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Wednesday, Feb 13

Morning Media Newsfeed 02.13.13

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Comcast Buys Rest of NBC in Early Sale (NYT / Media Decoder)
Comcast gave NBCUniversal a $16.7 billion vote of confidence on Tuesday, agreeing to pay that sum to acquire General Electric's remaining 49 percent stake in the entertainment company. The deal accelerated a sales process that was expected to take several more years. Brian Roberts, chief executive of Comcast, said the acquisition, which will be completed by the end of March, underscored a commitment to NBCUniversal and its highly profitable cable channels, expanding theme parks and the resurgent NBC broadcast network. "We always thought it was a strong possibility that we'd someday own 100 percent," Roberts said in a telephone interview. Reuters Combining properties such as USA Network, Universal Studios and more than 22 million cable subscribers, the deal completes a 50-year transformation for Comcast, which was founded by CEO Brian Roberts' father, Ralph, in 1963. TVNewser Comcast will also acquire the property that GE has at 30 Rockefeller Plaza and at CNBC's headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J. for an additional $1.4 billion. Bloomberg Buying entertainment properties runs counter to decisions by peers Time Warner Inc. and Cablevision Systems Corp., which decided to separate content from distribution. HuffPost / AP Following Tuesday's announcement, Comcast's stock jumped 7 percent in after-hours trading. GE's stock rose almost 4 percent. THR When the deal was first announced in 2009, many thought it was mainly a play by Comcast to acquire NBC Universal's highly-profitable cable TV channels, including the USA Network and Bravo. Comcast agreed to contribute $7.5 billion in programming and added its regional sports networks and cable channels such as E! Entertainment Television, the Golf Channel and what was then called Versus (now the NBC Sports Network). GE then used $5.8 billion to acquire Vivendi's 20 percent minority stake in NBC Universal. Adweek The bottom line is that there's a lot of debt here. The A+E Networks and Verizon spectrum sales account for $5.6 billion of ready cash, and the company's margins are comfortably wide, but of course it's also a huge operation that has to have a certain amount of liquidity to function.

CBS' Carter Evans Caught in the Crossfire of Christopher Dorner Shootout (TVSpy)
CBS News correspondent Carter Evans found himself in the middle of a shootout between San Bernardino Country, Calif. authorities and murder suspect Christopher Dorner, who has led police on a widely-publicized manhunt over the past four days, Tuesday afternoon. Evans was reporting via phone from Big Bear on KCBS when the shots exploded behind him. "I hear gunfire from several directions. The area that the helicopter seems to be circling is an area about 100 feet ahead of me, just directly ahead of me," Evans said. "That seems to be the area that everyone is focused on." NY Mag / Daily Intelligencer The coverage of Dorner's standoff with police on Tuesday brought its own quirks and pitfalls, as journalists struggled to get the news out first in a fast-changing situation on which police were not eager to provide live updates. There were the little, awkward details such as Anderson Cooper getting shunted to HLN to talk to Nancy Grace while CNN switched over to the State of the Union. There was the widely circulated report that Dorner's body had been found, which the LAPD later refuted. And there were the deliberate interferences with the coverage by police and pranksters alike. TVNewser On MSNBC, Chris Matthews put politics aside and anchored coverage of the shootout and fire leading up to the State of the Union. During a lull in the news, Matthews commented on, "this strange connection of the mind that becomes criminal and the love of media attention. And the way this person, apparently, was seeking out media attention. Mentioning names of people in the media, myself even."

State of the Union Reaction: Media Gives Obama Thumbs Up (Politico)
President Barack Obama delivered an "effective" State of the Union address that took an emotional turn at the end with the emphasis on gun violence, members of the media said after his speech on Tuesday. CBS' Bob Schieffer called the speech much "better" than Obama's inaugural address, which he said had come across as a "partisan lecture." "I mean, the president's inaugural address had sort of a partisan lecture tone about it," Schieffer said after Obama wrapped. "This was a political speech, but it was well-written, it had a beginning, a middle and an end." Fox News Rubio's response to Obama will surely catapult the freshman senator into even more serious contention for the presidential nomination. He promoted the classic conservative view, reminding viewers that opportunity "isn't bestowed on us from Washington." But during the speech, Rubio dared to reach off screen slightly, grab a bottle of water and take a drink. Watching media reaction, you would think he was emulating Socrates and drinking his own political hemlock. MSNBC and CNN both dwelled on the drink, as did numerous left-wing pundits. It was, in the words of Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitas: "The sip of water laughed at worldwide."

Jonah Lehrer Earns $20,000 Honorarium for Talking About Plagiarism at Knight Lunch (Poynter / MediaWire)
Jonah Lehrer acknowledged his plagiarism and fabrications and described how he hopes to redeem his reputation. Lehrer read prepared remarks, then answered questions from Knight Foundation president and CEO Alberto Ibargüen and the gathering at the closing lunch for the 2013 "Media Learning Seminar." Lehrer was paid handsomely for the appearance. "Like most outside speakers at Knight events, he was paid an honorarium. In this case, it was $20,000." PRNewser He clearly wanted this speech to mark a "starting over," saying that he wants to return to writing but adding a qualifier: "I need rules because I don't trust myself to not be arrogant. I need my rules to force me to confront my mistakes, to force me to deal with them every day." It was a strange instance of accepting blame while denying personal responsibility. As Lehrer spoke, a series of related tweets (nearly all of them negative) scrolled down a screen directly behind him. FishbowlNY Here are some of Lehrer's best quotes.

Jim Roberts Goes to Reuters (NY Observer)
Jim Roberts, who took the New York Times buyout last month, is going to Reuters. Roberts will be the executive editor of Reuters digital, Reuters digital editor Chrsytia Freeland announced in a staff memo Tuesday. Roberts was the Times' assistant managing editor and has a devoted Twitter following. "I am delighted to announce that Jim Roberts will join us on February 25th as executive editor, Reuters Digital. In this newly created role, Jim will report to me and oversee the editorial work of Reuters.com and our global family of Reuters websites, our opinion team and our online video operation," Freeland wrote. Nieman Journalism Lab Roberts had a long life at the Times, leading coverage on national news and politics before jumping into digital in 2006, when he was asked to oversee NYTimes.com. Roberts had a significant role in shaping the digital presence for the Times, how its news breaks online, its investment in multimedia, and how it approaches social media.

Esquire Corrects Response on Story About SEAL Credited with bin Laden Kill (Poynter / MediaWire)
Tuesday morning Esquire said Stars and Stripes reporter Megan McCloskey didn't pay close attention to its story about how the former Navy SEAL who says he shot Osama bin Laden doesn't have government-supplied health insurance. McCloskey pointed out that as a returning combat veteran, the shooter, who isn't named, is eligible for five years of free health care. "Now granted, 'The Shooter' is a long story, lots of words to sort through, but McCloskey is wrong here," Esquire's response to McCloskey read. It then quoted a paragraph that allowed "the VA does offer five years of benefits." One problem: That paragraph was different in the online version of the story, BuzzFeed's Andrew Kaczynski pointed out. Now Esquire has added a clarification to its piece attacking McCloskey.

Sarah Palin Takes to Twitter to Mock Washington Post Reporter Who Fell for Parody Story (Mediaite)
Former governor of Alaska and the Republican Party's 2008 vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, became the focus of a skewering on the satirical news site Daily Currant last week when they ran a parody account of Palin being hired by Al Jazeera to host a news show. One Washington Post contributor, Suzi Parker, jumped on the story and reported it as news, prompting conservatives across the Internet to do some mocking of their own. It did not take long before Palin got into the act, taking to her Twitter account to ruthlessly mock the Washington Post blogger's incorrect story and subsequent corrections.

Gawker to Allow Readers to Blog Within the Community (GalleyCat)
Gawker will soon allow its readers to create a blog inside its network of websites. As you can see at the newly redesigned Jalopnik site, commenters can already set up a personal blog through its Kinja platform. If you have an account, you will be able to republish Jalopnik stories and the blog network can republish your work. Eventually, when all the Gawker sites have the same set of tools, they will use Kinja to "look for the next generation of writers" for the network. Nieman Journalism Lab In lowering the barriers to publishing, Kinja aims to open up the gates to more content for Jalopnik, which may promise more advertising possibilities, and certainly more eyeballs.

Netflix Teams with DreamWorks Animation on Cartoon Series for Children (NYT / Media Decoder)
Continuing a campaign to deepen its appeal to children, Netflix on Tuesday announced a partnership with DreamWorks Animation to create an original cartoon series. LA Times / Show Tracker The streaming service has been expanding its original programming. It presented all 13 episodes of its latest series, House of Cards, on Feb. 1 and will roll out the long-anticipated return of cult comedy Arrested Development later this spring. Focusing on children seemed only a matter of time.

Joe Walsh to Sue Chicago Sun-Times (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
Ex-Rep. Joe Walsh says he will sue the Chicago Sun-Times over a story published this week about his child support payments, calling the report a "deliberate attempt to defame" him. The former congressman, an Illinois Republican, released a statement on Monday promising to sue the paper "immediately," saying the article about him is an "absolute lie, and I will no longer stand for it." Natasha Korecki reported on Monday that Walsh wanted to stop paying child support because he had lost his job in Congress, and the attorney for Walsh's ex-wife told the Sun-Times that Walsh has been behind on his payments.

Hughes' New Republic Has 45,000 Subscribers, Thinks Twitter Beats Facebook for News (PaidContent)
When multimillionaire and former Facebook executive Chris Hughes bought the struggling New Republic last year, critics were quick to dismiss the purchase as a rich man's folly. Speaking at the Dive into Media conference on Tuesday, the 29-year-old Hughes spoke about the state of the magazine but offered no clear answers to questions about its future profitability. According to Hughes, The New Republic has 45,000 subscribers, which is up from the 38,000 when he bought it. Despite the small number, he said "for the moment, we make money in print" but acknowledged the operation is not making money overall.

Andrea Tantaros, Fox's New 'It' Girl (NY Observer)
On weekday mornings, Andrea Tantaros sits in a small, cramped sound studio on the far West Side of Manhattan -- the same studio where Bob Dylan and Madonna and Bruce Springsteen recorded hit records. Before she wraps up her three-hour talk-radio show, she makes sure to plug her afternoon gig as a co-host on The Five, Fox News Channel's evening roundtable program. By the time Tantaros appears on that show, five hours later, she is virtually unrecognizable. Instead of a slouchy hat over her ponytail, a long-sleeve black T-shirt covered with a scarf and jeans tucked into flat black boots, Tantaros wears a brightly colored, tight-fitting dress, makeup and extra-high high heels. Her long brown hair is blow-dried and hair-sprayed into a face-framing mane. She's ready.

Jake Tapper's New Show is Called The Lead (TVNewser)
Jake Tapper's new 4 p.m. show has a name: The Lead. The Lead launches next month on CNN and will go head-to-head with Your World with Neil Cavuto on Fox News and Martin Bashir's show on MSNBC. Tapper joined CNN last month after nine years at ABC News.

Robert Gibbs Named NBC News, MSNBC Contributor (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
Robert Gibbs, former White House press secretary and senior adviser to President Obama's 2012 campaign, has joined NBC News and MSNBC as a contributor, Politico has confirmed. MSNBC spokesperson Lauren Skowronski confirmed the news Tuesday night after MSNBC's Rachel Maddow introduced Gibbs as a contributor on air. An NBC News source told Politico that Gibbs would also be a contributor on NBC News. Gibbs served as press secretary from 2009 to 2011, then as senior campaign adviser on Obama's re-election campaign.

Vice’s Shane Smith and CollegeHumor's Ricky Van Veen Are Kings of All Media (AllThingsD)
Build a brand and an audience, and you can do whatever you want. That's the takeaway from a wild interview with Shane Smith, founder and CEO of Vice Media, and Ricky Van Veen, co-founder of CollegeHumor, which closed out D: Dive Into Media Tuesday night.

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