Archive for the ‘CBS’ Category

Murdoch: Condescension, Complacency, Arrogance Killing TV, Newspapers While Internet Thrives

November 17, 2008

With newspapers cutting back and predictions of even worse times ahead, Rupert Murdoch said the profession may still have a bright future if it can shake free of reporters and editors who he said have forfeited the trust and loyalty of their readers.

By Charles Cooper
CNET News

“My summary of the way some of the established media has responded to the internet is this: it’s not newspapers that might become obsolete. It’s some of the editors, reporters, and proprietors who are forgetting a newspaper’s most precious asset: the bond with its readers,” said Murdoch, the chairman and chief executive officer of News Corp. He made his remarks as part of a lecture series sponsored by the Australian Broadcast Corporation.

Murdoch to journalists: Shape up or risk extinction.  Credit: Dan Farber

Murdoch, whose company’s holdings also include MySpace and the Wall Street Journal, criticized what he described as a culture of “complacency and condescension” in some newsrooms.

“The complacency stems from having enjoyed a monopoly–and now finding they have to compete for an audience they once took for granted. The condescension that many show their readers is an even bigger problem. It takes no special genius to point out that if you are contemptuous of your customers, you are going to have a hard time getting them to buy your product. Newspapers are no exception.”

The 77-year-old Murdoch, recalling a long career in newspapers that began when his father’s death forced him to take over the Adelaide News in 1952, said the profession has failed to creatively respond to changes wrought by technology.

Read the rest:
http://news.cnet.com/8301-10787_3-10098194-60.html

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Obama TV infomercial: Smart or overkill?

October 29, 2008

Barack Obama will go on national television tonight and air a 30-minute infomercial about himself and his presidential campaign.

Several political image makers, both Republicans and Democrats, say it’s a smart move. But is there a risk of excess in it, as well? 

From: Jeanne Cummings; Politico

While Obama hasn’t made many strategic mistakes in his campaign against Republican John McCain, he has, on occasion, shown a weakness for extravagance.

In July, Obama’s visits to Afghanistan and Iraq generated comforting images of the senator with military leaders and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. But his trip ended in Berlin with an image of 200,000 fans, mostly Europeans, chanting Obama’s name.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. ... 
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. greets supporters at a rally in Raleigh, N.C., Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

In August, his campaign navigated the minefield of the Democratic Party’s feuding families to pull off a convention that began healing the wounds between the Clinton and Obama camps. Then it came to its conclusion between two Greek columns where a triumphant Obama delivered an acceptance speech to a football stadium crowd of more than 80,000.

Today, Obama is dominating the television ad wars. As of Oct. 22, Obama placed 150 percent more ads than McCain in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia, according to the Nielsen Co.
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Despite all that, and despite his lead in national and most battleground polls, the campaign decided to plunk down between $3 and $5 million to buy half-hour blocks of time at 8 p.m. tonight on NBC, CBS, FOX, Univision, BET, MSNBC and TV One for delivery of his final argument to the voters.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20081029/pl_politico/
15056;_ylt=Ash8CfJ1SGt2oY.MjjB4X5qs0NUE

Media In the Tank for Obama

October 28, 2008

By Tara Wall
The Washington Times

Taking personal responsibility can be tough.  Self-reflection is not the fondest of exercises toward self-improvement.

Such is the case with the mainstream media. Each election we routinely hear criticisms about the “biased mainstream media” and how it doesn’t play fair covering the candidates who lean to the right side of the political spectrum. There have even been books written on the topic, including those from the media’s own ilk (i.e. former CBS correspondent Bernie Goldberg). If the critical conservative punditry and one’s own sneaky suspicions weren’t enough, now there is concrete proof that the media “is” biased and has tanked this election to benefit Barack Obama.

The Pew Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism released a report last week. It found that while the media has covered both the Obama and McCain campaigns pretty evenly, the vast majority of “negative” coverage has – no big surprise here – focused on John McCain. The project surmised that “coverage of McCain has been heavily unfavorable – and has become more so over time. In the six weeks following the conventions through the final debate, unfavorable stories about McCain outweighed favorable ones by a factor of more than three to one – the most unfavorable of all four candidates.” McCain coverage was even worse than his much-ballyhooed running mate, Sarah Palin. Ouch!

In addition, polling from Rasmussen over the past few months has consistently shown that a majority of Americans believe reporters give Democrats more favorable coverage than Republicans. If you didn’t already know it: The media’s “love affair” with Mr. Obama is no myth.

It stands to reason (outside of the economic mess and Mr. McCain’s campaign management issues) that the media has shaped voter perception of the candidates by presenting more positive narratives of Mr. Obama and more negative narratives of Mr. McCain. Factor in that Mr. Obama’s television ads are running 5-to-1 to Mr. McCain’s and it is no wonder Mr. Obama is leading the race by every measure.

So, now that this bias has been revealed, we can expect the media’s moment of self-reflection and assessment, right? An examination of where the media went wrong and how it can right itself on the path to true objectivity. Fat chance.

In contrast, reaction to an Orlando TV anchor’s interview of vice presidential candidate Joe Biden is a case in point of what the media….

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/
oct/28/in-the-tank-for-obama/

Poll Says McCain Attacks on Obama Not Effective

October 15, 2008

The McCain campaign’s recent angry tone and sharply personal attacks on Senator Barack Obama appear to have backfired and tarnished Senator John McCain more than their intended target, the latest New York Times/CBS News poll has found.
 
Above: Some voters in the latest New York Times/CBS News poll were disappointed by John McCain’s attacks and running mate choice. The poll found Barack Obama was supported by majorities of men and independents. Photo: Richard Perry/The New York Times, left; Damon Winter/The New York Times 
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After several weeks in which the McCain campaign unleashed a series of strong political attacks on Mr. Obama, trying to tie him to a former 1960s radical, among other things, the poll found that more voters see Mr. McCain as waging a negative campaign than Mr. Obama. Six in 10 voters surveyed said that Mr. McCain had spent more time attacking Mr. Obama than explaining what he would do as president; by about the same number, voters said Mr. Obama was spending more of his time explaining than attacking.

Over all, the poll found that if the election were held today, 53 percent of those determined to be probable voters said they would vote for Mr. Obama and 39 percent said they would vote for Mr. McCain.

The findings come as the race enters its final three weeks, with the two candidates scheduled to hold their third and last debate on Wednesday night, and as separate polls in critical swing states that could decide the election give Mr. Obama a growing edge. But wide gaps in polls have historically tended to narrow in the closing weeks of the race.

Voters who said their opinions of Mr. Obama had changed recently were twice as likely to say they had grown more favorable as to say they had worsened. And voters who said that their views of Mr. McCain had changed were three times more likely to say that they had worsened than to say they had improved.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/15/us
/politics/15poll.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

Big 3 networks still fixated on ‘first love’ Obama

October 14, 2008

By Jennifer Harper
The Washington Times

The “big three” broadcast networks – NBC, ABC and CBS – remain captivated with Sen. Barack Obama, according to a study of campaign coverage released Tuesday by the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University.

Numbers tell all: 61 percent of the stories that appeared on the networks between Aug. 23 and Sept. 30 were positive toward the Democratic Party. In contrast, just 39 percent of the stories covering Republicans were favorable.

“After a brief flirtation with Sarah Palin, the broadcast networks have returned to their first love: Barack Obama,” said Robert Lichter, the center’s president.

“John McCain has not been so lucky. He’s gotten bad coverage from the beginning. It has never varied from that,” Mr. Lichter added.

Fox News Channel, which was included in the study to provide parity, cut the Republicans some slack. Overall, 44 percent of the Republican coverage included in the half-hour news portion of the nightly “Special Report with Brit Hume” was positive, compared with 25 percent favorable coverage for the Democrats. Mr. Obama was favored in only 28 percent of the stories. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. garnered 18 percent positive coverage. Thirty-eight percent of the stories about Mr. McCain were positive.

And Mrs. Palin, the Alaska governor and Republican vice-presidential nominee? Comparatively speaking, she was a Fox favorite, with half the stories about her positive.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/oct/14/
study-big-3-networks-still-fixated-on-first-love-o/

To Torpedo McCain, Letterman, CBS Engineered Video “Coup” With Couric

September 27, 2008

By Don Kaplan
The New York Post

CBS News executives were red-faced yesterday trying to explain how David Letterman used unaired news footage of Sen. John McCain with Katie Couric to embarrass the Republican presidential candidate.

McCain canceled his appearance on Letterman’s show late Wednesday, several hours before he was due to appear – claiming he had to return to Washington to deal with the financial crisis.

But when Letterman discovered the Senator sitting down with Couric at the same time he was supposed to be taping “Late Night,” he unloaded on McCain.

“I’m more than a little disappointed by this behavior,” Letterman told viewers. “This doesn’t smell right.”

“This is not the way a tested hero behaves. Somebody’s putting something in his Metamucil,” he said.

Later in the show, Letterman showed an internal, live video of McCain being tended to by a make-up artist before the Couric interview. Both Couric and Letterman are on CBS.

Letterman said on the air that McCain had called him personally to apologize and said he was racing to the airport.

“He doesn’t seem to be racing to the airport, does he?” Letterman told viewers.

“I feel like we’ve caught him getting a manicure,” Letterman quipped, as a make-up woman dabbed at McCain’s face.

Asked if CBS officials had a problem with Letterman using the internal news feed, a spokeswoman for “The Evening News” refused to address the issue.

But several CBS News executives – who asked not to be identified – said that the stunt did not go down well within the news division.

“If we had done something like that to him, someone around here would end up getting fired,” one said.

News officials found out Letterman was using the internal feed shortly after it showed up on an internal CBS feed carrying the “Late Show” taping.

“They were pretty aggravated,” a CBS News source told The Post.

“But they were not about to start a fight with Letterman,” the source said. “We’re in the middle of a heavy, heavy news cycle and Letterman is Letterman.

“He does whatever he wants and always has.”

McCain spokeswoman Nicole Wallace said that the campaign canceled on Letterman because it “felt this wasn’t a night for comedy.”

Democrats in Tough Spot

March 21, 2008

Analysis: Someone’s Going To Feel Cheated
U.S. News Columnist Gloria Borger Says The Clinton-Obama Race Has Become Just Arguments Made To The Political Class.” That’s from
CBS. Cheated — that’s an accurate statement, because if selection of the Democratic nominee for the White House comes down to a decision made by a small number of super delegates, we are in for some infighting that will be both embarrassing and dirty.

… Get ready for the real fight now that the Democratic nominating process is about to become decidedly undemocratic. If Clinton and Obama remain locked in a battle for delegates, as seems likely, they’ll have to turn to those 795 superdelegates to make the final decision. About 350 of these elite pols are uncommitted, and they’re likely to sit on the fence for a while to be sure they side with the candidate who will win the nomination.Oh, and by the way, superdelegates want a candidate who can beat John McCain. Consider them the Democratic Party’s House of Lords, hearing petitions from Obama and Clinton that come down to the same basic premise: Support me, because I can win. “It’s a mess,” says a top Democratic strategist unaffiliated with either camp. “Superdelegates don’t want to decide this, but they may have no choice.” [snip]

But here’s the point: Nominations are about winning delegates, and Obama now has about 130 more than Clinton. That margin is not likely to shift much, even if Michigan and Florida figure out a quick and fair way to redo their primaries. And if they don’t, Clinton says, count the results; the Democratic National Committee and Obama say no way. His name wasn’t even on the ballot in Michigan. Prediction: Someone’s going to feel cheated. No wonder Clinton keeps talking about that Dream Team ticket, as if a two-for-the-price-of-one scenario might help.

Forget about it. And since baseball season is almost upon us, allow a final superdelegate analogy Imagine the seventh game of the World Series. In a thrilling contest, Team A beats Team B, 10-9. But as that final out is made, the umpires gather behind home plate. They decide Team B should win–because its scoring came late in the game, in three big innings that featured four home runs. Imagine the chaos that would ensue. Now imagine the Democratic convention if Team A wins the delegate race but loses the nomination.

The fans will storm the field, and it will not be pretty.

Garry Kasparov: The Match Of His Life

September 23, 2007

Russian chess super hero and political activists Gary Kasparov was featured on “60 Minutes” on Sunday.  Kasparov calls President Putin’s Russia a “police state.” 

For 20 years Garry Kasparov was the greatest chess player in the world. He won his first world championship at the age of 22 and was ranked number one almost continuously until he retired from international competition two years ago, a Russian hero and a very wealthy man. He could have done anything he wanted. Instead, he chose to make the riskiest move of his career: he entered the treacherous world of Russian politics, and has become one of President Vladimir Putin’s harshest critics, accusing him of abolishing democratic reforms, and turning over the country’s vast natural resources to a small political elite.

It is the match of his life. As correspondent Steve Kroft reports, the odds are long, and the dangers considerable, but Kasparov believes the soul of a nation is at stake.

Watch the video:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/09/
21/60minutes/main3286155.shtml

Mainstream News Media Under Seige In a More Complex Word

September 18, 2007

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 17, 2007; Page C01

Capturing reality is harder than it seems.

As Gen. David Petraeus‘s long-awaited testimony last week failed to sway the debate over the war, partisans on both sides castigated the media for what remains a blurry picture of Iraq. Why, they ask, can’t journalists cut through the fog and deliver an accurate portrait of how the unpopular conflict is going?

This frustration with journalism extends to a slew of other controversies. Is Sen. David Vitter being truthful in denying involvement with a New Orleans prostitute who was paid by Hustler magazine? Is Sen. Larry Craig dissembling when he denies soliciting sex in a men’s room? Did Alberto Gonzales give faulty testimony and merely make misstatements about various Justice Department controversies, or is he a liar?

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/16/AR2007091601411.html

Dragnet, Freedom of the Press, The Facts, and the Mainstream News Media

July 25, 2007

By James Zumwalt
For Peace and Freedom
July 26, 2007

A popular TV program during the 1950s, “Dragnet,” starred actor Jack Webb portraying a no-nonsense police investigator. His investigative technique made popular a line he often used in the show. Interviewing female witnesses who strayed from just sharing factual observations–offering instead unsolicited opinions–Webb, seeking to refocus the interviewee, admonished, “All we want are the facts, ma’am.”

Jack Webb

Webb’s admonition to provide just the facts is one appropriate to news reporting as well. However, the results of a recent study commissioned by one major international news organization—known for its very liberal bias—show exactly how far it has strayed from this role. And, since the vast majority of those in the media—by their own admission—are cut from the same liberal cloth, it is reasonable to assume what sins the study reveals about this news organization pertain to the majority of those working within the industry.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) hired an external group to evaluate the internal conduct of its organization to assess claims of liberal bias. The findings proved shocking–to the BBC at least. One finding was it had “failed to promote proper debate on major political issues because of the inherent liberal culture of its staff.” The study warned too of pandering to celebrities, allowing them “to hijack the BBC schedule,” and of a tendency for its staff “‘to group think’ with too many inhabiting a shared space and comfort zone.” In addition to revealing BBC’s imbalanced news reporting, the study makes a revelation which should raise concern as to how such reporting contributes to perpetuating worrisome myths, thus failing to alert the public of dangers to its very existence.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
BBC logo

The study noted, during a BBC staff impartiality seminar held last year, executives expressed willingness, should the storyline arise, to broadcast images of the Bible being thrown away but would not do so if it were the Koran being trashed. Why? They feared offending Muslims, evidenced by the violent reactions prompted by publishing cartoons of Muhammad and Pope Benedict’s innocent reciting of a quote by a 14th-Century Christian emperor critical of Islam.

These BBC executives, however, fail to give consideration to the price paid for submitting to such fears. The decision-making guidelines for broadcasting they support result in dishonest reporting, helping to perpetuate dangerous myths. In opting not to broadcast the Koran story, for example, they perpetuate the myth we have nothing to fear from Islamic extremism. Similarly, in opting to broadcast the Bible story, they perpetuate the myth to the Muslim world that non-believers lack moral guidance, giving extremists a rational basis–in their minds–to impose Islam or death upon us. Thus the result in broadcasting one story but not the other would clearly represent a net loss for Western civilization and a net gain for Islamic extremism.

It is not the first time a news organization, out of fear, has failed to publish a story. America’s BBC equivalent, CNN, hid the truth of Saddam Hussein’s acts of brutality and torture before the 2003 US invasion, only later admitting it had consciously done so. Following the 2003 invasion, senior CNN executive Eason Jordan confessed while his news organization was well aware of numerous atrocities committed by Saddam—justifying the dictator’s removal from power—it opted not to report them. To do so, he argued, would have endangered CNN staffers in Iraq. Thus, CNN helped perpetuate the myth prior to 2003 that insufficient grounds for an invasion might exist. While CNN remained silent about Saddam’s widely practiced torture, executions and mutilations of Iraqi citizens, it later would unhesitatingly report stories critical of US troops for what was either mostly a very limited practice of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib or uncorroborated allegations of it. This result was a net loss for the US prestige and a net gain for Islamic extremism.

While the mainstream news media (MNM) today attempts to portray itself as independent, it is hypocritical in doing so. For example, most of MNM reject the practice of embedding reporters with US units in Iraq today due to concerns the reporters might start to identify with their unit hosts and thus provide biased perspectives. As a result, many reporters in Iraq spend their time inside the highly protected Green Zone in Baghdad, relying on local stringers–with their own biases–to bring them stories to write and file. This they fail to report to the public, while criticizing the US military for paying to have the Iraqi media publish certain stories it has provided. Furthermore, while news organizations historically take no initiative to pressure Islamic extremist groups to release captives, they fail to remain similarly detached when their own journalists are taken captive—as evidenced most recently by BBC’s efforts to win the release of its reporter Alan Johnston in Gaza.

Clearly the majority of news reporters today in the MNM lack the Jack Webb, facts only-approach. Instead, facts are often lost within the opinionated reporting reflected by a news organization’s political slant. It is a journalistic sin to package a story within the wrappings of a news organization’s established bias, but it is an even greater sin to do so by intentionally refusing to report facts to provide news recipients with information necessary for them to make informed decisions about potential dangers to their existence.

At the conclusion of each “Dragnet” program, the announcer said, “The story you have just seen is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.” Unfortunately, with the very liberal slant represented by the MNM today and its failing to relate the true dangers of Islamic extremism, the facts they ignore fail to “protect the innocent.” In doing so, freedom of the press—a right which has played such a significant role in breathing life into democracy—could prove to be a catalyst in causing its death.

Related:
Is All the News Media Going
The Way of NBCs Today Show?

By John E. Carey
June 25, 2007

Today in the world we have these intriguing stories: War in Iraq, Discussions of Genocide in Darfur Being Held in Paris, Iran Trying to Slip Away From U.N. Sanctions, North Korea Preparing to Shut Down its Nuclear Reactor, “Chemical Ali” Sentenced to Death in Iraq, Tony Blair Maybe to Become Catholic and other goodies.

NBCs Today Show started with a California Brush Fire, A Bus Crash, A Murder in Ohio, and Problems with Aspirin. Before the first half hour was completed we had Pretty Blonde Woman (Princess Di and Paris Hilton) and a story on Beaches.

By eight a.m. I’d expect a story on Bar-B-Q, Good Make-Up and Expensive Women’s Shoes.

What is America thinking? Watch the NBC Today Show or anything else in the morning line-up and you’ll know.

The ceaseless, mindless prattle of the “networks” (NBC, ABC, and CBS) created the audience for the “Cable News” phenomena of CNN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC.

The “Main Stream Media” (The New York Times, The Washington Post, and etc.) created the “Blogger” phenomena.

The bottom line: there is enough news to go around for everyone.

“Now Public” (the liberal leaning, Toronto based “news” web site) is as important to its readers and participants as The Washington Times is to a certain political crowd in America!