Archive for the FNC Category

Trying Just a Little Too Hard…

Posted in FNC on March 31, 2014 by icn2

This is ridiculous. What happened to Fair and Balanced? What happened to We Report, You Decide? Looks like FNC needs to rebrand both slogans to Slanted and Distorted and We Skew, You Misinterpret. How else to explain a graphic chart so disproportionately incorrect?

Maria Bartiromo Interview

Posted in CNBC, FBN, FNC on March 28, 2014 by icn2

The AP’s David Bauder interviews Maria Bartiromo…

Bartiromo said she had considered another deal at CNBC when her contract came due but decided to look around, too. She concluded her job at CNBC wouldn’t change much, and she was looking to do some things differently. She was ready for a move.

“They have gotten so chatty, with so much personality, that they left some of the content on the cutting room floor — business information,” she said.

Bartiromo said she believes CNBC’s fast pace is no longer in tune with the times.

“I just felt this pressure to do five-minute interviews and this pressure to have five people on at once and I just got tired of it,” she said. “I felt like I needed something with a little more substance and perspective and felt it was going to be hard to do that where I was because the structure is the structure and the machine keeps on going.”

Uh..yeah…ok…but what’d you expect her to say? “Best job I ever had…made my career. So I jumped ship for a big payout”? Uh…nooooo.

Speaking of “the structure is the structure and the machine keeps on going”…I’ll be watching to see what kind of show we get on Sunday…the “a little more substance and perspective” business show Bartiromo talks about…or…the totally useless from a business standpoint Saturday Business block because it’s filled with the ideological mumbo jumbo which permeates most FNC programming. I’m hopeful for the former but I fear for the latter…

Maria Bartiromo’s FNC Show Launches March 30th

Posted in FNC on March 24, 2014 by icn2

FNC announced today that Maria Bartiromo’s FNC show will debut on March 30th…


FOX News Channel (FNC) will launch a new one-hour program entitled Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo on March 30th at 10AM/ET, announced Michael Clemente, Executive Vice President of News for the network. Anchored by leading business journalist Maria Bartiromo, the show will focus on the intersection of commerce and news events, offering viewers in-depth analysis on recent developments in the economy.

Joining the FNC weekend lineup, Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo will deliver an added perspective to the traditional Sunday morning political conversations. Each week, Bartiromo will interview business leaders and industry newsmakers on topics such as job creation and investment opportunities, providing viewers with an inside look at how to prepare financially for the future.

Continue reading

Alisyn Camerota Out at FNC…

Posted in FNC on March 10, 2014 by icn2

This is going to piss some people off. Carpe Diem is on suicide watch. A run on tin foil is occurring thanks to Johnny Dollar (inside joke). Somewhere Malone is throwing darts at a picture of Roger Ailes (an even more inside joke going all the way back to my TVHeads days…all hailz to DT!)

Obviously, lots of questions arise about the suddenness and timing of this news. Was it mutual? Was it FNC’s decision (which would trigger another round of questions about the hour Camerota co-anchored)? One thing it was not was an impending move by Camerota to CNN. No way FNC gives Camerota the kind of send off that she got in Bill Shine’s memo if Camerota was immediately defecting.

The most pressing question is who is going to take over for Camerota. Feel free to speculate in the comments…

FNC Journalistically Contorts Itself to Placate a Key Asset…

Posted in FNC on February 24, 2014 by icn2

Between my trip last week and getting sick I wasn’t able to blog last week like I would have wanted to. But I haven’t forgotten this story. The Huffington Post’s Michael Calderone writes about a fundraising email Sean Hannity sent out on behalf of the Tea Party Patriots…

Fox News host Sean Hannity solicited donations for the Tea Party Patriots in a fundraising email sent Wednesday morning by the conservative organization.

“Please make a generous contribution of $15, $25, $50, or whatever you can afford to Tea Party Patriots’ 5 Years for Freedom $1.2 million-dollar money bomb,” Hannity wrote, noting that Feb. 27 is the fifth anniversary of the tea party movement.

It’s no secret that Hannity’s a conservative tea party supporter who offers political opinions each day on Fox News and on the radio. And Fox News has heavily promoted the tea party movement from its inception.

But Fox News in the past has drawn a line between a host expressing support for a political group or cause and actively helping to raise money on a group’s behalf — and on at least one occasion has specifically maintained that distinction for Hannity and the tea party movement.

In 2010, network executives ordered Hannity to return to New York after learning he’d been slated to star at a Cincinnati tea party fundraiser that would have aired on his primetime show.

A Fox News spokeswoman did not immediately respond with comment on the network’s current policy regarding hosts’ participation in political fundraising efforts.

Well that comment did eventually come to TVNewser

Fox News tells us Hannity’s involvement with the Tea Party group is for his radio show, and has nothing to do with his FNC show or role with the network.

Absolute grade a rubbish. What Hannity does on his radio most definitely impacts his FNC show the same way what Ed Schulz says on his radio show can get him suspended on his MSNBC show. Any time Hannity has on a Tea Party Patriots member on his FNC show, questions are going to be asked because of that fundraising email. And FNC knows it.

FNC is displaying weak knees here. It should be slapping Hannity down hard instead of carving out a lame exception based on a flimsy technicality which says more about FNC’s pushover status at not wanting to agitate one of its biggest stars than it does Hannity.

But this is, unfortunately, not an isolated incident in cable news. In fact conflicts of interest are happening on cable news with an alarming increasing frequency. Whether it’s MSNBC allowing Al Sharpton to cover his activism on their air as most famously happened with the Trayvon Martin case, or CNN protecting a key asset in Fareed Zakaria after he committed the cardinal journalistic sin of plagiarism, cable news has lost its footing. Gone are the days of strict dividing lines between journalism and opinion. Gone are the days of strict enforcement of conflict of interest issues if the person under scrutiny is important enough.

And cable news wonders why so many hold it in increasingly low regard. It’s because of stuff like this.

Reality Distortion Field?

Posted in FNC on February 24, 2014 by icn2

TVNewser’s Merril Knox notes an interview that Elisabeth Hasselbeck gave to E TV. This part jumped out at me…

“I think the greatest thing about where I am now is my opinion really doesn’t matter as much as maybe it did in a debate forum.”


Is she serious?

Of course her opinion matters…more so than it ever did on The View where she was constantly marginalized by the other liberals on the panel. She was hired, deliberately, to address a particular demographic on a show which FNC execs constantly remind us isn’t a news show and thus is supposedly exempt from news show standards (inarguably B.S…but whatever)…a show which caters to a specific Point of View.

Hasselbeck’s opinion absolutely matters. If she fell off the couch and landed on her head and forgot her conservative leanings and suddenly started spouting liberal ideology…well…things would become increasingly uncomfortable for her rather quickly.

To argue otherwise is either A) a fool’s errand, or, B) self-delusional.

Uh…Clarify Please…

Posted in FNC on January 29, 2014 by icn2

(Disclaimer: Salon citing Media Matters)

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, Salon’s Elias Isquith writes about something Martha MacCallum said on FNC today…

“I think most women do not want to be treated as sort of a special class of citizen,” MacCallum said. “They want to go to work every day, they want to get paid for being a professional, for doing their job really well, and they don’t want to be treated like some special group of people who have to be, y’know, given a little special handout just to make sure they’re OK.”

Colmes countered that pay-equalizing measures are not special handouts but rather simple fairness. “It’s equality,” he said, “it’s equal pay for equal work.”

“Many women make exactly what they’re worth,” MacCallum responded, bizarrely. After letting it sink in for a second, Colmes made a face of befuddlement and repeated MacCallum’s words back to her before asking: “Are they not worth the same amount of money for the same job as men?”

“No, I’m saying they’re worth a heck of a lot!” MacCallum responded, before rolling her eyes and laughing somewhat dismissively.




I thought maybe Salon was spinning this a bit but having watched the clip I have to say the summary is pretty dead on.

I have no problem with the first 3/4 of what MacCallum said and neither did Colmes. But I think a lot of women would have a problem with that last 1/4. The idea that women are paid what they’re worth just doesn’t square with the fact that many women, especially in non-union white collar jobs, are not paid the same as men who have the exact same position.

I will not extrapolate upon what MacCallum said and look at the implications of that comment. Instead I’ll will ask MacCallum to clarify what she said just so there is no confusion about what she may or may not have been implying.

However, my checked fire will not extend to Tucker Carlson. He’s off his rocker. Excusing two tier pay levels based on maternity leave? Uh, whaaaaaaaaaat?


Let’s break this down. It’s okay to have two tier pay because of maternity leave. What happens if she never takes maternity leave? What then Tucker? Will the company give her back pay to make up for the fact she never got pregnant? Yeah, right.

What if she works for ten years making 10,000 less than her male colleagues and then gets pregnant and takes a couple months off for maternity leave? Are those two months really costing the company $100,000 in lost work? Uh…probably not.

But let’s take this a step further. Let’s say that somehow that $100,000 in the above example really did even out the cost…but she never gets pregnant again? Will the company re-emburse her that 10k discrepency for the remaining years she works there? HA!

Time to rethink your position Tucker. It makes absolutely no sense.

The Company Line?

Posted in FNC on January 28, 2014 by icn2

Variety’s Brian Lowry calls out FNC’s Howard Kurtz for backtracking on covering Gabriel Sherman’s Roger Ailes book on his Sunday show. Normally I do not give much credence to Lowry’s FNC pieces because they are almost always slanted or otherwise negative towards FNC. But in this case, if Kurtz did say he was going to cover it only to not cover it, as Lowry writes, then Kurtz must account for why the change of heart…

For in-house media critics to have any credibility, they have to be willing to at least occasionally explore the shortcomings of their employers. And given all the coverage regarding Ailes’ concern regarding the book and his alleged campaign against the author, Kurtz looked caught between the proverbial rock and hard place — so much so that ignoring the book would have been preferable to creating the appearance of acting as Ailes’ surrogate.

Nevertheless, to promise coverage — as Kurtz did on air at the close of last week’s program — and then renege creates an impression of Kurtz as Ailes’ lap dog. And it’s not like there weren’t ways to approach Sherman’s biography in a skeptical manner, especially after New York Times critic Janet Maslin panned the book, providing some cover from one of the bastions of liberal media Fox News so regularly derides.

Either way, Kurtz appears seriously compromised, and looked even worse Sunday compared to CNN’s Brian Stelter, who gave his guests considerable latitude to second guess the volume of coverage his network devoted to Justin Bieber’s arrest.

To that last sentence I say….OUCH!

FNC and Bing on the SOTU…

Posted in FNC on January 27, 2014 by icn2

The Washington Post’s Hayley Tsukayama writes about FNC and Bing teaming up to measure real time reaction of the SOTU…

If you want some instant State of the Union reaction that’s a little more sophisticated than just a tally of the sitting and standing in the House chamber, then consider heading over to Bing on Tuesday night.

Microsoft’s search engine is pulling out its Bing Pulse tool for the second year to record real-time audience sentiment during President Obama’s big speech. The online voting tool allows viewers to express their opinions about the speech using a smartphone, PC or tablet. Those watching the graphs generated by Bing Pulse will be able to see how viewers feel about the speech and which moments of the address generated the most votes — what Bing calls an “intensity score.” Real-time reactions from the polls will be displayed on the FOX News Channel.

This year, Microsoft is adding some new functions to the tool, including an annotated graph feature that will allow viewers to click on spikes or dips in the real-time graphs to see the issues being addressed during the speech that have prompted major reactions.

Bing will also be keeping the tool open for votes during the Republican response to the speech afterward.

Review: The Loudest Voice In The Room…

Posted in FNC on January 21, 2014 by icn2

The problem with being late to the party is that you won’t be the one to set the tone for the evening. I mention this because of Gabriel Sherman’s Roger Ailes biography and the position it holds in the cottage industry of Ailes/Fox News mythology chroniclers. Late is the term that best describes Sherman’s Ailes bio. The Loudest Voice in the Room comes well after David Brock’s The Fox Effect, after Joe Muto’s An Atheist in the Fox Hole, a decade after Scott Collins’ Crazy Like a Fox, and…most importantly…well after Jeff Cohen’s Cable News Confidential and Ze’ev Chaffets’ authorized Roger Ailes biography.

The problem for Sherman in documenting Ailes and Fox has gone on for so long is there’s not a lot of narrative left out there that’s fresh.

Thus the quandary for Sherman: How do you tell a story that’s basically been told several times already?

His solution: Research the hell out of it and interview a bazillion people.

Well, ok…not a bazillion but several hundred mostly anonymous people. Some will no doubt chafe at the lack of on the record sourcing in the book. I look at it this way…the fact that so few chose to not go on the record is an indicator of just how powerful Roger Ailes and the Rupert Murdoch led “News Corp. empire” are. Most of the people who did go on the record did so because they could afford to do so…former NBC Universal Chairman Bob Wright being one of the more notable examples.

But even heavy research and lots of interviews have their limits for most of the reading public. Let’s be clear…I am not a member of that group. I’m a member of the media wonk group and we are a different breed. We like minutiae if that minutiae adds new color to a story that’s already out there and has been reported before many times. In other words we are not the group Random House hopes to ensnare with this book because we are too few to make the book a financial success. Take for example the Judith Regan lawsuit. Already well reported and reported well enough for normal people not invested. Not a subject that most people would care about but we wonks care about. And for us Sherman delivers by confirming what I first speculated upon years ago: that the letter News Corp. said it had from Regan was a result of the settlement deal between the two. So if we are scoring this part of the book it would read: Silly wonks with an inexhaustible thirst for information: 1, General reading public: 0. It is a scenario that repeatedly plays itself out in Sherman’s book. Because of all this, for me Sherman’s book starts getting interesting when Ailes’ stint at CNBC begins. That inside baseball behind closed doors stuff I can never get enough of.

This gets to the central issue for me. Sherman would have been better served if he hadn’t made the book an all encompassing book on the life and times of Roger Ailes and instead concentrated on how he changed cable news. The Cold Spring stuff is interesting but not really necessary. Others have gone into detail about his days in the Nixon administration and the Mike Douglas Show before that. Sherman didn’t need to devote half the book to subjects that are already well trodden. It’s obvious from the book that Sherman had the sources to really take down the nearly impenetrable shield guarding what goes on inside the News Corp. building. But instead of getting the near definitive expose of FNC/FBN operations we could have gotten, we only get our appetites whetted.

Case in point: Homicide bombers. Sherman never touches this uniquely Fox-ian terminology. It has been doggedly used practically in isolation for over a decade. Even media that some would consider FNC’s home team pooh pooed its use. More than once. This subject would be ripe for Sherman’s magnifying glass to see how much of this editorial statement is widely bought into at FNC. But we never get it.

Many reviewers have seized upon the books title “The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News–and Divided a Country” is a conclusion searching in vain for supporting evidence. There is truth to this. Did Roger Ailes really divide the country or did he merely shine a floodlight on divisions that already existed and have always existed? I think the latter is the more plausible scenario. But the book never goes far enough to establish either as possibility.

Does Sherman tip his hand on how he looks at Ailes? Maybe. He certainly tips his hand at how he looks at FNC. More than once Sherman would quote something an FNC talent on the air by adding a leading adjective to the tone of the quote. Megyn Kelly would “giddily” say (insert telltale quote here). But was it really giddy? I doubt it. That comes across like Sherman editorializing to me.

What we are ultimately left with is a book that is maddening for retracing history that is already well known while giving short shrift (at least as far as we silly wonks are concerned) to how Fox News, and Roger Ailes’ stewardship of it, impacts the media and the national debate.

Megyn Kelly Profile

Posted in FNC on January 21, 2014 by icn2

Ben Dickerson has a profile of Megyn Kelly in Elle…

Bill Lord, a man with an easy laugh and a magnanimous manner, was the news director at WJLA-TV, ABC’s Washington, DC, affiliate, who gave Kelly her big break scarcely a decade ago. He doesn’t remember her holding to an ideological stance. “Even now, I’m not sure what it is,” he says. “There was nothing about her political views that would have even come up in a conversation here.” Reminded that FOX News Channel, too, purports to be “fair and balanced,” Lord chortles indulgently and says, “They have a number of people, and I would put Megyn among them, whose journalism transcends some of the ideological biases. I think they want to have newscasts in addition to the kind of all-day live talk—and I think Megyn is a great person to do that.”

Kelly herself speaks with winning openness about where she comes from and who she is. The earthy timbre of her voice—she’s almost incapable of sounding shrill, a great asset in her line of work—and her direct, unpretentious manner of speaking summon to mind, of all people, George Clooney: In both of them you can hear the great, small-d democratic cadence of heartland America talking.

Trojan Horse Blogging?

Posted in FNC on January 15, 2014 by icn2

As Gabriel Sherman’s Roger Ailes book is now out, parts of it are getting spread around the internet. One of the more interesting tidbits is the allegation that the blog The Cable Game was actually an FNC front operation.

I frequently disagreed with what The Cable Game wrote. It was definitely pro-FNC in ways and to a degree that legitimate blogs like Johnny Dollar’s Place were not. I do consider it telling that the blog just up and died without even a farewell message. Even the most off the beaten path media blogs who had been at it for a year or more would tend to leave some sort of message saying that it was stopping and why. Another weird aspect is that the blog was set up not to be searchable according to its robots.txt file.

We’ll never know for sure if The Cable Game was indeed an FNC Trojan Horse Blog. But it would not surprise me if it was.

About That Gabriel Sherman Book…

Posted in FNC on January 12, 2014 by icn2

The New York Times’ David Carr writes about Sherman’s Ailes book and all the hoopla that’s ensued…almost from the day the book was announced…

What it really tells you is everything you need to know about the reality distortion field around Fox News. It refused to engage with Mr. Sherman, and then attacked him for not engaging. It rebuffed his repeated requests to interview Mr. Ailes, but still believes it would have been appropriate for him to go over all the accusations in the book, arguing that not doing so is irresponsible and not in keeping with standard journalistic practice.

In my experience, that would have been the beginning of a grinding war of attrition, with Fox executives pushing back on everything while yielding nothing.

On Sunday, a Fox spokeswoman described Mr. Sherman’s appearance on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” as “another example of the agenda-driven cottage industry built on attacking Fox News. The author’s failure to secure an interview with the principal subject does not absolve his fact-checking obligations with the network.”

There are a plenty of unnamed sources in the book attributing specific dialogue to Mr. Ailes, but picking on Mr. Sherman over facts will not change the narrative. He spent three years on the book, interviewed over 600 people, had two fact-checkers spend 2,000 hours going over his work and rendered his sourcing and reporting mostly transparent.

This isn’t a fight about facts, it is about control. According to the book, Mr. Ailes ended a corporate relationship with Google because it would not alter search engine results that put him in a negative light. In 2010, I worked on a piece about how when Mr. Ailes moved to Putnam County, he bought the local newspaper to exercise might in local affairs, a fight that is detailed in Mr. Sherman’s book. And Mr. Ailes tried to maintain dominion over his own legacy, and pre-empt Mr. Sherman’s book, by commissioning a friendly and feckless authorized biography — “Roger Ailes: Off Camera” — that was published last year.

Jeff Zucker at the TCA…

Posted in CNN, FNC on January 10, 2014 by icn2

Variety’s Brian Lowry writes about Jeff Zucker’s appearance at the TCA…

CNN chief Jeff Zucker fired back at Fox News Channel CEO Roger Ailes on Friday, saying his understanding is that an upcoming Ailes biography “confirms what we’ve known along, which is the Republican Party is being run out of News Corp. headquarters, masquerading as a cable channel.”

Speaking at the TV Critics Assn. tour Friday, Zucker made those remarks in response to an interview Ailes had given in which he said CNN is getting out of the news business. The CNN Worldwide president countered by saying the network remained committed to news but that his goal is to ”broaden the definition of offerings” on the network by including more series and documentary films, such as programs fronted by Morgan Spurlock and Anthony Bourdain, as well as the acclaimed documentary “Blackfish.”

Zucker dismissed Ailes’ criticism as “meant to deflect your attention from the book this week” and “silly.” Prior to the session, Zucker also told Variety that CNN would cover the Ailes book, “The Loudest Voice in the Room,” by Gabriel Sherman, calling it a legitimate news story given the implications of the role Fox News plays in relationship to the Republican Party and national politics.

Ugh…Zucker just painted a giant bullseye on his back that says “Come get me FNC”. Instead of trying to get CNN’s house in order in the most unassuming manner possible Zucker thrust everything he does under FNC PR’s microscope. Everything that comes Zucker’s way from FNC now and into the future can be traced back to this moment. While it will make for fun times for those of us who chronicle the spats between cable networks, it will utlimately prove to be a needlessly un-necessary distraction for CNN.

Target: Gabriel Sherman

Posted in FNC on January 10, 2014 by icn2

In a must read The Daily Beast’s David Freedlander uses Gabriel Sherman’s upcoming book to write about FNC’s opposition research wing…

Both of the librarians described being tasked with keeping close watch on Sherman, including compiling a dossier of every story he had ever written, and providing transcripts every time he was on television.

“They are terrified of him,” said one former librarian. “We were around the clock monitoring cable for mentions of Gabe Sherman. You could have breaking news going on, a school shooting or something, and they would still want to know if people were talking about the latest Gabriel Sherman story.”

For the librarians, the task was, at minimum, disheartening, since, from their perspective, they were there to assist the newsroom, not be an arm of the public relations department. But they learned, they said, that it was best to keep quiet about such requests. As one put it, “there was an understanding that all of the requests from the media department were coming from Roger. When media relations called, you jumped.”

Although others who worked at the Fox News Brain Room said they were not asked to carry out tasks for the media relations department, one former newscaster who spent five years at the network said, “It was never clear to me what the Brain Room did. They had their own army of investigators. Certainly they were never helpful to me.”

Roger Ailes Interview…

Posted in FNC on January 8, 2014 by icn2

The Hollywood Reporter’s Michael O’Connell interviews Roger Ailes. I found it superficially boring. You get to interview the most powerful man in news today, a once in a lifetime opportunity, and you waste time asking about Alec Baldwin?

Other people in cable news have said things in the past few months that cost them their jobs. What did you think of MSNBC’s Alec Baldwin experiment?

They dodged a bullet. They put him in there, and they would’ve had to fire him for no ratings. He gave them a reason to get fired. He appears to be angry and explosive, so that was essentially bound to happen. If somebody wants to book Alec Baldwin on one of our shows, and he wants to come on and talk to our people and say what he wants, I don’t care. We would question him on his choice of words. He’s sort of a ready-fire-aim kind of guy as opposed to ready-aim-fire.

Or you ask him what he reads?

When you wake up first thing in the morning, what do you read?

I look at four New York newspapers: The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the [New York] Post and the Daily News. On my cellphone, I look at Drudge [Report] because he’s the best aggregator going on.


Much more interesting is Ailes’ take on business news…

What are the growth expectations for Fox Business?

I’m not sure business television has adapted to all the changes that have been presented to it nor the economic conditions of the country. Our lineup of top business talent is like the New York Yankees in their heyday. That’s going to work for us as the economy turns and people get a little more disinterested in socialism and a little more interested in capitalism. Business news has traditionally looked at yesterday … a bunch of old people looking at numbers. And the real business news is going to be what happens tomorrow.

As was Ailes on the internet…

Is building Fox’s web presence a priority?

I was a little slow to it, I think, because it wasn’t my natural medium. I probably should have spent money six months or a year earlier to bring in more people. It’s a very intense business. You don’t get as much money, so you don’t make as much money, so you can’t spend as much money.

Bulletin Board PR 101

Posted in CNN, FNC, MSNBC on January 6, 2014 by icn2

Some people like Politico’s Dylan Byers called this punching down. I don’t. It’s classic Bulletin Board PR. And that’s all fair game as far as I’m concerned…

Megyn Kelly Profile…

Posted in FNC on December 11, 2013 by icn2

The Washington Post’s Dan Zak profiles Megyn Kelly…

“When Kelly first started [her new show], she came in and she was smart enough to ask me, ‘How do you drive an hour by yourself?’ ” O’Reilly says. “You can count on two hands who’s been successful at that. It’s very hard to drive an hour by yourself. I said, ‘Look, it’s all about the emotion of the day. You have to know what folks are talking about, and what they care about that day. So it can’t be all about you. It’s gotta be about them.’”

Kelly has listened. The words “anger” and “outrage” are used frequently on her program, as are vague references to “what is happening in this country.” Might this language, however justified on occasion, stoke and sustain a contentious discourse that ultimately corrodes the media and therefore the society it serves?

It doesn’t sound like you know exactly what you’re talking about.

“I hope not,” Kelly says. “I certainly don’t wanna be that force.”

She wants to address the feeling of powerlessness among viewers. When people don’t trust their media or their leaders — look at the congressional approval rating, she says, and the president’s crumbling credibility — they feel powerless. She views her program as a nightly attempt to wrest that power back.

“People feel validated when they hear their own emotions accurately described by someone on television,” Kelly says. “And I think when you ignore their genuine heartfelt feelings, they feel diminished. And I think it’s like scratching an itch, to hear someone in a position of power — somebody with a big microphone at least — give voice to what you’re feeling.”

What Price Secrecy?

Posted in FNC on December 9, 2013 by icn2

Gawker’s J.K. Trotter writes about what FNC allegedly paid Brian Lewis in his severence package…

Roger Ailes’ secrets command a heavy price. Last week, the New York Times reported that Fox News had reached an out-of-court settlement with Brian Lewis, the former Roger Ailes aide who was abruptly fired in late July. A Fox News executive with knowledge of the negotiations told Gawker that Lewis was paid approximately $8 million in hush money.

“The big talk at work, especially today, is the settlement number,” the executive said on Friday, explaining that the exact figure had been filtering through the channel’s rank-and-file since early November.

I don’t know…8 million seems awfully high to me. And then there’s this…

“That whole financial impropriety thing was complete bullshit,” explained the executive, corroborating the accounts of several other Fox sources. “Everything was about Gabe Sherman.” Sherman, the New York magazine writer, is scheduled to publish his long-anticipated (and unauthorized) biography of Roger Ailes in January; Ailes designated Lewis as Sherman’s point of contact at the network.

The executive further explained that, up until the day of Lewis’s dismissal, the channel’s public relations division, which Lewis oversaw, had suffered from heated internal disagreements about how to properly handle Sherman’s book.

The turmoil, which the executive compared to the conservative movement’s internecine struggle between the insurgent Tea Party and establishment Republicans, eventually split the press shop into two equally distinct camps. The first camp maintained that total radio silence was the best policy; the second, led by Lewis, argued that the network should try to engage Sherman.

“People in the first camp would say things like, ‘Mention the words Gabe and Sherman and you’re fired,’ while people in the second camp were more like, ‘Let’s talk with him,’” the executive contended. “The day the first camp won Roger over was the day Brian became an enormous liability.”

Brian Who?

Posted in FNC on December 5, 2013 by icn2

The New York Times’ Bill Carter writes about a rumored settlement between FNC and Brian Lewis. Carter’s piece isn’t very informative about the settlement but it sure as hell is informative about just how seriously the network is about keeping a lid on it…

At the time, Judd Burstein, the lawyer Mr. Lewis hired in the wake of his firing, responded with a statement of his own: “Roger Ailes and News Corp. have a lot more to fear from Brian Lewis telling the truth about them than Brian Lewis has to fear from Roger Ailes and his toadies telling lies about Brian Lewis.” Mr. Ailes is the chairman of Fox News.

When contacted two weeks ago for confirmation of the settlement, Mr. Burstein responded with a short sentence: “I have been advised to refer you to Dianne Brandi at the Fox News Channel.”

Upon being asked four more questions related to the possibility that a settlement had been reached, Mr. Burstein repeated the same sentence. Contacted on a second occasion this week, Mr. Burstein searched through notes to retrieve the agreed-upon statement and repeated it again.

Ms. Brandi is the lawyer for the Fox News Channel. Every attempt to seek information from Ms. Brandi — which included both phone calls and email — had the same result: silence.

A series of corporate communications executives who work either for the channel or its parent organizations 21st Century Fox and News Corporation, offered the same response to inquiries about the settlement: “I can’t help you on this.”

10 Years of Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace

Posted in FNC on December 4, 2013 by icn2

The AP’s David Bauder writes about Chris Wallace’s 10th Anniversary hosting Fox News Sunday…

While he takes pride in pointed questions, “if they feel they’ve been cheap shotted, then you’re not going to get them back on,” Wallace said. “It doesn’t mean you go easy on them. They have to think you’re tough but fair.”

Wallace also enjoys Saturday, when he uses research conducted on his guests to map out where an interview will go. Making news is a key consideration. The interviews themselves require many in-the-moment calculations. When Sarah Palin clearly ducked one of Wallace’s questions about presidential appointments recently, he had to make a decision: Do I bore in and try again? Or is it best to move on to another topic with the limited time at hand? This time, he moved on.

Wallace, 66, who covered the White House for NBC News during the Ronald Reagan administration and also moderated “Meet the Press,” said “there is a special joy in having the best job of your career in the home stretch of your career.”

Flying High…

Posted in FNC on December 3, 2013 by icn2

Variety’s Brian Steinberg writes about the success The Kelly File is having (and Hannity too)…

According to figures from Nielsen, in the third quarter, “The Kelly File, “On The Record” and “Hannity” – all holding forth in new time slots – have increased viewership in audience between the ages of 25 and 54 in the double-digit percentage range: “Kelly File” and “On The Record,” scheduled at 9 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively, have seen those ratings increase 29%, while “Hannity,” now airing at 10 p.m., has seen its ratings in the demo increase 26%, all when compared to the third quarter of 2013.

“Kelly File” has also increased its total viewers and viewers between 25 and 54 at 9 p.m. over “Hannity”, according to Nielsen. Total viewers at 9 p.m. have 24% between October 7 and November 26. Meanwhile, viewers between the ages of 25 and 54 have increased 18% in the same period of time.

Maria Bartiromo Saves Sunday?

Posted in FNC on November 20, 2013 by icn2

The New York Post’s Claire Atkinson writes about Maria Bartiromo maybe getting a Sunday show…

Star business journalist Maria Bartiromo, jumping to Fox Business Network from CNBC, may also help energize the Sunday morning talk show sector at Fox News Channel, The Post has learned.

It’s unclear what time slot a Bartiromo-helmed show might occupy but sources said Tuesday the aim is to put its new star on Sunday mornings to weaken NBC’s “Meet the Press,” hosted by David Gregory.

I don’t know who leaked that to Atkinson. I do know that FNC can’t be happy with the way it came out as it…

A) Dumps all over Chris Wallace and Fox News Sunday.
B) Makes Bartiromo the knight in shining armor that will slay the Gregory dragon.

That is not the kind of storyline FNC would want to put out because it undermines everything the network has tried to do with Wallace and makes him look ineffective to take on Gregory whose Meet The Press show is widely regarded by many to be vulnerable because of the host. Ergo, I think the leak wasn’t official or it was official but the message got ruined by Atkinson’s write up.


Posted in FNC on November 17, 2013 by icn2

David Folkenflik writes a semi-must read about FNC and its use of PR. A lot of it is already well known to anyone who follows this industry closely. But not all…

Ailes prizes loyalty above all, and Lewis and Briganti appeared to have absorbed that lesson well—so much so that even fellow staffers have felt the PR shop’s wrath. In 2005, Laurie Dhue, then a Fox News anchor, dressed down a Fox News publicist in front of others in an elevator for failing to get her enough coverage, and then mistook a public relations intern trying to help her at a formal Washington function for a fan seeking an audience. Fox’s PR executives struck back. A Fox publicist sifted through more than 100 photographs to find one that made Dhue look inebriated and had it sent to Washington Post gossip columnist Anne Schroeder, according to Schroeder, to a second person who was a Fox News staffer at the time and to a third person who was present. The quote that ran in the Post, attributed to a network spokesman, only served to underscore the impression of dissolution: “Laurie had a good time. Everyone had a good time.”

George Will Interview…

Posted in FNC on October 22, 2013 by icn2

Deseret News’ Ted Walch interviews George Will and the subject of his move from ABC to FNC was on the front burner… (via J$)

The initial reports that syndicated columnist George Will left his 32-year stint with ABC’s Sunday morning news show “This Week” for Fox News earlier this month said that Will bolted because he didn’t want to travel to New York so often.

Will confirmed those reports Tuesday during a one-on-one interview with the Deseret News, but he added some additional reasons.

Primarily based in Washington, Will’s home, in previous years, “This Week” increasingly was filmed in New York. “Twenty Saturday nights in New York is too many,” Will told the Deseret News.

“That’s a large part of it,” he added. “Also, ABC News is a small appendage of a giant entertainment complex, Disney, ABC Entertainment, all the rest. Fox News is news all the time, 24 hours a day, and it’s just a different energy and feel.”

FNC Comment Spam?

Posted in FNC on October 20, 2013 by icn2

MediaMatters Ben Dimiero writes about an upcoming book from NPR’s David Folkenflik that contains the sensational charge that FNC PR spammed comments on media related blogs…

NPR media reporter David Folkenflik writes in his forthcoming book Murdoch’s World that Fox News’ public relations staffers used an elaborate series of dummy accounts to fill the comments sections of critical blog posts with pro-Fox arguments.

In a chapter focusing on how Fox utilized its notoriously ruthless public relations department in the mid-to-late 00′s, Folkenflik reports that Fox’s PR staffers would “post pro-Fox rants” in the comments sections of “negative and even neutral” blog posts written about the network. According to Folkenflik, the staffers used various tactics to cover their tracks, including setting up wireless broadband connections that “could not be traced back” to the network.

A former staffer told Folkenflik that they had personally used “one hundred” fake accounts to plant Fox-friendly commentary:

On the blogs, the fight was particularly fierce. Fox PR staffers were expected to counter not just negative and even neutral blog postings but the anti-Fox comments beneath them. One former staffer recalled using twenty different aliases to post pro-Fox rants. Another had one hundred. Several employees had to acquire a cell phone thumb drive to provide a wireless broadband connection that could not be traced back to a Fox News or News Corp account. Another used an AOL dial-up connection, even in the age of widespread broadband access, on the rationale it would be harder to pinpoint its origins. Old laptops were distributed for these cyber operations. Even blogs with minor followings were reviewed to ensure no claim went unchecked. [Murdoch's World, pg. 67]

In the book’s endnotes, Folkenflik explains that “four former Fox News employees told me of these practices.” It’s unclear whether these tactics are ongoing.

This story has legs. How long I’m not certain. But it definitely has legs. I could say more…I could definitely say more…but at the present time I will sit back and see where this goes first.

Inside the Fox News Deck…

Posted in FNC on October 8, 2013 by icn2

Newscast Studio’s Dak Dillon has an inside look at FNC’s News Deck. I’m making an effort to watch the show the next few days to get a feel for it and will comment later…

The set was built around the idea of getting to the story sooner and exposing more viewpoints. Viewers are already finding stories faster than networks through social media, so the Fox News Deck represents Fox’s endeavor to try and beat them.

The Fox effect

Overall, the set represents something only Fox News could pull off.

“There’s an aspiration with it [the Fox News Deck] to recognize the other communication channels that everyone’s using behind the curtain anyway,” said Erik Ulfers, president and founder of Clickspring Design. “The environment has to address that.”

No other network could be as daring to put so much technology and staff on screen. No one. Only during elections has it been tried at the network level, but it really hearkens back to an old TV news concept.

“We’ve had working newsrooms that have went in and out of fashion,” said Ulfers. “I think news organizations have just been afraid of it.”

Greta Van Susteren Interview…

Posted in FNC on October 2, 2013 by icn2

Greta Van Susteren is interviewed by Politico’s Mackenzie Weinger…

As for how she found herself at 7 p.m., Van Susteren said when she heard about the time slot’s availability, she made her interest known to the higher-ups at Fox News.

“7 p.m. was my choice — well, I should say I angled for it when I heard that Shep was leaving it,” she said. “Internally, after I’d heard Shep was leaving, I made myself, quote, available.”

Van Susteren, who called her new time slot a “reward” several times during the interview, said the move aligned with Fox News chief Roger Ailes’s desire “to do something new with the lineup.”

“I mean, he gave me a long-term contract, he gave me a raise and he gave me the 7 p.m.,” the “On the Record” host said. “You know, I’m not complaining. I’ve got a brand-new studio, all my own — I see this as a reward for 11½ years No. 1 at 10.”

After all, Van Susteren said she never imagined she’d stay as long as she did in her old time slot.

“I figured I’d do it for a year or two because that was the only open space when I came here because Paula Zahn was gone,” Van Susteren said. “So I’ve been the new person for 11½ years. And so nothing was ever open. And when I came here, everyone sort of said to me — no one promised me anything — but everyone said to me, ‘Yeah, yeah, if something earlier opens up, we’ll consider you.’ Nobody promised me anything.”

“Well, I never dreamed it would be 11½ years, for God’s sake,” she added with a laugh.

FNC Plays It Safe Hiring MSMer George Will…

Posted in FNC on October 1, 2013 by icn2

When I first heard that FNC had swiped George Will from ABC my first thought was “Did I just read that?”. My second thought was “Why?”. My third thought was “What has happened to FNC?”

Consider what FNC just did. It hired one of the most respected, thoughtful, well reasoned, conservative analysts in TV and print. In other words, FNC just hired the kind of establishment, MSM bound, elitist, milquetoast, dry, safe conservative pundit that in years past FNC wouldn’t have come near lest the move damaged that network’s brand as being not part of the MSM. A more erudite David Brooks. A more conservative version of David Gergen. The kind of conservative that the hot talk right crowd regularly dismisses as not in step with today’s more aggressive elements in the conservative movement.

In years past FNC did have Freddy “The Beadle” Barnes and Mort Kondracke host a weekend show and turn up for Fox News Sunday’s roundtable discussion now and again. But they were never considered “top tier” pundits and their exposure level on FNC reflected that.

Will is a top tier pundit, albeit a top tier MSM pundit. Sure, his presence will definitely boost Fox News Sunday and Special Report…especially FNS which took a prestige hit when it lost/dropped (pick one) Bill Kristol. But Kristol, while being of the establishment, was never of the establishment to the degree Will is. This isn’t a like for like swap. This is swapping a borderline MSM pundit for a full blown card carrying member of the MSM.

That’s what makes this move so puzzling. FNC was always the network that charted its own course; the network that marched to its own drum, thumbing its nose at the MSM at just about every opportunity. It stockpiled on the kind of conservative pundits that the MSM would only touch on rare occasions.

Now FNC has gone and hired an entrenched MSM conservative to be a lead pundit…and taken another step towards joining the mainstream media it used to shun like the plague…

FNC Announces Gretchen Carlson’s Show…

Posted in FNC on September 26, 2013 by icn2

FNC sent out a press release announcing Gretchen Carlson’s new show…

FOX News Channel to Debut The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson on Monday, September 30th

NEW YORK, Sep 25, 2013 (BUSINESS WIRE) — FOX News Channel (FNC) will debut a new one-hour daytime program, The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson, on Monday, September 30th at 2PM/ET, announced Michael Clemente, Executive Vice President of News for the network. Preceding that program at 1PM/ET will be a one-hour weekday presentation of America’s News HQ, co-anchored by Bill Hemmer and Alisyn Camerota.

Joining the daytime lineup, The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson (2-3PM/ET) will focus on all current events from general news and crime to politics and investigative reports. In this new role, Carlson will interview newsmakers and lead in-depth panel debates, lending viewers context and perspective on the headlines of the day. The program will also utilize social media to explore trending news stories and enlist viewer feedback.

In making the announcement, Clemente said, “Throughout her career, Gretchen has showcased her talents as a strong interviewer and skilled moderator, both of which will serve her well as she offers viewers a fresh take on the news.”
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