O'Reilly blames CNN, Cruz for Carson's Iowa failure

Good morning.

  1. Messenger bashes messenger
    So Bill O'Reilly of Fox last night blamed both CNN (primarily reporter Dana Bash) for implying that GOP candidate Ben Carson was at least temporarily shelving his campaign, and Ted Cruz for embellishing and spreading the notion, as many Iowans caucused. Carson blamed Cruz for thus screwing him out of votes.

    Cruz said his guys were only relaying a CNN report (which is not quite true) as he apologized. CNN cited Carson aides saying their guy was taking a "deep breath" before returning to the trail. (CNN) But Bash clearly stated that after the breather, Carson was not going to either New Hampshire or South Carolina. That was incorrect even if it wasn't the same as saying he was dropping out. (DanaBashCNN) O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" waxed very self-righteous, saying that "the state of American journalism is on the verge of collapse." (O'Reilly)

    Well, at least one oddity was clear: Carson repeated to an admirably poker-faced Jake Tapper that he exited Iowa to fetch "fresh clothes" back in Florida. Very weird. Maybe he needs a first-ever endorsement and 24/7 help from Men's Wearhouse.

  2. Robbed while on Super Bowl duty
    Marcus Richardson, a cameraman for the CBS station in Chicago, was robbed at gunpoint while shooting some so-called "beauty shots" in San Francisco. "I have no gear, house/car keys, medication and whatever else was in my backpack. Criminals suck." (Robert Feder)
  3. Is an anti-abortion activist with a camera a journalist?
    The surprise end of a Houston grand jury's investigation into Planned Parenthood raises basic, disputed questions about who's a journalist. Legal expert Dahlia Lithwick concludes that even as an anti-abortion activist claims that his undercover efforts amount to "genuine journalism, there are real risks to the rest of us in allowing him to make such broad claims. We aren’t merely risking our privacy and our livelihoods by allowing anyone with a camera and an inextinguishable fantasy to call himself a reporter. We are courting the possibility that his nihilistic and cynical view of the profession could someday become the norm." (Slate)
  4. "Boy in bubble" responds
    Chris Christie touched a nerve in an attack on Marco Rubio and in the process offered a window onto now pro forma media manipulation by candidates. He derided Rubio as "the boy in the bubble" who plays it safe, gives the same canned speech, utters the same soundbites and strays from politically risky spontaneity.

    Rubio responded yesterday by actually talking to reporters and answering 13 questions, "evidence the Christie attacks may have left their mark." (The Wall Street Journal) Fine. But the overarching reality is that the premeditated monotony of most candidates prompts frequently strained attempts by under-pressure campaign reporters to claim "news" on a given day.

  5. Tom Friedman on the limits of social media
    Journalists spend time heralding the impact of and immersed in social media, including the Twitter echo chamber (hey, whad'ya think of the sun coming up this morning?!). So check Friedman's musings on the assumptions underlying social media as a democratizing force. They're actually mostly the thoughts of Wael Ghonim, an Egyptian Google employee whose anonymous Facebook page is cited for helping to launch the 2011 Tahrir Square revolution that brought down President Hosni Mubarak but didn't bring any real democratic results.

    In what might apply to journalists, he says, “First, we don’t know how to deal with rumors. Rumors that confirm people’s biases are now believed and spread among millions of people." Then, “We tend to only communicate with people that we agree with, and thanks to social media, we can mute, un-follow and block everybody else." Finally, "Online discussions quickly descend into angry mobs...It’s as if we forget that the people behind screens are actually real people and not just avatars." (The New York Times)

  6. A $680 million six-line memo
    The Cincinnati Enquirer led its front page with a memo at the heart of a report by reporters Dan Horn and Sharon Coolidge into how Cincinnati's Metropolitan Sewer District spent perhaps $680 million with virtually zero oversight from anybody. (Poynter) It's all here, with details including $1.2 million dubiously paid to two politically-connected consultants and $12.2 million to a design firm for work on one sewer project without any competitive bidding. Imagine if you took half the journalists covering staged events in New Hampshire and had them dig into public records in such fashion.
  7. Cha-Ching for TV GMs
    A clear result of the Supreme Court's Citizens United and related campaign spending decisions: "About $100 million has already been poured into broadcast and cable television ads courting voters" for next week's New Hampshire primary (that would include Boston TV stations viewed there). "In comparison, about $2 million had been spent in New Hampshire by this point in the 2012 race that ultimately came down to Mitt Romney and Barack Obama." (Bloomberg) It's all a result of the unbridled political spending now allowed. It would be nice if these booming revenues expanded newsrooms, would it not?
  8. Exodus at Washington Post
    Former Post managing editor Kevin Merida has recruited several African-Americans from The Post to The Undefeated, a race-culture-sports website under the ESPN umbrella. Nevertheless, the paper's diversity numbers are well ahead of the industry's (pretty poor) average, even if diversity in its upper ranks reflects the same uninspired numbers of corporate America as a whole. The paper covered this inside tale well, in a fashion that folks at, say, Bloomberg News just might note as they're correctly chided for their unwillingness to cover themselves or their boss. (The Washington Post)
  9. Shedding real estate
    It's been quite the thing in media of late. Your building is perhaps more valuable than your product. Now MaineToday Media is selling its printing plant in South Portland but doing a lease back with the purchaser. It publishes the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. It will use proceeds of the $4.9 million deal to build a smaller printing facility. It also also prints the Kennebec Journal, (Waterville) Morning Sentinel and Coastal Journal at its current plant. (Press Herald)
  10. In memoriam to a clueless street reporter
    I proudly exhibit my ACRS (Anachronistic Cultural References Syndrome) in noting that Bob Elliott, 92, passed away in Maine. Long before the likes of David Letterman, Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon (and most of their parents) were born, Elliott and Ray Goulding were satirical radio stars heard nationwide.

    My German immigrant dad listened to "Bob and Ray" most mornings on New York's WOR Radio (along with the wonderful Gene Klavan and Dee Finch on WNEW Radio). Letterman, Woody Allen, Jonathan Winters and "Saturday Night Live" boss Lorne Michaels were among those who've cited the duo as influences (Elliott's son, Chris, and a granddaughter, Abby, were both "SNL" cast members).

    No snark, no off-color words. So, rest in peace, Bob Elliott and your dozens of classic characters, like totally insipid man-on-the-street news reporter Wally Ballou, “winner of over seven international diction awards.” (The Washington Post) I shudder to think if Wally had possessed the Periscope app.

  11. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin
    Leslie Moonves is now chairman of CBS. He is president and chief executive officer there. (Variety) | Ben Muessig will be tech editor at the Los Angeles Times. He is tech editor at The San Francisco Chronicle. (@benmuessig) | Spike Jonze will be co-president of VICELAND. He is creative director at VICE. (Email) | Job of the day: The (Chico, California) Enterprise-Record is looking for designers and copyeditors. Get your resumes in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org.

Corrections? Tips? Please email me: jwarren@poynter.org. Would you like to get this roundup emailed to you every morning? Sign up here.

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    James Warren

    New York City native, graduate of Collegiate School, Amherst College and Roosevelt University. Married to Cornelia Grumman, dad of Blair and Eliot. National columnist, U.S. News & World Report. Former managing editor and Washington Bureau Chief, Chicago Tribune.


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