Archive for the CNN Category

Jeff Zucker Interview…

Posted in CNN on February 17, 2015 by icn2

The Wrap’s Jordan Chariton interviews Jeff Zucker…

And CNN’s up big: 59 percent in viewers and 62 percent in the coveted 25-54 demo during the day; 35 percent in viewers and 50 percent in the demo in primetime (Monday-Sunday).

The formula: riding the coattails of breaking news — in many cases stretching that news far beyond its natural life cycle — mixed with a heap of original series. When Zucker deployed the latter, spearheaded by Anthony Bourdain, John Walsh and Morgan Spurlock, media critics howled he was stomping the news right out of the organization most trusted for it.

You can give Zucker credit for hiring Walsh but he wasn’t part of the hiring process for Bourdain or Spurlock. That was spearheaded by Mark Whitaker under a Jim Walton CNN Worldwide. Zucker almost certainly shaped to some degree how those two integrated with CNN so we can’t say he doesn’t deserve some credit there. But media writers need to remember that CNN’s move to taped programming preceded Zucker’s arrival.

Are you concerned with pushing away longtime CNN viewers who want all the news on CNN TV?

Good question, but wrong. Because what’s actually increased at CNN is the length of tune-in of our viewers, meaning that those viewers are actually watching for a longer length of time each time they come. So, we’re not alienating those viewers; actually by giving them what they’re interested in and more of it, they’re staying longer. That criticism from media critics — it may be a media criticism — but actually has been completely the opposite for our viewers. And our viewers have actually completely responded to it, and our length of tune-in has actually increased.

That answer is a bit of a dodge on the original question. Tune-in length does not automatically equate with airing “all the news”. CNN under Zucker has gone wall to wall more often on more stories but at the expense of covering more stories. This was underscored by the return of the hated “crawl”. Read the crawl on CNN sometime. Then see how many of those stories get mentioned on CNN’s air.

In previous years, critics said CNN was stuck in the 20th century of news, without a real identity in the increasingly partisan news world. What’s your identity now?

News. New. I believe we have reestablished the brand identity that this is the place for news. When the Paris terror attacks happen, when war breaks out in Ukraine, when unrest happens in Ferguson, people know that CNN is the place to come. News is our brand, and I think we’re doing more news in the morning, we’re doing more news all day, we’re doing news. We’ve added in the last year, five hours of additional news by doing news from 12 midnight to 5 a.m., so there’s more news on the network, so that has helped. We are basically doing live news 22 out of 24 hours a day. Everyone said we were getting out of news. We doubled-down on news.

Also a bit of a dodge of the original question. The criticism, which I didn’t think was ever well founded, was that CNN wasn’t adapting to the ideological landscape by sticking with news more often than partisan hackery. Zucker says that CNN has re-established its news brand. I don’t think it ever went away to begin with. Zucker’s argument is now that the brand has been re-established people identify it with recent breaking news events. I don’t think that ever went away either. It’s just that we have had more of those types of events the past couple years than we had the previous five or six.

Furthermore, Zucker trumpets adding overnight news in the past year. What this ignores is that last year CNN added that block and then took it away after MH370 cooled off only to bring it back when news started heating up again. If the news cycle starts cooling down again I would not at all be surprised to see overnight news disappear yet again.

As your numbers go up, why has Fox and MSNBC’s numbers gone down?

Listen, we should only have Fox News’ numbers. We’d be thrilled to have Fox’s numbers, and they deserve a lot of credit. With regards to MSNBC, I can’t speak to why they’ve declined dramatically — we’re just focused on what we’re doing here now.
*CNN up 51 percent, Fox News up 5 percent in all-important primetime news demo while MSNBC is down 45 percent for 2015

Zucker is playing it smart here. He’s not engaging either FNC or MSNBC with bulletin board material.

Unintended Consequences…

Posted in CNN on February 11, 2015 by icn2

Remember that announcement a month ago about CNN and Snapchat? Well it seems that the “Discover” platform on which Snapchat is carrying that network’s feed as well as many others is causing some grief for Android users…

In the screenshot above, you can see Snapchat having used over 40MB in the foreground (while the app was open) and a little more than 250MB in the background. In a span of a week, the app burned through a quarter of a gigabyte.

An XDA Developers post claims that an update delivered on January 27th is to blame. It introduced a Discover page that linked to news feeds from various sources such as CNN, National Geographic, and People. Users complained about the app quickly draining battery life, causing crashes, and sucking up background data.

Fortunately you can prevent Snapchat from running in the background. Just go to Data Usage under your phone’s settings menu and look for Snapchat. If it’s giving you problems, you should see it right at the top of the list of apps. Tap it and select the Restrict Background data option.

CNN’s Quiz Show…

Posted in CNN on February 9, 2015 by icn2

TKNN has details on CNN’s upcoming quiz show…

CNN has unveiled two new promos for its Presidents Day quiz game, appropriately titled CNN Quiz Show. There is the above video plus another, similar video that is running on CNN airwaves. A few weeks ago, CNN announced the game show with few details except that Anderson Cooper would be hosting and it would be airing on Presidents Day. We now know that CNN anchors will be the contestants in a team format. The teams will also be playing for a charity. The three teams are:

Jake Tapper and Alisyn Camerota who are playing for Homes for Our Troops which builds special houses for injured veterans.
John Berman and Erin Burnett
Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon

The quiz show is being labeled as the Presidents Day edition, allowing for more quiz shows to possibly occur. This current iteration is focusing on the Presidents of the United States.

Not Gone, Not Forgotten…

Posted in CNN on February 6, 2015 by icn2

In a must read, Michael Kinsley writes in Vanity Fair about Fareed Zakaria’s plagiarism controversy…(via J$)

Somewhere between plagiarism and homage, there is a line. Fareed stepped over it. For example, way back in 1998, he wrote an article for Slate about the glories of the martini. American Heritage magazine had run an article on the same subject the previous year, by Max Rudin. Rudin wrote that the martini “had acquired formal perfection, a glamorous mystique.” He also noted that Franklin D. Roosevelt “liked his with a teaspoon of olive brine.” In his own article, Fareed wrote that the martini had “acquired an air of mystery and glamour” and then noted that F.D.R. “added to the standard recipes”—can you guess? right!—“one teaspoon of olive brine.”

In a memo to me, Fareed makes a vigorous and often persuasive defense of himself. Unfortunately, CNN won’t let it be quoted. When he acknowledged making a mistake, at the time of his suspension, he didn’t just use the classic Nixonian passive-voice evasive formula, “Mistakes were made.” However, conscious changes in wording like the ones about the martini are not “mistakes” in the sense of something inadvertent or accidental. Fareed made these little changes in order to disguise his borrowing. His pursuers cite many examples (including this one).

Ok…stop there. CNN blocked Kinsley from quoting Zakaria defending himself? Why on earth would they want to do that? Worse, why would they do that when the alternative is to have Kinsley point out that they blocked him from quoting it. If there’s no crime, why try to cover it up? CNN makes Zakaria look like they and he have something to hide. But this is par for the course for this network. Throughout the Zakaria mess CNN has made one horrendous PR move after another.

This doesn’t let Fareed off the hook. Clearly there’s a spectrum, with Fareed at one end and, oh, the Congressional Record at the other. He went too far. Far too far. I would love to be able to say that Fareed is being penalized for doing what everybody does. That’s what he believes about some of these episodes, I think. But when you’re making points—one, two, three—that another writer has made, and in the exact same order, though with different exact words, you’re not just participating in a great swap meet of ideas in which nobody owns anything. You are claiming ownership of ideas that aren’t your own. That’s not a “mistake.” That’s on purpose.

I have e-mailed back and forth with Fareed about all of this, but on instructions from his bosses at CNN, anything about plagiarism is strictly off the record. In a controversy about attribution, the one person he can’t cite is himself. He is permitted to say only the following: “I will leave it to viewers and readers to make their own decisions. I’m fully focused on putting out the best work I can.”

And the stonewalling continues and at the worst possible time. With NBC in total damage control mode over Brian Williams, media writers everywhere are on the lookout for media transgressions as a hook or tie in to the Williams fiasco…going Meta if you will. Some will no doubt bring up Lara Logan. Others will bring up Zakaria. CNN will never be able to shake this as long as it maintains radio silence on all things Fareed.

The Indefensible…

Posted in CNN on February 3, 2015 by icn2

The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove makes a mealy mouthed defense of Don Lemon…

Don Lemon relentlessly courts controversy whether it’s his reporting from Ferguson, or driving around in his ‘Blizzardmobile.’ Is his natural home Fox News, rather than CNN?

This is a strawman issue. It isn’t about whether Don Lemon courts controversy or not. Most anchors will get embroiled in controversy at one point in their careers…some more than once. No, this is about whether Lemon is a loose cannon who shoots from the hip yet still manages to wing himself and whether the dubious spectacles he’s known for overshadow anything positive he does and all this reflects badly upon his network.

Last week Lemon rose above (or, many would say, dived below) the media morass by roving the barren, snow-dusted streets of Manhattan while anchoring his 10 p.m. weeknight show, CNN Tonight, in his “Blizzardmobile”—never mind that there was no blizzard in New York City, unless one counts the blizzard of ridicule heaped upon Lemon for his wacky stunt.

As far as Don’s “Lemon-isms” go, this one doesn’t even qualify. It was orchestrated by CNN’s producers, not Lemon. And Lemon wasn’t the only CNN reporter running around in a vehicle. But, even though it doesn’t apply, it got shoe-horned into an already established pattern; a pattern best characterized as “put brain into park, then act” which is what he is increasingly becoming typecast for.

Consider for a moment what has transpired for Lemon in less than a year:
Continue reading

Ad Wars…

Posted in CNN, MSNBC on February 2, 2015 by icn2

I know I’m late to this but I wanted to make a couple of points about Joe Concha’s article on Mediaite regarding last week’s CNN full page ad taking aim at Morning Joe’s ratings…

In the meantime, the “why” question around the impetus behind the ad is answered on several levels: Morning Joe threw the first punch with a full-page ad of their own last month. And then Joe‘s executive producer made it personal via publicly celebrating people losing their jobs and bringing schadenfreude down to a whole new level. Boosting morale and going on the offensive played a role as well.

Let’s not overlook the obvious though. While all of the above may have been motivating factors in targeting the ad at Morning Joe, CNN very well probably would have taken out some kind of ad regardless because CNN just shuffled its anchor rotation on New Day and debuted a new home for Morning Express and the network would have wanted to build off of both of those events and positive ratings information is frequently used by networks to generate amplify short term buzz.

What makes this ad noteworthy is that it makes a break with CNN’s past. This is the kind of ad that the CNN of ten years ago would never mount regardless of how aggrieved they may have felt. It’s not the way Time Warner liked to do things and as of just 8 years ago it was understood by CNN staffers that this kind of message was not the sort of thing a Time Warner organization should do. That much was made clear to me directly back then.

But that was Jim Walton’s CNN. This is Jeff Zucker’s CNN. With a new sheriff comes new rules.

It appears Fox News wasn’t mentioned because the #1 network wasn’t the focus.

Obviously. But don’t think FNC PR isn’t noticing this more confrontational CNN and is taking notes.

More CNN Storm Silliness…

Posted in CNN on February 2, 2015 by icn2

The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple writes about CNN once again having a reporter drive around in a snowstorm…to show how dangerous it is to drive in a snowstorm.

Today there’s a new storm to cover, and again Boston is in the cross hairs. To show readers what serious visibility and driving difficulties have resulted from the storm, CNN again took to the highways. In a just-concluded segment, CNN correspondent Brian Todd reported on “white-out conditions” around Lawrence, Mass. Addressing CNN host Carol Costello, Todd went from a stand-up in the midst of the storm to the passenger seat of a car equipped with a CNN dashboard camera.

Up next: CNN will have a reporter chop off one of their fingers cutting vegetables to show how dangerous it can be to cut vegetables…

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