Apr
14
2014

Something You Still Won’t See on MSNBC

cnn-franken

A merger of two massive media companies–which raises some fundamental questions about one corporation holding enormous power over cable, broadband and programming–isn’t generating any interest over at MSNBC.

Feb
19
2014

Our Boss Is Great! How MSNBC Covered Comcast Merger

MSNBC-TimeWarner-Comcast

How did MSNBC cover the mega-merger between its parent company and Time Warner cable? Hardly at all–except for a segment glorifying their boss.

Mar
20
2013

Bill Maher Urges Vilification of Bill Maher

Bill Maher

On his last HBO show, Bill Maher complained about how much he and his wealthy cohort pay in taxes. But he’s unlikely to get much sympathy from the 2010 version of Bill Maher.

Jan
04
2013

Will Americans Be Able to Watch Al Jazeera America?

aljazeera

The problem with liberal cable channel Current TV being sold to Al Jazeera isn’t that American TV viewers might be subjected to news with a point of view. It’s news with what many elites might consider the wrong point of view that is the problem.

Jun
21
2012

Aaron Sorkin, Media Critic

Screenwriter and TV producer Aaron Sorkin’s upcoming HBO show The Newsroom apparently follows a cable news host who decides to stop playing it safe; he follows his conscience and starts doing shows about things that actually matter. (It’s fiction, in other words.) In an interview with USA Today (6/20/12), Sorkin reveals that he’s been thinking about the role of the media: “I don’t see the liberal bias—and I’m trying to—that I hear about,” he says. “What I do see is a bias toward fairness, a bias toward neutrality, a bias toward false equivalency. That if a Republican has lied, it’s […]

Sep
01
2011

Fox Business Uses Fake Quote to Bash Islamophobia Report

Recently on Fox Business (8/30/11; cite by Think Progress, 8/31/11), host Eric Bolling tried to discredit the Center for American Progress’s excellent new report on Islamophobia with this colossal falsehood: I need to point this out–I’m reading directly from this report: “The Obama-allied Center for American Progress has released a report that blames Islamophobia in America on a small group of Jews and Israel supporters in America, whose views are being backed by millions of dollars.” You would have to be an idiot to read those words and not realize that they weren’t CAP’s. In fact, Bolling was quoting from […]

Feb
03
2011

Error-Prone NYT Reporter Lectures Al Jazeera English on Accuracy

New York Times TV reporter Alessandra Stanley (2/2/11) had a piece discussing why you can’t watch Al Jazeera English on your television. After noting that “demand was pretty low” for the channel until recently (unlike, I don’t know, Fox Business Channel, which must have dozens of die-hard fans), Stanley warned that zeal sometimes outstrips the thirst for accuracy. The channel reported on Tuesday that 2 million protesters defied a curfew to gather in Tahrir Square; most Western news organizations put the number in the hundreds of thousands. Seriously–the New York Times is going to lecture other media outlets on the […]

Jan
24
2011

John McCain: TV Talk’s Indispensable Man

A few laughs on CBS‘s Face the Nation yesterday (1/23/11): BOB SCHIEFFER: And we begin this morning welcoming back to Face the Nation for the first time in exactly one year Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the person who, by the way, has been on this broadcast more than any other politician now in office. Well, senator, you haven’t been here in a year. What were you doing? Were you busy back in Arizona or what? JOHN MCCAIN: Busy and thanks for having me back on. And it’s probably the longest absence in all these years too. So I’m glad […]

Dec
22
2010

Rove, O’Reilly Combine Their Ignorance to Battle Jon Stewart

Last night on Fox News (12/22/10), Karl Rove and Bill O’Reilly attempted to defend GOP opposition tothe James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, whichwould providehealth care for 9/11 Ground Zero workers. In his final broadcast of the year (12/16/10), Comedy Central‘s Jon Stewart devoted the entire show to lambasting the Republican opposition.Stewart’s attention to the issue seems to have pushed other media outlets to pay attention to this issue. (With any luck, we’ll remember this the next time there’s a “debate” aboutpeople watchinga comedy show instead of “real” news.) Rove and O’Reilly’sdefense of GOP intransigence is hardly […]

Oct
20
2010

Dropping Fox: A Thought Experiment

Brian Stelter has a piece today (10/20/10) in the New York Times explaining the latest in the fight between Cablevision and NewsCorp. NewsCorp wants the cable company to pay them more money–a lot more–for airing Fox‘s broadcast signal (and a few, smaller cable channels).The two sides couldn’t reach a deal, and as of Saturday, Cablevision customers in the New York area weren’t able to watch Fox. NewsCorp upped the ante, as Stelter reports, byblocking Cablevision customers from accessing Fox shows on the popular streaming video site Hulu. While thatmaneuver didn’t last long, it did represent a pretty clear example of […]

Oct
04
2010

Factually Challenged Reporter Cheers Factchecking

I tuned into C-SPAN on Friday night and caught part of a panel discussion hosted by Arianna Huffington. One of the panelists was Weekly Standard reporter Stephen Hayes, who is perhaps best known for advancing the bogus theory that Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda were in cahoots. And oddly enough, the discussion turned to misleading political advertising, and the efforts to factcheck such political lying–an effort that Hayes cheered: HUFFINGTON: What else can the media do, Steve? HAYES: I think one of the upsides to the proliferation of information sources is that you can go to places and find out whether […]

Sep
30
2010

Why ‘Congress Has Cooled on Colbert’

Politico has a story about how congressmembers and their staffs are avoiding the Colbert Report that contains this anecdote: “My experience with that show is like herpes. It never goes away, and it itches and sometimes flares up,” said a former aide to Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, after his boss appeared on the show in 2006. The conservative Georgia Republican, co-sponsor of a bill requiring that the 10 Commandments be displayed in Congress, was skewered by Colbert in a segment of “Better Know a District” for appearing to be able to name only three of the commandments. The episode has “haunted” […]

Sep
15
2010

The Politics of News Media Audiences

A recent report by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press (9/12/10) deals in part with the news outlets sought out by different partisan and ideological groups–Democrats and Republicans; conservatives, moderates and liberals. Which outlets are attractive to which groups–particularly the most polarized groups in the survey, conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats–sheds an interesting light on the question of press bias. First, when looking at generic media categories, you see that many of them are more attractive to the right than to the left: When asked which outlets they used regularly, conservative Republicans were more likely than […]