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Posts Tagged ‘Alex Castellanos’

State of the Union Coverage: CNN

CNN is treating tomorrow’s “State of the Union” coverage like an election night, loading up on political anchors and analysts. Coverage will be led by Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, Chris Cuomo, Jake Tapper, Kate Bolduan and Erin Burnett, who will be overseeing a focus group reacting to the speech. Dana Bash will be in the House Chamber while Jessica Yellin reports from the White House. John King will be on “Magic Wall” duty, with John Berman and Tom Foreman in the “virtual studio” to offer “reality checks” of the President’s remarks, and the Republican response.

On the analysis side, former Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich and former Current TV anchor Jennifer Granholm will provide insider analysis, with Gloria Borger, David Gergen, Cornell Belcher, Donna Brazile, Alex Castellanos, Margaret Hoover, Van Jones and Ana Navarro also weighing in throughout the night.

One person who apparently will not be appearing on CNN’s SOTU coverage is the anchor of CNN’s “State of the Union,” Candy Crowley. Crowley hosted her weekend program from DC yesterday, and previewed the SOTU on “CNN Newsroom” yesterday afternoon.

Update: CNN says that Crowley is out of town, caring for her mother. Hence, she won’t be able to participate in the coverage.

More info, below.
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The Morning Ticker: ‘Axelstache,’ King, Faux FNC Study

  • Democratic strategist David Axelrod has already shaved his mustache on “Morning Joe,” but he can’t help himself, and is taking his mustache-shaving ways to CNN. Alex Castellanos, a Republican strategist and CNN contributor, says that if they can secure another 500 contributions for Axelrod’s charity, then he will shave his mustache off as well, live in “The Situation Room.” Stay tuned…
  • The man behind a fake press release about Fox News speaks to The Huffington Post. The hoaxster posted a plausible-reading press release on PRWeb, claiming that a conservative research group found that Fox News viewers had lower IQs than average Americans. It was a ruse, designed to be picked up by some bloggers, and indeed, it was. The details are here.

(VIDEO) Mixologist Rachel Maddow Mixes it up with Alex Castellanos

While many Washington media types were winding down their WHCD party-hopping with Sunday brunches, a few of the party-goers hit the Sunday shows. Not long after MSNBC host and after-party bartender Rachel Maddow put away her cocktail shaker, she was mixing it up with GOP analyst and CNN contributor Alex Castellanos on “Meet the Press.” At issue: what women earn vs. what men earn.

“It’s weird that you’re interupting me and not letting me make my point, because we usually get along so well,” said Maddow, who at one point said Castellanos was being “condescending.”

Watch:

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Network Plans for the Arizona and Michigan Primaries

Voters in Michigan and Arizona go to the polls tomorrow. Polls close at 8pmET in Lower Michigan and most of the U.P. And and hour later, at 9pmET, in the Westernmost counties which are in the Central Time Zone. Polls close at 9pmET in Arizona.

Election 2010: Technology Front and Center for CNN’s Midterm Election Coverage

CNN has announced its coverage plans for the 2010 midterm elections. As in previous elections, new technology will be a major part of the coverage, with returning favorites like the “magic wall” and “data wall’ being joined by the “CNN Election Matrix,” which will break down data in a visual way.

The network already revealed it will be adding more “virtual objects” to its coverage.

“We are taking capabilities of the Data Wall and quadrupling it in order to report the story in the clearest way we can,” said CNN senior VP and Washington bureau chief David Bohrman in a statement. “Viewers are ready for a rich meal of election items and with CNN’s technology on air and online, paired with the Best Political Team, we will serve an unparalleled election night experience.”

Wolf Blitzer will lead the network’s coverage, and will be joined by Anderson Cooper, Candy Crowley, John King and Soledad O’Brien. Other anchors, reporters and hosts that will be contributing to the program include Jessica Yellin, Dana Bash, Brianna Keilar, Ed Henry, Dan Lothian, Suzanne Malveaux and new 8 PM hosts Eliot Spitzer and Kathleen Parker.

More information after the jump.

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CNN Contributor Returns $12,000 to RNC

Castellanos_7.6.jpgCNN contributor Alex Castellanos has returned $12,000 that had been paid to him by the Republican National Committee — a payment which violates CNN’s policy against paid contributors receiving money from political committees.

Castellanos told Media Matters he was unaware of the payment and returned when he “found out.”

“I was not aware of the payment because ours is a large business and an employee who handles and processes payments for me dealt with the RNC transaction,” Castellanos said. “CNN’s preference and policy is that I don’t work for the RNC or political candidates.”

Castellanos received the money in October of last year, and returned two months later. “When I found out that I was being paid by the RNC, I returned it,” Castellanos said. “I wish I could keep it. I would like to add to the economic recovery.”

A CNN spokesperson adds, “Not only did Alex do the right thing by returning the money, he also demonstrated his independence from the party chairman by calling for Michael Steele to step aside.”

Concern over CNN Analyst-Consultants?

rosencastellanos_6-22.jpgCNN and two of its political analysts — Hilary Rosen and Alex Castellanos — are coming under some scrutiny this week for the commentators’ reported ties to BP. WaPo’s Greg Sargent wrote Monday:

This morning’s Washington Post reports that BP has retained the services of Rosen, a Democrat who heads the Washington office of the Brunswick Group, to help out with BP’s lobbying and public relations offensive inside the Beltway. Rosen has contracted out some of this work for BP to Castellanos…

NY Daily News’ Frank DiGiacomo writes today that some producers in CNN’s Washington bureau “are upset over this.” The network pointed out that neither commentators have been on the air recently. “Both Alex and Hilary are contributors used primarily to comment on political issues, and they are not being used to discuss the oil disaster story,” a spokesperson said to WaPo.

The Huffington Post “cut ties” with Rosen earlier this month when she began consulting for BP, though Rosen was HuffPost’s D.C. “editor-at-large” which is arguable altogether different from being a panelist.

According to a TVEyes search, Castellanos last appeared on the network on May 18 for primary election coverage and Rosen last appeared on June 9th to discuss women in politics. We were unable to find an instance where BP or the oil spill were topics either discussed.

This is not the first time a lobbying issue has come up with Castellanos, but we do know that CNN has had a history of disclosing — on-screen — professional ties its analysts have with other organizations.

So is this a real concern for CNN or is it blown out of proportion?

CNN Will Disclose Castellanos’ AHIP Ties

CNN has said the network will, going forward, disclose contributor Alex Castellanos‘ ties to America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), according to the NY Times.

On Wednesday, Media Matters reported that Castellanos’ consulting firm, National Media, placed ads for the insurance advocacy group:

According to the detailed ad buy information obtained by Media Matters, Castellanos is responsible for placing, beginning October 11, more than $1 million of AHIP advertising in five states. Castellanos last appeared on CNN September 30; during a debate with Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) on The Situation Room, Castellanos defended Republican health care proposals.

CNN said in a statement, “When Alex Castellanos returns from his vacation and next appears on CNN, we will clearly disclose to our viewers relevant information including his firm’s relationship with AHIP.”

Interestingly, TVNewser went back and checked out a health care debate Castellanos had with Paul Begala on “The Situation Room” September 22nd, and while CNN did not specifically disclose any ties with insurance organizations, they did provide these onscreen graphics to disclose some information about his professional background:

castellanos10-15.jpg

“Cool” Technology and the “Calm Before the Storm”

blitzer_11-4.BMPMultiple people throughout the CNN newsroom were using the phrase “calm before the storm,” at 5:30pmET last night.

The BPTOT was gathering on the edge of the newsroom as anchor Wolf Blitzer interviewed former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani. Conservative commentator Alex Castellanos and Democratic commentator Paul Begala compared ties (they wore opposite colors). “It’s kind of a George W. Bush tie,” teased Castellanos of Begala’s blue tie.

A few dozen feet away, Soledad O’Brien and Bill Schneider are being given some final training on the huge Voter Analysis screen. The screen breaks down exit polls in what seems to be an unlimited number of combinations. CNN’s political director Sam Feist stops by to watch the preparations. “Isn’t that cool?” he says. “It’s what we’ve always wanted.”

For Castellanos, this was his first election night on the media side of the equation. There’s good chemistry here,” he says. “I didn’t think I’d find a better place to watch the election.”

Overall, he wasn’t confident about the night. You may find me at the bar at Midnight,” he said. Then he was reminded he would have to be on the air at Midnight. “This is the only bar I’ve ever been at where you sit for seven hours with no booze,” he joked.

We also asked both Castellanos and James Carville about their bet regarding the Louisiana Senate race. Both seemed confident in their candidates before the results. In the end, Castellanos owes Carville some dinner. “I hope Democrats don’t eat much,” he said last night.

Related: The New York Times’ Brian Stelter gives the late-night behind-the-scenes at CNN…

Below, a look at the CNN Grill on the 10th floor of the Time Warner center (before it became packed), and after the jump, more pictures from CNN’s newsroom:



Click continued to see more pictures of the night…

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CNN HD Brings New Technology

CNN HD is premiering some new technology tonight, which includes an “analyst scorecard” in the side panels and an “audience reaction” bar in the lower third. While the “audience reaction” lines, which show real time reaction from a focus group regarding the debate, is displayed on the non-HD channel as well (and is fairly difficult to decipher), the scorecards are exclusive to HD. They allow six of the BPTOT to give their opinions while the debate is occurring. Some notes: Alex Castellanos has been most active, Bill Bennett has been most positive to both candidates and Gloria Borger has been most critical of Sen. John McCain and most complimentary of Sen. Barack Obama:

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