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Posts Tagged ‘Alex Witt’

MSNBC Adding New Show Hosted By Melissa Harris-Perry to Weekend Lineup

MSNBC continues to build out its weekend lineup with programs led by left-leaning commentators.

The latest addition is a program hosted by Melissa Harris-Perry, a professor at Tulane University and a regular on the channel. Her still-untitled program will run from 10 AM to noon on Saturdays and Sundays, and will debut February 4, Harris-Perry said in a tweet. The weekend show allows her to keep her day job at Tulane:

Update: MSNBC just sent out their official release. “Up with Chris Hayes” will now run from 8-10AM Saturday and Sunday, while Alex Witt will anchor from 7-8AM on Saturday, and 12-2PM Saturday and Sunday. Witt will anchor the same number of hours she had before, just at a later time (and earlier on Saturdays).

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NBC’s Space Man Jay Barbree Celebrates 78th Birthday with One Giant Candle

NBC’s veteran space correspondent Jay Barbree is celebrating his 78th birthday today with the launch of an Atlas V rocket carrying the Mars rover Curiosity. Barbree has been covering the space program for NBC for 50 years and has covered every manned space mission — and many unmanned, like today’s. This morning during a live report with MSNBC’s Alex Witt, Barbree stumbled over a couple words saying, “I’ll say it right. Give me a break, it’s my birthday. I’m 78 today!” Barbree called the Curiosity mission, “the greatest space science adventure we’ve had to date.”

Cablers Plan Extended Weekend Coverage for Hurricane Irene

It’s all hands on deck for the cable news networks, even though many of those hands will be in the path of Hurricane Irene (satellite image above from 2:17pmET.)

  • Fox News is planning to preempt the business block tomorrow from 10am-NoonET as well as “Huckabee,” and Jeanine Pirro tomorrow night. “Fox & Friends” goes on an hour early. And Shepard Smith will be in to anchor much of the weekend coverage.
  • CNN, which has its weekend programming originate from Atlanta, is planning extended coverage Saturday night from 8pmET-Midnight anchored by Kyra Phillips (whose fiance John Roberts is covering Irene from the Outer Banks for FNC) and Martin Savidge. Wolf Blitzer will anchor a 3-hour “Situation Room” from Washington Saturday from 5pm-8pmET. (Regular weekend night anchor Don Lemon is in Philadelphia where he’ll do a Q&A with TVNewser’s Gail Shister at the annual NLGJA conference tomorrow.) CNN is back on the air at 5am Sunday with T.J. Holmes, Candy Crowley picks up at 9am and NoonET, Fredricka Whitfield as usual in the afternoons and Sunday night programming from 6pmET-Midnight with Randi Kaye and Savidge.
  • MSNBC’s Chris Jansing will anchor “Hardball” tonight at 5pm & 7pm, with a Hurricane focus. Thomas Roberts is on from 10pmET-Midnight. The network, which normally goes to tape on Saturdays and Sundays at NoonET will be in extended coverage all weekend. Veronica De La Cruz anchors early mornings, Alex Witt anchors until Noon, Tamron Hall from Noon-5pmET, Jansing from 5-10pmET and Roberts picks up at 10pm.

And it will be an especially long weekend for all the newsers who live and work in New York City. Mass transit (subways, buses, commuter railroads) in New York City and the suburbs will be shut down as of Noon tomorrow.

Hurricane Irene Could Change Coverage Plans for Dedication of MLK Jr. Memorial

The cable networks are planning special coverage Sunday morning for the dedication of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington, D.C. But Hurricane Irene could scrap some of the outdoor anchor positions the nets had been planning. And while the event will go on rain or shine, the ceremony may be pushed back. Dr. King’s Memorial is on a four-acre plot on the northwest corner of the Tidal Basin.

The dedication comes on the 48th anniversary of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech from the nearby Lincoln Memorial. Here’s what the nets are planning, weather permitting:

  • CNN’s Candy Crowley, T.J. Holmes and Soledad O’Brien will anchor live coverage from 11amET-1pmET with reports beginning as early as 6amET and a special edition of “State of the Union” at 9amET. Other specials include a Holmes-hosted half hour at 7:30pm Saturday and the O’Brien documentary “MLK: Words that Changed a Nation” Sunday at 8pmET/PT.

Cablers Head to Iowa for Straw Poll Coverage

Yesterday we told you what the network Sunday morning shows were up to this weekend, now it is the cablers turn to put their focus on Iowa. With the Iowa Straw Poll slated for Saturday, the cable channels are sending some of their top talent to the state, and planning special coverage on Saturday.

Details after the jump.

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Pentagon Correspondents Briefed on Osama Bin Laden Intelligence Trove; Networks vary in how Beard-Dyed Bin Laden tapes are Broadcast

The network news Pentagon correspondents have just been briefed on the massive intelligence trove taken during the raid on Osama Bin Laden‘s compound last Sunday. MSNBC immediately aired the videos of a beard-dyed Bin Laden as NBC’s Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski was making his way to his camera position. Miklaszewski and MSNBC anchor Alex Witt discussed the videos as they played. At one point, a video shows Bin Laden watching TV (above). Miklaszewski describes Bin Laden with the remote control, “working it like most American men watching sports on the weekend…as he’s flipping channels to find reports about himself.”

Around 1:05pmET, after MSNBC had aired most of the five as-yet unreleased Bin Laden videos at least once, CNN began playing the videos. Fox News chose not to take the videos directly to air, instead broadcasting still images from the video showing the black-bearded Bin Laden.

CNN’s Barbara Starr had an interesting behind the scenes observation, telling anchor Fredicka Whitfield, “You had perhaps 50 reporters here in the Pentagon for a background briefing from a senior intelligence official, we were not allowed to record it, we could take no pictures, we can broadcast nothing from this briefing in terms of what was said, but the Obama administration had an official in the room taking pictures of us.”

Jennifer Griffin on Fox News characterized the intelligence take as “the mother-load” describing Bin Laden in one video looking “like an old man on the floor just watching Al Jazeera.”

Fox News anchor Jamie Colby explained FNC’s policy: “We are only showing you these stills, and not the video. It is our position that we will not ever air video that would serve as propaganda.”

CBS News produced a special report around 12:58pmET with Anthony Mason anchoring in New York and Bob Orr at the Pentagon. ABC News produced a special report around 1:08pmET anchored by David Muir and Martha Raddatz at the Pentagon. Both CBS and ABC aired the videos, none of which had audio.

> More: The DOD video release is changing up cable news afternoon programming. Fox News’ “America’s News HQ” will air until 3pmET; “Journal Editorial Report” and “FOX News Watch” will air at 3 and 3:30pmET, preempting a John Stossel special. MSNBC went live until 2pmET while CNN/U.S. and CNNI have been simulcasting for much of the afternoon.

MSNBC begins booking Comcast guests

A day after Comcast took control of NBCUniversal, we’re starting to see Comcast Network talent appear on NBCU airwaves.

This morning, during continuing coverage of the situation in Egypt, Comcast Network’s Washington Bureau chief Robert Traynham did a Q&A with anchor Alex Witt about White House reaction to the crisis.

“A special welcome to you, Robert. Welcome to the family officially. Glad to have you,” said Witt during the first of Traynham’s two segments so far today.

Traynham joined Comcast Network in 2007. He hosts “Roll Call with Robert Traynham,” a political talk show produced in conjunction with Roll Call. Before Comcast, Traynham worked on Capitol Hill, including as a top aide to former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA).

MSNBC is going live into the afternoon (ET) hours covering the crisis in Egypt. By this time, the network has usually gone to taped programming. Also, last night, “The Ed Show” aired live pre-empting “Lockup” at 10pmET.

9-year-old Christina Green, killed in Tucson massacre, was born on 9/11/2001

This morning, MSNBC’s Alex Witt spoke with Roxanna Green, the mother of Christina Green, the youngest of the 20 victims shot during an event put on by the office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Saturday. Christina Green was interested in politics, so she went to the event with a neighbor. Choking back tears, her mother called her “the face of hope, the face of change…of coming together as a country to stop the violence and hatred and evil words.”

Roxanna Green also spoke with Gretchen Carlson this morning on Fox & Friends — a discussion that got the Fox News anchor and mother of two understandably choked up.

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Cable Coverage: Shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Others, at Event in Tucson

Around 1:30pmET, the cable news channels began continuing coverage of a shooting spree at an event sponsored by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) outside a Safeway store in Tucson this morning. The shooting occurred around 11amMT (1pmET.) At 2:09pmET Fox News reported, sourcing  NPR, that Giffords has died. CNN and MSNBC would also report that Giffords had died, sourcing NPR. FNC’s Bret Baier, joining the coverage of Kelly Wright and Jamie Colby reports “multiple fatalities.”

Giffords, a moderate Blue Dog democrat who was just beginning her third term, was a guest on Fox News Channel just yesterday with Bill Hemmer. Hemmer joined FNC’s coverage around 2:10pm to talk about his interview. “She was proud of the fiscal discipline that she was bringing back to Congress and how important this was,” Hemmer said of Giffords who was proposing a congressional pay cut bill. Hemmer shared that during the commercial break he’d asked her about whether things in Washington were really going to change in the new Congress. Giffords told Hemmer that she was optimistic. “She was filled with vigor and enthusiasm,” he added.

The suspect is in custody. > New: Gunman identified as Jared Lee Loughner, who posted an eery video titled “My Final Thoughts.” We’ve included it after the jump. Also, his YouTube channel is written in the past tense: “My favorite interest was….” “I had favorite books…”

> Update: Fox News’ Peter Doocy reports that in addition to Giffords, four others have died, including a child.

> Update: On CNN, Sylvia Lee, a friend of Giffords talked about how there had been threats against Giffords’ office and that of Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ).

> More: On MSNBC, Rep. Kent Franks (R-AZ): “I am mortified beyond words. Gabrielle Giffords and I are on different ends of the political spectrum, but there has never been one unkind or cross communication between us.”

> More: Pima County, AZ Sheriff Clarence Dupnick talking with MSNBC’s Alex Witt: “I think it’s time that we as a country take look at what kind of hatred we inflame with all the crap that goes on … I think it’s time that this country take a look at … the inflammatory crap that comes out out of some of the radio and TV.”

> Update: By 2:30pmET CNN, MSNBC and FNC had reported, through various sources, that Giffords had died. But those reports would soon be corrected. Around 2:50pmET Bret Baier explained the conflicting reports of Giffords’ death and her condition being critical:

We had three sources, one very reputable source on Capitol Hill, one federal official, law enforcement official on the ground in Arizona, and one federal law enforcement official in D.C monitoring the situation. Three different sources tell us that the Congresswoman had been killed in this shooting. Now, it appears according to her office and the hospital, that she is in surgery, and that the hospital has told the AP and Reuters that she is still in surgery and in critical condition.

> More: Shepard Smith took over anchoring on FNC at 3pmET.

CBS’s Russ Mitchell anchored special reports at 2pmET and again at 2:30pm. ABC’s David Muir anchored specials at 1:37pm and 2:37pm. MSNBC’s Alex Witt interrupted her own coverage on the cable network to anchor an NBC network special at 2:25pmET.

> Condition Update, 4pmET: Doctors are “very optimistic” about Giffords’ recovery. She was shot one time, “in the head, through-and-through.” The bullet, “went through her brain,” said a spokesperson in a news conference carried on the newschannels.

> Update: Fox News, MSNBC programming changes after the jump…

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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.

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