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Posts Tagged ‘Jeffrey Toobin’

Party for Jeffrey Toobin’s Latest Book, ‘The Oath’

Politics and law were the hot topics at Time Warner Center last night as colleagues, friends and family came out to fete Jeffrey Toobin and his new book, “The Oath,” about the often confrontational relationship between the Obama White House and the Supreme Court.

The book party included a discussion with CNN’s Senior Political Analyst David Gergen. Among the attendees: Mediaite’s Dan Abrams and his father, attorney Floyd Abrams; CNN anchor Ashleigh Banfield, execs Ken Jautz and Mark Whitaker; News Corp’s Joel Klein, Bloomberg’s Norm Pearlstine, The New Yorker‘s David Reminck as well as Toobin’s mother, Marlene Sanders, a former CBS News correspondent and Toobin’s wife Amy McIntosh.

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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In Acknowledging its own Inaccurate Report, Fox News Points Fingers Elsewhere

Alex has written about how CNN got it wrong this morning in reporting the Supreme Court health care ruling. Now Fox News has issued a statement of its error, or more accurately, its inaccurate report.

As we reported in our first post on this mess, FNC’s Bill Hemmer reported at 10:07, “The individual mandate has been ruled unconstitutional.”

Shannon Bream then reported that news further from the steps of the Supreme Court.

At 10:09, Megyn Kelly jumped in: “Wait we are getting conflicting information, we are getting conflicting information. If you follow which covers the high court they say that despite what Shannon just read that the individual mandate is surviving as a tax. This is not confirmed by us yet this is according to SCOTUSBlog which also has the opinion…”

Instead of admitting the network’s error, Michael Clemente, EVP of News for Fox News, took a shot at other networks:

“We gave our viewers the news as it happened. When Justice Roberts said, and we read, that the mandate was not valid under the Commerce clause, we reported it. Bill Hemmer even added, be patient as we work through this. Then when we heard and read, that the mandate could be upheld under the government’s power to tax, we reported that as well — all within two minutes.

By contrast, one other cable network was unable to get their Supreme Court reporter to the camera, and said as much. Another said it was a big setback for the President. Fox reported the facts, as they came in.”

Unlike CNN, which misreported the news on air, online and through social media for about six minutes before a clarification, FNC’s two minutes of inaccurate reporting was solely on TV. Here’s how it played out on air:

How CNN Got It Wrong

“We want to reset what has just happened,” Wolf Blitzer said on CNN at 11 AM.

Blitzer was refreshing viewers on the events that transpired this morning with the Supreme Court effectively upholding President Obama’s healthcare reform law. It could also be seen as something of a metaphor for CNN, which needed a refresh after erroneously reporting that the individual mandate had been overturned.

CNN released a statement apologizing for the error:

“In his opinion, Chief Justice Roberts initially said that the individual mandate was not a valid exercise of Congressional power under the Commerce Clause. CNN reported that fact, but then wrongly reported that therefore the court struck down the mandate as unconstitutional. However, that was not the whole of the Court’s ruling. CNN regrets that it didn’t wait to report out the full and complete opinion regarding the mandate. We made a correction within a few minutes and apologize for the error.”

After Blitzer’s introduction at the top of the hour, he threw to Kate Bolduan standing outside the Supreme Court, who walked viewers through what had just happened. She said Supreme Court producer Bill Mears was sending the information about the decision to her and other reporters (appearing to place the burden of the incorrect information on his shoulders), although Blitzer cut her off to throw to Senator Tom Harkin at a rally by the court.

Unfortunately, the Harkin feed didn’t have any good audio, so Blitzer returned to Bolduan. A few minutes later, John King and Jeffrey Toobin (making his first appearance since the ruling) appeared on camera to explain what happened inside the courtroom. The issue, according to Toobin, was that Chief Justice Roberts began to read the decision, and it sounded like it would be overturned. He then took “a left-hand turn” and upheld the law.

Given that the popular opinion among cable news talking heads–including Toobin–was that it would be overturned, CNN staffers may have been primed for that result. A source at CNN tells TVNewser that they had a number of stories ready to go, depending on how the Supreme Court ruled.

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CNN, FNC Fail in Early Reporting of Health Care Ruling

The expediency of TV news is not meeting well with the depth involved in the ruling on the Affordable Care Act of 2010, more commonly known as Obamacare.

“Be cautious with us, we’re trying to do the best we can,” said Bill Hemmer on Fox News, at 10:11am. “We may need to update our lower third, which may not be correct,” added Megyn Kelly, which stated the court had ruled the individual mandate unconstitutional.

At 10:07, CNN’s Kate Bolduan reported the same: “It appears as if the Supreme Court justices have struck down the individual mandate.”

“Wow, that’s a dramatic moment, if in fact the Supreme Court has ruled the individual mandate is in fact unconstitutional,” said Wolf Blitzer.

In fact, they didn’t and it was more complicated than that.

At 10:11am, a breathless NBC justice correspondent Pete Williams got it right in an NBC/MSNBC simulcast, “They have said that it can’t be upheld under the commerce clause, the individual mandate can’t. But [Chief Justice John Roberts] said it can be upheld under the court’s taxing authority. So the bottom line here is the Supreme Court has upheld the health care law. It is a penalty, not a tax.”

That clear enough?

Probably not. Our suggestion: see how the three evening newscasts report it, or read the New York Times.

As for the broadcast networks:  Matt Lauer anchored on NBC until 10:26am, Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos on ABC, with Terry Moran at the court also aired their special report until 10:26. On CBS, Scott Pelley was in Washington along with Jan Crawford at the court with their special report running until 10:30. And FNC’s Jon Scott anchored on FOX stations until 10:27

HLN, CNBC, Fox Business, Bloomberg and C-Span, are also giving the decision extensive coverage.

Jerry Sandusky Convicted on 45 of 48 Counts of Sexual Abuse

The first sign of the verdict in the Jerry Sandusky trial emerged at 10:10pm tonight as reporters bounded down the steps of the courthouse in Bellefonte, PA. The indication of what those verdicts were — guilty on 45 of 48 counts — came as trial-watchers emerged, arms raised, cheering the result.

In the ensuing minutes, reporters and producers from CNN, Fox News and NBC found their camera positions and explained how the verdicts were read and what the reaction was from Sandusky, his family and his victims.

“It’s most likely the end of Jerry Sandusky,” said Shepard Smith who lead coverage on Fox News. “It’s as sad as anything I’ve covered,” Smith said. FNC’s David Lee Miller reported from outside the courthouse while producer Shira Bush was inside for the verdict.

Anderson Cooper anchored on CNN as Jason Carroll and Susan Candiotti reported from the courthouse and legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin phoned in.

“He’s going to die in prison, where he should die,” said Toobin. “This is an evil, evil man.”

“Many of us thought the jury would mistry. But they didn’t led down lady justice,” said Nancy Grace anchoring on HLN while on MSNBC her former Court TV colleague Catherine Crier was a guest on MSNBC’s coverage anchored by Ed Schultz.

In her remarks after the verdict, prosecutor Linda Kelly singled out the media for their “exceptional attentiveness and thoroughness, with much thoughtful commentary and insightful analysis.”

Covering The Supreme Court, Camera-Free

Judge Judy this isn’t. As the Supreme Court concluded three days of Oral Arguments on the validity of President Obama’s signature legislation, the health care reform law, there’s no shortage of opinion about why most Americans never got to see any of the action.

“The Justices are appropriately conservative about the inner workings of the court,” Jeffrey Toobin, CNN legal analyst and author of the Supreme Court book The Nine told TVNewser between live reports Wednesday. “They all have great reverence for the institution and don’t want to damage it in any way, and that is a very understandable and appropriate concern. But, they are also doing the people’s business, and the people should be able to see it.”

What the court does do — largely because of C-SPAN’s relentless commitment to asking for more access — is to release audio recordings of the arguments at the end of every week. In the case of the high-profile health care case, it was every day.

“I think they are clearly softening their position on audio,” Toobin says. “They already tape-record it, so even streaming it live on the web would have absolutely no impact on their proceedings, and I bet within five years they will be doing that. Video is a completely different story, and I am less optimistic about that.”

Admittedly, the Court has reason to withhold video coverage of oral arguments, even if those reasons are based more on fear of embarrassment than anything else. A former clerk to a current Supreme Court Justice told us that internally there were two issues with cameras in the high court.

The first is that TV news will condense hour-long arguments into pithy soundbites. The second: that it would place too much emphasis on oral arguments, which are less important in an appeals court such as the Supreme Court than in lower courts.

NBC News chief justice correspondent Pete Williams tells TVNewser the “soundbites” issue really doesn’t hold water, and that there are likely other reasons why the Justices are reluctant to add cameras.

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Personalities–And a Former President–Toast Dr. Sanjay Gupta At Book Party

Gupta, Couric, Gupta's father Subhash

Just how well-liked is CNN correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta? So much so that his book release party, held at The Setai Hotel last night, had more boldface names in attendance than many TV premieres. Gupta’s first novel, Monday Mornings, was released this week.

Former President Bill Clinton, former CBS News anchor Katie Couric, daytime talk-show host Dr. Oz, “The Daily Show” correspondent Aasif Mandvi, Fox News Channel’s Bill Hemmer and former CNN anchor Kiran Chetry were all there. And that is before you get into the CNN contingent, which included Soledad O’Brien, Don Lemon, Ivan Watson, Jeffrey Toobin, Ashleigh Banfield and Christine Romans, among others.

Nearly every top CNN executive was there, including CNN Worldwide chief Jim Walton, CNN U.S. chief Ken Jautz, CNN managing editor Mark Whitaker, CNN International chief Tony Maddox and HLN chief Scot Safon. We also spotted CBS News president David Rhodes mingling with the crowd.

Clinton held court close to the entrance to the bar, with guests approaching him to chat throughout the night. Gupta worked through the crowd, saying hello to everyone, posing for photos and signing copied of his book. “Enjoy your stay in Chelsea General!” he wrote in one, referring to the fictional hospital in the book.

Gupta also said that the television adaptation of his novel for TNT continues to progress, and production started this month.

“Clearly Sanjay is a man of many many talents, he is possibly the busiest human being I have ever met,” said Walton during the reception, before quipping “Here is his book by the way.”

Many more pictures below.

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At CPJ Gala, Dan Rather Criticizes Corporate Media, While Comcast CEO Brian Roberts Promises Journalistic Independence For NBC News

Last night the Committee to Protect Journalists held its annual gala at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City. The bulk of the event was to honor journalists who risked their lives to cover the news, and along the way a few well-known faces showed up. In addition to the international award recipients, Mansoor al-Jamri of Bahrain, Javier Valdez Cardenas of Mexico, Umar Cheema of Pakistan and Natalya Radina of Belarus, former “CBS Evening News” anchor Dan Rather accepted a lifetime achievement award, while Comcast CEO Brian Roberts accepted his first public award since his cable company acquired NBCUniversal.

In his speech, Rather set his sights squarely on corporate media–of which Roberts is clearly a part– and sent a message to journalists to not forget their heritage. He was introduced by First Amendment lawyer James Goodale, who began by defending Rather’s report on former President George W. Bush‘s military service. “All the facts in that particular program were substantially correct,” Goodale said. “He was correct.”

Questions surrounding that report led to Rather’s departure from CBS News.

“As you know, we are living in an age when big money owns everything…including the news,” Rather said. “That cash bought a lot of silence for a long time. Enough time for unchecked power to get this country tangled into messes all around the world. We all know that money talks. But, so do the people…

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TV, Wall Street Bigwigs Fete Erin Burnett at CNN Launch Party

Mark Whitaker, Jim Walton, Anderson Cooper, Erin Burnett, Piers Morgan and Ken Jautz

Last night CNN feted its newest anchor, Erin Burnett, at Robert restaurant at The Museum of Arts and Design in Columbus Circle, just a few hundred feet from CNN’s NYC headquarters. Overlooking Columbus Circle and the southwest corner of Central Park, guests watched the city fade into night, while clips of Burnett preparing for her show played on a loop on TV sets spread throughout the space.

Just after 7:30 PM, CNN/U.S. executive VP Ken Jautz and CNN managing editor Mark Whitaker made some brief remarks. Jautz commented that Burnett is extremely passionate about news, and that anyone expecting a curt reply when asking her what she is working on is in for a long conversation.

Burnett then addressed the crowd and thanked them for their support. Her manager John Ferriter was in attendance, as was her fiancee David Rubulotta. Jautz and Whitaker got shout-outs, as did CNN Worldwide president Jim Walton and CNN ad sales chief Greg D’alba, both of whom were working the room.

The party also drew a packed room of boldface names:

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