Archive for the CNN Category

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.

CNN Should Investigate Brazile Email Ramifications…But It Won’t…

Posted in CNN on October 12, 2016 by icn2

The Hill’s Joe Concha writes about the Donna Brazile debate question email…

A few more questions: If Brazile has access to questions from time to time — again, her words — does Paul Begala have the same access, who runs a pro-Clinton super PAC? Does Ana Navarro, a Jeb Bush supporter and one of Trump’s harshest critics?

An internal investigation and some actual attempts at accountability would go a long way in solving this obvious breach. Remember, an internal investigation was conducted by the law firm of Paul, Weiss soon after the Roger Ailes sexual harassment suit by Gretchen Carlson over at Fox News. Will CNN do the same? Will anyone else in media outside of this space even demand one?

Sure. I will.

This is a no brainer to investigate. I don’t claim to have any inside knowledge of how this went down but there’s more than enough circumstantial evidence that optically points in one direction and one direction only. If that direction is invalid, the only way for it to be properly invalidated is to do an investigation.

But CNN won’t do that and even if it did the outcome would leave us with whetted appetites and nothing more. We can safely assume CNN is not interested in getting to the bottom of this and certainly isn’t interested in doing due diligence here. How can we be so certain of this? Two words: Fareed Zakaria.

The Zakaria investigation, and I use the term very loosely to describe that whitewash, set a benchmark for CNN. A bad one, yes…but a benchmark nontheless. The case against Zakaria was more solid than the case against Brazile here. With Brazile we have conjecture and assumption based on what her email said but what we don’t necessarily have is a smoking gun. With Zakaria there were numerous smoking guns in the articles he wrote and the transcripts of his show which at the very least showed Zakaria was guilty of patch writing. Some would argue the evidence was substantial enough to point to an even worse offense.

And yet despite all the available evidence, the best CNN could do is suspend Zakaria while it did an investigation, not release the results, and conclude they were satisfied with the way things stood.

Given all that does anyone believe CNN is going to do anything with Brazile?

This plays out in one of two ways:

A) CNN informs Brazile she’s no longer welcome back at the network and proceeds to hire an outside firm to dig into this situation to find the culprit or culprits.

B) The network ignores it, and by doing so, tacitly states it has no issue with collusion between its employees and presidential campaigns.

That’s the choice.

No. There’s a third option…

C) CNN informs Brazile she’s no longer welcome back at the network at some point down the road but does not launch an investigation. In effect CNN passive aggressively runs out the clock on Brazile while not publicly appearing to take any action.

This is the route I expect CNN to take.

Monkey See…or…If You Can’t Beat ‘Em…Steal ‘Em…

Posted in CNN on October 3, 2016 by icn2

Let’s see…Jeff Zucker said Buzzfeed isn’t a legitimate news organization. So of course he goes and hires away a bunch of those “poseurs”…as the Huffinton Post’s Michael Calderone scooped today…

BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski and his scoop-driven political research team are joining CNN during the final, frenetic stretch of the 2016 election and beyond.

Kaczynski, 26, has been one of the standout reporters of the campaign season as his K-File team has consistently broken news through deeply mining candidates’ past statements and actions. Three other members of the team ― BuzzFeed deputy politics editor Kyle Blaine and reporters Nate McDermott and Christopher Massie ― are making the jump with him.

The hiring of Kaczynski and company is a major coup for CNN and follows a recent spat between network chief Jeff Zucker and BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith. In August, Zucker said BuzzFeed wasn’t a “legitimate” news organization, prompting Smith to criticize the network for boosting Trump in the pursuit of ratings. The mini-exodus also comes amid questions about BuzzFeed’s commitment to original reporting following a recent reorganization.

CNN Takes To The Air…

Posted in CNN on August 18, 2016 by icn2

CNN announced a new drone program today. I am very curious how this will be utilized given the restrictions and limitations of drones and the redundancy of news helicopters in a world of 24/7 breaking news.

CNN LAUNCHES CNN AIR

As the news industry leader in the development of technology used in newsgathering, CNN announces today the launch of CNN Aerial Imagery and Reporting (CNN AIR). For the first time in the company’s history, CNN will have a designated Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) unit with two full-time UAS operators to fully integrate aerial imagery and reporting across all CNN networks and platforms, along with Turner Broadcasting and Time Warner entities.

“CNN’s cutting-edge development of technology to enhance the way we tell stories is a part of our DNA,” said Terence Burke, Senior Vice President of National News. “We are proud to continue the tradition with CNN AIR, and to establish a unit that will expand our technological capabilities for newsgathering.”
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