The above picture comes from Ken Levine, the creator of BioShock (via Nerdist), who seemed more tickled by it than annoyed. “Glad to help, Fox. Glad to help,” he posted on Facebook. You can see the original Infinite logo below and compare them yourself, but the funny part here isn’t that Fox News copied it—which it totally did—it’s that it apparently copied it without recognizing what the logo represents: A violent video game about killing right-wing crazy people. It would’ve been weird for Fox News to take any game’s logo like this, but for it take the one with a message that specifically diverges so strongly from its own? That’s irony, Alanis.
Archive for the FNC Category
The Hollywood Reporter’s Michael O’Connell writes about FNC’s 50 quarters of dominance and interviews Bill Shine…
Some critics have pointed to that consistency as one reason why FNC’s average viewer is now over 65 years old, but Shine says an increased median age is something affecting all networks.
“It’s happening to most everyone in television, and in terms of the economics of it, we don’t buy and sell on that data,” Shine tells THR. “We buy and sell on the demo, and we’re still clearly winning the demo race among our competitors — combined in some cases. Is it something we keep our eye on? Absolutely. But it’s not something I currently go home and lose sleep over.”
Shine also says his eye is on the competition. He’s not ignoring CNN’s decision to ditch live news coverage for documentary news at cable news’ traditional flagship hour of 9 p.m. — “They’ve decided to go in another direction, and I think you’ve got to give them some time to see if it works.” — though he is committed to live programming and now considers their primetime block as beginning at 5 p.m. with The Five. That show now goes back and forth with Kelly’s between the No. 2 or No. 3 telecasts on cable news.
One thing Shine says he’s not paying attention to is criticism over the network’s reputation for conservative slant. And he’s quick to point at Kelly as someone who can potentially chip away at that reputation. He also says that the recent reassurance in attention on the U.S. handling of the 2012 attack on the American diplomatic mission at Benghazi, Libya, has vindicated FNC’s decision to heavily cover it for the last two years.
CNN Commentary writes about Crossfire taking a page out of FNC’s playbook by aping The Five…
CNN did something different with the struggling political debate program on Monday and Tuesday: all four Crossfire cohosts (SE Cupp, Newt Gingrich, Van Jones, and Stephanie Cutter) were all “in the Crossfire” – and there were no guests. As one person said to me in private, it was almost like CNN was trying to imitate Fox’s The Five, and see how it went for them.
Whether this was a ratings ploy to see if it would stick or not, that remains to be seen. If that’s the case, then I think it was poorly executed. How can you really expect to be able to tell if it will work, long-term, based off of two days? If it were an experiment, then it would make sense to do it for the entire week (maybe even two weeks?) – not just two days.
If CNN takes Crossfire and turns it into a Five clone, they should change the name of the show. Because it’s not Crossfire anymore.
TVNewser’s Jordan Chariton writes about CNN’s…ahem…creative accounting…behind making the boast that Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown is the #1 program in the Cable News demo. Yes, this story has the characteristics of a plant but that doesn’t mean it’s not accurate…
Bourdain’s just-completed third season, which ran from April 13 to June 8, averaged 386,000 A25-54 viewers over the eight Sunday premiere episodes.
The fine print (not all of it included in the ad) goes on to say that it’s a “blend” of viewer data including Live+7 day, Live+3 day and Live+ same-day viewership, in other words, a variety of DVR viewing. CNN says that’s enough to best even “The O’Reilly Factor,” the long-dominant cable news show, which averaged 356,000 A25-54 demo viewers in that period, using that same “blend.”
We’ll make our fine print, regular-size: O’Reilly’s total is for 37 programs, compared to Bourdain’s eight. And when the Live+ same-day measurement is used “O’Reilly Factor” averaged 344,000 demo viewers; the “The Kelly File” was next with 310,000, then “Parts Unknown” comes in third with 278,000. CNN reports. You decide.
I said it’ll never get to trial and I was right. Gawker’s JK Trotter writes about a settlement in the Roger Dormal lawsuit and a new twist in the Brian Lewis saga…
Now, nearly a year later, Fox says those claims about its former P.R. undertaker were untrue. Fox’s admission appeared in an unusual document recently entered by the network’s attorney at the Supreme Court of New York in Lower Manhattan, during the final stages of an age discrimination lawsuit filed by former network executive Roger Domal. Last week, Dornal and Fox reached a confidential settlement agreement, which the plaintiff’s attorney, Christopher Chang, confirmed on Monday.
Fox had initially responded to Domal’s complaint by accusing the plaintiff of conspiring with Lewis to generate bogus expense reports. Lewis took this as a breach of his own settlement with Fox, and he filed an arbitration claim accusing the network of disparagement.
So last week, Fox quietly relented. In a 2-page filing dated June 3 and submitted by Fox attorney Barry Asen, the network formally withdrew its allegations of fraud against Lewis:
But then there’s this…
Fox’s original accusations of financial fraud had served as a distraction from the real story of Lewis’s firing, which was that Fox News executives were suspicious of Lewis’s cooperation with Roger Ailes biographer Gabriel Sherman. This aggressive P.R. strategy spectacularly backfired after Lewis’s attorney, Judd Burstein, accused Fox of lying about his client, threatened to reveal the channel’s dark secrets, and went on to extract a multimillion-dollar settlement.
So Fox was, in fact, lying about Lewis. It’s good to know that Fox itself agrees.
Comeon Trotter…that’s not worthy of you. Let’s look at what was legally said to resolve this…
IT IS HEREBY STIPULATED AND AGREED, by and between counsel for the respective parties, that Defendants’ affirmative defense set forth in Paragraph 48 of their Answer to the Complaint, which alleged, inter alia, that Brian Lewis, with Plaintiff’s assistance, had made fraudulent requests to Fox News Network LLC for expense reimbursement, is hereby withdrawn with prejudice.
The claim withdrawal neither proves nor disproves that FNC was or was not lying about Lewis and what he did or did not do to merit termination. All it means is that FNC is withdrawing the claim. Nothing more. Nothing less. The backroom back and forth wrangling match between the lawyers produced a result that all sides agreed to. But that doesn’t mean the truth has revealed itself. It only means that all parties have agreed a legally binding talking point…a talking point which may or may not bear any semblence on reality.
So Trotter, by saying FNC lied and that FNC is now agreeing that it lies, says more about Trotter and his biases than it does about the correct historical record…which we will never know…
Unless another legal bruhaha erupts involving FNC which drags Lewis into it like this one did. Then its back to the mattresses…
Fox News anchor Gregg Jarrett was jailed Wednesday after being arrested in a bar at Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport.
Jarrett, who is a weekend co-anchor on the FOX News Channel, was arrested about 12:30 p.m. at Northern Lights Grill in the main terminal, said Patrick Hogan, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Airports Commission.
Jarrett was released from custody shortly after 1:30 a.m. Thursday after a $300 bond was posted, according to Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office records. The records show he’s due in court on June 6.
Police had been called about an intoxicated man at the grill. Officers reported Jarrett refused to follow orders and was arrested for obstruction of the legal process and taken to jail.
So, the new FNC 12pm show Outnumbered has been on for a couple of weeks now. My DVR is jammed at that hour so I have not been able to catch the show much save for the first day. I’ll have to cut some normally scheduled recordings to free up a slot to watch a few more episodes. In the meantime, tell me what you think of the show…
TVNewser’s Chris Ariens fills in some blanks about what’s going on with FNC’s Jamie Colby…
Fox News anchor Jamie Colby will be hosting a new reality-based series for Fox Business Network, TVNewser has learned. “Strange Inheritance” will look at real-life stories of unconventional inheritances. Colby will be taking a break from Fox News weekend anchoring as she tapes the show. In fact, she was in Iowa over the weekend working on one of the episodes.
FBN anchor Tracy Byrnes had been slated to host the show. “Due to family obligations, Tracy had to remove herself from the project, but we couldn’t be more enthused for Jamie Colby to take over the reins,” FBN EVP Kevin Magee says. “Jamie’s experience in storytelling and background in law make her a terrific choice for ‘Strange Inheritance.’”
This does explain the mystery of what I was seeing on Colby’s Twitter feed with all the references to “show taping”…
The Bill Schultz/Red Eye saga just won’t end. Mysteriously dropped from the program, Red Eye viewers have been incredibly annoyed by Schultz’s departure. And though a Twitter conversation with Schultz today was mostly benign there was this…(via J$)
True. But I have nothing but good thoughts about FNC and my time there. Are there some people I’m angry with? Yes ma’am!
And just whom might he be angry with and why….hmmmm?
TVNewser’s Jordan Chariton writes about FNC’s new talent rotation on weekends and talks about Gregg Jarrett’s status…
Fox News tells us Gregg Jarrett “requested time off for personal reasons and Fox obliged.” Jarrett has been with FNC since 2002, joining from MSNBC.
Other programming changes include Harris Faulkner signing off the Saturday edition of “Fox Report,” while continuing to host Sunday’s show at 7pmET. Faulkner will move to a six-day workweek, serving as a co-host on the new show “Outnumbered” Monday-Friday at NoonET.
Replacing her on “Fox Report” Saturday will be rotating anchors including Julie Banderas, John Roberts, and Shannon Bream, Fox tells us.
And Saturday at 1pmET will also have rotating anchors: Banderas, Arthel Neville, and Elizabeth Prann will be filling in as hosts. For Prann, it’s been an upward climb since 2008, moving from assistant to Greta Van Susteren, to local news reporter, to Fox News correspondent, and now part of the network’s weekend anchor rotation.
First of all, hope that whatever is keeping Jarrett off the air is resolved favorably and he makes a speedy return to air. Second, Chariton’s article does not address the Jamie Colby situation. 1pm Saturday’s were her shift. She is apparently still appearing on Sunday’s. I say apparently because she wasn’t on yesterday but Heather Childers did say she was in for Colby.
PROGRAMMING ALERT: Funny u should ask. How about every Saturday starting tomorrow 1-2p? Also hosting the Fox Report Saturday’s 7-8 ET! RT @weissmanjoe8: @JulieBanderas Hi Julie any shows your hosting or going to be on coming up this week or next week just asking?
Obvious question: Is that it for Jamie Colby? 1-2 was Colby’s slot on Saturdays. Will she still be on Sundays? Will FNC continue to fragment its weekend programming so that no anchor occupies the same shift on Saturday and Sunday (fragmented Saturday/Sunday afternoons, fragmented mornings excluding FnF Weekend, fragmented Fox Report Weekends)? I guess we shall see…
Gawker’s JK Trotter writes about an age discrimination lawsuit against FNC and how it threatens to revisit Brian Lewis’ separation from the network.
Domal’s attorney, Christopher Chang, told Gawker after a recent court appearance that his firm is seeking copies of Lewis’s detailed settlement papers, which spell out, among other things, what Lewis and Fox can and cannot discuss with others. These papers almost certainly discuss dozens, if not hundreds, of the channel’s most sensitive matters: enough to land, as Lewis did, a multimillion-dollar payday. Fox News is strenuously resisting the firm’s requests for these documents.
Chang’s firm, the attorney added, is also seeking to depose Roger Ailes, whose testimony could draw even more attention to the reasons he fired Lewis, and the secrets Ailes paid to conceal. It is not yet clear whether Fox plans to contest Ailes’s deposition.
Lewis, Domal’s supposed co-conspirator, has not yet indicated whether he intends to take action against Fox, and referred inquiries to his attorney.
However, after the same court appearance last week, Chang revealed that Barry Asen, the attorney representing Fox, acknowledged in a pre-appearance conversation that Lewis had recently opened an arbitration claim against the channel over the new allegations.
“Lewis has already filed a claim against Fox in arbitration, claiming, among other things, that Fox breached the settlement agreement with Lewis,” Chang wrote in an email, “by asserting in the Domal action that Domal aided Lewis in submitting to Fox false/inflated travel expenses, etc. for reimbursement.”
This could potentially prove to be very explosive indeed but I just cannot see FNC letting things get that far. I would think this is all going to get settled on the down low.
Gawker’s J.K. Trotter responds to FNC’s pushback with another blog post…
Our report, indeed, contained an error. We wrote that when Smith brought his boyfriend to a company picnic, Fox executive Bill Shine had been present and had reacted negatively. In fact, Shine was not at the picnic; he had flipped out after the event, when word got back to him about the boyfriend’s attendance. We had misunderstood our sources’ accounts, and we’re happy to to take our punches for getting it wrong.
Given Fox’s reaction, however, we went back to our sources to confirm, in even greater detail, the timeline of events. And it turns out that Fox’s other complaints, the full list of which was published by Politico’s Dylan Byers, were little more than a smokescreen.
The story stands. And we’ve learned even more about how Fox treats anchors who want to come out.
Trotter goes on to detail what that “more” is.
But it doesn’t matter at this point because nothing short of something conclusive such as photographic evidence or something we can sink our teeth into like an on the record anecdote is going to reverse the negative trajectory Trotter’s story has taken since FNC pushed back and noted the error. That’s all it takes in today’s media. You discredit one part of a story you can effectively negate the entire story for the vast majority of the public to care about this as little more than “they said/they said”.
A lot has been written about the J.K. Trotter/Shep Smith story since FNC came out to rubbish it with the overwhelming majority of stories rightfully blasting Gawker on its now abundantly clear flawed timeline. But is that the end of this? Possibly not. And for a reason why you should read Erik Wemple’s story on the subject…
The picnic incident in Trotter’s story was a juicy and tell-tale moment — if only it had been true. Now that it has been debunked, doesn’t the rest of the story sort of collapse around it? No, says Gawker Editor-in-Chief Max Read in a chat with the Erik Wemple Blog.
“He doesn’t have to be at the party flipping out,” says Read, who stresses that it’s the alleged reaction of Shine that matters. “It still operates within the realm of the story that [Trotter's] piece is telling.”
Nor did Gawker’s source on the picnic tell Trotter that Shine was at the picnic. As Read tells it, Trotter learned of Shine’s reaction and “erroneously assumed that meant that Shine was physically present, which was not the case.”
Ouch. This admission really does make Trotter look bad in ways that FNC’s pushback couldn’t. Never assume anything and print it without noting it’s an assumption.
Gawker is diving back into the particulars, says Read, to get more certainty on the timeline: “My guess is that when our source is saying this came up in contract negotiations, he meant it as discussions about Shep’s show.” Last September, Fox News took away Smith’s 7 p.m. show, limiting him to his 3 p.m. slot, but at the same time it named him managing editor and chief news anchor, a move that Gawker termed a “demotion.” “We want to establish as accurately as possible the sequence of events, but we believe we’ve got it probably right,” says Read. “I don’t think it’s wrong.”
Ugh. More assumptions? And only now you want to “establish accurately as possible the sequence of events”? Uh…how about before you write the dang story? It just gets worse for Gawker and Trotter.
As a measure of the Gawker story’s troubles, consider that Media Matters for America, a clearinghouse for anti-Fox News stories, didn’t write up a summary on its Web site. “We looked into it. But because the sources were anonymous and there was no definitive proof, we wanted to see if Fox issued a statement. Once they did, it didn’t seem like there was enough to go on,” notes Jess Levin, spokeswoman for Media Matters.
Man…even Media Matters wouldn’t touch the story. What’s that tell you?
That all said, there is this factoid which as far as I can tell Wemple has been the only one to note…
That’s to say nothing of the techniques that Fox News visits on reporters. As NPR’s David Folkenflik exposed in his 2013 book “Murdoch’s World,” the network planted false information with a reporter, essentially baiting him to publish it. He did. Fox News then released a statement slamming the reporter’s credibility.
This is what makes some of us pause and start looking for the angles whenever FNC comes out denying a story or offers clarification to any story which paints it in a negative light. No other cable news network has ever gone to the lengths FNC has to sabotage the people who cover it. There is a documented past at work there. They have poisoned the well of credibility with their prior actions. This is why I can’t say with 100% certitude that FNC’s denials, while full throttled and apparently conclusive, are the last word in this story. History shows that hasn’t always been the case.
Ok, I have tried hard over the years to ignore this story on the blog just as I ignored the Anderson Cooper version. People’s private lives are people’s private lives and I only really care about the mechanics of cable news not the intimate details of those who carry them out.
But Gawker’s J.K. Trotter today makes that all but impossible now. Trotter pens a must read story so detailed; it moves the goalposts so far, it can’t be ignored any more.
From a PR standpoint Trotter’s story is so dangerous to FNC it just can’t keep ignoring it as it has in the past. Now, it’s no longer a question of Smith’s sexual orientation but a question of the policies of FNC in regards to talent based on their sexual orientation. This is multi-million dollar discrimination lawsuit territory we are talking about here. Everything is on the line now…
In the summer of 2013, according to multiple sources with knowledge of their exchange, Shepard Smith approached Fox News president Roger Ailes about publicly coming out. The newly attached anchor was eager, at the time, to finally acknowledge his sexuality. “It’s time,” he told Ailes and other colleagues. “It’s time.”
Instead, Ailes informed Smith that the network’s famously conservative audience would not tolerate a gay news anchor. Ailes’ answer was definitive: Smith could not say he’s gay.
“This came up during contract negotiations,” a Fox insider told Gawker. “Shep wanted to and was ready to come out, and Roger just said no.”
Smith, one of Ailes’s first and most loyal disciples, acquiesced to his boss’s demand, and dropped the matter. But the discussion worried enough Fox executives to prompt Smith’s removal, in September 2013, from the channel’s coveted prime-time lineup. According to a Fox insider with direct knowledge of negotiations, Smith’s desire to come out was a large factor in the dramatic move.
“They tried to play it up as a big promotion,” the insider said. “But everyone knew that Shep was getting demoted. And the coming out thing was a significant part of that.”
Update: TVNewser’s Chris Ariens has FNC shooting down the story pretty emphatically…
“This story is 100% false and a complete fabrication,” write Ailes and Smith in a joint statement. “As colleagues and close friends at Fox News for 18 years, our relationship has always been rooted in a mutual respect, deep admiration, loyalty, trust, and full support both professionally and personally.”
Smith works for the news side of FOX, which is run by Michael Clemente and Jay Wallace and not Bill Shine, who oversees programs like “The O’Reilly Factor” and “Hannity.” Shine released his own statement of support for Smith, which reads in part: “We have never asked Shep to discuss or not discuss his private life, and the notion of us having an issue with anyone’s sexuality is not only insulting, but pure fiction.” Shine’s full statement after the jump:
“Over the past 18 years, we’ve had the privilege of working with Shepard Smith throughout his incredible rise from a field reporter to chief news anchor and his recent promotion to managing editor,” Shine writes. “Throughout his entire tenure here, Roger Ailes and I have fully supported him in both a professional and personal capacity. We have never asked Shep to discuss or not discuss his private life, and the notion of us having an issue with anyone’s sexuality is not only insulting, but pure fiction. We renewed his contract in June 2013 based on this full support as well as his exemplary journalism. He’s the gold standard of this profession and we’re extremely proud to call him the face of our news division.”
The New York Times’ Bill Carter writes about April ratings…
But since March 13, when the CNN plane coverage was ratcheting up, “Morning Joe,” which has generally enjoyed wide attention in New York-based media, has found itself consistently behind the 10-month-old “New Day” on CNN. From that date, through last Friday “New Day” won 25 days to eight for “Morning Joe.” (Though, in perhaps a sign that the momentum may be shifting back, “Joe” beat “New Day” easily on the last recorded day, April 25.)
“CNN has made itself a punch line on the ‘Daily Show’ for its phony breaking-news headlines and breathless coverage of random ocean debris,” Joe Scarborough, the anchor of “Morning Joe,” said. “ ‘Morning Joe’ topped CNN in the first quarter by covering hard news, just as we have for the past five years. We will do the same in the future and won’t be distracted by ‘X-Files’ cable news programming.”
The average for April among viewers ages 25-54 was 119,000 for “New Day,” to 105,000 for “Morning Joe.” Both were fighting for the right to a distant second to “Fox and Friends,” which averaged 237,000 viewers in the age group.
In February, the month before the plane disappeared, “Morning Joe” had a comfortable margin over “New Day,” 127,000 viewers to 79,000 in that advertiser-preferred group. So “New Day” is up more than 50 percent since then, while “Joe” is down 17 percent.
The morning show problem was only one of many for MSNBC in April. The network, which is mainly devoted to covering politics from a left of center slant, averaged only 112,000 viewers for its total day coverage in April. That was its lowest total since May 2007.
“It was a soft month, no doubt,” said Lauren Skowronski, the spokeswoman for MSNBC. “But they are not going to change the editorial approach for one story. They want to stay on brand.”
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?
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…
FNC announced today that Maria Bartiromo’s FNC show will debut on March 30th…
FOX NEWS CHANNEL TO DEBUT SUNDAY MORNING FUTURES WITH MARIA BARTIROMO ON SUNDAY, 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.
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…
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.
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.
(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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.