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Archives: May 2005

CNN25: Tuesday Summary

My fingers are exhausted from a full day of blogging. This morning the CNN World Report Conference commenced with an address by the president of Iraq.

It was followed by a panel featuring “Arab Media Reflection.” My favorite exchange was between moderator Jim Clancy and journalist Imad Ad-din Adib. Clancy asked, “Is the Arab media trying to undermine the U.S. image?” Adib answered: “We don’t need an effort to undermine the U.S. image. Mr Rumsfeld is doing enough.” The president of Pakistan addressed the conference soon thereafter.

After lunch, a panel dissected blogging (and I explained that I was “liveblogging” the event). Many of the attendees learned about blogs for the first time. The afternoon concluded with a wide-ranging discussion about trust, moderated by the indefatigable Christiane Amanpour.

Attendees are now heading across the street to the Tabernacle for dinner and entertainment. WEDNESDAY: Reflections on tsunami coverage, a call to action, a tribute to Ted Turner, and a look at 25 years of cable news…

> CNNFan notes that CNN International simulcasted a bit of the conference. Powerline’s John Hinderaker blogged Musharraf’s Q&A before speaking about blogs on the afternoon panel. And AMERICAblog’s John Aravosis moblogged while speaking on the panel…

> Also: Readers are wondering: How did the NY Daily News screw up so badly? Their CNN25 story says CNN launched “twenty-five years ago today” (No), that Jim Walton “has been president of CNN for 24 of those 25 years” (No), and that Fox News “overtook CNN in the ratings during last year’s Republican National Convention” (definitely No).

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CNN25: Reflections By Grant, Cramer, King

This is the first in a series of reflections on the last 25 years of CNN:

> Susan Grant, the executive vice president of CNN News Services, was at Techwood for the launch of CNN. She remembers when Ted Turner would sweep into the newsroom: “He said it was going to be great, and he was right,” Grant told me this morning. While the company has ballooned in size, the culture hasn’t, Grant says: “The heart and soul of it hasn’t changed. You had to be a true believer then, and you have to be a true believer now.” A true believer in what?, I asked. “That CNN has an important place in the world,” she said. “That it means something to its viewers. That it isn’t just another cable channel.”

> Quoting the introductory remarks of CNNI managing director Chris Cramer: “[What we're celebrating is] not just the ability of one news channel to put the world under a spotlight twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, but to completely revolutionize the way information flowed around the world — to break the mold — to force everyone in the news media to think first about what the public wanted from the news industry. And where CNN led, many many others have followed, and continue to follow: The CNN effect.”

> “It was unheard of to do news on the fly around the clock,” Will King, director of international news operations, told me yesterday. “No one had ever tried it before.” The massive change was experienced on many levels: King described how the Sony videotape machines hadn’t been put to the test of a 24-hour operation. “The buttons started popping out,” he said, because the machines were being used constantly. Sony engineers modified the machines to handle the increased workload…

Deep Throat: A Couple Notes

> Update: 7:20pm: From an e-mailer: “Fox may have been a bit later than others, but they have a reporter, James Rosen, who is an authority on the subject. I just watched him on Brit Hume’s program and he knew more about the subject than anyone else I’ve heard today on any news channel.” Rosen has a book about Watergate coming out later this year…

> Update: 6:15pm: Tom Brokaw appeared on MSNBC to talk about the Deep Throat ID. Also, John Dean will be on Countdown tonight…

> Think about how this story developed. It was a Vanity Fair magazine story, leaked by a broadcast news net — then Drudge posted the PDF of the magazine story. Later in the day, the Washington Post confirms the news by posting it on their Web site. Old and new media…

> “CNN has been all over the Deep throat story all day while Fox is MIA — they’re barely covering it,” an e-mailer says. “CNN was first to report that Woodward confirmed Mark Felt was Deep Throat. CNN took Joan Felt’s presser live. Fox was running ads.” “They’re doing what they do best — and that’s breaking news,” a tipster remarks. But then CNN started “wasting time throwing softball questions to Ted Turner,” another viewer notes…

> WHAC says FNC was slow to report the initial news this morning, as well. “CNN broke in and reported the Deep Throat story at 11:45 and stuck with it as he story unfolded…Where was Fox? They were 45 minutes behind CNN,” an e-mailer says…

Liveblogging: “Trust As The New Truth”

CNN has saved the best panel for last today:“Trust As The New Truth,” moderated by Christiane Amanpour, is getting underway now. Here are the highlights:

cnn_trust1.jpg > 4:42pm: In his six months as CNN president, the one decision “I would take back would be the one to go ahead and cover Michael Jackson at all,” Jon Klein said. “[We should have said] ‘we’re just going to sit this one out.’”

He said the network could have covered the opening of the trial and the verdict, and “packed up the tent” for the rest of it: “I think there are better things we could have used those resources for,” he said — and the action would have sent a signal to the viewers and the staff. “We are going to hold you to that next time,” Amanpour said. “Please do,” Klein responded.

> 4:35pm: Christiane Amanpour noted that the situation in Sudan hasn’t received enough press attention. She’s trying to go back: “Right now we’re waiting for Visas and we haven’t been able to get them, since we were last there, last summer.”

Much more, after the jump…

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“494 Weeks In A Row For ‘Today’”

“NBC News’ ‘Today’ continues to roll right along,” an unusual NBC press release says. “Last week, the top rated morning show notched its 494th consecutive week in first place and locked up its 38th successive sweeps victory — the longest winning in streak in all of television.” According to preliminary Nielsen time period ratings, Today beat GMA by about 250,000 viewers last week…

FNC Creates “Senior VP For International Distribution;” Promotes Janet Alshouse

foxnewsworld.jpgFox News has promoted Janet Alshouse to the new position of Senior Vice President of International Distribution, the network announced today. “She will be increasing business throughout the international marketplace through the global distribution of FOX News Channel (FNC) and FOX NewsEdge,” a press release said.

“FOX News Channel is the only American news channel to be distributed internationally. Prior to our entry in the international arena, many viewers around the globe only saw America filtered through the eyes of foreign news services,” Alshouse said.

Demand for FNC internationally “has grown steadily and continues to be strong,” the P.R. says. Quotes from Ailes and Alshouse after the jump…

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Slate Says “Fox News Admits Bias!”

Slate quotes Scott Norvell, the Fox News London bureau chief, in a May 20 editorial in Wall Street Journal Europe:

 “Even we at Fox News manage to get some lefties on the air occasionally, and often let them finish their sentences before we club them to death and feed the scraps to Karl Rove and Bill O’Reilly. And those who hate us can take solace in the fact that they aren’t subsidizing Bill’s bombast; we payers of the BBC license fee don’t enjoy that peace of mind.

Fox News is, after all, a private channel and our presenters are quite open about where they stand on particular stories. That’s our appeal. People watch us because they know what they are getting. The Beeb’s institutionalized leftism would be easier to tolerate if the corporation was a little more honest about it.”

Timothy Noah concludes that Fox is admitting its bias: “I don’t think it’s too much of an exaggeration to compare Norvell’s op-ed to the Vatican’s belated admission, after 359 years, that Galileo had it right when he said the earth revolved around the sun.” But isn’t it clear that Norvell is exaggerating about feeding scraps to Karl Rove?

> Update: 4:26pm: The Guardian has the BBC’s response (regreq).

CNN Conference Examines Blogging

This afternoon at the CNN World Report Conference, a panel called “Blogging: The Fifth Estate” is discussing how weblogs are affecting journalism.

> 3:54pm: I inadvertently became part of the discussion as I demonstrated how to blog…

> 3:02pm: In five years, Powerline won’t be a blog, Hinderaker predicts. “I think there are a lot of people right now looking for better ways to” present information online, he says.

> 2:47pm: Blogs “make the sausage factory into a glass-walled sausage factory,” Allbittron says.

> 2:31pm: Allbittron: “It’s a tool that is very easy to use. I use a blog for the same reason that I use a laptop and not a portable typewriter: It’s the best tool for the job.”

> 2:28pm: Mackinnon: “It used to be that if you were an American wanting to know what an Iraqi thought, you had to wait for CNN to give you a sound bite or the New York Times to give you a quote. You don’t have to wait for that anymore…”

Read the rest of the live-blogging after the jump…

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ABC First With Deep Throat News

ABC News interrupted the last few minutes of Bush’s press conference to report that Vanity Fair has named W. Mark Felt as Deep Throat, a tipster says. NBC reported on it after the presser, while CBS didn’t mention it. CNN and MSNBC followed shortly thereafter. Here at the conference, staffers are buzzing about the story and holding printouts of the Vanity Fair article. FishBowlDC is all over the story…

> “While CNN is partying is Atlanta, they obviously left the B-team behind in Washington to deal with the news today,” a viewer e-mails in. “The Deep Throat coverage has been interrupted by people muttering and talking over the air, one sat interview was lost and the cut to the interview instead showed random graphics, and Suzanne has stumbled repeatedly.”

CNN Conference Celebrity: Ted Turner

cnn_turner1.jpgTed Turner is here! The CNN founder is sitting towards the back of the ballroom, blending into the audience, except for his colorful tie depicting flags of the world. During breaks in the conference, he is surrounded by fans who shake his hand and ask for pictures.

I tried to ask him about Al Neuharth’s suggestion that Turner should return to CNN: “Time Warner should try to talk Turner (he’s only 66) into getting back in the saddle again to see whether he can ride his misguided horse back to the front,” the USA Today founder wrote last week.

…But Ted said he’s not doing any interviews. We’ll see what he says Wednesday afternoon during the conference’s “Tribute To Ted Turner…”