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Archives: October 2010

Jon Stewart Critiques Cable News in Rally Speech

“The Daily Show”‘s Jon Stewart criticizes the cable news channels regularly on his nightly program. Usually, the criticism comes in the form of a clip package, pointing out the hypocrisy of partisan pundits, or the absurdity of some segment or another. At the “Rally to Restore Sanity and/0r Fear” yesterday, he addressed the situation more directly:

If the picture of us were true, our inability to solve problems would actually be quite sane and reasonable.Why would you work with Marxists trying to subvert the Constitution? Or racists and homophobes who see no ones humanity but their own? We hear every damn day about how fragile our country is, on the brink of catastrophe, torn by polarizing hate,  and how it is a shame we cant work together to get things done. But we do, we work togeter to get things done every damn day. The only place we don’t is here [Washington DC], or on cable TV.

What did you think? Was his critique spot-on? Or was it more of the same? Let us know in the comments.

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Brian Williams: TV News Viewers More Engaged Today

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams was interviewed at the Broadcasting & Cable/Multichannel News OnScreen Media Summit last week.

In addition to talking about the Juan Williams situation, the upcoming departure of NBCU CEO Jeff Zucker and Jon Stewart‘s DC rally, Williams said he believes that news viewers are more engaged today than they have ever been:

“It used to be people would say to me, we watch you every night,” said Williams. “Now it’s we TiVo you every night.”

That means, he continued, viewers are taking an “affirmative step to see you more than just the passivity of watching. I try to thank them forcefully because it’s about the nicest thing you can say to someone in my line of work; we make the effort to record you every single night.”

Of course the traditional network newscasts have been losing viewers for years, with viewers turning to the more polarizing world of cable news, or simply getting their news throughout the day online and on their phones.

What did Williams have to say about Stewart, [Juan] Williams and Zucker? Find out after the jump.

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News Corp., Cablevision Cut Deal, Fox Channels Return

Last night, just before the start of game two three of the 2010 World Series, News Corp. and Cablevision cut a deal to return the Fox broadcast channel, along with Fox Business Network, Nat Geo World and Fox Deportes to Cablevision households.

Cablevision was  not pleased with the deal, if a statement released by the company is any indication. In particular, it highlighted FBN, Nat Geo Wild and Fox Deportes, as channels “in which our customers have little or no interest.”

Of course, the bundling of small, unrated or scarcely viewed cable channels with larger channels or broadcast networks is nothing new. ESPN, which is about as must-carry a network as there is, will often bundle in its smaller channels, like ESPNU with the main channel.

In any event, Cablevision viewers that want to watch FBN, or the Shepard Smith-anchored election night coverage on Fox, can breathe easy, and tune-in.

The full statements from Cablevision and Fox announcing the deal are after the jump.

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ABC News Clears the air about Andrew Breitbart’s Participation in their Election Night Coverage

It didn’t take long, after conservative author, commentator and webtrepreneur Andrew Breitbart announced he would be participating in ABC News’ election night coverage, for the pitchforks to come out.

Keith Olbermann gave ABC News the bronze in ‘World’s Worsts’ last night (video after the jump), the Twittersphere’s been buzzing all day, and the Washington Post now reports ABC News insiders are none too pleased either. “This blindsided a good portion of the team here,” a source emailed WaPo’s Greg Sargent. “And not in a good way.”

Andrew Morse, executive producer of ABC News Digital, was forced to explain Breitbart’s role today. He is a participant in an election night Town Hall to be streamed on ABCNews.com. “There has been considerable consternation and misinformation regarding my decision to ask him to participate,” says Morse, explaining: “Mr. Breitbart is not an ABC News analyst. He is not an ABC News consultant. He is not, in any way, affiliated with ABC News. He is not being paid by ABC News. He has not been asked to analyze the results of the election for ABC News.”

ABC News has anchor David Muir and Facebook’s Randi Zuckerberg (big sis to Mark) at the Town Hall at Arizona State University. They will be contributing to ABC News’ TV coverage Tuesday night. Breitbart will not.

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An Honor, and Retirement, for ‘Today’

This week, NBC’s “Today” had two notable events. On Wednesday, the program was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame, and at the end of the week, Jim Wilson, a producer on the show for 29 years, retired.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

After the jump, video from the B&C Hall of Fame, including executive producer Jim Bell acceptation the honor.

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Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert Put on a Show

After a warm-up from the Legendary Roots Crew and some audience stunts put on by the MythBusters guys, Jon Stewart bounced on stage at 12:55pmET to kick off the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. Before delivering any one-liners, Stewart introduced the 4Troops who sang the National Anthem. Stewart’s Comedy Central partner, Stephen Colbert then emerged from a “fear bunker” in a Chilean miner capsule. After a benediction by Fr. Guido Sarducci (see here if you’re too young to remember who he is) this political rally comedy show got underway.

As for cable news coverage CNN’s Kate Bolduan, who covered the Glenn Beck rally in August, was back on the mall today reporting hourly live updates beginning at 8am.

MSNBC, which yesterday announced it planned to be live all day today ahead of Tuesday’s midterms, has Luke Russert on the mall. His reports began in the 10amET hour. Russert telling, anchor Alex Witt he’d gotten some odd looks from a crowd he deemed as skeptical of the mainstream media: “When I was walking through the crowd, I got several glances at my NBC badge saying, ‘what exactly are they doing here?’”

Fox News mentioned the rally a couple times during Fox & Friends and correspondent Molly Henneberg began reporting for the network in the NoonET hour.

In addition to streaming on the homepage of Comedy Central, in stunning HD, the rally is being carried on C-SPAN.

> Update: During an “awards” presentation, Colbert chided several news organizations for choosing to not cover the rally, because, in Colbert’s words, viewers might perceive a bias. The outlets included ABC and CBS and NPR. Said Colbert. “Oh no not NPR!, If their employees attend the rally people will think they’re liberal!” He gave the award for courage to a 7-year-old girl instead.

> Update: A fear medal was given to Anderson Cooper‘s tight black t-shirt. Anytime you see Anderson Cooper reporting from a scene of devastation, “you should stock up,” said the announcer. A t-shirt was then brought on stage, and given the award. “Say hi to Anderson Cooper’s tight black t-shirt,” said Colbert.

> Update: Despite what Colbert said on stage, CBS News correspondent Wyatt Andrews is covering along with a number of CBS News video journalists onsite. As we reported earlier this week, CBS News has once again hired AirPhotosLive.com to deploy their balloon over the mall, to photograph the rally, and generate a crowd estimate.

> Update: The two-hour event drew to a close with Stewart defining what his rally was all about: “We live now in hard times, not end times,” he said. “We can have animus and not be enemies.” Stewart saved his angst for the group he assails each night on his Comedy Central show: cable news. “The country’s 24-hour politico, pundit, perpetual, conflictanoid did not cause our problems. But its existence makes solving them that much harder.”

> Update: ABC News covered as well. Claire Shipman and Karen Travers reported for ABC TV and Steve Portnoy covered for ABC News Radio.

Longtime CBS News Stage Manager James ‘Jimmy’ Wall Dies at 92

A regular and friendly presence at CBS News for nearly 50 years, James “Jimmy” Wall, has died, the network says.

Wall is best known to the public as “Mr. Baxter,” the next door neighbor of “Captain Kangaroo,” but Wall was also a veteran stage manager for CBS programming, including the “CBS Evening News,” “60 Minutes” and “Face the Nation.”

He semi-retired in 1988, but continued to work as a fill-in stage manager on a number of programs, up until last year.

“Jimmy’s stories were legend because they came out of a rich life that was so colorful and lived so fully,” wrote CBS News & Sports president Sean McManus in a memo to employees. “From Vaudeville to television, from Wilmington, N.C. to Paris and New York, Jimmy had a lot to talk about – and be proud of.

“We’ll miss the wonderful voice, the bright smile and the guy who called you “Partner,” because if you needed anything, you could always count on him.”

More information, after the jump.

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For the Win: Tough Mudder Seeks New Event Planner

Tough Mudder is no joke. According to its site, it’s “Ironman meets Burning Man” and only the strong survive. However, you can be a part of the action without having go through the grueling training process. The organization is looking for an event planner to join its Brooklyn-based team.

If hired, you’ll manage up to four Tough Mudder events, including all aspects of logistical planning and event day execution — think mud, water, ropes and fire (yes, really). You’ll work with vendors to negotiate top deals on event materials, and oversee the recruitment and management of event volunteers.

Those of you with event planning experience have a great shot at landing this gig, but if you’ve helped organize endurance-type races and multi-day events, you’ll be a more enticing candidate. Think you have what it takes? Apply here.

NFL Broadcast Teams For Week 8

A season-high three NFL teams will be blacked out during Week 8 of the NFL season.

The Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers all failed to sell out their home games 72 hours before kickoff. The St. Louis Rams and Cincinnati Bengals requested an extension from the league to sell their remaining tickets and were able to do so.

Hopefully Roger Goodell and the NFL are paying close attention to this ongoing problem, as the average family simply can’t afford skyrocketing ticket prices.

For those fans fortunate enough to watch their home team on Sunday, below are the broadcast teams for Week 8 of, “Where In The World Is Gus Johnson?” Read more

Terror Update on Networks & Cable: President Obama Confirms Explosive Materials in Terror Attempt


All of the networks broke into programming to air President Obama‘s speech on the UPS bomb scare shortly after 4:25pmET. The president confirmed that the cargo bomb scare was a “credible terrorist threat.”

After the jump, see which cablers covered Obama’s speech…
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