Category - Media Criticism

The Liberal Line Up

In case you haven’t heard, MSNBC — which has always had some pretty shaky ratings but can usually point to one or two juicy plums in their book — has been suffering miserably since their most recent prime time shakeup:

Amid the cable news network’s declining ratings, insiders tell TheWrap changes are coming soon and “everything is on the table”

When President Obama was reelected in 2012, MSNBC was “leaning forward” and smiling wide as Obama 2.0 propelled it to record ratings and a firm grasp on the No. 2 spot in cable news.

Over two years later, the network has fallen backwards. January ratings revealed double-digit declines compared with January, 2014 in all ratings measurements. During the day, MSNBC was down 20 percent in viewers and 37 percent in the advertising-coveted 25-54 demo. In primetime, it fell 23 percent in viewers and 39 percent in demo.

The primary exhibit for this is the most excellent offering of Chris Hayes, “All In”. His conversational interview style is well suited to deep exploration of a topic and when he has the bit between his teeth, he will uncover nuances and twists others might miss. Read More

The Whistle In The Wind

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Poor Jon Chait.

He had the audacity to question whether the right of free speech comes with a responsibility on the part of both the speaker and the listener, and got hammered for it. In other words, he took on “political correctness” and in what may be one of the grandest moments of self-reinforcing demonstration, got spanked by the very movement he sought to critique. Read More

Anchor Leaves CNN After Paris Tweets


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NYT – The veteran CNN anchor Jim Clancy has left the network after a series of Twitter messages he wrote about the terrorist attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo that left 12 people dead.

In the tweets, which were sent on the day of the attack, Mr. Clancy wrote about the cartoons the paper had published depicting the Prophet Muhammad, but he then began criticizing supporters of Israel and sparring with other Twitter users. Mr. Clancy’s Twitter account has since been deleted, but the tweets were published on several websites, including Gawker, Twitchy and Mediaite.

Matt Taibbi Leaving First Look

Naked Capitalism, By Yves Smith, October 29

Matt Taibbi has been missed. He went into a writing black hole when he decamped from Rolling Stone to Pierre Omidyar’s wannabe media empire, First Look in February. But when the billionaire’s news venture was launched, the press was sloppy in reporting on Omidyar’s financial commitment. It was widely depicted as a $250 million venture, when the tech titan never committed anywhere near that amount of funding. Admittedly, it takes time to get a new publication going, but the lack of any apparent progress was becoming noteworthy. From the outside, it looked like the project might be going pear-shaped, and it appears it did.

I had heard, second hand, that Taibbi had envisioned a publication that would mix satire and serious reporting, and would have a strong focus on skewering plutocrats. That may have struck too close to home. The official announcement of Taibbi’s departure is clumsy:

Important Announcement

Pierre Omidyar October 28, 2014

I regret to announce that after several weeks of discussions, Matt Taibbi has left First Look. We wish him well.

Our differences were never about editorial independence. We have never wavered from our pledge that journalistic content is for the journalists to decide, period.

We’re disappointed by how things have turned out. I was excited by Matt’s editorial vision and hoped to help him bring it to fruition. Now we turn our focus to exploring next steps for the talented team that has worked to create Matt’s publication.

I remain an enthusiastic supporter of the kind of independent journalism found at The Intercept and the site we were preparing to launch. As a startup, we’ll take what we’ve learned in the last several months and apply it to our efforts in the future.

Above all, we remain committed to our team and to the First Look mission.

…continued at the link.

A Peek Inside the Conservative Mind

WARNING: Below, you will be exposed to toxic thinking and noxious conclusions from right-wing partisans. A Level Four HazMat suit is recommended. The CDC will NOT be available for protection. You have been warned. Proceed with caution. Should you experience nausea, vomiting, tearing eyes, a rise in blood pressure SHUT DOWN YOUR BROWSER IMMEDIATELY and seek expert medical attention from Doctors Jack Daniels or Jim Beam.

The Ebola crisis is, in point of fact, a manufactured crisis. Media outlets, tired of covering insipid and meaningless political horse races found a sexy and dangerous news item and not only ran with it, but decided to tie it into the politics of the day.

The prevailing wisdom, of course, is this crisis reflects badly on the CDC. I suppose when you push a false narrative, it has to. After all, the CDC is supposed to be on top of “crises” like these, and handle them with aplomb.

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Count your fingers, the ongoing media $$circus cranks up again…

1. Twitter News Head Vivian Schiller Out in Media Unit Consolidation
Vivian Schiller, the high-profile NBC and NPR exec whom Twitter hired to run its news unit, is leaving the company. Adam Sharp will now be in charge of both news and government at the social messaging company, as part of a larger consolidation by its new head Katie Jacobs Stanton. Sharp previously ran the government unit.
The tweets on the shuffle are at the link.

Government and news, why not merge them?

2. The New York Times’ App Plan Isn’t Working So It’s Laying Off Staff
The New York Times is looking to cut about 100 newsroom jobs, or close to eight percent of its news staff, the Times reported this morning. Part of the reason for the cutbacks: The paper’s new subscription strategy, based on the idea of multiple apps, isn’t working.
The  memo, from publisher Arthur(Sulzberger) and CEO Mark (Thompson) is at the link.

The old subscription strategy, based on one app for people who subscribe to the Times for that reason, however,is still working…

A Climate of Unaccountability

They’re back!  John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Bill Kristol, Dick Cheney – the people who pushed the U.S. into the devastating mistake that was the 2003 invasion of Iraq, have discovered yet another existential threat ready and able to destroy the world.  Back then it was Saddam Hussein and his mythical cache of Weapons of Mass Destruction.  Now it is ISIS and its army of fanatical jihadists who are torturing, raping, crucifying, decapitating and genocidally killing anyone who stands in the way of the new caliphate they are building in what is left of the nations of Iraq and Syria.  It is precisely because there is a political, military, and economic vacuum in the heart of the Middle East that ISIS is able to thrive and expand.

The tragedy of American foreign policy is that the people who helped create that vacuum – who set into motion a war of aggression and choice – have never been held accountable for their mistake.  So here they are, this time doing the bidding of ISIS, spreading terror and fear into the hearts of the American people, priming the country for yet another war of aggression.  The foreign policy of these cheerleaders is encapsulated in one sentence, which ought to be carved on the tombstone of Bill Kristol, the man who said this: “What’s the harm of bombing them at least for a few weeks and seeing what happens?”   Read More

I Don’t Often Link to Pierce

Actual engraving…the chisel adds ten pounds

I like to keep that as my private stash, but this, this was too good not to share:

It’s not just that TBOTP [ed. note: Tiger Beat On The Potomac also known as Politico.com] invited the Manson Family of American geopolitics to come together for an exercise in ensemble prevarication. It’s not just that the account of said exercise is written in the kind of cacophonous cutesy-poo necessary to drown out the screams of the innocent dead, and to distract the assembled crowd from the blood that has dripped from the wallet of the celebrity war-criminal leading the public display. And it’s not as though this was a mere interview—a “get” that could help you “win the morning (!).” In that, it might have been marginally excusable. No, this was one of Mike Allen’s little grift-o-rama special events—a “Playbook lunch,” sponsored by that noted mortgage fraud concern Bank Of America. There’s an upcoming TBOTP “event” in L.A. that is sponsored by J.P. Morgan. I know what Mike Allen is, but I am so goddamn tired of haggling about the price. Here’s how TBOTP‘s own account of the event begins.

If I could write like that, I could put away my shitty little blog and become world-famous, and have women dripping off me like rainwater in a monsoon.

If You Had Told Me This Appeared on The Federalist Website….

…I would have laughed in your face. But it did:

Why abandon K-Street, and acknowledge, then reject, the Big Business perception of the GOP? They’ve had the Republican Party’s back for some time, right? In the past, the largest companies favored one party over the other because they understood a pro-capitalist, low-regulation government benefits them.

However, in recent years, especially since the 2007-2008 recession, many have turned to viewing government as a revenue source, a competition crusher, an error-eraser, and a partner in padding their bottom line. Their interest in cheap labor, bailouts, and selectively-favorable legislation has led to a flood of dollars into the Democrat Party, or into political action committees (PACs) that attempt to move Republican congressional votes away from their bases’ expectations, like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s push for amnesty. Meanwhile, a mix of bad deals and worse legislation left taxpayers and shareholders on the hook for trillions, millions lost their homes and jobs, and the senators and corporate heads responsible are laughing all the way to the bailed-out bank.

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Cheney and the Dickheads

I am pretty sure this characterization of putrid punditry is not original to me. Still, the label occurred to me as I read Phil Donahue’s remarks in the article linked here.

Phil is complaining (rightly) about the return of right wing talking heads who have appeared in all the standard media outlets to cheer a renewed war in the middle east, whether the bombing of Syria or return to Iraq or the throttling of Iran.

And who is invited to present the opposing point of view? Count them on one finger.

So I think it is appropriate to refer to the promoters of Mission Accomplished 2 (and 3 and 4)  as  “Dickheads” with no small irony.

Now that I think about it, that’s what we used to call the legions of Richard Nixon supporters too.

http://www.salon.com/2014/07/10/phil_donahues_vindication_media_icon_unloads_on_fox_cheney_and_what_happened_at_msnbc/?source=newsletter

and a report found at Marcy Wheeler’s site:

http://www.emptywheel.net/2014/07/11/papadick-and-babydick-try-to-sustain-the-terror-industry/

Stove-Piping Your Emotions

Dick Cheney has been in the news lately, entertaining us with his informed opinions about the situation in Syria and Iraq. It’s all Barack Obama’s fault. He pulled out of Iraq prematurely, destroying all the hope and promise that the Surge had produced for those unfortunate people. And now the Democracy, American-Style that Dick Cheney had promised the Iraqis is stillborn. You get the impression Dick Cheney doesn’t like Barack Obama, and thinks of him as a Kenyan-born usurping Muslim abortionist, destroying the pregnant future for Iraq that Cheney himself had planted in the womb of the Birthplace of Civilization. Read More

Like a Circle In a Spiral

Actual antennae for Aereo

So Barry Diller’s latest venture, Aereo, has hit a major legal snag:

A two-year-long legal battle between the country’s biggest broadcasters and a startup called Aereo is about to culminate at the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court’s decision, expected sometime this summer, could have far-reaching implications for television and technology companies — and ultimately on how people watch TV programs.

That’s because Aereo brings up crucial questions about copyright law and threatens to disrupt lucrative business models.

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