Archive for the CNN Category

Carol Costello Moves From CNN to HLN…

Posted in CNN, HLN on January 30, 2017 by icn2

Ever since I discovered last year that Carol Costello’s husband had to move to the west coast for work, I have been waiting for the other shoe to drop and today it dropped. Costello announced on the air that she would be leaving CNN U.S. for a anchor role for a HLN show originating out of L.A.

“I have lived apart from my husband for many years,” Costello said at the end of her show today, “but he was always close by because he also lived on the east coast. But last year my husband snagged a fantastic job in Los Angeles, and I kind of miss him,” she said.”

Say no more. But there is a price to pay…

Costello goes from a network with incredible stability to one which has now eclipsed MSNBC circa 1998-2003 as the network with most glaring reboots since it blew up the CNN Headline News format. The only person there who is golden is Robin Meade. Everyone else isn’t safe…and you can add Costello to that list.

Jeff Zucker issued a statement on this news and said a few nice things about the 15 year veteran…

As many of you may have just heard, Carol Costello announced that her last day on Newsroom will be this Friday. While we’ll miss her unmistakable reporting, calming presence on the air, big smile and even bigger laugh on CNN, I’m happy to say she isn’t going far — she’ll be staying in the family and joining HLN in Los Angeles.

During her more than 15 years with us, Carol has been at the forefront of some of the world’s most significant news stories, including the Boston bombing, Pope Francis’ historic visit and our coverage of the Iraq war. She is all heart and grace, and the epitome of a seasoned journalist, making her the perfect fit to join HLN’s powerful bench of anchors.

Carol’s decision to leave CNN was a personal one. After many years balancing a long-distance marriage with her demanding career, she is cashing in her miles and permanently relocating to the west coast. Ken Jautz will be sharing more details about her new LA-based show in the coming weeks.

It’s with infinite gratitude that I thank Carol for being a friend to me, and an influential voice that has helped grow CNN and contribute to our success.

Please join Ken and me in congratulating Carol on this great new role.

Costello’s departure leaves a hole for which there is no clear unambiguous front runner to take over. I could think of half a dozen people who could get it…and still miss the actual choice. It’s pretty wide open.

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?

Posted in CNN on January 19, 2017 by icn2

The New York Post’s Daniel Harper breaks some extremely head scratching CNN news…

Valerie Jarrett’s daughter quietly joined CNN in September as a reporter in the network’s Washington bureau.

She came to CNN with no experience in journalism. But the Harvard educated lawyer defended companies and individuals against the Justice Department as a private litigator in Chicago.

Laura married fellow Harvard law grad Tony Balkissoon in 2012 at a Chicago ceremony attended by President Obama, her mom’s boss.

What

the

hell?

This is bad on two fronts, both of which make me question CNN’s standards.

First, CNN hired Jarrett’s daughter while Jarrett was still working for Obama. That should never have happened. If Obama had been out of office when the hire took place it the egregiousness of the hire would have been much less (though still a huge issue for ideologues).

Second, and even more troubling…is she has almost no journalism experience. And she’s writing about Trump’s ethics issues according to The Hill’s Joe Concha?

This has all the fingerprints of Jeff Zucker who seems to love hiring children of political figures with zero experience in the field. He grabbed Jenna Bush Hager and Chelsea Clinton for NBC. Now he’s grabbing Laura Jarrett for CNN.

Jeff Zucker Interview…

Posted in CNN on January 18, 2017 by icn2

New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman interviews Jeff Zucker. Most of it covers familiar well worn territory concerning the election and Trump. But there were a few bits that had me interested…

I noticed that Trump is sitting down with Fox & Friends. And in recent days, he’s given interviews to The Wall Street Journal and the Times of London, both Murdoch papers. What do you think of Trump’s alliance with Murdoch?

I think you’re trying to goad me here. But you’ve made the right observation. Look, I don’t think it’s any coincidence that friendly outlets have been the ones that have ended up with the interviews with Donald Trump. Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, the Times of London — the fact that they’re all Rupert’s publications — I don’t think it’s any coincidence those are the outlets that ended up with the interviews.

It was reported that MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski were at Mar-a-Lago on New Year’s Eve. They said it was because they were trying to get an interview with Trump. Was it appropriate for journalists to attend the president-elect’s private party?

I think in that case, optically, it would have been a lot better to have just made a phone call and ask for the interview.

Shots fired…and will probably be returned in short order…

You had the biggest night in cable-news history on Election Night, 13 million viewers. What’s your plan to maintain ratings in 2017?

Our viewership continues to be significantly higher than it was a year ago and frankly much higher than we expected it to be. There’s been no evidence of any falloff at all. I think people are coming to us because they know we’ll report both sides of the story. We expected we’d be down 25 percent from last year because you had all the election nights, debates, and conventions, but if the first three weeks of this year are any indication, I’m not so sure it will be down that much.

Let’s wait a quarter or two and see. I still expect the numbers to tail off though the way the press covers Trump and the way Trump plays the press and all the hostility between the two will probably keep the numbers higher than they would be for any other incoming administration that doesn’t have to deal with a raging crisis.

Conflict Of Interest? Not so fast…

Posted in CNN on December 9, 2016 by icn2

The Hill’s Joe Concha opines about an alleged conflict of interest on CNN’s hands…

And he truly is CNN’s “it” guy right now — he’s landing interviews everywhere, from “The Daily Show” to Rolling Stone.

His commentaries — such as his blaming Donald Trump’s stunning victory on a “whitelash” of voters — go viral more than those of most network personalities lately.

But it was revealed on Thursday via a Washington Free Beacon report that Jones is also running a PR firm called Megaphone Strategies that is openly courting Electoral College electors in states across the country to not cast their vote for Trump on Dec. 19.

Before we go any further…what are we defining as a conflict of interest here? That CNN has a commentator who has a vested interest in the goings on in D.C. or have skin in some cause?

If we go by that standard, you’d have to disqualify most of the commentators on cable news today…starting with Karl Rove.

Now, while I’m all for tossing these guys (and gals) out on their ears and putting the “news” back in cable news…it’s not gonna happen.

But is it a conflict of interest for CNN? No. Cable news regularly brings on people of Van Jones’ ilk. What sets Van Jones apart, and makes the scrutiny a little stricter, is the fact CNN gave him what amounts to a live pilot. But that doesn’t make CNN any different from NBC News having Nicolle Wallace interview Jeb Bush or FNC using Tucker Carlson to host a show while he killed off Daily Caller articles critical of said network. Both are bigger conflicts of interest than whatever has ensnared Van Jones.

But that doesn’t stop Concha from unwisely going out on a long thin branch…

So is Jones now as compromised as Brazile was? And if so, what does CNN do about it?

Seriously? You’re going to compare Van Jones fronting a PR firm advocating a particular course of action…and being totally out in the open about it…to Brazile deliberately using back channels to pass on a debate question for a CNN debate to the Clinton campaign? The two could not be more dissimilar.

Is Van Jones conflicted? No. He blasts Trump on CNN and he runs a PR firm that currently is trying to undermine Trump’s chances of getting enough electors to vote for him. He’s being consistent. He’s not pretending to be something other than what he is. Furthermore, as Concha notes at the bottom, his PR firm says Van Jones plays no active role in the very issue he’s being taken to task over.

Does CNN have a disclosure issue? Technically, yes. But so does every other cable news channel in properly disclosing all the ties their analysts have. Either clean them all up or leave CNN alone.

The one question Concha doesn’t ask, and should have, is whether Van Jones is suitable material for fronting CNN specials? On that score he is definitely not. Not as long as he keeps his hands in the game.

As far as I’m concerned that’s CNN’s real problem; their poor judgement in putting a political commentator in the role of show host. That’s not journalism. It’s advocacy…at least for as long as Van Jones is still being primarily used by CNN for his opinion.

Megyn Kelly to CNN Would Be A Risk For Both

Posted in CNN, FNC on December 3, 2016 by icn2

This post comes a little late but my mom is in the hospital with a coronary condition so I have not had the time to write. 

A couple of days ago Drudge posted a story that Jeff Zucker was going all out to poach Megyn Kelly from FNC. The motivation behind the leaking of this to Drudge would be juicy indeed. Which camp did the deed and why?

But I am instead going to write about why this would probably be a bad deal for both, but for vastly different reasons.

For CNN the risks and unknowns are greater than they are for Kelly. In order…

  • According to Drudge, Zucker can’t afford to outbid Fox so instead he is trying to entice Kelly by offering a very wide greater than CNN networks platform and a huge promotion campaign. CNN has a decidedly mixed record on this score. The network threw oodles of money behind a campaign to promote Anderson Cooper; a campaign which failed to deliver the ratings the network hoped for and drew much ridicule for the alleged cost.
  • Zucker is taking a bigger risk than necessary if he does things this way. Despite all the glamour shots, all the glowing articles, all the off network promotional appearances, all the hype (Some of it deserved. Some not)…the fact is it is a huge unknown whether Megyn Kelly’s FNC star power transfers off that network. Given the lackluster ratings her Fox broadcast prime time special turned in, this is also a question Fox may be asking itself. The stigma of partisan cable news is very powerful and makes it tough to broaden one’s profile to other less ideological platforms (see: Maddow, Rachel).
  • But even if it did transfer, the chances CNN could come anywhere close to getting the ratings FNC gets with Kelly are almost nil. CNN will almost certainly be overpaying for Kelly and not getting the payoff FNC gets.
  • Zucker’s  instincts regarding talent is checkered at best. For every winning move he has made, there have been two or three which have detonated spectacularly in his face. Alexis Glick being forced down the Today Show’s throat. Going all in on Kate Bolduan and Chris Cuomo because of their on air chemistry only to quietly sever that tie when it was obvious he was very very wrong.
  • Some could see this as a move to weaken FNC. It is true that Kelly is the prime time heir apparent to O’Reilly who has maybe a couple of TV years left in him so losing both could cause trouble. But this is predicated on the notion that FNC can’t adjust. As we have seen with Tucker Carlson positively flourishing in Greta Van Susteren’s  old timeslot, an apparent loss is not necessarily a loss.
  • If CNN comes within a half of FNC’s offer, that will put more than a few CNN telents’ noses out of joint.With justification.

For Kelly the risks are potentially just as high as CNN but for vastly different reasons.

  • She will not make as much money as she could at FNC. Exposure is nice but salary is the biggest barometer of stature in this industry.
  • No matter how much cross platform exposure Zucker throws Kelly’s way, the unavoidable fact is Zucker has made the network one where there is no leader. No star. No anchor. Instead it is a team of rotating cogs that can be swiped in and out as needed. There is no true pecking order among the top talent. Anyone can dominate at any time given the situation. It isn’t Anderson Cooper’s network. Nor is it Wolf Blitzer’s, Don Lemon’s, Jake Tapper’s, or anyone else’s. That especially includes Megyn Kelly who as the new kid on the block would have to prove herself all over again to justify the prominence Zucker would force down the viewer’s throat. At FNC she could become the face of the  network once O’Reilly is gone. At CNN she will always be one of a crowd.

Kelly would be better off at a broadcast network than she would at CNN, though not do as well as she would staying at FNC. CNN will likely never get the intended payoff it hopes for by luring her over. This is not a great deal for either.

CNN vs. Morning Joe…

Posted in CNN, MSNBC on October 20, 2016 by icn2

In the latest in a long running battle, CNN’s Dylan Byers takes aim at Morning Joe yet again for the “favorable” coverage it gave Donald Trump…

Scarborough provided several pieces of evidence to back up the claim that they had been tough on Trump, including that, “I said from the beginning I would never vote for him, I said I was voting for Jeb Bush then I said I was voting for John Kasich” and that in early December 2015 he and Brzezinski had compared Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims to Germany in 1933.

Those limited examples are a fig leaf for the months of positive coverage and support that Scarborough and Brzezinski gave to Trump in the period of time Kristol was referring to: late 2015 and early 2016.

As CNNMoney and others have documented, Scarborough and Brzezinski — who visited privately with Trump on multiple occasions during the primaries — were overwhelmingly supportive of the Republican candidate during that time, consistently praising his unconventional campaign and defending him from his critics.

Scarborough, especially, spoke about Trump in glowing terms, praising him as “a masterful politician.” The Washington Post wrote that Trump had received “a tremendous degree of warmth from the show,” and that his appearances on the show, in person and over the phone, often feel like “a cozy social club.”

In February, several NBC News and MSNBC journalists, reporters and staffers told CNNMoney there was widespread discomfort at the network over Scarborough’s friendship with Trump and his increasingly favorable coverage of the candidate.

There’s a reason why this charge can still be hurled at Morning Joe…just as it could be hurled at Fox and Friends…just as it could be repeatedly hurled at CNN itself…

There’s more than enough available evidence to back up the idea that the media became obsessed with Trump that it lost its perspective for much of the primary season and into the summer. While I rarely agree with the usually wrong Bill Kristol, he’s right here; any attempt to say that Morning Joe was tough on Trump in late 2015 and early 2016 is essentially an inaccurate characterization of history.

Not that Byers should be the one squawking here. CNN’s hands are much more dirty than Morning Joe’s when it comes to their coverage of Trump. Byers knows this, of course…yet he throws darts at Morning Joe anyways. Lame…

The Brazile Email Controversy Explained?

Posted in CNN on October 13, 2016 by icn2

We may have an explanation for what happened with the Donna Brazile debate question email fiasco and it comes from Jake Tapper. NewsBusters’ Matthew Balan spotted it

On WMAL’s Mornings on the Mall on Thursday, CNN’s Jake Tapper revealed his “understanding” about what happened surrounding the leaked town hall question to the Hillary Clinton campaign: “This was a Roland Martin follow-up. So, my understanding is that he, or…somebody on his team got that question to Donna Brazile.” Brazile apparently then sent the question to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, as revealed by Wikileaks’ release of John Podesta’s e-mails on Tuesday.

(snip)

The journalist repeated his condemnation of the whole Brazile leak near the end of the segment: “People at CNN take it very, very seriously; and to have somebody who does not take it seriously — to have us partner with that person; and then, they do something completely unethical and share it with Donna Brazile, who then shares it with the Clinton campaign, it’s horrifying and very, very upsetting, and….I condemn it in no uncertain terms. It’s awful.”

If Tapper’s version of events is correct this wasn’t CNN’s fault at all. But, if it wasn’t CNN’s fault at all and the question that got leaked to the Clinton campaign wasn’t even one of CNN’s questions, why lack of candor and a proper explanation of what happened? This wasn’t CNN’s doing so it’s most definitely in CNN’s interest to get it out there that it wasn’t their doing. And yet, days after this erupted, CNN, as an organization, wasn’t the one who was forthcoming, it was one of the moderators of the debate.

Why, CNN? Why? You could have nipped this in the bud quickly but your weak opaque public comments on the matter only made it worse. The network just made life more difficult for itself when, apparently, it wasn’t at fault.