Archive for the CNN Category

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.


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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Ashleigh Banfield Jumps to HLN…CNN fills void with John King Election Show…

Posted in CNN on August 18, 2016 by icn2

HLN announced that Ashleigh Banfield is moving to HLN where she’ll take over the 8pm slot being vacated by Nancy Grace.

HLN Executive Vice-President Ken Jautz made the announcement this morning…

I’m very pleased to announce that Ashleigh Banfield is joining HLN.

Ashleigh’s new show will air live, M-Thu, 8–9 pm ET, and will premiere on Monday, October 17. She will bring her legal experience and views to HLN prime, tackling the day’s most pressing social and legal issues mixed with her own passionate point of view and spirited conversation.

Ashleigh and her distinct journalistic style is the perfect fit as we continue to refocus on our news roots and increase our live hours of programming.

Please join me in welcoming Ashleigh to the HLN family.

To fill the 12 noon hour CNN will be slotting John King for an election related hour that will run…wait for it…through the election.

Fisking The Fisking…

Posted in CNN on August 14, 2016 by icn2

NewsBusters’ Tom Blumer writes about a difference in reporting between Reuters and CNN regarding whether the Secret Service talked to Trump or not regarding his “Second Ammendment, people” comment.

Well, since I have written “Second Amendment people” here, I guess I need to fire up the coffee pot for the imminent Secret Service visit. What rubbish.

Unfortunately, both outlets are spinning the Trump campaign’s response to make it look as if the campaign acknowledges that Trump’s comments have the potential to “incite violence,” even though they didn’t “mean to.” Horse manure. The campaign has recognized no such thing, nor should it, nor should any person who understands English. The words “Second Amendment people” don’t incite violence any more than the words “First Amendment people” or “Constitution-following people” would.

The press and the Clinton campaign (but I repeat myself) are engaging in yet another attempt at language suppression. It’s another example of what George Orwell’s 1984 referred to as Newspeak, the modern version of which in this instance is trying to brainwash people into believing that any time a person says the magic words “Second Amendment,” that person is himself or herself violent or is encouraging others to take violent action.

Don’t wait by the TV waiting for CNN to retract its report about what Reuters has asserted didn’t happen.

I wasn’t originally going to write about this until I saw this story make it out like Reuters totally and completely invalidated Scuitto’s account.

It didn’t. Not even close.

The problem here, which Newsbusters conveniently fails to pick up on, is that both the Reuters story and Sciutto’s account can be true. There is enough of a delta between both accounts to make them accurate.

I’m going to quote the part of Sciutto’s reporting on the air which NB highlighted which gets to the heart of the CNN account.

An official from the United States Secret Service tells me that it has contacted, has spoken with the Trump campaign regarding those comments, those comments yesterday on the Second Amendment. In fact, I’m told there has been more than one conversation with the campaign since the candidate made those comments. In addition, I’m told by the Secret Service that the Trump campaign’s response was that Donald Trump did not mean to incite violence.

And here’s the Reuters version…

a federal official familiar with the matter told Reuters that there had been no formal conversations between the Secret Service and the Trump campaign.

I highlighted the word “formal” because its use is probably not an accident.

Sciutto’s reporting never said there were “formal conversations”. All Sciutto said was that someone from the Secret Service spoke with someone in the campaign about it…more than once.

The difference is, in this case, a legal one. A formal discussion means one in an official capacity with official notes and a record of the contact. “Speaking with someone in the campaign” about it could mean anything from the verbal equivalent of a nudge in the ribs to a finger wag.

So Scuitto could be right…and Rueters could be right. The Secret Service or some element of the Service could have had a backchannel discussion with elements of the Trump campaign to the effect of “Hey, knock that off…that’s not good” and it would not rise to the level of a “formal” investigation of the matter the way the Service would traditionally handle a potential threat to a presidential candidate.

It’s hardly the open and shut final say Newsbusters makes it out to be.

How To Have A Short Career At CNN…Shorter Than You Expected…

Posted in CNN on August 4, 2016 by icn2

Be a CNN freelancer grunt with an itchy social media trigger finger… (via Romenesko)

I actually work for CNN and can tell you many, many people there loved crooked Hillary, but not me. Not this guy. I see what a future will look like with a Clinton presidency and we can’t have it. Let’s put Trump in the white house 2016

Well okay then. Do me a favor and say hello to Octavia Nasr and Jim Clancy, ok?

Jeff Zucker Interview…

Posted in CNN on August 2, 2016 by icn2

Variety’s Ramin Setoodeh has a long interview with Jeff Zucker.

It’s a fairly tame interview. The hardest shot Setoodeh takes is here…

In June, CNN raised eyebrows when it added Trump’s former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, to its payroll as a commentator. “The reason we hired Corey is that now that we are in the general election, I think it’s really important to have voices on CNN who are supportive of the Republican nominee,” says Zucker. “It’s hard to find a lot of those. Our competitors tried to hire him too.” Zucker doesn’t agree with criticism that Lewandowski is offering talking points instead of analysis. “I actually think he’s done a really nice job,” Zucker says. “He’s come under a much greater spotlight because of who he is, and the relationship he’s had with the media. As a result, people are going to be more critical.”

Even as shots go this one is pretty tame because it totally ignores the story that Lewandowski is still on Trump’s payroll with his severance package that he has a vested interest in not seeing diminish should he say something the notoriously vindictive Trump doesn’t like. Ripping Manafort on air doesn’t qualify.

Then there’s this…

Some of CNN’s naysayers complain that the network leans too heavily on stories that grab eyeballs. But Zucker argues that he doesn’t need to choose between ratings and less-splashy journalism. “There’s a misconception we’re doing this all for ratings,” he says. “We’re covering all of the news. It’s just not necessarily on television anymore.” He points to online stories of world events that may not make the daily broadcast for CNN’s U.S. airwaves, and CNN International employs a robust team of reporters all over the world. “We run a very profitable international business and are pleased about that,” says Tony Maddox, the managing director of CNN International.

This is why I take exception to the title of this article. How Jeff Zucker made CNN great again? That’s arguable, depending on your definition of “great”. If by “great” you mean more successful, profitable, higher rated…then yeah CNN is great again.

But at what cost?

What about CNN TV covering all of the major world stories? You know that thing CNN used to do but doesn’t do anymore.

Morale may be up but why is that? Is it because staff bought in to the above definition of “great”?

CNN TV used to stand apart from its cable news brethren because it covered more of the world more of the time. Now it has fallen in line with its competitors and does less with more.

That’s a pretty steep price to be “great” again. You sacrifice long term viability and relevance to achieve short term gain.

I keep circling back to one factoid in Zucker’s re-invention of the network…that its TV wing isn’t covering the news like it used to. It’s not just about going deep on a few stories…it’s the wholesale ignoring of major world events because, while newsworthy, they just won’t give the eyeballs that covering Trump ad nauseum will…that going berserk over MH370 did.

This is why I choke on Zucker’s suggestion that it’s not about ratings. OF COURSE IT IS ABOUT RATINGS. The stories that rate well get covered hard and long. The ones that don’t rate as well get shoved to online. Stories are hyped days in advance thanks to CNN’s countdown clock abuse. I just saw one today counting down the days until the election. This isn’t about some great public service CNN is performing for its viewers. No, the reasons for cluttering up dayside with countdown clocks is far more cynical. It’s to hype the story…to bait viewers…to drive ratings.

The idea that online is an acceptable substitute for major world stories should be anathema to a TV news network. Zucker can talk about digital until he’s blue in the face but the bottom line is CNN TV is still the golden goose. If Time Warner suddenly decided to fold up CNN TV tomorrow, CNN Digital will start dying a slow death. Nobody outside of maybe CNN thinks CNN Digital can stand on its own. Online news is still dominated by traditional journalism based entities like The Times, like The Post, like The Guardian, like The Financial Times, like The Wall Street journal. Even in its portal dominanting heyday was dominant not because it could stand on its own but because it had then powerhouse Microsoft to drive traffic.

A quick show of hands. When searching for news of the day, how many people first head to

I rest my case.

This from Zucker is noteworthy…

“I don’t think Vice and BuzzFeed are legitimate news organizations,” he says. What would he call them? “They are,” he says with a mischievous grin, “native advertising shops. We crush both of them. They are not even in our same class.”

But they are most definitely also a huge potential threat to CNN Digital especially where Millenials are concerned. Like it or not CNN Digital is probably more viewed as “old media” by Millenials even though it really isn’t, whereas Vice and Buzzfeed are considered “new media” and probably hipper. Zucker has to squash that notion, thus the over the top acerbic put down.

And don’t think Zucker doesn’t know this. How else can you explain this?

CNN has started its own digital company targeted to millennials. It’s called “Great Big Story,” the only product the network has ever launched without its trademark letters. GBS has its own logo — a red rocket ship.

CNN is supposed to be THE brand. The one that drives the traffic to digital. And yet, when launching a new media venture to counter Buzzfeed and Vice, CNN opted to leave its strongest asset, its brand, on the bench? What’s that tell you?

Pilot time for S.E. Cupp?

Posted in CNN, HLN on July 17, 2016 by icn2

It appears HLN did a pilot for a show with SE Cupp. Or at least that’s the inference that can be drawn from this video open which someone stupidly posted on Vimeo. Say goodbye to your job fool if CNN ever successfully traces it.

CNN does a lot of pilots a year and almost all of them never make it to air…at least not in their pilot form. So that’s not useful info that HLN shot a pilot. But who gets to do a pilot is very useful information because it means it’s someone CNN wants to give a push to.

So it would be reasonable to assume CNN wants to leverage Cupp…at least on HLN.

Update: Predictably, the video has been yanked…