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Posts Tagged ‘David Rhodes’

Covering Second Term Scandals

Benghazi, the AP phone taps and the IRS scandal. It’s been quite a few days for the Obama administration and the journalists who cover it.

  • On Benghazi: while the president believes “there’s no there, there,” CNN’s Jake Tapper got his hands on an email yesterday from then-Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes (brother of CBS News president David Rhodes) written three days after the attack. It was a version of an email that Tapper’s former ABC News colleague Jonathan Karl reported on last Friday.
  • The Associated Press is not satisfied with Attorney General Eric Holder‘s statement on the breadth of phone tapping the news agency’s reporters were subjected to. Neither, for one, is the New York Times editorial board as well as dozens of other publishers, broadcasters and trade groups.
  • But the biggest scandal appears to be the IRS’s selective targeting of conservative organizations. It was the lead on the evening newscasts last night and two of the three morning shows today (“Good Morning America” and “CBS This Morning”) and continues to be a hot topic on the cable news networks.

In a Behind the Curtain column, Politico’s Mike Allen and Jim VandHei write, “(T)he press, after years of being accused of being soft on Obama while being berated by West Wing aides on matters big and small, now has every incentive to be as ruthless as can be.”

Will they?

NBC News Looks Across The Pond For President Candidates

NBC News is casting a wide net in the search for its new president. A few weeks ago, TVNewser heard that NBC was eyeing some potential candidates from England, and now we have some names, courtesy of the LA TimesJoe Flint.

One of the leading candidates, according to Flint, is ITV’s chief news executive Deborah Turness. Turness, 46, took over ITV’s news division in 2004, keeping it competitive with the revered and well-funded BBC.

NBC also has a relationship with ITV, sharing content and correspondents in places like Central Africa.

Flint also floats a few other names, including CBS News president David Rhodes (not available), former ABC News executive Jon Banner (not interested), as well as Sky News exec Sarah Whitehead and Channel 4′s Jay Hunt.

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TV News Dominates THR ’35 Most Powerful’

The Hollywood Reporter released its 2013 “35 Most Powerful People In Media” list, and TV news dominates the winners. The list looks at the most dominant media personalities in New York.

The list includes (in alphabetical order) Roger Ailes, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, Anderson Cooper, Bob Costas, Katie Couric, Jeff Fager, Pat Fili-Krushel, James Goldston, Phil Griffin, Sean Hannity, Megyn Kelly, the “60 Minutes” team, the “Today” team, Rachel Maddow, Piers Morgan, Bill O’Reilly, Scott Pelley, David Rhodes, The “Good Morning America” team, the “CBS This Morning” team, Diane Sawyer, Ben Sherwood, Barbara Walters, Brian Williams and Jeff Zucker.

Some of the recipients gave interviews, others did not. You can see the full list here.

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 News Launching Primetime Doc Series ‘Brooklyn DA’

Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes

CBS News is planning to fill some of CBS’ Summer primetime schedule with a six-part documentary series called “Brooklyn DA.” The series, which kicks off Tuesday, May 21 at 10 PM, will follow the men and women of the Kings County District Attorney’s Office (Kings County is Brooklyn, if you aren’t familiar with your New York City geography). The show will follow the staff in the courtroom and out.

The “48 Hours” team will be producing the series, with Susan Zirisnky serving as senior EP and Patti Aronofsky as senior supervising producer. Aronofsky also created the concept.

“No matter where you go, everyone has heard about Brooklyn,” said Zirinsky in a statement. “What makes this series so unique is getting into the lives and personalities of the individual DAs, led by Charles ‘Joe’ Hynes, who reflect the vibrancy and diversity of Brooklyn. We are allowed to watch their successes and their failures – it’s immediate, compelling and often heartbreaking.”

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Carter Evans Named CBS News Correspondent

CBS News has named Carter Evans a correspondent, based in Los Angeles. he had been working in a freelance capacity for CBS News and KCBS in recent months, but now the network is bringing him on full-time. He made national news by being the only reporter at the scene of the shootout between police and fugitive cop Christopher Dorner. TVSpy has more on what happened.

“By now the world knows about Carter’s recent coup on the Christopher Dorner story,” wrote CBS News president David Rhodes in an email to staff this afternoon. “With producer Chris Weicher and cameraman Javier Gomez, Carter was the only reporter on the scene near Big Bear Lake when authorities closed in on Dorner after a tense manhunt. He continues to work the story today.”

Evans is a former correspondent for CNN, and his wife, Courtney Friel, is a former Fox News and KTTV Los Angeles correspondent.

Rhodes’ full memo to staff is below.
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Who’s In Line to Take Over at NBC News?

In his farewell note to staff, departing NBC News president Steve Capus writes, “I have much I hope to accomplish in the next phase of my career.” So, too, do the men and women vying to replace Capus. Capus says NBCU News group Chairman Pat Fili-Krushel “will be meeting with people throughout the division, and articulating her vision for the NBCUniversal News Group.”

There are strong internal candidates, some of whom, it has been announced by Fili-Krushel, will take on additional duties. Alex Wallace (above, right), who oversees “Today,” and “Rock Center” will now oversee “Nightly News,” where she was once EP. Wallace, who’s been with NBC since 2005, would be the first female news president after nine men have held the job since 1968.

Phil Griffin will likely be considered for the job. As president of MSNBC for the last 4 and a half years he has given the network an identity and boosted ratings, consistently topping CNN — a network his close friend Jeff Zucker now runs. A front office and internal concern would be the progressive programming on the network, often not in line with NBC News standards. Mark Hoffman, president of CNBC, cannot be ruled out. Nor can Capus’ deputy, Antoine Sanfuentes, (above, left) who will run day-to-day in the interim.

External candidates are also plentiful…

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When Should Reporters Disclose Connections?

Let’s get this out of the way: conflicts of interest are rife in the TV news business.

CBS News president (and former Fox News executive) David Rhodes is the brother of one of President Obama’s advisers Ben Rhodes. NBC News anchor Andrea Mitchell is married to former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan. Bob Schieffer‘s brother Tom Schieffer was President Bush’s Ambassador to Japan.

In other words: potential conflicts happen all the time. The question is when should they be disclosed? Typically subjects with a conflict aren’t allowed to cover anything related to that conflict. If they do, a disclosure is a must.

The latest flap involves new CNN anchor Jake Tapper.

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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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Major Garrett Named CBS News Chief White House Correspondent

Major Garrett, who left Fox News Channel two years ago for National Journal, is returning to TV and has been named Chief White House correspondent for CBS News. The announcement was made just now by Bob Schieffer on “Face the Nation.”

Garrett replaces Norah O’Donnell who had been CBS’s lead correspondent at the White House since July 2011. O’Donnell left the White House beat when she joined “CBS This Morning” as co-host in September.

At CBS News, Garrett will once again be working with David Rhodes, CBS News president, who was VP of news at Fox News during Garrett’s run there.

Earlier in his career, Garrett was a CNN correspondent before jumping to Fox News in 2002. He starts at CBS News next Sunday.

> More: Rhodes’ email to staffers, obtained by TVNewser, after the jump…

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