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Posts Tagged ‘Jon Stewart’

Empty Suits Keep Trying Empty Chair Acts

Talking to a chair is hardly ever a good idea. In the course of the last year, the act has been pulled by a handful of media types and each time, it flops.

Last night actor and film director Clint Eastwood was the latest to give the talking-to-an-empty-chair routine a whirl. He did it on the final evening of the Republican National Convention, just before Mitt Romney officially became the party’s nominee for president. How fitting.

Standing at the podium, Eastwood motioned to the empty chair next to him and said he brought President Obama. He then entered into a monologue that got a few laughs but was mostly perceived as bizarre.

Ann Romney appeared on CBS this morning to talk about the convention. “He did a unique thing,” she said of Eastwood’s speech while laughing uncomfortably.

“Bill Clinton introducing Michael Dukakis just went to a distant second place as a bizarre moment,” NBC’s Tom Brokaw told Politico. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, meanwhile, said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe that Eastwood’s speech made him “cringe.”

Then again, this was an 82-year-old man giving an unscripted speech. And the empty-chair routine is a proven bust.

Back in March, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell was set to interview Craig Sonner, the lawyer representing Florida Trayvon Martin killer George Zimmerman. Sonner bailed at the last minute. Rather than bringing on a contributor who might be on standby or moving to the next segment, O’Donnell asked the chair a series of questions, including: “Who is paying you? Who hired you?” and “Does George Zimmerman have a job?”

Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart noted the stupidity, saying he knows many people in New York City who talk to chairs and “none of them have TV shows.”

Two days later Thomas Roberts, also an anchor on MSNBC, had intended to interview Maggie Gallager, spokeswoman for the National Organization for Marriage. Roberts was unable to make the segment. But guess who was? Read more

How Wrong Was ABC News’ Brian Ross?

Brian Ross‘ week ended with a bang Friday. While reporting on the Aurora theater shooting, the ABC News journalist said live on the air that he found someone who shared the same name as the alleged shooter on a local tea party group’s web page.

“There is a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado, page on the Colorado Tea Party site as well, talking about him joining the tea party last year,” Ross said that morning on GMA. “Now, we don’t know if this is the same Jim Holmes – but this is Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado.” (As an aside, in news reports the shooter is referred to by his full name James Holmes.)

The tea party Holmes — who, it turns out, is not the shooter with the same name — told The Daily Caller, “Really, seriously, how do we take a journalist seriously when it’s pretty clear they really haven’t done any sort of check on their facts?”

Ross and ABC both issued apologies:

“An earlier ABC News broadcast report suggested that a Jim Holmes of a Colorado Tea Party organization might be the suspect, but that report was incorrect. ABC News and Brian Ross apologize for the mistake, and for disseminating that information before it was properly vetted.”

Even so, The Daily Show‘s Jon Stewart mocked Ross on his show last night. “[ABC News Anchor] George Stephanopoulos is in the middle of  doing a lot of things,” Stewart said. “But I’m assuming that he was under the impression Brian Ross checks out the sh-t he says on-air before saying it, since Brian Ross is their chief investigative correspondent and not, let’s say, the office gossip.”

But in the hyper-fast, ultra-competitive, increasingly-politicized news environment we now live in, is Ross entirely at fault for reporting that someone with the same name as Holmes is affiliated with the tea party? Bad taste, probably. But irresponsible? Answer in our Fish Poll below. We’ll run the results tomorrow.

What’s Ric Grenell Tweeting?

Ric Grenell, the short-lived foreign policy adviser to the Mitt Romney campaign, spends a lot of time tweeting, especially to send out sassy quips to journalists and news outlets. Last month he went on the attack against BuzzFeed‘s Michael Hastings for his coverage of the President Obama campaign, calling Hastings an “Obama sympathizer.”

Grenell’s angst is far-reaching in the world of news media. Just look at all the trash-talking he did in less than 24 hours.

This morning Grenell took a shot at Politico‘s media reporter Dylan Byers for a post Byers did on political columnist Glenn Greenwald‘s move from Salon to The Guardian. “Not a single critique of the left, Greenwald or Salon in that piece,” Grenell wrote of the post, which was straightforward in its reporting by any measure (mine).

In response to a tweet from Mediaite that simply linked to a clip of Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, Grenell said, “You tweeted a ‘Stewart Rips Romney’ link recently. Is this a new series for Mediaite?” The clip was more Stewart mocking conservatives in media rather than Romney himself. Further, Mediaite, along with countless other blogs that cover media, regularly pulls bits from The Daily Show. Shockingly, almost on a daily basis.

Grenell’s tweets aren’t all fiery, though. Again this morning he tweeted a compliment to CNN’s Candy Crowley. “We need more reporters like Candy Crowley covering the presidential race. Smart, tough and always fair,” he said.

Back to the spicy. Over a two-hour span of time last night, Grenell went after ReutersSam Youngman for a story he did that didn’t acknowledge a new national NYT/CBS News poll that showed Romney with a slight lead in the election. Or rather, Youngman didn’t acknowledge the poll until the third paragraph.

More of Grenell’s Youngman aggression from last night:

  • “Washington media types love to quote the NewYorkTimes until the NYT has a poll showing Romney up. Then silence. Que more Romney tax stories.”
  • “You want evidence of Washington’s media bias? new poll shows Romney up and Reuters leads with 3 paragraphs on Mitt’s taxes!”
  • “Shhh don’t tell Reuters’ Sam Youngman.” (here Grenell retweeted a link to the NYT/CBS News poll)

Youngman responded, “I wouldn’t have led with someone else’s poll. Sorry we didn’t get to work together. Good luck to you, sir.”

PBS’s Gwen Ifill: ‘Jon Stewart Watches Me’

Gwen Ifill of PBS’ “Newshour” was in Los Angeles Tuesday with Political Editor David Chalian to accept the Walter Cronkite Award for Political Coverage from USC’s prestigious Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

The station was selected by a panel of judges for “through and balanced” political coverage. Ifill and Judy Woodruff were singled out for “focusing on the issues” and avoiding “the horserace component that is so typical in political coverage.” Four pieces in particular, produced by Mary Jo Brooks, Terence Burlij, and Sarah Clune, received awards.

She began her remarks:

It does us all good to see that – no matter what you read, see and hear out there – serious journalism still matters. It’s all I ever wanted to do, and I think I speak for everyone here in saying that we are drawn to journalism for the nobility that can be found in telling untold stories, or in shedding light rather than heat on the over-told ones.

Ifill also set aside time to brag. “When I visit college campuses, students often tell me, ‘I only watch Jon Stewart.’ And I tell them: ‘Jon Stewart watches me.’” She added that Cronkite told her he watched “Newshour” every night.

“If it sounds like I’m boasting, you’re right,” she said. “We are justifiably proud of what we do.”

The Daily Show’s Senior Black Correspondent to Headline Radio-TV Dinner

You know Larry Wilmore as the “Senior Black Correspondent” on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” who once called Black History a drag: “White people have to pretend to care about black people, black people have to pretend to care about history. It’s a lose-lose.”

But now you’ll know him as the emcee for the Congressional Correspondents’ Dinner on March 30th at the Washington Convention Center.

Willmore created the “Bernie Mac Show” and has appeared on “The Office” as well is in “Dinner for Schmucks.” He started as a regular on “The Daily Show” in 2006.

The Congressional Correspondents’ Dinner is the new name for the Radio-Television Correspondents’ Dinner, which is in its 67th year. The dinner was re-named, according to a press release, “to better reflect the attendees.”

Cameos Galore in “Adjustment Bureau”

Several journos and political media figures make cameo appearances in Matt Damon‘s new movie, “The Adjustment Bureau” in which Damon plays a politician running for a New York Senate seat.

In the film: CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and contributors James Carville and Mary Matalin, “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, and Bloomberg TV anchor Betty Liu.

New York local news anchors Chuck Scarborough (no relation to Joe) and Daniel Bazile appear in the movie as well, along with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

ABC’s Karl Takes on Jon Stewart

Earlier this week on “World News with Diane Sawyer” Jon Karl tried the creative tactic of using 100,000 pennies to illustrate the breakdown of the nation’s budget.  Last night, The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart took a shot at Karl and the team at “World News” on his program.

“That doesn’t help us at all,” cracked Stewart of the penny tactic.

Today Karl and Rick Klein fired back on ABC News’ Top Line. Klein specifically takes a stab at Stewart. Key word: tries.

Worth a watch here.

The FishbowlDC Interview with Al Jazeera English’s Josh Rushing, a Former U.S. Marine


Say hello to Al Jazeera English’s Josh Rushing.  He hosts Al Jazeera English’s Fault Lines, an award‐winning show on the Americas. His reporting spans the criminalization of the mentally ill in the U.S. and President Obama’s “surge” approach in Afghanistan, to more recently, a marijuana farmer with seriously big-ass plants that would blow your mind. In June 2007, he released his first book, Mission Al Jazeera: Build a Bridge, Seek the Truth, Change the World. A 15‐year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, he was in the doc Control Room, which depicted his struggles as the U.S. military’s lead spokesperson to the Arab world during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Rushing has a weird phobia. It has to do with “too many people on a floor,” like at a dance club. “I get really freaked out if I think there are too many people on it.” He has no qualms, however, about war zones, public speaking and going on TV. He describes war as “an addiction,” but is glad to no longer be in the military. “I like being in an organization where everyone is dedicated to a single mission,” he says. “The problem in the military is, you don’t get to pick your mission.”

If you were a carbonated beverage which would you be? Clearly some kind of beer. On special, and draft.

How often do you Google yourself? Doesn’t everyone have a Google alert these days?

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor (or vice versa)? Saying “no” to the director of Al Jazeera English who wanted me to film something. It was something kind of contrived and I just wasn’t comfortable with it. He has moved on to another part of the company – probably not far enough that he won’t call me after he sees my interview.

Who is your favorite working journalist? David Grann. he did a great piece on  guy who was killed on Texas Death Row.

Do you have a favorite word? I don’t in fact have a favorite word.

Who would you rather have dinner with – First Lady Michelle Obama or Bestselling Author and former V.P. candidate Sarah Palin? Michelle Obama. I find Sarah Palin annoying. She just seems so self aware to the point that it creates a disingenuous quality to the point of being egocentric. All her little catch phrases are annoying. God, that would horrible. Sorry for the rant, deep into a moment about Sarah Palin.

What’s the name of your cell phone ring? Whatever the IT guy gives me. I’m constantly breaking my BlackBerrys for whatever reason.  When I got out of a car it fell into a puddle, a deep puddle. It could have happened to anyone. There happened to be a puddle right outside my car door. Just don’t tell the IT guy that!

When did you last cry and why? I didn’t cry for a long time. I went to the doctor recently and found out I had dry eye. The last time I was in an interview with a father who watched his son get executed on death row. When he broke down,I cried, my cameraman cried. It was pretty hard not to.  On a flight to Seattle, I cried wildly. The flight attendant had to check on me. I had just broken my foot, was loaded on Vicacdin and headed to Seattle on a book tour. I was watching a movie, “Away from Her.” I was crying in the first act. I think I was scaring people on the plane.

What swear word do you use most often? Clearly fuck.

What word or phrase do you overuse? Clearly fuck. For sure. Particularly when you have little kids. I have three under four and one in college. I’m trying to stop saying that.

What TV show do you have to watch? If I had to watch one, “Mad Men” is one of my favorite shows. Or Texas Longhorns football.

Read more

The Most Powerful People in TV News

Roger Ailes 2010.jpg

TVWeek has released their “10 Most Powerful in TV News” list today. Who else but Fox News President Roger Ailes (who has long been called the “most powerful name” in news) tops the list. For as much as cable and national news channels squabble amongst themselves, all vying to be on top, they’ve all landed somewhere on this list.

Some numbers have more than one correspondent underneath. For instance, number 10 is soon-to-be ABC “This Week” host Christiane Amanpour and CNN’s Candy Crowley.


2. Steve Capus, NBC News; Phil Griffin, president, MSNBC
3. Jom Klein, president, CNN/U.S.
4. Sean McManus, president, CBS
5. Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart
6. David Westin, ABC News
7. FNC’s Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck
8. Barbara Walters and the Women of “The View”

Read the full story here.

Beck Gifts Norquist his Infamous Blackboard

Washington Examiner’s Yeas & Nays gives us this gem of a detail today about FNC’s Glenn Beck’s blackboard (recently ridiculed by The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart). Beck gave the blackboard to Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

Um, thanks?

Read the full story here.