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Posts Tagged ‘Phil Griffin’

Did Obama White House Get Initial Insight on Ferguson From Al Sharpton?

SharptonPolitico Magazine writes the Obama administration leaned on MSNBC’s Al Sharpton for information after the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown and subsequent protests in Ferguson, Missouri.

A few days after 18-year-old Mike Brown was gunned down in Ferguson, Missouri, White House officials enlisted an unusual source for on-the-ground intelligence amid the chaos and tear gas: the Rev. Al Sharpton, a fiery activist who became a household name by provoking rather than pacifying. In Ferguson, Sharpton established himself as a de facto contact and conduit for a jittery White House seeking to negotiate a middle ground between meddling and disengagement. “There’s a trust factor with The Rev from the Oval Office on down,” a White House official familiar with their dealings told me. After huddling with Brown’s family and local community leaders, Sharpton connected directly with White House adviser and First Friend Valerie Jarrett, vacationing in her condo in the exclusive Oak Bluffs section of Martha’s Vineyard, not far from where President Obama and his family were staying. Obama was “horrified” by the images he was seeing on TV, Jarrett told Sharpton, and proceeded to pepper him with questions as she collected information for the president: How bad was the violence? Was it being fueled by outside groups—and could Sharpton do anything to talk them down? What did the Brown family want the White House to do?

As we reported recently, Sharpton has been in the middle of two high profile cases recently: the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson and the case of Eric Garner, who was put in a chokehold by NYPD police and later died. “Rev. Al Sharpton is both President of the National Action Network and host on MSNBC,” MSNBC president Phil Griffin told us. “We’ve always been transparent about the dual roles and his work outside of MSNBC.”

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MSNBC Host Al Sharpton in the Middle of Two High Profile Police Cases

SharptonMSNBC knew hiring Al Sharpton three years ago would raise questions about where the line between news commentary and subjective advocacy lies for the network. Sharpton has been front and center of two recent cases involving the deaths of black men at the hands of police. First, 43-year-old Eric Garner who was put in a chokehold by NYPD officers last month, and later died, and Saturday’s death of 18-year-old  Michael Brown, shot by police in Ferguson, MO.

Over the weekend, even before Brown’s death, Sharpton was all over New York media calling for a march against aggressive police tactics. Since the Ferguson shooting and resulting riots, Sharpton has dedicated three-quarters of his “PoliticsNation” airtime to the story, and is devoting at least half to tonight’s show to the topic. “The Ed Show,” “All In” and “The Last Word” also plan on leading with the Brown story today.

Sharpton hosted his program from St. Louis Tuesday. Earlier in the day, he stood beside Brown’s parents at a press conference, urging the federal government to get involved in the case and cautioning citizens against reactionary violence. He also announced his National Action Network will pay for Brown’s funeral.

“We didn’t hire Al to become a neutered kind of news presenter,” MSNBC Phil Griffin told the Associated Press in March, 2012, during the Trayvon Martin case. “That’s not what we do.”

We reached out to MSNBC for this story, but did not receive a response.

>>Update: MSNBC President Phil Griffin tells TVNewser: “Rev. Al Sharpton is both President of the National Action Network and host on MSNBC. We’ve always been transparent about the dual roles and his work outside of MSNBC.”

Chris Jansing Signs Off ‘Jansing & Co.’

JansingChris Jansing signed off as host of  MSNBC’s “Jansing & Co.” this morning after a four-year run. She begins her new role as NBC News Senior White House Correspondent on June 23.

“Life at MSNBC teaches you that sleep is overrated — though it is possible to sleep while standing or in a coach seat and there’s no such thing as preparing too much!” Jansing tells TVNewser about her time hosting at MSNBC.

Being with the network for almost 15 years, Jansing attributes her success to a strong team. “You learn that you’re as good as your colleagues behind the camera and I’ve been very lucky.” A few years ago, she revealed to us her secret to making it in cable news: “I keep my head low, and I work hard” (watch the video after the jump).

On-air, Jansing thanked MSNBC president Phil Griffin and SVP Yvette Miley, along with Rachel Maddow. “Your commitment to excellence is an inspiration, Rachel, thank you.” She also thanked producers for putting up with her “Type A personality.”

“Thank you for watching. I’ll see you from DC,” Jansing said as she signed off for the final time as host.

WATCH:

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José Díaz-Balart Named MSNBC’s 10am Host

Jose Diaz-BalartTelemundo anchor José Díaz-Balart has been named MSNBC’s 10am anchor, replacing Chris Jansing, who is leaving MSNBC to become NBC’s Senior White House Correspondent.

Diaz-Balart will anchor the show out of Miami, in mid-June, while continuing to co-anchor Telemundo’s “Noticiero Telemundo” and the Sunday show “Enfoque con José Díaz-Balart.” NBC owns both MSNBC and Telemundo.

“MSNBC is committed to engaging new audiences and communities. To that end, I’ve been talking with José for several months about bringing his voice to MSNBC,” said network President Phil Griffin. “He has a keen understanding of the political landscape and three decades of experience in both broadcast and cable news.” Diaz-Balart’s brother, Mario Diaz-Balart, is a U.S. Congressman representing Florida’s 25th district.

Jansing’s final day hosting “Jansing & Co.” is June 13. She starts at the White House for NBC on June 23.

MSNBC’s full press release after the jump.

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Chris Jansing Named Senior White House Correspondent for NBC News

Jansing 304Changes are coming to NBC’s Washington Bureau.

NBC News President Deborah Turness has named Chris Jansing as the new Senior White House Correspondent and Peter Alexander as National Correspondent.

Jansing has been with NBC since joining as an MSNBC anchor in 1998. For the last several years she has split her time between anchoring a morning show on MSNBC, and reporting for “NBC Nightly News,” covering domestic news, foreign Olympics, and, most recently, the elevation to Sainthood of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II.

From the White House, Jansing will report primarily for “Nightly News,” providing day-to-day coverage of the Obama administration and White House politics. Alexander will continue to report on the White House as well as national affairs beyond Washington DC. Kristen Welker also continues as White House correspondent.

“Chris will bring her editorial tenacity and passion for the story to this new role,” said Turness. “Her wealth of experience and her ability to connect the political story to the American people make her a valued addition to our White House team.”

“Chris Jansing has played an invaluable role at MSNBC for the better part of the past 15 years,” writes MSNBC president Phil Griffin in a note to staff. “She’s one of the hardest working journalists in the business and has always been there for us – no matter what time of day or night, or how big the story. Our heartfelt congratulations to Chris on this exciting new role. We look forward to seeing her reporting from Washington on MSNBC. We’ll have more to say about Chris’ replacement at 10 am in the coming weeks.”

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Michael Smerconish: ‘I’m the Guy Who Didn’t Get the Piers Morgan Gig’

SmerconishCNN’s Michael Smerconish talks to the Washington Post about his desire to appeal to “Americans who don’t skew to the extreme right on politics and don’t skew to the extreme left.” Smerconish says that was the impetus for his transition from MSNBC to CNN:

By the time the CNN opportunity came up, Smerconish and MSNBC were ready to part ways — it was clear he wasn’t going to be getting his own show anytime soon, though he says he could have continued as a guest host. “They made it clear that liberal and nerdy was what they want to be,” Smerconish says. “That’s not who I am.”

In an e-mailed statement, MSNBC President Phil Griffin said: “We had a wonderful, decade-long run with Michael and loved having him on MSNBC. When Michael came to us saying he wanted to go to CNN, we were supportive. We continue to wish him well.”

But even getting his own television show — something he says he’s long wanted — hasn’t been entirely smooth. His name was recently mentioned in reports as a possible replacement for Piers Morgan, who is leaving CNN. It didn’t happen. “So, I’m no longer the guy who finally got his own show,” Smerconish laments. “I’m the guy who didn’t get the Piers Morgan gig.”

The Hollywood Reporter’s Annual ’35 Most Powerful People in New York Media’

Television news executives and personalities are well represented on The Hollywood Reporter‘s annual “35 Most Powerful People in New York Media” list.

From the executive ranks: CBS News chairman Jeff Fager and president David Rhodes; NBC News chairman Pat Fili-Krushel and president Deborah Turness; and incoming Disney/ABC Television group president Ben Sherwood and ABC News president James Goldston represent the broadcast networks. On the cable side, Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, MSNBC president Phil Griffin, CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker and Bloomberg Media Group CEO Justin Smith make the list.

The main anchors for the broadcast networks — Brian Williams, Diane Sawyer and Scott Pelley — are all on the list, as well as morning anchors from each network. For NBC, it’s Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie and Willie Geist; Charlie Rose, Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell represent CBS; and for ABC, Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos and Lara Spencer. “Good Morning America” senior executive producer Tom Cibrowski and “CBS Sunday Morning” EP Rand Morrison are also named.

As for cable news talent, all three Fox News primetime hosts — Bill O’Reilly, Megyn Kelly and Sean Hannity — make the list. From MSNBC, Rachel Maddow, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough; and from CNN, Anderson Cooper.

Other notable additions: Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, Jimmy Fallon, Bob Costas, Michael Strahan and Kelly Ripa.

TVNewser will be at the party celebrating the honorees tonight.

[Images via Hollywood Reporter]

Lawsuit Against Ed Schultz Can Move Forward

schultz_nbc_392_regularA lawsuit against MSNBC host Ed Schultz can go forward, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.

In May 2011Michael Queen, a broadcast engineering staffer at NBC in Washington, filed suit against Schultz claiming that he had the idea to bring the radio host to TV. Queen and Schultz met in January 2008 at NBC in Washington.

Queen claims he approached Schultz and asked him if he had anybody helping him try to land a TV show. “No,” Schultz is quoted as saying in the complaint. “Now you’re it!” Queen set up the taping of a “McLaughlin Group”-style program at WUSA-TV, the CBS affiliate in Washington, DC.

Queen claims to have also pitched CBS, Fox News, MSNBC and some syndicators, but nothing came of those meetings. A year later, MSNBC president Phil Griffin reached out directly to Schultz, and a deal was made.

In August 2012, the U.S. District Court for Washington, DC tossed out Queen’s complaint and Schultz’s counter-claims. “Insofar as Queen claims that he and Schultz formed a partnership to develop a television show and that Schultz breached his duty of loyalty under District of Columbia partnership law, Queen is entitled to present his claim to a jury,” Friday’s decision reads.

(h/t The Washington Post)

Ronan Farrow Won’t Be Talking About Family Controversy

ronan farrow_304x200A Page Six story this morning reports new MSNBC host Ronan Farrow‘s team are making reporters sign a form promising not to ask questions about his personal family controversy during a benefit he’ll be honored at tonight.

Farrow — who has publicly stood behind his sister Dylan’s accusations that she was sexually abused by Allen when she was 7, and tweeted about the abuse allegations during the Golden Globes — is receiving the Cronkite Award for Excellence in Exploration and Journalism at Reach the World’s 14th annual benefit at the Princeton Club. Reporters have been issued a tip sheet that includes stern “conditions” not to ask anything about Allen.

“The theme of the evening is global education and service,” it says. “All press are required to stay strictly on message. Any press who ask guests or Mr. Farrow about off-message topics will be immediately escorted out of the event.”

We’re hearing from MSNBC insiders that neither the network nor Ronan requested restrictions forbidding personal questions, and it’s the event’s PR firm making that condition.

“Ronan and his team did not request any restrictions on reporters questions,” a spokesperson for Farrow tells us. He’s set to receive the Cronkite Award for Excellence in Exploration and Journalism at tonight’s Reach the World benefit.

In two days on-air at MSNBC, Farrow has not mentioned anything relating to his personal life, which has been mired lately with back-and-forth allegations and denials of molestation between father Woody Allen and sister Dylan Farrow playing out in the media. Read more

Alec Baldwin: ‘If MSNBC Went Off the Air Tomorrow, What Difference Would it Make?’

AlecBaldwinUpLateAlec Baldwin tells the lengthy story of how he reached the decision to give up public life in New York, and in true Baldwin fashion, he doesn’t hold back. The actor, who was fired from MSNBC after he was caught on camera using anti-gay slurs, has nothing nice to say about his former network: “MSNBC, in its own way, is as full of shit, as redundant and as superfluous, as Fox,” Baldwin writes.

Baldwin reserves his harshest words for MSNBC president Phil Griffin, calling him “a veteran programmer who knows well the corridors and chambers of television programming — and couldn’t give a flying f*ck about content.”

Immediately prior to [the paparazzo incident], I’d go see Phil and I’d say, “What are the ratings?” If I had 15 meetings with Phil Griffin, 5 of them were after the show, with me saying, “What do you make of these ratings?” He’d say, “Don’t worry. It takes time.” (We beat Cooper two of three Fridays at ten.) Although he appeared to have some buyer’s remorse, he told me to hang in there. After the TMZ event, he said, “Don’t worry. I have to suspend you. But this will blow over.” I have all the emails to prove it. And then, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, MSNBC said, “You’re fired.”

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