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Those Surreal Split Screens: Even the President Can’t Control This Message

split screen

It’s an accepted fact that President Obama, like all American presidents, has near absolute power to control his own public image. The president’s every public appearance is meticulously planned and stage-managed, from the clothes the president wears to the backdrop that awaits the president when he steps before the cameras to speak. Nothing is by chance, and every decision is made in support of the White House’s media message of the day.

Last night, we saw one example of something even the President of the United States can’t control: a split-screen. When President Obama emerged after 10 p.m. ET to make remarks about the Ferguson grand jury’s decision, his tone was measured, his words were chosen carefully. He wanted to make clear that the anger felt by many in Ferguson and across the country would be addressed. “Communities of color aren’t just making those problems up.”

But as the president spoke, the split-screen revealed violence had begun.

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‘Today’ Lands Interview With Six Ebola Survivors

today-show-logoNBC’s “Today” show is scheduled to have some very special guest in the studio on Wednesday. Six American Ebola survivors will visit for their first-ever group interview.

Dr. Kent Brantly, Nancy Writebol, Dr. Rick Sacra, Ashoka Mukpo, Nina Pham and Amber Vinson will sit down with Matt Lauer for their first joint interview since being declared Ebola-free. The group will also be joined in studio by family members for a pre-Thanksgiving reunion.

Dr. Sacra, Mukpo, Pham and Vinson will discuss their special connection with Dr. Brantly, who donated his blood plasma to aid in their treatment.

Peter King Picks Wrong Time to Use ‘Indictment’ on Twitter

Peter King of Sports Illustrated, MMQB and NBC Sports had extremely bad timing on Twitter last night. At 9:20 pm ET, minutes before the grand jury decision that Darren Wilson would not be indicted was being announced in Ferguson, King sent the following tweet:

He would apologize four minutes later, claiming he did not mean to tie in the Ferguson news with football. Read more

Evening News Ratings: Week of November 17

evening news_2014“NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” reclaimed the top spot in total viewers and the A25-54 demo for the week of Nov. 17 while ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” showed the most growth of the three evening newscasts.

“Nightly News” edged “World News Tonight” by 30,000 viewers or +1% in the demo. The ABC broadcast had won the younger demo in 12 of the last 13 weeks. NBC was up +5% in viewers and up +7% in the demo. ABC grew +12% in viewers and +18% in the demo. “CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley” was also up over last year: +1% in viewers and +4% in the demo.

Numbers for the week of Nov. 17, 2014:

NBC ABC CBS
• Total Viewers: 9,789,000 9,247,000 7,615,000
• A25-54: 2,451,000 2,421,000 1,905,000

Grand Jury Decision Leads to Night of Violence in Ferguson

Obama Ferguson PoliceAs Pres. Obama called for calm, angry protestors tried to flip a police cruiser in Ferguson, MO.

The president delivered a brief statement from the press briefing room tonight following the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s announcement that police officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted in the shooting death of Michael Brown.

“There is inevitably going to be some negative reaction and it will make for good TV,” said the president as cable news double boxes showed the damage already being done. “But what we want to do is to make sure that we’re also focusing on those who can offer the kind of real progress that we know is possible.”

“You have a small number of knuckle heads causing the problems,” CNN’s Van Jones explained, just before he and CNN anchors Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon were overcome by tear gas fumes.

Cruiser FergusonIn his remarks about the grand jury’s decision, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch said the media hasn’t helped the situation. “The most significant challenge encountered in this investigation has been the 24-hour news cycle and its insatiable appetite for something, for anything to talk about. Following closely behind were the nonstop rumors on social media,” said McCulloch.

Less than an hour after the president’s remarks, that police cruiser was on fire. Police told CNN correspondent Jason Carroll and his crew to leave the scene as live rounds in the cruiser started going off.

Update: 10:57pmET: FNC correspondent Steve Harrigan‘s camera was knocked to the ground.

Update: 11:29pmET: A protestor approached the live position of Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo and shouted “Fuck CNN.” “As we said at the top of this broadcast, we don’t know what’s going to happen. So we apologize for that,” Lemon said.

Update: 11:34pmET: MSNBC’s Chris Hayes and his guest Pastor Michael McBride leave their location as the sounds of gunfire are heard nearby. “That’s gunfire…. Alright…. We’re being told to fall back.”

CNN’s Don Lemon, In Gas Mask, Overcome in Ferguson

Things are getting bad in #Ferguson.

A video posted by Vaughn Sterling (@vaughnsterling) on

As CNN coverage from Ferguson moved into the 10 p.m. ET hour, Anderson Cooper passed off to Don Lemon, who appeared on camera wearing a gas mask on his forehead. Within moments, canisters of gas were thrown into the streets as police moved in and pushed away crowds of protesters. Chris Cuomo, who was live with gas flowing toward his camera position, threw back to Lemon, who was wearing the mask over his face–gas swirling in the air behind him–and was unable to continue. He asked for water.

Moments later, Lemon again was unable to resume anchoring the hour, heard on air saying “I need IFB. Someone make a phone call.”
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Report: George Stephanopoulos ‘Poised’ to Land First Interview with Ferguson Officer

abc_george_stephanopoulos_2_dm_120124_wmainA day after CNN’s Brian Stelter reported a collection of network news anchors had met privately with Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Politico reports ABC’s George Stephanopoulos is “poised” to land the first interview. The report by Politico’s Dylan Byers cites “industry sources”:

Members of the media who were jockeying for the first sit-down with Wilson were recently told that Stephanopoulos, the chief anchor and chief political correspondent for ABC, had won rights to the interview. That agreement is subject to change: Wilson could decide to forego interviews altogether and, if he is indicted, will not be able to give an interview.

Where’s CNN’s Bill Weir Been? Turns Out, Just About Everywhere

WeirAndCrew

When Bill Weir left ABC News for CNN more than a year ago, the speculation immediately involved what Weir’s show would look like, and where in the CNN lineup it would land. One report hinted Weir might grab the 9 p.m. hour from Piers Morgan. Another story suggested it wasn’t 9 p.m., but possibly 11 p.m.

Last April, it seemed we had our answer when CNN launched a new newscast, “CNN Tonight”, with Weir in the debut anchor role. But insiders at the time insisted Weir was not interested in making the show his own–or, as he said in an interview with WGN last week, of being a full-time “prompter monkey.”

Instead, Weir took off, flying around the world, hitting six continents in four months. The results of his work will be a CNN series, “The Wonder List with Bill Weir”, which CNN announced today would air in 2015.
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The Scoreboard: Friday, Nov. 21

25-54 demographic (Live +SD)

  • Total day: FNC: 270 | CNN: 166 | MSNBC: 109 | HLN: 119
  • Primetime: FNC: 382 | CNN: 185 | MSNBC: 150 | HLN: 218

4p: 5p: 6p: 7p: 8p: 9p: 10p: 11p: 12a:
FNC

 

Cavuto:

191

TheFive:

315

Baier:

332

Greta:

255

O’Reilly:

403

Kelly:

391

Hannity:

350

O’Reilly:

312

Kelly:

249

CNN
Tapper:

177

Blitzer:

175

Blitzer:

289

Burnett:

282

Cooper:

227

Ling:

191

Spot/Ungrd:

158/116

Bourdain:

132

Bourdain:

153

MSNBC
Wagner:

47

EdShow:

49

Sharpton:

107

Matthews:

113

Hayes:

149

Maddow:

147

Investig.:

149

Investig.:

228

Investig.:

255

HLN
Now:

21

WWYD?:

24

Files:

75

Files:

118

Files:

159

Files:

229

Files:

267

Files:

293

Files:

268

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Tom Brokaw Receives Medal of Freedom

BrokawMedalofFreedomCNN and MSNBC promoted they would be covering the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony from the White House this afternoon, but coverage from the grand jury Missouri changed those plans. “You’re going to want to see this Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony,” Wolf Blitzer, who was to anchor CNN coverage, teased around 1:20pmET. Even MSNBC, which had one of its own inducted — NBC Newsman Tom Brokaw — passed on taking the ceremony on the cable channel. FNC’s Gretchen Carlson dipped into coverage and mentioned it was livestreaming on FoxNews.com. Here’s how Pres. Obama introduced Brokaw at the ceremony:

At pivotal moments, Tom got it. He reported on Watergate, snuck a camera into Tiananmen Square, sat down for the first one-on-one with Mikhail Gorbachev by an American TV reporter, covered every presidential election since 1968. We have welcomed him into our homes at dinnertime and Sunday mornings. We’ve trusted him to tell us what we needed to know and to ask questions that needed to be asked. I know because I have been on the receiving end of some of those questions.

Other honorees including Ethel Kennedy, Marlo Thomas, Meryl Streep, Stephen Sondheim and the late Alvin Ailey.

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