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CNN’s Miles O’Brien Back on the Air



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Miles O’Brien, who lost an arm in a tragic accident last month, was on the air last night answering questions from Erin Burnett on MH370. His attitude about the accident and his recovery are amazing. Video here (ignore Burnett’s commentary, though).

Chuck Todd, Media Critic



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Chuck Todd seems unhappy with a certain, unnamed network (I’m guessing the network name rhymes with Sea-M-M). Via Todd’s Twitter feed:

Wait, so when did finding NOTHING get characterized as “breaking news”?

and

. . .fwiw, we at @dailyrundown are VERY judicious with the “breaking news” banner. Want it to actually MEAN something

And FWIW, @dailrundown is as guilty as CNN in pandering to its audience. For example, here’s Chuck Todd analyzing the president’s March Madness bracket. But, to give MSDNC a little credit, they didn’t call the bracket “breaking news.” 

 

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CNN’s Don Lemon Asks if a Black Hole Was Involved in MH370’s Disappearance



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I don’t mind that CNN is pumping the story for ratings — but this is freaking idiotic. Via Mediaite:

CNN’s Don Lemon has been entertaining all sorts of theories about the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, including the chance something “supernatural” happened, but on Wednesday night, he actually asked panelists about the possibility a black hole was involved.

Lemon brought this up along with other “conspiracy theories” people have been floating on Twitter, including people noting the eerie parallels to Lost and The Twilight Zone, and wondered, “is it preposterous” to consider a black hole as a possibility?

And not to be outdone by the stupidity of the question, here’s the physics-defying answer:

Mary Schiavo, a former Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Transportation, said, “A small black hole would suck in our entire universe, so we know it’s not that.”

Considering there is a ginormous black hole at the center of our galaxy that isn’t sucking in our entire universe, I’m pretty sure a tiny black hole over the Indian Ocean would pose no real threat. But, hey, I’m just a blogger. What does a scientist think would happen if a small black hole hit the Earth?

Shravan Hanasoge at Princeton University and colleagues wondered if there was a way to avoid future false alarms. They ran detailed simulations of what would happen if a billion-tonne black hole struck Earth.

It would probably hit at a good clip, moving at a relative speed of a few hundred kilometres per second. But it would be smaller than an atomic nucleus, so it would only make a small, needle-like tunnel through the Earth.

Despite its small size, we would still know it had hit. That’s because when the black hole first reaches and then exits the Earth’s outer core, the outer core would vibrate, creating spherically symmetric shock waves. These would trigger every seismic detector on Earth at the same time – unlike regular earthquakes, which are more localised. “This distinguishes the signals from anything we would typically see,” says Hanasoge.

Happily, the effect would be minor, like a global magnitude-4 quake. “There would be no widespread destruction,” Hanasoge says. “It would be almost unnoticeable.”

Oh, so nothing happens. Keep up the great work CNN!

And of note, Mary Schiavo is an expert who could have answered questions on the likelihood of terrorism and the plane’s disappearance, but CNN wasted her time on nonsense.

Alec Baldwin Plays Fake NY Post Reporter on Law & Order: SVU



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So much for staying out of the public-eye. Via the real New York Post:

CNN Getting Huge Ratings with its Flight 370 Coverage



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Have you watched CNN’s coverage of the missing Malaysian 777? It is inane. But, you can’t argue with the ratings. New York Times:

On CNN, the plane rises from misty clouds accompanied by an eerie background score while anchors offer intriguing details — some new, some days old — of the disappearance of Flight 370. The reports, broadcast continually, often are augmented by speculation — sometimes fevered, sometimes tempered — about where the flight might have come to rest. And viewers are eating it up.

The story of the vanished Boeing 777 jet has been exhaustively covered across every form of news media, with television generally leading the way. Each of the broadcast networks began its evening newscast with stories on the plane every night last week, a consensus that happens “once a year at most,” according to Andrew Tyndall, who publishes a weekly report monitoring newscasts.

But it is CNN, the cable network that has been scrambling to find a sustainable business model against its main competitors, Fox News and MSNBC, that has perhaps invested most heavily in the mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

“It is a tremendous story that is completely in our wheelhouse,” said a senior CNN executive, who asked not to be identified defining the network’s strategy for its coverage. CNN’s ratings soared last week and over the weekend, rising by almost 100 percent in prime time. The network even managed the rare feat of edging past Fox News for leadership in several hours.

Last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the CNN 8 p.m. program, hosted by Anderson Cooper, beat Fox’s perennial ratings giant, Bill O’Reilly, in the audience that attracts the most revenue for news channels, viewers between the ages of 25 and 54. It was the first time Mr. Cooper has ever topped Mr. O’Reilly in the group for three straight days. (Mr. O’Reilly still won the week in that category.)

CNN also won the 25-to-54 age group from 2 p.m. through 10 p.m. on Saturday, and initial numbers from Sunday indicate the network again led across many of the hours of the day. This is only the case among the specific demographic group preferred by news advertisers; Fox News, as it always does, dominated in terms of total viewers.

The rest here.

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Jay Carney Now Giving Stock Tips from the White House Podium



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From yesterday’s press briefing, via the WSJ:

The White House on Tuesday defended U.S. sanctions against Russia amid criticism that they weren’t effective, and made a rare foray into personal investment decisions.

“I wouldn’t, if I were you, invest in Russian equities right now—unless you’re going short,” President Barack Obama’s chief spokesman, Jay Carney, said Tuesday when pressed whether Russia was shrugging off U.S. sanctions.

The U.S. sanctions, enacted Monday, froze the assets of seven Russians and four Ukrainians and prohibits Americans from doing business with any of those named. The Russian ruble and stock markets in Russia and Europe, which had been weighed down by the Ukrainian crisis, rallied over the past several days as investors determined the U.S. and European Union sanctions against Russia were more mild than expected and as Russian President Vladimir Putin said he didn’t want further confrontation with Ukraine.

The White House usually declines to comment about swings in the financial markets, and tries to avoid saying anything to spook investors. But Mr. Carney said he thinks the U.S. and European Sanctions, combined with Russia’s own actions in Ukraine, will harm Russia’s economy.

“I think the ruble has lost value. And I think that the long-term effect of actions taken by the Russian government, in clear violation of the United Nations charter, in clear violation of its treaty commitments, that are destabilizing and illegal, will have an impact on their economy all by themselves,” Mr. Carney said.

It’s legal for him to do this? The rest here.

Chris Hayes vs. Dick Cheney



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MSDNC’s Chris Hayes took some shots at former vice president Dick Cheney last night for comments he made on the Sunday shows regarding President Obama’s reaction to the crisis in Ukraine. Hayes went as far as to say Cheney’s ideas “make as much sense as you’d expect from the architect of the Iraq war and torture regime.”

But the Cheney plan isn’t that controversial. He suggested reinstating ballistic-missile defense in Poland, joint military exercises with our NATO allies, equipment and training for the Ukrainian military, and a renewed focus — again with our NATO allies — to show Russia that America keeps its commitments.

Video here.

Obama’s already sent a warship into the Black Sea and fighters and airmen to Poland and Lithuania. That’s what you call the start of the Cheney plan.

Hayes might find fault that Cheney called the president’s policy with Russia “feckless,” but the editors of the Washington Post were just as harsh: “President Obama’s foreign policy is based on fantasy.” 

As far as the gratuitous swipe at Cheney as the architect of America’s “torture regime,” let’s count the bodies: Americans ordered assassinated without a trail by Dick Cheney? Zero. Americans ordered assassinated without a trial by President Obama? Four.

But, hey, if Hayes wants to continue to cheerlead for the “architect of America’s assassination of Americans program,” so be it. 

Ratings for the Cosmos Reboot Are In



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The much talked about Seth MacFarlane reboot of Cosmos aired last night  to less than “stellar” ratings.

You can watch the episode here.

Maybe the ratings stunk because the show broke no new ground. For example, here’s a list of “7 Things We Learned” from the premier compiled by Space.com. I highly doubt anybody at Space.com didn’t know any of this:

1. Jupiter has hurricane three times the size of Earth
2. Our solar system has a huge shell that no one can see
3. Our universe may be part of a multiverse
4. Our cosmic perspective is relatively new
5. In the cosmic calendar, Jesus was born just 5 seconds ago
6. Carl Sagan and new “Cosmos” host Neil deGrasse Tyson go way back
7. We are made of star stuff

Well, No. 6 I didn’t know. But even my kids knew the other six, including my seven-year-old daughter who argued with her kindergarten class last year that ”star stuff” created the Earth, not God.

And next week’s episode doesn’t seem all that exciting — or, again, groundbreaking. via TVGuide.com:

A look at canine breeds and how they’re related to wolves; an examination of the human eye. Also: a visit to the Hall of Extinction.

The dog/wolf connection was a story in January and what’s new about the human eye or extinct animals? I think we have a real dud of a show in the making.

 

 

NBC Denies Report that Botox Caused Bob Costas’s Pink-Eye in Sochi?



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Page Six:

Bob Costas got his infamous case of Olympic pink eye from botched Botox, a source claims to Page Six.

NBC’s prime-time Olympics host, who had to take a six-day absence after coming down with viral conjunctivitis in both eyes, contracted the infection after a Botox procedure to smooth out wrinkles prior to the Olympics. Our source said, “Bob’s eye infection was due to botched Botox. This isn’t the first time he’s had it.”

NBC strongly denies that Costas — who arrived to host the games in Sochi with a forehead smoother than the Olympic luge track — developed the infection from a Botox procedure.

A spokesperson from NBC Sports insisted to us, “This has zero truth to this. Zero.”

The rest here.

Joy Reid vs. John Bolton



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MSNBC’s Joy Reid is not happy with former ambassador John Bolton, who said at CPAC earlier today, “Under Barack Obama, you can murder his personal representative and get away scot-free.”

Reid called that ”too despicable to comprehend.”

What’s so hard to comprehend? Our ambassador to Libya was murdered and the United States has done nothing about it. 

Video: Jim DeMint on The Daily Show



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Enjoy:

CNN’s Jeff Zucker: ‘A New Lineup Will Evolve over Time’



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Actually, CNN should try devolution for its new lineup. People really liked the Geico caveman, for example. Maybe have a host dressed as a Neanderthal host at 9 p.m.? If this “Neanchorthal” doesn’t like what a guest says, he can just hit him over the head with a giant inflatable club. I’d watch that. 

Via TV Newser.

 

Dave Weigel: ‘Why Obama Got Russia Wrong (and Romney Got It Right)’



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No only does Weigel say President Obama was wrong on Russia in 2012, but he comes as close to calling the president a liar as you can get: (emphasis mine)

To peer into the conservative media and blogosphere as it covers Russa’s invasion of Crimea is to risk a fatal dose of schadenfreude. There are reports about how Sarah Palin totally called that Putin would invade Ukraine (she will be on Fox News tonight to remind us), about how Mitt Romney was unfairly mocked for calling Russia the greatest “geopolitical threat” to the United States, about Hillary Clinton’s “reset button” gaffe. Even the Liberal New Republic ™ has admitted that Mitt Romney was right about the Russians and their ambitions.

And he was. Why did Barack Obama blow it? Let’s revisit the final 2012 presidential debate, the moment Romney explained himself and the president went for the lulz. Here’s Obama.

Governor Romney, I’m glad that you recognize that Al Qaida is a threat, because a few months ago when you were asked what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia, not Al Qaida; you said Russia, in the 1980s, they’re now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because, you know, the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.

But Governor, when it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s, just like the social policies of the 1950s and the economic policies of the 1920s.

And here’s Romney:

Russia I indicated is a geopolitical foe… and I said in the same — in the same paragraph I said, and Iran is the greatest national security threat we face. Russia does continue to battle us in the U.N. time and time again. I have clear eyes on this. I’m not going to wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to Russia, or Mr. Putin. And I’m certainly not going to say to him, I’ll give you more flexibility after the election. After the election, he’ll get more backbone.

Romney was right. Why was Obama wrong? Because, I think, he was willfully blurring the distinction between “geopolitical” and other sorts of threats. He was playing to the cheap seats. Voters do not fear Russia, or particularly care about its movements in its sad, cold sphere of influence. They do care a lot about terrorism. And Obama would use any chance he had, in 2012, to remind voters that he was president when Osama Bin Laden was killed.

The rest here.

Bill Kristol Fact-Checks Bill Maher on the Tea Party



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Bill Maher made the claim on his show Friday night that the origins of the Tea Party are related to President Obama’s skin color. Bill Kristol quickly countered with “That’s bulls**t” and “Even you don’t believe that. You’re just saying that.”

Good stuff. Video here:

 

 

Piers Morgan: ‘I Want To Do Big Interviews’



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Here’s video of Piers Morgan talking to a reporter from TMZ about the cancelation of his CNN show. Stick around until the end where he talks about his future. He wants to do, “less shows, more big interviews.” Morgan then lists some of his favorites from the past: the Dali Lama, Bill Clinton, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and . . . Oprah Winfrey.

And do watch the video to see how much Morgan loves, as I wrote the other day, being in the celebrity spotlight. He really does see himself as the celebrity who interviews celebrities.

New Blue Eyes: ‘I Didn’t Order Restrictions On Reporters’



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The Los Angeles Times reports in a follow-up to this Page Six story from yesterday:

MSNBC host Ronan Farrow says reporters can ask him anything, because he doesn’t put restrictions on interviews.

The 26-year-old son of Mia Farrow and Woody Allen is denying that he and his team were behind a “tip sheet” designed to bar reporters from asking him any personal questions at a Wednesday benefit for Reach the World, a nonprofit educational organization. The story first appeared in the New York Post.

The tip sheet warned journalists to stay “on message” or be immediately bounced from the event.

And what else could be on reporters’ minds? Well, Farrow, whose afternoon show “Ronan Farrow Daily” premiered this week, has been at the center of a controversy involving his sister, Dylan Farrow, who has accused Allen of child molestation more than two decades ago. Allen has denied the allegations, but Ronan has publicly supported his sister.

“I’d never demand anyone not ask me anything, obviously,” Farrow tweeted to his 236,000 followers, adding: “(Doesn’t mean I have to answer though).”

MSNBC is blaming the gaffe on an outside PR consultant hired by Reach the World.

Well then, let’s ask him some questions.

The rest here.

Seth Rogen Angry Senators Ditched his ‘Expert’ Testimony on Alzheimer’s



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And throwing a temper-tantrum on Twitter is the best way to fix the problem? Fox News:

The celebrity didn’t get the audience he wanted? How sad. On a positive note, although the Senators ignored Rogen, he did have some fans in the gallery:

What’s sad though is that the media only really pays attention because a celebrity is involved. I guarantee if George Clooney showed up to talk about Darfur, the major media outlets would all have big stories on it.

But why should Clooney or Rogen get to determine what’s important?

Fired Newspaper Editor Stabbed in Hong Kong



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The Los Angeles Times:

A recently dismissed Hong Kong newspaper editor was hospitalized in critical condition Wednesday after assailants stabbed him in the back and leg and fled on a motorbike.

The assault on Kevin Lau, whose removal as editor of the Ming Pao daily last month helped spark demonstrations over erosion of media freedoms, shocked a wide swath of the former British territory, which reverted to Chinese rule in 1997.

Under an arrangement known as “one country, two systems,” Hong Kong is supposed to enjoy greater freedom of speech and the press, along with other liberties, than the mainland.

It was unclear who was behind Wednesday’s attack. The Hong Kong Journalists Assn. called on authorities to “pursue his attackers and those malignant forces behind them without fear or favor. The attackers must be brought to justice as quickly as possible to allay public fears.”

“The growing number of attacks against members of the press in Hong Kong needs to be taken seriously by the local administration,” the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents’ Club said in a separate statement. “Hong Kong’s reputation as a free and international city will suffer if such crimes go unsolved and unpunished.”

Oddly, we haven’t heard yet from Tom Friedman on this development. Maybe the next time Friedman is on the Acela, bitching about its wi-fi and writing about the awesomeness of China’s infrastructure spending, he can hold forth on the case of Mr. Lau?

The rest from the Times here.

New Blue Eyes Won’t Talk About His Family Issues



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Page Six reports:

Ronan Farrow’s team is trying to protect the precious new MSNBC host from probing questions about his dysfunctional family. Reporters are being ordered to sign a form pledging they will not ask Farrow, the son of Mia Farrow and Woody Allen (or possibly Frank Sinatra), personal questions if they want to attend a benefit where he will be honored Wednesday night.

Farrow — who has publicly stood behind his sister Dylan’s accusations that she was sexually abused by Allen when she was 7, and tweeted about the abuse allegations during the Golden Globes — is receiving the Cronkite Award for Excellence in Exploration and Journalism at Reach the World’s 14th annual benefit at the Princeton Club. Reporters have been issued a tip sheet that includes stern “conditions” not to ask anything about Allen.

The rest here.

 

House GOP vs. the FCC



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Fox News:

Lawmaker vows bill to get FCC newsroom study ‘eradicated’

House Republicans plan to introduce legislation to bar the Federal Communications Commission from ever conducting the kind of intrusive newsroom study they claim the agency was poised to launch, before officials pulled back last week. 

Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., head of the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee, said Tuesday that he’ll bring forward a bill, and hold a hearing, aimed at completely stopping this and any similar studies in the future. 

“The potential for violation of the First Amendment is exceptionally egregious,” he said in a statement. 

He was referring to the FCC’s proposed “critical information needs” study, which in its initial form would have sent researchers into newsrooms across the country to ask them questions about editorial decisions. Critics, including at least one member of the FCC itself, complained that the study could have the effect of intimidating journalists and editors. 

On Friday, the FCC said that Chairman Tom Wheeler agreed that some of the study’s proposed questions “overstepped the bounds of what is required.” The agency announced that a proposed pilot study in South Carolina would be shelved, at least until a “new study design” is finalized. 

The agency also made clear that this and any future studies would not involve interviews with “media owners, news directors or reporters.” 

But Walden said he wants to go further, and make sure the study comes off the books entirely. 

The rest here.

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