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Posts Tagged ‘David Zurawik’

Rep. Peter King: Brian Willliams Gave Snowden an ‘Infomercial’

KingRep. Peter King has been one of the most outspoken politicians against NSA-leaker Edward Snowden, and the New York Congressman didn’t mince words this morning about Brian Williams‘ interview with Snowden. King talked about the “myth” that Snowden has revealed an NSA abuse epidemic: “Unfortunately, Brian Williams almost added to that last night, basically giving him an infomercial,” King said on “Morning Joe.” “I really wish Brian Williams would have gone after him, and asked him if he had one piece of evidence that shows that the NSA has violated the law in any way.” (Video after the jump).

Meanwhile, The Baltimore Sun‘s David Zurawik has a much different take, complimenting NBC News and Williams for their “best work in a long time.”

Overall, the questions Williams asked in the interview conducted in a Russian hotel room were probing, contextualized and consistently elicited revealing answers from Snowden. In one case, NBC News did try to report on something Snowden said in the interview, his claim that he had tried to go through traditional whistleblower channels before taking classified data and fleeing the country. And it was hugely important that Williams told viewers NBC was able to report that “multiple sources” confirmed Snowden’s account of expressing his concerns in writing at least once to supervisors that NSA was overstepping its legal authority in gathering vast amounts of personal data from American citizens in the form of phone and computer records.

And the ultimate source just confirmed Snowden’s claim—and NBC News’ reporting—this afternoon: the U.S. government released an email Snowden sent in April, 2013 to NSA lawyers, voicing his concerns about the agency’s domestic surveillance programs.

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Sarah Palin Accepts Martin Bashir’s Apology, Hits MSNBC ‘Hypocrisy’

sarah palin_304x200Sarah Palin accepted MSNBC’s Martin Bashir’s apology during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” suggesting everyone must be humble enough to accept an apology, but she did have pointed words for the “media elite bubble.”

“Who am I to not accept an apology?” Palin said. “Everyone must humble themselves and accept that offer of apology,” she continued, warning that next time a media personality wants to say something vile about her and then call her to apologize privately, she’d like them to go through her husband or children first and “then they can come to me.”

Chris Wallace asked Palin for her thoughts on MSNBC suspending Alec Baldwin, but not Bashir: “That’s the executive hypocrisy that is so prevalent in that media elite bubble,” Palin said. “It depends on the target of the vile rants, it doesn’t depend on what the rant itself actually is.”

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Howard Kurtz’s ‘MediaBuzz’ Projects ‘Authority, Energy and Pace’

It’s been a rough year for Howard Kurtz, but you wouldn’t know it by today’s launch of “MediaBuzz” on Fox News Channel.

After his sudden departures from CNN’s “Reliable Sources” and Tina Brown’s Daily Beast, Kurtz appears to have made a seamless transition to Fox News. “MediaBuzz” projected authority, energy and pace.

Clearly, Kurtz was in his comfort zone. Most of his guests were familiar faces from his 15-year run at “Reliable Sources” – David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun, Washington Post’s Nia-Malika Henderson, media entrepreneur Lauren Ashburn.

In fact, Ashburn, a Fox News contributor, had so much face time, she served as a de facto co-host. Along with appearing in the opening two segments, she co-hosted “Digital Download,” and was on set with Kurtz for his sign-off.

Kurtz has a complicated history with Ashburn. His involvement in her new venture, Daily Download, a Daily Beast competitor, did not endear him to Brown, who later fired him. Ashburn showed up regularly on “Reliable Sources” and followed Kurtz to Fox News.

I couldn’t help but notice that Ashburn, like so many Fox News females, is blonde.

Ditto for guest Michelle Cottle, Washington reporter for The Daily Beast, and Fox’s Jamie Colby, who anchored a news break during the show. The only non-blonde was the Post’s Henderson, who is African American.

“MediaBuzz” opened with a lively panel discussion on media criticism of President Obama’s handling of Syria. Kurtz used the opportunity to take a shot, albeit a mild one, at his new employer. (Since joining the network in June, Kurtz had been criticized for avoiding negative assessments of Fox.)

After MSNBC contributors Robert Gibbs and David Axelrod, both former Obama officials, were lambasted by a panelist for being mouthpieces for the President, Kurtz said it was “fair to question” whether Fox regulars Karl Rove and Rick Santorum were also “pushing an agenda.” At Fox, that passes for napalm.

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Where is TV Critic Aaron Barnhart? Is It Anybody’s Business?

When I began at TVNewser almost five years ago, I would scour local newspaper websites for what the TV columinsts were writing about: Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post, Joanne Ostrow at the Denver Post, Tim Cuprisin of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. And the guys in Chicago: Robert Feder at the Sun-Times and Phil Rosenthal at the Tribune. Some have moved on to other beats, or other publications. And Cuprisin lost his battle with melanoma last year. A couple are still around, including Baltimore Sun‘s David Zurawik. And we are fortunate to have the Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Gail Shister in our line-up.

And there was always Aaron Barnhart of the Kansas City Star. His TVBarn column would often include an interesting angle about cable news we hadn’t covered or an interview with a TV news personality worth picking up.

It turns out Barnhart has gone off the grid apparently for health reasons. So when a local blogger began asking questions about his whereabouts, it touched a nerve and today Jim Romenesko asks if it’s “anybody’s business” where he is and why?

[Star "watchdog" John] Landsberg tells me that reaction to his Barnhart column “has been mixed” and that “some people think it is a fair question to ask about a prominent columnist who simply virtually disappears for several months. Others consider it a private matter.”

Michael Steele determined not to be MSNBC’s ‘Punching Bag’

The Baltimore Suns David Zurawik talks with Michael Steele about the former RNC chairman’s new job: MSNBC contributor. Here’s what Steele says he won’t be:

“I have every confidence that MSNBC will treat me with the level of respect they have obviously shown by hiring me. I mean, why would you bring me on board just to say, ‘OK, this is now our conservative punching bag for the next year.’?”

“That’s not going to achieve the goals that I know Phil Griffin and the Comcast team have in mind for expanding the reach and the depth of the discussion on the network,” he explained. “It certainly doesn’t achieve my goals, to be a punching bag, because, Lord knows, after two punches, you get the joke. ‘Like I’m done. Enough already.’”

What David Shuster got wrong on ‘Reliable Sources’

Former MSNBC correspondent/anchor David Shuster went on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” yesterday to talk about the abrupt departure of Keith Olbermann Friday night. In addition to getting into it a couple times with Baltimore Sun TV critic David Zurawik, Shuster got one fact wrong. He said that under Comcast, MSNBC president Phil Griffin will report to NBC News boss  Steve Capus, instead of reporting directly to NBCU CEO Jeff Zucker. But an MSNBC spokesperson tells us Griffin has reported to Capus since he was named MSNBC president in July 2008, as TVNewser reported at the time.

Cable News’ ‘Crossfire Culture’ Gets Analyzed

RS080210.jpgThe Washington Post‘s Howard Kurtz writes about the “Crossfire Culture” of cable news, and journalism in general. While ostensibly it is about the current state of journalism, it is hard to ignore the focus on cable news pundits:

Cable news channels were pioneers in vituperation, as politicians learned they were more likely to get invited back by breathing fire. The rise of highly opinionated hosts at Fox and MSNBC helped fuel the trend, as has the invasion of pols-turned-pundits — Sarah Palin, Karl Rove, Pat Buchanan, Newt Gingrich, James Carville, Eliot Spitzer — who have blurred the distinction between us (the journalists) and them (those we cover).

And later:

[Bill] O’Reilly regularly portrays his network as the antidote to hopelessly biased rivals: “If you want to know what’s really happening in America, you have to come here because you will not get it in much of the mainstream media.” His chief antagonist, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, said Sherrod’s reputation had been “assassinated by Fox News” and “that scum Breitbart,” but he did not spare what he called “the cowering media, this network included.”

The article seems to draw from a discussion Kurtz had on his Sunday CNN program, “Reliable Sources:”

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‘Reliable Sources’ Critiques Christiane Amanpour on ‘This Week’

reliable080110.jpg CNN’s “Reliable Sources” had a segment with awfully quick turnaround this morning.

Host Howard Kurtz brought on Kansas City Star television critic Aaron Barnhart to discuss Christiane Amanpour‘s debut as host of ABC’s ‘This Week’, barely an hour after it aired.

Said Barnhart:

Well, I think she played to her strengths as a well-prepared researcher, someone who comes loaded for bear for her interviews. These were gets that were — they were published on the Web ahead of time. We could watch much of the segments ahead of time.

So, that part is the known quantity about Christiane. The unknown quantity is the back half of the show, which is the roundtable, where she’s expected to let her guests sort of hold forth and move the news agenda forward. And in that, she seemed a little less ready for the new environment she was thrown into there.

Update: From Barnhart, who writes in from Beverly Hills: “I wasn’t in Kansas City for the segment, I was in LA on TV critics press tour, meaning that I watched the East Coast feed at CNN’s bureau at 6 a.m.! Still, when you compare it to Oscars night – where my review is due about two minutes after the ceremony ends – this was a walk in the park.”

The program also discussed the hyper-partisan state of cable news earlier today, referencing the Shirley Sherrod case and the New Black Panther party coverage, among other topics.

Baltimore Sun TV critic David Zurawik, former CNN exec turned George Washington University professor Frank Sesno, Former USA Today managing editor Lauren Ashburn and CBS News White House correspondent Chip Reid talked about the rhetoric.

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Kurtz, Brown, Hartman, and Zurawik Discuss Gibson-Sawyer Announcement

This weekend on CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” host Howard Kurtz talked with The Daily Beast’s Tina Brown, former CBS Evening News EP Rome Hartman, and the Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawik about last week’s announcement from ABC that Charlie Gibson would be stepping down from “World News” and that Diane Sawyer would be filling the anchor position. The panel discussed Gibson’s tenure, Sawyer’s qualifications, and women in the evening news chair.

Embedded video from CNN Video

ABC’s Health Care Special: Reviews

Prescription.jpgExcerpts from two reviews of Wednesday night‘s ABC News special “Questions for the President: Prescription for America”:

The Washington Post‘s Howard Kurtz says that, despite being criticized “as an Obama ‘infomercial’ before a single moment had aired…it was a pretty good look at a complicated issue.”

But Kurtz does have his “quibbles. The president was allowed to give long answers, with [Charles] Gibson interrupting only a couple times.” And “I would have included a Republican member of Congress” on the program.

• The Baltimore Sun‘s David Zurawik writes: “Let’s make one thing clear right from the start: ABC News did not give President Barack Obama a free pass in its prime-time special.”

But, he says, “Obama had his way from early morning to late night on ABC Wednesday to push his agenda for massive social change on healthcare. In short, he owned ABC’s airwaves.”

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