Archive for cable news channels

Payback time: You want speculation, news media? Fine. Let's speculate about you for a change.

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payback time

Day in and day out, I watch, read, listen, and write about news. And because I do so much watching, reading, and listening. I tend to notice recurring themes. A major recurring theme is how much time the so-called "news" [sic] media spends on speculation.

breaking speculation

Most of that speculation centers on the 2016 presidential election, focusing specifically on Hillary Clinton vs (currently) Chris Christie. Newsflash, "journalists": It's only 2013, and you started this endless loop of What Ifs the day after Election 2012. This is ludicrous. This is not news, this is meaningless filler and a shameless ploy used to pull in viewers.

And hey viewers, how about you stop enabling?

Then again, there is very little "real" news reporting any more, not since news departments became commercialized all those years ago. Not since it became all about profit, which news stories sell, which headlines attract ratings, and as a result, attract sponsors and their buckets of money.

And don't get me started on media bias. The CBS "60 Minutes" Benghazi story scandal is only the latest, and if you're a regular reader, you know that the Sunday morning talk shows have an obvious rightward slant.

But back to that nasty speculation habit. When you watch the "news" shows, you see them produce hours upon hours of What If about future elections, about the *gasp!* doomed fate of the Affordable Care Act, about which freedoms we might lose if we don't do something about some catastrophe that might or might not happen, about which new scandal *could* result from Darrell Issa's umpteenth witch hunt about absolutely everything/nothing.

You can actually see concrete examples of all this speculation in their  TV chyrons, like, Low Obamacare enrollment numbers: Sign of problems to come?"; "A third 'Bush' in office?"; "Will the world end in 2012? Many people believe so." We get a ton of cowardly headlines in the form of a question, Alex, so that nobody has to commit to actual, you know, reporting.

Facts schmacts.

Well now it's our turn. News outlets want to speculate? Fine. Let's turn the tables and speculate about them for a change:

  • Will Fox finally become defunct when Americans wake up and realize they're a bunch of propagandists and liars? You decide.
  • Will MSNBChristie require financial assistance when viewers revolt after O.D.ing on their constant fawning over the ::cough!:: "moderate" New Jersey photo op glutton? Who knows?
  • Will ABC's ratings take a fatal plunge the next time syrupy panel regular Peggy Noonan condescends ad nauseam on "This Week"? We'll find out.
  • Will CNN change its name to Comedy Central 2 when they become self aware enough to realize what a parody they've become? It's anybody's guess.
  • "Some say" cable news has crossed a line by being bought and paid for by right wing corporate cash monsters who find themselves more than a little obsessed with Christie, Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, Rand Paul, Marsha Blackburn, Reince Priebus, Marco Rubio, John Boehner, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham. Could this spell trouble for attracting future investors? We'll have to wait and see.
  • "Anonymous sources" tell The Political Carnival that the glut of Big Pharma ads-- especially for Cialis-- that saturate cable news channels could lead to a revolt among increasingly hypochondriacal viewers, specifically bathtub owners. True? We can't say for sure.
  • We're hearing that air time spent on trivia-- like how many shoppers are lining up to buy the new iPhone, instead of on hard news stories-- could possibly-- we're speculating here-- cause riots among viewers with functioning brains. More on that as details emerge.
  • Rumors abound about the habit and practice of cable show hosts inviting other cable show hosts to provide commentary that they just gave on their own shows. Incestuous? Tweet us with your answers.
  • We're learning-- well, we've heard-- well, okay, we overheard-- that cable news viewers are about to retaliate en masse over all the in-house backslapping, "my friend" references, "be safe" cautions, and insufferable book plugs. True or false? At this point, we can only make an educated guess.

speculation what do I know

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Ronan Farrow, son of Mia Farrow and Woody Allen, to host MSNBC show

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ronan farrowPhoto: Heidi Gutman/MSNBC

Ronan Farrow, Mia Farrow's and Woody Allen's son, will be hosting a new hour-long weekday show on MSNBC starting in January. Looks like they're going after a younger crowd, since he's only 25. But twentysomething or not, he's got an impressive resume: He's a Rhodes Scholar, a Yale Law School graduate, and worked for the Obama administration, including two years as a diplomat in Afghanistan.

Via the New York Times:

The specific time slot and start date have not yet been decided, Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC, said in a telephone interview. But it will be a daytime show, starting “either mid- or early January,” he said. [...]

Mr. Farrow, who is 25, frequently goes for wit, which he displays on Twitter. He said in an interview that the current state of affairs created “a ripeness for satire” that will be part of his MSNBC program. “I have a flair for a little bit of gallows humor,” he said. “My natural voice is already somewhat counterculture for cable news.”

The intention of the program, he said, is to “pull back the curtain and get the stories people don’t usually get” as well as “how they can get involved.”

Per The Hollywood Reporter, MSNBC president Phil Griffin said that Farrow's "desire to join a television network was born of conversations he has had with young people who are frustrated with the vituperative immobility in Washington as well as the current state of TV news."

MSNBC will familiarize us with their new host by having him pop into their shows, pretty much what they do regularly with all their hosts (Well, except for Alex Baldwin... so far. I've only seen him once with Lawrence O'Donnell), even though we already know them well.

Anyone else notice that? I thought so.

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Memo to trolls who mocked weekend show: The Ed (Schultz) Show is coming back to weekdays!

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ed show back

When The Ed Show moved to weekends, my Twitter stream was filled with gleeful trolls who were delighted with the idea of Ed Schultz's apparent inability to hold an audience on weekdays, so they assumed he got forced into accepting his Saturday and Sunday slots.

(FYI: Every time I use the hashtag #EdShow, the trolls swarm like subterranean termites, and they are some of the worst on the Twitter Machine.)

My response to these cretins was that his wife was recovering from a scary bout with cancer, so handling a daily radio show in addition to a daily TV show was a little much. Ed said he was happy with the move because it gave him a little breather.

But that didn't stop those nasty little tweets filled with pointing and laughing and assuming this was the beginning of the end for Big Eddie.

Wrong again, wingnuts. He's ba-a-ack. MSNBC:

The Ed Show hosted by Ed Schultz is moving back to MSNBC’s weekday lineup starting Monday, August 26.point and laugh ha ha

The Ed Show will air Monday – Friday at 5 p.m. ET. Hardball with Chris Matthews will continue at 7 p.m. ET. The announcement was made today by Phil Griffin, President of MSNBC. [...]

MSNBC Longform will fill the 5 p.m. weekends slot starting Saturday, August 31. Hardball with Chris Matthews will continue its weekday re-air at 2 a.m. ET on MSNBC.

The powers that be in MSNBC Land are concerned about one thing: Ratings. They clearly believe that Ed will boost theirs, and bringing his show back to weekdays will likely do just that. First-run Hardball shows will be seen in prime time only now.

Ed Schultz is a great spokesperson for labor unions and middle class workers, plus he's devoted to covering stories on public education and income inequality, among other injustices (voting rights come to mind). His voice is needed, like him or not.

I happen to like him.

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Why I didn't watch the Sunday talk shows today

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yell at tv

I made the mistake of turning on "Meet the Press" today. I lasted about seven minutes before screaming at the Tee Vee Machine and turning it off. The entire seven minutes was similar to what happened here: “Does this open the president up for criticism? Will critics have new ammo? Well, will they, huh? Huh?” #LibrulMediaMyAss

All I heard was Benghazi Benghazi Benghazi, criticism of the president over the Boston bombings, and then more hyperventilating about anything else that ever existed within the vast political scope of all things Obama. BAD Obama. FAILURE Obama. INEPT Obama. LEAD FROM BEHIND Obama. BLAME Obama.

I'm fine with healthy, constructive criticism, but this is out of control. There is no more news. News died when it was swept into the greedy, self-serving world of commercialization. What we have now is any excuse to create controversy, to even create a non-existent news story, in order to ramp up the ratings.

What better way for corporate-owned media to achieve higher Nielsens for their beloved corporate sponsors than to bash Obama, ignite passions, beat the drums for war, and scare viewers so that they'll glue themselves to the screen to catch the next BIG, SCARY CHYRON!

chyron syria cnn

chyron syria abc

But back to the Benghazi Noise Machine. Today, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) claimed that President Obama's administration is threatening and intimidating witnesses, but he couldn't even back up his claim:

But hey, that's okay, people watched, some pointed and laughed, and some even mistook his warped opinion for fact. Key word: Watched. What more could a news program hope for? Oh wait, that was Fox, not news.

I previously posted a video of a segment in which Chris Hayes said this on his "All In" show:

“Question mark.” You know, there is this thing we do in cable news. Sometimes magazines do it too. You want to grab someone’s attention but the thing you want to say is just too irresponsible to get away with or stand behind. So, for example, maybe I want to say, in discussing Lindsey Graham’s demagoguery in constitutional due process, “Lindsey Graham, comma, Constitution hater.” So no, instead what we would say is, “Lindsay Graham, Constitution hater?” Since you are asking a question, you don’t have to stand behind what you are asserting.

And then, as if on cue, MSNBC displayed a chyron only a few minutes ago that read, "Lame duck already?" Since they asked, allow me to respond: "Idiotic question chyron?" Question mark?

chyron blitzer dept of jihad

chyron fox question scott brown

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Steve Kornacki to host MSNBC’s ‘Up’

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(Steve Kornacki (Photo by: Heidi Gutman/MSNBC))

(Steve Kornacki (Photo by: Heidi Gutman/MSNBC))

"Up" is on too early for me regardless of who hosts it. I think it should have been co-hosted by Joy Reid and Ari Melber, myself. Kornacki is already co-hosting a show, which obviously prepared him for "Up". Maybe now Ari or Joy will end up as a regular on The Cycle now.

But what do I know?

From the "Up" site:

MSNBC has named Steve Kornacki the new host of its weekend morning show Up.

Kornacki, previously a co-host of MSNBC’s The Cycle, replaces Chris Hayes who had hosted the show since 2011. Hayes will move into MSNBC’s weekday 8 pm slot beginning April 1, while Ed Schultz begins a new weekend evening program, the company announced last week in a series of programming changes.

Up airs Saturdays and Sundays from 8 to 10 am Et.

All the best, Steve, knock 'em dead!

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Quickie-- MSNBC headline: "Conclave mania!" Enough already.

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pope chimney seagull

Today's Quickie:

Will someone tell me why MSNBC is treating the Popey Changey thing as a coming attraction trailer for a movie or a promo for a new reality series?

I flipped over to the cable news network during a break from the Stephanie Miller Show on Current. My bad. They introduced the "Selection of the Pope" segment with choir voices singing over a bright white graphic of the heavens, complete with sun rays and white fluffy clouds. I can't recall the title, but the overall impression I got was of a glossy pre-Oscar ad.

Shortly thereafter, this headline appeared in BIG BOLD LETTERS across the screen:

CONCLAVE MANIA!

Seriously. This is what cable news has come to.

Via art.1stdibs.com

Via art.1stdibs.com

That was today's Quickie. Will you still respect me in the morning?

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"MSNBC's move to veer to the left" puts it ahead of CNN, "Meet the Press" has lost 25% of its audience

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msnbc lean forward

The L.A. Times Calendar section has an article out today about Patricia Fili-Krushel, the new chairman of the NBCUniversal News Group, which includes NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC. The piece concentrated mostly on the "Today" show, but at the end, there was this:

Fox News dominates the cable news landscape, but MSNBC's move to veer to the left of the political spectrum has firmly entrenched it in second place ahead of CNN. The financial news channel CNBC remains very profitable despite increased competition from Bloomberg TV and Fox Business.

Still, there are other holes to be patched. "Rock Center," the prime-time news magazine that Williams anchors, is struggling. "Meet the Press," too, has fallen behind CBS' "Face the Nation" and has lost more than 25% of its audience since 2008. NBC insiders downplay the decline at "Meet the Press," arguing that the audiences for Sunday morning shows are so small that it has little bearing on the bottom line.

High on Fili-Krushel's to-do list is building NBC's digital presence, particularly mobile, as part of an effort to get younger viewers who typically steer clear of broadcast news. "I have 21- and 22-year-old kids," she said. "They do not watch linear TV."

Three noteworthy points:

1. MSNBC's "move to veer to the left" pushed it ahead of CNN. That's a big deal, especially in light of all that nonsense about this being a "center right" country, which has once again been thoroughly debunked. Are you listening, Comcast?  How about giving Ari Melber, Joy Ann Reid, Lizz Winstead, Stephanie Miller-- among others-- a shot at their own shows? Call me crazy, but I'm willing to bet they'd up the ratings even  more.

2. "Meet the Press" is losing its audience. Surprise! Gee, how could that be happening, especially with such a host who regularly avoids tough follow-up questions to Republicans, lets his guests get away with lying and/or refusing to answer questions directly, and hosts way more right-leaning guests than (moderate to conservative) Dems, and very few real liberals (scroll)?

3. Younger viewers "typically steer clear of broadcast news." That's a great point. How do we expect younger voters to make informed choices if they aren't aware of what's going on around them? I can vouch for this depressing phenomenon as I wrote back in 2009 in a post titled "Teen Idles" that I hope you'll read:

Tabloid infotainment has replaced serious news, as I’ve mentioned in post after TPC post. As a result, the osmotic nature of how teens learn about their own world has been reduced to sound bites from the most inane, splashy, celebrity-driven stories.

So many lessons to be learned here, so little time.

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