Sunday, August 31

How radical Islamists spread their messages; Red News/Blue News: is the ISIS "threat to the homeland" overblown? Hollywood reacts to Joan Rivers' hospitalization.

How radical Islamists spread their messages; Red News/Blue News: is the ISIS "threat to the homeland" overblown? Hollywood reacts to Joan Rivers' hospitalization.

February 2nd, 2014
02:01 PM ET

Did Christie know or didn't he?

Kate Zernike talks to Brian Stelter about her reporting  of new developments in the ongoing story of Governor Christie's possible involvement in closing lanes on the George Washington Bridge.


Filed under: Chris Christie • Media • Media Criticism • Politics
February 2nd, 2014
02:01 PM ET

Dylan Farrow tells story of abuse

ABC News' Dan Abrams joins Brian Stelter to talk about Dylan Farrow's open letter about Woody Allen's alleged abuse. They also discussed the media's coverage of the re-convicted Amanda Knox and how some news outlets are portraying her as a vixen, while others present her as a victim of injustice.


Filed under: Amanda Knox • Dylan Farrow • International • Media • Media Criticism • Woody Allen
February 2nd, 2014
02:00 PM ET

MSNBC faces backlash from offensive Tweet

After an MSNBC Tweet suggests conservatives don't like biracial families, Errol Louis and CNN Crossfire host S.E. Cupp join Brian Stelter to examine if the left-leaning network goes overboard with their anti-GOP speech.


Filed under: Media • Media Criticism • MSNBC
January 26th, 2014
12:29 PM ET

Female reporters face Internet abuse

GQ's Amy Wallace and Slate contributor Amanda Hess tell Brian Stelter about the disproportionate levels of online vitriol they face as female journalists.


Filed under: Blog • Internet Abuse • Media Criticism • Reliable Sources • Women • Women's Rights
January 12th, 2014
01:27 PM ET

"The Outrage Industry"

Above, Professors Jeffrey Berry and Sarah Sobieraj of Tufts University discuss their book "The Outrage Industry," which tracks the growth of "outrage" programming on cable news, talk radio and political blogs.

"I think it's critical that we recognize that although we've always had outrageous speech, what has happened in the last 30 years is unprecedented, and that its meteoric rise can't simply be understood as a response to ideological audiences pounding their fists for red meat. It's much more complicated than that," Sobieraj said in an interview before Sunday's broadcast.

"There has been an increase in political polarization in the citizenry, but not nearly enough to account for this development," she added. "The technological, regulatory, and media space has shifted into one in which this is profitable, and profit is the driving force."

Berry concurred: "We argue in the book that outrage should be understood as a business. In short, these media businesses make money by attracting audiences through outrage content, which is highly compelling. In turn, those audiences make it possible to attract advertisers. For hosts, this incentivizes pushing the envelope, using extreme language, as becoming controversial is seen as a help in building ratings."

From the book, "two findings stand out," Berry said. "First, in terms of conservative outrage vs. liberal outrage, the density and frequency of outrage is greater on the conservative side. By density we mean media programs and outlets. By frequency, we mean the number of times outrage is used on a program or in a blog. Second, it’s the same business model for both conservative and liberal. That is, they use polarizing, provocative language and themes in much the same way. In the book we're critical of both conservative and liberal outrage but indicate that the conservatives are more successful at it in terms of audience size."

Berry added that "CNN has in the past had a small amount of outrage programming (Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs) but we found the network generally free of this approach."

So if some Americans are "addicted" to outrage, as Berry and Sobieraj assert, is there some way to break the addiction?

First, Sobieraj said, "We need to be clear on where the addiction lies. From our perspective, the addiction is to the revenue, much more so than the hyperbole and hatred. These shows are inexpensive to produce, entertaining, and profitable. Since our existing media environment is one in which outrage if profitable, we suspect its decay will also be the result of market forces."

"Importantly though, we don't necessarily think it should disappear," she added. "Controversial political speech has some benefits - it's engaging, and can start conversations that are worth having. But, for the public interest, it would be preferable if these voices weren't so overrepresented. A more diverse opinion space would be fabulous - both in terms of the temperature of the rhetoric, the variation in political views (programming now is decidedly two party - with so many networks and program slots, it would be great to see a show that represents the Green perspective, the Right to Life Perspective, the Libertarian perspective, etc.), and diversity in the voices. MSNBC is making some inroads in terms of diversity, but overall the industry as a whole is still dominated by white men."


Filed under: Blog • Fox News • Media Criticism • Reliable Sources
Western journalists' China visa dramas: Don't shoot the messenger
December 22nd, 2013
09:45 AM ET

Western journalists' China visa dramas: Don't shoot the messenger

 By Jaime A. FlorCruz, CNN

Editor's note: Jaime's China is a column about Chinese society and politics. Jaime FlorCruz has lived and worked in China since 1971. Now CNN's Beijing bureau chief, he studied Chinese history at Peking University (1977-81) and was TIME Magazine's Beijing correspondent (1982-2000).

Beijing (CNN) - Every December, foreign correspondents in China go through the rigmarole of renewing press cards and visas, which typically run out at the end of the year.

This time around, Chinese authorities held up renewing the credentials of roughly two dozen Bloomberg and New York Times reporters after the two American news outfits published muckraking stories about the wealth of the families of top Chinese leaders.

READ: China blocks website after report on Wen Jiabao's wealth

Without renewed press cards, they could not renew their Chinese visas. Without the visas, reporters and their families would be forced to leave China.

"5 Days Till Visa Expiry," New York Times reporter Andrew Jacobs, tweeted on Tuesday.

"Do you think hauling all my stuff to gates of the Foreign Ministry holding a tag sale will get their attention?"

Read more of the article here.


Filed under: Censorship • China • Media • Media Criticism
December 15th, 2013
12:32 PM ET

Media identify missing man as CIA spy

The AP's Matt Apuzzo, who broke the news that Robert Levinson was captured in Iran while on an unauthorized CIA mission, discusses his reporting. AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll also weighs in on the decision to run the story.


Filed under: CIA • Media • Media Criticism • Robert Levinson
December 8th, 2013
12:37 PM ET

Bashir resigns amid scandal

Eric Deggans, Paul Farhi, Jane Hall and Brian Stelter assess the fallout from the MSNBC host’s controversial comments, apology and resignation.


Filed under: ABC • Good Morning America • Martin Bashir • Media • Media Criticism • MSNBC • Sam Champion
December 8th, 2013
12:37 PM ET

Ryan Seacrest: media Idol

By Brian Stelter, CNN

Ryan Seacrest has a few big decisions to make.

His contract to host "American Idol," once the biggest television show in the United States and still a linchpin of Fox's lineup, expires when the singing competition's next season ends in May. Another of his contracts, a wide-ranging one with NBCUniversal, comes due around the same time. Both are likely to be renewed in some form; the requisite talks are already underway. But the decisions in front of Seacrest — ones that any broadcaster would be glad to be facing — highlight how he's been able to work for so many competing media companies simultaneously. He recently extended his contract to host "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" for ABC and he leads two radio shows for Clear Channel.

When I interviewed him for CNN's "Reliable Sources" last Friday and asked how he pulls off this pretty unique juggling act, he joked about making sure to always remember which network he's on at any given time: "When I'm on Fox, I want to remember 'Fox.'"

More seriously, he added, "I really believe that every single one of those partnerships is equally as important."

He carved out time for the interview during the Los Angeles portion of Jingle Ball, Clear Channel's annual concert series in cities across the country. Seacrest's deal with the radio giant, valued at $25 million a year, will come up for renewal in 2015, according to people with direct knowledge of the deal terms. (They insisted on anonymity while discussing private contract details.)

But his business relationships with Fox and NBC require more urgent reconsideration. When I asked him if he'll continue to host "Idol" after this season, which begins in January and ends in May, he said, "I hope to host as long as they want me to host."

Seacrest acknowledged his dissatisfaction with the sharp ratings declines that "Idol" has suffered, particularly in the season that ended last May.

"We obviously did not deliver … the numbers that we wanted to deliver," he said before asserting that he had lost slept over the relative weakness of the ratings.

Looking ahead to this season, which involves an almost entirely new team of producers and judges, he said, "I want people to watch, and I want people who perhaps didn't watch last season to come back and see their 'American Idol' this season because we have put the show back together in a fun way."

I also asked Seacrest about NBC's "Today" show, since his current deal with NBCUniversal includes a special correspondent role on the morning show. Around the time the deal was struck in the spring of 2012, there was informed speculation in the press about Seacrest being in line to someday replace Matt Lauer on "Today." Lauer asked Seacrest about his interest in the "Today" show during an April 2012 interview:

LAUER: Do you see yourself doing a job like this?
SEACREST: You know, I don't know. I see you doing this for as long as you want to, so maybe the question is, how long will you be on the 'Today' show? … Because fans, myself included, think you should be here for years to come.

Subsequently, Seacrest has said that Lauer should host the "Today" show for as long as he wants to. So I asked him if hosting "Today" was still a possibility, and he answered this way: "Look, I mean, as far as I'm concerned, everything is a - I hope everything is a possibility. You know, I like to leave every door open. If it is open, I think that's up to them to decide."

At the moment, the door is not open — Lauer has not telegraphed any plans to leave the show. But NBC executives are dutifully thinking about a "Today" show succession plan anyway. In the interview, I told Seacrest that I thought he might be "too big" for the "Today" show — because he has too many other jobs and business ventures — but he circled back to his interest in the possibility, citing his love for live broadcasting.

"I truly thrive off of being on-air or on-stage in a live environment," he said.

NBC tried to launch a live prime time game show, "Million Second Quiz," with Seacrest as the host earlier this fall. "Quiz" turned in disappointing ratings; postmortems focused on the overly complicated game-play. NBC executives said they were pleased with Seacrest's performance.

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Filed under: American Idol • Media • Media Criticism • NBC • Olympics • Ryan Seacrest
December 8th, 2013
12:37 PM ET

Blaming the media

Eric Deggans, Paul Farhi, Jane Hall and Brian Stelter discuss President Obama’s swipe at the media and a possible conflict of interest for CNN.


Filed under: Amazon • Andrew Cuomo • Barack Obama • Chris Cuomo • I Want Media • Jeff Bezos • Media • Media Criticism
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