Mel Gibson Asks Jewish Reporter: ‘Do You Have A Dog In This Fight?’

Behold Mel Gibson living down to his reputation. Earlier today Rick Sanchez highlighted Gibson in his ‘the list u don’t want 2 be on’ segment for a comment Gibson made to KTLA entertainment reporter Sam Rubin during a press junket for his new movie Edge of Darkness (watch the video…Gibson is not a person you’d want to be stuck in a small room with). In the clip Rubin is trying to edge his way around asking Gibson whether he is worried how he will be received by the public in his first foray back into movies since going on a reported anti-Semitic tirade to cops after being pulled over for drunk driving back in 2006. Here’s the exchange:

Reporter: Some people are going to welcome you back, and some people are going to say you should never come back.

MG: Why

Reporter: Because of what happened before.

MG: What happened before?

Reporter: The remarks that were attributed to you.

MG: That were attributed to me that I didn’t necessarily make.

Reporter: Uh Huh

MG: But and I gather you have a dog in this fight.

Reporter: Pardon me?

MG: You have a dog in this fight? Or are you being impartial?

Reporter: You tell me. I’m trying to be impartial.

MG: Ok. Well I’m back. And I hope it works out. And I hope people will graciously accept me back.


It’s hard to impart the level of crazy sarcasm in that last sentence. And yes! Absolutely. Don’t you feel endeared to Mel Gibson now! Lordy. Who talks like that? Video below.


Tension At CNN’s D.C. Bureau Over Blitzer vs. Sanchez-Style Journalism

Politico’s Michael Calderone pulls back the curtain on some internal tension at CNN over the direction of the network.

Besides a meeting that took place at the D.C. bureau, there are also concerns at the network about the need for John King’s upcoming 7pmET show to begin the process of turning the nighttime ratings around.

Calderone writes about a meeting that was attended by CNN Worldwide President Jim Walton and CNN/U.S. President Jon Klein in D.C., although “CNN staffers didn’t realize that Klein was sitting in the back of the room.”

Blitzer has a loyal following in the Washington bureau, which, according to one CNN staffer, “tends to be more traditional in its approach to news.” Sanchez, who incorporates Twitter heavily into the show, is viewed by some in Washington as merging entertainment more with the news content than is customary at the network, and at one point Howie Lutt, senior director for “The Situation Room,” stood up and asked the roughly 200 staffers assembled in the bureau to raise their hands if they respect him or Blitzer as a journalist, according to network sources.

Almost everyone assembled raised their hand for Blitzer; only a few showed similar support for Sanchez.

This type of inner dissension bubbling up publicly is not something normally associated with CNN, which takes pride in its outward display of solidarity while contrasting the sometime volatility at competitors MSNBC and Fox News. More:

[When] CNN announced the Sanchez move, internal scuttlebutt has revolved around Blitzer being somewhat sidelined by management.

While Blitzer loses an hour at 4pmET, the three hours of hard news remain with John King’s 7pmET hour starting soon.

And that new program is the other part of the story. Political Director Sam Feist wouldn’t give “away any details about format or content,” but claimed it would be “the most-watched political show.” A political show is an interesting description. The program will be competing with a hard news hour on Fox News (anchored by Shepard Smith) and a politics-heavy opinion show on MSNBC (the Chris Matthews repeat). It’s a tough field, and as Calderone points out, CNN at 7pmET is “a consistent loser.”

CNN needs help in the ratings – mostly during prime time. But they’ve made some changes during the day, with Ali Velshi for two hours from 1-3pmET and Sanchez from 3-5pmET. Sanchez’ ratings will have to show an improvement, especially at 4pmET which was Blitzer’s first hour of The Situation Room until recently, to prove to Sanchez’ detractors that his style is a winner. And King, although not in prime time, has another hill to overcome – will a hard news political show improve on CNN’s 7pmET ratings, and help lead into prime time?

We’ll see soon.

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» Follow Steve Krakauer on Twitter


Mediaite Speaks With Anderson Cooper: “The Rest Of The World Feels Extraordinarily Far Away”

CNN has covered the Haiti story far more than any other cable news network – last week it was four times as much as Fox News or MSNBC.

And it continues this week, with CNN anchor Anderson Cooper remaining the most high profile correspondent still reporting on the ground (he’s there all week, and has been since January 13). Mediaite spoke to Cooper today (instead of “Back From Haiti” it’s “Still In Haiti”) while he traveled from “mass graves” to the Hotel Montana, where people are “digging for Americans foreign nationals.”

Mediaite: While other correspondents and anchors return to the United States, you are staying this week as well. What made you decide to stay an extra week?

Cooper: I just didn’t feel it was right to leave. I was just worried that if everyone leaves, then there’s going to be less focus on it. There are still a lot important things going on here. On a personal level, I just wanted to stay and continue covering the story. I talked to Sanjay [Gupta] and he felt the same way.

“What stands out in my mind has nothing to do with the coverage. It’s just seeing people, talking to people, who are digging through rubble with their own hands, trying to find loved ones or even complete strangers.”

Mediaite: CNN has covered this story more than any other cable network. Why do you think it is important for CNN to stick with the story?

Cooper: It is hard to get sense of what others are doing. I just think this is a very important story. Obviously Haiti has a lot of connections with us, families have connections here. This is huge catastrophe, and Haiti as a country doesn’t receive enough coverage even in good times. It seems like the right place to be. Important things are happening in other places, in the political world. But it just felt like the least I could do is stay for another week.

Mediaite: I watched some of your show last night, and you covered other news as well – Scott Brown, the State of the Union. How are you able to anchor from Haiti and talk about other stories?

Cooper: It’s strange to talk about other topics – it feels strange when you’re here. The rest of the world seems extraordinarily far away. Obviously what’s happening here is life and death, and you’re confronted with that on an hourly basis. But there are other things people are interested in, other important things happening. We try to strike balance between where you are and other things.

>>>NEXT PAGE: Cooper responds to those who say he’s getting too close to the story.


Glenn Beck’s Communism Special Is Top Cable News Show In Demo Friday

Cable news ratings, January 22, 2010: Check out the highlights, and see the full ratings below:

Glenn Beck’s communism special at 5pmET on Friday was the #1 cable news show in the A25-54 demographic. It had a huge number – 1,127,000 viewers. The program was #2 in total viewers, with Bill O’Reilly taking the top spot at 8pmET.

• Fox News didn’t air the “Hope For Haiti” special, but CNN and MSNBC did. They added to the huge broadcast numbers with an addition 1.5 million total viewers combined. But FNC doubled the ratings of CNN and MSNBC combined in both the demo and total viewers during the two-hour block.

• But the top non-FNC program was actually CNN’s show after the special – Anderson Cooper’s 10pmET hour.

Check out all the ratings below, and leave your own thoughts in the comments:

TV NEWS RATINGS: 25-54 DEMOGRAPHIC (L +SD)
Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm

Beck

1127

Blitzer

202

Matthews

85

Prime

108

6 pm

Baier

658

Blitzer

194

Ed Show

130

Prime

113

7 pm

Shep

542

Tonight

240

Matthews

88

Issues

115

8 pm

O’Reilly

1038

Hope for Haiti

393

Hope for Haiti

130

Grace

263

9 pm

Hannity

839

Hope for Haiti

393

Hope for Haiti

130

Behar

197

10 pm

Greta

561

Cooper

494

Olbermann

228

Grace

136

11 pm

O’Reilly

555

Cooper

302

Maddow

183

Showbiz

123

TOTAL DAY 521 222 107 145
PRIME TIME 814 428 163 194
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.
TV NEWS RATINGS: TOTAL VIEWERS (L +SD)
Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm

Beck

3992

Blitzer

893

Matthews

555

Prime

254

6 pm

Baier

3004

Blitzer

720

Ed Show

572

Prime

259

7 pm

Shep

2376

Tonight

821

Matthews

512

Issues

365

8 pm

O’Reilly

4239

Hope for Haiti

1187

Hope for Haiti

468

Grace

888

9 pm

Hannity

3375

Hope for Haiti

1187

Hope for Haiti

468

Behar

697

10 pm

Greta

2318

Cooper

1387

Olbermann

768

Grace

425

11 pm

O’Reilly

1899

Cooper

729

Maddow

616

Showbiz

387

TOTAL DAY 1972 776 416 341
PRIME TIME 3317 1255 568 656
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.


Anderson Cooper Continues Streak Of Top Non-FNC Cable News Show Wednesday

Cable news ratings, January 20, 2010: Check out the highlights, and see the full ratings below:

• Fox News ratings continue to put them in a league of their own – far and away the best cable news network in all categories. But the top non-FNC cable news show was Anderson Cooper’s once again Wednesday night, in total viewers and the A25-54 demographic. CNN’s 10pmET program has seen a bump in the ratings since Cooper has been reporting from Haiti.

• The top show overall was Bill O’Reilly’s, again, at 8pmET for Fox News. The program had more total viewers than even The Jay Leno Show.

Check out all the ratings below, and leave your own thoughts in the comments:

TV NEWS RATINGS: 25-54 DEMOGRAPHIC (L +SD)
Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm

Beck

965

Blitzer

163

Matthews

79

Prime

94

6 pm

Baier

665

Blitzer

189

Ed Show

99

Prime

127

7 pm

Shep

827

Tonight

221

Matthews

159

Issues

151

8 pm

O’Reilly

1273

Brown

260

Olbermann

251

Grace

235

9 pm

Hannity

928

King

298

Maddow

216

Behar

144

10 pm

Greta

754

Cooper

373

Olbermann

192

Grace

178

11 pm

O’Reilly

598

Cooper

289

Maddow

115

Showbiz

116

TOTAL DAY 593 231 110 151
PRIME TIME 985 310 220 180
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.
TV NEWS RATINGS: TOTAL VIEWERS (L +SD)
Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm

Beck

3705

Blitzer

765

Matthews

518

Prime

197

6 pm

Baier

2915

Blitzer

774

Ed Show

472

Prime

263

7 pm

Shep

2689

Tonight

750

Matthews

584

Issues

448

8 pm

O’Reilly

4632

Brown

807

Olbermann

1016

Grace

665

9 pm

Hannity

3618

King

1039

Maddow

870

Behar

685

10 pm

Greta

2958

Cooper

1147

Olbermann

629

Grace

300

11 pm

O’Reilly

2052

Cooper

840

Maddow

358

Showbiz

266

TOTAL DAY 2185 764 433 328
PRIME TIME 3737 997 838 535
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.


CNN’s Soledad O’Brien Back From Haiti: “There Are No Easy Answers”

CNN correspondent Soledad O’Brien returned from Haiti on Friday after several days of reporting about and following the story of a group of orphans from Haiti to Miami. And it wasn’t just on TV – O’Brien gave a full play-by-play on her Twitter feed in real time.

We spoke to O’Brien Friday afternoon for our “Back From Haiti” series, as she returned to New York – and to her family.

Mediaite: You recently were covering the journey of a group of orphans from Haiti to Miami. Tell me about what that story was like to cover, and how it came about?

O’Brien: When we met the first group the thing that surprised us was a truck that had 25 babies, newborns, lying in it, wiggling and we’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, those are babies.’ It is really very shocking. We followed their journey in the van, driving down the streets in Port-au-Prince. It had to be 90-something degrees , and I’m sitting on a seat with four toddlers. There was one who started throwing up, one was very sick. It was just a miserable trip, just awful…You talk to some of these parents, and it’s very touch-and-go. You don’t know what’s going to happen, but we’re certainly very hopeful.

“It’s not just that a bad thing happened here. Bad things happened, but they are not able to recover and won’t recover quickly because of hundreds of years of bad things happening to Haiti.”

Mediaite: I know you just got back today, but looking back on the assignment, what do you take away most from the story in Haiti?

O’Brien: I think there are no easy answers. On one hand people are coming to adopt children, to rescue them and bring them out of Haiti, and that’s amazing. On the other hand, it’s a very desperate situation, not just for children but for everyone. To me it’s like small picture and big picture. The big picture is, ‘Well what’s the plan, what’s going to be the move going forward?’ It has to be fixing the infrastructure. The whole trip to Haiti has been a sense of, ‘Where’s the line, at what point do you stop digging for people, at what point do you say this is more important than that?’ There are no easy answers. It’s very, very complicated. The country of Haiti has historically always been like that and it’s just a very sad situation.

>>>NEXT PAGE: What O’Brien says is the “hardest” to convey in Haiti coverage.


New Osama Bin Laden Tape Claims Responsibility For Christmas Attack

An audio recording purported to be Osama bin Laden surfaced Sunday on Al-Jazeera’s website and features the al Qaeda leader claiming responsibility for the attempted terrorist attack aboard flight 253 to Michigan on Christmas Day, CNN is reporting. On CNN’s State of the Union, White House adviser David Axelrod said he could not confirm the tape’s authenticity, but noted that it features “the same hollow justification for the slaughter of innocent people.”

The message on the recording is one the United States has grown accustomed to hearing, though the media is often careful when it comes to rebroadcasting the violent and hateful rhetoric.

“”It is not fair to enjoy that kind of life while our brothers in Gaza live in the worst of miseries,” bin Laden says, noting that “the United States will not dream of enjoying safety until we live it in reality in Palestine.” He goes on to speak of the attempted airline attack: “The message intended to be sent to you was through the hero fighter Omar Farouq, may God release him, confirming an earlier message that the [September] 11th heroes delivered to you and it was repeated before and after [that event].”

According to CNN, this would be bin Laden’s first contact in seven months after six messages in 2009, the last of which came on September 25th.

As the Sunday show’s progress on the cable networks, the tape provides a new topical way of speaking frankly about homeland security and we’ll be watching closely in order to assess the media reaction.