Archive for the CNN Category

Byers vs. Scarborough…

Posted in CNN, MSNBC on February 12, 2016 by icn2

Mediaite’s Joe Concha writes about a Dylan Byers article about Joe Scarborough…

There are nothingburgers in this business served up as yuge entrees of behind-the-scenes insight.

And then there was the whole bowl of wrong CNN’s Dylan Byers just cooked up today in his column on the relationship between Joe Scarborough and Donald Trump for CNN Money.

To review, Byers claims through his unnamed sources at 30 Rock that Scarborough’s cozy relationship with the GOP frontrunner is causing “increasing discomfort” over at MSNBC. One big nugget offered up by Byers’ reporting is that Scarborough has actually stayed at a Trump resort in Palm Beach, Florida during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays in the past. Talk about cheap, pointless and a clear need for a chiropractor given all that stretching on the writer’s part: Trump owns dozens of properties in cities and resort towns around the world.

So is Byers actually insinuating that this revelation equals some kind of quid-pro-quo between Trump — who is worth billions and doesn’t exactly need Scarborough’s guest fees to survive — and Scarborough, who was vacationing with his family, has some cash to spend given the millions he earns every year, and chose a top-ranked resort in his home state?

This is complicated. For one thing Byers and Scarborough got into a Twitter spat earlier in the week regarding Byers’ reporting. So you have to view today’s article through that prism. And Concha and Byers have a history too with Concha being critical of Byers, not without ample justification in my view, so it’s impossible to not view Concha’s take down with that in mind.

That said, on the stories Byers serves up to question Scarborough’s position vis a vis Trump, I find the argument to be some pretty weak sauce. There’s not much there to justify the argument that Scarborough is compromised.

Where I do think Concha gives Byers short shrift is on the notion that some employees at MSNBC are looking at Scarborough sideways over Trump. I think there probably are, just like there are no doubt CNN employees that now look at Fareed Zakaria sideways since his plagiarism accusations surfaced. The question is who at MSNBC is looking at Scarborough sideways and just how high up are they? If it’s just run of the mill talent and staffers but not the execs, this story is indeed a nothingburger. But we don’t know that level of detail so it’s impossible to judge.

What I don’t find persuasive at all is the idea that this is some sort of CNN hatchet job at a competitor. CNN isn’t the New York Post. Yes, there are fundamental optics issues that are ripe for exploitation for CNN to have a media team that covers its competition and NBC and Scarborough are both playing that up because it’s such an obvious counterattack approach to take. You question your critic’s motivation without having to address the story directly. It’s such an easy line of attack to take. And Byers is an easy target because of past transgressions. But that doesn’t make it a valid line of attack given the lack of available evidence that points to such a motivation.

CNN Layoffs…

Posted in CNN on February 10, 2016 by icn2

CNN Commentary notes that the network just laid off a bunch of people at its International Desk…

Deborah Rayner, the SVP of international newsgathering for CNN, broke some painful news to the staffers of the international desk on Monday, according to sources.

According to our sources, the entire international desk based in Atlanta was laid off and encouraged to apply for new jobs and positions. The international desk is tasked with coordinating the network’s newsgathering and to work with its international correspondents.

This move is seen as part of the network’s restructuring, and some of the work is expected to be taken up by employees out of the network’s London and Hong Kong bureaus.

Yes, CNN Has Gone Off The Countdown Clock Rails…

Posted in CNN on February 10, 2016 by icn2

New Republic’s Alex Shepard is the latest to note CNN’s Countdown Clock addiction…

Yesterday, CNN ran a countdown clock to the start of today’s New Hampshire primary. This morning, CNN ran a countdown clock to the start of its coverage of said primary, at 4pm. At 4pm, CNN ran a countdown clock to when the first exit polls would come in, at 5pm. At 5pm, CNN ran a countdown clock to when the first polls would close, at 7pm. At 7pm, it ran a countdown clock to when all polls would close, at 8pm. At 8pm, it will probably start a countdown clock to the South Carolina primary.

The worst thing about all of these clocks is that none of them have been particularly accurate! Yes, CNN’s coverage did begin at 4pm, but exit polls didn’t come in until well after 5pm, and as of 7:30pm, we still haven’t seen any primary results, which CNN has been teasing for hours. I would be upset that the countdown clocks haven’t been accurate, except the clocks are so clearly meaningless—though in an almost profound, Beckett-ian sort of way—that it doesn’t matter, because CNN’s endless countdown clocks are proof that nothing matters in this cold, senseless universe.

Everyone knows I have a long time hatred for CNN’s countdown clock overuse. I’ve been squawking on Twitter about it for months. Now others are jumping on the network.

Don’t Give Trump The Satisfaction…

Posted in CNN, FNC, MSNBC on January 27, 2016 by icn2

So it appears as of this writing that Trump is going to schedule an event during the timeframe that FNC is airing its now Trump-less GOP debate. And of course he’s openly courting other networks to carry it.

They shouldn’t…at least not live. Don’t give Trump the satisfaction of dividing and conquering the networks. I fully expect CNN to not adhere to this because of how it swooped in and grabbed NBC’s GOP debate. MSNBC will probably carry it too.

They shouldn’t for the simple reason that it could happen to them at some point down the road if they allow for this precedent to be set. They should boycott Trump’s speech. Or at the very least, they should air it tape delayed until after the FNC GOP debate is over.

Not that I’m expecting this to happen. I’m no fool. Ratings and the possibility of revenue enhancement will win out over network solidarity. But they’re just shooting themselves in the foot in the long run.

So Much For Media Unity…

Posted in CNN on January 18, 2016 by icn2

Variety’s Alex Stedman writes about CNN swooping in and taking NBC’s lost GOP debate slot. Shame…

CNN is replacing NBC News as the host of the Republican National Committee’s Super Tuesday debate in February, it was announced on Monday.

“The Republican National Committee has decided to move forward without NBC’s participation in our February debate in Houston, Texas. The RNC has awarded the debate to CNN, who will broadcast it on Thursday, February 25th in Houston at a location to be decided,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement released by CNN.

CNN was opportunistic when it shouldn’t have been. CNN should have refused the debate because it sets a bad precedent where political parties can shop their debates just to punish networks regardless of the validity of the “crime”.

NBC did nothing wrong here. CNBC did. NBC News does not have oversight of CNBC. Even the original GOP statement on dumping NBC acknowledged this point.

All the networks should have stood firm in supporting NBC given the circumstances (NBC being punished for something it had no part of). Now, because CNN chose to put money ahead of the GOP’s childish tactics, a precedent has been established. The political parties now know they can divide and conquer the networks because the GOP just successfully did that very thing. Shame.

CNN’s Rand Paul Exemption…

Posted in CNN on December 14, 2015 by icn2

Mediaite’s Alex Griswold pens a smart article on the contortions CNN made to get Rand Paul in its main debate tomorrow night…

So how did Paul end up on the main stage? Simple: he probably cried his way in.

The first clue was when CNN pushed back its announcement of the debate lineup from 9 AM Sunday to noon. The official line was because a Fox News poll was released at the same time showing Paul with good numbers. But again, the math was simple; everyone went into Sunday knowing Paul needed to poll at 6 percent in the Fox poll in order to make the debate.

But the Paul campaign has been extremely vocal in kicking up a huge fuss ever since it first became clear that he would miss the debate requisites. “He has over 400 fully operational grassroots groups, and his campaign and related entities have raised $22 million for this race. It is simply not consistent with facts to attempt to force the campaign off of the main debate stage,” the campaign argued.

CNN claims: “Paul, who was in danger of being removed from the main stage, was saved at the 11th hour by showing viability in Iowa in a Fox News poll released Sunday morning,” the CNN report reads. Note what CNN doesn’t say, that the viability shown in the Fox News poll was enough to put Paul over the 4 percent requirement (it wasn’t).

The following paragraph highlights the real issue: “‘In the light of new polling released this morning and in the spirit of being as inclusive as possible, CNN has decided to include Sen. Rand Paul in the prime time debate,’ a CNN spokeswoman said.”

Now call me crazy, but if Paul had actually earned his way on the debate stage, why is CNN citing “the spirit of being… inclusive,” why did they have to “decide” to include him, and why did they feel a need to issue a statement?

Because they got caught violating their own debate participation rules?

Jeff Zucker Speaks…

Posted in CNN on December 1, 2015 by icn2

The Wrap’s Jordan Chariton writes about a CNN Town Hall meeting this morning…

CNN president Jeff Zucker on Tuesday admitted it was a “mistake” to publish a controversial story on the network’s website Monday calling slain Baltimore resident Freddie Gray “the son of an illiterate heroin addict.”

“This was a mistake,” Zucker said at a town hall event for staffers, according to a transcript the network provided to TheWrap. “The digital team removed it last night and inserted an editors note to be completely transparent. The editorial intent as the digital team has laid it out to me was to make clear he had a difficult upbringing. But clearly it did not come across that way when it was written and published. We recognize that. It did not work and we removed it. And were transparent about that. That was a mistake.”

And then there’s this…

Though a network insider who observed the town hall event described Zucker’s comments as an apology and his behavior as conciliatory, a CNN spokesperson disputed that characterization: “He never used the word ‘apology,’ nor any word that evokes apology.”

I’ll buy that it wasn’t an apology but an admission of error. Besides if it was an apology it was directed to the wrong audience. An apology would be directed publicly in the form of a statement. This wasn’t that at all.


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