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Wednesday, Dec 05

Morning Media Newsfeed 12.05.12

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Fox News Puts Karl Rove on the Bench (New York / Daily Intel)
Fox News chief Roger Ailes, a canny marketer and protector of his network's brand, has been taking steps since November to reposition Fox in the post-election media environment, freshening story lines -- and in some cases, changing the characters. According to multiple Fox sources, Ailes has issued a new directive to his staff: He wants the faces associated with the election off the air -- for now. HuffPost New York magazine reports that Ailes is limiting Rove and fellow contributor Dick Morris' presences for the time being. A Fox News representative affirmed the situation to New York, adding that programming chief Bill Shine conveyed "the election's over." Rove turned heads with an election-night meltdown on Fox News, where he questioned the network's "premature" decision to call Ohio and, subsequently, the race for President Barack Obama. UPI Morris is routinely subjected to ridicule on left-wing blogs for making political predictions that turn out to be wrong -- and the magazine report said Morris is even ridiculed within Fox News itself. Citing a source, the report said Fox anchor Megyn Kelly chuckled as she told colleagues someone had told her: "I really like Dick Morris. He's always wrong but he makes me feel good." Slate / The Slatest Both men have other platforms, however -- The Hill for Morris; The Wall Street Journal for Rove -- so don't expect either man to go completely radio dark. Still, their Fox News benching brings an unexpected (albeit small) dose of accountability to a profession that is normally remarkably devoid of it.

MSNBC Hosts, 'Influential Progressives,' Visit the White House for Economic Intel (TVNewser)
A number of MSNBC hosts, including Rachel Maddow, Al Sharpton, Lawrence O'Donnell and Ed Schultz, visited the White House Tuesday to meet with President Obama. The meeting was not for an interview (though it wouldn't hurt to ask!) but rather to get briefed on the message the president wants to push as far as his tax plan goes. Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington also joined in. BuzzFeed White House principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest released the following statement on the meeting: "This afternoon at the White House, the president met with influential progressives to talk about the importance of preventing a tax increase on middle class families, strengthening our economy and adopting a balanced approach to deficit reduction." Politico / Politico 44 The Obama administration conducts regular briefings of reporters from different media markets, but this did not immediately appear like such a briefing. According to White House visitor records, O'Donnell, for example, has not attended such briefings before. HuffPost Ironically, the president said in a Bloomberg TV interview earlier Tuesday that he doesn't pay much attention to what people say on cable news. During the interview, he was asked about Republican attacks on U.N. ambassador Susan Rice -- many of which have been on cable news programs -- and whether he feels boxed into a corner about potentially nominating her as secretary of state. "You know, I don't really spend a lot of time on, you know, what folks say on cable news programs," Obama replied. The Blaze If MSNBC president Phil Griffin really does want to shake the network's pro-Obama image, having its most recognizable figures visit the White House to discuss President Obama's tax proposals isn't exactly a great start. Mediaite In recent months, MSNBC has been accused of having too close of ties with the Democratic Party. One Pew survey found that in the weeks leading up to the election, the network gave exceedingly negative coverage to the president's opponent Mitt Romney, in stark contrast to overwhelmingly positive reporting on the president.

New York Post Cover Sparks Outrage (FishbowlNY)
The New York Post's front page Tuesday morning is catching a lot of criticism. The picture was captured by freelance photographer R. Umar Abbasi, as he happened to see 58-year-old Queens resident Ki Suk Han be pushed onto the Q train tracks at the 49th street station. Suk Han was hit by the train, and later pronounced dead at the hospital. Slate / Behold Though the paper is infamous for its love of wild front pages, this horrific photo of a person in the last moments of his life transcends base sensationalism (though it is also that) and enters somewhat the controversial realm of tragedy photography -- images of war and atrocity, disease and death; frozen slices of time that touch on the profound truth of human mortality while revealing the deep, voyeuristic and uncomfortable hunger we all harbor for consuming such moments from a distance. LA Times / Nation Now The decision has sparked outrage across the Internet, raising questions about journalism ethics. The story also has touched off a debate about whether bystanders -- including the photographer -- should have done more to help Suk Han. "Someone needs to be fired for this @Nypost cover. It's classless, cruel and completely void of all integrity. You should be ashamed," tweeted @JasFly. Forbes / Mixed Media When a news photographer witnesses a tragedy in the making, is his obligation to intervene or to document it? Poynter / MediaWire Even if you accept that the photographer and other bystanders did everything they could to try to save the man, it's a separate question of what the Post should have done with that photo. All journalists we've seen talking about it online concluded the Post was wrong to use the photo, especially on its front-page.

Bob Costas on Gun Control Comments: 'Availability of Guns Makes Mayhem Easier' (NBC News)
NBC Sports commentator Bob Costas on Tuesday expanded on comments he made Sunday about the need for gun control in the wake of the murder-suicide of an NFL player. "What I was talking about here -- and I'm sorry if that wasn't clear to everybody -- was a gun culture," Costas said on MSNBC's Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, referring to comments he made during his weekly half-time slot on NBC's Sunday Night Football. "I never mentioned the Second Amendment. I never used the words gun control. People inferred that. Now, do I believe that we need more comprehensive and sensible gun control? Yes I do. That doesn't mean repeal the Second Amendment." TVNewser Costas went on Dan Patrick's radio show earlier Tuesday, telling Patrick: "My mistake is I left it open for too much miscommunication." "What I was trying to say was, that if you want some perspective on this, there are a number of issues related to this that we could begin to talk about and think about. The problem was that I didn't have enough time to get to many of them. And that, I think, was my mistake, to be quite honest, Dan. A friend of mine in broadcasting pointed this out to me yesterday, and I agree with him. He said, 'You violated your own rule.'" Slate / Sports Nut In our almost 20 years of dialogue, Costas has been most bothered by my use of the word shill to describe how he promotes sporting events. As I've written before, he believes that he drops in "enough commentary and insights in games" to be thought of as a journalist, and that he does it "not to throw fire bombs but to help hold the mainstream to account," separating him from commentators on the Internet. While by the standards of contemporary journalism, it was distanced and measured, by the ground-floor bar of sports broadcasting, it was Murrow during the blitz.

Anderson Cooper Temporarily Blinded During Trip to Portugal (TVNewser)
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper was in Portugal last week shooting a story for CBS newsmagazine 60 Minutes, and he ended up being temporarily blinded for 36 hours. He recounts the harrowing experience on his daytime talk show Anderson Live. In a nutshell, he was shooting out at sea, and sunlight reflecting off of the water burned his retina. People / TV Watch "I wake up in the middle of the night and it feels like my eyes are on fire," he said. "It turns out I have sunburned my eyeballs and I go blind. I went blind for 36 hours. I took this picture of me after I went to the hospital." He then showed his audience his photo and joked, "That's my new profile picture, by the way." LA Times / Ministry of Gossip The offspring of Gloria Vanderbilt brought on NBC medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman to give him a clean bill of health, though she reinforced the necessity of sunglasses. Protect those dreamcatchers, AC.

Netflix Reaches Deal to Show New Disney Films in 2016 (NYT / Media Decoder)
Walt Disney Studios said on Tuesday that it had completed a deal to show films from its Disney, Pixar and Marvel banners on Netflix, replacing a less lucrative pact with Starz. LA Times / Company Town The three-year agreement takes effect in 2016 and is a blow to the pay channel Starz, which currently has the rights to broadcast Disney movies, including its Pixar animated films and Marvel superhero pictures, about eight months after they are released in theaters. Starz's sole remaining movie provider is now Sony Pictures. That partnership ends in 2016. TechCrunch This is a way for Netflix to not only gain access to highly sought-after content, but also to keep it out of the hands of competitors.

Bad Sex Award Winner 2012: Infrared by Nancy Huston Takes Literature's Rudest Prize (HuffPost / AP)
It's the prize no author wants to win. Award-winning novelist Nancy Huston won Britain's Bad Sex in Fiction award Tuesday for her novel Infrared, whose tale of a photographer who takes pictures of her lovers during sex proved too revealing for the judges. The choice was announced by Downton Abbey actress Samantha Bond during a ceremony at the Naval & Military Club in London. GalleyCat Now in its 20th year, the award continues a tradition of "gentle chastisement of the worst excesses of the literary novel."

Obama May Name Anna Wintour Ambassador to U.K. or France (Ad Age / Media News)
President Barack Obama is considering nominating Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue, as his next ambassador to either the U.K. or France as he looks to reward his biggest fundraisers with embassies never out of fashion, according to two people familiar with the matter. FishbowlNY Naturally some are skeptical of Wintour's ability to be a capable ambassador. Susan Johnson, the president of the American Foreign Service Association, told Ad Age that the Vogue editor was "clearly an intelligent, energetic, capable, attractive, elegant person," but "having experience in the practice of diplomacy and international relations is really a great advantage." We bet Johnson wouldn't say that to Wintour's face.

CBS CEO Les Moonves on Angus Jones Fiasco: After Charlie Sheen, 'This is a Piece of Cake' (FishbowlLA)
The CEO of CBS commented on the very public outburst from Two and a Half Men star Angus Jones. Les Moonves, speaking at a forum in New York sponsored by The Wall Street Journal, said he wasn't sure what was going to happen to the kid. HuffPost "I don't know what our status is with him," Moonves began in a video. "We took this boy who started with us when he was eight years old, and it seemed to be what happens with child stars over the course of time. He's now making $300,000 per week, which is not a bad salary for a 19-year-old kid, and he went on a religious channel and urged people not to watch the show because it was filth. By the way, he's still collecting his $300,000 a week," Moonves quipped.

Hearst Prepares for Lawsuit over Unpaid Internships (PRNewser)
Hearst has a huge PR problem on its hands in the form of a big-news lawsuit -- and its lawyers have begun to prepare by contacting affected parties in order to solicit positive testimony. We're not quite sure that will work. New York / The Cut Hearst's legal counsel is currently preparing to defend itself against the infamous class-action lawsuit filed earlier this year by Diana Wang, a former intern at Harper's Bazaar who has accused the company of violating federal and state labor laws by requiring interns to work for free. Last Friday, a number of former Harper's Bazaar interns -- all of whom were unpaid -- received the following email, which was then forwarded to us.

NBC News Names Peter Alexander White House Correspondent (B&C)
NBC News on Tuesday named Peter Alexander as a White House correspondent, joining Chuck Todd and Kristen Welker on the beat. Alexander, who has been with NBC since 2004, most recently led the network's coverage of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's campaign.

Obama's First Post-Election Interview Nabbed by Bloomberg TV (HuffPost)
Bloomberg TV snagged a major exclusive on Tuesday when the network announced that its White House correspondent will sit down with President Obama in his first post-election interview. Bloomberg TV's Julianna Goldman will sit down with Obama at the White House to discuss the fiscal cliff. The interview will air at 12:30 p.m. ET.

TV Host Buys Marketing Agency to Expand His Reach (NYT)
Ryan Seacrest has bought a controlling stake in the Civic Entertainment Group, a 12-year-old marketing agency that has helped to create events like the CNN Grill and NBC's Education Nation. The acquisition, to be announced on Wednesday, reflects Seacrest's plan to build a diversified media company on the back of his many day jobs, which include hosting Fox's American Idol and radio shows for Clear Channel.

Why BuzzFeed Still Doesn't Cover Business News (Ad Age / Media News)
"The goal is to build the next great news organization." That's BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith reflecting this week on his first year at the social-news publisher and the future he sees for it. Since Smith arrived from Politico last December, BuzzFeed has ramped up original reporting and publishing around coverage areas such as politics, tech and lifestyle. Unlike top news organizations, however, the company has so far stayed away from covering one key category: business.

Cape Cod Times Says Veteran Reporter Fabricated Sources in Dozens of Stories (
Karen Jeffrey, who has worked at the Cape Cod Times since 1981, fabricated sources in dozens of stories over the years, according to the paper's editor and publisher. "In an audit of her work, Times editors have been unable to find 69 people in 34 stories since 1998, when we began archiving stories electronically," says the execs' apology to readers.

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