3/21/09 11:50 PM

Friday Links & Open Thread

Latest cable news links [7:05 pm]:

Pix: The Greta-est Show on Earth!

Cable quotables.

Thursday's numbers. CNN upset in the making?

Tibet: CNN defends itself.

Fox protest du jour.

Ben Stein hearts Degan.

FNC bedbugs to make on-air debut!

FBN's "Slow Money".

Blogging Baghdad.

Sunday talkers.

HuffPo to Olbermann: "shut up" about Hillary.

Audio: Chris Wallace on The Flap, Hillary, Bosnia. Today's F&F appearance.

MSNBC: almost as bad as Fox!

E.D. back on F&F.

Pix: Housley in Conwy.

CNN's Time sees FNC fade (via TVN).

More "pimping".

MSNBC, the place for headers.

What to do with NBCU?

John King to marry.

Use our valuable bandwidth to post your comments on any and all cable news topics in today's open thread. Standard rules apply.

On The Mark
The Time piece raises some interesting issues similar to some we have discussed here in the last couple of weeks. It does seem likely that cable news, in general, will see a surge in viewers in the months to come. It seems likely, as well, that FNC is on a plateau. In part, as Johnnie has suggested, elections change things. One of the changes is political or philosophical and carries forward the 2006 election theme. The nation will be decidedly less conservative, whoever wins. That necessarily means that the nation will shift to the center. Less noticeable is a concurrent shift from the left to the center, as well. It seems we're all becoming armadillos.
Another change, related to this, is a weariness of divisiveness and vitriol. That is a scene we see repeated, in some measure in the casting off of Guiliani, Romney and Thompson in the Republican party, and in greater measure in the Democratic primaries as any sort of unpleasantness or devisiveness seems to be charged to Senator Clinton, a figure seen, perhaps unfairly, as relentlessly unpleasant and devisive. For example, the Wright non-story seems to have hurt her far, far more than it did Senator Obama, although it appears she had little or no part in it.
So, who is hurt by a shift to the middle, by a casting off of divisiveness? Obviously, FNC, and particularly O'Reilly and Hannity. Both will keep their loyal fans who are fans largely because they enjoy the divisiveness, the intensity, the bitterness, the ugliness. But, as cable news expands, their base proportionately contracts. The network as a whole gets dinged, because so much of its identity comes from O'Reilly and Hannity. I think the FNC gurus realize this, and it appears that the way they may be handling the situation is marginalize O'Reilly and Hannity, turn them into Limbaughesque figures, too absurd for anyone to seriously believe they characterize the network as a whole. Political Reverened Wright's, as it were. This is a rare opportunity for FNC, both the end of the Bush reign and the end of divisiveness for the sake of divisiveness, to flower into true and broad legitimacy. I think the FNC people have enough snap to seize this opportunity.
Other big losers will be Olbermann at MSNBC and Beck at CNN. Actually, Beck doesn't have all that much to lose to begin with, and he seems to be generally considered a fool of the first order.
Olbermann plays an important role in the transition of MSNBC, the building up of raw numbers, but I shouldn't be surprised to see that as Bush becomes an even lamer duck, Olbermann is pushed further to the fringe. The Gregory hiring may be a stroke of genius, hard, respected reporting without all that strong a philosophical or partisan tie. The rise of Scarborough, despite all the problems I have with him, the heavy use of Robinson, all seem to be harbingers of a kinder, more moderate, more balanced, newsier MSNBC.
I would like to say CNN, ensconced, as always, firmly in the middle
March 28, 2008, 8:04:49 AM EDT – Like – Reply

Mike Chimeri
Mark Halperin is the only good guy at "Time." Everyone else wants all things Fox to fail. That prediction of FNC's decline was almost gleeful. I'm sure TVNewser was equally gleeful, plus Don Wilson since he loves MSNBC.com's headers and bashed other sites' headers.
March 28, 2008, 8:20:31 AM EDT – Like – Reply

Vince P
I think Mark Halperin is an elitist hack. He is so influenced by his own bias and yet will not admit it. I heard a devasating interview on the radio that Hugh Hewitt conducted with him.
Mark Halperin considers himself totally free of any bias and won't reveal what his personal politics are because he said they don't matter.
March 28, 2008, 8:37:45 AM EDT – Like – Reply

On The Mark
Taken as a whole, I'm not sure the article dealt with FNC's decline. Wasn't the word "plateauing" actually used? Nor, do I think this phenomenon is inevitable. I am fairly certain that we will see certain FNC personalities plateau, Hannity in particular, but probably O'Reilly, as well. In fact, we may see Hannity decline. But, all Murdoch-owned enterprises carry the Murdoch imprimatur: a keen sense of the direction and speed of prevailing popular winds and boob-laden blondes. To be sure, Murdoch is personally conservative (albeit not the family values sort of conservative), but in his business ventures, Murdoch is far more interested in pandering to the prevailing popular mood than in advancing a cause. It has worked very well for him.
March 28, 2008, 9:00:19 AM EDT – Like – Reply

Mike Chimeri
What can I say? If they're a friend of BOR, I'll like them. BOR has lots of friends from his days at ABC News. Mark is one of them. But if you think he's what you think he is, that's your opinion.
Anyway, I should probably make some of those FNC blogs "Favorites" links in Internet Explorer. I mean, I've become addicted with the video page at FOXNews.com.
I guess E.D. was on "F&F" promoting "Jihad, USA."
March 28, 2008, 9:26:22 AM EDT – Like – Reply

On The Mark
Interesting, Mike.
I don't think I ever saw O'Reilly before FNC, and I only really noticed him there, sporadically, from 2004, onward. My impression is: What a colossal jerk and blowhard! However, I have been variously told: (a) In person, he's really warm and kind, or (b) He's changed from a warm and kind person. Of course, there is the third possibility: My impression is ill-formed.
March 28, 2008, 10:04:45 AM EDT – Like – Reply

Mike Chimeri
Moving on...
I couldn't finish reading the HuffPo link. It was more a propping up of Olbermann and a bashing of the competition (including BOR) than a chiding of him.
I'm liking "Slow Money" (repeat title in slow motion) so far. Unfortunately, the line "it's about being conservative" (even though it refers to how to invest, not what your ideology should be) will be misconstrued by the usual suspects.
March 28, 2008, 1:48:23 PM EDT – Like – Reply

On the Mark, I didn't thoroughily read each of your comments, but you're basically stating, I believe, that a bunch of divisive clods watch Hannity and O'Reilly, and listen to Rush.  
I am a fan of EACH of their programs, but not necessary them, at all times. I watch O'Reilly and often agree with him, and often don't. I know he's condescending and a blowhard (the most common adjective used to describe him), but sometimes he's right, especially when he goes after these idiot judges who are easy on criminals. He also discusses many topics in which the nation is interested.  
I HATE the segments he does on fluff, and especially that idiotic "culture quiz". It is totally contrary to the rest of his program.
Hannity, of course, is more of a partisan, and I actually think he believes everything he says. And as a conservative, I typically agree with him. But I do believe he's genuine; he really seems passionate (and consistent) when making most of his remarks.  
Rush, of course, IS an entertainer, but he's also an astute political analyst. He has been accurate regarding many of his observations, and again, we conservatives love him. The program is very humorous.
Sorry you feel as you do regarding these hosts and their audiences. But at least O'Reilly and Hannity allow opposing views to be put forth on their programs, which is more than "you-know-who" at MSNBC allows. And sorry to say, the people I know (most of whom have masters degrees, as do I) aren't even paying attention to this election!  
Maybe my sources are less than pure, but at least I have a clue as to some of the attributes and positions of those running for office. Sadly, most of our electorate do not.
March 28, 2008, 6:26:24 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Something upsetting I saw on FNC a few minutes ago: Megyn and Hemmer were discussing John McCain's new ad, part of which he is shown laying down being interrogated by his captors (I think we've all seen this clip before).  
But then Megyn asks one of the panel something like "but what about Obama's "secret weapon"", where she goes on to show a clip from the View where those women are all fawning over him because he's related to Brad Pitt and therefore "sexy". Obama them sort of fans himself with his hand, like he's that "hot" or something. It was truly a disgusting moment, especially when Megyn has asked us to compare him with McCain's heroism and capture during the war.
Megyn is supposed to be an intelligent attorney, but what an idiotic stunt that was. I'm no fan of John McCain, but to compare his heroism with Obama's "sexiness" was truly pathetic.
March 28, 2008, 6:33:15 PM EDT – Like – Reply

megyn is a happy go lucky cheerleader who is always happy because it is friday and she has new hair extensions and she gets to yell out whoopee its friday. Yep rising talent at Fox.
March 28, 2008, 7:04:36 PM EDT – Like – Reply

(Off the) Mark: Fox in decline?
Every week this year they have finished in the Top 5-6 among all cable networks in total audience. Except for one week when they had a debate, CNN has never cracked the Top 10. Ditto MSNBC. Doesn't sound like a decline to me.
You have a wonderful habit of magically spinning jealous opinions into alleged facts . Yesterday, you spun a bunch of crap about O'Reilly and Hannity that fortunately was ignored by everybody else. It is just too ridiculous to attempt a response.
BTW, I notice that O'Reilly's demo at 11 ET usually is higher than any demo at MSNBC or CNN. Some kind of decline!
March 28, 2008, 7:50:20 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Mike Chimeri
Missy, you'd be at home as a BillOReilly.com premium member and message board regular because they hate fluff, too. I do not. I like most of the "fluff" segments. The GACQ (Great American Culture Quiz) is my favorite. I'm sorry. Shame on me. How dare I? I have some nerve. Destroying the show, etc.
Re: FNC protest: (sarcasm): Ooh, 200,000 signatures. Congratulations. How's Olby tonight? Don't you just love him? He's the second coming of Edward R. Murrow.
(normal): I guess I need to watch "On the Record" tonight just to see video of her day with Ringling Bros.
I commented to Alisyn Camerota's two most recent blog postings. Two of my comments were added but two others were not. I can't blame the moderator for not putting them up since "F&F" has been over for hours.
March 28, 2008, 8:37:13 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Mike Chimeri
Oh, and it's too bad Maria Milito throws herself in with Keith. I used to like her. In a similar vein, I'd be really upset if past or present radio personalities like Bruce "Cousin Brucie" Morrow or Dan Ingram showed up on "Countdown."
March 28, 2008, 9:26:50 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Mike Chimeri
I stand corrected about sarcastically asking those FNC protestors if they were liking Keith tonight. He was off and Amy Robach filled in. Or as OlbyWatch and John Gibson would say, he's in the bathtub. Am I right, J$?
March 28, 2008, 10:26:01 PM EDT – Like – Reply

johnny dollar
You are correct, sir!
March 28, 2008, 11:45:25 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Mike Chimeri
All right, then.  
March 29, 2008, 12:14:35 AM EDT – Like – Reply

Missy, you'd be at home as a BillOReilly.com premium member and message board regular because they hate fluff, too. I do not.  
Mike: I was a premium member but quit before my term expired. I found an obsessive amount of cliquishness among the members plus many annoying, obnoxious people.  
My advice to Missy: Unless you desire the Radio Factor podcasts, save your dough.
March 29, 2008, 1:17:22 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Mike Chimeri
I found that cliquishness, too. So, I started an e-mail discussion list on Topica for my premium member friends that weren't part of that close-minded clique.
Besides "Radio Factor" archives/podcasts, there's also the Backstage Conversation where you can ask BOR questions. But unless you think like the message board regulars, steer clear of the message boards.
March 29, 2008, 2:07:55 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Don Wilson
Great blog you've got going here, johnny. Thanks for linking to my MSNBC post. Keep it up!
March 29, 2008, 11:37:52 PM EDT – Like – Reply