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Monday, Dec 31

Morning Media Newsfeed 12.31.12

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Robin Roberts Won't Return to GMA Until Mid 2013 (TMZ)
Robin Roberts will not re-join the Good Morning America staff until May at the earliest, and more probably June 2013, TMZ has learned. Multiple sources connected to the show and the anchor tell TMZ Roberts' medical issues make an earlier return way too risky, because her immune system is extremely weak. UPI Roberts, 52, is a breast cancer survivor who underwent a bone-marrow transplant to treat the rare blood disorder, myelodysplastic syndrome, in September. She has been recuperating since. The Clarion-Ledger On Dec. 10 Roberts welcomed some of the GMA gang to her home to trim her Christmas tree and sip spiked punch. "Best medicine ever," she tweeted, meaning the visit, not the punch. New York Daily News "Doctors are pleased with her progress and say she's right on schedule, but that schedule puts her on the bench for five or six months... something she's not crazy about but realizes is necessary," reported TMZ. It's unclear how long it will take for Roberts to return. On Dec. 21, she looked vibrant at the wedding of GMA co-host Sam Champion. Orlando Sentinel / The TV Guy and More An ABC News spokeswoman said Sunday afternoon: "We have never put a timetable on Robin's return to the show. We have always said that the decision will be made by her doctors when they feel it is the right time."

Meet the Press: President Obama Addresses 'Lincoln Moment' (THR / The Live Feed)
Addressing the fiscal cliff on Sunday's episode of Meet the Press, President Obama raised the subject of Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, a film that's drawn buzz in Washington for its depiction of Abraham Lincoln deftly overcoming political pushback in order to pass the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery. "I think it's also important for Americans to remember that politics has always been messy. People have been asking me a lot about the film Lincoln... " said Obama, prompting Meet the Press host David Gregory to ask: "Is this your Lincoln moment?" The Washington Times / Inside Politics Asked on NBC's Meet the Press if the fiscal negotiations were his "Lincoln moment," Obama replied: "Well, no. I never compare myself to Lincoln and... obviously the magnitude of the issues are quite different from the Civil War and slavery." Actually, Obama has evoked deliberately comparisons with Lincoln ever since he announced his candidacy for president on Feb. 10, 2007, at the Old State Capitol building in Springfield, Ill. He chose the site because it was the same place where Lincoln gave a famous speech condemning slavery and called for the Northern and Southern states to unite. Mediaite CNN's Ali Velshi slammed Congressional leaders for their "irresponsible, disgusting behavior" in talks about the fiscal cliff, and said "today isn't the day" for "details," but now is the time to "stop this economy from going over the edge." In discussing Republican opposition to Social Security increases based on the Consumer Price Index, Velshi said "whether you like that or not" isn't important at this stage of the game. Velshi wants to know, "Why are we having this conversation with a day and a half to go?" WSJ Madison Avenue could see budget cutbacks as the fiscal-cliff crisis puts a damper on advertisers. Automatic tax increases that will go into effect if Congress doesn't reach a compromise budget deal are likely to cause "further belt tightening" in the advertising and media business, said Laura Desmond, chief executive officer of Starcom MediaVest, a media buying giant owned by Publicis Groupe SA.

Der Spiegel Mistakenly Publishes George H.W. Bush Obituary (HuffPost / AP)
Germany's respected news weekly Der Spiegel mistakenly published an obituary Sunday for former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, hours after a family spokesman said the 88-year-old was recovering from illness. The Daily Beast / Cheat Sheet Bush has been ill lately -- hospitalized since the end of November with a brief stint in intensive care when he came down with a fever just before Christmas. But while he may be sick, the former U.S. president is -- by all accounts -- still kicking. The respected German newsweekly apologized for its error via Twitter, noting that "All newsrooms prepare obituaries for selected figures." Gawker Making matters more interesting, the unfinished obituary included several (not untrue) digs aimed at Bush, calling him a "colorless politician" whose reputation improved only after his son George W.'s historically unpopular presidency. The Weekly Standard / The Blog The premature death notice was scrubbed without an explanation as to why the magazine's New York correspondent Marc Pitzke got the story completely wrong.

Networks React to Punishing Fall Season (WSJ)
Television executives gather in sunny Pasadena, Calif., later this week for the semiannual grilling by television critics, as the major networks emerge from a tumultuous fall season. At the Television Critics Association Winter two-week press tour, network executives will talk about their schedules for the rest of the season, offering a glimpse of what will appear on the airwaves but also perhaps a more introspective discussion about what isn't working for traditional television and what needs to change. Toronto Star / Rob Salem Usually at this time of year, critics look back at the past 12 months on their respective beats to recount what was good and new and most significant. I'm sorry, but my mind doesn't work that way. I only remember the worst, the most hackneyed and the utterly pointless. Embracing both the first and the last of those criteria, it does not get more outrageously awful than Liz & Dick, Lifetime's ostensibly romantic biopic of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. LA Times / Show Tracker Once a fairly monolithic medium, in its subdivided formats and niche-directed multiplicity, it caters now to myriad smaller but often more intensely dedicated audiences, inspiring a sense of ownership and of community reminiscent of the way pop music works. So I ask: Has television, so long considered the lowest medium -- the boob tube, the idiot box, the old vast wasteland, corporate and irrelevant -- finally become hip? Is it the new rock?

Pakistan Blocks YouTube (Variety)
The Pakistan government blocked access to YouTube again Saturday, hours after it had lifted a ban on the site for carrying blasphemous material. CNET The video-sharing service, which was blocked by the country's government in September, was available to Internet users in Pakistan for somewhere between three minutes and three hours on Saturday, depending on which media outlet one believes. The ban on the site, which has been blocked since refusing to pull a clip that mocks the prophet Muhammad, was lifted, then reinstated, after it was found to still host "blasphemous" content. The Verge It's uncertain if or when Pakistan's government will make another attempt to unblock the site -- but if it wants to shield its citizens from the outside world, it may be better off following Iran's lead to create its own state-run video sharing site.

Irving Saraf, Oscar-Winning Documentarian, Dies at 80 (The Wrap)
Irving Saraf, an Oscar- and Emmy-winning documentary film director, editor, cinematographer and producer, died Saturday at his home in San Francisco. He was 80 years old and had been battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) for three years. THR Saraf, who came to the U.S. in 1952, founded the film unit of San Francisco public TV station KQED and was the former manager of Saul Zaentz's production company Fantasy Films. Working with Zaentz, he produced a score of movies and served as postproduction supervisor of the 1976 best picture winner One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

CNN Segment Leads to Missing Children Being Found (TVNewser)
A pair of missing Georgia boys were found after their mother appeared on CNN and pleaded for their safe return. The mom, Theresa Nash, was interviewed by Don Lemon Saturday night, and asked her children to try to find a phone and call her. As it happens, the boys had been taken to Austin, Texas by their father. A hotel employee recognized the boys, and called 911. The police responded, and the kids were able to call their mom. Nash, the police and her attorney credited CNN, and the media generally, with getting the boys home safe.

Among Top News Stories, a War Is Missing (NYT / Media Decoder)
Look closely at the end-of-the-year lists of 2012's top news stories. What's missing? The 11-year-old war in Afghanistan and American-led counterterrorism efforts around the world. The Pew Research Center's weekly polling on the public's interest in news stories showed such a low level of interest that the overseas conflicts didn't make the organization's list of the year's top 15 stories.

Is Anything Personal Now? (LA Times)
A newspaper in White Plains, N.Y., stirred up local gun owners -- as well as an angry debate on the Web -- by publishing an interactive map showing the names and addresses of people with permits to own handguns. To the newspaper, it was a public service intended to inform a community rattled by the recent school massacre in Newtown, Conn., about the presence and prevalence of firearms. To gun owners, as well as many conservative pundits, it was an invasion of privacy that exposed law-abiding citizens to potential harassment and crime. To us, it seems like the Journal News' critics are mostly firing blanks. Yet the incident does raise serious questions about expectations of privacy in an era when it hardly seems to exist anymore, and how our society will cope as technology exposes our previously hidden identities and choices.

Engineering a Reversal of Fortune in 2013 (NYT)
In business, all years are critical -- make a big mistake and you won't have the chance to make another one. But in the media, wave after wave of transformation mean the coming year is particularly important.

Leveson 'Will Have Chilling Effect on Journalism' (The Times)
Lord Justice Leveson's call for journalists to be stripped of certain legal protections would have a chilling effect on investigative journalism, according to a former crime reporter who was threatened with the prospect of jail by the judge for refusing to identify a source. Steve Panter, a director of the National Council for the Training of Journalists, said that Lord Justice Leveson's recommendations could deter whistleblowers from coming forward.

Ten Epic Media Feuds of 2012 (Ad Age / The Media Guy)
These folks were ready to rumble (and whine and tweet and...)

Goodreads Counts 20 Million Book Reviews (GalleyCat)
Goodreads counted 13 million users this year, those avid readers publishing a staggering 20 million book reviews. In an infographic about the company's growth, Goodreads revealed that Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn was the most-reviewed book, counting 22,383 book reviews. John Green had the most added quote from The Fault in our Stars: "I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once."

Maxim Recruits a Readership in Uniform (NYT)
Scaling elevator shafts and sliding through sewers in mud-caked fields at a military training camp here would not be what most people would call a vacation. But for 10 Special Operations soldiers from the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force, participating in an event called the Maximum Warrior contest, these challenges had a singular aim: to be in Maxim magazine. Maxim, a testosterone-fueled magazine featuring adolescent humor and plenty of scantily clad actresses, has become for today's Army what Esquire was to soldiers fighting in World War II and Playboy was during the Vietnam War.

Matt Donnelly Exits LA Times' Ministry of Gossip (FishbowlLA)
The beat will remain pretty much the same for entertainment journalist Matt Donnelly. But the Web traffic will be much larger, the reader comments harsher and there will now be, with any story, the walk-down-the-hall option of a synergistic TV appearance.

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