What’s Hot/What’s Not: 06/26/11

No submissions this weekend because I’m going to be away through Monday afternoon so What’s Hot/What’s Not goes up 24 hours early. Yes, I could have put the submissions up yesterday and probably should have. If this situation happens again I will.

What’s Hot:

Ed Henry Jumps to FNC – Nobody saw this coming. FNC fills the “impartial credibility” void left by Major Garrett’s departure and Henry zooms to the top of Media Matters’ hit list and Progressive Prognosticators will be scouring Henry’s reporting looking for the slightest hint that he’s being corrupted by “big bad FNC”…

Jose Diaz-Balart – Diaz-Balart filled in all week on MSNBC at 9am and NBC’s publicity machine followed him around almost everywhere (seriously…check out MSNBCTV’s Twitter account and look at all the photos). And Diaz-Balart joined Chris Jansing for a video streaming chat session on Twitter and Facebook. Under the circumstances, you could be excused for half expecting Michael Bloomberg to barge on in and present him with the keys to the city at some point. None of this is Diaz-Balart’s fault of course…he acquitted himself just fine on the air. NBC badly wants to raise his profile beyond Telemundo and this was their first real big push at it. It probably won’t be the last. Hopefully the next time won’t come across as quite so blatant/obvious and a more delicate touch will be used that doesn’t leave quite so many fingerprints.

Countdown returns to air – What? You didn’t know?

What’s Not:

All out war – While I thought that running Countdown three minutes over into the 9pm hour, and therefore trampling on the start of Rachel Maddow’s show on MSNBC, was a brilliant albeit quintessentially Olbermann tactic from a programming PR standpoint, the resultant public backlash from Maddow fans forced Olbermann and Current to kill off the idea by the end of the week.

Casey Anthony Trial Pandering – I almost forgot about this…probably because I try to think about it as little as possible. But by the end the the week the cable nets had gone off the deep end with live coverage of this wretched little spectacle…

Bad Timing – MSNBC’s decision to dump out of the New York Gay Marriage bill passing and follow it with a Lockup episode on prison sodomy was one of the dumbest programming decisions I’ve ever seen.

44 Responses to “What’s Hot/What’s Not: 06/26/11”

  1. laura l Says:

    Not Hot: FNC relegating g@y marriage in NY to newsbreak updates, while CNN and MSNBC took it live. I could have perhaps understood it if they weren’t instead doing the second full hour on Casey Anthony, after having covered that most of the day. Semi-historic event in NY versus an overblown local story in Florida. Guess which one Fox chooses.

  2. joeremi Says:

    ^ That’s a classic example of pandering to the audience instead of using real news judgment. “Sure, it’s an historic moment, but our viewers don’t wanna hear about The G@ys, so we’ll stick with the crazy chick.”

  3. joeremi Says:

    I’m pretty sure you know how I feel about Lockup. I yelled about it on Twitter Friday night.

  4. laura l Says:

    MSNBC caught no small amount of squeeze for that unfortunate bit of concurrent programming. I’m sure Rachel was a veritable Mob of One when she saw it…

  5. Josh Kaib Says:

    Lockup is so incompatible with MSNBC’s progressive image, I’m surprised Comcast hasn’t forced big changes on MSNBC’s weekend programming.

  6. Bad Timing – MSNBC’s decision to dump out of the New York Gay Marriage bill passing and follow it with a Lockup episode on prison sodomy was one of the dumbest programming decisions I’ve ever seen.

    Good Lord, MSNBC, when will you ever learn to give up this continued support for those stupid documentaries, especially in big news situations? I guarantee a lot of the pro-gay and homosexual viewers watching MSNBC were really upset when they saw them cut out of that big news to show what goes on in prisons. That’s pathetic.

  7. imnotblue Says:

    I think the point of the whole MSNBC vs FNC in this matter, was that had FNC shown the same “Lockup” program after or during this announcement, you know the blogs would be on fire with claims of… well, nonsense.

    As for FNC not covering it… there were a few on Mediaite who said differently. And while I’m more inclined to take laura l’s word for it than anyone on Mediaite’s, there does appear to be some question.

    But, as for it being an editorial decision, I’ll disagree. The knee-jerk reaction would be to say that FNC didn’t cover it because they don’t think their audience agrees with it. But that’s faulty logic. If they were worried that their audience didn’t agree with it, they should have EXTRA covered it, because that’s how you bring in ratings. People don’t tune in en mass to hear, “Everything is great,” they tune in to hear, “Here’s today’s big problem!” So not covering it for ideological reasons doesn’t make sense… if that were the case, they would have covered it extensively to keep their audience angry and involved.

    Odds are, this caught them by surprise, as it appears to have caught the other networks (sans, perhaps CNN) as well. Which brings me to the part of the story I can’t quite understand… why late late Friday night? And where was the press leading up to the vote? Friday is typically the time where you hide things… politicians resign on Fridays. But this was a good thing, so why hide it… and why hide it so late at night? Cuomo, if he had any ability to do so, should have somehow waited until Monday or midweek to get the most positive press out of the whole thing. When you do something good (as I believe this is), you’re allowed to get a pat on the back.

  8. stevemg Says:

    I believe all three major cable news networks did the same thing Friday. That is, stayed with or switched to the Casey Anthony case.

    Anyway, it’s clear to me that Fox News’ view on covering same sex marriage is simply, like the President’s own view, evolving.
    Give them time.

    Evolving. Right.

    Neanderthal man took less time to evolve. That’s if you believe in evolution, so to speak.

  9. joeremi Says:

    Faulty logic, Blue. Casey Anthony is killing (so to speak) in the ratings. FNC bailed on real news for a ratings grab.

  10. stevemg Says:

    So not covering it for ideological reasons doesn’t make sense… if that were the case, they would have covered it extensively to keep their audience angry and involved.

    That’s an excellent point that the Fox critics (see above) can’t address.

    Fox critics always – yes, always – argue that the network promotes stories to ratchet up conservative anger, especially about controversial issues. That is, they substitute ideology for news judgment. And in doing so they also get ratings. E.g., the Black Panther voting story.

    Well, same sex marriage is a perfect test case – if this argument applied – where the network could use a controversial public policy matter to appeal to the yahoos that watch Fox.

    Only Fox didn’t hype the story. They went with, absurdly, the Anthony murder trial.

    One can legitimately criticize their news judgment but in doing so the Fox critics have to set aside their claim the network is entirely driven by ideology and politics.

  11. missy5537 Says:

    Hey, leave FNC ALONE (well for now, anyway)! They actually aired JER and FNW at 11:00 and 11:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, which I believe are supposed to be their regular time slots.

    But I know I can’t count on them being consistent about this every weekend!

  12. lonestar77 Says:

    “^ That’s a classic example of pandering to the audience instead of using real news judgment. “Sure, it’s an historic moment, but our viewers don’t wanna hear about The G@ys, so we’ll stick with the crazy chick.””

    “Faulty logic, Blue. Casey Anthony is killing (so to speak) in the ratings. FNC bailed on real news for a ratings grab.”

    Basically, if FNC does something, it’s because of partisan reasons. If another network does something, it’s just a mistake.

    Joe, you think everything FNC does is because of partisanship. Yet, you make constant excuses for all other networks. It’s almost as if you want to fit FNC into some weird, little preconceived box. Shocking? no. Tiresome? Yes.

  13. Sometimes Fox News uses lousy news judgment.

    No conspiracy, no orders from Murdoch or Ailes or Rove, no organized effort to promote an ideology or point of view, no plan to get “the g@ays”….

    It’s just people making dumb decisions.

    No one here, I don’t think, denies that the conservative commentators on Fox drive a large part of its news coverage. What stories they cover and, to a lesser degree, how they cover them.

    They do. We’ve seen it.

    But to ascribe that “drive” to everything they do is just silly.

  14. Grandpa Dave Says:

    “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” – Robert J. Hanlon

  15. joeremi Says:

    “Are you a flake?”

    Chris Wallace. Is an idiot.

  16. jackyboy Says:

    ^Don’t get all testy joe, that was an acceptable question.

  17. laura l Says:

    Like us flakes would admit it in public. Please..

  18. stevemg Says:

    Ye olde “Fox News is just a propaganda arm of the RNC” takes another hit.

    Meanwhile, Jon Stewart puts his clown nose back on.

  19. laura l Says:

    Steve, don’t be stupid. You know that Wallace only said that to reclaim his objectivity. With any luck he’ll get written-up by Newsbusters.

  20. Chris Wallace has issued an apology for the ‘flake’ question.

  21. laura l Says:

    And at the end of the program, he gave Jon Stewart a richly-deserved F-ck You. Stormy bye bye.

  22. laura l Says:

    The ‘stormy’ was overstated, as with much around here.
    What I loved the most about that Stewart-interview was the righteous anger over the misinformed nature of the Fox audience. Oh, it’s just so awful how stupid they are. And what was the basis of that particular opinion? The seeking-out of a source that confirms what he is already inclined to believe. Imagine that.

  23. I don’t think there was any big plot; one way or the other over who covered the g*y marriage story on Friday PM. Both Maddow and Cooper are g*y so it’s a big story personally for them. Maddow ran long into the Doc-block slot till the votes were counted and there wasn’t much else to say. Cooper ran it on his show as a breaking news story as one would expect.

    FNC would probably have been more involved if the measure was going to be defeated; as that would be a story more worthy of FNC coverage. But there was no point in covering the story if they were only going to to be able to say how big and positive an event it was for g*y rights. Angry screaming g*ys is a big Fox News story. Happy cheering g*ys, not so much.

    And there was the Casey Anthony trial to cover.

  24. stevemg Says:

    But there was no point in covering the story if they were only going to to be able to say how big and positive an event it was for g*y rights. Angry screaming g*ys is a big Fox News story. Happy cheering g*ys, not so much.

    You completely lost me with this one, Fritz. I’m sure the problem is at my end and not yours.

    First you said there was nothing deliberate (“no plot”) in their non-coverage and then you posit some purpose behind their non-coverage (“happy cheering g@yas” is not something they want).

    Which one is it?

    Fox News really does make you guys seem a little out of sorts.

  25. laura l Says:

    It was the contrast between the other nets covering it and Fox sticking with glorified local-news-story mega-coverage that I found objectionable. They chose to stay with recorded programming over breaking news, except for the news-breaks. It’s not exactly the end of the world, it’s just screwy news-judgment.

  26. Your point is correct steve. My comment is a little confusing. By ‘no plot’ all I meant was that there was no great ‘plot’ or conspiracy not to cover the story. It was just a story that was positive for liberals so why waist time on it. Much better to cover a story that was viewer catnip like the Casey Anthony trial. If the story had been the measure being defeated it might have rated coverage; but maybe not. Who knows.

  27. ^waist >waste — sorry

  28. stevemg Says:

    ^ Okay, got it.

    My guess is perhaps they thought that the Anthony case was a “safer” story to go with ratings wise since they have a more conservative audience to appeal to.

    No plot or anything; just a sort of mindset or view that permeates either the newsroom or the management offices.

    I guess that’s your point? Which is probably spot on.

  29. laura l Says:

    In the end, it’s all a distinction without a difference. They chose to over-report a story that has absolutely no effect whatsoever on anyone’s life, while giving perfunctory coverage to a story of some significance to 10% of the population (assuming the accuracy of that statistic). Even MSNBC came out of hiding to cover it, which makes for an interesting bookend.

  30. stevemg Says:

    ^Yeah, we all agree it was a short-sighted (nice phrase for idiotic) decision.

    But we’re all playing Colombo here and trying to find out why they did it.

    Gee, that was a fun type show. Now we have CSI this and CSI that and all of this silly stuff. The human beings are sort of pushed aside and the science and technology runs the show.

    I’m turning into Granpa Simpson now: “You g@ys, stop that dancing on my lawn!”

  31. My guess is that FNC stayed on the murder trial because that’s where they had most of their weekend assets situated. While certainly an important, semi-historic story to report on and nothing wrong about a news network deciding too heavily cover it, it’s not that big of a story. I don’t think the broadcast networks interrupted regular programming to cover it, either.

    This murder trial belongs on Court TV or whatever it’s called now. This, too, is an important story worthy of being reported, but it’s not that big of a story and I refuse to watch this crap on FNC. I understand they have a lot of lawyers on their payroll and I’m ok with them covering it a little too much, but FNC sensationalised this thing and that’s just plain wrong.

    -Huckabee-

    Rep. Thaddeus McCotter rocks!

  32. To the limited extent that people take Media Matters seriously, this should just about kill it. Here’s some free advice: Wait for him to do something at Fox, don’t quote something he said six years ago.

    http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/sticking-up-for-ed-henry_b73179

  33. joeremi Says:

    http://www.mediaite.com/online/did-michele-bachmann-rebuff-chris-wallaces-apology-for-asking-if-shes-a-flake/

    She is so good at this. She seemed genuinely hurt by Wallace’s question; handled it masterfully; then handled this reporter’s question just as well.

    I saw a clip from Face The Nation on Hardball. She was asked about her infamous comment that Obama was “anti-American”. She batted it away a couple times by focusing on his performance as President, basically – and effectively – say “he’s clueless”. Then she directly confronted the statement with “sure I regret those words, I regret lots of things I’ve said in my life.”

    How the hell are you gonna argue with that? The rest of the field can go home, including Obama. The only politician who could beat her is Hillary Clinton.

  34. joeremi Says:

    In more Bachmann via Matthews news, he made an interesting editorial decision today. She misstated John Wayne’s birthplace as Waterloo, Iowa, when in reality it’s another town three hours away. Several sources have mentioned that John Wayne Gacy was born in Waterloo, and that she must have mixed up the names.

    I don’t believe she had any idea there was another John Wayne born in Iowa; she simply screwed up the actor’s hometown. Apparently Chris Matthews sees it the same way..he didn’t mention Gacy. Good for him.

  35. laura l Says:

    Good for Chris. This is one of the unending complaints that conservatives have, the double-standard on gaffes. Why would she possibly know that Gacy was born there, and what possible significance could that have, other than to impugn her intelligence?

  36. laura l Says:

    Carl Cameron on Fox just mentioned it, but he kinda has to.

  37. joeremi Says:

    Cenk did, too. Apparently Chris is the only adult in the room who bothered to ask, “Wait..who makes such a bizarrre mistake? Oh right. Nobody.” Both town names start with W. She mixed up the towns, not the people, you morons.

  38. lonestar77 Says:

    ” Apparently Chris is the only adult in the room”

    I just saw a pig fly.

  39. laura l Says:

    ^ And an elevator reach the top.

  40. laura l Says:

    Just watched a segment on AC about Bachmann. Was kind of expecting a hit-job, but the discussion of her was surprisingly positive. She may benefit most from the contrast between her and Palin. They commented on her Hannity-interview this evening, but also noted that she will do tough interviews. The gaffe was noted, but not dwelled-upon. It’s amazing what a difference answering questions and admitting your own mistakes can make.

  41. jackyboy Says:

    ^If only a certain governor was as willing…

  42. It’s seems wrong that they get compared so much, but it definitely favors Bachmann.

  43. ^It will be ironic that if Palin does indeed decide to run that it’ll be Michelle Bachmann, the so-called “Palin-lite”, who winds up ending her (Palin’s) career.

    I think head-to-head in a debate or contest that Bachmann can – and will – win out over the former Governor.

    That’ll send two or three tingles up somebody’s leg.

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