Jon Stewart Mocks MSNBC’s New “Lean Forward” Campaign

Jon Stewart is a smart and funny guy. As any regular visitor to Mediaite knows, we are big fans of his incisive and entertaining commentary on the often absurd intersection of media and politics. But that doesn’t mean we always agree with his point-of-view; take for example his take down of MSNBC’s new campaign to re-brand themselves with the phrase “Lean Forward.” In the following segment, Mr. Stewart makes a lot funny jokes, but perhaps its a little early to dismiss an entire ad campaign.

The Daily Show does much better when it speaks truth to power, exploiting hypocrisies and absurdities to great comedic effect. Making fun of an ad campaign is just shooting fish in a barrel. (But to be honest, who wouldn’t enjoy watching someone actually shooting fish in a barrel?)

Watch the clip then opine in the comments section in the tasteful, erudite and respectful method that Mediaite commenters are know for around the Internet.

That Was Fast! Americans Now Split On Whether Obama Is A Better Pres. Than Bush

Less than two years after thousands of Inauguration-goers bid a not-so-fond farewell to President Bush’s departing helicopter a new CNN poll says the country is split on whether President Obama is a better president than President George W. Bush.

By 47 to 45 percent, Americans say Obama is a better president than George W. Bush. But that two point margin is down from a 23 point advantage one year ago.

“Democrats may want to think twice about bringing up former President George W. Bush’s name while campaigning this year,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

“But that doesn’t mean that Americans regret their decision to put Obama in the White House in 2008. By a 50 to 42 percent margin, the public says that Obama has done a better job than Sen. John McCain would have done if he had won. And by a 10-point margin, Americans also say that Joe Biden has done a better job than Sarah Palin would have done as vice president,” adds Holland.

American’s apparently have increasingly short memories. Bush always said that history would prove him right, but probably no one, including Bush, figured on a twenty month turnaround. Perhaps Obama can take hope from these results: no matter how badly he screws things up during his presidency he will only have to leave office to be loved once again. A maneuver Sarah Palin has lately perfected.

Wolf Blitzer Beats MSNBC’s Matthews and Schultz On Thursday

Cable news ratings, October 7, 2010:

Wolf Blitzer had more total viewers and viewers in the A25-54 demographic on Thursday. Blitzer also beat CNN’s prime time programs in one, or both, categories. Parker Spitzer had its best night in the demo Thursday.

Rachel Maddow had the top show on MSNBC in prime time Thursday, in both categories. Lawrence O’Donnell was #2 in the demo, Keith Olbermann was #2 in total viewers.

Here’s the full scoreboard:

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

596

Blitzer

156

Matthews

123

Showbiz

97

6 pm Baier

461

Blitzer

159

Ed Show

136

Prime

105

7 pm Shep

393

King, USA

164

Matthews

152

Issues

139

8 pm O’Reilly

702

ParkerSpitzer

146

Olbermann

227

Grace

208

9 pm Hannity

526

King

145

Maddow

277

Behar

147

10 pm Greta

437

Cooper

172

O’Donnell

244

Grace

147

11 pm O’Reilly

454

Cooper

107

Olbermann

130

Showbiz

159

TOTAL DAY 372 124 120 132
PRIME TIME 555 154 249 164
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

2127

Blitzer

504

Matthews

494

Showbiz

210

6 pm Baier

1927

Blitzer

560

Ed Show

529

Prime

228

7 pm Shep

1809

King, USA

483

Matthews

578

Issues

357

8 pm O’Reilly

3042

ParkerSpitzer

458

Olbermann

1057

Grace

685

9 pm Hannity

2455

King

611

Maddow

1181

Behar

424

10 pm Greta

2113

Cooper

515

O’Donnell

920

Grace

309

11 pm O’Reilly

1609

Cooper

285

Olbermann

455

Showbiz

285

TOTAL DAY 1468 404 471 269
PRIME TIME 2538 531 1053 462
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data

Anderson Cooper Gets Rare Access To Eminem For 60 Minutes Profile

Anderson Cooper returned to his slot as occasional 60 Minutes contributor this week, gaining rare access to award-winning rapper Eminem.

The Detroit native brought the CNN host around his former neighborhood, and taught him the proper way a person can in fact find a rhyme for “orange.”

Eminem and Cooper walked around the “8 Mile” area of Detroit, including a stop at a club he used to do rap battle in. As can be expected from a show like 60 Minutes, and likely knowing its audience, this is how “rap battles” was explained: “One on one verbal fights where the goal was to come up with the cleverest rhymes and the best insults.”

Eminem brought Cooper into his private recording studio as well, where he explained how to bend words. “People say that the word orange doesn’t rhyme with anything,’ said Eminem. “And that kind of pisses me off because I can think of a lot of things that rhyme with orange.” He proceeded to put this into practice, saying, “I put my orange, four inch, door hinge, in storage, and ate porridge, with George.”

Eminem also showed his very un-Jay-Z-like practice of keeping “hundred of scrapes of papers in which he’s obsessively scrawled down words and phrases,” which he brought out for the cameras. The whole report used Eminem’s comeback concert earlier this year in Detroit as a backdrop, where the artist was performing for the first time sober (which he has been for two-and-a-half years).

Viewers can also see this behind-the-scenes, peel-back-the-curtain extra video on CBSNews.com, where Cooper jokes about how “ridiculous” the forced walking shots in these types of reports are.

Here’s the full interview:

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Fox News Watch Wonders What Took CNN So Long In Firing Rick Sanchez

The fallout from Rick Sanchez-gate continues a week later, and the crew at Fox News Watch is watching in awe as the former CNN anchor tries to repair his career and takes all the blame off the shoulders of his ex-employer. The panel wholeheartedly disagree with Sanchez’s self-effacing: it’s CNN’s fault, they conclude, for giving him a platform to begin with.

Yes, the chyron for this segment reads “CNN Dumps Rick Sanchez– What Took So Long?” There’s not much mincing words here. Fox News contributor Judy Miller argues that, despite the fact the comments were anti-Semetic, “it was the Jewish leadership of CNN that gave him two hours to do his thing,” and thus deserved the backlash. Alan Colmes, after jokingly thanking “Uncle Rupert” for “letting me come here and sit” despite being Jewish, argued that the comments seem to have little to do with the fact that Sanchez got fired: “there’s probably a backstory here we don’t know.” He also, contrary to most of the panel, argued that Sanchez probably didn’t deserve to get fired for those comments exclusively.

Meanwhile, panelist Jim Pinkerton looked towards the future: “[Sanchez] is clearly angling for a job at Univisión or Aztec [sic] or something,” wondering why he would attack Jon Stewart at all, who he calls a “decent, fair-minded, funny guy.” The panel concludes that the change in tune at CNN will probably benefit them, and seem rather optimistic for their competitors, though no one dared bring up Parker Spitzer.

The clip from today’s Fox News Watch below:

New York Post Report: Katie Couric Possibly Contemplating Move To CNN

The New York Post is reporting of a possible deal between CNN and CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric, who, according to friends cited in the report, is unhappy at CBS and “wants to be on the air somewhere before the [2012] Iowa caucuses.”

The Post’s report seems mostly to be speculation compiled from quotes by the CEO of Time Warner, Jeff Bewkes, CBS chief Les Moonves, and various “insiders.” “CNN appears especially eager to sign Couric now that the new show starring ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer is off to a stumbling start,” the report reads, noting that Bewkes told Fox’s Neil Cavuto that he would not cap CNN anchor salaries, perhaps hinting to possible future employees that there is reason to hop on board.

On the CBS side, though, the report indicates that there is little interest to let Couric go, quoting a “CBS insider” as saying, “don’t be surprised if Katie stays,” while another anonymous source tells them that “nothing has changed” between the network and its main anchor. Couric’s contract ends in May, so it is possible that those on CNN are contemplating talking to her. A few more sourced comments might make the story more believable next time, however– not to mention that contemplations and talks so rarely lead to actual deals. As for whether that has anything to do with Parker/Spitzer remains to be seen as well, as that show is only a week old and, all things considered, still has time to blossom from this week’s ratings.

Rick Sanchez Tells Mediaite: “I Got Greedy And I Got Mad And I Got In Trouble”

Rick Sanchez came to New York City today for a live interview on Good Morning America and a radio interview on WABC. Before he left for Atlanta, I talked to Sanchez at his hotel, overlooking his former employer, CNN.

We talked about the circumstances last Friday, Keith Olbermann’s criticism, Jon Klein, Eliot Spitzer and more. Here’s the full Q&A:

Mediaite: Let’s start with Thursday. You go on the radio show. It was after Rick’s List, that day?

Sanchez: Literally two minutes. After Rick’s List, there’s a studio audience that comes in, they have this thing CNN has its called “Rick After The Tour” and they come in and they get my autograph and they take a picture with me and its very nice. As soon as I was done with that I headed downstairs and right into a studio to do the interview.

Mediaite: So you do the interview Thursday. Did you think, before anything came out, what kind of reaction could come from it?

Sanchez: Yeah, I did. I even knew it as I was into it. But I was too impetuous to control myself. I should have been a little more careful. But yeah I kind of knew. I even told my wife when I got home, I said, ‘I just did an interview and I kind of went off on some things I shouldn’t have said.’ So yeah, I knew.

“ I don’t like what we’re going through in this country right now. If that’s where the business is going, I’m not sure I want to be a part of the business.”

Mediaite: So Friday, we wrote our story around 9am, emailed CNN about it, and I don’t know if that was the first time they had seen it or heard about it, but what was Friday like for you?

Sanchez: Oh it was difficult. I knew what you knew, that there was a whole lot of coming down the pike. All my wife and I could do was wait and see what would eventually come of it. We learned the news pretty much the same time everybody else did, when they put out a statement. Look, they have done what they needed to do. They have basically been good to me. They didn’t screw up, I screwed up. The onus is on me. My loyalty to them is not gone because they gave me six good years. And if there’s an opportunity to get back together in the future, that would be great. I made a mistake, I said some things I shouldn’t have, I insulted people. And they deserve a direct apology from me.

Mediaite: The Daily Show, Jon Stewart comments were probably the ones that got the most attention, but there were also things in there about CNN executives. Do you think that was the straw that broke the camels back?

Sanchez: (Those comments) had nothing to do with CNN, but it does have to do with the state of the media right now. And there’s several things that are working right now that bother me as a person in the media. A) we’ve got one camp that is nothing but vitriol and ideologically driven. That’s not good. We’ve got another side of the media that’s nothing but milquetoast. They do nothing but want to read teleprompters and ask whatever questions are handed to them and go home. And I write about this in my book. That in and of itself has kind of made me crazy over the last several years. I try to do a different kind of newscast, it’s very transparent, it involves social media, I ad-lib more than I read. I’m very involved. I write, I produce I gather my team at 7 in the morning. It’s very different than the way the media has been. The other thing is I look at the landscape of the media and I don’t see an African American, a Hispanic, an Asian anywhere near the prime time area of programming. All the top anchors are not in any way reflective of the minorities in the United States. And I’ll be honest, that sticks in my craw. I feel sometimes like, ‘gosh I’m so close.’ And then I put the Jon Stewart with that, always making fun of me, and I thought, ’see I’m not getting the opportunity and damnit Jon Stewart that institutional media elite guy’ is keeping me down.’ And I lashed out, and I was wrong.

>>> NEXT PAGE: Sanchez talks Olbermann, Klein, Jautz, Spitzer…and reveals his new Twitter name.