Archive for the Miscellaneous Subjects Category

NBC’s Bungled Response to the Tom Brokaw Allegations

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on May 4, 2018 by icn2

I haven’t blogged in four months. But this story has brought me out because this story is begging for my attention.

I don’t know if Tom Brokaw did what Linda Vester claims he did. I can never know. Brokaw has a long pedigree of distinction both in and out of journalism, but then so did Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer. So did Roger Ailes. Vester has been out of the public eye for over a decade so why would she invite the kind of spotlight and all the negative crap that was guaranteed to come her way if there wasn’t maybe something to this. Vester isn’t an opportunist. She has more to lose than to gain by coming forward at this point in her life. Or so the conventional wisdom would go.

But, this is all idle speculation and extrapolation, not grounded in fact. The only two people who can weigh in to clear this up already have and, lacking another person coming forward on the record, this story isn’t going anywhere from a resolution standpoint.

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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.

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?

DirecTV Drops Newsmax TV?

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on August 15, 2016 by icn2

Newsmax TV is no longer airing on DirecTV. I don’t know exactly when it happened but the dearth of news when I searched Google suggests it happened either today or within the past few days.

When you try to tune in you get a message saying “This channel is currently unavailable. Please visit directvpromise.com for more information. That site is a generic site that has this at the top…

You come first.

DIRECTV is committed to bringing you the best TV experience at the most reasonable value. When disputes arise with programmers over their rising prices, this site will keep you up to date with clear and direct information.

This strongly indicates that DirecTV is in the middle of a carriage dispute with Newsmax. Given what happened between Dish and Newsmax TV, it would not be unreasonable to assume that something similar is going on here. The rumors were Newsmax wanted Dish to lower or eliminate the amount of money the network was paying Dish to carry it.

Related: I’m hearing that Newsmax TV has cancelled the Ed Berliner show…though it won’t officially exit the airways until Friday.

Roger Ailes Resigns…

Posted in FNC, Miscellaneous Subjects on July 21, 2016 by icn2

Here’s 21st Century FOX’s statement

Roger Ailes Resigns as Chairman and CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, and Chairman Fox Television Stations

Rupert Murdoch to Assume Role of Chairman and Acting CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network

New York, NY – July 21, 2016 – 21st Century Fox today announced that Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, and Chairman of Fox Television Stations, has resigned from his role effective immediately.

Rupert Murdoch will assume the role of Chairman and acting CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network.

Rupert Murdoch, Executive Chairman, 21st Century Fox, said:

“Roger Ailes has made a remarkable contribution to our company and our country. Roger shared my vision of a great and independent television organization and executed it brilliantly over 20 great years.

Fox News has given voice to those who were ignored by the traditional networks and has been one of the great commercial success stories of modern media.

It is always difficult to create a channel or a publication from the ground up and against seemingly entrenched monopolies. To lead a flourishing news channel, and to build Fox Business, Roger has defied the odds.

His grasp of policy and his ability to make profoundly important issues accessible to a broader audience stand in stark contrast to the self-serving elitism that characterizes far too much of the media.

I am personally committed to ensuring that Fox News remains a distinctive, powerful voice. Our nation needs a robust Fox News to resonate from every corner of the country.

To ensure continuity of all that is best about Fox News and what it stands for, I will take over as Chairman and acting CEO, with the support of our existing management team under Bill Shine, Jay Wallace and Mark Kranz.”

Lachlan Murdoch and James Murdoch, 21st Century Fox’s Executive Chairman, and CEO, respectively, said:

“We join our father in recognizing Roger’s remarkable contributions to our company. Our talented Fox News and Fox Business colleagues, up and down the organization and on both sides of the camera, have built something that continues to redefine the cable news experience for millions of viewers. We are enormously proud of their accomplishments. For them, as well as for our colleagues across our entire organization, we continue our commitment to maintaining a work environment based on trust and respect. We take seriously our responsibility to uphold these traditional, long-standing values of our company.”

Dish vs. Newsmax TV: Newsmax responds…

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on June 6, 2016 by icn2

Newsmax TV presents its version of the Dish network carriage dropping story…

In less than two years, Newsmax TV has become a popular cable news channel – drawing close to 5 million monthly viewers, up from fewer than 500,000 when we launched.

In the past DISH has been forced to remove channels that charge excessive fees that must be passed on to their customers.

We applaud DISH for standing up for their customers – but it is important to remember that Newsmax TV does not charge DISH!

In fact, we financially benefit them and their customers so there are NO pass-along costs!

When DISH launched Newsmax TV, we were placed among a suite of shopping channels, unrelated to our news content.

Due to this unfair and inappropriate placement, DISH has made it difficult for their subscribers to find Newsmax TV.

Not addressed is whether Newsmax was trying to get the amount of money it paid Dish lowered or eliminated altogether…

Dish Stops Carrying Newsmax TV…For The Moment…

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on June 2, 2016 by icn2

Following up on this from a few weeks ago TV Predictions’ Phillip Swann writes about a new development in the relationship between Newsmax TV and one of its satellite distributors…

Dish last night dropped the conservative Newsmax TV channel from its lineup, citing a dispute over financial terms.

The channel, which is owned by Newsmax Media, which also runs a news-oriented web site, has been on Dish since June 2014 when it first launched. Unlike most carriage arrangements, Newsmax actually paid Dish to carry it rather than the other way around.

And then there’s this…

Newsmax has yet to issue a comment on the dispute, but it would appear that Dish is either asking the channel for more money, or Newsmax is seeking carriage now without having to pay any fee.

Correction: Attribution changed to reflect the original source of this story. Apologies to TV Predictions. Didn’t know you guys had written it originally.

Addressing A NewsMax TV Rumor…

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on May 8, 2016 by icn2

Earlier this week I posted a rumor I had heard regarding Newsmax TV. I didn’t post it here on the blog but on Twitter in 3 parts.

Part 1

Rumor: Newsmax TV may soon lose DirecTV and Dish Network distribution. The alleged reason? Trouble making payments.

Part 2

Newsmax TV may also be looking to make staffing reductions as the network may alter its format to one emphasizing call-in shows.

Part 3

Newsmax’s highest rated show is Dennis Michael Lynch which averages 8k. But docs can draw double that number.

The reason I’m reposting this here is because I have received a statement from Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy regarding this rumor. Because making Ruddy’s statement fit in with Twitter’s character restriction would be difficult, I am forced to post it here.

Newsmax is not having trouble making its payments to Dish or DirecTV; we are in good standing with both companies.

Additionally Newsmax is not making any unusual staff reductions. We are actually planning to expand our original programming, which will include more interactivity with users via Call-ins, Skype, and other Internet platforms. We expect to be expanding staff, not reducing it.

According to Rentrak, our monthly cume is up to close to 4 million monthly, up from 500,000 monthly 18 months ago, and our advertising revenue has more than tripled in two years.

Olbermann on Trump

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on March 22, 2016 by icn2

He may be gone from cable news but that doesn’t mean Keith Olbermann is staying silent. He just penned an article on media’s obsession with Donald Trump…

1. STOP ASKING “WHY ARE THEY COVERING TRUMP ALL THE EFFING TIME?”

They’re doing it for the money.

Duhhhh.

Save yourself the aggravation of looking for journalistic malfeasance, political motives, secret cabals or sinister corporations acting stealthily behind the curtain.

No stealth. No curtain. No apologies.

“Man, who would have expected the ride we’re all having right now?” asked a giddy CBS Chairman Les Moonves late last month. “The money’s rolling in and this is fun.”

Moonves—to my experience the most honest executive in media (not that it’s a suffocatingly full elevator)—summed it up: “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS. … This is going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It’s a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going.”

What else do you expect from commercial-based broadcasting? Or commercial-based digital and print journalism?

And Moonves is just talking about ad revenues here. He hasn’t even touched on the subjects of ratings, or of all the free news product that Trump—and the Fight To Save Us From Trump—has generated. From networks to the net, the mantra “If it bleeds, it leads” has been replaced by “If it’s Trump, the numbers jump.”

Debates and these horrifying Town Halls (which reveal to the world that American public education failed circa 1960) cost more to produce than do candidate speeches—but they also kill off even more hours. And better yet, they produce ratings approaching 10 times the ordinary high water mark. And you can keep talking about these debates or Town Halls the next day on your other news shows—even if the event wasn’t on your network.

And don’t point the finger only at television. You. Are. Reading. This.

The effect the Trump magic wand has had on the web is a little more difficult to quantify, but it’s there. I truly worry about the future of mankind every time Donnie opens his Clutch Cargo mouth, but he has been right once in this campaign: The news organizations should be paying him for filling all this time and space. Of course, only Trump would fail to recognize that just as assuredly, those news organizations should also be billing him for all the free advertising. The two figures would presumably be a wash.

You want to ask a pertinent question? Don’t ask “why are they covering him so much?” Ask “why are we listening/reading/watching them cover him so much?”

Media Storm…

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on January 4, 2016 by icn2

Mediaite’s Joe Concha writes about cable news’ hyperventilating coverage of the standoff in Oregon.

In other words, our armed militia means no harm unless the law does its job and takes the building it, you know, owns back. Pretty ominous stuff. And methinks the leader of the Crips or Hell’s Angels wouldn’t be afforded the same courtesy regarding media coverage if it took over a federal building. Yet here we are on the first busy day of the new year with wall-to-wall coverage of the standoff around a federal building in the Malheur Wildlife Refuge — a remote facility in the Oregon high desert … all as Ammon Bundy, gang spokesman, is granted more interviews on virtually every national television network and therefore a platform to share what his perspective to millions.

And we’re not just talking NBC, but ABC, CBS, CNN, the Associated Press, local media … you name it (adding: Fox Monday night on The Kelly File). Ammon Bundy — the son of the infamous Cliven Bundy who dominated the news cycle for weeks in April and May of 2014 during a standoff then — has now taken the Donald Trump mantle of media domination and will likely continue to until this standoff is over. Note: Bundy has declared the group “will stay for years” if it has to, meaning this could unfortunately end under not-so-peaceful terms. It also means the story will have legs — particularly in the cable news world — which was practically invented for this kind of scenario.

Indeed. It’s one thing to cover pacific northwest skirmishes with the Feds over a variety of issues, issues which are genuine policy questions. FNC was the only network to really cover the Klamath Basin water fight over a decade ago. That was a real issue that affected lives.

This was too. But it’s not really the issue that’s being covered now. What’s being covered is the standoff. For decades news has loved to cover standoffs with a voraciousness not justified. This kind of coverage grants a kind of legitimacy to something which has no business being legitimate since it is in fact illegal.

CBSN’s Profitability Problem…

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on December 15, 2015 by icn2

This is off topic as far as this blog’s charter goes but it’s of interest to me because I am a regular viewer of CBSN. TVNewsCheck’s Adam Buckman interviews CBS News President David Rhodes about the network’s digital offerings, with a very CBSN centric focus…

Rhodes said the core values and mission of CBS News are strong and the division is operating in the black. “We need to make money,” he said. More to the point, he added, “We need to not lose money.”

“Our daily operation is about broadcast journalism and video newsgathering and production. We have a large organization that’s set up around doing that activity globally in a high-quality way,” he said. “We have a variety of ways of monetizing that activity.”

CBSN is an interesting thing in what it does and how it does it. It is almost cable news like in how it programs. M-Fr, in the mornings it re-airs CBS This Morning with a one hour delay. It is then more or less live through 9 or 10pm ET with occasional re-airings of segements earlier in the day. On weekends it is more taped than live. There have been times when CBSN wasn’t live that I had tuned in hoping it was live. Commercials are somewhat infrequent for the Live broadcast but if you pick any segment that isn’t part of the “Live feed”…and by “Live feed” I mean whatever is currently airing under the “Live” banner whether truly live or not, you’ll get a commercial before you get the segment you picked.

Whenever I hear the term “monetizing” in regards to web streams I immediately think “more commercials” and that’s a tough sell. Web viewers are acclimated to the practice of airing one commercial before getting the content they selected so adding additional commercials will be a tough sell. Whenever I hear the phrase, “We need to not lose money” I think cutbacks; be they in infrastructure, the number of hours of live broadcasts, or getting cheaper talent…or at the very least talent that is amortized across a wider platform (read: not dedicated to CBSN).

Rhodes wasn’t very clear on how bad CBSN loses money or how he is looking to bridge that gap. So, as far as I’m concerned, nothing is off the table because Rhodes didn’t rule anything out other than an impending demise for the channel.

Home Movies…

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on December 8, 2015 by icn2

This is 1080p so you’ll want to watch it on YouTube…

I’m Back…and Cable News is Off The Charts With Paris Coverage…

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on November 15, 2015 by icn2

Still figuring out what time zone this is and catching up on all the news I’ve missed while on an island with horrendous internet penetration. How horrid? On the days I could find a wi-fi hot spot that worked, even Twitter took forever to update. Totally missed the Paris attacks and all the initial coverage. Very pleased to see Chris Jansing anchoring on MSNBC for the first time since she left for the White House beat. I see CNN put most of its A-Team on a plane to Paris. FNC has been wall to wall too.

Press Releases: 10/27/15

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on October 27, 2015 by icn2

MSNBC (1)

EXCLUSIVE: MSNBC’S JOE SCARBOROUGH AND MIKA BRZEZINSKI TO INTERVIEW CHARLES AND DAVID KOCH

Interview to Air During Special “Morning Joe” Live from Wichita on Tuesday, November 3

NEW YORK – October 27, 2015 – In a rare, exclusive interview, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski will sit down with billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. The interview will take place in the Koch’s childhood home in Wichita, KS and will explore the role of money in politics.

“Morning Joe” (weekdays, 6-9 a.m. ET) will air the joint interview in a special live broadcast from Wichita State University on Tuesday, November 3, one year out from Election Day 2016.

Big Time Sour Grapes…

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on October 23, 2015 by icn2

CNN’s Brian Stelter writes about the Trump campaign barring Univision journalists from covering Trump events because Trump is suing Univision over the Miss Universe pagent fiasco…

On Friday evening Univision staffers confirmed that they weren’t given press credentials for a Trump rally at the candidate’s resort in Doral, Florida. Univision is the most-watched Spanish-language network in the United States.

Jorge Ramos, one of the network’s best-known anchors, tweeted that the journalists “were not allowed” to cover the rally.

A Trump campaign spokeswoman told CNN, “Mr. Trump is suing Univision for $500 million and until that is resolved it is a conflict of interest.”

Bullshit. There is no conflict of interest. In the modern history of Corporate America suing Media America, those media entities with journalism wings weren’t blocked from covering the plaintiff’s events.

For example, GM sued NBC (and settled) over a Dateline story. GM didn’t block NBC from covering its events and NBC didn’t slant its coverage of NBC as a result of the lawsuit.

Moreover, Univision’s news division isn’t even the subject of this particular lawsuit. It’s Univision’s entertainment wing that’s being sued.

This is nothing more than Trump using the lawsuit as an excuse to keep Univision away. It’s sour grapes, pure and simple.

Changes at The Weather Channel…

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on September 9, 2015 by icn2

TVNewser’s Mark Joyella writes about Weather Channel changes…including layoffs.

“We’ve restructured our TV division to better align our content production and distribution with a focus on innovative models of storm coverage and strategic new products, such as our soon-to-be-launched OTT service,” the network told TVNewser in a statement. “This shift in focus has resulted in the elimination of some our programming and positions.”

In a memo to employees, Weather Channel president Dave Shull said the network will refocus its morning coverage on weather–and move Sam Champion away from the network’s AMHQ to a new role in prime time. Champion left a high-profile job at Good Morning America in late 2013 for the Weather Channel.

Faulkner vs. Hasbro…

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on September 2, 2015 by icn2

Harris Faulkner is suing Hasbro for 5 million because a toy. The New York Daily News’ Dareh Gregorian has more

In papers filed in New Jersey Federal Court, Harris Faulkner says she’s suffered “substantial commercial and emotional damage” from a plastic hamster doll that shares her name.

“Harris Faulkner, the uniquely named, acclaimed veteran journalist and author, has worked for decades to establish and maintain her personal brand and laudable professional reputation,” her $5 million lawsuit says.

But toy giant Hasbro Inc. has “willfully and wrongfully appropriated Faulkner’s unique and valuable name and distinctive persona for its own financial gain—by creating, manufacturing, and distributing for sale a plastic toy hamster named ‘Harris Faulkner.’”

This is serious. I don’t know Hasbro’s system that constitutes its path to market but companies that use names, or make up names, tend to have some form of clearing system to make sure that real people, particularly real famous people, don’t get caught up in the process. If you look at the pets list for Hasbro’s Littlest Pet Shop – which incidentally does not include the Faulkner model – the names are rather eccentric. So the idea that someone famous’ real name made it all the way through the process seems to suggest that Hasbro’s vetting process broke down somewhere along the line.

So I definitely think Faulkner has something of a case, in as much as her name should never have made it in to a product. How much of a case will be up for a court to decide. If the case ever gets that far.

Some of the claims bandied about in the lawsuit however strike me as tossing the kitchen sink into the complaint…

In addition to its “prominent and unauthorized use of Faulkner’s name,” it also has a “physical resemblance to Faulkner’s traditional professional appearance, in particular tone of its complexion, the shape of its eyes, and the design of its eye makeup.”

Hmmm…

comparison

I don’t see it…particularly when you look at all the other toys in that product line. But, again, this will be for a court to decide…

Holy Devaluation Batman!

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on July 23, 2015 by icn2

An investor group led by NBC Universal and two private equity firms clinched a deal for the Weather Channel on Sunday after three weeks of negotiations.

Though the parties did not disclose the price, the buyers, NBC and the private equity firms Bain Capital and the Blackstone Group, will pay just under $3.5 billion, people briefed on the matter said.

– The New York Times’ Michael J. de la Merced in 2008

Comcast Corp, in a quarterly regulatory filing on Thursday, said it took a $252 million impairment charge related to the goodwill on its investment in the Weather Channel. As of June 30, Comcast valued its stake in the Weather Channel at only $86 million, down from $335 million at the end of last year.

– The Wall St Journal’s Shalini Ramachandran today.

Brian Williams ISN’T Getting a Two Hour Show?

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on July 23, 2015 by icn2

In a must read that apparently wasn’t read by very many media writers, The Wrap’s Jordan Chariton buries his lede

At the town hall, executives also filled in staffers on Brian Williams’ return, telling them he doesn’t want his own show at the network, most likely a decision aimed at rebuilding his credibility as a reporter.

This is the only contradictory information out there that Williams may not get the soon to be open 3-5 block on MSNBC. So what’s it going to be: Williams gets a show or Williams doesn’t get a show? I guess we’ll find out soon enough…

NewsMax’s Daily Wrap: The Anti-Politics Rountable Politics Roundtable Show

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on June 14, 2015 by icn2

There’s a show out there on NewsMax TV called the Daily Wrap. You may have read about it recently since reviews of the show have been popping up all over the internet. I’m going to venture a guess that many of those reviews were spurned on the same way this one was; from an email appeal from host Joe Concha. First time I’m reviewing something because someone on the show asked me to. But I had already considered doing one before Concha’s email showed up in my in box because something about that show made me want to come back and see it again. But if this review goes south Concha knows he has himself to blame. Be careful what you wish for…

I suppose the Daily Wrap needs all the publicity it can get. I’ll lay odds that this show has gotten more internet attention in the form of these reviews the past few weeks than NewsMax TV has gotten in the entirety of its existence. That’s probably not an exaggeration either. Hell, I didn’t even know about NewsMax TV showing up on DirecTV until I caught an ad for it on another channel and that’s where I found the Daily Wrap which my program guide said was hosted by Joe Concha. So I just had to go watch it. Mediaite first made mention of the show…weeks after I discovered it (which I thought a little strange since the host of the show writes a lot for the site so why the huge delay Kirell?)

Unlike Carpe Diem’s claims in its review of the show…the show is in HD (Diem’s feed may be an SD version though). However DirecTV has squeezed the HD picture horizontally to fit in an SD space. That is beyond fugly as everyone looks like a potential Top 3 NBA pick. Someone needs to fix that ASAP.

NewsMax TV is essentially a shoestring operation at this point. Worse than MSNBC and FNC when they launched. Probably on par with Current when it snagged Olbermann. Maybe a little worse.

The Daily Wrap is a victim of this and the Mexican jumping bean like decision making of its owner Chris Ruddy. When Mediaite made mention of the show, it had just been given a 10pm repeat. A few weeks later…POOF!…said repeat was replaced with non-sequitur crapola about Nazi Germany. Way to go Ruddy! If NewsMax TV or The Daily Wrap eventually ends up imploding I have no doubt Ruddy will have inadvertently had a hand in their demise.

The show manages to fight past all this though, sorta like the post Nuclear Apocalypse cockroach. Despite the now you see it, now you don’t programming, despite the slightly better than 1990’s era Local Cable Public Access TV production values…there is something there. What it is, I’m just not sure yet.

Let’s be clear here. I am not a fan of talking head politics/watercooler programming. That format has been done to death. It is everywhere…and it’s still flourishing. But there is something that separates The Daily Wrap from the other shows. Actually it’s probably a combination of things; some deliberate, some just a result of circumstances.

There isn’t a “name” on The Daily Wrap but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a star in the making. However that star isn’t Concha. Concha acquits himself fine as a host but he gets eclipsed every time Rick Ungar opens his mouth. Ungar was a blank slate for me but after several viewings I still couldn’t make out which side of the political spectrum he fell on. Tonight I looked it up. He doesn’t talk like a Maddow or an Olbermann or a Matthews or (worse of the worst) an Eleanor Clift. His voice is unique on cable news; authoritative without being condescending (most of the time). Factual (well as factual as a POV pundit can be anyways) without being argumentative.

There is a chemistry there between Ungar and Concha. It seems to be perpetually teetering on the verge of falling into that dreaded world of “inside the ballpark” politics where the average viewer has references and asides shoot right over their head. This may be partially a result of the shoestring which NewsMax TV operates with. A tighter production system might do more to pull back the show from that precipice. Then again, if it were to pull back, might some of the other positive aspects of this Anti-Political Rountable Political Roundtable format die in the process? It’s a tricky proposition.

Besides Ungar and Concha, there’s a revolving door of third and (later in the show) fourth panelists. One could classify most of these people as D-list panelists…people I’ve not seen much, if not anything, of on cable news before. This actually works in the show’s favor most of the time because we aren’t getting the usual suspects that we see all the time on CNN, MSNBC, and FNC. It is a breath of fresh air for a format desperately needing one.

One thing that a tighter production system might do is streamline the show. In my opinion the show tackles too many subjects. I’ve seen segments get cut off well before they should have run their proper course, all in the name of either time (which is understandable) or in the name of getting to the next subject (which is far less understandable).

And then there are the throwaway subjects; usually of the tabloid fodder/watercooler variety. When the show steers into that territory, more times than not I start looking longingly at my remote. Stick to the politics and world affairs. There’s plenty of worthy subjects there to cover which don’t get enough coverage on the headline obsessed red/blue politics driven gabfests on the other networks.

The Daily Wrap still is not really my cup of tea but it’s better than most of the all too predictable roundtable shows currently available on cable news. It seems to be making a genuine attempt at programming agendaless TV. I can’t say the same for most of The Daily Wrap’s competition.

NewsMax TV could very well have a hit show on its hands. Eventually. If people can find it. If the focus tightens a bit and they add another permanent panelist. And if they can keep Ruddy’s fingers off the controls long enough. I’m not holding my breath on that last one.

Long Long Knives…

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on June 12, 2015 by icn2

Vanity Fair’s Bryan Burrough writes about Brian Williams’ future…or lack therof…

Some executives at competing networks believe Williams will take whatever NBC offers because he has few other options. “The other networks won’t take him, I actually don’t think CNN wants him—I mean, the guy is damaged goods,’’ says one. One conceivable home would be Fox News, whose C.E.O., Roger Ailes, has defended Williams since his suspension. But it’s far from clear that Williams would embrace Fox’s right-wing slant. Other executives suggest Williams, like his onetime NBC colleagues Katie Couric and David Gregory, could find a home at Yahoo or some other Internet outlet. But those who have known Williams the longest strongly doubt he would accept such a comedown.

From the beginning, many have thought the most natural spot for Williams to land is on his own talk show, whether at NBC or some other network. A talk show, even one at a ratings laggard like MSNBC, plays to his strengths as a raconteur and a personality and is even an option that Williams has long considered—it was his desire to break from the hard-news mold, after all, that motivated his failed attempts at persuading CBS chief Les Moonves to let him replace David Letterman and NBCUniversal president Steve Burke to give him Jay Leno’s job. That Williams is viewed inside NBC as a poor interviewer wouldn’t matter, and in one fell swoop it would wash away the credibility questions. No one worried about whether Larry King or Howard Stern had credibility. They watched because they were entertaining. And for all his sins, there’s no denying that Williams could still be one heck of an entertainer.

Free for All: 06/12/15

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on June 12, 2015 by icn2

What’s on your mind?

The NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt…

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on June 8, 2015 by icn2

CNN’s Brian Stelter writes about Lester Holt very likely becoming the new permanent anchor of Nightly News…

His assignment was originally supposed to last six months — the amount of time Brian Williams was suspended after ten years at the helm of “Nightly.”

But Williams is unlikely to return to the anchor chair when his suspension is up. Negotiations between NBC executives and Williams’ attorney are focused on two potential paths: a new role for Williams, or an exit from the network.

Either path leaves Holt in the anchor chair — unless NBC surprises everyone and risks destabilizing the show by appointing a new anchor. (Calling that scenario exceedingly unlikely is an understatement.)

So Holt, through the worst of circumstances, is stepping up to one of the best jobs in television journalism.

But will NBC really commit to Holt by naming him Managing Editor?

NBC’s Attempt To Keep Brian Williams Around?

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on May 31, 2015 by icn2

CNN’s Brian Stelter writes that NBC is looking for a way to keep Brian Williams around…maybe.

Weeks of complex negotiations between Williams and NBC are not yet complete, according to sources with direct knowledge of the situation.

There are any number of possible outcomes. Several of the sources said Williams could end up leaving NBC altogether following a financial settlement.

But another possibility, and the one advanced in recent discussions, involves a new role for Williams.
Andy Lack, the chairman of NBC News, has been a proponent of this outcome.

“Andy’s contorting to figure out a way to keep Brian,” one of the sources said.

A fool’s errand. Variety’s Andrew Wallenstein explains why

Whatever role he would accept at NBC News, he would likely want to be involved with the kind of substantive stories that he trafficked in at the anchor desk, and those stories will require he restore his reputation–so the network doesn’t really solve its problems by finding Williams another perch outside the anchor desk.

Lack could also opt to create a new “special correspondent” role for Williams to tackle big stories for various NBC News outlets beyond “Nightly News.” But Williams might want to give Ann Curry a call before accepting such an assignment. After her awkward ouster from “Today,” Curry was awarded a similar consolation prize and proceeded to spend the next few years floating like a ghost around the news division doing nothing of note. Having exited NBC in January, Curry clearly made the wrong career choice, letting the brand equity she built up at “Today” dissipate when she would have been better served jumping ship while still a known quantity.

Maybe Lack will figure out a more defined role for Williams so that he avoids Curry’s fate, but does it really matter where exactly he ends up? Whether Williams is an anchor or not, or on NBC or some other network, his credibility problem will be waiting for him.

Indeed. Anything short of Williams extraction from the news division is going to cause all kinds of optics problems both for NBC News and Williams. The one possibility would be in NBC Entertainment where Williams credibility (or lack thereof) should not be much of an issue.

Greg Guttfeld’s New Show

Posted in FNC, Miscellaneous Subjects on May 14, 2015 by icn2

TVNewser’s Brian Flood writes about Greg Guttfeld’s new weekend show on FNC debuting on May 31st…

The Greg Gutfeld Show is expected to have a comedic-commentary format, with parodies of current events and humorous monologues on news-worthy topics. FNC contributor Joanne Nosuchinsky will also be on the program.

“Every host of a new show likes to say they’re breaking new ground. So why should I be any different. This show will forever change the way you watch television, plus guests provide their own transportation,” Gutfeld said.