The Justice Department went on the defensive this week after new information came out that seemed to contradict statements Attorney General Eric Holder made in his testimony on the Department’s seizure of reporter phone records. The controversy culminated late in the week with a series of meetings between Justice Department officials and news organizations. Dana Milbank of the Washington Post, Debra Saunders of the San Francisco Chronicle, and Lois Romano of Politico will join Howard Kurtz to discuss the outcome.
Next, the panel returns with for a discussion on the media treatment of Rep. Michele Bachmann following her announcement that she will leave Congress after her current term ends.
Canadian news outlets are coming under fire over their reporting on a cell phone video that allegedly shows Toronto’s mayor, Rob Ford, smoking crack cocaine. John Stackhouse, Editor-In-Chief of Toronto’s largest newspaper, The Globe and Mail, stops by to break down the controversy.
Howard will sit down with former Chicago Sun-Times photojournalist John H. White to talk about the newspaper’s decision to lay off all of its full time photographers as it rethinks its multimedia strategy.
Finally, we’ll hear from Anthony De Rosa on his decision to leave his position as Social Media Editor for Thompson Reuters and join the startup news app “Circa.” Are apps like this the future of news?
Tune in Sunday morning, 11am ET.
By Laura Koran, CNN
Tune in Sunday for a look at how the Cleveland abduction case, the Benghazi hearing, and the week's other big stories are playing out in the media. Until then, here are some interesting reads that caught our attention.
Sexism at play? – This week’s Time Magazine cover story, “The Me Me Me Generation”, describes the entitlement and narcissism of American Millenials. While author Joel Stein concede that the generation “could be a great force for positive change,” his portrayal is often less than flattering. While some have taken issue with Stein’s perception of young people, others are calling out the magazine itself for the cover image it used to accompany the story. The cover features a young woman taking a picture of herself with a smart phone. That depiction, according to ThinkProgress culture reporter Alyssa Rosenberg, is not only ageist, but sexist as well, implying that self-absorption is a primarily female trait.
The Photoshop diet – The media’s ongoing obsession with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s weight was on display this week after the Governor admitted he underwent weight loss surgery in February. We will have more on how the story played out in the national media on Sunday, but for those who have been asking themselves how the leaner Christie will look, there’s no need to wait! The Asbury Park Press digitally altered a photo of the Governor to show what he might look like once the weight loss takes effect. This makes Christie the latest in a long line of celebrities who have benefited from developments in airbrushing technology.
Eulogy to a library – After the library across the street from his apartment closed to make way for condos and a hotel, Current TV co-founder Michael Rosenblum took to Huffington Post to reminisce about libraries and to ponder their future existence. As Rosenblum points out, libraries may hold sentimental value to people, but the internet has rendered them increasingly unnecessary. In fact, the disappearance of Rosenblum’s local library is far from unique. According to the American Library Association, state and federal funding for libraries has been dropping significantly in recent years, leaving many to wonder whether they might to the way of telephone booths and typewriters.
By Laura Koran, CNN
On this week’s show, we will be taking a look at the media’s hits and misses covering the attack on the Boston Marathon. Tune in for that on Sunday, and see what other stories caught our attention this week right here.
The wisdom of Mr. Rogers: In the aftermath of terrible tragedies, such as the Boston Marathon bombings, people tend to seek out examples of human kindness to dispel the notion that the world is a dark and hateful place. It is not surprising then, that a meme featuring the beloved children’s show host Mr. Rogers has gone viral since Monday’s terrorist attack. The image, circulating on social media sites, displays one of Mr. Rogers’ classic, heartfelt musings: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things on the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” As Reverend J.C. Austin points out, these simple words hold a deeper truth, and serve as a powerful reminder that the “helpers” are more powerful than the “haters.”
Is brevity the soul of good reporting? A chart recently released by Dean Starkman of Columbia Journalism Review shows that the number of long-form stories (in this case, stories with more than 2,500 words) published by The Wall Street Journal has declined significantly over the past decade. The paper responded to the chart saying in part, “The number of words in an article has never been the barometer by which the quality of a publication or its value to readers should be measured.” But many, including Alexis C. Madrigal of The Atlantic, are left wondering whether this new preference for shorter news stories can be attributed to the robust paywall on the paper’s website.
A fly on the wall: New York Times reporter Brian Stelter caught a truly lucky break when he was tipped off about a lunch between “Today” host Matt Lauer, and his former co-host Meredith Viera. That lunchtime chat, which Stelter surreptitiously eavesdropped on from the bar at New York restaurant Park Avenue Spring, provided the closing anecdote for Stelter’s new book, “Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV,” which releases next week. Stelter recounts how Viera reassured Lauer that the slew of negative media coverage of his involvement in Ann Curry’s removal from the show would soon pass, telling him, “It’ll be O.K.”
Learning from history: A new documentary short premiering at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival takes a look at The New York Times’ dismal coverage of the Holocaust during World War II. The film, “Reporting on the Times,” is the work of 22-year old filmmaker Emily Harrold, who hopes her movie can serve as a warning to news organizations covering (or not covering) human rights crises today. The Times has long been criticized for under-reporting on the Holocaust; criticism that the paper itself has called, “valid.”
By Laura Koran, CNN
We have a lot to discuss on this Sunday's show, from the media's coverage of the gun control debate to Anthony Weiner's comeback hopes. But Sunday is still several days away! Here are some of the stories we found interesting this week.
Schieffer’s tip to local broadcasters: CBS Chief Washington Correspondent and host of Face the Nation Bob Schieffer had some words of advice for local broadcasters when he accepted the National Association of Broadcasters’ Distinguished Service Award on Monday. Schieffer warned that, as local newspapers fold, the responsibility of broadcast reporters to hold local governments accountable will become increasingly important saying, “You cannot have a democracy unless people have that independently gathered version of events compared to what government is telling them.” Schieffer acknowledged that technology is changing the way people consume news, but rejected the idea that news content and journalistic standards should change as well.
No comment? The Huffington Post came under fire from Politico’s Mike Allen on Thursday for publishing a story about former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour without speaking with Barbour first. The story, by Peter H. Stone, claimed that the former governor was leaving the super PAC American Crossroads because he had concerns about its affiliate, the Conservative Victory Project. Barbour told Allen the story, “has no basis in fact,” and that, “Nobody at HP even talked to me about it.” He went on to say that his commitment to American Crossroads ended after the 2012 election, and that he “left with high regard and respect” for the organization. Stone and his editors are sticking by their story, and say they gave Barbour “a little more than an hour” to respond to the claims made by two un-named sources.
The “60 Minutes” formula for success: Segments that take months to produce. Frequent and costly international trips. In-depth, long-form reporting. These are not generally thought of as the ingredients of a successful (much less, profitable) news program. Yet the formula has been working for the CBS newsmagazine “60 Minutes” for 45 years, and in an era of short attention spans and increasingly insatiable demand for new content, the ratings are holding strong. The Hollywood Reporter spoke recently with the producers and correspondents of “60 Minutes” for an in-depth profile. So what is the secret to the show’s success? Longtime correspondent Morley Safer offered this theory: "It is staying out of the gutter and handling just about any kind of story imaginable. And at some point, maybe around the 25th year, we became a habit."
What are you reading this week?
By Laura Koran, CNN
During the 2012 presidential campaign, the media came under criticism for calling out the Republican Party on its failure to reach out to various groups, including Hispanics and women. The analysis was seen by many in the GOP as an example of liberal bias. Now, a GOP ‘autopsy’ report is drawing similar conclusions, saying the party must do more to appeal to these groups. So was the media right after all? Howard Kurtz will discuss that question with Bill Press, host of Current TV’s Full Court Press, and Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner.
The Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism came out with a study ranking the three cable news networks (Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC) on their ratio of news reporting and opinion segments. MSNBC was ranked as the most opinion-driven network by a wide margin of 85% opinion to 15% news reporting. Marisa Guthrie, columnist for The Hollywood Reporter, Joe Concha, columnist for Mediaite, and Gail Shister of TV Newser weigh in on what the numbers mean for the three networks. The two will also discuss NBC’s decision to replace Jay Leno at The Tonight Show, despite the show’s first place rating.
Following the release of a study finding that 26% of New Hampshire residents suffer from some form of mental illness, a reporter for The Concord Monitor came out with an account of her personal, hidden battle with depression. Annmarie Timmins will join us to speak about her experience and the reaction her story has generated from readers.
A new biography of outspoken media mogul Roger Ailes came out this week, shining light on the man behind the ratings powerhouse, Fox News. We’ll speak with the biography’s author, Zev Chafets, about the book, and about Ailes’ successes in television and influence in the political world.
Tune in this Sunday at 11am ET.