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November 30th, 2012
02:39 PM ET

Sneak peek at this Sunday's show

By Cassie Spodak, CNN

After much speculation, CNN announced Thursday that Jeff Zucker will be taking over as President of CNN in late January. We’ll take a look back at Zucker’s history at NBC’s Today show and his rise through the ranks at NBC Universal. Does Zucker’s past give us a glimpse at what he might have in store for CNN? Frank Sesno, Director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University, Fred Francis, former correspondent for NBC News, and David Zurawik, media critic for The Baltimore Sun, discuss the decision to go with Zucker and the future of the network.

Keli Goff, political correspondent for TheRoot.com, and Ramesh Ponnuru, senior editor at The National Review, discuss the week in political coverage – from Pres. Obama’s use of social media in the fiscal cliff talks, to media coverage of Amb. Susan Rice and her possible nomination for a cabinet position.

Emily Bell, of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism, discusses the much anticipated report from Judge Brian Leveson on Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World phone hacking scandal. The British controversy has embroiled the press overseas and led Leveson to call for an independent group that makes sure the press meets certain standards of independence and effectiveness. Bell also discusses a British politician suing social media users for re-Tweeting a false accusation leveled at him.

In other news across social media, culture commentator Lola Ogunnaike discusses singer Chris Brown’s vulgar Twitter attack on a comedian, and tweets directed at Matt Lauer criticizing his coverage of the Thanksgiving parade.

This Sunday, 11am ET.

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What we're reading this week...
November 29th, 2012
06:02 PM ET

What we're reading this week...

By Cassie Spodak, CNN

Here are some of the stories Reliable Sources is talking about this week:

CNN chooses a news president – This morning CNN execs announced that as of January 2013 veteran news producer and former NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker will become the president of CNN Worldwide. Zucker, who most recently produced Katie Couric's new daytime talk show, had been widely rumored to be in line for the position. His news judgment and leadership made the "Today" show the most profitable show on television during his time there.

Unidentified Flying Insect? – KDVR reporter Heidi Hemmat has been investigating a strange phenomenon over the skies of Denver, Colorado ever since a viewer sent in video of what he claimed was a UFO. The site where the video was filmed has now become a tourist attraction, with dozens of fans showing up to film the skyline and obtain their own evidence. The problem? Those UFO's look suspiciously like bugs.

No more phobia for the AP – This week the online Associated Press Stylebook updated the use of words ending with "-phobia." AP Deputy Standards Editor Dave Minthorn told Politico that a phobia is by definition a "psychiatric or medical term for a severe mental disorder." According to Minthorn this makes the use of -phobia when it comes to social or political contexts simply inaccurate. This means words like "Islamophobia" and "homophobia" will no longer be used.

The curse of "Two and a Half Men" – Angus T. Jones, a young actor on the hit CBS show, said in a YouTube video that his show is filth and he begged viewers to stop watching. The confession was part of a video where Jones talks about being a Christian and part of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. No surprise, a day later came the apology with Jones saying "I apologize if my remarks reflect me showing indifference to and disrespect of my colleagues and a lack of appreciation of the extraordinary opportunity of which I have been blessed."

O'Reilly doesn't get "Gangnam Style" – Last night on Fox News Bill O'Reilly dug into the phenomenon that is Korean pop star Psy's hit video. O'Reilly says the song "means nothing" and that "this is a little fat guy from Yong yang... he’s jumping up and down." His guest, psychiatrist Keith Ablow, says the video's popularity speaks to the fact that people today want something without any meaning. Psy himself has said the song is "just FUN" – yet it's obvious the song has tapped into something meaningful, if just for the explosion of copycats.

What are you reading?

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November 16th, 2012
02:37 PM ET

Sneak peek at this Sunday's show

By Cassie Spodak, CNN

As the Petraeus scandal continues to unravel, reporters are scrambling to snag every tidbit and rumor they come across. Closed session hearings on Capitol Hill and FBI probes vs. shirtless photos and VIP skydiving trips – where is the line between tabloid and hard news?

Tara McKelvey, a fellow at the Shorenstein Center at Harvard University, and Rajiv Chandrasekaran of The Washington Post will discuss their experiences reporting on General Petraeus, as well as how media outlets have covered the scandal and the rush to find the facts behind the buzz.

Amy Holmes, Anchor for The Blaze, Terry Smith, former PBS media correspondent and Margaret Carlson, a columnist for Bloomberg, will discuss Obama’s press conference Wednesday (the first since March) as well as partisan coverage of the Petraeus scandal.

Marty Baron, incoming Washington Post Executive Editor, talks about the challenges facing the paper and the future of print newspapers.

This Sunday, 11am ET.

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What we're reading this week...
November 15th, 2012
03:20 PM ET

What we're reading this week...

By Cassie Spodak, CNN

Rumors, flirtatious emails, anonymous threats, “suggestive” clothing, it’s like something from a James Bond movie – or a high school dance. The scandal over General Petraeus’ extra-marital affair has embroiled the media this week, but here are some of the other stories we’re talking about:

Obama opens up to the press after 8 months – His last press conference was 2 months before his first campaign rally, way back on March 6th. So what did reporters ask after being given the cold shoulder for more than half a year? The first question from The AP was about Gen. Petraeus, as was a question from NBC News. The rest of the 11 questions (including one shouted out at the end that Obama shrugged off) focused on the fiscal cliff, immigration reform, the attack in Benghazi, climate change, Syria and when Obama might meet with Mitt Romney to talk about ideas for fixing the economy.

‘GIF” gets its moment in the sun – Defined as “a compressed file format for images that can be used to create simple, looping animations” – you’ve probably seen tons of GIF’s before but did you know the term is 25 years old? It literally stands for “graphic interchange format” and it beat out this year’s other competitors such as “superstorm,” “Super PAC” and “YOLO.”

Fantasy football briefly loses its line-upYahoo Sports apologized to fantasy football players for a site outage on NFL Sunday that made it impossible to update lineups. Paul Charchian, president of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, didn’t have a lot of sympathy for grumblers. “I would encourage players to remember that this game wasn't always played online,” Charchian said. “It's not the end of the world. They'll fix it.”

Guy Fieri’s “far from awesome” Chicken Tenders – New York Times food critic Pete Wells gave Fieri’s new Times Square restaurant “Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar” zero out of four stars, plus a rating of “POOR” just to get the point across. Some are saying Wells went over the line is his criticism and tone, but he told CNN "If wanting nachos and fries that taste good and don't make you want to avert your eyes makes you an elitist, then I guess I am."

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November 9th, 2012
02:07 PM ET

Sneak peek at this Sunday's show

By Cassie Spodak, CNN

Where were you Tuesday night? Glued to your TV screen? Compulsively checking your Twitter feed? Although most outlets called the election for President Obama between 11:12pm and 11:30pm it played out quite differently depending on what channel you were watching: power outages and a “sleepy” anchor at ABC, Karl Rove questioning the Ohio projection on Fox, jubilation at MSNBC, and masterful magic walls at CNN.

Jackie Kucinich of USA Today, Peter Baker of The New York Times, and Fred Francis, former correspondent for NBC News,discuss how the media storm played out the night of the election as well as pundits already sounding off on the future of the GOP and what went wrong.

This Sunday at 11am ET.

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November 2nd, 2012
12:13 PM ET

Sneak peek at this Sunday's show

By Cassie Spodak, CNN

As we head into the last days before the election, media outlets are still reeling from the storm that swept across the Northeast. Sandy left devastation in the communities it touched, but the storm also stopped the campaigns dead in their tracks.

During the storm, both journalists and viewers looked to traditional newsgathering outlets as well as pictures and rumors playing out across social media. How did the press handle the balancing act?

As pundits and politicians debate the role of FEMA and climate change in this latest disaster, how did politics color the coverage of the storm?

Friday also marks the last monthly jobs report before voters head to the polls – with an unemployment rate in line with what many expected, and jobs added ticking slightly upward – how will this impact political coverage?

Ryan Lizza, political reporter for The New Yorker, and Frank Sesno, Director of GWU’s School of Media and Public Affairs will discuss how the storm rocked the political climate this week and how media responded.

Current TV host Bill Press, and San Francisco Chronicle columnist Debra Saunders will discuss how Romney has responded to a national disaster that put the President on center stage.

Larry Sabato,Founder and Director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, discusses the 2012 election and his critique of the press.

Sarah Lacy, founder of PandoDaily.com which covers Silicon Valley, talks about the role social media played as Sandy tore across the Northeast.

This Sunday, 11am ET.

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What we're reading this week...
November 1st, 2012
05:09 PM ET

What we're reading this week...

By Cassie Spodak, CNN

The superstorm known as Sandy has dominated media this week, but here are some of the other stories catching our eye:

Han Solo and Mickey Mouse together at last – News broke on Tuesday that Disney had agreed to acquire Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion, thus giving it control of the “Star Wars” franchise. Social media users took the opportunity to bring some iconic characters together virtually.

Sorkin joins the much maligned Twitter – Aaron Sorkin, notorious Twitter hater, has finally joined the social media platform and sent out two tweets. So far both tweets have been “West Wing” themed – we hope his next tweet will be about his HBO show Newsroom, or maybe he’ll get into a Twitter feud with @WillMcAvoyACN

HBO Doc on photojournalists in the line of fire – The series will follow photojournalists as they risk their lives in Libya, Mexico, Brazil and South Sudan. The first in this four part series from writer-director Michael Mann will focus on Eros Hoagland in Juarez, Mexico – it airs Monday.

The Atlantic introduces “The Sexes” – This newest endeavor will cover issues like parenting, work place dynamics and how gender intersects with the economy. The magazine has published a number of gender-centric articles in the past year or so that gained a lot of attention and although they describe it as a “non-ladyblog,” the focus will be on gender.

What stories are you talking about this week?

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October 26th, 2012
04:22 PM ET

Sneak peek at this Sunday's show

By Cassie Spodak, CNN

The foreign policy debate on Monday was heavy on substance, but light on buzz. By mid-week the headlines had moved on to Donald Trump’s newest grab for attention and President Obama’s media blitz with Jay Leno, Brian Williams and Rolling Stone. But the pundits were still quick to take sides on Romney and Obama’s performances. Even if Obama won the debates 2 to 1, how much does it matter? Romney seemed to agree with much of what Obama said on Monday, is he moving further and further to the center?

Michael Shear of The New York Times, Lauren Ashburn of the Daily-Download.com, and political blogger Craig Crawford discuss coverage of the debate as well as all the distractions that took over the press this week. Where was the in-depth discussion of the foreign policy platforms put forth by the candidates?

They will also take on the puzzling interaction between the Des Moines Register and President Obama – why did the campaign request the interview be off the record, only to give in once editor Rick Green published a blog post about it?

Matt Lewis of The Daily Caller, and John Aravosis of AmericaBlog sound off on how the presidential debate played out for Obama and Romney as well as the pundits’ twist on it.

Media critic for The Baltimore Sun David Zurawik discusses how the Obama campaign has leaned heavily on entertainment shows and magazines this week while Romney has stuck to stump speeches along the campaign trail. How have both strategies played out for the candidates?

Howard Kurtz also about the recently deceased BBC TV icon Jimmy Savile and the accusations that he abused hundreds of children.

This Sunday, 11am ET.

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What we're reading this week...
October 25th, 2012
05:03 PM ET

What we're reading this week...

By Cassie Spodak, CNN

While the foreign policy debate Monday failed to sustain the kind of buzz we've seen in the past debates, the press didn't need any excuse to keep parsing the latest in political punditry. Here are some of the other stories the Reliable Sources team is talking about this week:

– Coulter’s language of critique: Ann Coulter caused a more of a backlash than usual when she sent out a tweet following the presidential debate where she insinuated that Pres. Obama is a "retard." Tuesday night, John Franklin Stephens, a 30-year-old Special Olympian with Down syndrome, posted an open letter to Coulter. Stephens article has 5,000+ comments on it already:

"Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor. No one overcomes more than we do and still loves life so much."

For more: http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/23/living/ann-coulter-obama-tweet/index.html

Obama’s perplexing request: Editor of the Des Moines Register Rick Green published a blog post Tuesday questioning why President Obama wanted his interview with the editorial staff to be kept off the record. The Obama camp then responded Wednesday by publishing the entire transcript. What was the reasoning behind the campaigns' request?

For more: http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/24/iowa-newspaper-blasts-obama-camp-for-off-the-record-interview-demand/

An ugly media legacy: Jimmy Savile, a household name in Britain, died last year – but he now stands accused as a predatory sex offender. Savile was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and was a UK TV icon at the BBC. Now, many in British media are wondering who knew the truth, and why nothing ever came out while Savile was alive. Incoming New York Times CEO Mark Thompson was director general of the BBC but claims he had no knowledge of the investigation.

For more: http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/24/world/europe/uk-savile-scandal/index.html

Coming storm to ruin Halloween? The media is just starting to buzz about Hurricane Sandy, or "Frankenstorm" as dubbed by the National Weather Service, which is just now passing through the Bahamas. The exact path of the storm remains unclear but it's estimated that Sandy will reach the Northeast coast early next week. Will our costumes have to be waterproof?

For more: http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/25/sandy-becomes-a-strong-category-2-hurricane/

October 19th, 2012
02:57 PM ET

Sneak peek at this Sunday's show

By Cassie Spodak, CNN

The latest presidential debate has dominated the news, whether it was pundits sounding off on “binders full of women” or the role moderators play – but almost everyone agrees it was a very different Barack Obama who showed up on Tuesday.

Nia-Malika Henderson of the Washington Post, Roger Simon of Politico, and Jackie Kucinich of USA Today will discuss the criticism of CNN’s Candy Crowley and her performance as a moderator, as well as how media graded Barack Obama and Mitt Romney’s political sparring.

Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin and Current TV’s David Shuster take a look at how the pundits picked apart the debate. Is the press too focused on theatrics over substance?

Tina Brown, editor-in-chef of Newsweek and The Daily Beast, will discuss the recent decision to take Newsweek magazine all digital and end its print edition. The magazine merged with website The Daily Beast in late 2010 around the same time Reliable Sources host Howard Kurtz joined the site.

Media critic Jeff Jarvis will also give his take on the merger and what it means in the larger scheme of print media and online content.

This Sunday, 11am ET.

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