Olbermann to NYT: Matthews “Annoys” Him
That Matthews profile Greg mentioned earlier is up now. This bit from Keith Olbermann was surprisingly candid:
But Olbermann does acknowledge that their on-air marriage has been rocky. Stylistically, Olbermann is scripted and disciplined while Matthews is free-form. While Olbermann is a natural anchor, Matthews struggles with its basic mechanics — staying on time, not talking into breaks. “There is a sense at times that we are always joining Chris Matthews already in progress,” Olbermann told me. Matthews has been on 10 years, he went on to say, “and he has no idea when it stops and starts. My responsibility sometimes is to grab the wheel when he doesn’t hold it.” Matthews has also called their joint appearances “Hardball,” which annoys Olbermann and which he has not been shy about correcting on the air. “No, this is not ‘Hardball,’ I will say, and in those instances, a correction is appropriate.”
Sometimes during commercial breaks, Matthews will boast to Olbermann of having restrained himself during the prior segment. “And I reward him with a grape,” Olbermann says.
That Olbermann. What a classy guy. I guess his fondness for comparing other journalists to monkeys applies to journalists at his own network.
On an unrelated note, the last sentence in this paragraph made me laugh out loud:
Tim — as in Russert, the inquisitive jackhammer host of “Meet the Press” — is a particular obsession of Matthews’s. Matthews craves Russert’s approval like that of an older brother. He is often solicitous. On the morning of the Cleveland debate, Matthews was standing in the lobby of the Ritz when Russert walked through, straight from a workout, wearing a sweat-drenched Buffalo Bills sweatshirt, long shorts and black rubber-soled shoes with tube socks. “Here he is; here he is, the man,” Matthews said to Russert, who smiled and chatted for a few minutes before returning to his room. (An MSNBC spokesman, Jeremy Gaines, tried, after the fact, to declare Russert’s outfit “off the record.”)
I find it so irritating when flacks for news organizations ask reporters for other news organizations to do things that no reporter at any news organization would do. Of all the people in the PR universe, they should know better.
Wow O Wow
Want to check out the girl’s table at Michael’s, the Manhattan media hang-out? Well, you can get the same experience, without ordering the pricey Cobb Salad, on the web by logging on to www.wowowow.com , a site that launched about a month ago. Its founders include ex-editor and William Morris agent Joni Evans, columnist Liz Smith, CBS’s Lesley Stahl and former advertising exec Mary Wells, along with a number of their media and celebrity girlfriends. The site’s official name is Women On the Web and they say they had to buy the domain name from a porn site.
Although Peggy Noonan is one of the founders, the site is definitely limousine liberal. The other day Mary Wells in a post shared who were the doctors you could trust in St. Jean Cap Ferrat and Beaulieu Sur Mer and the best limousine drivers in Monaco, Barcelona, St. Tropez , Portofino and the Amalfi Coast. (No, I am not making this up.) Mary also complained in an earlier post about how the Russian billionaires were ruining the Cote d’Azur. It seems you can’t take a decent run around the top of Cap Ferrat anymore. The Russians’ damn dogs get in the way. Today Lis Smith is eulogizing former Texas governor Ann Richards and quoting from one of her “prescient letters” in which Ann wrote, “
We cannot offend all the world to the point where they don’t eat our Fritos or drive our John Deeres… we look like a bunch of inept nincompoops at the UN, with the inability to muster a paltry majority on the Security Council.” She also is sharing her photo album of pictures of the two of them together.
What seems to be drawing the most responses is a poll about which woman has the toughest skin? The choice is Hillary, Condi, Kathy Lee, Martha or Katie. A tough choice, indeed but Martha is in the lead and Hillary and Katie, kind of like the way they are doing everywhere else, are the losers.
One Really Indecisive Citizen
The Washington Blade offers up this breathtaking story about indecision piling upon indecision:
Trans activist switches to Obama’s camp
A prominent Maryland transgender activist has left Sen. Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and begun stumping for Sen. Barack Obama.
Dana Beyer, an Equality Maryland board member who is transgender, announced last week she was leaving Clinton’s gay steering committee to join Obama’s gay leadership council.
“It’s time to stop squabbling amongst ourselves, pull together and take back the presidency,” she wrote in a letter explaining her decision.
Beyer gives “squabbling amongst ourselves” a whole new dimension. If the media wasn’t so bound by political correctness, this would be a light anecdote for someone who covers politics.
A New Daily Broadsheet Coming ...
… to Abu Dhabi, and will be edited by British journalist Martin Newland. This is a fascinating and complex project. On the one hand, it’s always great to see a new daily launching. On the other, newspapers that are owned even in part by a government are inherently problematic.
Either way, if this brings a dose of independent-minded reporting and commentary to the area, it is to be celebrated:
Abu Dhabi newspaper will launch on 20 April
The UAE’s new national newspaper, The National, will publish its first issue on 20 April.
The broadsheet newspaper will be the largest English-language newspaper launch in the region.
Abu Dhabi Media Company, which is owned by the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, last year appointed former Daily Telegraph editor Martin Newland to launch The National (MEED 29:08:07).
Newland has said the newspaper will target high-income, English-speaking expatriats, as well as people from South Asia, Europe and the Americas.
The National will have far more resources at its disposal than most other newspapers in the world. Newland has hired 175 journalists, including 40 home news reporters and 25 foreign correspondents.
The National will be available in the UAE and on flights throughout the region from 20 April, but Newland has yet to say when it will be published in the other Gulf countries (MEED 07:09:07).
New Book Fight
Of course the problem with New Jersey’s public schools is that they are being inundated with conservative ideology. Who doesn’t know that?
From today’s Associated Press report, we learn that a student in the Garden State is complaining about the use of a James Q. Wilson book in his Advanced Placement government course:
Those experts say “American Government” by conservatives James Wilson and John Dilulio presents a skewed view of topics such as global warming and separation of church and state. The publisher now says it will review the book, as will the College Board, which oversees college-level Advanced Placement courses used in high schools.
Naturally, the complaint is that the book includes views on global warming other than the approved orthodoxy.
It’s pleasing to know that students in New Jersey are reading Mr. Wilson and Mr. Dilulio’s book. It says something about our education system that a book that is probably one of the most intelligent pieces of non-fiction these students will encounter in the course of their high-school education is under attack. The spirit of the Vandals is alive and well.
I’m actually looking forward to the Sunday NY Times
It looks like this Sunday’s NY Times Magazine will feature Chris Matthews on the cover and Fishbowl DC got their hands on an early copy of the piece. Excerpts:
As we approached the airport gate, Matthews mentioned that he and his wife, Kathleen, have been contemplating a trip to Damascus. It’s something they have wanted to do for a long time. But he worries that he might make an inviting target for a kidnapper. “I can imagine getting some big-name media figure would be a big propaganda catch for them,” Matthews said. “You can imagine what the neocons would say if I were kidnapped. They’d be like, ‘See, Matthews, terrorism isn’t so funny now, is it?’”
A number of people I spoke with at NBC said that Russert can be disdainful of Matthews, whose act he often sees as clownish. They also told me that Russert believes Matthews is something of a loose cannon who brings him undue headaches in his capacity as NBC’s Washington bureau chief.
And here’s another:
Friends say Matthews is wary of another up-and-comer, David Gregory, who last month was given a show at 6 o’clock, between airings of “Hardball.” It is a common view around NBC that Gregory is trying out as a possible replacement for Matthews.
Like I said, I can’t wait to read the entire thing.
The “Where was Chelsea on 9/11” Story
Media Matters and Keith Olbermann have been on a tear against anyone who repeats the claim that Chelsea was jogging around the WTC on 9/11. Background here. Media Matters actually had a new post on the subject today. An excerpt:
Summary: On Fox News’ America’s Election HQ, radio host Tammy Bruce suggested that Sen. Hillary Clinton suffers from “mythomania … part of a larger psychiatric scheme of people who make up fantastic stories to bolster their own image.” As purported evidence, Bruce asserted that Clinton had said her daughter, Chelsea Clinton, was “at the World Trade Center on September 11th.” In fact, Hillary Clinton made no such claim.
If she “made no such claim,” why is a Clinton staffer emailing Mike Allen at the Politico and basically confirming what she said?
That pattern appeared to repeat itself when Clinton told NBC’s “Dateline” that Chelsea had been jogging near the World Trade Center, out for a cup of coffee, when the first plane hit.
Chelsea, writing a first-hand account in the defunct Talk magazine, later revealed that she was watching TV in a pal’s apartment on Park Avenue South.
But it turns out that one of the two daughters of Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Jessica, actually was at high school on Sept. 11 – in the shadow of the World Trade Center.
One Clinton aide was furious about coverage of that one. “Her daughter was in lower Manhattan,” the aide e-mailed. “Put yourself in her shoes. She was a mother worried sick about her daughter, who couldn’t connect with her for hours, knew she had gone running, knew people who were in the buildings and likely died. She made these comments only days later, and she had been worried and scared.”
Muslim sex offenders in UK could opt out of treatment program “because it’s against their faith”
Days after a Muslim driver was let off a reckless speeding ban because he claimed that his Islamic faith dictated that he be allowed to continue to drive between his two wives in Scotland, the British press reports the following:
Muslim sex attackers could be spared a prison treatment program because it is against their religion. Rapists, pedophiles and other dangerous sex attackers are expected to discuss their crimes with others during jail sessions designed to stop them reoffending.
But Muslim inmates have complained they should not be made to undergo the Sex Offender Treatment Program group therapy.
Now the Prison Service’s Muslim advisor, Ahtsham Ali, has said there is a “legitimate Islamic position” that criminals should not discuss their crimes with other people.
An “urgent review” has been ordered, and Muslims could be allowed to opt out of this part of the treatment – despite completing a full program often being a condition of release.
The move has already sparked protests. Shadow Justice Secretary, Nick Herbert said: “It is one thing to make a dispensation for a prisoner’s faith when it comes to prayer and diet, but if a prisoner is unwilling to take part in rehabilitation they should be treated no differently to others.”
British justice seems a little more lenient than Saudi then.
Another gem from cartoonist Michael Ramirez, who deservedly won a Pulitzer prize earlier this week:
CBS to Outsource Reporting
Fascinating NY Times report:
CBS, the home of the most celebrated news division in broadcasting, has been in discussions with Time Warner about a deal to outsource some of its news-gathering operations to CNN, two executives briefed on the matter said Monday.
Over the last decade, CNN has held intermittent talks with both ABC News and CBS News about various joint ventures. But during the last several months, talks with CBS have been revived and lately intensified, according to the executives who asked for anonymity because of the confidential nature of the negotiations.
Broadly speaking, the executives described conversations about reducing CBS’s news-gathering capacity while keeping its frontline personalities, like Katie Couric, the CBS Evening News anchor, and paying a fee to CNN to buy the cable network’s news feeds.
Another possibility, these people said, would be for CBS to keep its correspondents in certain regions but pair them with CNN crews.
This story was accompanied by a picture of a weepy Katie Couric. Ouch.
CBS is denying the report, but what exactly would be wrong with the arrangement? Like most broadcast TV news, CBS’s operation is more a delivery apparatus than a reporting apparatus. When was the last time the CBS Evening News broke a major story? No, I mean one that was true. Broadcast television isn’t really set up to do the sort of in-depth work that print is good for, and it’s less effective than the Internet for you-need-to-know-this-now news. Half the time, TV guys are reading the AP afternoon digest. Outsourcing the reporting to CNN might be an improvement. Fox News might be even better.
I’ve always thought that the broadcast networks would be better off ditching the high-dollar on-air talent, paying a couple of dinner-theater-caliber pretty faces to read the news, and putting those saved millions into reporting. You don’t need to be savvy to read the news; you just need to know how to read. A pleasing face and a sonorous voice would be a bonus. The rest of the world calls them “newsreaders,” but our networks like to pretend that they’re salty reporters pulled from the ranks of the ink-stained wretches. Having celebrated personalities as anchors isn’t just an unprofitable investment; there’s plenty of evidence that they’re more trouble than they’re worth.
NYC Radio Station Censors Pro-Israel Ad
From Today’s NY Post (Why this is in Page Six and not some other section is a mystery to me):
April 8, 2008 — WQXR, the sleepy classical radio station owned by the New York Times, likes to avoid upsetting listeners with anything remotely controversial – and that has a prominent Jewish group crying foul.
The Manhattan-based American Jewish Committee, founded in 1906 to help “safeguard and strengthen Jews and Jewish life worldwide,” says station brass unfairly killed a paid 60-second commentary about bombings carried out against Israel by the militant Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas.
Here’s the text of the ad, as reported by the Post:
“Imagine you had 15 seconds to find shelter from an incoming missile. Fifteen seconds to locate your children, help an elderly relative, assist a disabled person to find shelter. That’s all the residents of Sderot and neighboring Israeli towns have. Day or night, the sirens go on. Fifteen seconds later, the missiles, fired from Hamas-controlled Gaza, hit . . . Their aim is to kill and wound and demoralize . . . This is what Israelis experience daily.”
Muslim spared speeding ban in Scotland so he can drive between his 2 wives
The latest from Britain where sharia law seems to be creeping in by the day.
The Daily Mail, one of Britain’s leading newspapers, reports on Scottish restaurant owner Mohammed Anwar, who successfully persuaded a Scottish court that a driving ban would make it difficult for him to commute between his two wives and “fulfill his matrimonial duties.”
His lawyer told the court that Anwar has one wife in Motherwell and another in Glasgow (both are Scottish cities) and sleeps with them on alternate nights. Anwar is allowed up to four wives under his Muslim religion, but I didn’t know that British law apparently now permits this too.
Caught speeding between wives: Mohammed Anwar. Imagine how he would drive if he had four wives
Anwar had been caught driving at 64 mph in a 30 mph zone in Glasgow, fast enough to qualify for instant disqualification, and to kill someone. Anwar admitted the offense, but Scottish Court Sheriff John C. Morris accepted his plea not to be banned and allowed him to keep his license.
Lorna Jackson, from the British road safety charity Brake, called the decision “astonishing.”
Quite so. (More here from Scotland’s leading newspaper, The Scotsman.)
* Among some of my previous items on creeping sharia in Europe: Dutch Catholic Bishop tells Christians to call God “Allah” Scottish hospital staff ordered not to eat at desks during Ramadan “Muslim Jesus” to get primetime billing on British TV British nurses told to turn muslims’ beds to face Mecca Muslim checkout staff get an alcohol opt-out clause Muslim store worker refuses to sell “unclean” Bible book to grandmother
The Matrix, Reloaded
Last year’s New York Women in Communications’ Matrix luncheon, hosted by Rosie O’ Donnell, caused controversy and generated headlines. Monday’s lunch, with Top Chef’s Padma Lakshmi as Master of Ceremonies, was as uncontroversial as the accompanying cold chicken salad. Each year, the Matrix Luncheon honors Manhattan’s top media women. This year’s was a very huggy-kissy affair, with each presenter planting a big wet one on his or her honoree. Arthur Sulzberger Jr. smooched the New York Times’s soon-to-be-retired Linda Greenhouse, who won for newspapers. Chef Wolfgang Puck bussed Ruth Reichl, Gourmet magazine’s editor-in-chief who won for magazines. And Bob Woodruff not only hugged and kissed ABC President Anne Sweeney but called her Anne Sweetie. He said he had called her that once before when he was having trouble with words. This time he did it, he said, on purpose.
Maybe because Hillary’s campaign is deflating, none of the honoree’s speeches were in the “Women Should Rule the World” mode that has sometimes characterized the event. Instead, they thanked parents, children, husbands, bosses, clients, and each other. Only Diana von Furstenberg, who won the Lifetime Achievement Award seemed a bit miffed after her presenter, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, described her as someone born during the war whose family had suffered in the Holocaust. Diana, wearing the brightest dress on the stage, declared, “I have to get one thing straight. I was born after the war. I’m old but I’m not that old.”
But that was the extent of this year’s controversy. It was a very lady-like affair — a welcome change from last year’s unpleasantness.
Why Rush Limbaugh is No. 1
Limbaugh’s ratings are highest during his commercials:
The study found that Mr. Limbaugh’s share of radio listeners was greatest during commercials, beating his share during on-air segments by 0.18 percentage point.
Warren Kurtzman, the vice president of Coleman, said that Mr. Limbaugh’s audience tuned in during commercials so as not to miss the beginning of each segment. “His shares at the beginning of each hour are tremendous,” Mr. Kurtzman said.
The study also found that Mr. Limbaugh did worst during minutes in which he was expressing approval, with a 5.43 percent average share of listeners. He had 5.71 percent of listeners when expressing negative opinions and 5.81 percent when he was neutral. “People are tuning in to hear his beefs with the world,” Mr. Kurtzman said.