Archive for January, 2013

Free for All: 01/31/13

Posted in Free For All on January 31, 2013 by icn2

What’s on your mind?

MSNBC’s Growing Credibility Gap…

Posted in MSNBC on January 30, 2013 by icn2

Politico’s Dylan Byers writes about the MSNBC Heslin video edits and has MSNBC’s apparent official reaction to it from their air…

On Monday on our program, we aired a portion of a hearing where we heard from Neil Heslin, whose 6-year-old son Jesse was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. We have received a number of comments over the past two days, so we are going to play the relevant portion of that testimony in full.

Byers’ prefaced the above with this…

UPDATE (4:50 p.m.): MSNBC addressed the Sandy Hook video edit in the same manner as it addressed the Romney video edit, running the full video but issuing no apology.

Nor an explanation. Nor an acknowledgement that what happened was (at the very least) a mistake or displaying any contrition. It was like the network was playing the role of the three year old who got into the cookie jar and then acted like nothing had happened when the parent came in and found cookie crumbs all over their face. This is supposed to be the definitive statement on the matter? Seriously?

If this had been an isolated incident that would be one thing. But, as Byers noted in his piece, this isn’t the first time in recent memory the network got called out for airing a selectively edited video. Nor was it the first time the network feigned a very odd indifference to the matter when it addressed the issue.

MSNBC has been dogged by accusations of selective editing before. In June of last year, the network edited footage of a campaign event at which Mitt Romney was discussing touchtone screens at a local chain store to illustrate the advantages of competition in the private sector. Instead, MSNBC depicted him as being naively amazed by the advent of touchtone screens. (MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell later aired the complete, unedited footage.)

Nor was it the first time in recent memory that the network has dodged very serious questions about an incident which, like the above edited videos, sprang out from its production staff

That leaves us with just one topic that we can seriously ponder at the moment; why MSNBC thought it was just Ryan’s name being chanted to the point that they flashed Ryan’s name on the screen to emphasize it? I heard Romney’s name. Why didn’t MSNBC?

These three events all happened within the past seven months and all three were addressed without addressing the issues raised. This isn’t an outlier. It is now a pattern…a disturbing pattern.

MSNBC preaches “smart TV” but that “smart TV” is sitting on a shaky foundation. That foundation is the behind the scenes production that goes into putting that “smart TV” on the air. I could excuse one incident. I can’t excuse three in seven months because it suggests that the network is not doing anything to put a stop to incidents like this. MSNBC is re-enforcing this theory by its lack of contrition and candor; exacerbating it with a “What? Me?” indifference in addressing these incidents on the air and to the media.

This has now created a credibility gap between what the network says it’s doing and what we see it’s doing on the air. Gone apparently are the days where Keith Olbermann would apologize on the air for a gaffe that occurred when he wasn’t even on the air. Now, the new paradigm is to dodge, duck, and obfuscate.

If MSNBC doesn’t see how serious this really is, they are in denial. MSNBC bases its “smart” programming; what its hosts and guests discuss on the air, on what its production staff comes up with. Its bond with its viewers depends upon those viewers believing that what they’re getting, regardless of ideological bent, is a factually accurate accounting of the matter.

But controversies like these three destroys all that. How can we possibly trust, or accept as accurate, what we see on MSNBC’s air when its production department is either apparently editing video in a selective manner or acquiring selectively edited video from parts unknown but not bothering to fact check it? We can’t.

We can’t even tell if any corrective action has taken place, though these repeated incidents strongly suggests that none has. The network then compounds this problem with evasive statements that skirt the central issue to the point that it’s not any more believable than when Hannity & Colmes production staff says its selectively edited video wound up looking that way because of “time constraints”. Nobody bought that explanation then. Nobody is buying these explanations now. They just aren’t credible.

Update: I have to slap Byers’ wrists. He did not include the full context to MSNBC addressing the issue. TVNewser did get the other half

At the end of the clip, Melber said, “Martin and many other who is saw Mr. Heslin’s testimony have called that interruption heckling. Some disagree. He wanted you to hear it in full so you can draw your own conclusion.”

I present the other half, not only to provide the full context as should be given as a matter of course, but because it raises a very obvious question: If Bashir “wanted you to hear it in full so you can draw your own conclusions”, why didn’t he insist on airing it in full the first time? Sorry Martin, but your thinking isn’t making sense to me…

Drip, Drip, Drip

Posted in CNN on January 30, 2013 by icn2

‘Happy shops don’t leak. Unhappy shops leak’ A former high ranking cable news executive once told me that. I thought about that as I was reading the latest unauthorized news coming out of CNN via FishbowlDC.

Another network insider with a vantage point to this morning’s meeting said it was hilarious to watch Jautz and Feder address the “Starting Point” staff, considering they were two of the main culprits who contributed to the potential demise and dismantling of the show.

From day one, “Starting Point” was in disarray, according to multiple sources aware of the drama going on behind the scenes of the show. It wasn’t supposed to debut in January, 2012, but the decision was made to rush it on the air to coincide with the Iowa caucus. From its launch the show was never fully staffed; all the promises of branding and promotion never materialized; and the constant executive in-fighting over what to do with the show angered its host and staff.

Former CNN Managing Editor Mark Whitaker, who announced his resignation Tuesday, loved the panel format because he desired the show to have the same buzz as MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” But Jautz hated the panel, resulting in it being downsized from 7-9 a.m. to 7:30 to 9 a.m. And when Soledad was off, the panel was only on from 8-9 a.m.

Jautz also detested a single-anchor format. He preferred a two-anchor format, even going as far as focus-group testing Brooke Baldwin and John Berman when O’Brien was away.

So as Whitaker and Jautz waged a constant battle over who would control the destiny of CNN – a scenario set up by then-CNN President Jim Walton when he divided up the duties of Jon Klein when he was canned – “Early Start” and “Starting Point” were ground zero for their battle.

MSNBC Caught Airing Edited Video….

Posted in MSNBC on January 30, 2013 by icn2

The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple writes about MSNBC doing some creative editing…

MSNBC is reviewing its portrayal of the testimony of Neil Heslin, the father of a Sandy Hook victim, at a legislative hearing in Hartford on Monday. The 33-second video clip in question, embedded above, features a graphics box saying “Mocked and Loaded. Sandy Hook Victim’s Father Heckled by Gun Rights Advocates.”

“We’re reviewing the video in question,” says an MSNBC source.

Smart move, considering that Heslin wasn’t, in fact, heckled. Audience members merely answered a challenge that Heslin posed from the microphone.

Wemple says that MSNBC is “reviewing the video in question”. They better. And they better have a good explanation for why it happened and why it will not happen again.

Martin Bashir’s show, which is your basic partisan opinion show, aired the cut up clip. Other opinion shows, like Lawrence O’Donnell’s referenced the cut up clip and, as Wemple noted, made a weak attempt at redefining the issue by redefining the meaning of “heckled”. It may be time for a rewrite on that.

Ever since Phil Griffin all but gutted news in favor of political POV opinion analysis he’s been hammering home the point about how smart it is. This show is smart. That person is doing smart TV. Our analysis is smart. Regardless of whether you think it really is smart or not, it’s an interesting branding ploy that seems to be working…or at the very least not blowing up in the network’s face.

But incidents like this edited video undermine all the buzz that Griffin is trying to create. How can your network be smart, have smart hosts, have smart guests, have smart analysis, when your production staff is either doctoring video or using doctored video doctored elsewhere for subjects your smart team tackles? You can’t.

Griffin had better realize how this doctored video is a direct threat to his goal for MSNBC. It is why his network must not just pay lip service with “we’re investigating” and hope the ruckus just goes away but to really get to the bottom of this and put in place safegaurds that ensure that it doesn’t happen again. To not do so isn’t very smart.

Free for All: 01/30/131

Posted in Free For All on January 30, 2013 by icn2

What’s on your mind?

Michael Bass to CNN?

Posted in CNN on January 29, 2013 by icn2

The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove floats Michael Bass’ name as one who might get tapped to join Team Zucker…

More executive departures and arrivals are in the offing, CNN insiders predicted, and Zucker will likely recruit such longtime loyalists as Michael Bass, a member of Team Zucker at NBC and currently co-executive producer of Katie.

Internal Strife?

Posted in CNN on January 29, 2013 by icn2

The New York Times’ Brian Stelter sums up CNN’s day of news but offers up a few previously unheard of nuggets. Like this…

Soledad O’Brien, the anchor for the last 12 months, has been widely praised for her political interviews despite the program’s relatively low ratings. The show’s defenders say it never received the internal support and the external marketing it had been promised. They imply that it was not given a chance to succeed.

Uh oh. Someone’s not happy. Read between the lines and it would seem someone on the Starting Point staff or brain trust is squawking out of school and putting the blame on CNN’s upper brass for failing to deliver. Now who would have something to gain from trying to position the story that way?

January Numbers: MSNBC

Posted in MSNBC, Ratings Related on January 29, 2013 by icn2

MSNBC is noting its January ratings…


MSNBC’s January Ratings Increases are Greater Than the Combined Cable News Competition

FOX News Channel Has Worst M-Su Primetime Performance Since August 2001, Lowest Total Day Since August 2008

NEW YORK –January 29, 2013 –MSNBC is continuing the ratings momentum with a strong January 2013, posting year-over-year growth in all key dayparts, according to data from Nielsen.

MSNBC ranked #2 in Total Day (M-Su 6a-6a) for the month with 491,000 total viewers and 160,000 A25-54. MSNBC grew in audience, while the other three cable news nets combined were down– compared to Jan. 2012, MSNBC is up 20% with A25-54 and 9% with total viewers. Fox News had the lowest total day delivery among A25-54 (209,000) since July 2008.

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Erin Burnett to Mornings?

Posted in CNN on January 29, 2013 by icn2

Deadline Hollywood’s Dominic Patten speculates that Erin Burnett is headed to mornings…

The chess pieces are certainly in play at CNN today. Managing editor Mark Whitaker is out, 20/20’s Chris Cuomo has been poached from ABC and now sources are telling Deadline that new CNN boss Jeff Zucker is about to move Erin Burnett from primetime to a new morning show. Insiders say that the morning show slot is where former Today Show executive producer Zucker wants to start making his mark at the network. Burnett would co-host in the AM with Cuomo, who’s role in the as yet-untitled morning show was announced with his hiring by CNN this morning. No word yet as to who will take over Burnett’s 7 PM OutFront show, which has been struggling in the ratings like most of CNN’s primetime. Burnett joined CNN in April 2011 from CNBC. Her primetime show debuted in October 2011.

What do you think?

Carville , Matalin, and Erickson depart CNN…

Posted in CNN, FNC on January 29, 2013 by icn2

Politico’s Dylan Byers writes about James Carville and Mary Matalin being dropped by CNN…

CNN contributors and political power couple James Carville and Mary Matalin are leaving the network, Carville told POLITICO today.

The decision was CNN’s, Carville said: “I was told that they wanted the contributors to be more available — essentially, closer to Washington. I’m not always available, I don’t live there.”

In other news FishbowlDC reports that Erick Erickson will be jumping from CNN to FNC

Mark Whitaker leaving CNN…

Posted in CNN on January 29, 2013 by icn2

TVNewser’s Alex Weprin scoops that Mark Whitaker is leaving CNN.This is not completely a surprise after Phil Kent threw him under the bus and the all but certain death of Soledad O’Brien’s Starting Point after Chris Cuomo got hired today. Shannon High probably is not feeling too secure right now. Whitaker brought her onboard and gave her mornings to EP. Now Whitaker’s gone and mornings are going to be overhauled.

Zucker lands Cuomo…

Posted in CNN on January 29, 2013 by icn2

CNN announced that it has hired Chris Cuomo…


Award-winning anchor and investigative reporter Chris Cuomo is joining CNN. He will have a major role in a new CNN morning show and across the network, anchoring and reporting on major events, it was announced today by Jeff Zucker, President of CNN Worldwide.

“Chris is an accomplished anchor who is already an established name in morning television, as well as a widely respected investigative journalist,” said Zucker. “What I love about Chris is that he is passionate about every story he tells, never forgets about the viewer, and represents the type of journalism that makes CNN great.”

“This is a fantastic opportunity to do what I value the most and hopefully to do the work that I do best,” said Cuomo. “While it’s very difficult to leave ABC News, a place filled with people I have loved working with for many years, I am excited about my future with CNN.”

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Free for All: 01/29/13

Posted in Free For All on January 29, 2013 by icn2

What’s on your mind?

No Ann Curry…

Posted in CNN on January 29, 2013 by icn2

TMZ is saying that Jeff Zucker doesn’t want Ann Curry for primetime and does so in typical TMZ fashion…

Well-connected network sources tell us … reports that Zucker is courting Curry to be the next CNN star couldn’t be further from the truth. Fact is, Zucker doesn’t believe Curry is the answer to CNN’s problems and is continuing the search elsewhere.

As one source tells TMZ, “Ann has been sainted because of what happened to her [on "Today"]. The fact is … she definitely can’t carry a prime time show.”

We’re told it’s possible Curry could come over to CNN to be something like a foreign correspondent, but it’s “highly unlikely,” because she’s making around $10 mil at NBC and no way no how will Zucker pay anywhere near that.

Press Releases: 01/28/13

Posted in Press Releases on January 28, 2013 by icn2

CNN (1)

On Thursday, January 31st, Anderson Cooper will host a town hall from George Washington University on the topic of gun control with today’s leading voices on this hot button topic. Guests and additional details to follow.

Anderson Cooper 360° Town Hall: Guns Under Fire will air at 8pm ET on CNN.

Not Gone But Forgotten?

Posted in CNBC on January 28, 2013 by icn2

Value Walk’s Paul Shea got a hold of an internal memo from NBCU President Steve Burke which highlights USA, Bravo, E!, Style, Syfy, Golf, mun2, MSNBC, and Telemundo. Shea seems to think that because CNBC was omitted that this must mean something…

CNBC has for years been regarded as one of the centerpieces of the NBCUniversal empire. That may be changing, recent reports, including one from the New York Daily News, have suggested that ratings for some of the cable channels top shows, including Squawk Box and Closing Bell, plummeted in 2012.

It clearly has not been a good year for CNBC, but for the company to be left out of a memo reflecting on 2012 things must have been simply awful. Ratings between December 2011 and December 2012 fell by 14%. In the highly sought after 25-54 demographic viewership fell by 15%. 2012 was the worst year for the company since 2005.

Is Shea on to something? I ran through NBCU’s cable properties. The following networks were also not mentioned…

NBC Sports Network (though sports was mentioned prominently in Burke’s memo)
Oxygen Media
The Weather Channel (!!!)
Universal HD

Chiller, cloo, and G4 are niche channels which have never gained a large following. Universal HD is hard to find. I never heard of Sprout. But Oxygen and the Weather Channel are another matter (especially TWC which NBCU paid a premium to get a controlling interest in). So I don’t know. Should Burke have mentioned CNBC and its sister networks? Probably. Is it significant that he didn’t? Maybe. Maybe not.

Chris Cuomo to CNN?

Posted in CNN on January 28, 2013 by icn2

FTVLive is reporting that Jeff Zucker is making a play to lure Chris Cuomo from ABC.

Insiders tell FTVLive that Zucker has his sites set on ABC’s Chris Cuomo and he’s pulling out all stops to land him.

We also hear that ABC is doing all they can to make a decent counter offer to get Cuomo to stay at the alphabet network.

Zucker has cast his early focus on the mornings at CNN and he wants to bring in a heavy hitter. He thinks Cuomo fits the bill.

Update: TMZ is hearing the same thing…

Sources connected with CNN tell us … Cuomo will host a morning show. The buzz is his co-host will be Erin Burnett — interesting, because we’re told Erin’s contract at CNN is to do a prime time show … so if execs move her to an earlier spot, they might have to do a little convincing.

Free for All: 01/28/13

Posted in Free For All on January 28, 2013 by icn2

What’s on your mind?

Van Susteren to Interview Clinton…

Posted in FNC on January 28, 2013 by icn2

Greta Van Susteren will be interviewing Hillary Clinton tomorrow afternoon. The interview will be broadcast on Tuesday night’s On The Record…

What’s Hot/What’s Not: 01/27/13

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on January 27, 2013 by icn2

What’s Hot:

Hail to The Chief – Inauguration day was Monday (although officially it was Sunday) and the cable nets did what cable nets do under such circumstances, go overboard.

AC vs. AC – The National Enquirer entered the Ann Curry fray by reporting that Anderson Cooper’s nose was allegedly out of joint big time about the possibility that Curry would displace him.

Eric Bolling – Was named the new host of Cashin’ In on FNC’s Saturday Business-less Block…

Rachel Nichols – Nichols jumps to CNN (and Turner Sports) and will get a weekend sports show. ESPN and NBC Sports Network are both quaking in their boots at the prospect of CNN’s competition. Or not.

Sarah Palin splits with FNC – The signs were pointing to a split coming anyways at some point.

What’s Not:

Clash of the Rich Gassbags – Seeing a pissing match between two rich people live on CNBC might have had the business crowd going gaga but for the rest of us it seemed more like watching Piers Morgan throwing Twitter daggers at Lord Sugar. We don’t care!

Long plane flights with multiple layovers – More on that soon…

What’s Hot/What’s Not: Submissions…

Posted in What's Hot/What's Not on January 26, 2013 by icn2

Post your nominations for this week’s What’s Hot/What’s Not. I’ll post the finalists on Sunday…

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words…

Posted in CNN on January 25, 2013 by icn2

What do we make of the people chosen to be included in this CNN ad and who got left off…(via TVNewser)

Sarah Palin and FNC split…

Posted in FNC on January 25, 2013 by icn2

Real Clear Politics’ Scott Conroy scoops that Sarah Palin and FNC are going their separate ways. Oh, well…Mitt’s available I guess…

After a three-year run as a paid contributor to the nation’s highest-rated cable news channel, Sarah Palin and FOX News have cut ties, according to a source close to the former Alaska governor.

“It’s my understanding that Gov. Palin was offered a contract by FOX, and she decided not to renew the arrangement,” the source close to Palin told RCP. “She remains focused on broadening her message of common-sense conservatism across the country and will be expanding her voice in the national discussion.”

Update: According to New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman, who apparently isn’t completely tied up right now trying to figure out who bought up all those URLs that could have been used sell his upcoming book on Roger Ailes, writes that money may have been an issue…

So what was behind the split? A source close to Palin told me that money was “was the major thing” and that Palin did not want Fox anymore. Although it seems like a stretch, the source said Palin is happy being out of the spotlight. “She’s enjoying what she’s doing. Enjoying a slowed down existence,” the source explained. “She’s been off the stage, she kind of likes it.”

Free for All: 01/25/13

Posted in Free For All on January 25, 2013 by icn2

What’s on your mind?

Jake Tapper Interview

Posted in CNN on January 25, 2013 by icn2

TVNewser’s Gail Shister interviews Jake Tapper…

If all goes well, could this be a prelude to Tapper breaking into the prime-time lineup?

“It’s a little premature, but anything’s possible,” he explains. “Jeff says he wants to do a lot of different things. Everything’s on the table. But maybe 4 p.m. will ultimately be a great place to be. It’s when viewers start getting serious about news. It’s valuable real estate.”

It’s also the first show for Tapper, 43, who as ABC’s Senior White House Correspondent became known for his confrontational style at press briefings. In his new milieu, he expects to be “a little looser.”

“The show shouldn’t just be a quote, unquote Serious Anchorman feeding you your Brussels sprouts. It needs to be engaging, with some humor, some back and forth, some compelling dialogue with newsmakers.”

Eric Bolling Named New Cashin’ In Host…

Posted in FBN on January 24, 2013 by icn2

The Orlando Sentinel’s Hal Boedeker writes that Eric Bolling will be the new host of Cashin’ In on FNC…

Rollins College grad Eric Bolling is taking on new duties at Fox News Channel, the TV Guy has learned exclusively.

Fox News confirmed that Bolling, one of the co-hosts of “The Five,” will bring his business expertise to hosting “Cashin’ In” starting this weekend.

Rachel Nichols joins CNN..

Posted in CNN on January 24, 2013 by icn2

CNN announced that Rachel Nichols had joined both it and Turner Sports


Nichols Will Anchor New Weekend CNN Sports Program and Report for Turner Sports Across Television

CNN and Turner Sports have hired veteran ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols, it was announced today by Jeff Zucker, President, CNN Worldwide, and David Levy, President, Sales, Distribution & Sports, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.

Nichols will serve as a sports reporter for CNN and Turner Sports and will anchor a new weekend sports program on CNN/U.S. beginning later this year. Her CNN program will focus on the most interesting stories and personalities in the world of sports. In her role with Turner Sports, Nichols will handle a wide variety of assignments across the division’s vast sports properties including the NBA and Major League Baseball. Additionally, Nichols will cover all major sporting events, including the Olympics for CNN. Her first assignment will be the Super Bowl in New Orleans.

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Free for All: 01/23/13

Posted in Free For All on January 23, 2013 by icn2

What’s on your mind?

Facial Recognition Ratings?

Posted in Ratings Related on January 23, 2013 by icn2

MediaPost’s Steve McClellan writes about Nielsen and facial recognition technology…

Nielsen, which has explored facial recognition technology on and off for more than a decade, is again actively exploring how to apply the technique to its TV ratings panel. “It’s an intriguing opportunity for the whole industry,” said Brian Fuhrer, senior vice president, national and cross-platform television audience measurement.

Given that many devices today have facial recognition capability, from phones to TVs to gaming consoles, “it’s so logical” for the ratings company to adapt the technology as well.

Fuhrer stressed that there’s nothing imminent; the effort currently is “a lab discussion.” The company still has to determine conclusively that the existing ratings panel would not be negatively impacted. That said, if the industry agrees that the technology should be used for TV ratings, the company could implement the technology “fairly quickly,” he said.

Anderson Cooper vs. CNN over Ann Curry?

Posted in CNN on January 23, 2013 by icn2

The National Enquirer’s Roger Hitts speculates that Anderson Cooper is none to enthused about the possibility that Ann Curry could replace him on the air…

AN irate Anderson Cooper insists he’ll retire if former “Today” co-host Ann Curry replaces him at CNN, sources say.

While his syndicated daytime talk show was canned in October, the silver-haired newsman still helms the prime-time program “Anderson Cooper 360.”

But incoming CNN news chief Jeff Zucker – former boss of NBC’s “Today” show – is reportedly eyeing Curry for Cooper’s slot.

“Anderson knows his days as a CNN anchor are numbered, and he’s spitting mad,” a source told The ENQUIRER

Even if this story is accurate; a pretty damn big “if” when you consider that Curry is A) still contractually bound to NBC and B) hasn’t joined CNN yet, there’s no certainty that her rumored primetime arrival would automatically translate into Cooper losing his show. But even if it did, Cooper’s threat is a hollow one.

What would Cooper’s alternatives be? Not MSNBC. Not FNC. No anchor positions available at ABC, NBC, or CBS (at the moment). There is 60 Minutes but consider this from the Enquirer story…

“They’ve talked to him about being a reporter-at-large, where he’d cover stories from hot zones and war areas around the world. He’s always loved doing that but considers anything less than heading up CNN’s prime-time news coverage as a demotion. He’s saying he’d quit first.”

Going to 60 Minutes full time would essentially be the same result as being “demoted” from CNN. Cooper still wouldn’t be anchoring.

Besides, there are two hours of 360 that air on CNN’s primetime. One is tape. So CNN doesn’t have to drop Cooper to bring Curry on board. Not that bringing Curry onboard to CNN prime would work. It wouldn’t.


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