Archive for the FNC Category

Clearing the Air On Megyn Kelly, FNC, CNN, and Gabriel Sherman…

Posted in FNC on August 29, 2015 by icn2

I really wanted to avoid this but there’s an internet meme that’s taking shape here and it’s wildly inaccurate…and needs to be squashed bad.

For some reason, which I just cannot understand based on the available evidence. A set of articles came out saying that Megyn Kelly was doing one of the following…

1) Leaving FNC.
2) Possibly Leaving FNC for CNN.
3) Eyeing CNN.

The source for these articles came from comments Gabriel Sherman made on Newsmax TV about the Trump/Kelly fracas. Johnny Dollar picked up on it and used another blog which took quite a few shots at Sherman as his rebuttal.

This is a real mess. The truth is hopelessly floundering in a sea of innuendo and bad analysis. So let’s try to rescue it before it drowns completely.

First of all, most of the blame for this mess can be laid on the doorsteps of the articles that wrote up Sherman’s comments. These articles border on idiotic in their inaccurate headlines and lousy analysis.

Most of what Sherman said was either already public knowledge or statements of fact. To wit…

– Kelly did get pursued by CNN. She didn’t bite. The articles make it sound like she was thinking of joining CNN when Sherman never stated any such thing.

– Kelly is definitely looking to build upon her FNC presence in more of a “mainstream” way. That’s been documented.

So there’s really not much new to what Sherman said. Even the part about FNC getting Kelly hate comments in the aftermath of her questioning of Trump is more true than not true. Yet these article make this out to be some new revelation, when it is anything but.

I have been less than thrilled with some of the things Sherman has written of late regarding FNC. But I’m going to defend the guy when people start ascrbing things to him that are provably not true. If you are going to quote Sherman, quote him. Don’t extrapolate.

The Trump Conundrum…

Posted in FNC on August 25, 2015 by icn2

Well it didn’t take too long for Donald Trump to renew his baseless (to anyone not named Trump) attacks on Megyn Kelly. So much for Trump-FNC truces, eh? The next question is what does Roger Ailes do now? What do you do about Donald Trump? And here is where I have an argument with myself…

The obvious answer is the gloves have to come off. FNC must crush Trump. So must all of News Corp.’s media properties, especially the Wall St Journal and The New York Post. He wouldn’t listen. He couldn’t leave it alone. And this time it’s inarguable that Megyn Kelly did nothing to deserve this latest set of attacks. How could she? She was on vacation!

It’s time for an FNC full frontal assault. Scorched earth. No more mealy mouthed press releases that leave you wondering if that was an attack or not. It’s time for some good old Brian Lewis style PR.

No more Trump appearances on FNC. He’s blacklisted. Announce it to the world. No more positive Trump coverage. Lots and lots of on the air panel discussions about how Trump’s policies are stupid and how if he’s elected he’ll ruin this country.

Go to the mattresses FNC. It’s time for a street fight; mano a mano with Trump.

And here’s precisely why FNC can’t do any of that…because it plays right into Trump’s hands. He wants that street fight. He wants that battle. It allows him to flourish under a well established narrative where Trump is the outsider looking to upset the apple cart and FNC is on that apple cart. It’s Trump vs everyone and that includes the media. He’ll turn any FNC attack on its head and his followers will eat it up. Trump wants that conflict with FNC the way Keith Olbermann wanted that conflict. FNC never really figured out how to deal with Olbermann. It took O’Reilly years to work it out and his solution (attack G.E.) had limited results.

So don’t fight fire with fire FNC. You’ll lose.

Instead get smart and slow play Trump. Instead of getting aggressive, get passive-aggressive. Trump seeks conflict. He feeds off it. Instead of feeding him conflict, FNC should slowly choke off his oxygen. The best way to do that is to fight him without appearing to fight him. And here’s how you do that…

– Don’t book Trump but don’t make it look like you’re not booking him. Trump won’t be able to prove you’ve blacklisted him (which he could use against you for his own aggrandizement) if you don’t make it look like you have. You can take a page from the Obama playbook with yourselves for a good working example on how to do that.

– Don’t respond to Trump. At all. Not even with mealy mouthed press releases talking about him. Give Trump nothing to hook into and use as a weapon.

– Cut back heavily on Trump based segments and focus on other candidates. You can’t eliminate talking about him on the air completely…that would reveal your strategy (and it doesn’t make any news or business sense either). But you can reduce your coverage of the guy to just basic facts stories (Trump was here and spoke there). Only mention Trump when you have to mention Trump.

Remember, Trump has an insatiable appetite for attention. Good…bad…it doesn’t matter. He can use either to his advantage to sustain the Cult of Trump. What he can’t use is no attention. That’s kryptonite for an egomaniac like that. And reducing coverage of the guy to just bland basic facts stories is anathema. Trump is larger than life and he wants to keep it that way. Making him appear average joe normal sized = death.

FNC cannot defeat Trump. Only Trump can defeat Trump (which should happen by the time of the GOP convention) But FNC can neutralize him to a large extent if it plays it smart.

Behind the Scenes in the Trump/FNC Skirmish

Posted in FNC on August 12, 2015 by icn2

In your must read for the day, CNN’s Brian Stelter writes in great detail about the back and forth between the Trump camp and FNC after last Thursday’s debate. Read it for what it is…a very detailed backgrounder…but also read it for what it also is…a rebuttal to Gabriel Sherman’s article on the fracas.

Trump’s assertion, bright and early Monday on “Morning Joe,” that Kelly should apologize made his supporters happy, but made Ailes exceedingly unhappy.

On the ensuing phone call, there was “very blunt” talk from both sides, including Ailes’ warning of war, two of the sources said.

But the talk didn’t last very long. There was an “instant understanding between two titans that this was over,” one of the sources said. Trump wouldn’t apologize, Kelly wouldn’t apologize, but both sides would move on.

Trump tweeted about the phone call right afterward and said he’d been assured that “‘Trump’ will be treated fairly” by Fox.

The sources for this story contradicted New York magazine’s assertion that Ailes called Trump repeatedly and “begged” the candidate to tweet that they’d settled their feud. “Neither of them would beg for anything,” one of the sources said.

Of the two stories, I find Stelter’s the far more likely outcome. I could never believe that Ailes would beg to end this. It’s not in his nature. And, though I have not mentioned this previously, I thought this from Sherman’s story was ridiculous…

Donald Trump, who has the full backing of Fox’s misogynist audience,

There was absolutely no justification for that characterization. You could say many things about FNC’s audience, just as you could about CNN’s and MSNBC’s audiences. But calling it misogynistic was stupid. Even from a purely scientific point of view it was un-prooveable to make such a claim.

For me, Sherman was for years a must read writer for his behind the scenes material. But stuff like this has tainted his work regarding FNC of late. If he keeps going in this direction I fear I’m going to start sliding into this guy’s camp.

Behind The Scenes At the FNC Debate

Posted in FNC on August 9, 2015 by icn2

The LA Times’ Stephen Battalgio writes about some of the things that went on behind the scenes in the run up to FNC’s GOP debate as part of a big profile of Bret Baier…

With the Republican presidential debate less than 10 hours away, Fox News anchors Chris Wallace, Megyn Kelly and Bret Baier sat at a long table with their producers and once again went over the game plan for the big night.

They reviewed not just the questions they would ask, but the structure of every query, keeping in mind the constraints of time and the need to avoid repeating topics. As they sorted and re-sorted questions, the unpredictability of real estate tycoon and reality TV star Donald Trump was never far from their minds.

Baier even had a “nuclear option” at the ready for Trump if he ignored all protocol.

The script — which he didn’t have to use — took a page from Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” TV show. It went like this: “Mr. Trump in your business you have rules. You follow rules. We have rules on this stage. We don’t want to have to escort you to the elevator outside this boardroom.”

“We’re hoping we don’t have to use it,” Baier said later. “We’re locked and loaded.”

Embedded with the news team on debate day, it becomes clear that it’s not just the Republican hopefuls who will be on stage this night — it’s also Fox News, widely seen as the network most friendly to conservatives. No one here wants to appear as if they are pitching softballs.

Indeed, when Kelly rehearsed a question for another candidate — delivered in the staccato style that adds to her reputation as a tenacious interrogator — a producer at the table said, “He’ll go berserk.”

And then there’s this…

Baier even anticipated that some Republican Party faithful would agree with Trump that they were too tough and he was right. Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the lower polling presidential candidates in the afternoon debate, called the evening session “an inquisition.”

The reaction didn’t surprise Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes. “Most of the criticism I get is from the right because they assume I’m going to do a certain thing and I don’t necessarily do what anybody assumes,” Ailes said in an interview Friday. “This is an example of that.”

But Ailes limited his input on the broadcast to how it looked on screen and offering encouragement to his on-air team to be tough and fair. Counter to reports that he’s involved in all things Republican, he said he had no hand in coming up with the challenging questions. He was confident in his on-air moderating team, which he described as “the best we’ve seen in television history.”

FNC GOP Debate: Your Reactions…

Posted in FNC on August 6, 2015 by icn2

Post your reactions to tonight’s GOP debate(s) on FNC and the coverage thereof here…

Roger Ailes Shoots Down Gabriel Sherman…

Posted in FNC on July 23, 2015 by icn2

Well…not literally…but figuratively. The Hollywood Reporter’s Paul Bond has Ailes talking about the Trump thing…

“My relationship with Rupert has never been better — I talked to him three times today, and none of the conversations involved Donald Trump or the New York Times,” Ailes tells The Hollywood Reporter.

Your move Mr. Sherman.


Posted in FNC on July 22, 2015 by icn2

New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman writes about Donald Trump, Roger Ailes, and Rupert Murdoch…

One reason Murdoch is taking to social media and deploying his publishing properties to attack Trump may be the simple fact that he hasn’t been able to control his most powerful media organ: Fox News. According to sources, Murdoch has tried — and failed — to rein in Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, who, insiders say, is pushing Fox to defend Trump’s most outlandish comments. This week, Ailes told his senior executives during a meeting that Murdoch recently called him and asked if Fox could “back off the Trump coverage,” a source told me. Ailes is said to have boasted to his executives that he told Murdoch he was covering Trump “the way he wanted to.” The implication was that he wasn’t going to budge.

And then there’s this…

It’s understandable that Murdoch would be frustrated. Fox News has been a ringleader of the Trump circus. Shortly after Trump jumped into the race, he had a “2-to-3 hour” private lunch with Ailes, sources told me. Last month, Fox gave Trump more airtime than any other candidate. And, according to sources, the channel’s personalities are taking an active role in aiding Trump, both on- and off-camera. One source explained that Ailes has instructed The Five co-host Eric Bolling to defend Trump on air. A review of Bolling’s comments shows that over the past week, he’s gone to bat for Trump numerous times. Last Friday, for example, Bolling complained that conservatives shouldn’t be criticizing the real-estate mogul. “There’s a problem in America, and it’s not Donald Trump,” Bolling declared. He continued to make pro-Trump arguments on Monday and Tuesday’s shows. Another Trump ally is Fox political analyst and pollster Pat Caddell. According to a source with direct knowledge, Caddell has been speaking to Trump “almost every day” about his campaign. “Everything coming out of Trump’s mouth sounds like Pat,” the source said. This morning, Fox & Friends — a show that is used by Ailes to inject his point of view into debates — ran a fawning interview with Trump. At one point in the conversation, co-host Steve Doocy gushed that “someone told me yesterday Donald Trump is like a Navy SEAL.” For his part, Trump has been grateful for the Fox Friends support. Yesterday, at a campaign event in South Carolina where he gave out Lindsey Graham’s personal cell-phone number, Trump heaped praise on Fox & Friends’ Doocy, Brian Kilmeade, and Elisabeth Hasselbeck. “They’re great people,” he said.


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