Campbell Brown Cheers On Fighting 8pm’ers From Sidelines

brown_8-12While her competitors at 8pmET are embattled in a continued feud in the face of a supposed ‘deal,’ CNN’s Campbell Brown has not weighed in – until last night.

Jumping snarkily into the debate, Brown knocked the “big swinging anchors,” and also the ‘breathless’ coverage.

Here’s how she describes the situation:

Big swinging anchor number one thinks that big swinging anchor number two is the worst person in the world. Big swinging anchor number two is so full of disdain of big swinging anchor number one he won’t even say his name, so he just goes after his boss the CEO of General Electric.

She continued to joke about the mock seriousness. “Don’t laugh people. This is a very important story,” she said. “The New York Times has been covering it breathlessly and those big swinging anchors have ratings a lot bigger than mine.”

Well that’s true – and that couldn’t possibly be a reason for jumping into the ring herself, right?

Here’s the clip:

Advertisers Wimp Out: ‘Boycott’ Glenn Beck, But Stay On Fox News

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Glenn Beck is in even deeper trouble over his remarks that the president is “racist” now that GEICO has joined Progressive Insurance, Lawyers.com, and Procter & Gamble in pulling advertisements from Beck’s Fox News show. Or is he?

Color of Change, a web-based grassroots group with more than 600,000 members that bills itself as “the largest African-American online political organization in the country,” has led a campaign to drive advertisers away from Beck’s show. They’ve been successful to a point, but the advertisers haven’t moved away from Fox:

From the GEICO press release: (emphasis added in bold)

“On Tuesday, August 4, GEICO instructed its ad buying service to redistribute its inventory of rotational spots on FOX-TV to their other network programs, exclusive of the Glenn Beck program,” said a spokesperson for GEICO Corporate Communications in an email to ColorOfChange.org.  “As of August 4, GEICO no longer runs any paid advertising spots during Mr. Beck’s program.”

From the P&G/Progressive/Lawyers.com press release:

“No P&G ads should have appeared on this program in the first place,” said Martha Depenbrock, Brand Building Stakeholder Relations for Procter & Gamble in an email. “To be clear, if any of our advertising appeared on the Glenn Beck show, it was in error and we appreciate you bringing this matter to our attention…”

“Our (advertising) order specifies no Glenn Beck,” said Linda J. Harris, Media Director at Progressive Insurance in an email to ColorOfChange.org. “We have confirmed with the network that our spots should not be running there.”

The reason these spokesmen were able to blame their ads appearing on Glenn Beck on technical problems with a straight face is because cable ad buys work differently from network purchases. Networks sell ads by time slot, but cable channels sell ads by number of eyeballs. If GEICO, Progressive, and the rest initially expressed preference for Beck’s slot, it’s relatively easy for them to heroically shift their ads to different slots while still getting their dollars’ worth. Fox holds onto the marquee advertisers. And as long as they can find replacements to air during Beck’s slot — and given his ratings, they likely will be able to — Fox and the advertisers are able to please everyone without addressing the gaping hole that is Glenn Beck’s initial remarks. Call it advertising shuffleboard.

Color of Change scored a legitimate political victory in keeping high-profile advertisers away from Beck’s program, but it’s unclear whether the move will have much financial impact, thanks to the tricks at Fox’s and advertisers’ disposal.

O’Reilly Prepares To Light Up GE Again Tonight

oreilly_8-11All day yesterday Bill O’Reilly’s Website teased a segment equating GE and Enron (with Bernie Goldberg weighing in), but when The O’Reilly Factor aired last night, Goldberg and O’Reilly just chatted about how awesome Fox News was. So where did it go?

In the post-’Truce’-gate world, Inside Cable News asked if it was “spiked” for some reason. Here’s the answer: it’s happening tonight.

The story, based around this Floyd Norris article in the New York Times, was brought up several times on Fox News yesterday.

A Factor insider tells Mediaite the show is “doing it tonight,” and that it was always planned for Tuesday’s show. The promo department apparently jumped the gun. So no ‘corporate pressure’ on O’Reilly’s side – and the battle continues…

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Mourning The Death of The GE/FOX Deal

countdown_8-8One week after news of a supposed “truce” (or “ceasefire” or “deal” or…) between GE/NBC and News Corp./Fox, it’s clear the deal has passed away.

Following Keith Olbermann’s strong attack on Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes and Fox News in general again last night (video after the jump), and another story about in-house tensions at 30 Rock, it’s time to talk about the supposed ‘truce’ in the past tense. So what killed it?

According to the New York TimesBrian Stelter, it all started to deteriorate, as one might imagine, after Monday night. “Fox News executives felt that MSNBC had broken the deal when Keith Olbermann, in an apparent show of independence, insulted his 8 p.m. rival, Bill O’Reilly, and the News Corporation’s chairman, Rupert Murdoch, on Monday,” writes Stelter.

O’Reilly responded, in a way, with his attack on GE two nights later. But in Stelter’s story, Fox says it’s not about them:

“At this point,” a Fox spokeswoman said Friday, “the entire situation is more about major issues at NBC and G.E. than it is about Bill O’Reilly and Keith Olbermann.”

So that puts the pressure on Olbermann and his bosses to stop their personal attacks. Which, to the detriment of salvaging any remnants of a deal, was not heeded last night. Instead, Olbermann set his sights on O’Reilly, but also, oddly, Fox Chairman Ailes. The basis for the attack was essentially something written about Ailes by the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz. “Negotiating with the people that his ‘nutcases’ might cover about whether or not those nutcases will or will not cover them might seem like journalism to Mr. Ailes, but clearly no actual journalist would agree with him,” said Olbermann last night.

Does Olbermann not see the hypocrisy here, or is he just hoping his viewers don’t notice? This is the exact same situation he himself is in. In the Times story today, both GE and FOX said the deal did not involve telling their talent how to cover stories. It’s a matter of how each network, and host, deal with this non-directive directive.

It’s clear what happened here: in the wake of the news going public, Olbermann reacted defensively by going on the offensive. O’Reilly responded, and Olbermann, still being questioned in the liberal blogosphere, went back and attacked. Here’s what will happen next: O’Reilly will attack GE next week. And the story of the deal that was, then wasn’t, will disintegrate.

But GE will not be happy. Will they be unhappy enough to officially reign in Olbermann, who essentially killed this deal and isn’t necessarily afraid to quit if he doesn’t get his way? We’ll see. Olbermann is still the top-rated host on MSNBC. He doesn’t pull in anywhere near the ratings of O’Reilly and others at Fox News, but he has a built-in, loyal audience. Now that he’s “going rogue,” GE will have to decide whether they’re with him or against him.

Here’s last night’s “Worst Persons”:


Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy


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Bill O’Reilly Puts His Love For Barack Obama Into A Parade Column

Say what you want about Bill O’Reilly, but he never shies away from surprising people. Take this weekend’s upcoming Parade magazine, in which the Fox News host writes a lengthy column headlined, “What President Obama Can Teach America’s Kids” (first reported by Politico).

This is just about as glowing as any profile of Barack Obama written by a fawning lefty. But there’s nothing like seeing it in print to get the full impact. Here’s a sneak peek:

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The Fox News host, surrounded by children of various races, writing about our liberal, Democratic President. It’s enough to make Keith Olbermann throw up a little in his mouth.

Here are some passages:

As has been widely chronicled, Barack Obama had a tough childhood filled with instability and loneliness. However, that did not stop him from rising to become the most powerful man in the world. His breathtaking achievement presents five important lessons for all children.

Those lessons are forgiveness, respect, persistence, hard word, and ‘anything is possible.’

More, from the powerful conclusion:

What he has achieved in his 48 years is simply astounding. Consider the odds. The United States is a nation of more than 300 million citizens. Only one person is currently the Commander in Chief. That man had no fatherly guidance, is of mixed race, and had no family connections to guide him into the world of national politics. That adds up to one simple truth that every American child should be told: “If Barack Obama can become the President of the United States, then whatever dream you may have can happen in your life.”

For those who are absolutely floored, you probably don’t watch enough of The O’Reilly Factor. The top-rated cable news host undeniably leans right, but by no means can be grouped with conservative Sean Hannity or pseudo-conservative Glenn Beck.

What’s more, O’Reilly has a very clear respect for Obama that comes directly from the then-Senator’s decision to come on The Factor for a lengthy interview during the presidential campaign. It was a self-serving mission for both – Obama picked his appearance to compete with the Republican National Convention, O’Reilly got a multi-night, highly-rated ‘get.’ But there’s a reason VP candidate Sarah Palin wouldn’t go toe-to-toe with O’Reilly – he’s not an easy interview. That respect has translated to some dividends for Obama.

While Hannity plays “Carmina Burana” and Beck plants ‘is he racist’ seeds, O’Reilly stays largely above the fray. Still – some conservatives and liberals will be in for a surprise when they open their Sunday newspapers this weekend and see a smiling O’Reilly espousing the life lessons of our Commander in Chief.

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News From ‘Truce’-Gate: “Olbermann” And “Quit” In Same Sentence

olbermann_8-7It has been a full week since news of a deal between News Corp. and GE (or, more specifically, between Fox News and MSNBC) broke, and the story continues to evolve.

Today, The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz reveals some behind-the-scenes insight about the “war” – and the revelations continue to hurt MSNBC host Keith Olbermann far more than his FNC foil, Bill O’Reilly.

Here’s the key passage in Kurtz’ piece:

But the war was just beginning at MSNBC, where an opinionated culture is often at odds with NBC News. The day after Olbermann’s comments about the Tiller slaying, executives convened a large meeting and talked about Fox and the importance of striking the right on-air tone. Olbermann later expressed a willingness to make minor adjustments in his style, but he and his allies, concerned about setting a precedent, dug in for a fight. Olbermann left Zucker and executives with the impression that he might quit if the dispute wasn’t resolved to his satisfaction.

Olbermann has threatened to quit, and has actually done so on several occasions. The seed is now planted in this story, and the implication fuels the fire…that may be headed toward meltdown.

The meeting Kurtz writes about happened in June, but fast forward to this week, and Monday’s attack on Fox from Olbermann.

Fox felt the agreement had been shattered. “This is more of an internal issue that NBC and GE need to work through,” a Fox spokesman said. Fox executives disputed the contention of some NBC officials that any understanding was amorphous. “There was an agreement for no personal attacks,” one said. GE and NBC declined to comment.

The personal attacks then returned Wednesday from O’Reilly, in a direct cause-and-effect moment. And if Olbermann fires back at FNC, thus bothering both his bosses and O’Reilly, expect a similar retaliation. There’s no way out – Olbermann has to change his focus away from Fox, and thus face alienating some of his hardcore fans. He did a good job with that later this week – last night was attack #3 on CNN’s Lou Dobbs. But Dobbs is not the same type of foe as O’Reilly – mainly, he’s not nearly as popular.

On another front, Olbermann gives TVNewser another new explanation for why he didn’t know about Richard Wolffe’s consulting job.

In April, I knew vaguely that Richard Wolffe had gone to work for a non-news firm, and that’s about the last I heard of it. It was entirely concurrent with my mother’s fatal illness, and I turned it over entirely to my management team. My first awareness that this was more than just a non-news job, was this week.

If Jonathan Berr, whoever he is, does not like my prioritizing caring for my mother and dealing with her death, and then doing as many shows as I could, ahead of vetting the comments of our analysts and my management team, frankly, I feel sorry for him. Getting myself through those two months were, and are, more important than what is still being investigated about Richard.

Wow. It’s not clear how this will end – but it’s not looking like it will end well.

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When You’re Wrong About Bill O’Reilly, You Better Correct On The Front Page

oreilly_8-3Fox News host Bill O’Reilly got a rare front page correction today from the St. Petersburg Times – a sign that if you get something drastically wrong concerning the #1 cable news host, you may want to appease him.

TV critic Eric Deggans incorrectly lumped O’Reilly into a column about news personalities who have accused Pres. Obama of racism (his colleague, Glenn Beck, was correctly on that list), but O’Reilly has never said anything like that. The FNC host addressed the story on his program last night as well.

“The problem with Mr. Deggans is acute,” said O’Reilly last night. “All American newspapers have an obligation to hire honest people, not crazed ideologues. Now, I don’t want anyone to lose their jobs, but this situation – beyond the pale.”

For his part, Deggans took to his blog to apologize. “One serving of humble pie, coming right up,” he started.

Deggans also made note of a jinx that apparently came true. When he criticized Alessandra Stanley over her errors, he wrote: “It’s a sure route to jinxland, pointing out the errors of other journalists.”

But at least you got a shout-out on O’Reilly?

Here’s the clip from last night:

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