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Posts Tagged ‘Phil Griffin’

Philly Inquirer Goes Easy on Matthews

Sure, it’s his hometown paper.

But did the Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Bob Fernandez have to make things so cushy for MSNBC’s Chris Matthews in a profile (of sorts) today? The moments of so-called tension are expected: A Sarah Palin trip to Israel is “phony baloney.” Family gatherings with his Republican brother, Jim Matthews, who ran for the state’s lieutenant governor in 2006, are charged. “It’s a huge crowd,” Matthews tells the Inquirer of family Christmases in Lower Gwynedd. “It keeps the cousins together. Some of the cousins.”

More business story than fluffy feature, the peg is that Matthews is now an employee for the “rebooted” Comcast Corp.

An excerpt: “We are now working for a company that’s selling our content to the home,” said Matthews, an often-repeated view at NBC. “They can help us. Before, we were working for a company that manufactured aircraft engines and lightbulbs.” That is not to say there is not some apprehension. “It’s very business-oriented,” Matthews later observed confidentially. “These guys, I understand, are very IBM-ish.”

MSNBC President Phil Griffin claims “Fox is now in our vision, and there are a couple of hours where it’s getting close.” The story says CNN did not return a phone call about ratings.

It’s unclear what Matthews means entirely when discussing potentially (as in never) going head to head with CNN’s former host Larry King. “Larry [King] is the only one who would have beat me. And he’s gone. I don’t think of myself in that way anyway,” he tells the newspaper after they call him “youthful” for his 65 years and declare him one of the “longest-serving” cable hosts. “I’m so energized.”

The genuinely interesting part of this story? This photograph…of Matthews as a boy with his dog. The year is 1957. Matthews is 11 years old.

Olbermann Suspension Lifted

That was fast. In a statement sent by NBC’s Jeremy Gaines, MSNBC President Phil Griffin declares “Countdown” Host Keith Olbermann‘s suspension over.

The release:


From Phil Griffin, President of MSNBC:

After several days of deliberation and discussion, I have determined that suspending Keith through and including Monday night’s program is an appropriate punishment for his violation of our policy. We look forward to having him back on the air Tuesday night.

Inside the Mindset of MSNBC Branding

So just how does MSNBC get its branding ideas? We have stockpiled the following bits of evidence of how the network’s mindset works.

1. Howard Kurtz from WaPo Monday: “MSNBC has a new slogan — “Lean Forward” — that has skeptics wondering what the network of Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow is trying to say.  “A rather halfhearted attempt by MSNBC to gloss its same-old lefty line with a coat of empty post-ideological babble,” Daniel Foster writes on National Review Online.   Nonsense, says MSNBC President Phil Griffin, recalling that he got the idea watching Bryant Gumbel lean forward in his chair.” Full story here.

Sound familiar? Here’s why…

2. New York Magazine last week: “One afternoon in January 2007, Griffin was in NBC News’s Washington bureau when Tim Russert called him into his office. “Griff, you’re gonna have the greatest election of our lifetime, “ Russert told him. “This is going to be fantastic. Own it.”  The previous fall, Griffin debuted a new tagline — “The Place for Politics” — a phrase Russert had happened to say on the air.” Full story here.

By the way… speaking of getting ideas this way, remember how Morning Joe’s Joe Scarborough was hired?

3. St. Pete Times reported in 2003: “Scarborough remembered his response last year when MSNBC’s Griffin – jazzed by Scarborough’s appearance as a guest on “Hardball” and aware of his work as a guest host on “Crossfire” and “Hannity and Colmes” – asked if he wanted his own show.” Full story here.

Lawrence O Goes Full-Time on MSNBC With His Own Show

<img alt="lawrence-odonnell-1-sized.jpg" src="/fishbowlDC/files/original/lawrence-odonnell-1-sized.jpg" width="242" class="alignright" hspace="3" vspace="3"/ Lawrence O’Donnell will host a new weeknight primetime hour on MSNBC, the network’s President Phil Griffin has announced. O’Donnell will begin immediately planning for a new 10 p.m. (EST) show.

O’Donnell has been working part-time for the network since MSNBC launched in 1996. He’s well known for being an Emmy-award winning producer and writer for NBC’s “The West Wing.”

Olbermann’s Potential Veto Seating Power at WHCA

kid-boys-fighting.jpg The White House Correspondents’ Dinner could potentially get really uncomfortable next weekend at the MSNBC tables, particularly if hosts Keith Olbermann and Donny Deutsch are in the mix of guests and stars.

Olbermann showed up to WHCA’s dinner last year — will he come again this year? Media insiders want to know: Will Griffin split the pair up, or will Olbermann refuse to sit with Deutsch if he attends? And who decides the seating chart? “Is Olbermann controlling the strings?” a media rep asked.

This week we’re compiling an Awkward Seating Chart for media folks around town. If you have input on potentially uncomfortable pairings, tell us about it. E-mail us at

Deutsch is off the air this week, at least in part, we’re hearing, because Olbermann was furious about Deutsch floating a photograph of him while speaking of the Tea Partiers and “America the Angry.” President Phil Griffin was also reportedly angry and said as much to Deutsch and his producer, Gresham Striegel, who’s also off for the rest of the week.

Deutsch Creating Bad Blood at MSNBC

donny_deutsch1_1.jpg We’re hearing that Donny Deutsch is on rocky terms this week with MSNBC because he put up Host Keith Olbermann‘s face when talking about the Tea Party Movement (which recently protested in D.C.) and “America the Angry” on his show Tuesday. Deutsch has been anchoring the 3 p.m. hour for this week, but will not host the show for the rest of the week due to a personal issue.

Last night, Olbermann allegedly expressed anger about Deutsch as well as the producers of the show.

MSNBC President Phil Griffin was not happy about Deutsch’s behavior on the show and spoke with him and the producer about it. It is uncertain at this point whether the temporary host will return when his personal matter clears up.

Some may recall that “Morning Joe” Host Mika Brzezinski has also been uncomfortable with Deutsch at times. He fairly recently bought her expensive Christian Loubouton shoes to make up for what she called his “rudeness” on the air. She appeared to have forgiven him.

See also TVNewser’s item on Deutsch and watch a clip of what he said on air.

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.

Cosby’s “About Our Children” Airs on MSNBC Last Night from Howard University

Bill Cosby was in town this weekend– spotted by Politico having dinner with Chris Matthews at Tosca Saturday– for a special event “About Our Children,” which aired on MSNBC last evening from Howard University.

NPR’s and frequent MSNBC guest Michelle Bernard moderated the panel, which included Harvard professor Dr. Alvin Poussaint, NAACP President Ben Jealous, author Terrie Williams, and American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten.

Chris and Kathleen Matthews, MSNBC’s Phil Griffin and NBC Washington bureau chief Mark Whitaker, as well as Austan Goolsbee, were in attendance.

More RTCA Dets: CBS Pre-Parties, Maddow Guest Bartends At MSNBC After-Party, Gibbs To Play MC Rove

Ok, we’re kidding about Robert Gibbs playing this year’s MC Rove, but we have learned of a few more legitimate details to share with you about tomorrow evening’s RTCA dinner…

• CBS News is hosting a pre-party on the second floor of the convention center. There will be a live band and expected CBS guests include RNC Chairman Michael Steele, WH Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, also CBS-ers Lara Logan, Chip Reid and Nancy Cordes, among others.

• Those sitting at the dinner’s head table include President Obama and his Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, Congressional leaders Steny Hoyer, James Clyburn and Louise Slaughter. RTCA dinner chair Heather Dahl will emcee the night and there are, of course, two awards given at this dinner- the David Bloom and Joan Barone Awards.

• If you were lucky enough to score an “absolutely non-transferable” invitation to Phil Griffin‘s MSNBC after-party at the Historical Society of Washington, you might also be lucky enough to get served a drink by guest bartender Rachel Maddow. We hear she’ll be mixing drinks at a special upstairs bar. You can also get a preview of her bartending skills after the jump.

• And just who’s on the guest list for this exclusive after-party? We hear David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett, Sen. Susan Collins, Eric Holder, Larry Summers, Rep. Aaron Schock and Ken Salazar- all guests of NBC and MSNBC- may make appearances post-dinner.

And NBC and MSNBC-ers Steve Capus, Mark Whitaker, Contessa Brewer, Mika Brzezinski, Savannah Guthrie, Willie Geist, Tamron Hall, Chris Matthews, Andrea Mitchell, Luke Russert, Joe Scarborough, Ed Schultz, Carlos Watson, Chuck Todd and more.

• While we’re sure NBC snagged plenty of tables for that guest list above, a few other shops in town have really cut back. Tammy Haddad‘s blog White House Correspondents Weekend Insider reports PBS is down to two tables (from 15 in years past) and ABC News just one. PBS was still able to land Gen. Jim Jones as a guest- he’ll be sitting with Judy Woodruff and PBS President CEO Paula Kerger. George Stephanopoulos can’t make it so Jonathan Karl will hold court at RTCA for ABC.

• Didn’t score a ticket, but dying to hear what jokes the other guy from the Mac commercials cracks? Don’t worry- C-SPAN will have live coverage.

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Morning Reading List 03.30.09

Good Morning FishbowlDC!

Got a blind item, interesting link, funny note, comment, birthday, anniversary or anything of the sort for Morning Reading List? Drop us a line.

Its day 70 covering the Obama administration and week nine for us. What we know and what we’re reading this Monday morning…



Newser: The NYT, as we know it, has been disappearing for some time. It may — diminishing as though by half-lives — have degraded to the point where, in any practical sense, it has long since ceased to be the leading voice in either journalism or the establishment. Vanity Fair: The NYT and 57-year-old Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. are at the edge of a precipice.

Slate’s Jack Shafer says its time to kill the idea that newspapers are essential to democracy: “I so love daily newspapers that I subscribe to four of them out of my own pocket, so please don’t lump me in with the haters. But I can imagine citizens acquiring sufficient information to vote or poke their legislators with pitchforks even if all the newspapers in the country died tomorrow.”

Does President Obama hate our important newspapers?


The Daily Beast bring us the “Top 6 Moments from Sunday Talk.” It was a big week- President Obama was a guest on Face the Nation, Secretary Timothy Geithner was on Meet the Press and This Week, and Secretary Robert Gates was on Fox News Sunday.

Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren ripped Politico on her blog for alleging she advises Gov. Sarah Palin, calling it “silly.” Find the Politico piece here.

Howard Kurtz: With Fox Nation, an opinionated HuffPo-like Web site that launches this morning, Fox News is hoping to leverage its brand online. “We felt that giving people a real destination to go and express themselves would give them a feeling of belonging,” says SVP Joel Cheatwood.

AP: CNN is poised to finish March third in the prime-time weeknight ratings behind Fox News Channel and MSNBC, the first time this has ever happened for the channel that pioneered the cable news genre nearly three decades ago. TVNewser: CNN’s Jon Klein / MSNBC’s Phil Griffin verbal battle as CNN cedes second place in prime to MSNBC.

CBS Early Show launches Backstage Live.

This Wednesday is NBC4′s Miguel Almaguer last day before becoming a national NBC network correspondent. He tells DCRTV: “When I came here, I wanted to be in the heart of the nation’s country…I’ve had the ability to cover some of everything — whether it’s government, local politics, crime. There’s a little bit of everything that the Washington area offers to a reporter, and that has been a great thing to experience over the last three years.”

In memoriam: Susan Myers, ABC News.


NPR is considering a pledge drive to assist a projected $8 million budget deficit.


HuffPost has launched a non-profit investigative journalism venture, bankrolling a group of investigative journalists and directing them at first to look at stories about the nation’s economy. The site is collaborating with The Atlantic Philanthropies and other donors to launch the Huffington Post Investigative Fund with an initial budget of $1.75 million.

A Gridiron Dinner for bloggers?


NYT: Obama Brings Flush Times for Black News Media. “For the nation’s black magazines, newspapers, and television and radio stations, the arrival of the Obama administration has ushered in an era of unprecedented access to the White House.”

Variety: Obama reaches out beyond DC, View of President different outside of bubble.

HAT TIPS: Mediabistro; Romenesko, Playbook

JOBS after the jump.

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