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Thursday, June 30, 2005
Wandering in the Cable News Wilderness
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 3:05 pm

Via this NYT piece (Talk Show Washout Tries Again) comes the line of the day”

These kinds of programs may not hurt the country, but they do seem to weaken the intellectual standing of their hosts. When Mr. Carlson, who started as a writer at The Weekly Standard, began on “Crossfire” he seemed like a brainy young contrarian, brought in to challenge liberal pieties - a Junior Miss version of George Will. Time and the ever-shortening attention span of cable news have turned him into a George Will o’ the Wisp; his opinions are loud but ever more vaporous.

Indeed and hylarious.

I must confess, I have had exactly zero interest in even trying Carlson’s new show. I found him annoying on Crossfire, and have no need to give him a second chance. Of course, the last time I could tolerate Crossfire, Michael Kinsely was still on.

On balance, I must confess, this is true:

Washouts often get a second chance on MSNBC and its sister channel, CNBC, but it is mostly a last chance. Recent fallen stars on CNBC include Tina Brown, John McEnroe and Dennis Miller. Mr. Carlson had to step over the departed Deborah Norville to get his 9 p.m. slot.

What I find especially amusing is that the last time I really found CNBC (back when it was more like MSNBC is now, at least at night) was when Roger Ailes ran the place (and not because of any conservative slant-there wasn’t on). One may wish to criticize Ailes, but he seems to know what he is doing vis-a-vis political talk shows. CNBC/MSNBC seems to have been wandering in the wilderness for some time. The only shows I even watch on occasion now are Hardball and Countdown and neither qualifies as “must see” TV.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2005
PoliBlog on MSNBC
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:32 pm

Student Randy Reed e-mails from Washington where he is interning to let me know that PoliBlog was on MSNBC’s Connected Coast-to-Coast today (thanks for the tip).

They don’t have a page up directly about today’s show, but PoliBlog is linked from MSNBC in the producer’s post about what was going to be on the show (along with OTB): Tony’s tabs.

The funny thing is that all of the electrons I have spilled this week on lengthy posts, the one they picked (on raising the retirement age to 69) was a quickie I entered this morning whilst breaking my fast before heading to school to teach.

But hey: exposure is exposure! Indeed, I clearly need to rev up the PR machine, as I have been slowly devolving in the TTLB for a few weeks now. So, bring on the links, people. ;)

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Wednesday, June 8, 2005
On Gulags and Press Bookings
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 7:06 pm

From Amnesty International’s Willim Schulz on Fox News Sunday this past weekend:

WALLACE: Is it possible, sir, that by excessive rhetoric or by your political links, that you have hurt, not helped, your cause?

SCHULZ: Chris, I don’t think I’d be on this station, on this program today with you if Amnesty hadn’t said what it said and President Bush and his colleagues haven’t responded as they did. If I had come to you two weeks ago and said, “Chris, I’d like to go on FOX with you just to talk about U.S. detention policies at Guantanamo and elsewhere,” I suspect you wouldn’t have given me an invitation.

WALLACE: So you’re saying if you make irresponsible charges, that’s good for the cause?

SCHULZ: I don’t believe that they’re irresponsible.

In response, Howard Kurtz asks:

Excuse me, but did Schulz say that it’s okay to unleash words like “gulag,” even if it’s not an “exact or literal analogy,” because it gets him booked on Fox News? Is that the new standard? Yes, Chris, I called the president a war criminal because it was the only way I could get on Hardball?


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Friday, June 3, 2005
This Was CNN
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:44 am

Daniel Schorr has an interesting column which reflect on the early days of CNN at the CSM: CNN’s infant, improv days.

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Thursday, May 12, 2005
Adios, Dennis
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 5:01 pm

CNBC cancels ‘Dennis Miller’

CNBC is canceling “Dennis Miller” in an attempt to revive the network’s struggling primetime, according to Variety.

“Dennis Miller” will be replaced with a second airing of “Mad Money With Jim Cramer” at 9 p.m. ET.

It’s bad enough to get cancelled, but getting replaced by a re-run’s gotta hurt.

I like Miller (except on MNF) and found the show to ok, but, to be honest, I came across it the other night and thought “wow-I thought they had cancelled that.”

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Wednesday, May 11, 2005
On the Blitz
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:03 pm

Via Reuters: Blitzer to host ‘wide open’ CNN stretch

CNN will debut a three-hour, late-afternoon show hosted by Wolf Blitzer that will replace “Crossfire” and “Inside Politics” sometime this summer.

The show, which does not yet have a name, will run from 3-6 p.m. ET. Blitzer, who already hosts two hours weekdays (noon-1 p.m. ET and 5-6 p.m. ET) and “Wolf Blitzer Reports” on Sundays, will be the primary host.

Details have yet to be worked out, but Jon Klein, president of CNN/US, said Tuesday that it would showcase the network’s reporting and analytical assets with a special focus on breaking news.

Probably not a bad idea, although I would be more prone to watch if the focus was politics.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2005
Runaway Bride
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:22 am

I haven’t had any time to watch TV news the last couple of days, but even so, it seems like this goofy “Runaway Bride” story is freaking everywhere. I was drving home and Sean Hannity was talking about it (and waxing poetic about this poor girl-and underscoring why I rarely listen to his show) and then this morning it was on a regional program, and Laura Ingraham was (making fun of it mind you) just playing clips of Donna Brazille commenting on the story on FNC.

Ok: Ms, Brazille is a political commentator and former campaign manager. What in the world is going on when they have someone like her commenting on the Runaway Bride? (And, interesting, she and Hannity are on the same page on this one).

And the best I can figure out the girls fiancee, her pastor and her family are all over TV the last several days. Heck, it was one of the items on PTI yesterday (although there, at least, it was for humor).

Egads, but surely there are more important things to talk about that some young woman who went on a bus ride and made a false 911 call.

Aren’t there at least some shark attacks or monkeypox outbreaks for the cable news dudes to follow?


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Friday, April 29, 2005
Adios, Judy
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 11:49 am

Betsy Newmark reports that Judy Woodruff is leaving Inside Politics.

Given that that only reason I TiVo IP at the moment is to occassionally watch the “Inside the Blogs” segment, I suspect that I shan’t really notice the exit.

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Thursday, April 28, 2005
Post-Debate Coverage
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:07 pm

MSNBC is focusing on the qusetion of means testing Social Secuirty.

The Fox folks are doing the same.

Chris Matthews did give the President kudos for being honest about gas prices.

By 8:20 central CNN was talking about the Michael Jackson trial….

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By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 1:57 pm

James Joyner is supposed to be on MSNBC at 3:30 edt. However, given James’ history with MSNBC, we’ll believe it when we see it.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005
More on CNN v. MSNBC on Blog Coverage
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 12:16 pm

Here’s a way that MSNBC clearly trumps CNN in regards to blog coverage: they have an online listing of the blogs and posts featured on Connected Coast to Coast with Ron Reagan and Monica Crowley which makes eminent sense-any coverage of blogging needs an online component.

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Monday, April 25, 2005
PoliBlog on MSNBC
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:51 pm

Ian Schwartz, the Political Teen e-mails to note that PoliBlog was mentioned on MSNBC’s Connected: Coast to Coast today.

He has the clip.

They ref’d my Arianna post this morning, and also noted Ann Althouse’s post on the same topic.

And I must say: I prefer MSNBC’s presentation of the blogging report to CNN’s: not only was there a better screenshot of my blog, but they actually put the url on the screen. Also just having the one reporter beats the tag team deal on Inside Politics. It would seem that the MSNBC mention garnered a tad more traffic than the CNN mention, as despite my decided lack of blogging today (a muy busy day) I am still experiencing healthy traffic. That may well be a coincidence, of course.

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Legal XXX linked with Linky Dinky Doo
Monday, April 18, 2005
Not With a Fox
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 1:06 pm

William Raspberry is concerned about the “Foxidation” of the news:

Part of the FNC approach, on the other hand, is to promote itself as “fair and balanced.” I suppose it does so with a wink and a nod to its far-right audience, who must know it isn’t balanced. Certainly those near the center of the political spectrum know it.

So why would I consider Fox such a generalized threat? Because I think the plan is not so much to convince the public that its particular view is correct but rather to sell the notion that what FNC presents is just another set of biases, no worse (and for some, a good deal better) than the biases that routinely drive the presentation of the news on ABC, CBS or NBC — and, by extension, the major newspapers.

For the Foxidation process to work, it isn’t necessary to convince Americans that the verbal ruffians who give FNC its crackle have a corner on the truth — only that all of us in the news business are grinding our partisan axes all the time and that none of us deserves to be taken seriously as seekers of truth.

This will lead, he thinks, to less public confidence in the media writ large.

However, as with most critics of FNC, it seems that he is comparing apples to oranges (although it unclear as to what he is comparing, as he gives no specifics) insofar as much of Fox’s programs are commentary programs, not straight news (which is also true of MSNBC, for that matter-and it isn’t as if CNN is pure news).

If one compares Brit Hume’s show v. Aaron Brown’s, what’s the big difference? Even the Fox Report, while hyperactive, is straight news.

And how is Hannity and Colmes any different than Crossfire (which is defunct now, right?)

One can’t compare The Factor with the CBS Evening News which is what it sounds like Raspberry (and many other critics of FNC) are trying to do.

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Thursday, April 14, 2005
The Blogroll on CNN
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:09 am

I notie that several blogs on my blogroll (and normal reading list) also made CNN this week:

  • Vodkapundit
  • Backcountry Conservative
  • The American Mind (who also got mentioned in Slate-congrats to Sean).

Congrats to all for being noted in such a visible forum (although I do wonder who watches Inside Politics since it airs when most folks are at work-and perhaps that explains why such a mention doesn’t generate traffic, since mainly retirees are watching (”What did they say, Martha? A “flog”?).

Of course, there is something profoundly ironic that I know this not by watching CNN, but by reading blogs…

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Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Confirmed: PoliBlog on CNN
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 6:13 pm

Here’s the Transcript from today’s Inside Politics:

And then we have Dr. Steven Taylor over at the Poliblog who just outright wonders what the police were thinking. And he says, “It’s specifically disturbing to find out that over 90 percent of the arrests were unnecessary.” And he also says, “Arresting that many people during political protests who weren’t guilty of a crime is highly problematic in our democracy.”


(Thanks to Bret Marston student Brett Remkus (I misread my Brett’s-oops!) for sending the link).

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Jeff Quinton - Backcountry Conservative linked with Backcountry Conservative on CNN
Outside The Beltway linked with Beltway Traffic Jam
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