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Archives: June 2005

Deja Vu: Summer Of The Sharks

“All shark on the time,” an e-mailer called it. The cablers have gone overboard with two recent shark attacks in Florida. For some reason, CNN seems to be the worst offender, but it wasn’t alone. Check out this letter to the editor on MSNBC.com:

The last time animal attacks were prevalent in the news was the summer of 2001 and we all know what knocked them out of the headlines then. I’m not very superstitious, but I’m superstitious enough to want news outlets to quit reporting on wild animal, specifically shark, attacks on humans. Knock it off and get back to the reporting we have come to expect from MSNBC.” More shark stuff:

sharkjune29.jpg > “After 9/11 Howie Kurtz and others were all saying how embarrassing” the Summer Of The Sharks was “and how 9/11 would now inspire real news coverage,” an e-mailer says. “Well anyone who’s watched CNN’s horrendous over-the-top coverage of these two recent shark attacks must feel like we’re back to that pre-9/11, news should be as dumb as possible, place again.”

> The Miami Herald quotes George Burgess, curator of the International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida: “I’m sitting here waiting to do two Fox shows back to back. I was on Good Morning America and CNN and have been running from one interview to the next. I spent about four hours today tied up with the autopsy and when I came out, I had 80 messages waiting for me. It’s a real media feeding frenzy right now.”

> Sun-Sentinel: “By early Tuesday, reporters, photographers and camera crews outnumbered beachgoers at Cape San Blas.”

Greta Hot, Carlson Not, TV Guide Says

TV Guide’s Stephen Battaglio has prepared a What’s Hot/What’s Not list for cable TV, and guess who’s on the list? Greta Van Susteren is hot: “Viewers are flocking to her” for Natalee Holloway updates, Battaglio writes. But Tucker Carlson is not: “A tough start for MSNBC’s new entry, with the bow-tied conservative commentator averaging just 214,000 viewers since its June 13 debut. MSNBC’s audience for the hour is down 24 percent from a year ago. Maybe Carlson should have old buddy Jon Stewart on as a guest.”

Meet Howard Kurtz

“Why does the Washington Post allow Howard Kurtz to host a media-affairs show on CNN?” It’s a question I’ve been asked many times — and frequently by CNNers. Now, in a must-read Washingtonian article by FishBowlDC‘s Garrett Graff, we have an answer. Graff’s story about Kurtz — the first-ever in-depth profile of the WP media writer — includes this quote from WP executive editor Leonard Downie Jr.:

“Any media reporter is going to be different from all other reporters in that they work for a media organization, so whether or not he’s working for CNN, he’s already working for the Washington Post. You’re going to have to cover someone who pays you. Howie has demonstrated in the way that he covers this newspaper that he has no conflict covering an employer…When we agreed to let him go work for CNN, I expected that he’d be able to treat that employer as a reporter in the same way that he treats the Washington Post — and he has.”

Check out the full story…

Q2 Ratings: The Program Ranker

In the second quarter of 2005, Fox News had 11 of the top 12 shows in cable news. Yesterday, I posted the June program ranker; now it’s time for the Q2 program ranker Enjoy:

> Quarter 2 Program Ranker (PDF)

> Since this blog has been around for so long, you can download the Q2 2004 chart and make some year-over-year comparisons. Here’s Q2 2004, in a Word document.

> Also: Here’s the Q1 ranker…

June Ratings: Greta “Caught Fire”

“On the Record With Greta Van Susteren caught fire this month,” the Hollywood Reporter says, “…leading it to second place in the ratings behind fellow Fox News Channel show The O’Reilly Factor.” In June, the show “averaged 1.8 million viewers…up 45% from year-ago levels.” Variety notes that the Michael Jackson verdict helped her June ratings.

The Washington Post focuses on her big numbers last week, and ledes this way: “Wonder why the cable news networks spend so much time on stories of white chicks in distress? Easy, silly: It’s because you lap it up.” Greta recorded 2.8 million viewers near the end of last week, beating O’Reilly, but on Monday the Factor was back on top with 2.9 million viewers…

Did The Clintons Do A “Full Court Press” To Keep Ed Klein Off The Air?

Following up on last week’s item: Ed Klein, author of “The Truth About Hillary Clinton,” was back on TV Monday night, after some critics accused media outlets of blacklisting his book. Toward the end of an interview on CNN Monday, Lou Dobbs asked Klein when he will appear again on TV. “Well, whenever the Clintons stop preventing me from appearing, since they’ve done a full court press with ABC, CBS, and NBC to keep me off,” Klein responded.

> Dobbs ended the interview by saying: “We’ll continue to have folks, irrespective of what the other folks are doing.”

> A Newsmax article says “Klein had been scheduled for MSNBC’s ‘Scarborough Country’ Monday night, but his appearance was abruptly cancelled earlier in the day.” Additionally, “CNN host Howard Kurtz also reported this weekend that Sen. Clinton’s office was actively trying to suppress the book by encouraging television shows not to give Klein air time.”

Bush Speech: Morning-After Quotes

bushjune29.jpg > Tom Shales: “Having made the decision to carry the speech, NBC and CBS could hardly then come on the air and say it wasn’t important. So, whatever they thought, anchors and reporters treated the speech as a news event.”

> There was a reference to the media in Bush’s speech: He said terrorists “take innocent lives to create chaos for the cameras. They are trying to shake our will in Iraq…”

> Wesley Clark, a new Fox News analyst, “was on FNC shortly after the speech apparently giving a Democratic response. Brit Hume seemed to give him much more respect and time than FOX normally gives its Democratic guests,” an e-mailer asserts…

> “MSNBC’s pre and post speech coverage has been great,” an e-mailer says. “Chris Matthews really timed his Church tour well! Maybe MSNBC should rent out the old Crossfire stage and have a live audience every night…”

> Tom Shales again: “CBS was the first network to rush away from the speech. Its coverage, passively anchored by Bob Schieffer, ended abruptly so the network could return to regular commercial programming: a sitcom rerun.”

> David Corn: “It was an artificial event; Bush was standing at the podium and reading words off a TelePrompTer that were written by a speechwriter not because he had anything new or significant to say but because the White House had no better PR alternatives at this moment.”

> Update: 10:12am: “Tuesday night, with the networks’ attention once again undivided, his poll numbers down and the war in need of his public relations help, [Bush] still wasn’t must-see TV,” Paul Brownfield says.

Bush Speech: Live On All The Networks

bushjune281.jpg > “In essence this is a new speech in a rhetorical sense, not a policy sense,” FNC’s Carl Cameron told Brit Hume.

> CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Paula Zahn are anchoring from a cramped perch across the street from the White House.

> The spin starts here: White House communications director Nicole Devenish appeared on MSNBC with Chris Matthews shortly before the speech.

> NBC’s Brian Williams (Rough quote): “On this one-year mark since the transfer of official sovereignty in Iraq, with the dead toll in the war now at 1,700 Americans, and with insurgent attacks averaging 70 a day, the President tonight, in front of an audience of 700 soldiers at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, will talk to the American people about the war.”

bushjune281.jpg > I love how some FReepers believe putting a P.R. speech into context is propaganda: “CNN has not completed a fairly effective if formulaic set of pre-speech programming, intended to twist people’s minds so that their mental filters interpret the President’s speech as bogus,” one person writes…

> A blog commenter says: “Er…I think I’ve heard this record before. Over…and over…and over…again.”

Brian Williams Explains Why NBC Will Air The President’s Address Tonight

Brian Williams blogs about NBC’s late decision to broadcast President Bush’s speech tonight:

 williamsjune28.jpg“Our senior executives spent the better part of this day discussing the coverage of tonight’s speech by President Bush, and much of the debate had to do with the intersection (some would say collision) of semantics and politics. In the standing Washington tradition of the pre-September 11th era, the White House would call the bureau chiefs of the television networks and request evening television air time on the occasion of a major speech by the president. That’s what happened in this case, only tonight’s event is made more complicated by the venue: Instead of the traditional backdrop of the Oval Office, the president is delivering what some are calling an “address to the nation” from Fort Bragg, N.C., while surrounded by 500 U.S. Army soldiers. While some members of the loyal opposition have said the backdrop will render this event a de facto rally in support of the president, several of our NBC television stations let us know they were anxious to provide live coverage of the president’s speech, and the network will do so, from 8-9:00 p.m. EDT, with coverage afterward continuing on MSNBC.”

As Jeff Jarvis said last week, NBC is “beating CBS News to the transparent blogging punch…”

June Ratings: Monthly Program Ranker

It’s the ever-popular program ranker: June ratings for individual cable news shows. O’Reilly is #1, Greta is #2, H&C is #3, Shep is #4 and Hume is #5. Larry King got back above 1 million viewers, with a healthy 1,131,000. NewsNight was the second highest-rated show on CNN, followed by Paula Zahn, Anderson Cooper and…Nancy Grace! She averaged 518,000 in June. Scarborough Country was the #1 show on MSNBC in June, with a few thousand more viewers than Countdown. Analyze the numbers yourself:

June 2005 program ranker (PDF)

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