Articles about "Fox News"

Bob Schieffer, Howard Kurtz

Sizing up Howard Kurtz’s new show against ‘Reliable Sources’

As a recent member of the conga line of guest hosts for CNN’s media-analysis show “Reliable Sources,” I took interest in the Sunday debut of ex-host Howard Kurtz’s new Fox News program “Media Buzz.”

Airing at the same time as “Reliable Sources,” Kurtz’s show offered the same kind of media discussions as the CNN show he hosted for 15 years, presenting a chance for anyone with a DVR or twitchy TV remote finger to get two different visions of the week’s media news in one hour.

Kurtz’s inaugural show offered a fast-paced, technology-tinged overview of media stories that felt like a, well, buzzier version of the slightly more contemplative — OK, wonkier — edition of “Reliable Sources” guest-hosted by another former CNN staffer, Frank Sesno.

“We are going to hold the media accountable in a fair, aggressive and unbiased way,” said Kurtz, offering a mission statement of sorts at the show’s start. “We won’t be shy about calling out people for mistakes, conflicts, sensationalism or acknowledging our own errors when they happen.”

(Kurtz got a chance to live up to that manifesto later in the show, when he corrected a panelist who suggested New York Times investigative reporter Judith Miller lost her job for discredited reporting in the lead-up to the war in Iraq. He noted she resigned from the paper a few years later and is now a Fox News analyst.)

With longtime on-air partner Lauren Ashburn at his right hand, Kurtz launched into a discussion of President Obama’s attempt to win congressional approval for military action in Syria, using the president’s scheduled interviews with six network-news anchors today and an address to the American people Tuesday as the media angle. Other segments touched on the media fascination with floundering New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner; a visit by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to the newspaper he just bought, The Washington Post; and questions of sexism in media reporting about Yahoo president and CEO Marissa Mayer.

In guest-hosting “Reliable Sources” on Aug. 25, I found a striking amount of the show’s direction depends on who you can get in front of the cameras. Getting the journalists at the heart of big stories in the show — along with less-familiar sources who can talk about media well — can be the difference between a flat segment and one that shines.

To that end, Kurtz welcomed a roster of panelists familiar to regular “Reliable Sources” viewers, including Baltimore Sun TV critic David Zurawik, Washington Post reporter Nia-Malika Henderson and Ashburn. (Full disclosure: I was a frequent guest on Kurtz’s CNN show, but haven’t spoken to him about his new program.)

The biggest difference between “Media Buzz” and “Reliable Sources” however, was the new venture’s Fox-style production values. Instead of the relaxed piano tones introducing “Reliable Sources,” Fox viewers got electric guitars — as well as bright flashing graphics, names for segments such as “Spin Cycle” and “Buzz Alert,” lots of encouragement to engage online and a perkier host, seemingly invigorated after weeks away from regular hosting duties.

You could nitpick about some choices — one of the show’s longer segments centered on why media outlets were spending so much time talking about Weiner’s long-shot mayoral campaign, embodying the very dynamic being critiqued. And the segment on coverage of Mayer alluded to sexism in media coverage but only specifically detailed a piece both Ashburn and Kurtz said was well done: a 20,000-word story by Business Insider.

Kurtz left CNN less than two months after he submitted to a 15-minute segment on “Reliable Sources” in which two other media critics asked him about mistakes he made in a piece for the Daily Beast (he said back then the timing of his departure was not connected to that incident).

But in a move that mirrored similar hires of former NPR news analyst Juan Williams and former MSNBC morning personality Don Imus, Fox News picked up Kurtz to take over its media-analysis show “Fox News Watch,” moving the program from Saturdays into direct competition with “Reliable Sources” on Sunday morning.

At CNN, Sesno touched on similar subjects as Kurtz’s show, kicking off with a discussion of Syria that included an interview with CNN correspondent Arwa Damon; Shibley Telhami, an expert on Middle Eastern politics from the University of Maryland; and Len Downie, the former executive editor of The Washington Post.

Sesno, now leading the school of media and public affairs at George Washington University, came across as a bit less urgent than Kurtz, quizzing CNN correspondent Peter Hamby on whether Twitter is killing campaign journalism (short answer: yes) and getting a first-hand report from Downie on Bezos’ visit to the Post. (Downie said the new owner liked investigative journalism, loved the printed newspaper and talked a lot about the possibilities of tablet computers.)

With a succession of guest hosts filling in for Kurtz, it’s tough to know how “Reliable Sources” may stack up against “Media Buzz” in weeks to come.

But Sunday’s episodes offered two different flavors of the same ice cream cone — a welcome diversity of approaches in a medium that often doesn’t even like to acknowledge the media competition, much less spend an entire hour dissecting it for viewers. Read more


Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren is staying, but Megyn Kelly moving to prime time

Mediaite | GretaWire | Politico | New York Times

While Greta Van Susteren is denying Mediaite’s report that she went looking for a position with CNN, her Fox News coworker Megyn Kelly, who is expecting her third child, is gearing up for a move to prime time.

In a very brief blog post Tuesday, Van Susteren addressed Andrew Kirell’s Monday item claiming that “according to our high-level sources within CNN, the Fox host initiated several meetings with CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker earlier this spring, inquiring about a potential return to CNN.” The On The Record host wrote:

I am not going anywhere.

I have a long term contract with Fox  and it is for a show in “prime time.”

Done, ok? (And by the way, don’t you love the courage of the anonymous sources? and those who then speculate from there? )

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Gavel & Money.

Family sues Fox News after experiencing trauma from live suicide coverage

Courthouse News Service | The Washington Post

Two of JoDon Romero’s children have been unable to attend school, and another “experiences considerable emotional distress and trauma” since Fox News broadcast footage of their father committing suicide after a car chase last September. Their mother, Angela Rodriguez, filed a lawsuit against Fox seeking “compensatory and punitive damages for intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress,” Jamie Ross reports.

According to Rodriguez’s complaint, the children watched the footage on YouTube.

Fox “aired something horrible,” Erik Wemple argues in The Washington Post, but that “doesn’t mean it should be liable for the emotional damage that it may have caused viewers.” Read more


Jana Winter’s lawyer asks judge to quash Colorado subpoena

Reuters | Fox News

A Colorado court’s subpoena for Fox News reporter Jana Winter should “be invalidated as a matter of public policy,” Joseph Ax reports Winter’s lawyer Christopher Handman argued Wednesday.

A five-judge panel in New York is hearing “whether a Manhattan judge erred when he signed off on an out-of-state subpoena requiring Winter to appear in a Colorado courtroom in the first place,” Ax writes.

Attorneys for accused Colorado theater shooter James Holmes want to compel Winter to give up the law enforcement source who told her Holmes sent a disturbing notebook to a University of Chicago psychiatrist. Read more


MSNBC’s Griffin: ‘We’re not the place’ for breaking news

The New York Times | MediaBistro | The Nation

MSNBC president Phil Griffin doesn’t seem much concerned about his network’s latest ratings slide from second to fourth place behind Fox News, CNN and HLN, despite heavy cable network viewership during recent major news events. His explanation: MSNBC doesn’t do breaking news anymore.

“We’re not the place for that,” he tells the New York Times’ Bill Carter. “Our brand is not that.” Griffin, who already has said “this whole concept of journalist has to be rethought,” said an 18 percent loss in viewership in the second quarter so far this year (including sharper drops for shows hosted by Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow) is a bump on the road as MSNBC continues to shift its focus on being outspokenly left-wing to counter Fox News’ conservative stance.

“You do have to look at the long term,” Mr. Griffin said in May. “In the first quarter of this year, Fox News had its lowest quarter in a decade. A year ago CNN had its worst month ever. I tip my hat to what CNN has done this month, but let’s not be so myopic as to think the whole world has changed.”

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Eric Holder

Off-the-record meeting with Holder leads to on-the-record quotes

Associated Press | The Wall Street Journal | Politico | National Journal | The New York Times

Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron, Wall Street Journal Washington bureau chief Jerry Seib, New York Daily News Washington bureau chief Jim Warren, New Yorker staff writer Jane Mayer and Politico Editor-in-Chief John Harris attended an off-the-record meeting with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Thursday evening in Washington, D.C.

Holder called the meeting to discuss how his department’s guidelines for investigating news organizations following revelations of ham-handed investigations involving Associated Press and Fox News reporters. Read more

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The day in government snooping

Journalists were already rattled by the Department of Justice’s secret seizure of Associated Press phone records when Ann Marimow’s disturbing scoop in The Washington Post about the U.S. Department of Justice investigating Fox News reporter James Rosen hit this weekend.

• The government’s search warrant for Rosen’s email account says the reporter was “an aider and abettor and/or co-conspirator,” Ryan Lizza notes. “[I]t is unprecedented for the government, in an official court document, to accuse a reporter of breaking the law for conducting the routine business of reporting on government secrets.”

• “[T]his is the same argument the Justice Department has been using in their attempt to indict WikiLeaks and Julian Assange,” Trevor Timm writes. It also has echoes in the Pentagon Papers case, he writes. Read more


BuzzFeed reporter who posted car-chase suicide video talks with victim’s sister


BuzzFeed’s Jessica Testa reports on the life of Jodon Romero, whose suicide following a car chase was broadcast nationally last year by Fox News. When Romero’s sister Nature asked Testa whether she’d seen the chase, she recalls, “I stumble.”

Yes, I watched the chase. Yes, I saw its awful conclusion.

But I also reported on it. I wrote about Fox’s mistake, and uploaded a video of Fox’s mistake, and helped make Fox’s mistake go viral. How do you tell a grieving sister that? Because of a “severe human error,” thousands watched her brother die in real time, but because of you, hundreds of thousands watched it later?

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Ann Coulter makes reference to killing blogger Meghan McCain in controversial column

Fox News | Huffington Post | | New York

Fox News has apparently taken down a column written by Ann Coulter that made a reference to killing blogger Meghan McCain in order to push Republicans to vote for gun-control laws.

The column in question, published on Fox Nation Wednesday, made the apparent joke to point out what it would take for Republicans to join Democrats in passing gun-control legislation. The post, which is still available on Coulter’s own blog, began:

Obama has been draping himself in families of the children murdered in Newtown.

MSNBC’s Martin Bashir suggested that Republican senators need to have a member of their families killed for them to support the Democrats’ gun proposals. (Let’s start with Meghan McCain!)

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