MSNBC president Rick Kaplan turned down Howard Kurtz’s interview request (Kurtz tried — trust me), so this morning’s Media Notes column about MSNBC doesn’t say anything regular readers of this site don’t already know. Kurtz cites a bunch of “insiders,” “staffers” and “others” who offer a mixed bag of impressions of Kaplan’s first year on the job…
Archives: January 2005
Its ratings may not rock, but MSNBC’s use of NBC News resources helped the network shine during Iraqi elections coverage on Sunday.
“MSNBC was all over it as a breaking news event, while CNN and Fox were sleep-walking,” an industry insider remarked yesterday evening.
Since NBC News wasn’t on the air until the polls were close to closing, all of the network’s reporters were available to MS. When that happens, “we can kick the backsides of FNC and CNN in terms of content, and I think we did that,” another source said.
MSNBC’s studio was set up nicely, as well: Staffers added a topographic map on the floor and pictures in the background of the “situation room.” The cyber sled was used for blogger updates. (And at one point, Lester Holt appeared!)
Brian Williams, Peter Jennings, Dan Rather, Anderson Cooper and Dana Lewis took time out to tell USA Today’s Peter Johnson about their visits to Iraq. Lewis predicts a “sea change in media coverage” as anchors return home and talk about what is working in Iraq as opposed to what isn’t, Johnson says…
> CNN/U.S. is airing CNNI live coverage of the election in between Larry King Live repeats during the overnight…
> NBC trumpheted Brian Williams’ “exclusive interview” with interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.
> On FNC, Geraldo Rivera was shown wiping away tears as Iraqis cast their ballots. “I wish, for this one day, all of you could be here,” he said.
> Dan Rather: “A lot went right with the just-completed first free elections in Iraq in half a century.”
> FOXNews.com puts the day in perspective: “8 million Iraqis vote; 44 killed in attacks.”
Quotes from David Bauder’s AP piece about mobile anchors:
> “The mobile anchor is also key to new chief executive Jonathan Klein’s remake of CNN. “It’s a way to personify the network’s commitment to being on the scene of a major story,” Klein said. “It’s very important, especially in a fragmented media environment, that your network is present in a big way.”"
> ABC WNT EP Jon Banner: “At the very core of what we do every night is convey stories of importance to the audience and nothing conveys importance more than when Peter shows up on a story.” But: “Peter has a lot going on and we need to choose the times in which we travel wisely. We don’t do it at the drop of a hat. We think long and hard about these situations.”
“Michael Jackson called on Sunday recent leaks to the media about his child molestation case ‘malicious…disgusting and false,’ and said he expected to be found innocent of the charges,” Reuters reports.
“In the last few weeks, a large amount of ugly, malicious information has been released into the media about me,” Jackson said. “Apparently, this information was leaked through transcripts in a grand jury proceeding where neither my lawyers, nor I, ever appeared. The information is disgusting and false.”
1,900 pages of grand jury testimony were leaked to, and reported by, ABC News earlier this month…
> Light Seeking Light at 3am: “The lineup is very clear. CNN refuses to admit anything but problems; FOX refuses to see any problems; MSNBC is trying to discuss both.”
> “It really is okay for journalists to be happy about seeing people vote for the first times in their lives,” PoliPundit reassures.
> “It will be interesting to see if there’s a clear shift in tone when CNNi hands the baton to CNN-US,” an e-mailer said at 5:49am. Then at 7:05: “The mood on CNN instantly perked up once domestic CNN coverage replaced CNNi’s.”
> Johnny Dollar likes Geraldo’s coverage: “It’s times like this when you begin to think Ailes knew what he was doing when he hired him.” He also says Shep’s repoort on Sadr City and the tour of Saddam’s bunker were great.
> MSNBC has been airing hourly segments about blogosphere reaction to the elections. “I’m impressed that a media network is giving this much attention to bloggers,” Iraqi Elections Wire says.
“So far, I think the coverage has been moderately scandalous,” Jonah Goldberg says on The Corner. “This morning CNN kept its regularly scheduled medical show (though last night they were better, if mostly pre-taped). The major nets seemed to treat this like a fairly ho-hum story. I just walked over to my computer after seeing that the Today Show was offering viewers a segment on new shaving technologies for men. Meanwhile, Fox is treating this like a huge, momentous, occassion. Given the contrast, I sometimes worry that the MSM media is becoming more biased simply because they define ‘bad coverage’ even when Fox is covering things correctly. It’s almost as if NBC News would report ‘this just in: 2+2 is 5′ if Fox were reporting ’2+2 is 4.’” I don’t think it’s fair to call the network coverage “ho-hum…”
At least Geraldo doesn’t pretend to be objective. Johnny Dollar has transcribed some of Rivera’s comments:
“They are casting their ballot for the first time. It was so inspiring. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in my entire life. It really is like the Berlin Wall going down in 1989. It really is like the beginning, like the dawn of the civil rights era, when black people could vote for the first time. It is the most amazing sight. Only a hard-bitten cynic, only a person with absolutely no upside to their feeling of optimism, could look askance at what is happening, truly happening today.”
“…You folks who live in the United States who are watching this, just be proud. Be proud of this. This is amazing. This was inconceivable, wasn’t it, during the days of Saddam Hussein. Look how far this country has come. It will heal its wounds. The terrorists are going to lose.”
> Also: “This once-dictatorship, one of the most brutal regimes on earth, can join the family of civilized, democratic nations. I’ll tell you folks, it is an amazing, amazing feeling.”