.
April 14th, 2014
01:53 PM ET

From Brian: 6 takeaways from April 13 show

If you weren't able to tune in on Sunday, here were some of the moments that really stood out to me:

1. Senator Al Franken joined me to discuss his opposition to the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger, days after he participated in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about it. Franken said some influential opponents of the merger — other major media companies — are staying quiet because they are "afraid of retaliation:"


STELTER: There are CEOs of big media companies that own lots of cable channels that are very concerned about this merger, but we haven't heard them speak out.



FRANKEN: Well, that speaks volumes about how anti-competitive this is. You know why they don't speak out? They come to my office and say, 'This is off the record.' Then they talk about how it's going to be anti-competitive, but - 



STELTER: You can't name names, then?



FRANKEN: No. They're afraid of retaliation. Doesn't that tell you everything you need to know?

Here's the rest of the interview.

2. "What cameras do for people and what shows like this do for people is, they give them two things. They give them profile and they give them access. And profile and access equals influence, especially in this town. But it's also the dangerous part of it, because, again, what are you using your podium, your platform for? Is it to inform the audience? Is it to persuade the audience? Is it to feather your own nest? Is it to run for office yourself someday, whether you declare that or not? And that's what the public has a right to know." —Frank Sesno, director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University, discussing the ethical quandaries that exist when television personalities engage in political activities.

3. Keli Goff and Michelle Fields had quite a debate about Stephen Colbert, who will be succeeding David Letterman as the host of "The Late Show." Fields asserted that "Colbert's main goal isn't just to entertain. It's also to push a political agenda." Here's the video of the segment.

4. After the debate, I asked TV talk-show legend Dick Cavett if he thought CBS was taking a big gamble by bringing Colbert over from Comedy Central. Cavett answered, "If they are, it's probably the best gamble anybody ever took. I can't think of anybody more qualified, or if there ever has been anyone more qualified to do this show than Colbert." Here's what else he had to say...

5. I asked Al Franken about Colbert too, and he said: "I think Stephen is just brilliant, and I think every comedian and every satirist feels the same way. I think it's a great choice. It's going to be interesting to see him do it as himself. I mean, this is - and not in character." 



"He's going to have to really reinvent himself," I said.


"Well, and isn't that a great thing, to reinvent yourself?" said Franken, the "SNL" comedian turned senator.

6. What's it like to work for a cable news channel owned by the Chinese government? "We feel that it's important to include China in the mix in stories where China is relevant," Jim Spellman, a former CNN correspondent who now works for CCTV America, told me. Earlier, we had been talking about media coverage of the missing Malaysian Airlines plane.

"So the plane is absolutely relevant," he said. "Something like the Ukraine, the Chinese position is essentially nonintervention. So, that will be in some reports, but they aren't going to be driving the day-to-day of the story. We are more likely to include, say, them in context of the Security Council votes in the U.N. But we certainly are not given and I have never received any type of memo to, you know, reflect some sort of party line." Here's the full interview.


Hope you'll tune in next Sunday at 11 a.m. Eastern!

–Brian


Filed under: Reliable Sources
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