Yawn…

Posted in FNC on December 15, 2016 by icn2

Er…for reasons unknown Greg Gutfeld decided to revive my 5+ year old post press release commentary regarding the announcement of The Five as a replacement for the timeslot previously occupied by Glenn Beck. I was made aware of this by a shit disturbing Johnny Dollar tweet:

.@greggutfeld recalls the @InsideCableNews review of @TheFive: “I give it six weeks.” Greg sez: “What happened to that guy? He’s homeless!”

Um. Yeah. Ok.

Gutfeld has brought up this subject before. He did it three years ago on The Five’s second anniversary. And I responded to that. Short version: No excuses. I got it wrong.

Why Gutfeld brought it up again today, I have no idea. It’s not another anniversary for the show. And it’s not like I’ve been throwing darts at the show the past few years. I don’t get it. There’s no reason to rehash it other than he’s bored I guess. I already fell on my sword once so I’m not going to do it again now.

But I do have one thing to say to Gutfeld. If you’re going to come after me, come after me with the truth. That tweet saying I said, “I give it six weeks.” left me scratching my head. That didn’t sound like me. That’s not how I talk about shows. I don’t give closed ended timelines. But just to be sure I checked the original post and sure enough the only thing I said was I didn’t expect the show to last. Obviously wrong but then so is Gutfeld for saying that I said, “I give it six weeks.”

But then this shouldn’t be surprising. The first time he came after me he played fast and loose with the truth as well and took me out of context on several points which I rebutted point by point.

Greg, you don’t need to embellish. You had me dead to rights on the show not lasting and I owned up to it. To slant it with embellishments just makes you look bad when you didn’t need to go there in the first place. The truth cuts deeper than a lie every time.

Conflict Of Interest? Not so fast…

Posted in CNN on December 9, 2016 by icn2

The Hill’s Joe Concha opines about an alleged conflict of interest on CNN’s hands…

And he truly is CNN’s “it” guy right now — he’s landing interviews everywhere, from “The Daily Show” to Rolling Stone.

His commentaries — such as his blaming Donald Trump’s stunning victory on a “whitelash” of voters — go viral more than those of most network personalities lately.

But it was revealed on Thursday via a Washington Free Beacon report that Jones is also running a PR firm called Megaphone Strategies that is openly courting Electoral College electors in states across the country to not cast their vote for Trump on Dec. 19.

Before we go any further…what are we defining as a conflict of interest here? That CNN has a commentator who has a vested interest in the goings on in D.C. or have skin in some cause?

If we go by that standard, you’d have to disqualify most of the commentators on cable news today…starting with Karl Rove.

Now, while I’m all for tossing these guys (and gals) out on their ears and putting the “news” back in cable news…it’s not gonna happen.

But is it a conflict of interest for CNN? No. Cable news regularly brings on people of Van Jones’ ilk. What sets Van Jones apart, and makes the scrutiny a little stricter, is the fact CNN gave him what amounts to a live pilot. But that doesn’t make CNN any different from NBC News having Nicolle Wallace interview Jeb Bush or FNC using Tucker Carlson to host a show while he killed off Daily Caller articles critical of said network. Both are bigger conflicts of interest than whatever has ensnared Van Jones.

But that doesn’t stop Concha from unwisely going out on a long thin branch…

So is Jones now as compromised as Brazile was? And if so, what does CNN do about it?

Seriously? You’re going to compare Van Jones fronting a PR firm advocating a particular course of action…and being totally out in the open about it…to Brazile deliberately using back channels to pass on a debate question for a CNN debate to the Clinton campaign? The two could not be more dissimilar.

Is Van Jones conflicted? No. He blasts Trump on CNN and he runs a PR firm that currently is trying to undermine Trump’s chances of getting enough electors to vote for him. He’s being consistent. He’s not pretending to be something other than what he is. Furthermore, as Concha notes at the bottom, his PR firm says Van Jones plays no active role in the very issue he’s being taken to task over.

Does CNN have a disclosure issue? Technically, yes. But so does every other cable news channel in properly disclosing all the ties their analysts have. Either clean them all up or leave CNN alone.

The one question Concha doesn’t ask, and should have, is whether Van Jones is suitable material for fronting CNN specials? On that score he is definitely not. Not as long as he keeps his hands in the game.

As far as I’m concerned that’s CNN’s real problem; their poor judgement in putting a political commentator in the role of show host. That’s not journalism. It’s advocacy…at least for as long as Van Jones is still being primarily used by CNN for his opinion.

Home Movies

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on December 7, 2016 by icn2

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

Megyn Kelly to CNN Would Be A Risk For Both

Posted in CNN, FNC on December 3, 2016 by icn2

This post comes a little late but my mom is in the hospital with a coronary condition so I have not had the time to write. 

A couple of days ago Drudge posted a story that Jeff Zucker was going all out to poach Megyn Kelly from FNC. The motivation behind the leaking of this to Drudge would be juicy indeed. Which camp did the deed and why?

But I am instead going to write about why this would probably be a bad deal for both, but for vastly different reasons.

For CNN the risks and unknowns are greater than they are for Kelly. In order…

  • According to Drudge, Zucker can’t afford to outbid Fox so instead he is trying to entice Kelly by offering a very wide greater than CNN networks platform and a huge promotion campaign. CNN has a decidedly mixed record on this score. The network threw oodles of money behind a campaign to promote Anderson Cooper; a campaign which failed to deliver the ratings the network hoped for and drew much ridicule for the alleged cost.
  • Zucker is taking a bigger risk than necessary if he does things this way. Despite all the glamour shots, all the glowing articles, all the off network promotional appearances, all the hype (Some of it deserved. Some not)…the fact is it is a huge unknown whether Megyn Kelly’s FNC star power transfers off that network. Given the lackluster ratings her Fox broadcast prime time special turned in, this is also a question Fox may be asking itself. The stigma of partisan cable news is very powerful and makes it tough to broaden one’s profile to other less ideological platforms (see: Maddow, Rachel).
  • But even if it did transfer, the chances CNN could come anywhere close to getting the ratings FNC gets with Kelly are almost nil. CNN will almost certainly be overpaying for Kelly and not getting the payoff FNC gets.
  • Zucker’s  instincts regarding talent is checkered at best. For every winning move he has made, there have been two or three which have detonated spectacularly in his face. Alexis Glick being forced down the Today Show’s throat. Going all in on Kate Bolduan and Chris Cuomo because of their on air chemistry only to quietly sever that tie when it was obvious he was very very wrong.
  • Some could see this as a move to weaken FNC. It is true that Kelly is the prime time heir apparent to O’Reilly who has maybe a couple of TV years left in him so losing both could cause trouble. But this is predicated on the notion that FNC can’t adjust. As we have seen with Tucker Carlson positively flourishing in Greta Van Susteren’s  old timeslot, an apparent loss is not necessarily a loss.
  • If CNN comes within a half of FNC’s offer, that will put more than a few CNN telents’ noses out of joint.With justification.

For Kelly the risks are potentially just as high as CNN but for vastly different reasons.

  • She will not make as much money as she could at FNC. Exposure is nice but salary is the biggest barometer of stature in this industry.
  • No matter how much cross platform exposure Zucker throws Kelly’s way, the unavoidable fact is Zucker has made the network one where there is no leader. No star. No anchor. Instead it is a team of rotating cogs that can be swiped in and out as needed. There is no true pecking order among the top talent. Anyone can dominate at any time given the situation. It isn’t Anderson Cooper’s network. Nor is it Wolf Blitzer’s, Don Lemon’s, Jake Tapper’s, or anyone else’s. That especially includes Megyn Kelly who as the new kid on the block would have to prove herself all over again to justify the prominence Zucker would force down the viewer’s throat. At FNC she could become the face of the  network once O’Reilly is gone. At CNN she will always be one of a crowd.

Kelly would be better off at a broadcast network than she would at CNN, though not do as well as she would staying at FNC. CNN will likely never get the intended payoff it hopes for by luring her over. This is not a great deal for either.

Strawman 101…

Posted in MSNBC on November 16, 2016 by icn2

Mediaite’s Lindsey Ellefson pens a nonsensical article about MSNBC and what it needs to do…

MSNBC seems to constantly be in the midst of an overhaul. Earlier this summer, the network was proclaiming that their days as a bastion of liberal commentary were o-v-e-r, just like they were last winter, for instance, although it didn’t really seem like they ended up reining in Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, Joy Reid, and the rest of the gang either time. In the wake of the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, though, it’s time to start asking whether MSNBC should be trying to rein them in.

This is either a complete lack of understanding by Ellefson about what MSNBC has been up to or a complete Strawman argument. Or both.

First, MSNBC never ever proclaimed that their days as a bastion of liberal commentary are “o-v-e-r”. What it did do, once Andrew Lack came back, was say it was going to fix dayside and bring it back more under the news and analysis format and away from the unabashed liberal opinion format. But that’s only part of MSNBC’s schedule and that leads me to my second point which Ellefson gets wrong; there was never ever any intent of reining in Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, Chris Matthews, and Lawrence O’Donnell. Including Joy Reid in the list of the “spared” is wrong on two counts. First, she wasn’t part of prime and not central to MSNBC’s plans. Second her dayside show didn’t get spared, it got cancelled. Furthermore, if not for the Melissa Harris-Perry fiasco, Reid probably still would not have a show.

The one point Ellefson gets right is her first one. MSNBC always seems to be in the midst of an overhaul. It’s seems to have been like that since Phil Griffin took over 9 years ago.

Ellefson spends the rest of her article making a plaintive appeal for more liberal programming on MSNBC…

Where else can people look for liberal viewpoints on traditional television? Since Jon Stewart abdicated the throne at The Daily Show, the nightly broadcast that he made famous has failed to live up to the expectations his fiery legacy left behind. Sure, Bill Maher and John Oliver help out when they can on Real Time and Last Week Tonight respectively, but not everyone has HBO and to be clear, once-weekly shows are not enough to even out the selection of political opinions.

Look at the two main competitors of MSNBC, Fox News and CNN. Whether some people want to admit it or not, CNN is remarkably centered, and at the least, tries very hard to be. For every liberal commentator, there is a conservative. The shows tend to be hosted by actual journalists and anchors, not partisan pundits. Jake Tapper values journalistic neutrality so much that he does not vote and Anderson Cooper is seen as the industry standard for what “unbiased” is supposed to look like. On the other side of the spectrum sits Fox News, which is undeniably a hotbed for right leaning thought leaders. Fox News has a right to be that hotbed. In fact, it has as much of an obligation to its viewers to hold down the right side of the airwaves as MSNBC has to hold down the left. Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity make it clear that they are not journalists and we cannot begrudge them their right to share their thoughts.

There are a few inconvenient facts here which Ellefson pretty much ignores.

First, MSNBC is under no obligation to hold down any end of the political spectrum. What it is obligated to do is produce compelling programming that viewers tune in to and which generates a profit. That’s its only obligation and its not an obligation to its viewers but to the shareholders of Comcast. Whatever works.

Second, MSNBC has already tried to expand liberal P.O.V analysis dayside programming under Phil Griffin. Not once, but twice. Both times MSNBC’s ratings crashed outside of prime time and both times the network retreated to a more news format.

Third, other than Maddow, MSNBC’s prime time has been a weak sister in the ratings since Olbermann left (if you factor out the 2016 election juiced numbers). Chris Hayes still has not established himself as deserving of holding down the 8pm timeslot. O’Donnell has done okay for his timeslot but hasn’t moved the needle enough. Even Maddow’s numbers are off now that Olbermann isn’t there to lead in to her.

What this says is that liberal POV programming in primetime may still be the way to go for the network but some of the faces of that prime time may need to change if the network wants to make a long term push to draw in more viewers.

Tucker Carlson Tonight Premieres…

Posted in FNC on November 14, 2016 by icn2

I’m back. I’ve been back for almost a week but I came back with a mild cold that exploded into a nasty sumbitch of a cold that laid me out until last night. Normally getting a cold on a dive trip means no more diving the rest of the trip but it hit me after I completed my dives. I was lucky. Spudette? Not so lucky.

Anyway, I was pretty unplugged for most of the trip once I got to Raja Ampat. The satellite internet was spotty at best. Consequently, I had no idea that FNC had announced Tucker Carlson had gotten the timeslot vacated by Greta Van Susteren. And my cold had kept me off the internet once home so I didn’t know it debuted tonight until I saw the last five minutes of it.

What do you think of the show? I’m not sure I like the graphics package.

Blogus Interruptus…

Posted in Blog Announcements on October 23, 2016 by icn2

indo-2016

SFOTPEDPSMDCSOQUPGDPSTPESFO

I already had Raja Ampat on my bucket list long before I saw Richard Engel’s NBC report on the spot. I have done Palau and Palau is considered a Top 5 dive spot on the planet for most people. But Raja is…special. It’s Top 3…some would say #1 but it really depends on which metrics you use to rank dive spots and what you want in your dives.

I thought Palau was going to be a once in a lifetime trip for me…but then I went back three more times. This is different. The expense involved makes it different. I’ve never thrown this much money at a trip before. It’s more than when I did Komodo and Lombok two years ago. I don’t want to do that again. This is an itch that will get scratched and then I’ll move on to another cheaper itch.

But I will be able to say I dived Raja Ampat. A lot of people never will be able to.

This also allows me to avoid the last few weeks of the election and cable news’ nauseating coverage of it. I get to completely disconnect from the madness that has befallen us. This will be the first election where my choice for President will remain blank. All the choices are bad. All of them. Yes, some are worse than others but they’re all bad and I just can’t bring myself to support any of them.

I fly back on election night and depending on the result may just turn around at SFO and fly back out again.

Blogging resumes November 9th.