Media Blog

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Piers Morgan out at CNN


David Carr of the New York Times reports:

Piers Morgan and CNN Plan End to His Prime-Time Show

And here’s why: he’s not American. . .

It’s been an unhappy collision between a British television personality who refuses to assimilate — the only football he cares about is round and his lectures on guns were rife with contempt — and a CNN audience that is intrinsically provincial. After all, the people who tune into a cable news network are, by their nature, deeply interested in America.

. . .Or it’s slow-news days. . .

“It’s been a painful period and lately we have taken a bath in the ratings,” he said, adding that although there had been times when the show connected in terms of audience, slow news days were problematic.

. . .Nah, it’s guns. . .

“Look, I am a British guy debating American cultural issues, including guns, which has been very polarizing, and there is no doubt that there are many in the audience who are tired of me banging on about it,” he said. “That’s run its course and Jeff and I have been talking for some time about different ways of using me.”

. . .More? Piers feels he’s better with celebrities. . .

I’d like to do work — interviews with big celebrities and powerful people — that is better suited to what I do well and fit with what Jeff is trying to do with the network.”

. . .Oh, wait. It’s his accent. . .

Old hands in the television news business suggest that there are two things a presenter cannot have: an accent or a beard. Mr. Morgan is clean shaven and handsome enough, but there are tells in his speech — the way he says the president’s name for one thing (Ob-AA-ma) — that suggest that he is not from around here.

Carr returns to guns, however, as the main reason for the disconnect in his conclusion:

In the current media age, no one is expected to be a eunuch, without values or beliefs, but Mr. Morgan’s lecturing on the evils of guns have clanked hard against the CNN brand, which, for good or ill, is built on the middle way.

We don’t look for moral leadership from CNN, or from a British host on a rampage. Guns, along with many other great and horrible things, are knit into the fabric of this country. There are folkways peculiar to America that Mr. Morgan is just learning, including the fact that if you want to stick out, you first have to work on fitting in.

If the gun issue was the driver of Morgan’s departure, it’s his own fault. Morgan would shift to cupcake-mode when he was talking guns with a celebrity like Rob Lowe (a gun-owner), and go into bananas-mode when talking guns with his “regular” guests, like Breitbart’s Ben Shapiro. Morgan never understood his own hypocrisy, too, of living in a house protected by armed guards or working in a building protected by armed guards and the idea that Americans who can’t afford such a lifestyle might want the same sort of protection for themselves and their families.

So, looking back over the list Carr gives of reasons why Morgan failed in America, it’s best to focus on Morgan’s love of celebrity. Morgan feels that 1., this group is something special, and 2., he is part of this group.

One thing Carr didn;t mention: I’m not sure any host will do well at CNN in the 9 p.m. slot unless CNN radically changes the format. Larry King and Piers Morgan are old and tired’; viewers want a Jon Stewart or Greg Gutfeld type. CNN, while searching for a replacement, should look to bring the success of the late-night hosts into a time slot more people can enjoy.


Ta-Nehisi Coates: Juries Are Not Beyond Reproach


Here’s the latest from Coates on the Michael Dunn trial. Now they jury is at fault:

Either way, the view that the jury believed Dunn was “not acting in lawful self-defense” is not consistent with the recollection of one of the jurors who sat down to talk to Nightline:

Nightline: You all first took your first poll of guilt or innocence on the murder of Jordan Davis, what was the vote?

Juror No. 4: 10-2.

Nightline: Ten people thinking he was guilty.

Juror No. 4: Yes, sir.

Nightline: And two people saying what?

Juror No. 4: Self-Defense.

The juror later says, “We took a poll. There were two of us undecided. Two for was justified and the rest not justified.”

[. . .] As it stands, the facts hold that three jurors believed that the killing of Jordan Davis was just, and nine did not. My contention is that that belief is inseparable from our racist heritage, which dictates African-American life is of lesser value.

Put modestly, from the mid-17th century until the mid-20th century, the policy of our ancestral colonies and the policy of this country proceeded from this assumption. Perhaps the most amazing feature of our current era is the belief that 300 years of such policy gives no tell on our daily lives. The second most amazing feature is the belief that juries are somehow beyond reproach and capable of cleaning up our s**t. 

A hung-jury 10-2 means African-American life is of lesser value? Also, do click on the Nightline link above as Coates has omitted much of what Juror No. 4 had to say. Some excerpts:

According to Valerie, the jurors who believed Dunn was guilty were split between first-degree, second-degree and manslaughter – but because they were unable to unanimously overcome the issue of self-defense, the jury was deadlocked. The jurors yelled and screamed at each other at one point, but all were respectful of each other’s position. [. . .]

Despite the disagreement over whether shooting Davis was justified, all the jurors agreed that Dunn escalated the situation by then shooting at the others inside the car, she said.

Coates ends with:

A very wise man wrote me the other day and said he would have been happier if Dunn had been convicted of first-degree murder, gotten 15 years, and then was released to try to pick up the pieces of his life. And I think that really gets to the point. This is not about the ruination of white people—individual or collective. This is about coping with a heritage of regarding black people as subhuman. 

Well, for starters, this “very wise man” doesn’t know Florida law. First-degree murder in Florida carries a sentence of death or life in prison, Dunn was facing the later. Secondly, 15 years for murdering a person?  Dunn will be incarcerated for at least 60 years; 20 years for each attempted murder charge and 15 on the charge of firing the gun into the car. 

It seems to me that the jury — the entire jury — put a higher value on Davis’s life than Coates and his “very wise man.” 


Eugene Robinson: ‘I’m Black, Don’t Shoot Me’


The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson is afraid of getting shot by a white person in the wake of the Michael Dunn and George Zimmerman verdicts:

Sometimes, when I’m in my car, I crank up the music pretty loud. All you Michael Dunns out there, please don’t shoot me.

Please don’t shoot my sons, either, or my brothers-in-law, nephews, nephews-in-law or other male relatives. I have quite a few friends and acquaintances who also happen to be black men, and I’d appreciate your not shooting them as well, even if the value you place on their lives is approximately zero.

I know I shouldn’t have to ask, but nothing else has worked. The criminal justice system has a mixed record — Dunn was at least partly held accountable for the burst of mayhem in which he fatally shot Jordan Davis, while George Zimmerman got off scot-free for killing Trayvon Martin. But whatever the final outcome, prosecutors and juries never get involved until after the fact. When mothers have already cried over the caskets of their dead sons. When it’s too late.

[. . .]

I’m not aware of any law that says young black men have to follow orders from every random white man who comes along.

And somebody at the Post took it one step further and added this teaser to Robinson’s piece:

“Out of control”? Hardly. I get the anger over the verdict, but to pretend that a Wild West atmosphere exists where whites are shooting African-Americans willy-nilly fails to account for, well, reality. Here are the actual numbers from the FBI’s 2010 crime statistics:

In summary, in instances where both the race of the offender and victim are known, of the 2,720 blacks killed in 2010, 218 were killed by whites and 2,459 were killed by blacks. That’s 8 percent.

On the other hand, it should be emphasized that there’s not an epidemic of black-on-white murder, either. Of the 3,327 whites killed in 2010, 447 were killed by blacks, or 13.4 percent.

What these numbers do show is that it’s black-on-black violence that is “out of control.” 

I’m all for ending anybody’s wrong-headed opinion that white-Americans are at risk from black-Americans, but Eugene Robinson needs to know it’s a two-way street. 



Forbes Profiles Bill Maher


And we find he almost worked for MSNBC:

I ask him with all the changes going on at CNN, which like HBO is owned by Time Warner, if he could take his brand of politically incorrect talk to the all news network. After all he’d often sit in for Larry King, when King was a CNN mainstay.  “Never, going to happen,” says Maher. “A while back I had some extensive talks with MSNBC and ultimately we all looked around the room and we all just knew with advertisers to worry about, we’d never be able to make it work.”

If Maher toned down his HBO show for MSNBC, he’d be the highest-rated host at the network. 

Salon: ‘Does Waxing Make Me a Bad Feminist?’


I can always count on Salon for reading material that makes me want to pull my hair out. And the piece is close to 5,000 words, too!




Comcast Agrees to Buy Time Warner


And creates the world’s largest company people can’t stand? Los Angeles Times:

Comcast Corp. has reached an agreement to buy Time Warner Cable in a deal valued at $45.2 billion, according to people familiar with the negotiations.

The proposed blockbuster combination is expected to be announced Thursday and would create a video and Internet juggernaut with 30 million subscribers and operations in some of the country’s biggest markets, including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

Besides its cable and Internet operations, Comcast also is the parent of NBCUniversal, which owns the NBC broadcast network, Universal Studios and several popular cable channels, including CNBC, MSNBC and USA Network. 

But this I don’t get:

The combination of Comcast and Time Warner Cable does not run afoul of any current Federal Communications Commission rules. 

However, the deal will probably face intense scrutiny from regulators and lawmakers, many of whom have expressed concern about media consolidation and its effect on consumers. 

The FCC — which seems to have rules for everything — doesn’t have a rule against a merger such as this? 

The rest here.

Media Pretty Impressed with America’s King and Queen


Here are some of the headlines and reactions on last night’s White House state dinner for France. . .

First up, who knew the collection of Hollywood stars, politicians, and other power players were “royalty”:, homepage: D.C. royalty turns out for state dinner

Oh, and the dress!

Washington Post, Style section: Michelle Obama lifts up U.S. designers, elegantly around her shoulders

And the White House producer for NBC News, Shawna Thomas, was quite smitten by Michelle Obama’s dress as well:

“#Bowdown”? It’s Michelle Obama, not Michelle Antoinette last time I checked.

The New York Times called it a “lavish event” but unfortunately “the evening still seemed one spouse short.” 

And what did the royalty eat at the lavish event? 2500 calories worth, that’s what. I seem to recall the First Lady advocating for healthier eating choices, no?

As they say, it’s good to be king.



Adiós to CNN Latino


CNN Latino is done after only a year. Via the Daily Mail:

CNN axes Spanish language service only one year after launch

  • CNN Latino was a service for local affiliates that combined news and entertainment programming
  • The cancellation has no effect on CNN en Español, which remains on the air

CNN Latino has been shuttered only one year after its much-hyped launch.

The Spanish service tailored to the fast growing Spanish-speaking demographic and packaged for local affiliates has closed down after not meeting business targets, the network announced in a press release.

The venture failed to take advantage of a population that would be the fifteenth largest media market in the world if considered a separate country, according to the Miami Herald.

‘Despite the great efforts of many talented people, CNN Latino was not able to fulfill our business expectations and we are discontinuing the programming this month,’ a CNN spokesperson told Media Moves.

CNN Latino provided both news and entertainment programming made for a bilingual Hispanic audience, according to a Los Angeles Times story touting the launch. The service was meant to take on Hispanic heavyweights Telemundo and Univision, but it never panned out.

The rest here.

Sochi Media Hotels in Disarray


These stories are becoming quite common . . .

. . . Click on each link and what you’ll find are basically the same pictures and anecdotes, which has me questioning how bad the problem really is.

As this Business Insider piece on the media hotels points out, “The venues and Olympic Village all look perfectly fine, and we haven’t seen any complaints from athletes. But the hotels, specifically media hotels, aren’t finished yet and it’s a total mess.”

We’re also not hearing any complaints yet from spectators and their hotel accommodations, although it is early. 

But if any of the media in attendance find their conditions are so unbearable that they want to leave, I’m sure there are about a million-or-so bloggers, journalism students, laid-off reporters, etc. who will eagerly take their place. My advice for these whiny reporters? Suck it up and have a little fun. Who really needs light bulbs anyway?

Chuck Todd to Interview Congressional Candidate Clay Aiken


Clay Aiken for Congress starts today!

Clay Aiken formally declared his bid for Congress, setting aside the singing career he launched on TV’s American Idol to run as a Democrat for a North Carolina seat now held by a Republican.

In a video posted Wednesday on You Tube, Aiken alluded to the “golden ticket” that got punched when he was the 2003 runner-up on the reality singing show. He stressed his upbringing by a single mom and his days as a special education teacher in explaining that he wants to serve in Congress for people who don’t have a voice.

“I’m not a politician. I don’t ever want to be one, but I do want to help bring back — at least to my corner of North Carolina — the idea someone can go to Washington to represent all the people, whether they voted for you or not,” Aiken said.

This might be news to Aiken, but if he wins, he becomes a politician. And his I-am-not-a-politician rhetoric is no different than any other candidate who claims I-am-not-a-politician while running for Congress. Aiken says he want to represent ”all the people” but that is impossible. If you’re pro-choice, you won’t ever honestly represent the pro-abortion voters in your district; if you favor increased gun control, you won’t represent Second Amendment voters, etc., etc. etc.

Some areas are gray, but the issues that people are most passionate about are black and white. 

Anyway, Chuck Todd will be interviewing candidate Aiken tomorrow and has asked that you send him your questions for Aiken. So, send away.

Nancy Pelosi vs. Jon Stewart


At what point will Democrats realize that Jon Stewart can be their toughest critic? Here’s Nancy Pelosi in the hot seat, unable to answer some pretty easy questions to Stewart’s satisfaction. Enjoy:


L’affaire Cheerios: MSNBC Fired the Wrong Person


Andrew Johnson posted over in the Corner that MSNBC has fired the staffer responsible for the offensive Cheerios tweet from last night. That tweet has since been deleted, but here’s a screenshot I took with my phone:

Yes, it’s offensive, but why’d they fire the staffer over it? I looked at the @MSNBC Twitter feed last night and there were no other offensive tweets that jumped out at me.

Richard Wolffe, the executive editor of, tweeted last night, “The Cheerios tweet from @msnbc was dumb, offensive and we’ve taken it down. That’s not who we are at msnbc.”

Wrong, wrong, wrong. That tweet is EXACTLY what MSNBC is all about.

Just look at MSNBC’s recent history. It’s impossible for Wolffe to claim “that’s not who we are at MSNBC” when you have Martin Bashir suggesting Sarah Palin be used as a toilet, Alec Baldwin throwing anti-gay temper-tantrums, and most recently, Melissa Harris-Perry and her guests mocking Mitt Romney for his adopted black grandchild. Yes, discipline was dished out in these examples and apologies were made, but at what point does MSNBC not get that their problem lies with its management and most certainly not with some low-level staffer who was told to send out edgy tweets. That staffer was just copying the stuff heard on MSNBC every single day. 

I say let the staffer apologize and move on. And then fire everyone in management at MSNBC. They’re the real reason incidents like this keep happening. 


Poll: Fox, Most Trusted Name in News (Again)


And Fox News is also the least trusted name in news (again). Via Public Policy Polling:

PPP’s 5th annual poll about trust in TV news continues to find what it does every year: Fox News is both the most trusted and least trusted name in news.

35% of Americans say they trust Fox News more than any other TV news outlet, followed by 14% for PBS, 11% for ABC, 10% for CNN, 9% for CBS, 6% each for Comedy Central and MSNBC, and 3% for NBC. It leads the way because of its continuing near total support among Republicans as the place to go for news- 69% of Republicans say it’s their most trusted source with nothing else polling above 7%. Meanwhile Democrats are split between a lot of different outlets when it comes to who they have the most faith in- PBS at 21%, CNN and ABC at 18%, and CBS and MSNBC at 12% all poll in double digits. It’s interesting that while Fox News and MSNBC are often thought of as equivalent, Fox News is by far and away the most trusted source of GOP voters while MSNBC is only tied for 4th among Democrats.

Fox News also leads the ‘least trusted’ list in our annual poll. 33% give it that designation to 19% for MSNBC, 14% for Comedy Central, 11% for CNN, 5% for ABC, 4% for CBS, and 2% each for NBC and PBS. That’s largely because 57% of Democrats give it their least trusted designation, with only Comedy Central at 18% also hitting double digits with them. MSNBC leads the way among Republicans at 38%, but CNN at 17% and Comedy Central at 13% both hit double digits as well. It’s interesting to note that Republicans seem to hate MSNBC more than Democrats like it.

If Democrats only have MSNBC at 12 percent, what’s the point of their liberal-bias programming? I’m no high-paid television executive, but these polling numbers suggest to me that hiring some true conservatives at CNN and MSNBC might translate into new viewers. 

The rest from PPP here.

Analyzing the SOTU Drinking-Game Words


There were quite a few SOTU drinking games out there, but the group “Debate Drinking” looks to be the most organized. Their final tally. 

In addition to the trigger-words provided by Debate Drinking, I was listening for the the president’s overused “let me be clear” and the ever-grating “folks.”

The president used “let me be clear” once; “folks” four times. Not too bad.

By comparison, the president used “folks” a staggering 15 times in his December 20 press conference before shouting “Aloha” to the mainland and jetting off to Hawaii. 


GOP Rep. Michael Grimm Threatens Reporter


New York Post:

Rep. Michael Grimm went ballistic on a TV reporter on camera Tuesday night after the State of the Union address at the Capitol — and threatened to throw him over a balcony and “break you in half.”

The Staten Island Republican was in the rotunda of the Cannon Office Building discussing on camera the president’s speech with NY1′s Michael Scotto when the reporter tried to ask him about recent campaign-finance allegations.

Grimm stormed off, and Scotto explained that he wanted Grimm to address financial shenanigans surrounding the congressman’s 2010 campaign. Seconds later, Grimm charged back and got in Scotto’s face.

“Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again, I’ll throw you off this f–king balcony,” Grimm said. “You’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.”

Here’s the video of the incident. Grimm has since apologized to Scotto, and Scotto has accepted.

Stephen Glass Denied Law License in California


You can be an illegal immigrant and practice law in California, but not an undocumented writer? Reuters:

Stephen Glass, one of the most infamous fabricators in modern American journalism, has not demonstrated that he is fit to practice law and should not be admitted to the California bar, the state’s top court ruled.

In a unanimous opinion released on Monday, the California Supreme Court said Glass had not engaged in the kind of exemplary conduct over a long period of time that would make up for his earlier behavior as a journalist.

Glass was a magazine journalism phenomenon in the late 1990s, whose stories appeared in publications including Rolling Stone, Harper’s and The New Republic. Eventually, Glass acknowledged that 42 articles were partially or wholly fabricated, according to a filing prepared by Glass’s lawyers.

A lawyer for Glass, Jon Eisenberg, said Glass “appreciates the court’s consideration of his application and respects the court’s decision.”

The rest here.

Tom Perkins Stands By his ‘Kristallnacht’ Letter to the Editor


ICYMI, Tom Perkins — billionaire founder of the venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins — is taking heat for this letter to the editor of the WSJ, which was published over the weekend:

Regarding your editorial “Censors on Campus” (Jan. 18): Writing from the epicenter of progressive thought, San Francisco, I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its “one percent,” namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the “rich.”

From the Occupy movement to the demonization of the rich embedded in virtually every word of our local newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, I perceive a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent. There is outraged public reaction to the Google buses carrying technology workers from the city to the peninsula high-tech companies which employ them. We have outrage over the rising real-estate prices which these “techno geeks” can pay. We have, for example, libelous and cruel attacks in the Chronicle on our number-one celebrity, the author Danielle Steel, alleging that she is a “snob” despite the millions she has spent on our city’s homeless and mentally ill over the past decades.

This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent “progressive” radicalism unthinkable now?

Perkins, despite criticism, defended his letter to CNN and Bloomberg:

Perkins told CNN’s Dan Simon on Sunday he stood by his comments. “As for criticism of the letter, everyone is entitled to his or her opinion,” he said.

In an email to the news outlet Bloomberg, he dismissed the views of his former firm.

“[O]ur philosophies and strategies have drifted so far apart that now my name means little on the door,” the outlet said he wrote.

“In the Nazi area it was racial demonization, now it is class demonization,” Perkins wrote.





Is Governor Cuomo Targeting James O’Keefe?


I’d like to know on what basis the NY Department of Labor is targeting Project Veritas as these actions seem a little heavy-handed for a company its size. Via Fox News:

Conservative activist James O’Keefe is accusing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration of targeting his group with document requests and a subpoena, claiming the Democratic governor’s recent comments critical of conservatives “aren’t simply words.”

O’Keefe, whose Project Veritas is behind a series of hidden-camera investigations against left-leaning groups and causes, made the claims on the heels of the controversy over a recent Cuomo interview. In it, Cuomo blasted “extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay” and said they “have no place” in New York. He later walked back his remarks, and said they were being taken out of context in the media.

But O’Keefe claimed that Cuomo’s government is acting on those words, revealing that the Department of Labor has hit his office in Westchester County, N.Y., with demands for financial documents for months. He compared it to IRS targeting of conservative groups nationwide.

“Governor Cuomo’s shocking words this past week aren’t simply words,” O’Keefe said in a statement. “Governor Cuomo and the New York Department of Labor are on a witch hunt, demanding all documents and financials since our founding. … His goal, of course, is to harass us and limit our effectiveness by tying us up in court. Just like President Obama used the IRS to target and suppress conservatives, Governor Cuomo is using his Department of Labor to do the same exact thing.”

A spokesman for the state labor office told The Daily Beast that it is legally required to ensure businesses pay their part of an unemployment insurance fund and provide information about outside contractors.

Requests for comment from to the Department of Labor and governor’s office have not yet been returned.

The rest here.

Why the GOP Needs to Start Policing Its Own


GOP Rep. Steve Stockman, who is challenging Senator John Cornyn in Texas, was caught altering a picture of President Obama and Charlie Crist to make it look like the president was with Sen. Cornyn, which Team Stockman then added to a ”Cornyn Loves Obamacare” website.

And here’s the original:

To be honest, we’ve seen better doctored-photos from the goofball Iranians and their magic missiles.

This isn’t about how I feel one way or another about Stockman or Cornyn, it’s just a dumb move, especially since there are photos out there of Cornyn and Obama together. For example,

Another example is Chris Christie, who was forced to cancel his inauguration celebration today on Ellis Island because of the snow. His official swearing in, always planned to happen in Trenton, went forward as scheduled.

I’m no high-paid GOP consultant, but I’m pretty sure our side wants austerity from our politicians, not more regal pomp and private parties on Federal property. A Holiday Inn ballroom with an open-bar would’ve done the trick.

The only way the GOP will get better candidates if we hold our own candidates to the same standard we set for the Democrats. The time has come to end the excuse, “but the other side does it, too.” We should want better than that.



Ezra Klein Leaving the Washington Post


Details here.


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