Archive for the FNC Category

Flying Under the Radar?

Posted in FNC, MSNBC on October 5, 2015 by icn2

I’m going to say this once. If we beat up on MSNBC for trying to put non-journalists in journalist roles, why is everyone so silent about this?

Network Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes is happy with his new hire. “I’ve followed Abby’s work for some time,” Ailes said. “I believe she is talented and headed for a bigger future.”

Replace the words “Abby Huntsman” with “Ronan Farrow” and “Roger Ailes” with “Phil Griffin” and this starts looking very deja-vu-ish.

Why CNN Changes Things Up With Its Debates

Posted in CNN, FNC on September 29, 2015 by icn2

Mediaite’s Joe Concha wonders why Jake Tapper isn’t doing the Democratic Presidential Candidate debate…

But the real question is: Why isn’t Jake Tapper working this debate as well? He is the face of the network when it comes to all-things-politics.

No he isn’t. He could be. But he’s not. That’s the thing about CNN and politics…it treats politics like it does all its other stories…it floods the zone with too many people covering too many angles.

There is no single go to person at CNN. There hasn’t been since Bernard Shaw retired.

It’s now more of an oligarchy of four to seven people depending on the story. We are talking essentially Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, Jake Tapper, John King (moreso before he lost his show), Don Lemon (for all the wrong reasons), Chris Cuomo, and Christiane Amanpour.

Who has been anchoring CNN’s election nights the past decade or so? Cooper and Blitzer.

CNN spreads the wealth around to its top guns and has for over a decade. It’s the way the network is now.

CNN’s bench is wider than FNC’s in this regard. That is no slight against FOX…it’s just a fact. CNN overdoes everything including how many chefs it uses for its politics coverage. FNC concentrates its politics coverage amongst a small central core. CNN dissipates it amongst as many top line people as it can get away with, regardless of suitability.

It is as much a difference in style as it is in substance between the two networks.

So I wasn’t surprised to see Cooper and Lemon fronting CNN’s Democrat debate. Would Tapper make the more natural fit? Of course. But so would Blitzer. So would King. At least one or both will get their turn soon enough.

As long as Jake Tapper doesn’t have a prime time show and Wolf Blitzer hasn’t retired, don’t be expecting Tapper to have the lead role in politics coverage. Instead, expect him to be just one of CNN’s more prominent cogs in its big political coverage machine.

And Still More Trump/FNC Posturing…

Posted in FNC on September 24, 2015 by icn2

New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman writes about the latest in the FNC/Trump “feud”…

Both sides are posturing to save face. Yesterday a Fox statement called Trump’s boycott “stale and tiresome.” But a source close to the Trump campaign told me that Trump thinks he has the leverage. Trump has been hearing from Fox hosts who are worried that his boycott will hurt ratings.

And which “Fox hosts” would that be anyways? Most are probably annoyed with what’s been going on. There’s only one I can think of who might be worried about Trump not being on FNC and who has shown the most tepid public response to all this warfare and that’s Hannity.

And then there’s this…

As an Ailes friend told me today: “Roger can’t turn back. The entire credibility of Fox as powerbroker rests on Trump being destroyed.”

That’s way overstating things. First of all, Trump getting “destroyed” won’t happen, if it happens, because of FNC alone. It will have more to do with Trump imploding as he picks fights with every network that doesn’t give him fawning coverage. Second, FNC’s credibility as powerbroker, if it exists (and that’s a debatable subject), doesn’t rest on what happens with Trump but how FNC conducts itself throughout the entire 2016 campaign.

But this source is right about one thing. Roger Ailes can’t turn back. He must hold firm. But he must hold firm for the sake of his network as a news operation and the people who work there…especially the ones Trump has attacked.

More Trump/FNC Warfare…Do You Really Care At This Point?

Posted in FNC on September 23, 2015 by icn2

TVNewser’s Chris Ariens writes about the latest barrages between Trump and FNC. Yawn…

Fox News has responded to Donald Trump‘s assertion that he “decided” he won’t be doing Fox News interviews “for the foreseeable future,” with its own statement saying it canceled his next appearance before he sent that tweet:

“At 11:45am today, we canceled Donald Trump’s scheduled appearance on The O’Reilly Factor on Thursday, which resulted in Mr. Trump’s subsequent tweet about his ‘boycott’ of FOX News. The press predictably jumped to cover his tweet, creating yet another distraction from any real issues that Mr. Trump might be questioned about. When coverage doesn’t go his way, he engages in personal attacks on our anchors and hosts, which has grown stale and tiresome. He doesn’t seem to grasp that candidates telling journalists what to ask is not how the media works in this country.”

Let us hope this latest blockade by Trump lasts a while…just so we don’t have to keep hearing about this stupid idiotic fight he’s picked with the network.

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.


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