Archive for May 31, 2012


Posted in CNN, FNC on May 31, 2012 by icn2

It looks like it wasn’t just TVNewser and Mediaite that got used over this Fox and Friends “rogue producer with the CNN offer” fiasco. Tonight this item from Dominic Patten went up on Here’s the money quote…

A source told Deadline that CNN contacted White after the video aired and offered to hire him at double his Fox News salary.

The implication here is that CNN is so desperate for buzz that they’ll pay though the nose to get someone who causes a stir. But there’s something fishy about this leak. It suggests a timeline that looks at best highly unlikely…and at worst totally impossible.

Consider the following:

– The video aired at 8:07 am ET
– The first article to appear online talking about this video and mentioning the CNN offer was posted by Mediaite’s Noah Rothman at 9:36am. Presumably that is ET. TVNewser didn’t have its article up with three sources saying White had a CNN offer on the table until 5:26pm ET.

That timeline means that between 8:07 am ET and 9:36 am ET, according to Deadline’s leak, the following things had to have happened during only 1 hour and 29 minutes:
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Not All Leaks are What They Seem…

Posted in CNN, FNC on May 31, 2012 by icn2

Last night I posted this on my Facebook page…

I’m really not getting why the fact that the Producer who was responsible the FnF Obama clip fiasco had his potential future job prospects at CNN splattered all over Mediaite and TVNewser. It was obviously a leak but the question is why leak it? What’s the motivation? Is it to make CNN look bad because they have an offer on the table for the guy? Or is to punish the guy by maybe making CNN think twice about the offer because of the controversy and yanking it? There’s gotta be a reason why this info, which had nothing at all to do with the story of the video, got such public prominence.

Well today yesterday’s “innocent tidbit” had its desired effect. The New York Times’ Jeremy W. Peters writes

The producer, Chris White, had been offered a job by CNN before the video was broadcast. But on Thursday, a CNN spokeswoman said that the network would not be hiring him.

Mr. White’s fate at Fox News is unclear.

Congratulations to TVNewser and Mediaite for being played so expertly. Suckers. You should have known something was up when that total non-sequitur about White’s CNN plans got dumped in your lap.

Turner CEO Weighs in on CNN Ratings Issues…

Posted in CNN on May 31, 2012 by icn2

Broadcasting & Cable’s John Lafayette chronicles Turner CEO Phil Kent’s appearance at the Nomura U.S. Media & Telecom Summit today…

Kent said CNN’s current primetime lineup still has “very high potential.” He called Anderson Cooper a television news star who “at this moment is not getting a star’s ratings and that’s because of lead-ins.”

But Kent also offered support for Erin Burnett and Piers Morgan, whose shows lead in to Coopers’.

He calls Burnett “a great get for us,” but said “that show should be doing better. I think that show can do better. I think it’s just a question of a terrific talent with the right staff around her playing as much to her strengths as possible.”

Kent also said the company believes strongly in Morgan, who replaced CNN mainstay Larry King. “I think he’s a tremendous interviewer,” he said, adding that “it seems to be that when he is interviewing people that are in the news in a meaningful way, the show works better than a typical celebrity interview. I don’t really know what to make of that yet.”

Of the rest of CNN’s lineup, “we have some other shows that probably need to be replaced. This is an execution issue and to me, this is TV 101.”

Why CNN is Really Stuck This Time…

Posted in CNN on May 31, 2012 by icn2

When the 2012 Q1 ratings came out for CNN and it was revealed that its new morning shows had hit greater than 10 year lows, I called it a crisis moment.

In ratings terms it’s not a necessarily disaster but in PR terms it is an unmitigated disaster. CNN will publicly make the case that this is an ongoing process and that the network is committed to both Early Start and Starting Point. There is some truth to this because CNN made a big public display by attaching VP and Managing Editor Mark Whitaker’s name so prominently to these launches so any admission of trouble would immediately be tracked back to Whitaker because these two shows, particularly Starting Point, were his projects.

But it’s still a PR disaster for CNN, long term commitment or not, precisely because nobody was expecting the numbers to be worse now than four months ago. And breaking a 10 year history barrier? You just can’t spin your way out of that. Media writers like nice neat pithy headlines that are easy to disseminate and nothing could be pithier or easier to disseminate than “CNN breaks 10 year low in the morning”.

I had thought that this would be as bad as it could get for CNN. Smashing through 10 year ratings low barriers doesn’t happen very often; it’s the exception and not the rule. Things couldn’t possibly get much worse.

So imagine my surprise to read about CNN’s primetime May ratings yesterday where not only did Prime smash through its own 10 year low barrier for May but both OutFront and Piers Morgan Tonight hit all time recorded lows in both Total Viewers and the Demo.

My mind immediately raced to an infamous scene from “Spinal Tap”
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Fox and Friends: Following in Hardball’s Footsteps?

Posted in FNC, MSNBC on May 31, 2012 by icn2

The Atlantic Wire’s John Hudson writes that Fox and Friends wasn’t the first cable news show this year to produce a slick collection of bits aimed against a presidential candidate…

The crux of media complaints was that airing GOP ads is one thing but for a news network to produce and broadcast its own partisan pieces dangerously shifts its role from “journalism to advocacy,” as Mediaite’s Noah Rothman put it. By the same standard, however, one would have to argue that MSNBC is guilty of the same crime.

In late February, the left-leaning network aired a slickly-produced hit piece on Mitt Romney titled “Mitt: Better Off Mute” that aired on the nightly cable show Hardball with Chris Matthews and Sunday morning talk show The Chris Matthews Show, which typically airs on NBC affiliates and their sister stations. The video lampoons Romney’s habit of gaffing whenever he opens his mouth, and plays off the theme of the Oscar-winning film The Artist in which a silent film star struggles to adapt to films with sound.

The video latches onto the idea that, by appearance, Romney looks presidential and competent but is actually a buffoonish dunce. “Much like the perfect silent picture star whose career was thwarted by the emergence of sound in cinema, Mitt Romney has stumbled when he’s had to open his mouth,” reads the film’s YouTube description. Some might argue that the video is shorter in length (it’s a little over one-minute) and far less savage with its subject, but then we’re getting into gradations, which is a factor in all political advertising. For instance, the way the segment humorously displays the build-up of political hype surrounding Romney only to show him fail, resembles the satirical “Obama is cool” ads produced by GOP operative Karl Rove.

Free for All: 05/31/12

Posted in Free For All on May 31, 2012 by icn2

What’s on your mind?