Archive for the Miscellaneous Subjects Category

CBS is about to make a mistake…

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on November 27, 2017 by icn2

Broadcast TV usually falls outside of my coverage area but every once in a while something comes along that I just can’t ignore. Today it is the idea that Vladimir Duthiers is the front runner to get the CBS This Morning seat vacated by the departed in disgrace Charlie Rose. Said news comes from today’s Page Six

Sources told Page Six last week that the network was “begging” new “60 Minutes” correspondent Oprah Winfrey to fill in and team up with best friend King. But a network source says, “Oprah will continue doing work for ‘60 Minutes,’ but has no interest in getting up at 4 a.m. every day.” The source added of Duthiers, “Vlad is a front-runner at this point … Like Charlie, Vlad’s strength is as an interviewer.”

Duthiers is a Peabody and Emmy winner, and got high marks for covering the Black Lives Matter protests in Ferguson, Mo. He was also CNN’s West Africa correspondent.

This would be a mistake. Not because it would be Duthiers. This has nothing to do with Duthiers or his abilities at all.

It would be a mistake because it ignores the obvious; CBS doesn’t have a bench with anyone capable of replacing Rose and to try to replace Rose from the CBS bench would mean CBS has forgotten the very reasons for putting Rose there in the first place.

CBS This Morning started out as a Charlie Rose vehicle. Sure, it had Erica Hill at Rose’s side (for a while anyways) and Gayle King was there too. But King didn’t start out as a full co-anchor. She would appear starting at the 8am hour.

CBS This Morning was always a Charlie Rose vehicle. Rose was hired because of the pedigree he had cultivated over decades at PBS. Rose was the lynchpin…the glue that held the show together. Even as Norah O’Donnell replaced Hill and King was allowed on the air at the beginning of the show and that triumvirate gelled into the cohesive unit that drove the CBS morning show to ratings gains while its competitors lost views, it was still Charlie Rose’s show because he still had the most gravitas.

This is why picking a relative no-name off the CBS bench breaks everything CBS had built up to this point. Doesn’t matter if it was Druthiers or Jeff Glor or Anthony Mason…nobody on CBS’ bench has the gravitas to fill the gap that Rose’s exit created and which the CBS morning show depended on.

It’s not like there isn’t gravitas remaining on the show. In the intervening years both O’Donnell and King have carved out their own spaces on the show. The smart play here would be to turn the show into a tandem and build off of what they created. They have earned the right to go it alone.

By bringing in a new third wheel, but one lacking in Rose’s gravitas and stature, the dynamic CBS had created gets destroyed. The only way that dynamic continues is with O’Donnell and King going it alone.

By not going that route, by essentially throwing up their hands and saying, “well, let’s kind of start over” and bringing on someone who doesn’t have the profile or background to lead the show the way Rose did, and only be able to follow in O’Donnell and King’s wake, CBS is saying that not only does it not understand the dynamic that made the show work, it would rather set things back with an on set chemistry disruption that is going to happen as the three hosts figure out their roles all over again but it is also a big time no-confidence vote in both O’Donnell and King that they aren’t good enough to go forward on their own.

Believe me, that is exactly what CBS would be saying, for without a Rose replacement capable of keeping the existing dynamic going, the best option in preserving the CBS This Morning dynamic is not to replace Rose with someone who can’t fill the role he played but to go forward with the two who are best placed to preserve that dynamic.

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Megyn Kelly to NBC…

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on January 3, 2017 by icn2

NBC announced Megyn Kelly would be joining the network later this year…

Kelly to Anchor New Daytime News Program & Primetime Magazine Show

JANUARY 3, 2017 — Megyn Kelly, one of America’s most prominent news anchors, will join NBC News, it was announced today by Andrew Lack, Chairman of the NBCUniversal News Group.

Kelly will become anchor of a new one hour daytime program that she will develop closely with NBC News colleagues. The show will air Monday through Friday at a time to be announced in the coming months.

As part of the multi-year agreement, Kelly will also anchor a new Sunday evening news magazine show and will become an important contributor to NBC’s breaking news coverage as well as the network’s political and special events coverage.

Details about both of Kelly’s news programs will be unveiled in the coming months.
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Say What?

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on December 18, 2016 by icn2

The New York Times’ Vanessa Friedman writes about Megyn Kelly’s fashion sense. However I really don’t care about that. It’s Friedman’s opening sentence that got me…

Megyn Kelly — breakout star of the 2016 presidential campaign…

That is absurd. 100% on its face absurd. Megyn Kelly may be a tough questioner (when she chooses), great on the air, and worth every penny FNC wants to throw at her to retain her services going forward. However she was absolutely not, in any way, shape, or form, the breakout star of the 2016 campaign.

For starters Megyn Kelly already is a big league star. The breakout rules don’t apply at this stage.

More importantly, I could argue that Kelly’s campaign 2016 contributions basically can be distilled down to one thing; getting dragged in to a one way street fight with Donald Trump because The Donald didn’t like getting poked and asked tough questions at a pre-primary season roundtable. It was one way because the Trumpster was doing all the fighting.

It sucked up media space for weeks if not months as it escalated to FNC taking on Trump. But that was essentially the most noteworthy thing that happened in campaign 2016 for Megyn Kelly. She already had established her bonafides as a show host and interviewer so that doesn’t factor here.

I don’t consider that breakout star material.

I would consider others as more deserving of the breakout title. This is predicated on the idea that you have to break out from somewhere unknown to someplace known.

With that proviso I would argue Katy Tur is more deserving, though hardly the only available choice. Tur came from nowhere in London to become the main political campaign road warrior for NBC/MSNBC (Kasie Hunt would be a not too far behind #2 for me).

If you line up Tur’s campaign 2016 trajectory with an established star like Kelly, it’s no comparison. Tur traveled further and increased her profile exponentially greater for Campaign 2016 than Kelly did precisely because Kelly already is a big star.

Again, this is not to diminish Kelly in any way. It’s to take to task print reporters making baldfaced absurd platitude statements that demonstrably show they have no clue what they are saying when they stray from their comfort zone of fashion.

Home Movies

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on December 7, 2016 by icn2

Highlights from last month (best viewed at 1080p on YouTube)

Tent Shooting 101…

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on October 6, 2016 by icn2

The Hill’s Joe Concha pens an article I think is wrong in almost every way…save one.

It starts with what appears to be a non-sequitur…

Before addressing this spat, here’s a personal note from somebody who can say he’s both on the inside and outside when it comes to the world of cable news.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years of meeting those who work on-air in cable news regardless of network — and I’ve been on them all many times — it’s this:
A majority are phonies. Absolute phonies.

The reason? A potent brew of ego, self-importance, a lack of self-awareness, more ego, and a constant need for attention.

Yeah…ok…they’re phonies. I get it. What on earth does that have to do with the propriety of the spat between Hannity and Kelly? Nothing.

Oh sure Concha takes a long and windy road from “they’re phonies” to the Howard Stern Show and somehow comes to the conclusion that because that dysfunctional family, which only succeeds because its sum is greater than its parts, is able to toss dirty laundry about that this is something everyone should emulate because it’s “more real” and “less phony”…

That may work for shock radio. It’s death for cable news.

The Stern show can get away with that because that’s where the bar is lowered to. It’s expected. It’s kind of like watching NASCAR for the crashes. You know there’s going to be shit flying around at some point and that’s why you tune in.

This is where we start getting into that “elitist” “high horse” territory of cable news has to aspire for higher than the Howard Stern Show. There need to be standards. The Stern Show basically has no standards (that don’t involve not breaking the law).

Tent shooting is anathema in cable news and journalism in general. Roger Ailes…you know the guy who used to run the network Hannity and Kelly call home…absolutely abhored tent shooting. Just ask Chris Wallace. MSNBC has had its occasional on air shenanigans but they have mostly been few and far between. Over at CNN, they run such a tight ship over there that anyone who dared take a shot at someone else would probably get fired…if they weren’t top flight talent that is.

Networks hate tent shooting. It means they no longer control the story and, worse, they don’t know where it’s headed. A news organization is hundreds if not thousands of people. It’s not the size of the tiny crew of the Stern show. There are just too many moving parts to allow those parts to start teeing off on one another.

And usually, when they do start teeing off on one another, even if it’s just passive aggressively, it’s sign of a real problem with the talent. No network wants to telegraph that it has talent issues in its shop.

It’s a distraction. No network likes distractions. On the Stern show they can get away with that crap because people have come to expect the lowest common denominator there. Then again, when the beefs get really bad it’s a problem even on the Stern show as you can tell from the turnover that show has had with its cast of characters.

So that’s why networks don’t want tent shooting. Tent shooting produces articles about the tent shooting and questions start swirling. Some of those questions linger for a long time, especially when it appears there’s genuine friction under the surface.

Just a few weeks ago everyone was aghast at the Washington Post’s Editorial board basically taking a dump on The Post’s Journalism wing over its Snowden coverage.

I actually don’t read Kelly’s comment as an attack at Hannity. It really reads as an attack at Trump to me. But Hannity’s response was definitely an attack on Megyn and, of the two, the one that crossed a few lines. But this shouldn’t be too much of a surprise because Hannity is so in the tank for Trump that’s his commentary has taken on an apoplectic take no prisoners scorched earth bent to anything negative about Trump no matter how legitimate it is. And Kelly’s comment was definitely legitimate because Trump has retreated to nothing but safe zones…even worse than Hillary.

Disagreement between co-workers isn’t a bad thing.

Why?

It shows authenticity — a concept all the phonies in this business can’t seem to grasp.

You want to know what helps make Fox so popular as it enters its 15th year of being No. 1? It’s editorial talent.

And what that talent does best? They speak their minds, even when it means (gasp) disagreeing with the way a co-worker runs his or her shop. The media bubble thinks it’s bad for the network, the end of harmony at Fox.

Guess what? Harmony is boring. Disagreement is much more engaging.

This is stupid. The propriety of the behind the scenes spat which breaks out into the open is bad not just because it’s an unnecessary distraction for the network but also because it also does absolutely nothing to help the shows.

What does the viewer get out of Hannity and Kelly publicly fighting each other? Nothing. The two don’t interact with each other on air almost ever so any hostility can’t drive a “What happens when they next come face to face” narrative ala Pro Wrestling. The Kelly File and Hannity shows are islands unto themselves. So any hostility off screen isn’t going to do anything on screen. Engaging? There’s nothing for the viewer to engage in when the spat happens off air and there’s no interaction on air.

It’s bad for the network. There is no upside for the network. The “media bubble” is 100% right about that. But the idea of “network harmony” is a straw man. It’s a myth. It has never existed. Concha is right about that. There has never been network harmony. There never will be network harmony.

But, while it might be fun to consider that there is no such thing as network harmony and extrapolate from that networks should embrace their employees showing that there is no such thing as network harmony, the reality is any network that goes this route would surely implode fast. No corporation could survive long by having its dirty laundry aired publicly by its employees engaging in tent shooting exercises and score settling while the network flounders about in the slippery slope world of what attacks are kosher and what attacks are going too far.

This is why we had PR people to begin with…to protect the corporation from its own employees by making one group of people the focal point between the public and the employees.

Social Media has blown up that model to some extent by creating multiple avenues for the talent to communicate with the public (and vice verse). Which is why networks have social media policies with very specific terms about what’s allowed and what’s not allowed. Some are more draconian than others obviously but it would not be unreasonable to conclude that Hannity’s tweet violated FNC’s social media policy.

For those of us who are process junkies (like me) or media navel gazers (like a bunch of others including Concha) spats that erupt are manna from heaven. We love it when we have same shop talent on talent violence. That’s even better than network on network violence.

But we’re not normal. We aren’t the casual viewer who doesn’t benefit from it. And our agenda totally differs from the networks we cover. We want openness because we learn more. Networks don’t want openness because it will lead to only one place; anarchy.

The 2016 Campaign Coverage Mess…

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on October 5, 2016 by icn2

Politico’s Jack Shafer scores a home run today writing about how screwed up campaign journalism has become in 2016…

But in campaign 2016 these disinformation efforts have become rampant, and they are gaining currency as never before thanks to the pick-up they’re getting from traditional media. Traditional media once shied from repeating stories they hadn’t confirmed, or that hadn’t been confirmed by their peers. But as so much of cable television has devolved from news to discussion about what people read in the news, that’s changed. It’s not that the old news gatekeepers aren’t doing their jobs. Most are. It’s just that the fences have been breached.

I was going to quote Shafer citing an example but they’re all so good that instead I’ll just say read the dang article…

As 2016 shapes up to be the disinformation campaign, there may be no easy and elegant way to stem the flow of fallacious TV stories, Web pieces, Trump speeches and Twitter blasts in these digital times. The dirty tricks of disinformation have always been part of politics and won’t be banished by decree. Nor will calls for a news quarantine of suspected disinformation work. Besides, news quarantines are antithetical to journalism. Good journalists have traditionally combated disinformation with real information, always knowing that in taking down the phony you run the risk of inadvertently giving it a boost. It’s a paradox we must live with, because the alternative of just letting candidate and information outlets to do their thing unchallenged is much worse.

Megyn Kelly Should Not Be Disqualified From The Presidential Debates…

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on August 16, 2016 by icn2

The Hill’s Joe Concha has a story about the process of picking debate moderators got the upcoming Presidential debates (which may or may not happen still).

Fox News’s Megyn Kelly is one obvious possibility, and several people contacted by the The Hill raised her name. Others dismissed the chance she could be selected given her history with Trump, who skipped two primary debates that she hosted.

“I think she’s a solid moderator based on what we saw in the primaries. She’s tough, measured and prepared. But there’s just too much history with Trump,” one prominent media writer told The Hill. “She’ll end up being the story if he publicly objects to her being chosen, which he almost undoubtedly would. It may even lead to him boycotting the debate and that’s the last thing anybody wants.”

This is completely wrong headed thinking. Megyn Kelly should not be punished because of Donald Trump. Kelly has done nothing wrong since the start of the election. It was Trump who made this an issue because he didn’t like tough questions. Trump has made Kelly the issue not because she had it in for him or because her questioning was out of bounds. He made Kelly an issue out of ego.

If he objects, so what? Like debate dates and times, this stuff isn’t up for negotiation. It’s take it or leave it. Trump would have a choice, to show up or not show up. I’d lay serious money that even Trump wouldn’t balk because of the optical damage it would do to him with undecideds that Hillary Clinton, his opponent, would show up for a debate but he wouldn’t.

What? Are you afraid Trump might argue that this is rigged? He’s been throwing that meme out since the primaries. He’ll throw it out whenever he thinks it will work for him. You can’t let that be a factor in your decision making process. It’s not like this would be a walk in the park for Hillary Clinton either. She has avoided press conferences and tough interviews even more than Trump has. You think she wants to subject herself to close scrutiny after Benghazi, the Dept of State email fiasco, and the Clinton Foundation bruhaha?

Both candidates don’t want this. So why make special allowances for Trump to essentially dictate who gets to ask him questions?

The idea that candidates can guard against unfair questions through moderator cherry picking is ridiculous. You think Mike Dukakis had a problem with Bernard Shaw before that debate in ’88?

Unless the prospective moderator has some kind of fundamental disqualifying characteristic…and nothing Kelly has done this year would fall into that category…they should be considered for the role.

If the candidate goes bonkers…it’s on them. These people are running for the top job in the country. If they can’t set aside ego and personal issues to submit to a few questions from someone they’d prefer to not be around, how can they possibly handle dealing with foreign leaders and international incidents which may require a President to bite back hard?

Not that I think Kelly will be picked. The Debate Commission has a track record of going off the reservation when selecting moderators and Kelly is too obvious a choice. But if you aren’t going to pick her, do it for that reason. Don’t do it because you’re afraid of how Donald Trump may react. Who is running this show? You or him?