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Posts Tagged ‘James Fallows’

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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Network News Chiefs: ‘The audience ultimately will make the decision as to whether we are still relevant or capable or not’

At The Atlantic‘s Washington ideas Forum this afternoon, the magazine brought together the three networks news chiefs for a panel discussion. James Fallows spoke to NBC’s Steve Capus, ABC’s Ben Sherwood and CBS’ David Rhodes discussed the future of the evening newscasts, broadcast journalism’s relevance in an digital world, and what their organizations have planned for the future.

Fallows began the conversation with something of a loaded question, asking if the network newscasts should even exist in a world where news is available from a plethora of outlets, 24/7. Sherwood noted that the three evening newscasts saw higher ratings this year than they did last year.

“I still think they are incredibly important outlets and forums,” Capus said. “I disagree that it shouldn’t exist. You look at the size of the audiences that gather every night, they are still substantial.”

“It is true I was in cable for 15 years until February, but I think the one misnomer in the sort of dialogue about these newscasts or these news division is that credibility has become quaint” Rhodes added. “It has not.”

Capus was asked whether the politically polarizing network that he oversees, MSNBC, hurts NBC’s news credibility. He responded by arguing that no, it does not, but that the environment on cable news does not necessarily lend itself to good journalism.
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The Atlantic: Ailes ‘Shows about the way discourse will be conducted in the coming journalistic era’

The Atlantic has a long piece about the current state of journalism from James Fallows. Encompassing all forms of media, Fallows examines a bit of the history of journalism, and where he thinks it is going.

Television news is a major part of it, not surprisingly. Fox News Channel CEO Roger Ailes exemplifies where Fallows believes journalism may be going in the future:

But the new culture also creates positive opportunities—as, it’s worth saying again, every previous disruption has. An odd symbol of the new possibilities is Roger Ailes, the guiding force behind Fox News since its start.

To people who are worried about journalism’s future, Ailes would seem a perverse symbol of anything positive. The “news” system he has created is correctly understood to be a political rather than a journalistic operation, and to be free of inner conflict about “getting it right” or “going too far.” (Here’s the thought-experiment test: What assertion from Glenn Beck on his broadcasts would finally lead Ailes or his producers to say, “Glenn, are you sure?” “Real” news operations don’t always get the right answer to that question, but asking it is how they can think of themselves as journalists rather than propagandists.) But to me, Ailes is an instructive example because of what he shows about the way discourse will be conducted in the coming journalistic era…

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Media Moguls Well Represented at White House State Dinner

Last night the White House hosted a state dinner for Chinese Premier Hu Jintao. Only one TV news anchor was in attendance as a guest, but plenty of media moguls made the list.

ABC News “This Week” anchor Christiane Amanpour attended with her husband James Rubin. Amanpour’s boss, Disney CEO Bob Iger, also attended, with his wife Willow Bay.

General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt, having closed the deal to sell a majority stake in NBC Universal to Comcast, was in attendance, as was Wendi Deng Murdoch, the wife of News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch. Rupert, however, was not there.

Some other media types, after the jump.

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