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Archives: May 2008

“You Bet Your Ass it Was Flawed”

MSNBC_Vote_5.31.jpgCNN and MSNBC provided live gavel-to-gavel coverage of the nearly 10 hours of in-front-of-the-camera debate and behind-closed-door negotiating of the DNC rules committee meeting. Wolf Blitzer and Campbell Brown anchored on CNN while Norah O’Donnell, Andrea Mitchell and later Chris Matthews anchored on MSNBC. Mitchell broke off later in the afternoon to file a report for NBC Nightly News and then returned to wrap up the meeting after 7pmET.

Fox News Channel stuck with their regular programming with reporting from the DNC meeting in Washington, as well as reporting from Major Garrett in San Juan reporting on tomorrow’s primary, and the breaking news that Barack Obama was leaving Trinity church. CNN was first with the Obama news from contributor Roland Martin at 5:46pmET.

One media titan got a mention on a network he doesn’t run. During the committee’s extended lunch, at which point the networks went into extended recap mode, MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell said, “Even Rupert Murdoch is predicting a democratic landslide and that John McCain has problems,” said O’Donnell. “Murdoch, who of course, is the News Corp. chairman,” she added.

As for the meeting to decide the delegates, it was divisive and raucous and left one committee member “stunned.” Clinton supporter Harold Ickes rhetorically asked “Was the process flawed? You bet your ass it was flawed,” he said. He then said Sen. Clinton authorized him “to take this to the credentials committee.”

In other words, the cable networks just got their wish. This thing may not be over Wednesday morning.

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CNN’s San Juan Bureau Up and Running


The pool deck of the San Juan Hilton has been transformed into CNN’s temporary bureau to cover tomorrow’s Puerto Rico primary. The bureau is made up of a crew of about 15 people, 40 cases of gear and two fly away satellite dishes. In the photo, correspondent Jessica Yellin preps for a live shot Friday.

MSNBCBrazille_5.31.jpgBut CNN’s palm tree backdrop is taking a back seat to the often-contentious DNC rules committee meeting happening today in Washington, DC. MSNBC and CNN are providing gavel-to-gavel coverage of the raucous meeting. CNN analyst Donna Brazile (pictured) is a member of the Rules and Bylaws Committee.

The Ticker: (p.m. Edition): Crash, Kurtz, Lee…

> CNBC producer Andrea Mantia lives in the New York building where that construction crane crashed this morning. Insiders tell us she is fine, but shaken. She reported by phone for the network until CNBC correspondent Bertha Coombs arrived on scene.

> Howard Kurtz talks about the McClellan book this weekend on CNN’s Reliable Sources. Guests include Bush’s former speechwriter, David Frum, ABC’s Martha Raddatz and Bill Clinton’s White House press secretary Joe Lockhart.

> The blog Wall Street Fighter has a profile of FBN’s Jenna Lee, describing her as “the proper business reporter with the very ‘porn star’-ish name.”

The Scoreboard: Thursday, May 29

25-54 demographic: (L +SD)

Total day: FNC: 214 | CNN: 176 | MSNBC: 164 | HLN: 95

Prime: FNC: 366 | CNN: 295 | MSNBC: 409 | HLN: 125

  5p: 6p: 7p: 8p: 9p: 10p: 11p:
FNC ElectionHQ: Hume: Shep.: O’Reilly: H&C: Greta: O’Reilly:
  164 246 301 446 343 309 334
CNN Blitzer: Blitzer: Dobbs: Brown: King: Cooper: Cooper:
  218 244 235 286 303 297 257
MSNBC Hardball: Gregory: Hardball: Countdo.: Abrams: Countdo.: Gregory:
  231 198 258 560 390 277 128
HLN Prime: Prime: Beck: Grace: Beck: Grace: Showbiz:
  82 67 46 84 88 196 172

Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.

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The Positives of Campaign

B&C’s John Eggerton breaks down the latest Pew study on coverage of the 2008 campaign. It found Sen. Hillary Clinton did not get tougher press coverage than Sen. Barack Obama “when it came to the main themes about their character, history, leadership qualities and overall appeal.” And there’s this, about how the cable networks’ ‘positive’ stories on the candidates:

69% of the assertions about Obama on Fox News Channel were positive, versus 54% for Clinton. And both far outdistanced Sen. John McCain, with only 45%.

On CNN, Clinton was the clear winner, with 70% positives versus 59% for Obama and 49% for McCain.

The most even-handed, at least toward the Democrats, was MSNBC, the researchers concluded, with 72% positives for Clinton and 70% for Obama (McCain got 53%).

Amanpour Receives Yet Another Award

Amanpour_5.30.jpgSeriously, Christiane Amanpour needs another bookshelf.

The CNN correspondent will be presented with a Peabody, award next month, last fall she was presented with a special ATAS award, and earlier this week she took home a Gracie.

Now she will be presented the National Press Club’s most prestigious honor — the Fourth Estate Award. The award will be presented to Amanpour at a black-tie dinner at the National Press Club on November 21.

Previous Fourth Estate honorees include Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley, and Helen Thomas.

2007-2008 Morning Show Ratings

They may still be a distant third, but during the 2007-08 TV season, CBS’s The Early Show grew the most of the three network morning shows.

For the season (Sept. 24, 2007 – May 21, 2008), The Early Show added 80,000 Total Viewers from the previous year. NBC’s Today show added 40,000 while ABC’s Good Morning America lost 150,000 Total Viewers.

But that’s not all, The Early Show was the only program to gain in a key demographic…

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Special of DNC Meeting

Wow, this sounds like exciting programming.

MSNBC would like you to know they will “present special live weekend coverage of the DNC rules committee meeting.” Tomorrow’s meeting will decide how to award delegates from the Michigan and Florida primaries.

Okay, we get it. It’ll be a crucial day for the Clinton campaign. So, why not, on a Saturday, curl up with your remote and watch the DNC decide things. Coverage begins at 9:30am with Norah O’Donnell and Andrea Mitchell. And if you’re lucky maybe Howard Dean will give you all one of these…

> More: CNN too: “The network will air a special Decision Day will from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Lead political anchor Wolf Blitzer and Election Center anchor Campbell Brown will lead the special…”

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Nightline Closes Gap with Letterman

Nightline_5.30.jpgPoised to celebrate its 30th anniversary next year, ABC’s Nightline continues to draw viewers with its two-year-old, three-anchor format.

Last week, Nightline beat CBS’s The Late Show with David Letterman in Total Viewers (3.62M v. 3.43M) and in the A25-54 demo (1.76M v. 1.60M). The Tonight Show with Jay Leno continues to be the #1 late night show.

This is Nightline’s tenth victory over Letterman in the A25-54 demo this season and the eighth victory in Total Viewers.

For the May sweep, Nightline closed the Total Viewer and A25-54 gaps with Letterman to its smallest in five years, since May 2003, during the early days of the Iraq war.

Couric Brings up NBC Past During CBS Interview

CouricMcC_5.29.jpgDuring her interview last night with former White House press secretary Scott McClellan, CBS’s Katie Couric caught McClellan off guard while talking about her reporting during the early days of the Iraq war, when she was with NBC News.

Couric: Weren’t you the ultimate complicit enabler, though? I asked a tough question before the Iraq War and you personally called an executive at NBC News and you threatened to deny access to us.

McClellan: I did?

Couric: Yes, you did, once the war began.

McClellan: Me personally? I don’t, I don’t remember that.

Couric: But did you strong-arm people into not questioning the administration?

McClellan: My style usually wasn’t that way.

Couric: Well, it was you who made the call.

McClellan: I just, I just don’t remember that. That may be but I certainly don’t remember that incident. In terms of my style of working with reporters, it was usually straightforward when we were dealing with each other; I think I had that reputation with White House reporters. I just don’t recall that specific incident.

Interestingly, this exchange was not included in the story last night on the Evening News, but it is in the transcript on

> Update from an emailer: “The Katie Couric Scott McClellan exchange where she mentioned her past experience DID air on the West Coast.”