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Archive for May, 2012
Reuters’ Jack Shafer argues that Cable News audience has peaked. That would potentially be bad news for FNC and its quest to be taken seriously as a viable alternative to ABC, NBC, and CBS. If you can’t match the ratings of (or beat) one of the big three…you’re not competitive. I don’t know if cable news audiences have peaked or not as Shafer argues. It may be that audiences have peaked for the format of cable news we currently have (heavy on politics and political news and increasing use of POV) but I wouldn’t shut the door completely on no more upside just yet.
The first sign of a peak in cable news appeared in March 2011, when the Pew Research Center released a study that proclaimed, “Though many will remember 2010 as a hard year for CNN, in reality, most cable news channels suffered audience losses.” The able chartists at Pew drew a sad graph of cable news. Combined median viewership for CNN, Fox News and MSNBC during prime time had receded 16 percent, to 3.2 million, that year. Mean viewership had also dropped 13 percent, to 3.3 million, making it the largest year-to-year drop for cable news since Pew started analyzing the numbers in 1997. It also marked the first drop in the median audience since 2006.
The bad news continued through 2011, as cable news viewership remained nearly flat. This was fairly astonishing considering all the breaking news from that year – the Arab Spring, Japan’s tsunami, the killing of Osama bin Laden, the Libyan civil war and the European economic crisis – not to mention the bustle of the presidential campaign.
Shafer goes on to extrapolate what this peakage could mean…
But as cable news has peaked, so too has Fox News Channel President Roger Ailes. He’ll continue to call the plays at his channel, but unless he comes up with something startlingly new, he won’t be able to cause any greater public ruckus with his shows. And if Ailes and Fox News have peaked, what of Media Matters for America, David Brock’s advocacy group? Media Matters polices Fox News with such dedication that it’s become the network’s finest publicist, pushing Fox News stories to liberal audiences who would otherwise never be aware of them. Oh, Media Matters will continue to ding Fox News. But if the Fox News audience isn’t growing, Media Matters can’t expect its followers to be more scandalized about Fox News than they already are.
Bill O’Reilly? Peaked. Chris Matthews? Peaked. Anderson Cooper? Peaked. Democratic Party outrage over what Fox News said about the president? Peaked. Maddow, Hannity, O’Donnell, Sharpton? Peaked, peaked, peaked, peaked.
HLN announced it will be hosting the Daytime Emmy Awards this year…
HLN CELEBRATES THE YEAR’S BUZZED-ABOUT TV PROGRAMMING AND STARS AS HOST NETWORK OF THE 39TH ANNUAL DAYTIME ENTERTAINMENT EMMY® AWARDS TO AIR LIVE ON SATURDAY, JUNE 23
2012 Show Includes Tributes to Outgoing Series & Beloved Talent; Spotlight on Innovative Programs
NEW YORK, NY, May 24, 2012—HLN grabs the reigns as the host network of the 39th annual daytime entertainment Emmy® Awards to be presented live from The Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles on Saturday, June 23, 8-10 p.m., ET/PT, it was announced by Scot Safon, Executive Vice President & General Manager, HLN, and Malachy Wienges, Chairman, National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
“HLN is thrilled to work with NATAS to celebrate some of television’s best programs and performances,” said Safon. “Every day we focus on the news and information people talk about, and that has included extensive coverage of the Daytime Emmys in the past. This year, we’re very excited to also be carrying the event itself.”
AdWeek’s Mike Shields has a major scoop that NBC Universal is in talks to get full control of MSNBC.com.
As recently as two years ago, there were reports that MSNBC.com would rebrand in order to distinguish itself from the cable net’s left-wing persona. But apparently, under the Comcast reign, the company is more interested in using MSNBC.com to further its network brand. “It drives those guys crazy that they can’t have personalities like Maddow and company on the Web more,” said a source. However, most insiders know that MSNBC.com couldn’t pull in 55.7 million uniques (comScore, April 2012) with Maddow and Matthews alone. The site benefits heavily from its prominent placement on the MSN portal, and that’s something NBCU will be hesitant to give up.
Thus, according to one source, the companies are likely to negotiate a deal ensuring that MSNBC.com secures real estate on MSN.com—similar to the current treatment Fox Sports receives.
TVNewser’s Alex Weprin adds…
Inside NBC, there has been talk of a new website for weeks. The site is believed to be NBCNews.com, which would serve as a news hub, as well as the online home for programs like “NBC Nightly News,” “Meet the Press” and “Rock Center.” MSNBC.com would probably serve as the home for the cable channel’s politically-focused programming and news.
There is one thing that a potential separation does which neither Shields nor Weprin touches on (surprisingly). It goes a long way to separating NBC News and its News Division from MSNBC and its left wing ideology and POV news analysis shows. Shields indirectly references that by citing the two year old MSNBC.com rebranding news but apparently doesn’t realize that this separation can accomplish the same thing as the re-branding proposal.
Another thing this separation potentially will do is furnish the opportunity to create an alternative to The Huffington Post. NBCU tried to grab The Huffington Post at one point but didn’t get there. With NBC News and its shows safely removed from any possible exposure damage coming from the MSNBC POV brand, it opens up the possibilities to remake MSNBC.com more in MSNBC’s POV image. I could foresee a whole bunch of POV online content, similar to what HuffPo does, appear on the “new” MSNBC.com. MSNBC already has a lot of Progressive POV stars and major Progressive contributors tied down contractually. They could all start writing columns on the new site. And, like HuffPo, there can be the occasional “dissenting voice” (read: Conservative) column from MSNBC’s meager group of Conservative stars/contributors.
Do I think it would really go this way and try and HuffPo the site? No. That requires way too much foresight, planning, and infrastructure change to make it seem likely in a real world scenario. It would be easier to start from scratch than to convert the existing site over but I don’t think they would go that route. On the other hand they could create a new MSNBC.com from scratch while de-MSNBCing the old MSNBC.com and rename that NBCNews.com. That’s another possibility.
There’s a third possible outcome here that should be discussed: Name change. With Microsoft now totally out of the picture, NBC would finally be in a position to take the “MS” out of “MSNBC” once and for all. NBC already had control of the TV side of MSNBC but changing the name for just the TV channel wouldn’t work from a branding consistency standpoint unless the website changed names too. But with full control of everything NBC now has the opportunity to rename the channel and the website at the same time.
Do I think this likely? If MSNBC TV goes completely POV and NBC News extracts itself from the channel (read: dayside news goes away completely) then it becomes a far more likely option. But MSNBC, as far into the POV realm as it has gotten in the past two years, is still something of a half-breed with pockets of news (and NBC News talent) here and there so name change to something that is more reflective of the channel’s increasing POV bent, is not a realistic option at this time.
Politico’s Dylan Byers writes about something Rachel Maddow said on her show last night regarding Mitt Romney…
Maddow first ran footage of Romney’s interview with Time Magazine’s Mark Halperin yesterday, in which the former governor of Massachusetts said that over a period of four years his administration could get the unemployment rate “down to 6 percent, or maybe lower.” She then ran footage from a May 4 speech in which Romney, dismissing celebration of an 8.1 percent unemployment rate, said “anything over 8 percent, anything near 8 percent, anything over 4 percent is not cause for celebration.”
Paraphrasing Romney’s remarks from the May 4 speech, Maddow then said: “Sure, President Obama has brought unemployment down, but anything over 4 percent is an Obama failure.”
Then, speaking for herself, Maddow said: “Mitt Romney says anything over 4 percent is a failure of the Obama administration, then two-and-a-half weeks later says his own goal is 6 percent unemployment.”
That is incorrect — which is to say, false. Mitt Romney did not say that unemployment over 4 percent is a failure of the Obama administration. He said it was not cause for celebration. Furthermore, in his interview with Halperin, Romney did not say that his own goal of 6 percent unemployment would be cause for celebration, either. He merely said that that was his own goal. Maddow is simply tying together two different statements to create and attribute a statement that was never actually made.
The irony is that Maddow pegged her criticism of Romney to White House spokesman Jay Carney’s own criticism of the Washington press corps.
Salon’s Alex Pareene goes after Luke Russert and doesn’t hold back a thing…except maybe Russert’s involvement in the Kennedy Assassination.
Here’s just a brief sample of Pareene’s tone…
On the basis of his
impressive reporting and ease in front of the camerastill being named Russert, Luke was promoted, after the election, to Congressional correspondent. That’s the contempt with which NBC News views the occupation of journalism. To make Luke Russert a Congressional reporter is to say, “we believe that this job requires no particular knowledge, training or skills. If a German Shepard could be trained to speak, it could perform this work.” (That’s true of most cable news work, granted, but it really doesn’t have to be.) Proper reporting on the House of Representatives is actually difficult and largely thankless work, generally done by very hard-working and underpaid reporters. The assignment was transparently NBC’s attempt to help Russert develop chops, and what it has yielded thus far is the time Charlie Rangel called Luke dumb, which MSNBC turned into a two-day story.
NBC seems to be keeping Russert employed in the hopes that he’ll eventually develop an ability to simulate gravitas. Hopefully “Meet the Press” will still be on the air by the time Luke has mastered his serious face.
Whatever validity Pareene’s argument may have has been totally ruined by his over the top – take no prisoners – no shot is too cheap rant. Nobody’s going to remember any valid point Pareene may have raised, they’re just going to remember the way he steamrolled Russert.
George Zimmerman wasn’t mentioned on MSNBC last week. Neither was the late Trayvon Martin, not even once.
What makes that fact so astounding? Major news broke in the Martin case on two occasions last week. This led to sprawling reports in our major news orgs.
But there wasn’t a word on MSNBC, which had produced a month of dis- and misinformation regarding this tragic case. MSNBC didn’t describe the police reports which gave the lie to its endless misstatements. The channel didn’t let liberal viewers see the photos which contradicted its hosts’ bogus claims.
It’s a pretty serious charge The Howler is implying; that MSNBC will suppress news stories that would make its ideological pundit class look bad. I have no idea whether what The Howler wrote about MSNBC not airing anything about Zimmerman/Martin is accurate or not. But someone out there should know so I’m running this up the flagpole to see what comes next…
Update: It has been pointed out to me via email that apparently The Howler uses LexisNexis to get his information, though he doesn’t state that was the case here. But LexisNexis apparently only covers 5-11pm and not dayside. So this Daily Howler entry only concerns MSNBC’s evening/primetime POV hours and not the rest of the day.
That’s too large an information gap to ignore. Furthermore, The Howler makes MSNBC to be this top down monolithic entity where everything moves in lockstep. That’s just not the case, even in the POV hours. Some will talk about one thing. Some will talk about another. These shows have a lot of autonomy so any decision regarding whether to cover Zimmerman/Martin developments or not rests a great deal on the show hosts and their teams, not the network’s hierarchy.
The bottom line for me is LexisNexis may show that MSNBC’s POV hosts ducked the Zimmerman/Martin story last week but that’s not nearly as sinister as the implication that MSNBC, as an entity, ducked the story. Actually I kind of want to say “Duh!” at the idea that Al Sharpton, et al…wouldn’t want to talk about it. Cable news POV hosts, be they progressive or conservative, rarely do 180s when doing so doesn’t fit in with their ideological worldview. That’s just the way things are, stupid as they may be. They’ll hem and haw and look for “Yeah, but” reasons to come back to their original talking point, no matter how convoluted the journey may be.
So I think The Howler was being disingenuous painting all of MSNBC with a broad LexisNexis brush and I shrug my shoulders at what MSNBC prime does or doesn’t do regarding covering or not covering the latest potentially ideologically inconvenient details in the Zimmerman case.
Update 2: Mediaite’s Noah Rothman goes all in on the idea that this merits notation because MSNBC’s POV hosts were so vocal and in the forefront of the early coverage of Martin and Zimmerman, especially Al Sharpton. This is true. But at the same time I feel the need to reiterate, “What did you expect? This is POV primetime where the rules are inconvenient facts get routinely ignored by both sides of the spectrum in favor of preserving the most favored ideological narrative.” Duh…
TVNewser’s Alissa Krinski interviews FNC’s Rome based correspondent Greg Burke…
The travel benefit is important when you’re ”on call” for breaking news across the continent. Burke also has spent plenty of time in the Middle East. As a result, he’s covered a broad array of stories, ranging from the 2006 Lebanon War to last year’s Norwegian youth camp shootings. ”The bar is high” for foreign news to make air on American broadcasters, he says, especially in an election year.
Burke enjoys being a foreign correspondent, but says reporting is reporting. ”I’m not someone who has to have a grenade thrown at them to feel like I’m doing my job…I feel fortunate that the stories I’m dealing with are pretty serious, they’re significant and interesting. But I don’t need to [always] go to Fallujah.”
Working thousands of miles away from the Mother Ship back in New York, foreign correspondents report a mix of assigned and enterprise stories, with the journalist responsible for being the network’s eyes and ears abroad. “You rise or fall on your own, to a certain degree.”
This Friday, CNN will air a special hour titled “Anderson Cooper Special Report- Arab Spring: Revolution Interrupted”.
The round table will focus on CNN’s reporters who were in the field reporting and risking their lives in Egypt, Libya and Syria for the uprisings known as The Arab Spring and the continuing turmoil across the Arab world.
Anderson Cooper will be joined by CNN International’s Arwa Damon, Nic Robertson and Ivan Watson and former CIA officer Bob Baer as they recall the hardships, dangers and challenges of reporting in a violent and ever changing environment and look ahead to what’s next for the Arab world.
The Special hour will air at 8 and 10pm ET on CNN and CNN International.
The Daily Beast’s Howard Kurtz has mysterious FNC anonymice walking back comments Roger Ailes made last night about the New York Times…
Roger Ailes, who loves to bash the liberal media, used some extraordinarily harsh language the other day–and now realizes it.
In a speech Monday night at Ohio University, his alma mater, the Fox News chairman described New York Times reporters as “a bunch of lying scum.”
That’s a pretty sweeping indictment of a top newspaper, even by Ailes’s blunt standards.
A senior Fox News executive says Ailes realizes he went too far and regrets using that language.
HLN announced a new evening news show to launch on June 4th…
HLN REVS UP NIGHTLY NEWS WITH LAUNCH OF EVENING EXPRESS, HOSTED BY RYAN SMITH, MONDAY, JUNE 4
Nationally Syndicated Radio Host and Best-Selling Financial Expert Clark Howard and CNN Journalist Isha Sesay Join New Show Airing 5-7 p.m. ET
NEW YORK, NY, May 22, 2012—HLN launches a new destination for news and information with Evening Express, hosted by Ryan Smith, beginning Monday, June 4. This new addition to HLN’s schedule will air weeknights, 5-7 p.m. ET, and feature HLN’s popular personal finance expert Clark Howard, and CNN’s Isha Sesay, it was announced by Scot Safon, Executive Vice President and General Manager, HLN. Evening Express will be based at the network’s global headquarters in Atlanta.
“HLN is excited to offer our viewers an evening news program that centers on the news and information they’ll discuss around the dinner table,” said Safon. “The format and tone of Evening Express was inspired by our hit show Morning Express with Robin Meade. Viewers tell us all the time that they love how Robin and the Morning Express team start their day on HLN, and now Ryan, Clark and Isha will be welcoming them home in the evening.”
In what is sure to be talked about relentlessly in the Red blogosphere, Andrea Mitchell is interviewed by Christina Bellantoni…
The culture wars have gotten intimate. For months, female voters of both parties have been stirred up by political battles over such issues as funding for birth control and a proposal to make transvaginal ultrasound a prerequisite for abortion—and MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell has been asking the provocative questions. First, she interviewed Nancy Brinker, founder and CEO of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, after the group decided to defund Planned Parenthood (a position Komen later reversed). Next, Mitchell was moments from interviewing Sandra Fluke when the Georgetown law student—who had been labeled a slut by Rush Limbaugh for wanting health plans to pay for contraception—received a call of encouragement from President Obama. And Republican megadonor Foster Friess was on air with Mitchell when he remarked that birth control was no big deal because in his day a Bayer aspirin between the knees did the trick. Christina Bellantoni asks Mitchell what she makes of it all.
Q: What is happening in America?
A: We seem to be relitigating the question of contraception, which has not been an open issue since the 1960s. It has been a consciousness-raising experience for a generation of young women who always took these rights for granted. I have never had so many women approach me—it just seems to have galvanized them.
And then there’s this…
Q: Have you ever seen anything like this?
A: It takes me back to the Clarence Thomas hearings. Some of the most liberal senators behaved miserably because they did not stand up for fair treatment of Anita Hill. I remember when the hearings ended and I was wrapping it up from the Senate. Tom Brokaw said, “What have we learned?” and I said something like, “I think we learned that the United States Senate is the last plantation.” I can’t believe I said that on network television!
CNNI is touting the results of two new surveys from the Pan-Asia Pacific Cross-Media survey and Europe’s Media Marketing Survey…
Related: CNNI President Tony Maddox talks to Broadcasting & Cable’s George Winslow about this…
CNN CONTINUES REIGN AS NUMBER ONE INTERNATIONAL NEWS AND BUSINESS CHANNEL IN ASIA PACIFIC
New research shows CNN also the leading news provider in Europe
CNN reaches more viewers globally than any other international news channel, with findings from both the latest Pan-Asia Pacific Cross-Media survey (PAX) and Europe’s Media and Marketing Survey (EMS) reinforcing the network’s undisputed leadership position.
The latest PAX findings for the period Q1 to Q4 2011 show that CNN continues to be the clear leader in the Asia Pacific region among international news and business channels across all metrics:
CNN lead political anchor Wolf Blitzer will sit down with Afghan President Hamid Karzai for an exclusive interview on Monday, May 21. Pres. Karzai is in the United States to attend the NATO Summit; he will sit down with Blitzer to discuss U.S.-Afghan relations, his meeting with President Obama and more. Blitzer will anchor The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer live from Chicago–tune in to CNN today from 4 to 6 p.m. ET.
CNN Chronicles Journey of Afghan Woman with Iconic Face
Multimedia feature reunites users with Taliban victim on her quest for reclamation
Nearly two years after Time captured her image for one of the magazine’s most memorable covers, CNN Digital will reunite users with Aesha, the woman whose story of abuse and disfigurement became an international symbol of oppression and crimes against women in war-torn Afghanistan. Through a powerful multimedia presentation, CNN.com will present Aesha’s quest for surgery, stability and a sense of belonging after her tragic rise to fame.
AdNews’ Paul McItyre writes about a big Australian push from Bloomberg…
Bloomberg is about to make its biggest push yet into the Australian advertising market with a dedicated local TV channel and a concerted push to attract advertisers to its local, upmarket audiences.
Although its professional service arm, centred around the Bloomberg terminal business, remains the company’s biggest revenue earner, Bloomberg Media – which now bundles TV, radio, online, apps and print products – has been growing at 30% per year globally from advertising. Similar growth plans are expected for Australia.
Financial services companies form the basis of Bloomberg’s advertising base but the company now has luxury goods, automotive, IT and travel brands in its sights. The most significant development is that a dedicated Australian channel will now allow corporates to advertise just to an Australian audience – until now they were part of a broader Asia Pacific feed which meant advertising messages were carried across the region.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve written a story about an NBC News:VIPs survey. I had thought that maybe the plug had been pulled because it had been so long. Recently, however, I heard that the surveys had started up again. Not all of them are relevant for the purposes of this blog. But when they are relevant they can be very illuminating. It was an NBC News:VIPs survey that foreshadowed the debut of Wake Up with Al (Roker) on The Weather Channel. Another forshadowed MSNBC’s turn back to POV analysis programming which began in earnest in 2011.
With that backstory in mind, ICN got tipped off to a new survey concerning a show that most people wouldn’t think of being on NBC’s priority list; the syndicated Wall Street Journal Report with Maria Bartiromo which also airs weekends on CNBC as does The Chris Matthews Show (which inexplicably to me still hasn’t been moved to its rightful place on MSNBC)
Three screen grabs from this survey were forwarded to ICN and all of them tell a tale, though what exactly the tale entails is open to interpretation. So let’s get on with the interpreting!
HLN (1), CNN (1)
HLN Rebuilds: Joplin’s Road Back Begins Airing Monday May 21; with Live Coverage through Tuesday May 22nd
One year ago, a massive EF-5 tornado tore through Joplin, Missouri, killing more than 160 people and changing the city forever. In the weeks after the tornado hit, HLN visited Joplin and – amid untold devastation – found people determined to stay and rebuild their lives in the city they call home. Now, a year later, HLN returns to Joplin to tell the next chapter in this story of perseverance, courage and resolve.
Hosts Robin Meade and Clark Howard will lead HLN’s one-year anniversary coverage on air and online beginning Monday, May 21 through Tuesday May 22, the anniversary of the deadly tornado. This multi-platform coverage centers around the construction of a new home for a mother and her three special-needs children, who lost everything in the tornado. Clark Howard is partnering with Habitat for Humanity to give this deserving family a chance for a new life.
Politico’s Tim Mak writes about CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield getting heated with Obama Spokesperson Ben LaBolt…
CNN host Ashleigh Banfield ripped into Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt on Tuesday over a campaign ad criticizing Mitt Romney for his record at Bain Capital, telling him to “keep it clean. We hate that crap on television.”
“Keep it clean out there, for heaven’s sake. We hate that crap on television. Be nice to each other. Pump your own guy up, don’t tear the other guy down. It’s nice for Americans,” Banfield lectured as the interview ended. “Thanks, Ben.”
She opened the segment by warning that she would go head-to-head with LaBolt.
TVNewser’s Alex Weprin writes about CNBC’s new pitch to primetime advertisers…
CNBC has been pushing “CNBC Smart” heavily to media buyers in the last month or so, a buyer at one of the major agencies tells TVNewser. The pitch was that the programming block features shows and personalities that “Celebrate the American Dream.” Indeed, in an advertisement in Ad Age this week (see after the jump), “Celebrate the American Dream” is the tagline used to describe the block. The ad features an American flag motif made of words like “Inventors,” “Moguls,” Mavericks” and “Champions.” In the past few weeks the network ran a contest where it gave one media buyer a Smart Car, and held a party in midtown’s Aspen Social Club to drum up attention for CNBC Smart.
MSNBC’s Chris Jansing takes to her Facebook page to give readers a glimpse into what her professional life is like. Jansing makes some actual news here by dropping that she’s doing segments for NBC’s ratings challenged Rock Center…
Sunday, May 6th. Up at 4 am to catch a 6 am flight to Chicago…then Newark…then an overnight flight to Tel Aviv. I used to find these full days of flying absolutely brutal. Technology makes it a lot easier to get work done; everything is on my laptop or iPad. I have also been reading a lot of fiction to break up the work, which is another bonus of travel. I need to start downloading movies/TV …how is it possible that with HUNDREDS of choices on flights these days, I can find absolutely nothing to watch? If anyone has any recommendations, I’d love to hear them.
Monday, May 7th and Tuesday May 8th….Tel Aviv for Rock Center.
Tel Aviv has become a hotbed of high tech activity – that’s as much as I’ll reveal about the story. In the late 90’s and early 2000’s I spent quite a bit of time in Israel for MSNBC; it was great to be back . MSNBC is now seen in Israel, so I also did an interview for the Israeli paper The Marker. They were very interested in the presidential campaign. My flight was Tuesday night, and I had enough time at Ben Gurion airport to call the executive producer of Jansing & Co. about the show on Wednesday and to read in.
Tapper and senior vice president and spokesman for ABC News Jeffrey Schneider, both released statements to The Huffington Post’s Michael Calderone. Tapper said, “Being the White House correspondent for ABC News is a dream job, one I’m focused on 100 percent. I couldn’t be happier where I am right now.”
Schneider echoed Tapper’s sentiment. “Hardly surprised to read about all kinds of poachers being interested in Jake Tapper. That’s what happens when you are at the top of your profession. We’re thrilled Jake works for ABC News and expect him to have a leadership role for a long time to come,” he said.
If ABC is serious about keeping Tapper it’s going to have to boot George Stephanopoulos out of the This Week chair after the election and put Tapper in it. Otherwise it puts the odds of Tapper jumping elsewhere at better than 50-50, especially after ABC passed him over not once but twice for the position.