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Posts Tagged ‘Howard Kurtz’

Jill Abramson : ‘What is Next for Me? I Don’t Know’

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The cable news networks covered this morning’s graduation at Wake Forest University. It’s newsworthy because of the commencement speaker: dismissed New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson. MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry — a Wake Forest alum and new professor at the University — is doing live shots from campus as is NBC News correspondent Rehema Ellis. CNN and Fox News too also dipped into Abramson’s address during which she told the graduates, she feels like one of them: “What is next for me? I don’t know. So I’m in exactly the same boat as many of you. And like you, I’m a little scared, but also excited,” Abramson said.

Both media criticism shows — which are both anchored by former print reporters — led off their shows Sunday with Abramson’s firing.

Brian Stelter, who worked for Abramson at the Times, acknowledged that at times, she could be “gruff” and “rude.” When Stelter told Abramson he was thinking about departing for CNN, her attitude “made it easier to leave,” Stelter said.

Over on Fox News “MediaBuzz,” Howard Kurtz, who previously covered media for The Washington Post, talked about the PR nightmare the firing touched off. “They bungled it,” Lauren Ashburn said.

Both clips after the jump…

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TV News Covers New York Times Shakeup

abramson-300x300TV news personalities have been covering yesterday’s shakeup at the New York Times, where executive editor Jill Abramson was dismissed, and managing editor Dean Baquet replaced her to become the first African American executive editor of the Times.

Howard Kurtz wrote a piece for Foxnews.com today, noting how unusual an abrupt departure like this is at the Times; he also praised Abramson.

Abramson can be a tough customer, but there is no room for shrinking violets at the top of major media organizations. Since she was an inside player who rarely appeared on television, I don’t think she got enough credit for some important work done by the Times—including some early critical reporting about ObamaCare.

Instead, she got trashed by unnamed sources, such as in a Politico piece last year that reported she had once “blown up in a meeting,” traveled a lot and once told an editor to leave a meeting and change a photo. Horrors!

On “Fox and Friends” this morning, the co-hosts talked about the “war on women” at the New York Times, referencing reports that Abramson had made less than her male predecessor, Bill Keller. On “Morning Joe,” Mika Brzezinski said she believes reports of the Times’ pay gap based on her own experience in the TV news business, also citing MSNBC.

“We have our own story here that we’ve written about, so we can put that aside,” Brzezinski said about having previously made it public that she was being paid significantly less than co-host Joe Scarborough.

Other talent took to Twitter.

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Howard Kurtz: Fox News ‘Fell Seriously Short’ on Cliven Bundy Coverage

On “MediaBuzz” yesterday, Howard Kurtz criticized his network’s coverage of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy‘s “blatantly racist comments” last week.

“In my view, Fox News fell seriously short on this story on Thursday,” Kurtz said, noting that throughout that day, there was virtually no mention of Bundy’s comments until “Special Report with Bret Baier” at 6pmET.

Kurtz added that ignoring a major story on the front page of the New York Times, one that Fox itself had spent a lot of time covering, gives ammunition to Fox News detractors.

He did point out that as programming moved into primetime, Greta Van Susteren, Bill O’Reilly, Megyn Kelly, and Sean Hannity all denounced Bundy’s comments.


All the Media News, That’s Fit To Air

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While the three evening newscasts and the network morning shows often look the same — with the same lineup of stories, often airing at the same time — the two media criticism shows, provide two distinct options for news junkies: those who are partial to Fox News and those who tune in to CNN.

Both shows, CNN’s “Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter” and FNC’s “MediaBuzz with Howard Kurtz,” air at the same time, 11amET Sundays. (“MediaBuzz” also gets a re-air at 5pmET)

Yesterday, “Reliable Sources” led with the Stephen Colbert taking over CBS’s “Late Show.” “MediaBuzz” led with how the media covered the departure of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Kurtz got to Colbert :47 minutes into his show. “Reliable Sources” didn’t cover Sebelius at all.

On CNN, Stelter had a 10-minute segment, which included an interview with Sen. Al Franken, on the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger. Kurtz didn’t cover last week’s merger news, but had two segments with former CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson, who was also on Bill O’Reilly‘s show earlier in the week.

Stelter reported last week’s news of a new ABC News president, Kurtz did not. Kurtz discussed the coverage of Jeb Bush last week, Stelter did not. Both shows gladly covered competitor MSNBC, and the reports that host Al Sharpton was once an FBI informant.

While no one will ever confuse CNN and Fox News, the two programs that cover the media are leading the way in differentiation.

Not All Media Critics Think Malaysia Airlines Coverage is Too Much

CNN MalaysiaReuters media columnist Jack Shafer writes in defense of the nonstop Malaysia Airlines coverage, suggesting he can handle what Fox News’ Howard Kurtz can’t.

When a big story breaks, my news digestion knows no satiety. Earthquake, assassination, invasion, bank run, political campaign, celebrity court case, sport scandal or a drunk stubs his toe on the Lower East Side — I can handle anything the press swarm sends at me.

So unlike Fox News press reporter Howard Kurtz (“It’s too much with too few facts,” he said last week of the saturation reporting by his former network, CNN, about Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370), I can handle any “over”-coverage the news machine chooses to throw my way. By handle, I usually mean avoid, but on a story like MH370, I desire the sort of coverage that could fill the Indian Ocean, which I did not know until last week had an average depth of 2.5 miles.

Speaking of Kurtz, he criticizes the media’s plane “hysteria”, particularly pointing to CNN, in a column on Foxnews.com today.

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Fox News Discusses CNN’s ‘Constant Coverage’ of Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight

Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 12.42.43 PMThis morning, both the media criticism shows, FNC’s “Media Buzz” and CNN’s “Reliable Sources” covered the coverage of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Fox News contributor Lauren Ashburn, was critical of CNN’s saturation coverage, but admitted to watching the network when news breaks. “CNN is taking it to the next level and it is becoming dominant,” said Ashburn, adding, “We’re missing all other stories like the CIA spying scandal, Ukraine has been knocked off the front page. But if I do want to know about news I turn to CNN because it is 24/7.”

Host Howard Kurtz added, “CNN’s ratings [are] up nearly 67% in prime time, at least in the first few days” of the coverage.

Meanwhile, over on CNN, instead of beginning at 11amET as usual, “Reliable Sources” was pushed back a few minutes (at 11:30 as well), for the latest on the search for the flight, and other news, including the vote in Crimea. Among his segments, host Brian Stelter talked with psychologist Dr. Gail Saltz about why TV viewers are tuning in: “They want someone to hold accountable and right now we can’t figure out who’s to blame,” said Saltz. “This nebulousness keeps us riveted until we have someone to old accountable.”

Six Months In, ‘MediaBuzz’ Delivers Second-Highest Show Ever

costas kurtzHoward Kurtz‘s “MediaBuzz” delivered its second-highest ratings ever on Sunday, the six-month anniversary of its debut. During a busy news cycle that includes the continuing conflict in Ukraine and the search for the missing Malaysian plane, the Fox News program averaged 1,132,000 total viewers and 263,000 A25-54 viewers, behind only the show that aired the weekend of the Metro North train derailment in New York City (12/1/13).

Since its launch in September, the Fox News program is up +18% in total viewers and +38% in the A25-54 demographic. This week, “MediaBuzz” featured an interview with NBC’s Bob Costas, who talked about his eye infection during the Olympics and his coverage of the Sochi Games.

The strong ratings come on the heels of a win for CNN’s “Reliable Sources” in the A25-54 demographic last week. This week, “Reliable” delivered 376,000 total viewers and 143,000 demo viewers. Compared to the same week last year, “MediaBuzz” is up +15% in total viewers and +21% in the demo, while “Reliable” is down -13% in total viewers and flat (+1%) in the demo.

Mike Huckabee: ‘A Big Issue’ Giving Up Fox, Other Income Streams for Presidential Run

HuckabeeFox News host Mike Huckabee talks to The New Republic about the pluses and minuses of potentially running for president in 2016, including giving up his job at Fox.

There won’t be an incumbent in 2016, but another variable remains in play. Were Huckabee to declare for the race, he’d have to give up his salary from Fox—$500,000 as of 2011—and many of his other income streams. He has called this “a big issue.” At one point, he jokes to me: “I want to be careful that I’m not announcing a candidacy here. Because that would be disastrous.”

Huckabee told Fox News’ Howard Kurtz he was “looking at” a possible 2016 presidential bid at the end of last year.

If he decides to give it a go this time, Huckabee would have to give up his Fox News show once he took more serious steps to running, like forming an exploratory committee and raising money.

Sally Kohn, Ben Ferguson Share Their Fox News-MSNBC Experiences

RSOn Sunday morning’s “Reliable Sources,” former Fox News contributor Sally Kohn and radio host Ben Ferguson talked to host Brian Stelter about appearing on networks that carry far different ideological viewpoint than theirs following a Columbia Journalism Review piece that suggested Fox News is more welcoming to opposing views.

Both pointed out the deck being stacked against them: “Wasn’t worth it…it was usually three-on-one,” Ferguson said about MSNBC, adding it wasn’t worth putting makeup on to be used as a punching bag.

“It was often three on one…my favorite was fifteen-on-one,” Kohn said of her time at Fox News, highlighting a Hannity panel where she was the only liberal in a sea of conservatives. Outnumbered or not, Kohn saw a benefit to appearing on Fox.

“In a show like Hannity…from my perspective, as a liberal, as a progressive, I don’t want that to go unquestioned, unchallenged,” Kohn continued about wanting to offer Fox viewers a liberal counterpoint to its conservative hosts.

This morning, Howard Kurtz has a piece on Foxnews.com on the Columbia Journalism piece, answering why liberals come on Fox—and why Fox spends good money on acquiring them as contributors.

“Well, it’s good television, and more interesting for viewers when everyone doesn’t agree. I used to argue with Keith Olbermann when he had an MSNBC show that it would be less predictable if he would sometimes debate people on the right. He said he didn’t like such fake debates — but the result was, in those years, endless Bush-bashing.”

And Fox News might have some new competition ahead from the right: Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy talked to Stelter about plans to launch Newsmax TV in June, suggesting his company is already bigger than Fox News.

Both segments after the jump. Read more

Brian Stelter’s ‘Reliable Sources’ Gets First Demo Win

brian stelterFor the first time since Brian Stelter took over as the anchor of “Reliable Sources,” the CNN program has topped Fox News’ “MediaBuzz” in the A25-54 demographic.

“Reliable” averaged 193,000 A25-54 viewers at 11amET Sunday, topping Howard Kurtz‘s “MediaBuzz” by +21,000 viewers. In total viewers, “MediaBuzz” remains far out front, averaging 881,000 to “Reliable”‘s 384,000. Kurtz’s program has won every week in total viewers since its debut.

Although Stelter’s numbers were likely helped by the extensive coverage of Ukraine on CNN this weekend, “Reliable” did not cover the conflict at all. The program improved +15% on its lead-in audience in the A25-54 demo for the third week straight — “Reliable” grew +30% from its lead-in on February 23 and +11% on February 16.

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