April 28th, 2014
02:55 PM ET

From Brian: 6 takeaways from April 27 show

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

1. Aereo has a "50 percent chance" of losing its case before the Supreme Court, one of the startup's main backers, Barry Diller, told me in an exclusive interview. "Always, I thought that ... But I did not think that it would become this important a moment in the world of technology." Here's my story about the interview, and the video.

2. "In TV, when the ratings go down, tensions go up. And sometimes, TV executives hit the panic button," I remarked while introducing a segment about the industry's use of consultants.

To that, one of my guests, Magid Generational Strategies president Jack MacKenzie, responded: "Let me tell you that tensions are high every single day; whether you're in first place or third place, there are tensions."

I asked MacKenzie about this Washington Post that a consultant helping NBC with "Meet the Press" last year interviewed David Gregory's friends and even his wife. "What it says to me is that NBC is serious about helping one of their franchises," he said. "And anything that they can do to help a franchise, as important to our society as 'Meet the Press,' and as someone who is a smart and dedicated as David Gregory, then I hope that it helped."

3. During the same discussion, Andrew Heyward, a former president of CBS News and now a digital media consultant himself, had this to say:

The very best things we've seen on TV are not consultant-driven. Take a look at CBS "Sunday Morning," for example. I don't think a consultant would approve of a program that's slow-paced with highfalutin story selection, very sophisticated writing. Yet it's an enormous hit -

STELTER: Highest rated show on Sunday morning television.

HEYWARD: That's right. And yet, it defies the conventional wisdom. So, there's good consulting and bad consulting. Good consultants can help with strategy. Bad consultants just promote sameness.

Watch the discussion with Heyward and MacKenzie here.

4. David Brock, the founder of the liberal media monitoring group Media Matters, told me the group has never targeted a specific person — say, a television journalist — due to a specific donation.

Brock was following up on what he called a "sensational charge that's not true" by Sharyl Attkisson, the former CBS News investigative correspondent whose work has been roundly criticized by Media Matters. On "Reliable" last week, Attkisson raised a question about whether Media Matters was paid to target her. She also said Media Matters "used to work with me on stories and tried to help me produce my stories," before turning against her.

Brock said his group's efforts to assist journalists — and challenge others — are common, "and there are conservative groups that are out there also trying to influence and shape media coverage. There's nothing unusual about that." Watch the whole television segment here.

5. "A lot of the feedback we've gotten from our time out in the field is people are learning a lot from what we do out there. They're learning about the structure of storms, they're learning how tornadoes form, how they move. Even though nature can be erratic, I think you can learn a lot from actually seeing them and witnessing them on TV." —Weather Channel meteorologist Mike Bettes on the reasons for live storm-chasing coverage on television. Here's the rest of what he said.

6. Our "Red News/Blue News" segment this week was unique because it was about, as I said, "red news until it suddenly turned into blue news." Here's the segment.

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


Filed under: Reliable Sources
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