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Posts Tagged ‘MSNBC’

The Dumbing Down of National News

FOX CNN MSNBCAdmittedly, I adore “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central. It’s not because I need some Cliffs Notes version of what’s happening in the world around me. I’m a hack-turned-flack. I have a voracious appetite for the media, as should most PR professionals.

Rather, I greatly appreciate this show because they are able to stand on a national platform and give a mighty middle finger to all networks — from the tightest, butt-cheek clinching conservative in FOX News to the uber-leaning forward, bleeding-heart liberal in MSNBC. It’s like the industry in which we find ourselves.

And then there is ridiculous trend CNN is trying to make trend worldwide, as noted below.

Life is more illuminated when you can see it from all sides, not just your propaganda-filled, dimly lit side. Healthy debates, constructive criticism, open conversation — these are aspects of American society that has dumbed down Americans. Why? Those things rarely happen anymore.

It happens in a PR brainstorming with those spiteful Debbie Downers who shoot down ideas before they make it to the whiteboard. It happens in politics, as seen in…well, daily. And now it’s happening on the national news, which is adroitly captured by the genius writers at “The Daily Show.” If this is the future of news, give me the “Good Ol’ Days” anytime.

Enjoy.

NSA Tries, Fails to Improve Its Reputation With Damage Control ‘Interview’

You may have heard that the National Security Agency is currently one of the least popular organizations in both the United States and Germany, because for some reason Angela Merkel doesn’t like people tapping her phones.

Somebody within the group thought it might be a good idea to offer the public some clarity on the “data collection” issue by sitting director general Keith Alexander in front of a camera and letting him say whatever came to mind under the pretext of answering questions written by a Pentagon employee. It gets a little weird.

The video is more than thirty minutes long, so allow us (with the help of MSNBC’s Adam Serwer) to give you some takeaways:

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Fox News PR Team Planted Fake Story to Discredit Journalist

No, not you...

This week’s story about members of the Fox News PR team posting “sockpuppet” comments in threads on various blogs (like our sister site TVNewser) was big, but this one is far worse: NPR reporter David Folkenflik‘s new book “Murdoch’s World” reports that the team schemed to send a journalist a fake tip in order to discredit him.

Here’s the deal: as Folkenflik tells The Washington Post‘s Erik Wemple, the Fox PR team refuses to participate in any story that compares the channel to its competitors in tracking general cable news trends—they don’t even want to acknowledge the existence of CNN or MSNBC.

Crain’s New York Business reporter Matthew Flamm was trying to write a story about how CNN briefly beat Fox in the ratings game in February 2008 when he received this “tip” from an “inside source” at the network:

“FOX PR reps would never confirm this, at least not on the record. But [Bill] O’Reilly, not Brit Hume, will…anchor our texas and ohio primary coverage on Tuesday night. They want to copy the success that MSNBC has had with Olbermann and Matthews anchoring their coverage.”

It sounds like a big deal because, in order to confirm its “fair and balanced” status, Fox maintains a clear wall between “objective” reporters like Hume and opinionators like O’Reilly—and such a move would represent a breach of that wall.

But the story wasn’t true.

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Al-Jazeera Makes the News by Being the Same as Everyone Else

America’s racists are having a tough week. Not only were many of them exposed earlier this week for freaking out on social media after a foreign, brown woman from the dubious nation of New York won the Miss America pageant, but it turns out Al-Jazeera, the Qatar-based media juggernaut, is also messing with their bigoted characterizations of other races, religions and cultures.

In fact, the reporters, editors and producers at Al-Jazeera don’t want the death of America any more than CNN, FOX News or MSNBC. Need proof? Check out this report by the Pew Research Center, an independent think tank tasked with monitoring the media. As public relations professionals, we can only ask one question: Where does Al-Jazeera go from here?

What happens when the vilified boogieman turns out to be the affable cat lady? Al-Jazeera has missed a golden PR opportunity to differentiate itself in a meaningful way from the competition. The last thing America media needs now is another CNN, FOX News or MSNBC. Al-Jazeera was supposed to return real American journalism to America, while these other networks festooned with screaming eagles and undulating flags continued to feed the public emotional drivel, intellectual smut and political grab ass. Read more

Will Al-Jazeera America’s Name Doom It to Failure?

Today’s biggest news in journalistic circles concerns the debut of a cable outlet called Al-Jazeera America, which should begin broadcasting across the US right about…now.

The channel promises to offer Americans a “more sober” take on world news and investigative reporting that transcends the talking head pile-ons that have come to define the FOX/CNN/MSNBC trifecta and the light celebrity gossip that provides such a large share of all networks’ bottom lines.

Journalists at AJAM (which is bankrolled by the royal family of Qatar) take their reporting very seriously. As of today’s debut, programs will contain only six minutes of commercials per hour—and a quick look at the parent network’s Facebook page reveals a collection of matter-of-fact reportage on big international stories.

This is all very encouraging, but Al-Jazeera America has one (very big) problem: its name.

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CNN Focuses on Gap between News and Life

There was a day when a 24-hours news network sounded like a brilliant idea. We live in a complex world full of complicated events that highlight the worst and best of humanity.

From violent wars and corrupt politicians to heroic deeds and acts of selflessness, how could a network not fill its programming with constant and original news updates?

However, with the technology that allowed networks to report 24-7 from every corner of the world, we learned something very important about the public: from cuddly kittens to sickening carnage, we’ll watch the same images over and over and over and over and over again. Who needs a news cycle when you can just hit replay again and again?

The public is strongly addicted to emotional footage, and after September 11, coupling dramatic scenes and outlandish scenarios with charged commentary and paranoid speculation fractured viewers into different but loyal viewing demographics. We all know the stereotypes about the people who watch Fox News and the people who watch MSNBC, as stalwart news anchors like Brian Williams continue to scratch their heads.

Just as times were changing back then, times are changing now, and Jeff Zucker, CEO of CNN, fully understands this. Throughout the past decade the public sensibility has evolved and viewers began migrating from the constant barrage of loud news and bombastic analysis to shows that focused on the more pleasant aspects of life such as food, travel, health, history, science and reasonable opinions on real, everyday challenges.

Though yesterday’s bombing of the Boston Marathon demonstrated there will always be senseless violence and inexplicable trauma in our world, the public appears to be internalizing the frailty of life and living by the mantra we all—at least in theory—agreed to after September 11: the best revenge is living well. And now CNN’s network is beginning to reflect that with more accessible programming. Read more

Jon Stewart Clips Secretaries Gibbs & McLellan, Begrudgingly Respects Fleischer

Breaking news: Political spokesmen sometimes bend the truth! Last night on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart devoted six minutes to shooting those messenger(s). Stewart lambasted Barack Obama’s first press secretary Robert Gibbs for the way he came clean, during his new gig as an MSNBC analyst, on his stonewalling two-step over the administration’s use of remote drones to kill suspected terrorists.

Stewart compared the glib Gibbs with the seemingly emotionally damaged Scott McClellan, George W. Bush’s second spokesman, concluding that neither are any good at protecting the POTUS in their respective retirements. “Either way, secrets spilled,” Stewart finds. “What you need is a jaded believer. Boom.”

When McClellan came out with his admissions of lying, guess which Bush surrogate went after him? Boom, Ari Fleischer.

PR Stunts: Fake Study Links Fox News to Low IQs

Fox News ChannelIt was a headline destined to simultaneously inspire a dozen highfalutin op-eds and a million bitchy comments: Fox News Viewers Are the Dumbest. One problem, though: it was what we in the media world call “a bunch of BS.”

Here’s the funny thing: the “story” wasn’t some sort of stunt pulled by MSNBC or another one of Fox’s many ideological opponents in the so-called “lamestream media.”

No, this little bit of fakery came from the inside—its source, according to a Huffington Post follow-up, appears to be a longtime “PR guru” and dedicated Republican who wants his party of choice to loosen its ties to the Fox News brand in the interest of its future electoral fortunes. See, the purpose of the “study” wasn’t to call Republicans dumber than Democrats: it was to insinuate that conservative Americans who choose not to watch the Fox News Channel are smarter than those who do.

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Roll Call: MSNBC, Omerge Alliances, Google, and More

MSNBC promoted two of its executives to senior VP level. The network promoted Deb Finan to the senior VP of programming position; Yvette Miley will be senior VP and executive editor. Finan has been with NBC for 20 years, and joined MSNBC in 1996 when it launched. She was most recently VP of programming and production, a title she has held since 2009. Miley has been with NBC for 21 years, serving as VP of news at NBC’s owned and operated stations before joining MSNBC as executive editor. (TVNewser)

Olivia Scott-Perkins launched integrated marketing consultancy Omerge Alliances. She most recently served as chief marketing officer at Carol’s Daughter. Prior to that, Ms. Scott-Perkins spent 17 years on both the agency side (including stints at Leo Burnett, Ogilvy, DDB and Draft) and the media side (Vibe Magazine, Live Nation Entertainment and In Demand Television). The newly launched Omerge Alliances will provide partnership marketing, branding and general-marketing expertise to independent creators of music, TV and film content. (AdAge)

Anna Bateson is leaving her current position as marketing director for YouTube Europe Middle East and Africa to take on a global marketing role at Google in the U.S. Ms. Bateson joined Google-owned YouTube in 2009 from British network ITV, where she was director of viewer marketing.(AdAge)

Marketing Management Analytics (MMA) hired Paul Straub, PhD as their new SVP of analytics. Straub comes to MMA from Nielsen, where he held the title vice president of Research and Development. He previously served as president of Marketing Analytics, Inc. He has taught economics and statistics at the university level, including a stint at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. (Release)

Should Journalists Abstain From Voting?

In case you haven’t noticed, professional journalists have a PR problem. The public’s opinion of their craft and “the media” they inhabit hit an all-time low last year. This finding reflects an increasingly polarized electorate filled with fed-up citizens who often retreat to openly partisan news sources because they believe all other media outlets to be tainted by bias in some form.

The fact that a healthy, functioning democracy needs journalists to survive should go without saying–and despite working in public relations, we’re a little disturbed to learn that PR professionals currently outnumber them 4 to 1 in this country. So how can journalists improve the public’s perception of the work they do?

For some, the answer is clear: don’t vote.

This is not a new debate. In fact, the issue arises during nearly every election cycle. Austin Business Journal editor Colin Pope believes that the act of choosing a candidate or privately voting on any given issue affects his ability to inform the public as a reliably objective voice; in his opinion, he essentially forfeited his right to vote when he decided to report on the news for a living.

We think it’s safe to say that most journalists do not agree.

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