Cause and Effect…with Unintended Consequences…

This morning TVNewser put up an obvious plant of an item regarding FNC’s Fox and Friends First early ratings data. That in itself is not particularly newsworthy. Networks frequently try to get people to write about stories they want told and almost as frequently do they succeed in that task.

What makes this particular successful story pitch more noteworthy than others is the fact that someone from the likely network that pitched the story wrote a blog post bitching about it. In this case that would be one Greta Van Susteren who ran way off the FNC reservation today

Is someone out to trash CNN’s Erin Burnett? I spotted something that makes me suspicious. Why is her 7pm show being compared to a 5am show?

I read TVnewser. com (below) and it often has the stories first and they are informative. I like the site. I know that people – sources – feed it like every news organizations. I also know who does the anonymous feeding in this business since they leave fingerprints. (You learn that when you have been in the business almost 20 years!)

Like every news organizations, I am sure tvnewser is grateful to those who give it information. I like it when people give me tips. But with anonymous tips and suggestions, you have to be careful you are not being used for some other agenda. It happens that sources do it to you.

To answer the issues being raised by Van Susteren here…

1) Yes, someone is out to trash Burnett.
2) Yes, anonymous feeding in this business does tend to leave fingerprints (and I’m constantly amazed by PR departments who don’t want to show fingerprints feeding people stuff that’s just chock full of them).

In today’s example there are two fingerprints. The first is that it’s about Fox and Friends First. Neither CNN nor MSNBC want to promote FnF First and illustrate that FNC’s new show is beating them both handily out of the gate. The second fingerprint is more subtle and at the same time far more obvious; the Erin Burnett comparison. Only one network regularly likes to make these oddball non-same time slot comparisons. That network is FNC. We see it frequently used with Red Eye ratings notations and there are other shows FNC has used it on as well such as Fox News Sunday.

I went back nearly two and a half years through ICN’s blog posts looking for examples of non- 1:1 timeslot ratings comparisons. The only ones I found came from FOX. That doesn’t mean that there might be a non FOX related ratings comparison out there that I missed but it does pretty convincingly make the case that FOX rules the roost when it comes to making these silly ratings comparisons.

I smell a rat in the story below. Someone put something in tvnewser’s ear about CNN’s Erin Burnett that is unjust and TVnewser mistakenly took the bait. I spotted it immediately.

Yes, you do smell a rat Greta. There are two possibilities here. The first is Greta didn’t know it was FNC doing the leaking she takes such a dim view of. The second is far more intriguing; that Greta did realize this was an FNC leak to TVNewser and went ahead anyways to carp about it publicly. Which do I think is more likely? Well, I’ll answer it this way…Greta Van Susteren is no dummy.

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15 Responses to “Cause and Effect…with Unintended Consequences…”

  1. Maybe Greta leaked it and is talking out of the side of her mouth?

  2. missy5537 Says:

    Larry, you’re too much!

  3. Josh KaibCast Says:

    Greta always sticks up for female talent on other networks. I can remember her praising Candy Crowley, although they used to work together.

  4. Greta is a class act. I’m not a regular Fox viewer by any means but I do occasionally check out her show. She is smart, tough, and fair.

  5. By the way, someone should make a fair comparison of OutFront to its rightful competition. Turns out if you do that, her ratings still suck “by comparison.” I’ve watched Erin Burnett’s show and I don’t care for it. She was fine on Morning Joe but seeing her on CNN… I am really turned off. I check in to it every now and again, it’s still bad. She should have stayed at CNBC. CNN brought her in because they knew the 2012 election would be about jobs and the economy. The mistake was thinking she was an authoritative, relatable voice on economic issues. Really, I don’t think a wall street mouthpiece was what CNN needed to explain difficult, complicated, sensitive global economic issues to the masses. I have no interest in hearing Jamie Dimon’s or Vikram Pandit’s talking points via another semi-pretty face. She has as much middle-class touch as Mitt Romney.

  6. dwpender Says:

    How long do you guys think Erin Burnett has before CNN cans her?

  7. Honestly, with ratings like hers, I am surprised she is still there.

  8. I personally like Erin Burrnett’s show and it’s not her fault that her show is not doing well it’s CNN’s.

  9. ^ Mccollunsky, there may be some truth to that. I don’t know the behind the scenes enough to know who is most responsible for a show’s performance. It is more than just the on-air talent. But I also don’t believe that she is just great and CNN is just screwing it up. To what extent is the “talent” responsible for the show that bears their name? Before CNN, she had a history of putting her foot in her mouth and being remarkably out of touch. Honestly, some of it I found kinda funny. I distinctly remember the bra/gas mask scene on Morning Joe and I laughed my butt off. I even brushed off the tone-deaf remarks about banker bonuses, soaking the rich, and defending wall street as typical CNBC rhetoric. But, now she is on my CNN and I expect her to bring her A-game. Personally, I don’t think she did. Perhaps an hour a day is too much for me to take. Now, I think she comes across as an arrogant princess. Who’s fault is that? Some part of that has to be Burnett. Maybe getting her own show just went to her head.

  10. Josh KaibCast Says:

    Erin Burnett isn’t doing worse than John King, so they can’t exactly cancel her show unless they have a better replacement for it (which is doubtful).

  11. The only ones I found came from FOX.

    That’s probably because only FNC has non-prime time programmes with ratings high enough to beat its competitors’ prime time offerings. If CNN’s State Of The Union with Candy Crowley was beating Hannity & Hannity you know damn well CNN would be making that comparison all over the place.

  12. jackyboy Says:

    ^Too true.

  13. If CNN’s State Of The Union with Candy Crowley was beating Hannity & Hannity you know damn well CNN would be making that comparison all over the place.

    If State of the Union was pulling down Hannity Numbers CNN would be crowing about how well it’s doing on the weekend and pulverizing the competition…which is what Hannity level numbers would be doing to anyone…including FNC…at that time on Sunday morning. So, no…you’re wrong Al…CNN wouldn’t be wasting their time making the comparison you’re so sure they would be. The comparison is just too ludicrous to contemplate for CNN.

  14. Josh, you’re right. Her numbers are on par with King (slightly less but it has varied) but that is not the low bar CNN was wanting to stay at. King makes a great political correspondent but he doesn’t have enough personality for his own show – at least not at that time slot. CNN should replace both of them since neither show is performing very well. The viewership tanks between Blitzer and Cooper and that is not good.

  15. I hope someday soon CNN has a non-prime time show with ratings high enough to regularly beat a FNC prime time show. I’d love to see if they make the comparison.

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