Archive for the Miscellaneous Subjects Category

Hi There, Remember ME?

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on April 29, 2015 by icn2

Page Six’s Claire Atkinson writes about Brian Williams…

This time, Brian Williams may not be exaggerating.

Talks between the exiled anchor and NBCUniversal have recently become tense — with the 55-year-old newsman saying he will not have his “NBC Nightly News” job taken away without a battle, The Post has learned.

“Brian is saying he’s not going down without a fight and [is] threatening to make it really ugly — worse than Ann Curry,” a source close to NBC told The Post.


Ann Curry. Those are two words that would scare the hell out of NBC brass.

Leak Wars…

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on April 27, 2015 by icn2

Well after several anti-Williams leaks, which occurred after several pro Williams stories the week before, The New York Daily News’ Don Kaplan has the next pro-Williams piece and this one raises the ante big time…

This ship’s captain doesn’t want to throw the anchor overboard.

NBC News chief Andrew Lack is looking for a way to put Brian Williams back behind the “Nightly News” desk, sources tell the Daily News — and Williams has told confidants he won’t leave the network unless he’s fired.

“Andy believes viewers want him (Williams) back,” the source said. “The feeling is that (Williams’) problem seems to be more with the media and other reporters than his viewers — if Andy can figure out a way to get him back on the air he will do it.”

Oh boy. If this story is accurate, it really puts Lack and NBC behind a barrel…though not the same barrel. If Williams doesn’t come back, Lack looks weak. If Williams does come back, let the intra-network sniping commence…not to mention all the late night jokes at Williams’ expense for as long as he’s the face of the network.

This is all about leverage at this point. Last weeks leaks looked to give leverage to NBC if it opted not to keep Williams for some justification based on these 11 incidents. Today’s leak makes it look like Williams won’t make it easy for them to do it.

So much posturing…so little time. And then there’s this…

Lack is said to be furious over the leaks and his attitude bolsters a theory among observers that there is a power struggle occurring within the highest ranks of NBC News.

“The fact that there has been no resolution and that he (Lack) is still searching for a way to restore Brian is making it very hard for us to move forward,” a network source said.

And this…

But Williams is said to be less concerned with the money and almost obsessed with restoring his tarnished reputation.

He should start by looking in the mirror methinks. None of this happens if not for his actions.

And Open Letter to Helena Andrews

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on April 26, 2015 by icn2

Dear Helena,

We’ve never met. We don’t know each other. Until today, I didn’t know who you were. Last night I was introduced to you via three seconds of very unfortunate video of you. Like several others, I posted a screen grab. More than once.

I knew you would get identified eventually. That’s the nature of things that go viral on the internet.

So you’re a gossip type columnist for the Washington Post. I’m a 10 year media blogger…which I guess means I’m about as reviled. So we have that in common at least.

What we don’t have in common apparently is a respect for the national anthem. I must assume you have no respect for it because a) you were caught diddling on your cell phone while everyone else was reverentially at attention, and, b) because of how you responded to the firestorm that erupted.

Apparently someone saw me on TV “texting” during the dinner. FTR I was taking notes. On my phone. Because it’s 2015. #WHCD

No, Helena. We didn’t see you texting during dinner. Nobody is going to care if anyone texted during the dinner…except maybe for this guy.

No, Helena. We saw you texting during the national anthem. In case you didn’t know it, being a gossip columnist and all, the national anthem is when we stop what we’re doing and stand at attention in reverence to our country and all it stands for.

That would, you know, include the Constitution. You know the Constitution don’t you Helena? It’s that piece of paper upon which our country was built on. It has a bunch of stuff in it including the Bill of Rights.

You know the Bill of Rights, don’t you Helena? Certainly you must be aware of the First Ammendment? You know, the one that has that bit about Freedom of the Press…which even in your profession is kinda relevant?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

When journalists stand at attention for the national anthem out of respect for our country, out of respect for what it stands for, out of respect for the Constitution which binds us all together, they do so knowing that they live in a country which gives them a degree of freedom to write in a way which many nations in this world do not. They are grateful for that distinction. It emboldens them to take risks, to put their profession on the line time and again, because they were raised in a country which fosters and nurtures such behavior. And it can come with a great great cost. I’ll now quote what the President said last night at the WHCD…

Investigative journalism; explanatory journalism; journalism that exposes corruption and injustice and gives a voice to the different, the marginalized, the voiceless—that’s power. It’s a privilege. It’s as important to America’s trajectory—to our values, our ideals—than anything that we could do in elected office.

We remember journalists we lost over the past year—journalists like Steven Sotloff and James Foley, murdered for nothing more than trying to shine a light into some of the world’s darkest corners. We remember the journalists unjustly imprisoned around the world, including our own Jason Rezaian. For nine months, Jason has been imprisoned in Tehran for nothing more than writing about the hopes and the fears of the Iranian people, carrying their stories to the readers of the Washington Post in an effort to bridge our common humanity. As was already mentioned, Jason’s brother, Ali, is here tonight and I have told him personally we will not rest until we bring him home to his family, safe and sound.

These journalists and so many others view their work as more than just a profession, but as a public good; an indispensable pillar of our society. So I want to give a toast to them. I raise a glass to them and all of you, with the words of the American foreign correspondent Dorothy Thompson: “It is not the fact of liberty, but the way in which liberty is exercised, that ultimately determines whether liberty itself survives.”

Thank you for your devotion to exercising our liberty, and to telling our American story. God bless you. God bless the United States of America.

You heard those words, right Helena? Or were you too busy “taking notes”?

This is why we show respect at the national anthem. This is why we stand at attention. This is why we don’t diddle on our cell phones. If we need to diddle we wait the forty or so seconds it takes to play the anthem and then we diddle.

You might consider all this the next time you are at an event with the President and the national anthem is played.

Of course, I’m just a blogger so what the fuck do I know?

ICN’s Guide To TV Career Destruction

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on March 8, 2015 by icn2

With all the stuff that has broken out recently about various TV news personalities and how their careers may or may not be in trouble it’s becoming increasingly difficult to sort it all out

So in steps ICN to guide you the viewer on how not all career destructions are created equal. Let’s get to it…

Things that will destroy your career if you are a straight TV journalist:

– Lying
– Exaggerating
– A sex scandal
– Age (particularly if you are female)
– Social Media Transgressions (if your news organization’s main base is located in Georgia)
– Criticizing your network in public (unless you are the flagship news anchor or similar star level talent)
– Faking a news story (There’s one exception to this. See below)

Things that will never destroy your career if you are a straight TV journalist:

– Making up a news story for fun and it winds up getting posted on your news organization’s website

Things that may or may not destroy your career if you are a straight TV journalist:

– Having an opinion that’s expressed off your network’s air (depends on the opinion expressed and the context of expressing it)
– Plagiarism (may not if your news organization’s main base is located in Georgia)
– Cherry picking facts to relay in your story (depends on the story and what got cherry picked)
– Thoroughness in your reporting (depends on the story)
– A drug or alcohol addiction (as long as you make a complete recovery your career will live)
– Going over the top in reacting to a story with snide commentary (depends on the commentary and who/what is being snarked on apparently)
– Having a conflict of interest (depends on your star power and how vigilant your network chooses to be in enforcing conflict of interest rules)
– Creative editing in your story (depends on what got edited and how big the story)

Things that will destroy your career if you are a TV opinion pundit

– A sex scandal (has to be verifiable to be fatal)
– Criticizing your network in public (unless you are that top dog that the network cannot afford to lose)
– Pissing off the White House (if they are considered a courted demographic of your network’s direction)

Things that will never destroy your career if you are a TV opinion pundit

– Lying (as long as it’s not to your bosses)
– Exaggerating (see above)
– Faking a News Story
– Cherry picking facts to relay in your story
– Plagiarism (it will inflict damage but it’s rarely fatal)
– Having an opinion that’s expressed off your network’s air (as long as it’s not critical of said network)
– Age (unless you’ve gone senile as a result)
– Having a conflict of interest (particularly if you represent a key demographic your networks in Rockefeller Center and the Avenue of The Americas are targeting)
– Creative editing in your story

Things that may or may not destroy your career if you are a TV opinion pundit

– Thoroughness in your reporting (depends on your standing in your organization)
– A drug or alcohol addiction (depends on how big a hypocrite it makes you look, full recovery or not)
– Expressing an opinion counter to the direction your network is headed with a story (unless you were brought on specifically for that role)

The Mess at NBC News…

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on March 8, 2015 by icn2

In a must read, New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman writes about NBC News’ woes…and at least party revives a meme NBC had hoped would die off by now, that Matt Lauer is to blame for a lot of this.

Producers began to grumble that Lauer was preventing Today from evolving. When Fili-Krushel proposed installing a troika of female producers to oversee the show, Lauer and Guthrie nixed the plan. “This is like Lilith Fair,” Lauer complained to a senior producer, according to a source, referring to the ’90s all-female rock festival. Lauer’s handpicked choice, Don Nash, was named executive producer instead. And last March, NBC poached Josh Elliott from GMA, which many producers interpreted as an effort to groom a successor to Lauer. A logical introduction would be to have Elliott join the cast as a ­newsreader—­Natalie Morales’s position. Turness reportedly had her doubts about Morales in that role anyway. (Morales was furious when, months earlier, Turness told her she needed more personality on the air. “I want more Natalie,” she said.) But Lauer didn’t want Elliott to replace Morales.

Turness was boxed in. To catch GMA, Today needed to consider a talent shake-up, but in June 2014, she had helped persuade Lauer to re-sign his contract. And Lauer would fight changes tooth and nail.

The situation came to a head in September. Today’s ratings had stalled over the summer. In something of a last-ditch effort, Fili-Krushel and Turness tapped a brash, 38-year-old ESPN producer named Jamie Horowitz to devise a turnaround plan. But Horowitz had a cocky style and a big mouth, and he immediately set the staff on edge. According to one senior Today staffer, he would play a game of Survivor with producers. “If you’re on an island and you could keep three senior producers, whom would you keep?” According to another source, Horowitz was stoking unrest among the cast. “He told Tamron Hall she had to watch her back because Natalie was trashing her. But then he told Natalie that Tamron was trashing her.” (Horowitz declined to comment.)
Continue reading

Rampant Speculation…

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on March 3, 2015 by icn2

Politico’s Dylan Byers pens a silly piece on what happens to Brian Williams if Andy Lack comes back to helm NBC News…

Former NBC News president Andrew Lack’s return to 30 Rock — he is currently in talks about a “top job” in the news division — would catalyze a major shakeup among the executive leadership and would likely signal Brian Williams’ return to the network, current and former high-level NBC News staff told the On Media blog on Monday.

Lack, who served as NBC News president from 1993 to 2001, is a close friend and adviser to Williams and the man responsible for making him anchor of the NBC Nightly News ten years ago. High-level sources who spoke to On Media on Tuesday said that Lack’s return to NBC News should be taken as a near-guarantee that NBC would move to reinstate Williams as anchor of the Nightly News. Williams was given a six-month suspension in February for making false claims about his experience during the Iraq War, leading many industry insiders to believe that he would not return to “Nightly” at all.

One wonders who Byers’ sources were for this story but whoever they were they kinda gave Byers a bum steer.

The idea that Lack returning to NBC increases Williams chances of returning to Nightly News is profoundly flawed analysis for two big reasons.

First, it’s not going to be Lack’s call. It’s going to be Comcast Executive Vice President Steve Burke’s call. Lack would probably have input but ultimately it’s Burke’s decision since Burke was the one who took charge of the Williams scandal and made the call to have him suspended (and issue a statement about the damage done by Williams). Burke owns this, not Lack.

Second, Lack is not likely to stick his neck out for Williams regardless of their history together. Put it in these terms: would you want one of the first major decisions affecting the news division you just took over to be to bring back the guy whose scandal kicked into high gear the chain of events which brought you back in the first place? Would you want to expend whatever capital you came in with on a street fight that’s going to bring all that stuff up again? This is a particularly valid point if Nightly, helmed by Lester Holt, is still ahead of ABC’s World News.

The optics are all wrong for Lack if he was predisposed to going for bat for Williams in a big way.

Then there’s this…

In addition to signaling a Williams comeback, some sources said, a Lack chairmanship would shore up support for Lauer at NBC’s “Today” show and could even lead to Couric’s return to NBC News. (Couric, now a Yahoo News, was at NBC from 1989 to 2006.)

Shore up support for Lauer? Who on earth is going around saying Lauer is embattled still? Nobody I know. Yes, Today isn’t #1 anymore but it’s not because of Lauer, nor is it because the show is still in the chaos it was over a year ago.

And Couric? Don’t get me started…

This next graph necessitates a question…

Lack’s return could have broader implications for the peacock. As chairman of the news group, he would also be tasked with overseeing MSNBC, which has been dogged by severe ratings declines in recent years. Lack is responsible for the creation of MSNBC, though its complete transformation into a liberal network happened long after his departure.

The $64,000 question: What does Lack think of Phil Griffin? When Lack was running NBC, Griffin was still an MSNBC underling so what their relationship was like at the time directly impacts what happens should Lack take over. Would Lack’s arrival shorten Griffin’s already short leash and speed up the timeframe Griffin has to affect change before he’s removed? Or would Lack be more focused on dealing with NBC News’ broadcast properties first which could give Griffin extra breathing room?

Dual Brian Williams Must Read Tick Tocks…

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on February 11, 2015 by icn2

Got a pair of must reads on the Brian Williams saga. The first is the New York Times’ Emily Steel

Control of the situation quickly passed to Stephen B. Burke, chief executive of NBCUniversal. Thursday afternoon, Mr. Burke called the first of a series of secret meetings, this one at the conference room in the executive suites on the 51st floor. Those present included Patricia Fili-Krushel, chairwoman of NBCUniversal News Group, and Deborah Turness, the president of NBC News. Mr. Williams did not attend.

Mr. Burke acted decisively, according to one person, telling his colleagues to gather the facts so that they could make an expeditious but fair decision. He decided to hold meetings at 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. each day until the issue was resolved.

Mr. Burke sought advice from Mr. Williams’s predecessor, Tom Brokaw, who canceled a vacation in the Virgin Islands to offer his feedback. The two shared uncertainties about the best approach, with Mr. Brokaw expressing concerns about how the episode would affect NBC News employees, according to one person with knowledge of the discussions. Mr. Burke also consulted David L. Cohen, an executive vice president at NBCUniversal’s parent company, Comcast, who was busy on an issue with much higher financial stakes — Comcast’s attempt to gain regulatory approval for a $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable.

Also The Washginton Post’s Manuel Roig-Franzia, Scott Higham and Paul Farhi

Senior NBC officials seriously considered firing anchor Brian Williams because he lied to his viewers about riding in a military helicopter hit by a rocket-propelled grenade during the Iraq war, according to a top network official.

The ultimate decision to suspend Williams for six months was made after an internal investigation unearthed other “instances of exaggeration,” according to a person familiar with intense behind-the-scenes discussions between network officials and Williams.

During those talks, Williams failed to secure a promise that he can return to the anchor chair he has occupied for the past decade, according to two network sources, who like others interviewed for this article spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive personnel issue.


Internally, Williams, 55, was fighting hard to preserve his reputation and his job. He was calling people at all hours, looking for some kind of an escape route, according to a top network official. “They were clinging to the, ‘Gee I just conflated my facts here’ story,” the network official said.


There is also a sense that the newsroom has been adrift since Comcast Cable took over NBC Universal in 2011. NBC journalists said editors who once kept a close watch over the broadcast have departed, leaving Williams to operate with few meaningful checks and balances.

As managing editor of “NBC Nightly News,” Williams held enormous sway over story selection and over which reporters would appear on his broadcasts. Journalists with serious reputations were forced out or left on their own after the Comcast takeover. The newsroom hasn’t been the same since, several NBC reporters and producers said.

“There are few people who talk to Brian in an authoritative way,” a former top NBC news manager said. “There really wasn’t anyone over him to say anything to him or to question his facts. There was no one managing him. There was constant changing to his whims.

There’s a lot more. Read both stories top to bottom…


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