Archive for the CNN Category

David Gregory (Not) To CNN…

Posted in CNN on October 28, 2014 by icn2

Page Six reports that talks between David Gregory and CNN broke down…

“Jeff was really considering hiring David,” a source familiar with the talks told us. “But they could not come up with a number to get him there.”

The source added that staff cuts of around 10 percent at CNN and its parent, Turner Broadcasting, made the deal impossible. “They were meeting around the time of the crazy layoffs at CNN, and it would have looked really bad giving out a huge contract while people were being laid off.”

In for a Penny…

Posted in CNN on October 27, 2014 by icn2

Variety’s Brian Lowry writes about some things Jeff Zucker said today…

CNN is “open” to the idea of airing scripted movies under its CNN Films banner, CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker said on Monday.

Zucker made his remarks at a lunch in Los Angeles promoting upcoming CNN Films documentaries, which he called one of the three foundational components of the network’s lineup, along with breaking news and the regular series that have become an increasing part of its mix.

The CNN chief stressed that there were no imminent plans to order scripted movies, and acknowledged that “some people would find it odd” to see such fare on the news network. Still, he said in response to a question, “I would not be opposed to that.”

I’m not going to comment here. It would be too easy…

Why Carol Costello’s On Air Palin Apology (Or Lack Thereof) Has Always Been in CNN’s Hands…

Posted in CNN on October 27, 2014 by icn2

Much hay is continuing to be made of Carol Costello’s Palin self inflicted wound and the lack of on air apology. The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple thought she should have given one. I would tend to agree with Wemple. I cringed when I saw it which was before I heard about it blowing up on red blogs. It meets the standard for an on air apology. It could be argued that it merits suspension or even termination. Mediaite’s Joe Concha said it was her only option. I think he was wrong, both on the conclusion and the underlying premise that generated it. I’ll get to why in a moment.

Lets first cut away the hysteria from the controversy with a few facts…

Fact 1: The most vocal opposition to what Costello did is coming from the Right. Here, you want to say to me, “No kidding.”
Fact 2: The Right has no love lost for Costello going back well before this incident. One could make a persuasive argument that the feeling is mutual.
Fact 4: Because of Facts 1 and 2, regardless of what she does…or more accurately what CNN allows her to do, the Right won’t be happy until she’s off the air.
Fact 5: That ain’t gonna happen. If it was going to happen it would have happened already.

So, while there are legitimate issues raised about Costello’s commentary in regards to the Palin audio and what has transpired since that occurred, the loudest most vocal chorus of people who are trying to keep this story on fire, post written apology, are a group that doesn’t care whether there’s an on air apology or not because their ultimate goal is not an on air apology but to stick it to CNN and Costello to try and get her fired. Any way possible.

But it is a mistake to assume, as Concha did, that Costello is the one controlling the narrative. It’s CNN. It was never Costello’s “only option.” It was the network’s option…an option the network, for whatever reason…a reason I cannot fathom…chose not to take.

Why do we know this? Because of what CNN told Breitbart’s John Nolte.

UPDATE: According to CNN, Costello will not apologize on the air. “No she will not,” was the official response to a query from Breitbart News.

This quote has been widely misinterpreted by the Right as to mean Costello has refused to apologize on the air. What CNN actually meant was CNN had decided to not have Costello apologize on the air.

How do we know this? Simple. Costello isn’t a big enough talent to be able to freely wield veto power at the network. If the network felt the issue was serious enough to merit an on air apology you can bet your ass Costello would be on the air apologizing and if she balked she’d be gone.

This is why the on air apology was always CNN’s option to take and the network decided, incorrectly in my view, to not take it.

Now CNN is truly in a bind and has left Costello twisting in the wind and this points to something we have seen before with the network under Jeff Zucker. Having made a decision, the network refuses to reverse itself despite any evidence to the contrary that a reversal is in its best interest. Call it the Pandora’s Box option. If the network reversed itself at this point it would embolden its critics and they would, correctly in my view, come away from this having learned the lesson that if you squawk loud enough and make a big enough stink, CNN may cave. No network wants that. I can only think of one instance in the last ten years where a network reversed itself and that was MSNBC and Don Imus. No…Bashir doesn’t count. That was a different scenario.

It’s a dangerous game to play. If the criticisms are full of hot air, there’s no danger and you can ride out the storm. But if the criticisms hold even an ounce of truth, as the non-ideologically based criticisms do have here, then you’re stuck looking doggedly stubborn clinging to a position that is increasingly tenuous.

As I said, this isn’t the first time this year we’ve seen this play out. It happened with Fareed Zakaria. CNN doggedly stuck to its position that it was standing behind Zakaria even as more and more damaging anecdotes came out begging for a reappraisal of the situation. CNN wound up looking terrible for its stubbornness and Zakaria’s reputation is, for many, in tatters.

So, CNN blew it last week by not having Costello apologize on the air. But don’t expect CNN to change course now. It’s made its bed and now it must lie in it, regardless of the lousy optics. And Costello, whether she was really sorry or not, whether her written apology was genuine or not, whether she wanted to apologize on the air or not, will come out the worse for the network’s error.

Carol Costello Apologizes for Palin Commentary…

Posted in CNN on October 23, 2014 by icn2

Politico’s Dylan Byers writes about an apology Carol Costello made/was forced to make (pick one) about commentary she made about the Bristol Palin police report audio…

CNN’s Carol Costello apologized on Thursday for joking about a police recording of Bristol Palin.

“Over the past few days I have been roundly criticized for joking about a brawl involving the Palin family. In retrospect, I deserve such criticism and would like to apologize,” Costello said in a statement to POLITICO.

On Wednesday, before playing a tape in which Bristol Palin describes an alleged altercation at a party in Wasilla, Alaska, Costello said, “This is quite possibly the best minute and a half of audio we’ve ever come across. Well, come across in a long time anyway.”

In the tape, Palin is heard describing what happened to her after she confronted someone she accused of pushing her sister.

“So we were in a limo. I walk back up. “Did you push my sister?” And some guy gets up, pushes me down on the grass, drags me across the grass. “You slut, you f—ing c—, you f—ing this.” I get back up, he pushes me down on the grass again,” Palin said, according to the recording. “And he pulls me by my f—ing feet. And he’s the one that’s leaving and I have my 5-year-old, they took my $300 sunglasses, they took my f—ing shoes, and I’m f—ing just left here?”

After the tape, Costello said “the long bleep was my favorite part.”

“We should point out that no charges were filed in this incident and in a Sept. 19th Facebook post, Sarah Palin defended her daughter, writing part — writing in part, quote, ‘I love my Bristol. I have to say, this is a proud mama. My kids’ defense of my family makes my heart soar.’ You can thank me later,” Costello said.

Indra Petersons Out at CNN…

Posted in CNN on October 22, 2014 by icn2

TVNewser’s Chris Ariens reports that New Day Meteorologist Indra Petersons was a casualty of last week’s layoffs at CNN…

As part of the workforce reduction at CNN, New York-based meteorologist Indra Petersons will be leaving the network, TVNewser has learned. All shows will now rely on CNN Weather in Atlanta, led by meteorologists Chad Myers and Jennifer Gray.

It should be noted that CNN has really de-emphasized weather lately so combine that with New Day’s woes and it’s not surprising to see Petersons get cut…


Posted in CNN on October 20, 2014 by icn2

Yes, I’m late to this. Blogging has had to take a back seat recently to other things. The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple writes about the recent back and forth between the NABJ and CNN…

Bob Butler, the president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is unhappy with CNN. Just last Friday, Butler and NABJ issued a press release indicating that CNN had “withdrawn support of NABJ for the 2015 Convention & Career Fair.” Founded in 1975, NABJ is the largest group of journalists of color in the U.S., and their annual convention serves to help black media professionals with professional development and networking opportunities.

CNN responded with a statement of its own: “Following NABJ’s recent comments about CNN, we informed them we were reconsidering our relationship, but we were clear that we had not made a final decision. It’s surprising to us that they would choose to make such a statement.”

So: Butler says that the network had definitively withdrawn support; CNN says not quite. “They’re basically calling me a liar,” said Butler in a chat with the Erik Wemple Blog. “That’s very disturbing.”


Here’s where the spat gets juicy. That critical press release and NABJ’s proposal to CNN for the 2015 annual convention hit CNN at about the same time, according to Butler. Therein lies a core conflict in what NABJ — and other journalism-diversity groups, for that matter — does from day to day. On the one hand, it monitors how well newsrooms embrace diversity; on the other, it pitches those same newsrooms to ante up for convention space and other stuff. Have a look at the 2014 convention program book with a nice full-page ad from CNN proclaiming, “CNN proudly supports the National Association of Black Journalists.” Says Butler: “They’re a corporate partner like many other companies are. We have relationships with CNN, with Fox News, CBS, NBC, ABC — those are all partners within NABJ.”

Spin Control…

Posted in CNN on October 19, 2014 by icn2

TVNewser’s Mark Joyella writes about Brian Stelter addressing CNN’s layoffs on today’s Reliable Sources…

It is unfortunately happening all over the place. Conde Nast, the publisher of Vogue and Wired, is laying off 70 to 80 people this fall. My former employer the New York Times is cutting 100 from the newsroom.

And yet they, like CNN, have been hiring people, too, lots of people, mainly for online jobs. That’s for new apps, for new web sites, for new ventures.

Now, there is some overall shrinking going on. But the better word for what’s happening in media today is “reshaping.” Through layoffs, through cuts, through new investments, “reshaping” for the digital future that really feels more like the digital present. It’s already here.

Ugh. Re-characterizing this week’s cuts into something they never were…ugh.

Ok, there were earlier in the year several rounds of mini cuts at CNN that were definitely all about rashaping the network. That’s not what these cuts were. These cuts were ordered by Time Warner. Not to reshape for digital. Not to prepare for the future. To cut costs to raise TW’s profit margin to placate upset shareholders after TW refused to do a deal with Rupert Murdoch. To state otherwise is just silly.

Yes, Stelter did state it in his piece. But he still went on to lump the cuts in with a bunch of other media moves that had no similarity to why this week’s cuts at CNN took place.


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