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Posts Tagged ‘Gail Shister’

The Problem with Speculative Journalism: ‘You’re Asking For Trouble’

On “Reliable Sources” this morning, Howie Kurtz and his panel discussed the Supreme Court mis-reporting mess that Fox News and CNN found themselves in Thursday morning. The panel focused on CNN’s Supreme Court expert Jeffrey Toobin, whose predictions in the weeks leading up to the decision, that the mandate would be overturned, turned out to be wrong.

“I think it shows ignorance, with all due respect to Jeffrey Toobin,” said Mark Feldstein, author and journalism professor. “The problem with speculative journalism, horse race journalism, who’s ahead, who’s behind… By having him focus on predictions, that no one can know, you’re asking for trouble.”

TVNewser’s Gail Shister was also on the show this morning talking about the week’s other big media story: the anchor change at the “Today” show. That clip after the jump.

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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.”

Ashley Dupre Makes the Media Rounds

Dupre_11.22.bmp“I turned on the TV and I said, ‘Oh shit, what did I get myself involved in?’” — Ashley Dupre

Tomorrow on Reliable Sources TVNewser’s Gail Shister talks with Howie Kurtz about the Ashley Dupre / Diane Sawyer interview. That’s tomorrow at 10amET on CNN.

We’ll have the ratings for last night’s 20/20 on Monday. Meanwhile, the Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawik has some thoughts on the interview (written before it aired, which, we suspect, he didn’t watch.)

Will Conservative List Help Rather’s Case?

rather_11-17.jpgThe New York Times’ Jacques Steinberg writes about the newest information in the Dan Rather case against CBS, which could help his claim that CBS attempted to “quell Republican criticism of the network” by hiring a panel of conservatives.

“Rather has spent more than $2 million of his own money on the suit. And according to documents filed recently in court, he may be getting something for his money,” writes Steinberg.

Jim Quinn, a lawyer representing CBS, says the network has “gained the most ground” in the pre-trial discovery phase, and “Either on summary judgment or at trial, we feel very comfortable we’ll succeed.”

Steinberg’s article also takes a look at Rather’s involvement in the day-to-day handling of the case. “He has approached it with the zeal of a correspondent trying to report out a ’60 Minutes’ segment about himself, burying himself in deposition transcripts late into the night and providing his lawyers with road maps of leads he thinks they should pursue,” he writes.

As for the list of conservatives, TVNewser’s Gail Shister talked to some of the names mentioned last week, including MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson and CNN’s Lou Dobbs.

Olbermann on Olbermann: “Kinda Went on a Bit, But Then Again I Know People Say That About Me”

KO_BA_11.4.jpgTVNewser columnist Gail Shister reached out to MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann before his show last night to talk about Ben Affleck‘s portrayal of him on Saturday Night Live this past weekend.

Shister: How do you grade the ‘SNL’ bit, and why?

Olbermann: As a technical achievement, it was an A+ Seriously: Ben did that off cue cards, as I discovered when he sent me one with a funny message scrawled in the corner. That is startling to me. I barely get through something of that length on teleprompter. Ben got most of the facial expressions right, and the camera turns were hilarious. And – no offense to Richard Wolffe – but I laughed out loud when they converted “him” into The Worst Person for disagreeing with me. And most to-the-point: yeah, must be four years in a row I’ve mentioned George Orwell‘s birthday. Actual constructive criticism in there amid the satire.

Shister: What DIDN’T you like?

Olbermann: Well, it was a little like that Biden/Murtha sketch from the week before, which I think poor Jason Sudeikis will finally be getting to the last line of in about five weeks. Kinda went on a bit, but then again I know people say that about me. More pertinent, there was a lot of Third Reich stuff thrown around in there, more than I think I’ve actually done in the last five-and-a-half years, and even in humor you have to measure that out with an eye-dropper, not a gallon-sized jug. Also, I think I’ve cut one guest off in five-and-a-half years (other than for breaking news or we just ran out of show) and in the sketch Ben cut off two of them. I think that was a writer writing what he wanted to be true, not what was true.

Shister: Are you flattered or insulted that you rated a bit, and why?

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McCain To Meet Brokaw on NBC

mccain_10-23b.jpgA week after Colin Powell sat across from Tom Brokaw and endorsed his opponent, Sen. John McCain will guest on Meet the Press this Sunday.

This will be the first appearance by McCain on the NBC public affairs program since January 27, almost nine months ago.

Since that time, the McCain campaign sent a letter requesting a meeting with NBC News president Steve Capus after what it felt was unfair coverage. In September, Brokaw said, “We’re going to get him,” regarding a McCain appearance on Meet the Press.

Earlier: Gail Shister interviews Brokaw about MTP and more.

For Brian Williams, 38,486 Miles and Counting

Gail Shister
TVNewser Columnist

RNC Logo10.pngPregnant, shmegnant. Candidates’ kids are not fair game, says NBC’s Brian Williams.

“Show me the germaneness to their ability to lead the nation,” he said last night, a few hours before Sarah Palin‘s vice-presidential acceptance speech at the G.O.P. National Convention.

As everyone in the civilized world learned this week, Bristol Palin, 17-year-old daughter of the Alaska governor, is with child and without husband.

“Families are messy and complicated and American and normal,” said Williams, notoriously protective of his own. “It’s where public officials kind of close the door behind them. Home is home. Family’s family.”

With situations like Palin’s, “We’re feeling our way,” Williams admitted. “It becomes part of the biographical sketch. Sometimes it bleeds over into politics. I’m comfortable reporting what we know.”

For politicos, it’s an easier line to cross when it’s with those of their own ilk, Williams said.

Republican President Reagan and Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, for example, “could be tough customers” on the Hill, Williams said, but after hours, the “twinklely-eyed Irishmen” liked to tip a few. (We can see the headline: Tip Tips.)

“A switch gets thrown when the scene changes.”

In the last eight weeks, Williams has endured more scene changes than a “Law & Order” episode.

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“Does MSNBC Have To Be The Lohans?”

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams appeared on The Daily Show last night, and things got jokingly uncomfortable quickly as Jon Stewart asked about MSNBC dissension: “Is there no control? Is it ‘Lord of the Flies?’ Does anyone have the conch? Can anyone be the leader over there? Could you go in there? Or is it all just Piggy.”

Williams started, “Jon, I think every family has a dynamic all…is this working? Has a dynamic all it’s own. Sometimes it takes a figure to come in…” “But does MSNBC have to be the Lohans?” asked Stewart:

• TVNewser’s Gail Shister will be talking to Brian Williams later today.

“To Put It Simply, We’re Covering Two Different Democatic Conventions”

dnc_8-24.gifIn March 2007, David Chalian became ABC’s political director. In that time he’s handled debates and primary nights.

But with the Conventions come a whole new set of challenges…and extra excitement.

He’s talked with TVNewser’s Gail Shister about some of his other interests, but today it was just politics. Specifically, how difficult tomorrow’s Invesco move would be, cable vs. broadcast news and more. We caught up with Chalian in the ABC News tent this afternoon (more on that later):

Pioneer Shister Inducted Into LGBT Journalists Hall of Fame

shister_8-22.jpgProving true one of her slogans: “Shisterhood is Powerful.”

TVNewser’s Gail Shister will be inducted into the LGBT Journalists Hall of Fame this afternoon at the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) Convention in Washington, D.C. She’ll be just the ninth inductee into the Hall of Fame.

“It means an enormous amount to me,” says Shister. “I’ve been with the organization since the first year, I consider it my baby. I watched it grow, and I’m fiercely protective of it.”

That first year was 1990, a few years after Shister became the first woman sportswriter at the New Orleans States-Item and later at the Philadelphia Inquirer. She was also among the first “out” reporters.

“For somebody like me, who has been out professionally since 1974, it’s difficult to describe what it’s like in an organization of professional journalists who are gay,” she says. “I never thought I’d see that, because for so many years I was the only one. It’s real, strong, robust and growing.”

It’s growing so much, that, as announced this week, the first “out” anchor on cable news in prime time, Rachel Maddow, is set to debut next month. What does Shister think the move means?

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