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Posts Tagged ‘John McCain’

Behind the Scenes at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner

For the White House Correspondents’ Association, it’s a night to celebrate the free press. For Joel McHale, it’s a night where “a guy like me can stand before the president, the press and Patrick Duffy, and tell jokes without severe repercussions.” And for TVNewser, it’s a night where the people we cover all year — executives, producers, reporters and anchors from every major network — are all together in the same room: the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner, which we attended this year as a guest of ABC News.

Our night began outside the entrance to the ballroom at the Washington Hilton, where we overheard now-NBC News correspdonent Cynthia McFadden ask for directions to the ABC News party. We followed her in, and a few minutes later we were chatting with Diane Sawyer, who told us she always looks forward to the Correspondents’ Dinner, and James Goldston, who said he was pleased with his first few weeks as ABC News president. In the back of the room, Fox News anchors Ainsley Earhardt and Kimberly Guilfoyle posed for a picture with Sofia Vergara; Earhardt told us afterwards that she’s “having a blast” anchoring “Fox & Friends First,” despite the crazy hours. We spotted Katie Couric chatting with former Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman and his daughter, Abby Huntsman, who is a co-host of MSNBC’s “The Cycle.”

Wolf Blitzer made the rounds with Diane Lane. We saw NBC’s Savannah Guthrie and ABC’s Lara Spencer snap a picture with Tony Goldwyn from “Scandal.” We spent a few minutes with Rebecca Jarvis, and chatted with Alicia Menendez about her participation in the TVNewser Show as well as her Twitter habit.

On the way into the ballroom, we spotted Guthrie and her husband, Mike Feldman, chatting with Bret Baier and his wife Amy. We saw Jessica Simpson and her fiance, Eric Johnson, chatting with fans. Simpson’s ex, Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo, was also at the WHCD as a guest of Fox News. Read more

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TV News Bookers Love Senator John McCain

McCainA former presidential candidate and senior U.S. Senator is often desired as a guest across TV news, but the news networks have taken an extra liking to Arizona Senator John McCain over the last week.

Since last Tuesday, February 25, the senator has appeared 11 times across Fox News, Fox Business, CNN, and Bloomberg. The news cycle certainly merits TV news Bookers seeking out the former Republican nominee for president.

First, there was news of Defense Department cuts last Monday, which McCain is known for being against. The next day, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a controversial bill that potentially discriminated against LGBT people, which McCain had urged her to do.

And in the last few days, McCain has been a prime target for TV news networks covering the tumultuous situation happening between Russia and the Ukraine. McCain visited anti-government protesters in Kiev back in December. Unsurprisingly, the 2008 presidential opponent of Barack Obama has voiced his displeasure with now-President Obama’s strategy and comments about the conflict.

McCain’s week-long TV news blitz only adds to his reputation as a Booker’s best friend: he ranked number one on 2013 New York Times assessment of perrenial Sunday show guests.

The Senators Who Show up in your Living Room on Sunday Mornings

The New York Times has an assessment of the perennial Sunday show guest: a short list of U.S. senators, topped by Sen. John McCain. Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace tells the Times Senator McCain checks most of the the boxes that all the shows look for. “What makes a good guest is someone who makes news. To make news, you have to be at the center of the news and willing to talk about it in a noncanned way, someone who always come to the shows ready to play.”

The combined viewership of the Sunday shows on NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX is less than 9 million viewers. By comparison, the same number tune into “NBC Nightly News,” the evening news ratings leader, every night. Critics complain the news that emanates from the Sunday shows can unevenly influence the news cycle.

“You can go on Charlie Rose midweek and have a long conversation that ends in a game of strip poker and no one will pay attention,” said Philippe Reines, a senior adviser to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. “You go on a Sunday show, and everyone is looking for the slightest change, a new syllable, some new nuance.”

Senator John McCain’s Plan To Torpedo TV As We Know It

This afternoon Senator John McCain (R-AZ) introduced legislation (The Television Consumer Freedom Act of 2013) that would completely upend the television business.

There aren’t many things that can unite News Corp., Turner Broadcasting, NBC, CBS and Disney, but stopping this legislation is sure to be one of them.

In a nutshell, McCain’s legislation would allow cable, satellite and telco companies to unbundle TV channels, either selling them “a la carte” or in smaller bundles (think a “sports” bundle). It would also prohibit media conglomerates from shifting popular programming from free over the air networks to cable channels (think the NCAA basketball championship being shared between CBS, which is free, and Turner Sports, which is on cable).

McCain, speaking on the Senate floor, noted that the cost of cable has gone up 4X more than the purchasing power of U.S. consumers, thanks largely to the ever-increasing bundles which force cable companies to carry “Nat Geo Wild” if they want Fox News, or “Cloo” if they want USA Network.

“It is unfair and wrong, especially when you consider how the regulatory deck is stacked in favor of the industry, and against the consumer,” McCain said.

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John Heilemann Makes Lindsey Graham Joke on ‘Morning Joe;’ Edited Out of 8am Reair

Just after 6am, on “Morning Joe” this morning, Joe, Mika and guest John Heilemann were talking about yesterday’s New York Times article about “the three amigos” Senators John McCain, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham, who have bonded over the last decade through international travel putting themselves at the center of the foreign policy debate at home.

With Lieberman leaving the Senate, McCain and Graham have brought in another “amigo” Senator Kelly Ayotte. That prompted Heilemann to make a bad joke, at the expense of Graham:

Heilemann: They need a third amigo at all times. So now they have — now two of the three are women — now at least one of the three are women.

That drew hysterical laughter from Scarborough who had to turn his chair around. Mika Brzezinski took over and brought in Andrea Mitchell as Scarborough and Heilemann composed themselves.

The line was edited out of a re-air at 8amET. You’ll recall it was “Morning Joe” regular Mark Halperin, Heilemann’s co-author on “Game Change” who drew a suspension 17 months ago for his “Morning Joe” comment about Pres. Obama being “kind of a dick.”

Video is after the jump. Read more

From the Vault: Sarah Palin as John McCain’s VP Pick

What a difference four years makes.

While Paul Ryan‘s name had been near the top of many VP pick lists, the confirmation came a good 9 hours before the official announcement. News networks confirmed the choice late last night with their sources, while @MittRomney confirmed it this morning, sending a Tweet at 7:45am.

That’s quite a contrast from four years ago, when John McCain chose Sarah Palin has his running mate. On the morning of Friday, August 29, 2008, the day after Barack Obama gave his acceptance speech at the DNC, the news networks scrambled to confirm Palin, the relatively unknown Alaska Governor, as the pick.

90 minutes before the announcement, FNC’s Carl Cameron was first with the news, just like he was last night with details of the Romney pick.

HBO’s ‘Game Change’ Well-Represented at Primetime Emmys

HBO’s “Game Change,” the movie that took a dramatic look at the 2008 Presidential campaign, secured 12 Primetime Emmy nominations from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. The nominees were announced live during the network morning shows.

Among the nominations: Outstanding Miniseries or Movie, Julianne Moore for her portrayal of Sarah Palin, Ed Harris for his portrayal of John McCain and Woody Harrelson for his portrayal of Steve Schmidt.

The movie attracted tremendous buzz online, and drew 2.1 million viewers when it debuted, making it the most-watched HBO movie in eight years.

Other TV news-related nominees included soon-to-be CNN host Anthony Bourdain, who received a nomination for “No Reservations,” a handful of nods for “Veep,” a political comedy on HBO, and of course a slew of nominations for “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report.”

You can see all the nominees here.

Ben Mulroney Joins ‘Good Morning America’

NBC News employs the daughters of two former presidents: Jenna Bush Hager and Chelsea Clinton. ABC has on staff, Chris Cuomo, the son of a former New York governor and the brother of the current one. MSNBC counts Meghan McCain, daughter of Sen. John McCain as a contributor and CNN has turned to the great-granddaughter of Pres. Herbert Hoover, Margaret Hoover, for commentary. A Shriver, a Brzezinski, we’re sure there are  more.

Now, ABC has gone north of the U.S. border to find the latest political progeny who’s turned to television.

ABC News president Ben Sherwood announced the hiring of Ben Mulroney as a contributor to “Good Morning America.” Mulroney, the son of former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, will continue to host CTV’s “etalk,” an entertainment news program in Canada.

“He is a terrific broadcaster, quick on his feet, and excels at live television,” writes Sherwood in a note to the staff. “Ben is a versatile journalist, equally comfortable on the red carpet, covering the Vancouver Winter Games or interviewing Canadian Prime Ministers.”

Mulroney makes his “GMA” bow this weekend.

Invaluable Resource, Sleep Aid. How C-SPAN Stands the Test of Time

If founder Brian Lamb had to do it over again, C-SPAN wouldn’t be called C-SPAN.

“It’s not the greatest name around,” says Lamb, 70, who steps down Sunday as CEO. “Three people know what it stands for. I don’t even know what it stands for. One of our board members asked me. We rarely ever spell it out.”

Drum roll, please.

Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network launched on March 19, 1979, with four employees (including Lamb) and a reach of 3.5 million homes. It now includes three networks, a staff of 280 and a universe of 100 million homes.

Most Americans assume the ‘C’ in C-SPAN stands for Congress, since covering Congress’ proceedings – live, unfiltered, gavel-to-gavel – is its raison d’etre. But in 1979, with cable in its infancy, Lamb felt it more important to brand C-SPAN as a non-broadcast enterprise.

“Otherwise, people wouldn’t have known what it was,” says Lamb, newly-named executive chairman. “At that point, we were only the sixth cable network.”

These days, C-SPAN suffers no such identity crisis, though Lamb does, often being mistaken for Sen. John McCain, Ed Harris or John Glenn. According to C-SPAN’s most recent survey, 75 percent of respondents recognize the non-profit network’s name, Lamb says. Since C-SPAN does not have ratings, however, he has no hard numbers on viewership.

ABC’s Cokie Roberts, who was, in her own words, “very involved in the birth” of C-SPAN, sees the network’s identity issue differently.

“I don’t think people are aware of the brand, but they’re very aware of the product,” Roberts, 68, says. As an NPR reporter in the late ‘70s, she and her colleagues in Congress’ Radio-TV gallery joined Lamb in lobbying the House of Representatives to allow TV cameras on the floor.

Despite C-SPAN’s noble mission, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and ‘Saturday Night Live,’ among others, parody the network’s frequently-static content as a perfect sleep aid.

In real life, C-SPAN fan Ed Rendell, former Democratic National Committee Chairman, swears by the network for his nightly zzzz’s.

“I have a hyperactive mind, so I watch TV in my living room and fall asleep for about 90

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Meghan McCain: ‘People Love Me or Hate Me and There’s Nothing in Between’

MSNBC political contributor Meghan McCain answers “20 Questions for Playboy, including:

PLAYBOY: You’re a blogger and political columnist, as well as a conservative pundit in the liberal wilds on MSNBC. But aside from being John McCain’s daughter, why should we listen to you?

MCCAIN: Hey, I get it. People love me or hate me and there’s nothing in between. But I’ve been in politics literally my entire life. My mom was pregnant with me at the 1984 Republican convention. I was on my father’s campaign when I was 13. I’ve earned the right to be here and talk about it, and I’m not scared to get down and dirty. If people are mean, so be it.

(Photo: Neilson Barnard/TIME Inc.)

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