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Posts Tagged ‘Sean Hannity’

Does Media Matter’s Fever Pitch on Megyn Kelly Play Into Fox’s Hands?

Fox News’ Megyn Kelly is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, according to Media Matters For America’s John Whitehouse. That might just be what Fox News Channel execs were hoping to hear.

“But the new face of Fox News primetime, Megyn Kelly, is a much more pernicious purveyor of political propaganda. Kelly has the unique ability to pluck misinformation and imbue it with a veneer of legitimacy that Sean Hannity has long since lost, if he ever had it at all.”

To be clear, we’re still just talking about rumors floated by The Drudge Report that Kelly might take over Sean Hannity‘s 9 p.m. slot on the network. No one has confirmed this, but as Whitehouse notes, key players haven’t denied it. Speculation about Kelly’s future on the network has been brewing for some time.

It’s an old PR trick to leak big news like this to gauge public reaction ahead of an official decision, so this kind of foaming at the mouth might actually be exactly what Fox was looking for. (So way to go Whitehouse! Aren’t you supposed to be pissing these people off?) The network thrives not just on a riled up base, but also on a riled up opposition who, through wall-to-wall coverage of every move they make gives them a measure of legitimacy (much the same way MSNBC benefits from similar watchdogs on the right).

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Afternoon Reading List 07.11.13.

Why MSNBC’s ratings suck — MSNBC has been the subject of news rather than just a broadcaster of it lately, due to its sharp decline in ratings in the first half of 2013. National Journal’s Matthew Cooper examines why the network has been grasping for air and ratings and why they keep slipping away. To start with, the second quarter of 2013 was full of breaking news — the Boston Marathon bombings, Cleveland kidnappings and the Oklahoma tornadoes. Known as “The Place for Politics,” MSNBC was struggling to keep up with CNN, known as the place for breaking news, and the network’s ratings dropped 10 percent.. And with Jeff Zucker at the helm, CNN looks like it will continue to draw more viewers. MSNBC’s evening line-up, according to industry insiders, has become too sophisticated for their audience, as well as completely lacking in diversity. On Fox News, Sean Hannity, Greta Van Susteren and Bill O’Reilly are, while all conservative, very different. Some right-wingers are saying the network is falling apart or collapsing, but Cooper suggests it’s just in a vulnerable place at the moment.

Why you should read it: MSNBC’s struggles this summer have been making headlines, and Cooper offers insight into why the network’s ratings have plummeted.

Another fishy list of journalists — A year after the infamous JournoList was shut down (hello Dave Weigel and Ezzy Klein!), a new secret discussion forum made up of political journalists came into being. No, they’re not conspiring to create talking points for their political parties. In fact, they’re completely bipartisan and never discuss politics. The common thread holding them together is their undying and unquenchable love for the band Phish. As TNR’s Marc Tracy reports, the forum began two years ago by Bloomberg TV’s Jake Beckman after he noticed references to the band by political journalist Phishheads on Twitter. Called “Journophish,” its now made up of about two dozen political journalists—and only journalists, no political operators, press secretaries, etc. The group chats about upcoming shows, trades tickets and shares songs and Phish trivia. Some of the list includes National Review’s Robert Costa, Politico’s Jake Sherman (of course), CNN’s Stephanie Gallman, social media folks at MSNBC and The Daily Beast, along with a few others. In addition to his own application to be included in “Journophish” Tracy manages to slip in a “This Town” reference.

Why you should read it: Phishheads are relentless in their efforts to find other Phishheads, and this is quite an entertaining look something that some political journalists probably spend way too much time doing.

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Howard Kurtz Has History of Ripping Fox News

How awkward.

As first reported by Mediaite, CNN’s Howard Kurtz is jumping ship and landing on the Good Ship Fox News. Good for him, right? Especially after being canned by Newsweek/The Daily Beast. But what about all those times he’s crapped on FNC over the years? Water under the bridge?

Personally, we can’t wait to hear Kurtz use the “fair and balanced” catch phrase. But first, a little look-see at what Kurtz has said about his new home.

Take Nov. 28, 2012, when Kurtz wrote that “Fox should have let Rick speak” on CNN.com. This was a story about veteran military reporter Thomas Ricks, who went on Fox News and trashed the network for its Benghazi coverage. They cut him off. The segment ended 90 seconds after it began. Kurtz wrote, “Some of those who love to dish it out, it seems, aren’t very big on taking it.”

He went to say this behavior is not limited to Fox News, but conveyed that Fox News was wrong. “Was Ricks being deliberately provocative?” wrote Kurtz. “Perhaps he was, for controversy sells books. And maybe his criticism was overstated. But the fact remains that he was invited as a guest, was asked about the Libya attack and responded in a way that made Fox’s relentless coverage of the controversy part of the story. And that was deemed unacceptable.”

In late March of this year, he did a segment on Zev Chafets‘ book on Fox News President Roger Ailes. “Roger Ailes has built a powerhouse organization — no question about it. But it is probably the most controversial news organization on the air.” He showed a clip of Ailes saying there are no conservative voices on other networks. Howie opined, “That’s not quite true.” Kurtz pressed Chafets hard on the fact that it wasn’t an “authorized biography.” He asked him to name “one critical thing that troubles him ” about Ailes. He couldn’t. “Nothing troubles me,” said Chafets.

He’s also not likely to become bosom buddies with new colleague Sean Hannity anytime soon. Read more

Playboy to Feature Sean Hannity

Playboy‘s publicity department says he’s fully dressed, but we’re not convinced considering these pictures depict Fox News’ Sean Hannity from his gut up. Who knows what’s going on under the table?

In all seriousness, the mag is featuring Hannity in its July/August issue. It hits newsstands Friday. “Per usual, Sean is feisty and opinionated, and discusses everything from ‘radical’ Obama, gun control, and the climate change ‘crock,’ to his personal life and philosophies,” said publicist Theresa Hennessey.

Contributing Editor David Hochman conducted the interview.

The Highlights:

Not surprising — “Obama is not managing the country well. … Obama is in a constant state of combativeness.”

Fueling the birther fire — On whether or not he regrets saying that Obama grew up in Kenya: “But he did grow up in Kenya, and he told The New York Times that he went to a school there and one of the most beautiful things on the planet is Islamic prayer at sunset.”

Forgetting his facts — On fueling the myth that Obama is a Muslim from Africa: “I never fueled the myth. How do you come up with this stuff? He did go to a Muslim school. He writes about it in his book. He went to a Muslim school in Indonesia, or wherever it was, Kenya. I forget. Now you’ve got me. I think it was Indonesia. I’m trying to remember his biography. It’s going back so long. He admits he went to a Muslim school. It’s on his audiobook, if you want a tape of it—you can hear him say it himself.”

Red meat for fair and balanced FNC viewers — On gun control: “Our framers and our founders were very clear on the issue of the Second Amendment, and they weren’t talking about deer hunting.”

Down with Kim Kardashian — “There are too many people what care too much about Honey Boo Boo and the Kardashians or whomever. I’ve met Kim, and she’s nice, but honestly there’s too much of a celebrity culture. I wish people cared more about the budget being balanced, about national defense, security, rise of radical Islamists, immigration—things that I think are really going to matter and impact everybody’s lives.”

A childhood troublemaker — “I don’t know how far I want to go with my honesty here, but I was taken home by the cops in the first grade for hanging on the back of cars in the wintertime. I’d get in trouble for sneaking out of the house late at night to have snowball fights. And I started smoking at a young age.”

The closest he gets to discussing sex — “Based on the Playboy definition, it’s probably the G-rated version. I used to go to all the clubs when I was young and 17 in New York. Then I worked in a couple of places as a bartender. I wasn’t Tom Cruise in Cocktail or anything, but I was pretty fast, and we made great daiquiris and piña coladas. I went through a period when I did okay in terms of dating. I was a skinny little kid, though. That was about it.”

More from the Hannity interview..In short: He hates Bill Maher with a passion. He prefers Megan Fox over Kate Upton.

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FishbowlDC Interview With Paul Brandus

Say hello to Paul Brandus who writes West Wing Reports and a column for The Week. He’s an independent White House Correspondent who writes a blog and has a Twitter account in which he doesn’t use his name. How come he goes nameless? “Here’s a question for you,” begins his standard refrain about it. “Name the CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN & Fox reporters at the White House 10 years ago. How about five years ago? This may come as a disappointment to many folks in this egocentric town, but most people can’t remember the names. And that’s at the most visible beat in Washington. Names fade quickly. But brand names have enduring market value. People have no idea who I am personally. I’d prefer they know my brands, one of which is West Wing Reports. Brands can be licensed, flipped, monetized in more enduring ways.” Even so, let’s get to know the man behind the brand, shall we? Brandus was a foreign correspondent in Moscow for five years. He worked for the U.S. Embassy, eventually NBC and NPR and did some magazine work. While in Moscow, he bought the broadcast rights to the Super Bowl from the NFL. He later worked at MSNBC and Fox — he says the concept of this makes people’s heads explode. “I helped launch MSNBC back in 1996,” Brandus explains. “Worked for Steve Capus, who went on to become President of NBC News. Good man. I was a writer, but apparently too good of a writer because they put me in charge of editing all the other writers. That’s where I learned the 80/20 rule: 20 percent of your people will cause 80 percent of your problems. At Fox News, I was a senior prime time producer in New York, working on news cut ins every half hour. If the you-know-what hit the fan, we had to run into the control room across the hall and break into Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity & Alan Colmes. Great fun.” Brandus worked on Wall Street for several years, cashed out and started another media company, his own. In 2011 he became a columnist for The Week. He moderates conferences for them on energy and cybersecurity. He also works with a Northern Virginia venture capital firm. Brandus won’t be found on the Washington cocktail circuit. Instead, he spends his weekends with his 18-month-old daughter or family horses in Fairfax County.

Now let’s proceed to the really important stuff.

If you were a carbonated beverage which would you be? Cherry Coke Zero

How often do you Google yourself? Once or twice a year.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor (or vice versa)? My old boss, Jim Farley, who hired me twice – first at NBC years ago and later at WTOP – taught me WGAS: “Who gives a shit?” It has universal applications today and I’ve used it to great effect in various times and places. WGAS is also text-friendly.

Who is your favorite working journalist and why? Anyone who understands it’s not about them. Anyone who eschews the limelight and simply focuses on finding things out, communicating about it well and not pretending to be an expert or feeling compelled to have an opinion on everything.

Who is your favorite White House reporter and why? The wire service folks are usually the best. Not flashy, just solid, nose-to-the-grindstone types day in and day out. I really admire them.

Do you have a favorite word? “Dada.” Uttered by a certain 17-month old little girl.

What word or phrase do you overuse? “Dumb ass.” Use it a lot.

Who would you rather have dinner with – CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, CNN’s John King or CNN’s Piers Morgan. Tell us why. I think John King is an honest, hard-working, straight shooter guy. You know what I like about him? He made a mistake during the Boston coverage and dealt with it in a transparent, humble and honest way. People err – and it’s how they deal with it – for better or worse – that I remember. I tend to get along well with people like that.

What is the most interesting conversation you’ve had in awhile in the course of your work and who was it with? If I hadn’t hung up on Ronald Reagan in 1990, it might have been the time when, on a dare, I called him at home in 1990. This was a year after he left the White House. The Reagans were living in Bel Air and I never thought he would answer the phone himself. But I heard that famous voice: “Hello?” on the other end, freaked out and hung up. To use my favorite word, I was such a dumb ass. So I guess the answer would be the time I downed vodka shots with Boris Yeltsin at a Fourth of July party at Spaso House, the home of the U.S. Ambassador to Russia. I was lurking by the bar when he came over and we wound up downing a few and chatting. That’s what you do in Russia. Drink. Talk. Drink some more.

Tell us a funny story from the White House Briefing Room. Can be long or short. There used to be a guy named Lester Kinsolving, who used to show up in the briefing every day. Haven’t seen him in many months. He used to ask the most bizarre, completely out of left field questions imaginable on completely obscure, irrelevant matters. Bush’s flacks and now Obama’s used to call on him as a diversion. And, in this digital age, he used to carry a giant cassette recorder around with him like it was 1983 or something. Not picking on Lester, he is a nice guy. Hope he’s OK.

Without naming names, tell us some shitty thing that happened in the course of you covering the White House… Read more

CNN Shutting Down Martin’s ‘Funk’ in Final Days?

The TV world can be so cold. When you’re out, you’re out. And sometimes sooner than you might expect.

There are 17 days left on Roland Martin‘s CNN contract. But the powers that be appear to be shutting it down early. With his contract ending April 6, some producers have been informed not to book him, FishbowlDC has learned. We knew something was awry when we noticed Martin hadn’t tweeted his usual #bringthefunk alert on Twitter that he’d be appearing on Erin Burnette’s “Out Front,” which he hasn’t done in a month. On Wednesday he tweeted that he did Canadian TV. The Canadians can find time to bring Martin’s funk, but not CNN?

Let’s get this straight. That semi-usual appearance he had on Thursdays during Carol Costello‘s slot? Gone. It’s been three weeks since he appeared on her program and months since he appeared on “The Situation Room.” He was also non-existent during CNN Inauguration coverage in January. A final appearance on his close friend, Soledad O’Brien‘s program, which ends next week? That appears to be a dead end proposition, too.

Martin’s fierce Twittering following is not pleased. “I’m certainly going to miss you on CNN,” wrote Pasadena, Calif. resident Carolee Reed. “I cant believe that the two people who always kept it real are leaving.” (Person number two being O’Brien, she explains.) Ebony Shamberger, a UNC J-School student, was dumfounded. “Leaving CNN on April 6 — what?” she wrote in response to Reed.

Martin isn’t the only one being given the shaft. Read more

POTUS Gets a Pass In ‘Scandal’

On ABC’s political drama “Scandal” this week, we’re treated to the almost-full return of Fitzgerald Grant as commander in chief. Previously, an attempted assassination had left Grant hospitalized with a concussion.

In this episode, the problem arises when Grant prematurely steps back into the Oval Office, still suffering difficulties with his motor functions. Nonetheless, he holds a presser in which he plans to answer questions. He thinks it’s the best way to go despite the protests of his mistress and crisis public relations aide Olivia Pope.

But when a reporter asks if there is any sign of PTSD or any other health-related problems that will impair his judgement as president, Grant takes a long pause and gulps his water. What followed was a harrowing monologue on how “weakness is our strength.”

Here’s how that would play out in real life

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Morning Chatter

Quotes of the Day

INSOMNIA AT A GLANCE: “Nights when I’m up against my will worrying about everything affecting everyone I love are dumb and pointless, but I get to see this. It’s nice.”Laurie White, writer, photographer, blogger, with accompanying photograph.

AnonymASS Tipster of the Day

Anonymous: “Why does nobody look into the affair between BLANK and BLANK?” Memo to ASS: Why do frogs ribbet? Because you have no proof whatsoever, AnonymASS. Or if you do, you haven’t given it to us. It also sounds like you have a personal stake in this, which, frankly makes me nervous.

Oh no! Is Gene Weingarten radioactive?

“If any of you wants to melt some gold down for quick cash, my body appears to be at 230 degrees celsius right now.” — WaPo‘s Gene Weingarten, who clearly missed his flu shot. God speed, Gene! I have FBDC and Current TV’s Peter Ogburn praying for you all day long.

Speaking of Ogburn…is he bringing sexy back?

“@BPShow Are you guys still live on Current? I can’t seem to get you. I want to feast my eyes on @peterogburn’s smexxy bod-eh. ♥‿♥” — Unknown. Twitter account no longer exists. And the answer? Yes, “Full Court Press” is still on the air for another few months.

Incest Desk: Isn’t this lovely? 

“Wishing my friend @seanhannity and his lovely wife Jill a very happy 20th anniversary.” — House Maj. Leader Eric Cantor to his good buddy, FNC’s Sean Hannity. Last time we checked, Hallmark is still in business and stamps are still available. If all that fails, there’s always email. But Twitter?

Congrats to…Olivia Alair, who has joined SKDKinckerbocker as a V.P. Reporters on the trail know her as the campaign press secretary to first lady Michelle Obama. She joins the communications firm from the trail, where she coordinated the first lady’s national communications strategy. Previously, Alair was press secretary for Dept. of Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood. She began her career as a press aide to then-Sen. Joe Biden. Also joining the firm is Nina Jenkins as a senior associate. She spent two years as a member of the research department for the Obama campaign.

HuffPost employee irked by press room in “The West Wing”… Read more

Ask Piranhamous Anything

Today we have another installment of: “Ask Piranhamous Anything.” And we do mean anything. Send your queries to FishbowlDC@mediabistro.com. This isn’t an advice column — Piranhamous doesn’t know what the hell you should do with your life any more than you do — and worse, he doesn’t care. Try to keep your questions short — we want to keep this fun, simple and insightful.

1. Which journo would you most want to spend the holidays with?

Dear God, do I have to? I’m fairly certain Hell would be filled with more cheer. But since I’m obligated to answer, I’ll put it to you this way – depends on the holiday.

Hanukkah – Chris Hayes, Ezra Klein, Dave Weigel and the rest of the Boy Banders. Some are Jewish, some aren’t, but that doesn’t matter because I’d imagine it would be an 8-day bender. Come to think of it, any 8-day stretch with them is probably a bender, and it would be a lot like hanging out at a hipster bar after all the hipsters moved on because the wannabes started outnumbering them. And I value my IQ points too much to emerge myself in that much MSNBC so I’ll just limit it to one MSNBCer and revise my remarks to Al Sharpton. This may seem like an odd choice but I think picking up all the remarks he mutters under his breath each of the 8-days would be amusing.

Christmas – Bill O’Reilly. Aside from the embarrassing gang on Fox & Friends, no one has done more to defend Christmas from idiots who seem only to engage in their “War on Christmas” to get publicity for their fringe group no one has ever heard of before or will hear from again than Bill. And I imagine the whole day will be spent tackling anyone who tries to TP a pine tree since he never stops.

Kwanza – Lawrence O’Donnell and Ed Schultz. Why would I pick the two whitest men on the planet next to Sean Hannity to spend a little-known, radical separatist black holiday with?  Because I think they’d try to celebrate it to prove they’re multi-cultural and would have no idea how to do it. Can you imagine anything more amusing than watching them trying on Dashikis and trying to mean it? I can’t.

Boxing Day – Howie Kurtz: For no particular reason.

Or course this is all moot, or at least most of it, since the world is ending on Dec. 21st. So I’d just like to say thank you to the Mayans for saving me from this Hell.

2. Do you have high hopes that Jeff Zucker will really shake things up at CNN? 

Am I supposed to? I don’t have high hopes that the guy who sucked up NBC and re-unleashed Katie Couric on the world will be able to patch the hole in that Titanic. He’d have a better shot, and I’d probably actually care, if he were one of the Zuckers who brought us the movie “Airplane!” But he’s not, so I don’t.

Read about reporters sleeping with their sources… Read more

ABC’s Scandal Portrays Voter Fraud As Fox News Wishes It Were: Vast, Consequential

If you could visualize the moist dream of several FNC anchors it would look a lot like last night’s episode of ABC’s political drama Scandal.

In the episode, a news reporter comes out of retirement and quickly learns that the sitting president won his election through a vast voter fraud conspiracy in swing-state Ohio.

How it happens in the drama: James, husband to White House Chief of Staff Cyrus Beene, receives a tip from the U.S. Attorney’s office that voting machines in a crucial Ohio county may have been rigged to swing the presidential election. James flies to the appropriately named Defiance County, Ohio, to investigate. He learns that indeed the memory cards in the machines had been tampered with by oil tycoon Hollis Doyle. Doyle needed the president’s victory as a way to secure approval for a pipeline to be built through the middle of the country.

Here’s how this would actually happen in real life and it involves Sean Hannity… Read more

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