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Posts Tagged ‘Michael Clemente’

Fox News: Tom Ricks Apologized For Comments. Ricks: No, I Didn’t

Yesterday we noted an interview which saw veteran war journalist Tom Ricks accuse Fox News of “hyping” the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, and FNC cutting his interview short. FNC executive VP of news Michael Clemente told The Hollywood Reporter that Ricks apologized off-air:

“When Mr. Ricks ignored the anchor’s question, it became clear that his goal was to bring attention to himself — and his book,” Clemente said in an e-mail to THR. “He apologized in our offices afterward but doesn’t have the strength of character to do that publicly.”

Ricks, who is in the middle of a publicity tour for his book The Generals, disputed that claim, telling THR:

“Please ask Mr. Clemente what the words of my supposed apology were. I’d be interested to know,” he said. “Frankly, I don’t remember any such apology.”

Update: Clemente calls Ricks’ response “utterly dishonest,” and told TVNewser what Ricks told FNC staffers after his segment:

“I’m surprised by the General’s utter dishonesty,” Clemente says. “I’ll refresh his memory – what he said following the segment was, ‘Sorry… I’m tired from a non-stop book tour.’ Perhaps now he can finally get some rest.”

Roger Ailes on Election Night: ‘Rove was wrong. He backed down. Our guys were right.’

On election night, Fox News co-founder and chairman Roger Ailes watched election coverage in the News Corp. Sports Suite, down the hall from his second floor office. When he saw how things were going, a likely re-election for Pres. Obama, he decided to call it a night.

“It only took 15 minutes to get home,” Ailes told TVNewser in a lengthy interview in his office Thursday. “I turn on the TV and the first thing I see is Rove saying something like ‘you called Ohio too early.’ And I thought, ‘What the? What is this?’”

Ailes watched as his highly-paid pundit was challenging his decision desk’s call which would give the election to Pres. Obama.

“So I quickly called [EVP of News] Michael Clemente and I said, ‘Michael whatever you do, don’t go to commercial. Don’t leave the screen.’”

Ailes instructed Clemente to have Megyn Kelly, “go confront the decision team. If you have to, make the decision team confront Rove.” Confrontation is Roger Ailes’ middle name. (Actually it’s Eugene)

Ailes says transparency was the key, telling Clemente, “‘We can’t do anything off camera.’ I didn’t want the public or our competitors to say we somehow panicked and didn’t confront the truth on camera.”

“As it turned out Rove was wrong. He backed down. Our guys were right. We stayed with it. Megyn did her famous walk down the hall. And it all worked out.”

Fox News and the Obama administration already have a chilly relationship. Last year in a news conference, the president remarked to FNC White House correspondent Ed Henry, “I didn’t know you where the spokesperson for Mitt Romney.”

So, how will the next four years play out?

“It’s day to day for us,” Ailes tell us. “We don’t — I know no one believes it — we have no agenda. If he runs into a burning building tomorrow and saves four kids, he’s gonna be the biggest goddamn hero Fox News ever saw. But if he leaves four guys behind on the battlefield but can’t explain it, then he’s gonna have a problem with Fox News.”

“I don’t mind praising the guy and I don’t mind questioning the guy,” says Ailes. “It’s day to day.”

David Carr: On Election Night Battle Between News And Partisanship, ‘Fox chose news’

The New York TimesDavid Carr uses his Monday column to praise the news team at Fox News Channel, for not taking Karl Rove‘s bait on election night, and putting journalism ahead of partisanship. Carr spoke to FNC’s senior VP of newsMichael Clemente about the now-infamous moment:

“For a half an hour, there was a missing piece that other networks were skating around — why there had been no talk of concession — and we wanted to explore why that was happening,” he said.

He added that once Fox concluded that the numbers from the decision desk were correct, it went with them.

“I knew that a big chunk of our viewers were going to be disappointed in the outcome,” Mr. Clemente said, “but I work on the news side, and the most important thing was getting it right.”

Sally Kohn: ‘FNC’s Geraldine Ferraro’

The New York Times profiles liberal Fox News contributor Sally Kohn, who FNC executive Michael Clemente compares to former Vice Presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro.

“Sally is like Gerry: she says whatever’s on her mind,” Mr. Clemente said in a telephone interview. “She has some fresh thoughts,” he said, adding, “She’s not part of the pack.”

Kohn, a lawyer by training, was introduced to television by another Geraldine, Geraldine Laybourne, a TV executive involved in the creation of Nickelodeon and Oxygen. She hopes to eventually get her own cable show.

FNC Calls for ‘Delay Drill’ after Suicide Airs on Live TV

Fox News Channel’s EVP of News Michael Clemente instituted a 5-second delay drill yesterday to ensure what happened Friday doesn’t happen again.

Friday afternoon Fox News was carrying a car chase which ended when the suspect shot himself. The suicide was broadcast live on FNC.

On Sunday, Clemente wrote a memo, obtained by TVNewser, to senior and executive producers: “Tomorrow I’d like each of you, and the control room producers under you, to run through a brief drill of how the system works and when it should be used.” Clemente continued:

Mistakes happen. When they happen at Fox News, the rest of the media piles on — that’s what happens when you are a market leader.

When they involve images that can be disturbing to young people or those in society who are unable to process such nightmares, it’s even more important that we handle issues like this with full confidence that our systems will work.

After Friday’s incident Clemente said “severe human error” was to blame.

There were rumors yesterday that whoever was to blame was terminated. But we checked with Fox News and they say that’s not the case. A Fox News source tells us the matter is being handled internally and is being taken very seriously.

Fox News Statement: Televising Shooting After Car Chase Was Result of ‘Severe Human Error’

Fox News Channel has released a statement explaining what happened when it inadvertently aired a man apparently shooting himself in the head following a car chase this afternoon.

“We took every precaution to avoid any such live incident by putting the helicopter pictures on a five second delay. Unfortunately, this mistake was the result of a severe human error and we apologize for what viewers ultimately saw on the screen.”

-Michael Clemente, executive VP, news editorial.

A Fox News source tells me that a producer on “Studio B” failed to hit the dump button in time, and the result was that the shooting made it to air. The suspect in question died from his self-inflicted injury, according to KPHO Phoenix.

Amusement Inside Fox News As President Obama Takes Digs

The New York TimesJeremy Peters noticed that President Obama has taken a number of swipes at Fox News Channel in stump speeches over the last couple of months, and talks to network executives about their thoughts on the matter.

None of this has gone unnoticed inside the studios and executive suites of Fox News, which is rebuffing these White House put-downs as a denigration of the presidency.

“I think it lowers the office,” Michael Clemente, Fox’s executive vice president of news, said in an interview on Wednesday. “For it to come up as regularly as it does — and it’s not every day but every other week, I’d say — it’s just unusual. Especially given the issues out there, like the lack of new jobs and Syria.”

Peters also notes that the outcome of the election itself may have something of an impact on cable news ratings, as bizarre as it seems:
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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 SCOTUSBlog.com 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:


Fox & Friends: ‘A high-decibel megaphone pointing directly at the Republican base’

The New York TimesJeremy Peters profiles “Fox & Friends,” the FNC morning show that found itself in hot water a few weeks ago after it ran a piece deeply critical of President Obama. Peters reveals that the White House actually called Fox News about the piece, something that rarely happens these days, despite the occasionally rough history between the two.

The two sides have managed a sort of détente lately. And after the White House raised objections to the Obama video, the network removed it from its Web site. (In an angry phone call, the White House press secretary, Jay Carney, told the network’s executive vice president for news, Michael Clemente, that even by “Fox & Friends” standards the video crossed the line, according to two Democrats who weren’t authorized to speak of the private conversation.) The news division at Fox has long tried to avoid having its reporters appear on the show whenever possible.

“Do we make mistakes? Absolutely,” said Bill Shine, executive vice president for programming at Fox News. “And when we make them we try to fix them, apologize for them, get out in front of them.”

Peters also speaks to someone who has remained out of the limelight for a while, but used to be a regular on the program: former Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY).
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John Moody Returns to Fox News as Executive Editor; Michael Clemente Promoted to EVP

Fox News is making some changes on the executive level. Michael Clemente, the network’s senior vice president of news editorial, has been promoted to executive vice president, and John Moody will return as executive editor and EVP, the network announced today.

Moody was EVP of news editorial at FNC for 13 years before leaving the network in 2009 to oversee Newscore, News Corp.’s global wire service. Newscore will be absorbed by Fox News going forward, a move that Fox News chairman Roger Ailes said would “strengthen our overall newsgathering capabilities and enable us to operate at an even higher level.”

Clemente will continue to oversee Fox News editorial and run day-to-day operations for the news division, while Moody will oversee the network’s digital assets, including foxnews.com. Moody will also act as a senior advisor to Ailes.

“John’s extensive experience in news for the past several decades both in television and in print remain unmatched in the industry,” Ailes said in a statement. “John helped us become the number one news network and I look forward to working closely with him again.”

The full release is after the jump.

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