicle. He’s not making a point. He’s like, ‘It was on the top of the suit case. What do you want from me?’ He takes a walk in Central Park for the walk, threw it down on the chair. It was just sitting there so he decided to wear it on TV. Mika aggressively chided him for that. We made him class it up with a blazer.

GQ: Do you foresee a dress code?
Willie Geist: [Laughs heartily] No. We’re far beyond that dress code. When Joe goes to the Morning Joe fleece or the tattered golf shirt that he’s been wearing around Pensacola for a decade, it’s hard to enforce a dress code on anybody else.

Free for All: 03/04/12

Posted in Free For All on April 4, 2012 by icn2

What’s on your mind?

Tinfoil Hat Time…

Posted in FNC on April 4, 2012 by icn2

The Huffington Post has an uncredited story regarding a Tweet FNC’s Heather Childers sent out…

Fox News anchor Heather Childers caused a stir on Twitter after she linked to a story suggesting that the Obama campaign may have threatened to murder Chelsea Clinton.


Other headlines from include “President Obama Channels Joseph Stalin and Attacks Supreme Court Justices” and “Alabama Supreme Court Justice Says Barack Obama Birth Certificate Would Not Stand Up in Court.” Talking Points Memo, which highlighted the controversy on Tuesday called a “fringe conspiracy site” and “birther hub.”

When Childers was criticized on Twitter for her message, Childers responded and said she was “asking for opinion.”

Asking for opinion on a story that came from a site chock full of fringe conspiracy theory type articles? Okay…

Update: Heather Childers has protected her Twitter feed, I guess to stave off all the “haters” who are going to come after her now. Locking the account was probably a mistake. Soledad O’Brien didn’t know how to deal with Twitter blowback either, telling people on the air that it’s over now and to stop Tweeting her (bad move). The best defense in one of these is to ride it out. People will get bored soon enough, especially if you don’t engage them. But locking out the account or telling people to stop Tweeting you about something suggests to your critics you have a thin skin and probably shouldn’t be on Twitter in the first place.

Robin Meade Profile

Posted in HLN on April 4, 2012 by icn2

Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder profiles HLN’s Robin Meade.

Long before America woke up to Robin Meade as the star of HLN’s Morning Express, Chicago couldn’t get enough of the former beauty queen-turned-anchorwoman. Among numerous fansites she inspired during her six-year run at WMAQ-Channel 5 was one actually called “Can’t Get Enough of Robin Meade.”

It’s been more than a decade since she left the NBC-owned station, whose history of sacrificing its loveliest ingenues to network renown extends from Jane Pauley and Deborah Norville to Ginger Zee and Paula Faris.

But to her credit, Meade, 42, hasn’t lost a bit of the sunny disposition and infectious enthusiasm that colleagues and viewers here found so endearing. Both qualities come through in Brand New Day, her critically acclaimed debut album of country music songs.


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