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Posts Tagged ‘Jim Lehrer’

PBS Adds ‘NewsHour Weekend’ To Fall Lineup

PBS has made it official: there will be a new half-hour weekend edition of the “PBS NewsHour” coming later this year.

“PBS NewsHour Weekend” will debut September 7, and will be anchored by Hari Sreenivasan (pictured left), a correspondent for the weekday edition of the program. Sreenivasan writes about what he hopes to accomplish at the new program here.

Unlike the weekday edition of “NewsHour,” which originates from Washington DC, the weekend edition will originate from New York City, at the studios of WNET at Lincoln Center.

“I am delighted about the expansion of the ‘NewsHour’ to the weekend,” said Jim Lehrer, executive editor, and founding former news anchor for ‘PBS NewsHour’ in a statement. “I welcome this latest expansion of our brand of trusted and balanced journalism. Plus, it is equally wonderful to rekindle our relationship with WNET, where Robert MacNeil and I started nearly 40 years ago.”

The expansion in New York City comes as the “NewsHour” was forced to lay off staff in its Denver and San Francisco offices, as well as some production roles in Washington DC.

More, after the jump.
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‘PBS NewsHour’ Lays Off Staff In Reorganization

The “PBS NewsHour” is laying off staff in a significant reorganization, TVNewser has learned.

According to an internal memo obtained by TVNewser, MacNeil/Lehrer Productions–which produces the “NewsHour”–will be shutting down its offices in Denver and San Francisco, eliminating nearly all the positions there. The company will also eliminate several production positions in its Washington DC office, while leaving two open senior-level roles unfilled.The “NewsHour” is also planning to save money by streamlining and digitizing its technical process.

“This difficult step comes after more than a year spent reviewing how the ‘NewsHour’ functions, and determining the streamlining necessary to address both the funding challenges (primarily a steady drop in corporate revenue) and the opportunities presented by new technologies,” wrote “NewsHour” EP Linda Winslow and MacNeil/Lehrer president Bo Jones in the memo to staff.

The changes will go into effect at the start of the new fiscal year, July 1. None of the affected staffers were named in the email, but TVNewser hears that one of those departing is San Francisco correspondent Spencer Michels, who started reporting for the program 30 years ago.

While the program will still maintain in-house crews, the “NewsHour” will rely more on freelance contributions going forward.

“Along with sending our own teams in the field, we anticipate building new relationships with a variety of locally-based freelance video journalists around the country,” Winslow wrote to staff. “Under no circumstances do we intend to abandon the mini-documentary reports that have become so critical to our broadcast. The NewsHour remains committed to delivering the same kind of in-depth reporting our viewers and supporters expect from us.”
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Bob Schieffer’s ‘Light Hand’ Lets Candidates ‘Go At It As Much As Possible’

Before tonight’s presidential debate, on his Fox News show, Bill O’Reilly said “If [Bob] Schieffer doesn’t ask about Libya, he has to retire tomorrow.”

Well, it was the first question Bob Schieffer asked, so the 75-year-old CBS News man doesn’t need to retire just yet. (How each candidate answered the question is another matter).

Unlike the first two presidential debates the moderator this time didn’t make news. Schieffer did what a moderator is supposed to do: ask the question and get out of the way.

During FNC’s post-debate coverage Brit Hume‘s first thought went to Schieffer: “I thought Bob Schieffer did a good job in the same way Jim Lehrer did which was by keeping a light hand in letting the candidates go at it as much as possible.”

Tom Brokaw, who moderated the Town Hall in 2008, says this format — the candidates side by side at a table — is a better way to run a debate. “That’s what I like to see is the moderator sitting across the table from them within reach, both physically and in terms of tone,” said Brokaw during NBC’s coverage.

As for fairness, the time each candidate got couldn’t be much closer. According to CNN’s onscreen tally: of 83 total minutes, Pres. Obama was given :35 seconds more than Gov. Romney.

  • Related: From Twitter: Total volume during the debate: 6.5 million Tweets. Peak moment: 105,767 Tweets Per Minute – 9:45pmET – Obama: “We also have fewer horses and bayonets”

Bob Schieffer Previews Final Debate

Tonight’s final presidential debate will be moderated by CBS “Face the Nation” anchor Bob Schieffer. Schieffer gave an interview to TV Guide‘s Stephen Battaglio about the debate, and what questions he expects to ask the candidates.

“What happens next? Where does this go?” Schieffer says. “Is it better for the United States that we have an iron fisted dictator that’s friendly to the U.S. or a government in turmoil where we don’t know who they’re loyal to? There is also the rise of China and how do we manage that. These are things that may be more important than Mitt Romney’s income taxes when you get right down to it.”

Elsewhere, Politico writes that Schieffer and fellow debate moderator Jim Lehrer are buddies… and have somewhat embarrassing hobbies:
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VIDEO: Candy Tries To Rein Them In

While the early moderator reviews reviews were much more positive than in the first Presidential debate (though admittedly not in certain parts of the blogosphere), Candy Crowley still had to face some of the same issues that Jim Lehrer did. A big one: getting the candidates to stop talking.

Both Fox News and ABC News got the same idea, and put together montages of Crowley trying to bring order to the auditorium.


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Megyn Kelly on Debate Coverage: ‘Let’s not start criticizing the moderator before she’s moderated’

The Presidential debates have brought interest in the election to a fever pitch, and for Megyn Kelly and Bret Baier — who are the face of Fox News’ political coverage — that extra push has led them to a major milestone.

More than 10 million people watched Kelly and Baier’s coverage of the Vice Presidential debate last Thursday, putting Fox News ahead of its competitors: cable and broadcast.

“It’s amazing to me,” Kelly told TVNewser Monday as we stopped by the set of her “America Live” program.

“FNC has been such a powerhouse for a long time, but it’s still a cable news operation, and people have to pay for cable, and not everybody has it. So whenever we beat the nets, that’s a big deal. That gets all of our attention.”

From her perch at the Fox News anchor desk, Kelly has had a front-row seat to the first two debates. She is quick to defend Jim Lehrer, who was widely criticized for his handling of the first Presidential debate, saying he did “exactly what a moderator should do, which is get out of the way.”

Kelly said the campaigns and the media “are not aligned in their missions when it comes to the debates,” noting the early criticism of tonight’s moderator, CNN anchor Candy Crowley, came from the campaigns’ concern that she might ask follow-up questions of the candidates.

“Let’s not start criticizing the moderator before she’s moderated! Let’s give the woman a break and let her do her job and let’s see how she does it,” Kelly said. “If she tries to make the debate all about her, and insert a bunch of Candy Crowley questions, instead of the town hall questions, that won’t be

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‘The Daily Show’ Tackles Martha Raddatz’s Debate Moderating

“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” tackled Martha Raddatz and her performance during the Vice Presidential debate (and how she compared to Jim Lehrer the week before). Unlike pretty much every segment on TV news that Stewart does, he seemed to have nothing but praise for Raddatz.

“I don’t know what it was, but it was amazing. The lost language of journalism being spoken on modern television, watching her moderate that debate with, oh my God, editorial authority. Its like going to Amish country and seeing them making beautiful chairs by hand. You’re like I thought this craft had been completely forgotten.”

Of course, he was on more familiar ground when he also took the cable news analysis of the debate to task.


Candy Crowley’s Debate Dilemma: ‘Trying to find that space between cutting off the conversation too early or letting it go too long’

Don’t look for President Obama and Mitt Romney to play “Eat the Moderator” in their rematch tomorrow night, says CNN’s Candy Crowley.

With the format a Town Hall Meeting at Hofstra, the candidates are less likely to ignore the moderator and make speeches, as they did with PBS’s beleaguered Jim Lehrer in the first debate, Crowley says.

“When you’re dealing directly with voters, you’re less likely to go on and on,” says Crowley, ‘State of the Union’ anchor and the first woman to moderate a presidential debate in 20 years. “There’s a different dynamic to it. Folks want to get a chance to talk to the guys.”

In a traditional debate format, “the president and Romney are quite happy to roll over the media,” Crowley, 63, says. “There’s no price to be paid for that.”

Lehrer was blasted from all corners for having been too passive. Crowley says he did exactly what he was supposed to do under the new debate format – allow the candidates to talk directly to each other in wide-open, 15-minute segments.

Getting the candidates to engage is not always easy, however, as Lehrer discovered. For most of the debate, Obama seemed like he was having an out-of-body experience.

“As much as Jim tried to have the men engage with each other, the bottom line is that the president didn’t want to engage with Romney,” says Crowley. “The president’s campaign said he wanted to talk to the American people directly. It appears he went in with the wrong strategy. Mitt was ready to rock and roll.”

On the other hand, if candidates become too engaged, “they look mean,” Crowley says. “They don’t

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Fancy Footwork but No Knockout Blows as Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly Spar

Was it a mock debate? A mockable debate? A debatable mock?

Whatever it was, Jon Stewart’s and Bill O’Reilly’s ‘Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium’ Saturday night was a lot more fun to watch than was last week’s presidential debate.

In fact, President Obama and Mitt Romney would do well to consider bringing in Stewart and O’Reilly to prep the candidates for their next showdown, Oct. 16 at Hofstra. They could do a lot worse, and probably have.

Held at George Washington University’s sold-out Lisner Auditorium and streamed live online for $4.95, ‘Rumble’ featured equal parts polemics and poppycock about the country’s most pressing political issues. Lincoln-Douglas, it was not.

Both hosts were outside their natural habitats. O’Reilly is no standup comedian, and Stewart can bray when he overplays the righteous indignation card. Also, the two were used to going mano a mano in short segments on each other’s shows, but this event was 90 minutes. Untelevised minutes, to boot.

Still, as befits their unlikely bromance, the Lilliputian Stewart – he’s 5-foot-7 – and 6-foot-4 O’Reilly were obviously enjoying themselves at the sparring session. It wasn’t as funny as ‘The Daily Show’ or as fiery as ‘The Factor.’ It wasn’t even a rumble. But it had its moments.

Raising and lowering himself on an electric riser behind the podium, Stewart began his opening remarks with: “My friend Bill O’Reilly is completely full of shit.” He riffed about Fox

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The SNL Chris Matthews: ‘I feel bad for whoever had to move the podium afterwards because Obama took a giant dump behind it’

Rachel Maddow, S.E. Cupp, Rev. Al Sharpton and Chris Matthews all got the SNL treatment last for MSNBC’s post-debate coverage Wednesday night. “I feel bad for whoever had to move the podium afterwards because Obama took a giant dump behind it,” said the Jason Sudeikis version of Matthews.

Chris Parnell was back as Jim Lehrer in another sketch about the debate itself (after the jump).

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