The Death of the Media

angry robot attacks

Tiger Beat on the Potomac (Thanks Charlie!) breathlessly tells us that MSNBC is going to pretty much throw out everything and start over:

“The extent of that change could be vast: In the months ahead, MSNBC is likely to shake up the bulk of its programming, moving some shows and canceling others, high-level sources at NBCUniversal told POLITICO. With few exceptions — notably “The Rachel Maddow Show” and “Morning Joe” — every program is at risk of being moved or cancelled, those sources said. “All In with Chris Hayes,” a ratings suck that currently occupies the 8 p.m. time slot, will almost certainly be replaced. Network execs are also considering moving some weekday shows, like “Politics Nation with Al Sharpton,” to weekends.”

I’m betting this is going to be the quote that will be used on all the conservative blogs today:

“The plan is to re-imagine what [MSNBC] is,” one high-level NBCUniversal insider with knowledge of the network’s plans said, “because the current lineup is a death wish.”

So why is this a Death of the Media post? Because like everything in Politico, it is all unattributed and off-the-record reporting, which is their preferred way of putting the razor blade in the apple.

Here’s an example: After telling us that new NBC News Group Chairman Andrew Lack is “likely to rein in MSNBC’s ever-leftward drift and focus instead on creating more news-driven programming,” later in the article Politico tells us that Lack declined to be interviewed for the article. As did MSNBC president Phil Griffin. Rachel Racusen, who is the MSNBC VP of Communication, denies the report.

So let’s summarize: Politico didn’t talk to any of the key players who would be making these decisions, MSNBC denies the allegations, and Politico advances a story with only unnamed sources.

Things in Politico That Make Me… well, you know the rest

The Death of the Media, Cont.

news pig

From the Politico email thingy they send me everyday.

POLITICO ADDS GOSSIP COLUMNIST — Editor Susan Glasser emails the staff: “Kate Glassman Bennett, a fourth-generation Washingtonian who cut her teeth … in the competitive world of Las Vegas before returning home to D.C., will soon launch The KGB File … Kate promises a column very much in the spirit of the legendary late Diana McClellan, whose ‘Ear’ in the Washington Star was the original must-read … [S]he has edited Capitol File magazine, Washingtonian Bride & Groom and Washingtonian Mom.”

“Some say,” some said. Because Politico rarely attributes their juicy, insider sources, it already is a gossip rag, methinks.

Welcome to 2015. It’s all about 2016.


Tiger Beat on the Potomac (thanks Charlie!) brings us the most depressing Advent Calendar or all time, Calendar pols: A guide to 2015’s key dates
There’s plenty of action leading up to the 2016 presidential election.

Some highlights:

  • Jan. 13 — The book tours begin
    Marco Rubio’s book, “American Dreams: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone,” comes out on the second Tuesday of January, the first in a slew of tomes being peddled by potential presidential candidates.

    He missed the opportunity to use our preferred title, Rake-Stepping for Speed and Accuracy.

  • Jan. 20 — The State of the Union
    Obama delivers his penultimate State of the Union address at 9 p.m. Eastern. He’ll outline areas where he might be able to reach agreement with Republicans, but he’s also likely to sound more liberated than in recent years, when he was determined to protect red-state Democrats. Last year, Obama stressed his willingness to use his executive authority when Congress does not take action.

    As you may recall, the re-branding experts in the GOP are still deciding whether or not they are going to let the first black preznint into the building.

  • Feb. 24 — Chicago mayor’s race
    Rahm Emanuel, the former White House chief of staff, must get at least 50 percent of the vote to avoid an April 7 runoff in the race to lead the Windy City. The incumbent’s most formidable challenger, the president of the city’s teachers union, decided not to run after being diagnosed with a brain tumor last fall.

    The fickle missing finger of fate award goes to Rahm.

  • Feb. 25-28 — CPAC
    The Conservative Political Action Conference is the year’s first truly national cattle call for would-be 2016 Republican candidates. Thousands of activists descend on the Gaylord convention center just outside D.C. for three days of speeches.

    This is Hate-a-Palooza, wherein the GOP takes the pinheads bowling.

  • Feb. 27 — Immigration fight
    Conservatives are still hopping mad over Obama’s executive action protecting millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. In February, they’ll get a shot at weakening the president’s hand.

    Again, a reminder that not all Republicans are xenophobes and racists. But if you happen to be a xenophobe and/or racist, you probably are a member.

  • Spring surprise — New York special
    Special elections always get outsize media attention, mainly because not much else is going. But the race for outgoing GOP Rep. Michael Grimm’s seat will be supercharged because it’ll likely be the year’s first special election, it’s inside the country’s largest media market, and it comes against a backdrop of racial unrest.

    Step away from the balcony, son.

  • March 19 — Hillary’s last paid speech
    One of 2015’s biggest questions is when Hillary Clinton will formally announce she’s running for president.

    The former secretary of state has committed to delivering the keynote address on March 19 at a conference organized by the New York and New Jersey chapter of the American Camp Association.

    Show Hillary the cheddar. No way she’ll cancel this.

  • April 6 — Opening Day in D.C.
    The Washington Nationals’ first home game of the new season is against the New York Mets at 4:05 p.m. on this day. It’s an unofficial holiday in the Capitol, and many POLITICOs will go off the grid for the afternoon. So we’d be grateful if the people we write about don’t use this as an opportunity for a news dump.

    Shorter TBOTP: “Don’t make us do our jobs!” — not to worry, guys, you don’t do it anyway.

The list goes on and on. Not sure if it is worthy reading, but it will give you a sense of dread.

Politico Discovers The 2016 Goat Rodeo!

goat rodeo

Tiger Beat on the Potomac (thanks Charlie!) breathlessly tells us that the midterm election results have changed everything! Wingnuttia’s candidates are coming out of the woodworks, and Politico lists the TWENTY that should be taken seriously.

Thank-you Jeebus for this gift.

Winning the Morning!

Sharpest Pencil

The HuffPo wins the morning: Politico’s Executive Editor Rick Berke has resigned over newsroom strategy differences.

Previously, Berke was 27 years at the NYTimes, so we assume that there was some sort of massive head injury that took him to Tiger Beat on the Potomac (thanks Charlie!)?

The NRO Hires a New Plagiarist

From the email thingy that Tiger Beat on the Potomac (Thanks Charlie!) sends every goddam morning:

EXCLUSIVE: Benny Johnson, the BuzzFeed “viral politics editor” who was fired for plagiarism in July, will start Monday as National Review’s social media director, a new position. Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, tells us: “Benny made a terrible mistake. But he has owned up to it and learned from it. He’s a talented journalist, with obviously a lot to contribute. He knows he’s joining a storied institution at NR, and we look forward to his helping us carry on our mission across all platforms.”

Even a few years ago, “BuzzFeed Benny” might have been locked out of the journalistic academy forever. But two factors combined to give @BennyJohnson a surprisingly quick shot at redemption, using a pillar of conservative media as his onramp: 1) a youthful digital fluency — “I love you internet :),” he tweeted during the online firestorm over his clumsy copying; and 2) the Iowa native’s red-state instincts, which had contributed to longtime mockery of him online.

His new charge: giving NR maximum reach across social media and digital. Benny will remain in D.C., and will start by giving advice and running NR’s Twitter and Facebook accounts. Over time, he’ll do more creative work of his own. Benny is quite savvy about the digital ecosystem, and has a real shot at notably moving the needle for NR.

Sparklepants is an inspiration, keeping standards high and whatnot.

Things in the WaPo That Make Me Want To Guzzle Anti-Freeze

Death of the Media

news pig

Jeff Bezos has replaced publisher Katharine Weymouth with Frederick J. Ryan, the founding CEO of Politico and a former St. Ronnie administration official.

Well, that’s one way to win the morning.

Important Trig Update!

Ben Smith at Politico wants us to know that we should not trust the Vanity Fair profile of Mooselini because Trig (the likable Palin) was not at the Kansas City event that was mentioned.

Ben Smith is a professional journalist. He has a desk and everything.


Roll Over, Moynihan

The late NY Senator once famously said that “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”

Today, Politico tells us that:

Indeed, of the multitude of ways that President George W. Bush changed America, this may have been the most important. He helped legitimize the idea of individual truth. In doing so, he became the first president to challenge the old Enlightenment foundation on which this country was established.

Oh, in case you want to read the Politico Link, it is basically a blame-the-bloggers piece for all the misinformation being spewed about Obama being a secret muslin.

Thanks Politico, now tell us what you are doing about correcting the misinformation? I mean, except for blaming the bloggers.

Our coverage of the Politico wet kiss continues!

The Politico story is just jam-packed full of fun facts of how the media operates! Remember playing Telephone as a kid? You would start a rumor and each kid whispers it to the next kid until it goes full circle? And then giggle about how it changed? That’s the Politico way!

Items become segment pieces on “Morning Joe,” the MSNBC program, where there are 10 Politico Playbook segments each week, more than half of them featuring Allen. This incites other cable hits, many featuring Politico reporters, who collectively appear on television about 125 times a week. There are subsequent links to Politico stories on The Drudge Report, The Huffington Post and other Web aggregators that newspaper assigning editors and network news producers check regularly.

And that, kiddies, is how the MSM all ends up reporting the same story!

But wait! There’s more. The late lamented Spy magazine used to have a feature that they called Log Rolling in Our Times, in which they revealed how celebs and others praised each other’s work in return for favorable buzz or a blurb for each other’s book’s dust-jacket. Politico takes that concept one step further: how to generate news (as opposed to reporting news):

… “Good Saturday morning: For brunch convo: Why isn’t Secretary Clinton on the media short lists for the Court?” By Monday, the convo had moved from the brunch table to “Morning Joe” (where the host, Joe Scarborough, advocated for her) and “Today” (where the Republican senator Orrin Hatch mentioned her, too). Later that day, Politico’s Ben Smith quoted a State Department spokesman who “threw some coolish water on the Clinton-for-Scotus buzz in an e-mail.” By then, the cable and blog chatter was fully blown. The White House issued a highly unusual statement that Secretary Clinton would not be nominated. Politico then sent out a “breaking news alert,” and Smith reported that the White House had “hurriedly punctured the trial balloon.” End of convo.

Somewhere, William Randolph Hearst is smiling.