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State of the News Media

O’Reilly: ‘Shame’ That ‘American Press Is so Corrupt’

O'ReillyBill O’Reilly took on the mainstream media earlier this week for covering stories like the New Jersey bridge fiasco more than scandals at the VA and the IRS.

“There is no question that the major national media in America is trying to protect President Obama and will promote the candidacy of Hillary Clinton,” O’Reilly said on “The O’Reilly Factor” Wednesday.

O’Reilly pointed out that the network news dedicated 112 minutes in the first week of the bridge story, but when the VA scandal broke out, there was no coverage “for almost two weeks.” O’Reilly added that when news of lost IRS emails broke close to two weeks ago, there was just three and a half minutes combined on all of the network news broadcasts. “It is a shame that in a proud republic, in a vibrant democracy, the American press is so corrupt,” O’Reilly said.

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Has the Charismatic, Authoritative TV News Broadcaster Been Lost?

BourdainUSA Today’s Michael Wolff gives his take on whether Jeff Zucker can save CNN at a time TV news audiences are growing more “fetishistic,” and the old-school TV news broadcaster “has been lost.”

Jeff Zucker, CNN’s ambitious chief and as tactical a television mind as exists, seems in many ways to have concluded that there probably isn’t. To an ever and ever greater degree, cable news is about sliver audiences— even Fox News averages only a million viewers a night — targeted to melodramatic or campy political sensibilities. In the case of CNN, which tries to rise above single-bore politics, its specialty is the melodramatic and campy news event— the ever-missing plane —that draws the ever-declining news audience. This reflects a problem with the cable audience — it’s overly fixated, if not fetishistic.
But it may also reflect a problem with cable news talent. The very idea of what we used to call a television broadcaster, charismatic and authoritative, has been lost — with, arguably, Barbara Walters, retiring last month at 84, being the last living example in America.

Wolff also suggests ambitious up-and-comers are looking away from the traditional anchor chair, and turning their eye toward a more globe-trotting platform.

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Have Journalists Lost Their Guts?

dan rather_304x200Dan Rather has covered almost everything across the journalism spectrum, including reporting from war zones in Vietnam and Afghanistan.

But today, Rather thinks his industry has lost its guts, he tells the Toronto Star.

Now, so often covering international news is, “Put four people in a room and have them shout at one another.” Take Afghanistan, for example. Coverage has disappeared from many newspapers and television programs, as if nobody wants to hear about it. But if Afghanistan is to be “covered,” networks put two or three people up on the screen to spout off their opinions about it. And very often none of the three has been to Afghanistan. I think journalists and journalism — certainly in the U.S. — we lost our guts. An attitude got around: Be careful, because if you report something people in power don’t like, you may have to pay a very heavy price for that. That’s not in the best tradition of U.S. journalism, nor do I think it’s in the best tradition of the free press anyplace.

Greta Van Susteren has a different take, taking to GretaWire to counter Rather’s claim, suggesting it’s lower travel budgets—not a loss of guts—that has kept more journalists from reporting in the trenches.

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Is Stephen Colbert More Informative Than TV News?

stephen colbert_304x200Informative might not be the first description that comes to mind when mentioning Stephen Colbert, but a new study suggests his activism during the 2012 presidential cycle trumped TV news.

Apparently, Colbert’s satirical super PAC and faux 2012 presidential campaign did more to inform viewers on campaign finance laws than major news outlets.

According to the authors of a University of Pennsylvania study, watching “The Colbert Report” served as “an extended civics lesson” compared to CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, broadcast evening news, talk radio, and newspapers.

“Colbert did better than any other news source at teaching,” Bruce W. Hardy, the lead author of the study, said. “There were two reasons. First was the narrative structure. He walked us through creating a super PAC and every episode was a continuation of that story. And second was the use of humor and satire.”

1,232 adults over 18 were surveyed over the phone for the study, which took place between December 13, 2012 and December 23, 2012.

Jesse Ventura Goes Off The Grid for New Show

JesseVenturaOraHe’s fought, wrestled, acted and governed. Now Jesse Ventura is back in front of a camera — from Mexico — with a new show on Ora.tv, which is also home to Larry King. Mediabistro managing editor Valerie Berrios caught up with Ventura about how “Off the Grid” differs from his last TV series, “Jesse Ventura’s America” on MSNBC:

“Well, this program differs in the fact that in my short-lived time at MSNBC of about four weeks — even though they paid me huge money for three years — all the topics came from upstairs… the topics come from me. And I don’t answer to anybody.”

Berrios: How did you end up on Ora.tv? Why this platform?
Ventura: My last book tour in the United States was not overly successful because I was pretty much blackballed by NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox News, MSNBC. I have a difficult time now gaining an audience there because they won’t put me on, and so Off the Grid is my way of combating them. They can’t control me now. I can do my own show and people can listen to me and hear what I have to say at their convenience. It’s been a Godsend for me. I thank Larry King from the day we met doing an interview on my book tour when he told me about Ora.tv.

Ventura also talks about his “good friend,” Fox News’ Judge Andrew Napolitano and what he learned recently from watching Nancy Grace.

Click through for So What Do You Do, Jesse Ventura?

Rick Sanchez: for Most Cable News Networks, ‘Latinos Don’t Matter’

sanchezrickFormer CNN anchor Rick Sanchez gave a frank assessment on how he thinks cable news networks feel about their Latino audiences in a week where one of those networks came under fire for a questionable Cinco de Mayo celebration.

“When it comes to most cable news networks, Latinos don’t matter,” Sanchez wrote in a piece for FoxNewsLatino.com, singling out MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts (who apologized on Wednesday).

It was a Cinco De Mayo piece on the “Way Too Early Show” with host Thomas Roberts with horribly cringe-worthy allusions to mas tequila and maracas. Giant sombreros also made an appearance.

All they needed to make it a little more insensitive and offensive would have been “Speedy Gonzales,” “Jose Jimenez,” and maybe “Frito Bandito” holding the microphone. They probably tried to book the Taco Bell chihuahua as a guest too, but I’m guessing he was put to sleep.

The Cinco De Mayo theme would continue popping up sporadically throughout the show, with some key moments including, but not limited to, Tequila backdrops, stumbling, and an interview with the one Hispanic employee they seemed to find that I guess works there. (No, she doesn’t work in front of the camera, but was conveniently placed there during the segment to enlist her cooperation bashing Mexicans.)

Harry Reid: Media’s Coverage is Too ‘Tit for Tat’

ReidSenate Majority Leader Harry Reid is taking on the media for political coverage he thinks tries to point blame at both sides, when only one is at fault.

“One of the problems the press has in modern-day journalism, is everything you do is a tit for tat,” Reid told Chuck Todd in an exclusive interview on ‘The Daily Rundown” this morning.

“You won’t call things the way they actually exist,” Reid added, claiming Republicans have blocked legislation at every turn. Reid’s criticism comes during the same week a new Indiana University media study found just seven percent of journalists identified themselves as Republicans.

Reid’s mouth has produced sound bite gold for the media over the last few years; during the 2012 presidential election campaign, the Nevada Senator created a political firestorm when he took to the Senate floor and claimed “the word’s out” that then-Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney hadn’t paid taxes in 10 years (without citing his sources). More recently, he called conservative businessmen, David and Charles Koch, ”about as un-American as anyone I can imagine.”

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‘A Disruptive Technology for Newsgathering’

Tribune Media President Larry Wert was watching the “60 Minutes” profile of Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos last year when he saw what the company was testing for package delivery: drones. Wert, and many other TV executives across the country, saw another potential for drones, as newsgathering devices. At the TVNewser Show last week Wert told us he sees a day when UAVs will complement news helicopters. We had a separate discussion about the safety and legality of using drones with Ian Hannah of the Professional Society of Drone Journalists. After the panel, he told us about the potential drones can deliver for news networks. WATCH:

You Answered: Should TV News Report the Names of Mass Killers?

FtHoodFoxAfter Fox News’ Megyn Kelly told “Kelly File” viewers Wednesday it would be the show’s policy not to report names of mass shooters during stories like Wednesday’s shooting at Ft. Hood, we asked you whether TV news hosts should report the names of the perpetrators.

Opinion was split down the middle: 34% said yes, it’s important for viewers to know the names, while 34% voted no, saying releasing names gives shooters the recognition they seek. The majority, 36% said it really depends on the situation.

Martha MacCallum, sitting in for Megyn Kelly last night, followed her lead. “This broadcast’s policy is to avoid using the names of these mass shooters,” MacCallum said before tossing to senior correspondent Rick Leventhal, who reported from Ft. Hood.

Hillary Clinton Sees Media Double Standard Toward Women

abc_hillary_clinton_nightline_interview_lpl_130129_mnAt a “Women in the World” event in New York City last night, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed her view of a double standard in how women are talked about in the media, Politico’s Maggie Haberman reports.

“There is a double standard,” Clinton said. “The double standard is alive and well, and I think in many respects the media is the principal propagator of its persistence,” she added.

She added advice for women, suggesting they not take criticism personally, but instead seriously. Clinton’s comments about the media’s gender double standard come a day after a new Women’s Media Center report showed a different issue when it comes to females and the media: a wide gap between the number of female media figures and their male counterparts.

We tallied the cable and brodcast news ratios for you (after the jump).

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