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Posts Tagged ‘Les Moonves’

Media Bias Segments On ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ And ‘The Last Word’

Media bias and the press were the subject of two big segments on cable news last night. On FNC’s “The O’Reilly Factor,” Bill O’Reilly sent producer Jesse Watters went to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, where he asked attendees whether there was bias in the media. Al Roker, Les Moonves, Bob Schieffer, Chris Matthews and Piers Morgan were all among his “victims.”


On MSNBC ‘s “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell,” the MSNBC host made the White House press corps the subject of his ire. In a lengthy, 16-minute (!) segment, O’Donnell argued that for the American reporters, the conferences “are more about the press than the President.”

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Scott Pelley On Fox News, And The Timelessness Of ’60 Minutes’

As part of its “New York Media” issue (more here), The Hollywood Reporter spoke to “CBS Evening News” anchor Scott Pelley, and also profiled the long-running newsmagazine “60 Minutes.”

Pelley speaks kindly of the changes at CBS over the last couple of years, and also has a few words for Fox News, which revealed the real name of h Navy SEAL Pelley interviewed for his story about the Osama Bin Laden raid:

I cannot think of a reason journalistically that you would expose an undercover operator for the United States in that way. I cannot think in any public interest that was served, and now his life is in danger, the lives of all of his family members and extended family are in danger, and I could think of a reason to do that. If the people at Fox have a reason, I’d be awfully interested in hearing it, because I cannot think in any way how the public interest in the United States was served by that.

Marisa Guthrie pens the “60 Minutes” profile, and reveals some interesting behind-the-scenes details about the show, including comments from “60 Minutes” EP and CBS News chairman Jeff Fager and CBS CEO Les Moonves.
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Why Byron Pitts Joined ABC News

CBS News veteran Byron Pitts says he jumped ship to ABC for three reasons, in order of importance: “God, diversity and Diane Sawyer.”

Pitts, 52, the lone correspondent of color on “60 Minutes” and a CBS staffer since 1997, officially joined ABC yesterday as chief national correspondent. He begins April 15.

In addition to reporting, Pitts will anchor prime-time news specials as well as fill in as news reader on “Good Morning America” and on weekend news. He signed a four-year deal with a “significant” salary bump, he says.

A devout man, Pitts prays over all major decisions. ABC was no exception. “For me, God is the ultimate closer,” he says. “Once I felt I had His blessing, it was full steam ahead. I’m grateful for my time at CBS, and I’m excited about this opportunity grace has provided.”

In the Gospel According to Pitts, diversity ranks a strong No. 2. In his talks with ABC News president Ben Sherwood, Pitts says he was impressed that Sherwood made a point to bring up his (Sherwood’s) commitment to the hot-button issue.

“It was encouraging to have a network executive talk to me, openly and with enthusiasm, about the importance of racial diversity,” says Pitts. “I never had that conversation at CBS.”

Not with his division leaders, anyway.

Pitts says he and CBS Corp. chieftain Les Moonves have discussed diversity, and he admires Moonves’ passion about it. As for CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager and his lieutenant, David Rhodes, here’s how Pitts puts it:

“I don’t want to seem critical. They were certainly nice and supportive of me. But the facts are the facts. Sixteen years ago, when I joined CBS, there were 10 people of color on the air. Now there are seven. Why is that? It’s discouraging. America is becoming more diverse, not less diverse. “

According to CBS News spokesperson Sonya McNair, CBS has “more than double” Pitts’ estimate of seven correspondents of color. “We wish Byron well,” she adds. ABC News has a total of 29, says division rep David Ford.

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‘CBS This Morning’ Talks Bayou And The Business of the Big Game

Tonight CBS will air the Super Bowl live from New Orleans, Louisiana. Apparently the producers decided that as long as they had everyone down in the Crescent City, why not take advantage?

Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell went on an air boat tour of the Louisiana Bayou, where they came face to face with a gator:


Also, CBS CEO Les Moonves appeared as a guest, to talk about the business of the Super Bowl:

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Les Moonves: ‘I learned a long time ago not to give Jeff Zucker advice’

TVNewser was at this morning’s Viewpoints breakfast sponsored by the Wall Street Journal and headlined by CBS CEO Les Moonves. Moonves was asked if he had any advice for CNN’s new president — his former rival — former NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker.

“I learned a long time ago not to give Jeff Zucker advice,” Moonves quipped. “I think Jeff Zucker is a very good choice. He is a showman. He made the “Today” show great. They not only need some help with their programming, but also their promotion, and he will do a very good job with that.

They need someone to help stave off Roger Ailes when he takes shots at CNN, which [Zucker] will do very well,” Moonves added.

As for CNN, Moonves acknowledged that CBS and the cable news channel had talked about pooling resources, but that the talks didn’t go anywhere.

“Is it a good thing to have a cable news network? Absolutely. Do I wish we had one? Probably,” Moonves said. “That said I am really proud of what our guys are doing.”

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Les Moonves: ‘[CBS News] doesn’t help the bottom line, but it is very important for the image of CBS’

This morning CBS CEO Les Moonves participated in a  forum sponsored by the Wall Street Journal, a portion of that conversation focused on CBS News. Moonves talked about how happy he was with the current state of the news division, and how he viewed it as part of the company. In something of a throwback  Moonves said that while CBS News makes money, it is not primarily viewed as a profit engine, rather, it is part of the public interest.

“When you are a network, a public company like CBS, there is a public trust factor, and I take that really seriously. Our news division does an extraordinary job of providing a public service,” Moonves said. “You talk about how the early ratings were off this year, well, part of the reason is that we had four nights of debates, which pre-empted — God forbid — “Two and a Half Men,” and we took a hit.

We covered the election, and the election night returns were great, it doesn’t help the bottom line, but it is very important for the image of CBS, and our place in society,” Moonves added.

He noted that he was pleased with the diction the news division has been taking.

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The Morning Ticker: More Moonves, Walters/Lohan, Piers’ Prez Pick

  • CBS CEO Les Moonves has inked a contract extension that will keep him at the Eye network through mid 2017. “I look forward to all Leslie will continue to do as the genius that he is.” said CBS chairman Sumner Redstone in a statement.
  • ABC’s Barbara Walters has scored an exclusive primetime sit down with troubled actress Lindsay Lohan. The interview will air on “20/20″ Friday, November 16, tied to the debut of Lohan’s Lifetime movie “Liz and Dick,” in which she plays Elizabeth Taylor.

CBS CEO: Scott Pelley’s Ratings An Improvement Over Predecessor ‘Whose name I will not mention’

CBS CEO Les Moonves spoke at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch media conference today, and talked briefly about CBS News.

“The status of CBS News right now is much higher than it was two or three years ago, Scott Pelley’s ratings are up significantly from what his predecessor’s, whose name I will not mention,” Moonves said, referring to Katie Couric. “The morning show is significantly,  qualitatively a better show, the ratings are up a little bit. [the news divison] is in profit.”

Moonves was also asked about the long-rumored deal between CNN and CBS News.

“Are you referring to one [network] in particular that is having some struggles over there?” Moonves quipped in response to a question about the talks. “At the time it didn’t seem to make sense, economically. It is tough to do joint ventures with big media companies,  are there shared services that could be done? Probably.

For any of these troubled networks, they can reach out and we will take their calls,” he added.

A (Very Important) Day In The Life of Scott Pelley

Broadcasting & Cable‘s Andrea Morabito shadowed “CBS Evening News” anchor Scott Pelley for a few days as the anchor celebrated his one-year anniversary at the news program (subscription required).

Morabito weaves a compelling “tick tock” of the day, including all of Pelley’s meetings with producers, and his daily early afternoon workout. She also describes how he splits his time between the “Evening News” and “60 Minutes,” which has offices across the street from the CBS Broadcast Center. Along the way, she reveals this fascinating tidbit:

He has come for an 11 a.m. meeting with Harry Radliffe, a 60 Minutes producer, with Bill Harwood, CBS News’ NASA consultant, on the phone, to discuss an email complaint Pelley received from Neil Armstrong—yes, that Neil Armstrong—late the night before. The former astronaut is upset with what he argues was a misrepresenting of his congressional testimony in a piece Pelley did on the SpaceX company. Armstrong claims he has been trying to reach 60 Minutes for months without success, which distresses Pelley.

After a 15-minute meeting, it is agreed that the reporting of the segment was solid, but Pelley still wants to publicly acknowledge Armstrong’s response, either on the Website or on-air, given his prominence. Pelley instructs the two others to draft a letter to Armstrong that he can review later that day.

There are lots of great moments in the piece, but this one, involving CBS CEO Les Moonves, sticks out:

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Les Moonves: ‘Partisanship is Very Much a Part of Journalism Now’

The LATimes writes up Pres. Obama’s LGBT fundraiser in Los Angeles last night attended by about 600 supporters including Ellen DeGeneres, Cher and her son Chaz Bono. Another boldface name in the crowd: CBS Corp. CEO and chairman Les Moonves and his wife, “The Talk” co-host Julie Chen, who, in the past, anchored CBS News’s “The Early Show.”

Before the event began, a long line of partygoers waited on the sidewalk outside the hotel to check in. CBS chief Les Moonves and his wife, Julie Chen, waited patiently for their wristbands. Obama, Moonves said, “has shown great leadership” on the issue of gay marriage.

Though he heads a news division, Moonves said, “ultimately journalism has changed … partisanship is very much a part of journalism now.”

He hastened to add that despite his presence, “I run a news division. I’ve given no money to any candidate.”

Wonder how this is going over in the CBS Newsroom. We’ve got a call in to find out.