Editor's Notes at EditorsNotes.com

Saturday, October 02, 2004

McEnroe vs. Boiling Water
The cancellation of CNBC's Capital Report was reported Thursday by TVNewser, yet the show was also the second-highest rated on the network that day. This is nothing new for NBC's cable division: when The Phil Donahue Show was cancelled by MSNBC in the run-up to the war, it was MSNBC's #1 highest-rated show.

In other CNBC news (how boring is that phrase?), McEnroe had its worst night ever on Thursday, according to TVNewser. NYDN reports that the show was 833rd of 834 shows in the cable ratings Monday, ahead only of the Food Network's "How to Boil Water."

And while we're on the topic of almost interesting cable news, Robert Novak is in the hospital:

Before we go tonight, we want to bring you news about one our colleagues, Bob Novak, who was injured in an accident in Miami, Florida, this morning. He is under going right now a partial hip replacement. So keep him in your prayers.

BEGALA: And he did say, instead of flowers, send money to Billionaires for Capital Gains Tax Cuts.



(Cit.: CNNFan)

Update: WaPo has even more Novakian details you're not interested in.
FoxNews.com: Punk'd, Day Two

Just one day after being fooled by its own chief political correspondent into publishing clearly false quotes of Sen. Kerry, FoxNews.com was fooled by Republican front group "Communists for Kerry" today:

Of course, there were some Kerry supporters in attendance who had no doubts whatever about their candidate.

"We're trying to get Comrade Kerry elected and get that capitalist enabler George Bush out of office," said 17-year-old Komoselutes Rob of Communists for Kerry.

"Even though he, too, is a capitalist, he supports my socialist values more than President Bush," Rob said, before assuring FOXNews.com that his organization was not a parody group. When asked his thoughts on Washington's policy toward Communist holdout North Korea, Rob said: "The North Koreans are my comrades to a point, and I'm sure they support Comrade Kerry, too."

It is unclear whether the Kerry campaign has welcomed the Communists' endorsement.

FoxNews.com even provides a link to Communists for Kerry, yet appears not to have been suspect of the anti-Michael Moore, pro-W Ketchup agitprop, nor tipped off by the About Us page, which states: "'Communists for Kerry' is a campaign of the Hellgate Republican Club."

LAT's Michael Kinsley wanders by the Campaign Desk:

The conventions of objectivity make it very difficult to say that something is a lie. And they require balance, which is often just not justified by reality. [...] "Candidate X murdered three people at a rally yesterday, and candidate Y sneezed without using a Kleenex. This is why many people are saying this is the roughest campaign ever."


I think it's absolutely true that Bush and his administration are better than anyone ever has been in sticking to the party line. I would be quicker to criticize people for not adapting if I could think of a way to adapt. [...] So I think all you can do is point it out and let people draw their own conclusion.


I think that, possibly, if your editorial page is one way, the op-ed page should tilt slightly the other way. But I also think you want to have a general standard of fairness, but you don't want to start counting articles and having rigid quotas, because the most important thing is to find ideas that are interesting and important.

If anyone has the scoop on this Candidate Y incident, use our tips form, because that kind of thing is just nasty.
And Where Can We Purchase This 'Naughty News Nymphs?'

Don Farmer, Naples Daily News:

In Los Angeles, where all trends begin, hot bodies and hard bodies are scampering all over TV newscasts. That's after they display their pointedly nonjournalistic assets in racy men's magazines and steamy Web sites.

It's a multimedia circus: Sexy anchor chicks, pouting through the TV news, then preening in "Skin World."

At news time, the anchor gal reads scripts written by plainer Janes behind the scenes.

Later, the TV temptress bursts from the pages of "Naughty News Nymphs," her hair and her spaghetti straps down, so to speak.

Of course, we're sending Don an email to follow up on this, in the name journalistic integrity.

Friday, October 01, 2004

FoxNews.com: Punk'd by Carl Cameron

CuticleGate! Carl Cameron must resign! The proportional font spacing and superscripted ordinals were so obvious! Or something.


Earlier Friday, FOXNews.com posted an item purporting to contain quotations from Kerry. The item was based on a reporter’s partial script that had been written in jest and should not have been posted or broadcast. We regret the error, which occurred because of fatigue and bad judgment, not malice.

Apparently, Carl Cameron filed what Fox spokesman Paul Schur calls a "poor attempt at humor," which was linked on the front page of FoxNews.com. Josh Marshall has the offending grafs:

"Didn't my nails and cuticles look great? What a good debate!" Kerry said Friday.


"It's about the Supreme Court. Women should like me! I do manicures," Kerry said.


"I'm metrosexual — he's a cowboy," the Democratic candidate said of himself and his opponent.

A "metrosexual" is defined as an urbane male with a strong aesthetic sense who spends a great deal of time and money on his appearance and lifestyle.
DNC Ticks Off Reporters on Deadline

Dana Milbank, WaPo live chat:

The DNC made a terrible mistake, I think, in forwarding hundreds of supporters' emails to reporters, flooding inboxes just as the journalists were on deadline. Some of my colleagues got nearly 700 emails, all with individuals' names but apparently sent by the DNC. This has produced much aggravation in the press corps.

Isn't that called spamming?

(Cit.: Romenesko, Lost Remote)
CNN's Undecided a College Republican

Not content with 99 percent favorable media coverage for Sen. Kerry, The satirical Jesus' General has discovered that at least one of the three undecided voters on CNN's American Morning was not so undecided. A quick Google search found that one, Edward Martos, is quite actively involved with the University of Miami College Republicans as corroborated by a photo and background info.
Sleepy Eye

CBS ran commercials immediately following the debate. Why? They thought an ad with Mr. Dermatophyte lifting up a toenail and explaining how he and his friends rip away at our nail beds was more informative than Dan Rather?

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Air America to Stage Boston Revolution

Industry resource All Access puts a date on earlier rumors of Air America coming to Boston. Monday, October 4 is the day when AM stations WKOX 1200 and WXKS 1430 will make the switch, according to All Access's source. In addition to Air America programming, the stations will air Democracy Radio hosts Ed Schultz and Stephanie Miller. The simulcast will be billed as "Progressive Talk AM 1200 and 1430," and will mark the 12th market where Clear Channel has added Air America programming, coming on the heels of CC's KQKE The Quake in San Francisco.

I'll explain later why the heavy GOP donors at Clear Channel are so bullish on liberal talk.

Update: Globe confirms.
WSJ Defends Iraq Reporter over Candid Comments

Romenesko reports on an email said to be of Farnaz Fassihi, WSJ's correspondent in Baghdad. Among other things, she writes that she feels under "virtual house arrest," and that there has been "one too many close calls, including a car bomb so near our house that it blew out all the windows." She also writes, "Despite President Bush's rosy assessments, Iraq remains a disaster." Fassihi wrote Romenesko to authenticate the email and emphasize that it was of her private impressions, emailed to friends. WSJ managing editor Paul Steiger told NYP that "Ms. Fassihi's private opinions have in no way distorted her coverage, which has been a model of intelligent and courageous reporting, and scrupulous accuracy and fairness."

Fox Fans: Saddam Involved in 9/11

A poll at FoxNews.com shows 54 percent of respondents believe Saddam Hussein was a part of the September 11 attacks, while 40 percent think not. President Bush has said, "We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the September 11th." The 9/11 Commission Report made no such connection, either, and contradicted one of the primary pieces of evidence such theories were based on, that September 11 planner Mohammed Atta met once with an Iraqi case officer, Ahmed Al-Ani, in Prague. The report says they "do not believe that such a meeting occurred."
Editor's Notes Exclusive: Aaron Brown on MemoGate

TVNewser catches CNN's Aaron Brown making a factual error about covering MemoGate, of all topics. "We did one story and moved on," Brown told The Oregonian. But TVNewser found significantly more stories than that.

In a statement exclusive to Editor's Notes, Brown called MemoGate "a story that deserved attention. A major TV news organization took a major hit." Brown says the story "took place during a presidential campaign. It was a presidential story and it was bound to get thrown into the cable TV mill." Though this statement was before his Oregonian interview raised suspicion with TVNewser, Brown was, nevertheless, surprisingly defensive in tone.

More from Brown later.

Update: Brown tells TVNewser: "I believe what I said to Peter was that we did 'the' story and moved on. The conversation had to do with the non stop 'mud wrestling' that the story generated which we did not do. But there is no doubt I considered it an important story and that we covered it.  I did a page two essay on it, we looked at the backlash among some affilates and its impact on media generally.  I did not and do not think it was the MOST important story and I did not allow it to dominate the program at the expense of all else as some others did. That's not what Newsnight is. That was the context of the conversation with Peter."

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Two Quakes hit California

The same day that a 6.0 earthquake rocked central California, a separate Quake hit San Francisco, registering at 960 on the AM dial. KQKE, "The Quake" (website) replaced KABL programming, bringing Air America into Bay area radios Tuesday.
Spin Room

David Broder: "Shamed and embarrased" at "gross malpractice" in journalism. ... Left Coaster: Gallup defrauding CNN, USA Today with 12% GOP bias. ... Cori Dauber: Negative numbers highlighted, positive numbers hidden in polls about Iraq. ... Edward Wasserman: Media transparency's tiresome, proof is in pudding. ... Ta-Nehisi Coates: Darfur coverage hung up on race. ... Kurtz, citing CMPA, says networks lean left, Fox swerves right.
CNN Producer Released

CNN producer Riad Ali is free today, released by his Gaza City captors into the custody of Palestinean police. Shortly prior to the release was the distribution of a videotape, in which Ali stated that he was being held by the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and that members of his family had served in the Israeli military.

(Cit.: CNN)

Monday, September 27, 2004

Everybody Loves a Contest

NYT punching bag and public editor Daniel Okrent holds a contest: If an error in the Times deserves more than a brief correction, but less than an official Editors' Note, what should such a redress be called? Send your thesaurus entries for "correction" to public@nytimes.com.

Okrent also endorses Jack Schafer's plan to out anonymous background briefers.

KR quietly scooping other papers on Iraq. ... LAT may make first presidential endorsement since 1972. (Who might it be?) ... Arab papers split on US presidential candidates. ... BBC observes partisan split in US news consumption. ... UK news orgs: libel lawyers' practices amount to ransom. ... And just because it's so darn long, we feel obligated to link to this 7,800-word NYT piece on campaign blogging.
Air America Gets San Francisco Flight Delay

As I reported earlier, and as SF Chron later confirmed, Clear Channel was to put Air America programming on KABL 960 AM this Tuesday. It now appears, however, that Air America's flight has been delayed. Radio and Records reports today that the station, to be renamed KQKE, "The Quake," is to launch on Thursday, while Air America's station list notes KQKE as "Coming Friday, October 1st." Who to believe? Perhaps no one noticed the ad in the Chron asking people to tune in Tuesday.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

CBS Guard Docs and ... Conservative Media Bias?

SF Chron:

If ever a story should destroy the myth of liberal media bias, it is the flap over Dan Rather's flub.


Just four months ago, lest we forget, the New York Times issued its own mea culpa, acknowledging the repeated use of dubious information in its coverage of the run-up to the Iraq War [...].


The critical difference between the two stories is that the Times' mistake was actually the far more serious of the two.


Yet against all logic, the CBS mea culpa is getting much more ink and air time than the New York Times case. The Times itself is one example. The paper ran its own apology on Page 10, but, perhaps drunk on schadenfreude, played the CBS confession above the fold on the front page.


Why? The answer lies in the political impact of each issue, and reveals much about political coverage in the mainstream media. The Times' apology, by acknowledging the flaws of the administration's claims, hurt President Bush. The CBS apology obviously helped him, casting a pall of doubt over the entire issue of whether young Lt. Bush did his duty during the Vietnam War. The difference in play given to each of the two apologies is only the latest evidence of a growing, and yet little remarked, conservative media bias.

I do not suggest that conservative apparatchiks crashed news meetings around the country and demanded front-page play for the CBS story. But I do suggest that as the country's political spectrum has become ever more conservative -- dragged "to the right, to the right, farther to the right," as Tom Frank puts it in his brilliant new book, "What's the Matter With Kansas?'' -- media organizations have shifted, too.