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Posts Tagged ‘Newt Gingrich’

‘Reliable Sources’ Tackles The ‘Crossfire’ Disclosure Issue

On CNN’s “Reliable Sources” Sunday, guest-host Brian Stelter (filling for the third time) dedicated the final segment of the program to the “Crossfire” disclosure controversy.

If you aren’t caught up: late last week CNN revealed that it changed its ethics and disclosure policy for the hosts of “Crossfire,” allowing them to fundraise for and donate money to political candidates. The justification was that someone like Newt Gingrich is on the “right,” therefore he is assumed to be supporting Republicans.

CNN declined to answer questions TVNewser asked as to why the policy was reversed so quickly, or what would happen if one of the hosts donated money to someone challenging an incumbent from the same party, support of whom would not be self-evident.

“CNN can do better than this, it can start by debating this very issue of disclosure, on ‘Crossfire,’” Stelter said.

WATCH:

CNN Tweaks Ethics Policy For ‘Crossfire’ Hosts

CutterGingrichCNN has apparently changed its ethics policy for the hosts of “Crossfire,” after a pair of complaints against hosts Newt Gingrich and Stephanie Cutter were made.

Conservative groups targeted Cutter because she is a former staffer for President Obama’s campaign, and still keeps in touch with many of her former colleagues. She also still works as a consultant for Democratic candidates and causes, including the President.

Liberal groups targeted Gingrich, as his PAC gave money to a number of conservative politicians. One of those politicians, Rand Paul, appeared on “Crossfire” and was interviewed by Gingrich, with no mention of his PAC’s donations.

One of those media watchdog groups, Media Matters, spoke to CNN standards executive Rick Davis earlier this month about the ethics guidelines the “Crossfire” hosts need to follow. Today, Davis told them that they are “clarifying” the policy. The issue in question is whether the hosts need to mention on-air if they are funding or helping a politician or candidate. The new, “clarified” rules say that they do not, because their political position implies support already.

“Crossfire” is a high-profile launch for CNN, which has committed seven figures to securing the four co-hosts to substantial deals with the channel. Given the investment it shouldn’t be surprising that CNN is moving the goalposts with regards to its ethics policy.

Ratings: ‘Crossfire’ Debut Second in Demo, Third in Total Viewers

The debut of CNN’s “Crossfire” averaged 582,000 total viewers and 169,000 A25-54 viewers Monday evening. In the 6:30pmET half hour, “Crossfire,” hosted last night by Newt Gingrich and Stephanie Cutter, was third in total viewers and second in the key A25-54 demographic in cable news.

The show’s average was up +44% in total viewers and +21% in the demo compared to the prior four Mondays. Compared to the same day last year, the show was up +82% and +41%, respectively.

By comparison, Fox News’ “Special Report” drew 2.40 million total viewers and 384,000 A25-54 viewers from 6:30 to 7pmET. MSNBC’s “Politics Nation” had 617,000 total viewers and 116,000 A25-54 viewers, and HLN’s “Evening Express” averaged 248,000 and 127,000, respectively, for the half-hour.

The full scoreboard will be up shortly.

Turning Down the Volume for ‘Crossfire’ 2.0


New “Crossfire” hosts (l-r) Stephanie Cutter, Van Jones, S.E. Cupp and Newt Gingrich.

When last we saw CNN’s “Crossfire,” it resembled a scene from “Animal House,” minus the togas.

Eight years later, “Crossfire” has learned its manners, according to CNN. Hosts will use their indoor voices, and will allow each other to finish sentences. The experiment begins at 6:30 tonight, with Newt Gingrich and Stephanie Cutter on set with two guests.

“You have to wait for someone to finish, then make your point,” says CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist, who began his CNN career as a “Crossfire” intern in 1989. “We get that. Obviously, it’s something to be mindful of. At the same time, we want to have passionate conversations.”

Even with what’s being billed as a kinder, gentler “Crossfire,” the question remains as to whether the conservative-vs.-liberal roundtable, launched in 1982, matters anymore in a radically altered cable topography.

Given that Fox News and MSNBC have become so polarized, a political program with both sides equally represented is more important than ever, says Charles Bierbauer, Dean of the University of South Carolina’s College of Mass Communications and a CNN correspondent for 20 years.

“Whatever happened to the guy in the middle?” he opines.  “I, as a viewer, like more than one point of view on issues. We’ve evolved, or devolved, to the notion that tuning into Fox gives you a right wing, conservative perspective and tuning into MSNBC gives you a left wing, liberal perspective.”

Going a step further, Feist says CNN “is the only cable-news channel that is capable of hosting “Crossfire” in an authentic way…. We’re bipartisan. Our job is to represent all points of view. It’s hard to imagine viewers would trust other channels to offer a debate program with equally balanced hosts and guests.”

“Balance” often leads to a deafening decibel level. Toward the end, this was “Crossfire’s” hallmark, fueled even more by a vocal studio audience. In his infamous 2004 appearance, Jon Stewart decried the cacophony, which led, in part, to ex-CNN chief Jonathan Klein’s decision to euthanize the show.

“Crossfire’s” approach was emblematic of the time’s ‘argument culture,’ says Amy S. Mitchell, new director of Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

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Newt Gingrich, Stephanie Cutter Set to Host ‘Crossfire’ Debut

Newt Gingrich and Stephanie Cutter are the two hosts for the debut edition of “Crossfire” Monday night, CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist revealed on a conference call with reporters this afternoon. Van Jones and S.E. Cupp are slated to host on Tuesday.

The nightly program will feature two hosts and two guests each night. Each half-hour show will focus exclusively on one topic, which Feist said will give the show “a great deal more depth.”

“None of us are known for shying away from a good debate. But we’ll get beyond the talking points. We’ll get beyond the one-liners,” Cutter said. “We are debaters. We like to discuss the issues. At times, we may get fiery. But we’ll always get beyond the talking points and get to the heart of the matter.”

Look for more on the “Crossfire” debut from TVNewser columnist Gail Shister on Monday.

The Ticker: Bloomberg, CNN, Morrison

  • Digiday looks at the success of Bloomberg TV’s online video productions, which contributed to a record number of global unique visitors and streams in July.

  • CNN’s Chris Cuomo will host a live town hall on Syria tonight at 9pmET. “Crossfire” co-host Newt Gingrich and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld are among the participants.

Debut of ‘Crossfire’ Moved up One Week

CNN’s relaunch of “Crossfire” is moving up a week to take advantage of the Congressional debate on the White House resolution to use force in Syria. The show’s debut had been planned for Sept. 16. Instead, the first new episode will now air Monday, Sept. 9 at 6:30pmET, the day Congress returns from recess. Newt Gingrich, who is among the hosts, was a part of CNN’s coverage yesterday. The news was first reported in Politico Playbook.

Van Jones Decided to do ‘Crossfire’ as a Tribute to his Dad

The publicity machine behind the revival of CNN’s “Crossfire” is in full swing. We shared Friday’s New York Times profile of Newt Gingrich with you yesterday. Meanwhile, the New York Daily news features one “Crossfire” host interviewing the other. S.E. Cupp, who would be “from the right” (assuming the new show, like the old one, uses that intro) interviews Van Jones, “from the left.”

S.E. Cupp: What made you decide to come back to D.C., albeit as a commuter, to do “Crossfire”?

Van Jones: I used to watch “Crossfire” with my dad. My father was a hardworking, Southern, black guy who had been a cop in the military — so he usually disagreed with both the liberals and the conservatives on the show. He didn’t think either side understood real life or the struggles of ordinary people. He died in 2008. In tribute to him, I hope to bring some of his kind of perspective to our program.

The Return Of Newt

The New York Times profiles new “Crossfire” co-host Newt Gingrich. Gingrich, who will represent the “right” side of the political spectrum alongside S.E. Cupp, was a vocal critic of the media in recent years. Now he is once again a part of it.

Mr. Gingrich gleefully bashed “the media elite” as a candidate, but now he is unquestionably a member. “Yes,” he agreed. “And I hope to move it to the right.”

It was all quite calculated. “Particularly in a Republican primary, taking on the media immediately resonated with almost half the primary voters,” Mr. Gingrich said.

Gingrich, a former contributor to Fox News Channel, argues that the last iteration of “Crossfire” failed because it had become a “talking points yelling match.” He, like CNN, insists that the new version will be more intellectual, but retain the fun of the original concept.

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CNN Hires Former ABC News Political Director David Chalian For ‘Crossfire’

CNN has hired David Chalian to be supervising producer of the “Crossfire” revamp, according to tweets sent by network talent, including Wolf Blitzer.

Chalian is a TV veteran, having served as the political director for ABC News, and the political editor for the “PBS NewsHour.”

His hiring is not without controversy, however. Chalian was terminated by Yahoo! last year after an off-the-cuff comment he made about Mitt Romney and the GOP was caught on a hot microphone.

“They are happy to have a party with black people drowning,” Chalian said in reference to Republicans, while his co-hosts chuckled.

At CNN, Chalian will work under EP Rebecca Kutler, and alongside hosts S.E. Cupp, Newt Gingrich, Van Jones and Stephanie Cutter.

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