Trouble at The Situation Room?

Posted in CNN on November 17, 2014 by icn2

The Daily Caller’s Betsy Rothstein writes about internal strife with CNN’s The Situation Room…

The Mirror reported late last week that several members of CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer‘s staff have marched out in the last year. That is, ever since they brought on a new executive producer, Jay Shaylor, to allegedly save Wolf’s hide.

New details are emerging regarding Shaylor spurring the resignations of Wolf’s longest serving staffers.

“Wolf gave Jay full reign to make any changes,” said a CNN insider who is in a solid position to know what’s happening in The Situation Room. “The show is about to die. It’s now or never.”

Which brings us to another floated theory inside CNN about Wolf, which is that the 66-year-old anchor, who has been with the network since 1990, is too afraid to say anything that would defy Shaylor and rest of top management, lest he risk his own job security. Some are saying he’s old, washed up and therefore has good reason to simply obey and do as he’s told. While many in the cable news industry perceive Wolf to be a sturdy franchise for CNN, others aren’t convinced his standing there is so air-tight.

But isn’t Wolf a brand?

“Ratings suck,” a TV media observer explained. “He is the face of CNN. They are beginning to think it may be that he’s too old and too boring. Which he is. He stutters. He’s terrible.”

While I disagree with the notion that Blitzer is the face of CNN or “the franchise”…he is one of their top line anchors and basically the point man for political and international stories; albeit less so now that Tapper is there.

Regardless of whether there’s truth to these stories or not, we must default to the old adage which is always true: happy shops don’t leak, unhappy shops leak.

More on Zakaria…

Posted in CNN on November 13, 2014 by icn2

Politico’s Dylan Byers writes about the latest Zakaria developments…

Their hardest challenge, Blappo and Bort say, is CNN, where Zakaria hosts “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” a Sunday program focusing on international affairs. To date, Our Bad Media has leveled 26 accusations of plagiarism against Zakaria’s CNN work. The examples presented include sentences and, in some cases entire, paragraphs that appear to have been borrowed from sources like The New York Times, The Economist and The New Yorker, among others, often with slight tweaks to the language or grammar. Throughout, the network has been unshakeable, with president Jeff Zucker expressing “complete confidence” in his Sunday show host.

“Without serious, serious pressure from other journalists, we doubt that CNN will take any action,” Blappo and Bort said in a series of email exchanges.

“As an organization, they’ve ignored any new developments while sticking to their original statements,” Blappo and Bort said. “They’ve committed themselves far too deeply to defending Zakaria’s brand to turn back now. Jeff Zucker has publicly expressed support for Zakaria, and Brian Stelter whitewashed the whole deal on Reliable Sources. What will be interesting to see is how they will manage cover future plagiarism stories without the appearance of a glaring double standard.”


“The corrections are necessary. The question is are they sufficient?” Frank Sesno, the former CNN Washington bureau chief and director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at The George Washington University, wrote in an email. “I have great respect for Fareed’s intellect and journalistic perspective. But due to negligence, because he had too many projects on his plate or as a result of some very serious problems in how he worked, he got into trouble with copy that was not his and was not attributed. Correcting and explaining is the very least that news organizations — and Fareed — should do.”

“What we’re seeing is a pattern, on a bunch of different platforms and a bunch of different properties,” said Kelly McBride, he vice president for academic programs of The Poynter Institute. “When you line them up, it looks bad.”

The Worm Turns for Fareed Zakaria?

Posted in CNN on November 13, 2014 by icn2

Not much had happened on the Fareed Zakaria plagiarism accusation front lately…until this week. Now things are heating up again in a big way as media entities which had previously stood by Zakaria are now slapping disclaimers/corrections/warnings on old Zakaria articles. The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove has an extensive wrap up on the latest developments…

This week, The Washington Post, where Zakaria has penned an op-ed column, and the online magazine Slate, where he once wrote about martinis, publicly criticized his professionalism and ethics. Post Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt, previously one of Zakaria’s staunch defenders—he called the plagiarism charges “reckless” when Our Bad Media criticized several Zakaria columns three months ago—said the paper will likely slap warnings on five of his columns published before August 2012.

The offending columns—among six cited on Monday by @BlippoBlappo and @Crushingbort—“strike me as problematic in their absence of full attribution,” Hiatt told the Poynter Institute, adding that Zakaria’s lapses are “unfair to readers and to the original sources.”

In an email to The Daily Beast, Hiatt explained his change of heart this way: “In the first batch of columns that were posted, I did not think the allegations concerning the [Washington Post] columns had merit. The anonymous posters put up six new allegations yesterday, and we looked at those and felt, on preliminary look, that five of them were problematic. We’re looking more carefully now, and where my preliminary view holds up, we will post messages, I hope within the next day or two.”

Meanwhile, the editors of Slate said Zakaria’s light-hearted February 1998 column about the martini “does not meet Slate’s editorial standards, having failed to properly attribute quotations and information drawn from Max Rudin’s history of the Martini, which appeared in American Heritage in 1997.”

Last Friday, Newsweek, where Zakaria had been the longtime editor of the weekly’s international edition prior to the newsmag’s now-defunct merger with The Daily Beast, identified seven articles, dating back to November 2001, that “borrow extensively [from other authors] without proper attribution” and do “not meet editorial standards.”

The heat has been turned back up on Zakaria. Newsweek, The Washington Post, and Slate have all slapped labels on Zakaria articles. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe we have yet to hear from Time on its previously “announced” investigation of articles Zakaria wrote for them.

Meanwhile, CNN can’t be pleased with this. It seemed that everyone had moved off Zakaria and the network’s head in the sand PR strategy would succeed after all. Now the spotlight is back on Zakaria and that means it’s back on CNN and the question of how its intransigence in clinging to that statement that Zakaria met its journalistic standards squares with the backpeddling that Zakaria’s other past and current employers are now doing by slapping all these lables on Zakaria articles.

What does it say about a network that says an employee meets its standards when his other employers are now saying that at least some of his work did not meet their standards?

New Leadership Structure At CNN Digital

Posted in CNN on November 12, 2014 by icn2

CNN announced a new team structure to head CNN Digital…

CNN Names Digital Leadership Team

Andrew Morse to Oversee CNN Digital Global Operations and Editorial
Alex Wellen Named Chief Product Officer
Meredith Artley Promoted to Editor-in-chief

CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker announced today a new management structure for CNN Digital led by Andrew Morse, Meredith Artley and Alex Wellen.
Continue reading

Glass Houses…

Posted in FNC on November 12, 2014 by icn2

TVNewser’s Mark Joyella writes about something Shepard Smith said yesterday in regards to what other networks did to piggy back off Peter Doocy’s Bin Laden shooter scoop…

Smith also called competing news networks “hater channels” for reporting criticism of O’Neill — some from fellow SEALS — who think O’Neill has acted inappropriately in revealing his role in the covert mission.

Hater channels? You mean hater channels like FNC which posted a story written by an FNC staffer that included Navy SEALS criticizing Mark Owen for publishing his book?

The tell-all book also has apparently upset a large population of former and current SEAL members who worry about releasing information that could compromise future missions. One Navy SEAL told Fox News, “How do we tell our guys to stay quiet when this guy won’t?” Other SEALs are expressing anger, with some going so far as to call him a “traitor.”

Those “hater channels” Shep?

Well alrighty then…

Free for All: 11/10/14

Posted in Free For All on November 10, 2014 by icn2

What’s on your mind?

Jeff Zucker (bleeps)…

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on November 8, 2014 by icn2

The Hollywood Reporter’s Hilary Lewis writes about a recent Jeff Zucker appearance…

He ended his remarks at the lunch with a final defense of CNN.

“Sometimes CNN gets caught in the crosshairs because CNN is CNN. When you’re a huge, shiny object, people like to throw darts,” he said. “Frankly, I don’t give a shit. None of the people that do that stop to think about the incredible quality that is assembled by the people in this room. Take all the shots you want, but I think the quality of films on CNN Films is unassailable.”

I don’t think the quality of the shows was ever an issue…their propriety to CNN’s long standing hard news brand was/is. But I gotta say…it’s always refreshing to see a network news president cut loose on the record with the profanity. They swear like grade school children at work…why hide it from the public?


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