Sean Hannity Apologizes For ‘Inadvertent’ Use Of Crowd Footage

hannity_apologyAs Mediaite reported yesterday, the eagle eyes of The Daily Show noticed that Sean Hannity substituted news footage from the 9/12 rally for last week’s much-lower-attended Super Bowl of Freedom. The effect was that the latter event seemed like a much bigger deal than it was.

Last night, Hannity apologized, claiming that the footage had been used “inadvertently.” Here’s specifically what Hannity had to say:



“And finally tonight, although it pains me to say this, Jon Stewart? Comedy Central? He was right. Now on his program last night, he mentioned that we had played some incorrect video on this program last week while talking about the Republican healthcare rally on Capitol Hill. He was correct, we screwed up, we aired some video of a rally in September, along with a video from the actual event. It was an inadvertant mistake, but a mistake nonetheless, so Mr. Stewart. you were right, we apologize. But by the way, I wanna thank you, and all your writers, for watching. (Laughter)”

Hannity’s claim that they “played some incorrect video,” is a bit of an oversimplification of the production process. Since the video they played was part of a pre-edited package, this most certainly wasn’t a case where the technical director simply hit a wrong button. The footage for this package was selected by someone, then edited by an Editor.

So — was this an honest mistake? Given the recent debate about the distinctions between Fox News’ opinion programming and its news programming, its at least worth another look. Here’s the original segment.




You may recall the name Griff Jenkins from a previous flap involving Fox News: it was his crew that was “reprimanded” for whipping up a 9/12 crowd for the cameras.

While the White House took some lumps over their treatment of Fox News, incidents like this certainly seem to underscore their overall point. One of the linchpins of Fox News’ defense is the idea that there’s a wall between their news and opinion programming. Problems with their news programming notwithstanding, this defense isn’t exactly air tight.

The “opinion show” defense is only really operative when it comes to opinions. When it comes to news content on opinion shows, they retain some duty to present facts accurately and fairly. For example, MSNBC recently drew criticism for dishonestly editing footage of a gentleman who was carrying a gun at a Town Hall event. And similar criticism of blurry lines between news and opinion at MSNBC exist when day time news anchor David Shuster fills in to guest host Keith Olbermann’s Countdown. Even The Daily Show has been called out for blurring the line between facts and opinion (or comedy in this case.)

Fox’s news personnel are frequent guests on Fox opinion programs, which lends traditional journalistic credibility to opinion programming of Hannity or Bill O’Reilly. While it makes programming sense to promote shows and personalities across the network — which Fox News does better than any network — it also blurs the line between the two sides of Fox programming for a less informed or critical viewer.

Sean Hannity certainly deserves credit for the quick and earnest apology for the footage miscue, and while he’s clearly on the opinion side of FNC, it is legitimate to ask whether this mistake also harms the credibility of Fox News “news desk.” This mistake not only gives rise to Fox News fiercest and most vocal critics, which until recently, included the White House, but raises a larger question: shouldn’t there be any concern about this expressed by FNC News Desk?


Cartman’s ‘Glenn Beck’ Finds “Socialist Regime” At South Park Elementary

cartman_11-12We’ve seen the Jon Stewart version and the Jason Sudeikis version. Last night, Fox News star host Glenn Beck got the Eric Cartman treatment.

The South Park team took on the Beck phenomenon – complete with asking questions, accusations of socialism and a massive multi-platform media takeover.

When Cartman took over the duty of handling the morning announcements, he turned it into an indictment of Student Body President, Wendy. “Ever since Wendy was elected Student Body President this school has started a rabid decline toward some socialist regime where students no longer have a voice,” said Cartman-as-Beck. “Because I’m brave enough to ask questions I come under scrutiny. Is Wendy using your lunch money to buy heroin? Probably not, but how can we know? I don’t want my lunch money going to drugs.”

Cartman then turned his attention to Wendy’s hopes to kill Smurfs – and released his first book, “What Happened To My School.”

Of course, like most South Park episodes, it gets taken to even more extreme levels, until Wendy eventually agrees to come on Cartman’s show. And Wendy drops some Sarah Palin-like reverse psychology on the host (also: her new book “Going Rogue on the Smurfs”).

Also, if we know Glenn Beck, and we think we watch enough to say we do fairly well, we’d expect this to make an appearance on his 5pmET FNC show tonight:
cartman_11-12b

South Park consistently skewers all sides, and actually takes on the left in some cases even more than the right. Beck, who seems to relish in the attention even when it’s poking some fun at him, will likely embrace the experience.

You can watch the full episode here, and check out a highlight below:

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CNN Edges FNC In Demo During Fort Hood Memorial Coverage

Cable news ratings, November 10, 2009: Check out the highlights, and see the full ratings below:

• During Tuesday’s two-hour Fort Hood memorial coverage beginning at 1:30pmET, CNN edged Fox News (310,000 to 305,000) in the A25-54 demographic for 1st place in the time slot. FNC was #1 in total viewers. MSNBC was way behind in both categories (66,000 in the demo).

Bill O’Reilly had the top cable news show again last night, far ahead in both the demo and total viewers.

Larry King had a huge night for CNN at 9pmET, coming within 70,000 of 1st place Hannity in the demo.

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

 

626

Blitzer

 

184

Matthews

 

143

Prime

 

110

6 pm Baier

 

417

Blitzer

 

147

EdShow

 

168

Prime

 

129

7 pm Shep

 

605

Dobbs

 

208

Matthews

 

198

Issues

 

263

8 pm O’Reilly

 

1078

Brown

 

190

Olbermann

 

374

Grace

 

393

9 pm Hannity

 

739

King

 

668

Maddow

 

267

Behar

 

184

10 pm Greta

 

598

Cooper

 

500

Olbermann

 

230

Grace

 

231

11 pm O’Reilly

 

488

Cooper

 

240

Maddow

 

145

Showbiz

 

184

TOTAL DAY 451 255 131 178
PRIME TIME 805 456 290 259
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

 

2442

Blitzer

 

753

Matthews

 

526

Prime

 

274

6 pm Baier

 

2220

Blitzer

 

746

EdShow

 

578

Prime

 

334

7 pm Shep

 

2444

Dobbs

 

879

Matthews

 

711

Issues

 

679

8 pm O’Reilly

 

3938

Brown

 

786

Olbermann

 

1207

Grace

 

970

9 pm Hannity

 

2534

King

 

1690

Maddow

 

995

Behar

 

551

10 pm Greta

 

2142

Cooper

 

1099

Olbermann

 

681

Grace

 

463

11 pm O’Reilly

 

1703

Cooper

 

695

Maddow

 

404

Showbiz

 

429

TOTAL DAY 1741 841 440 370
PRIME TIME 2872 1194 961 638
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.


Your Moment Of Glenn: Beck’s ‘Extreme’ Return

Well, having his appendix removed last week definitely didn’t dull Glenn Beck’s propensity for incendiary opening segments (though he does look a bit trimmer). Beck was on a tear tonight, about a number of things including who the media chooses to label extremists and who they don’t. Namely alleged Ft. Hood shooter Nadil Hasan, whom Beck more or less verbally tried and convicted in the first ten minutes of his show. Apparently Beck has only taken the “speedy” part of the 6th Amendment to heart in this case, due process is perhaps a luxury for others.

Mostly though Beck feels as though we are being endangered by our own political correctness: “I’m not playing their politically correct game anymore! This man was a Muslim, extremist, terrorist, end of story. Born in America, bred here in America…Know what I find amazing, this man was not afraid to speak his point of view, he was protected, but you’re not.” Video below.


Fox News’ Major Garrett To Interview President Obama (Update: Or Not?)

garrett_10-12In one of the first truly significant steps in the new relationship between the White House and Fox News, Fox News confirms to Mediaite White House correspondent Major Garrett will interview Pres. Barack Obama next week.

The news was first reported by DrudgeReport.com.

From Drudge:

Obama Grants FOXNEWS Interview — Day After Anita Dunn Steps Down… MORE…
DRUDGE has learned, Major Garrett will conduct interview in China next week…

Yes, Anita Dunn will be stepping down, but the fact that this sit-down interview is happening may simply be the next step in the tamping down of White House vs. Fox News feuding. Garrett has always been seen as a fair member of FNC by the White House, despite being very much a part of the back and forth.

For what it’s worth, we had Garrett interviewing Obama at 10:1 odds in our Mediaite Oddsmakers post last month.

> Update: The White House tells Politico: “We’ve not committed to doing any presidential interviews during the trip to Asia with any outlets at this point,” and Drudge’s report is “not accurate.”

We’ll have more on this as we get it…

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Soundbite: CNN’s Prime Time Spin From The Top

cnn_11-11

“People hear what’s being said and it’s branded CNN and (they say), `OK, that’s news. That’s nonpartisan, that’s factual, it’s timely. That’s what we want to deliver around the world. We compete against a lot more than Fox and MSNBC.”


Jim Walton, President of CNN Worldwide, in an AP article about the network’s sagging prime time ratings and overall strategy.

Walton continued to hammer home a point made by other CNN executives as the prime time numbers drop – the lower ratings are not affecting the bottom line. “But the fact is, (CNN) is a vibrant, healthy company that’s growing in an industry where we’re pretty much one of one,” he says.

Still, ultimately, Walton asks the rhetorical question CNN must be wondering as an entire entity: “Will people sit down in the evening and find news reporting interesting?” As FNC, MSNBC and HLN cement their place in the prime time universe, the jury is still out.

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Brit Hume ‘Corrects’ Bill O’Reilly on ‘Kind of Popular’ Public Option

oreilly_humeWhat the Fox? On last night’s Countdown, Keith Olbermann noted the shocking development that Brit Hume corrected Bill O’Reilly’s contention that “the folks” don’t want a public health insurance option, noting that polling suggests it’s “kind of popular.”

Hume’s correction needs correcting. The public option isn’t “kind of popular,” it’s overwhelmingly popular (even with “folks” like Bill O’Reilly).

Here’s the exchange between Hume and O’Reilly:


Hume correctly notes that it depends on how the question is asked:

O’REILLY: They call it, you know, the public sector. What is the -

HUME: Public option, you mean?

O’REILLY: Public option, whatever. The folks don’t want it. … But it looks to me like they have maybe 55 votes to pass it. And that means they could be filibustered and never come up for a vote.

HUME: That’s what it looks like right now. The public option, actually some polls show that the public option standing by itself is not at all unpopular, but it is kind of popular. But that depends on how the poll question is raised. … We don’t need to go into all that right now.

Well, I think we do need to go into that right now. In the most recent (of many) polls to show 70+ percent approval for the public option, they asked the question 2 ways. Half of the respondents were asked this way:

In any health care proposal, how important do you feel it is to give people a choice of both a public plan administered by the federal government and a private plan for their health insurance––extremely important, quite important, not that important, or not at all important?

72% of those people favored the public option. The other half of respondents were asked this:

Would you favor or oppose creating a public health care plan administered by the federal government that would compete directly with private health insurance companies?

The result there was 48% favored, 42% opposed, and 10% not sure. The public option still wins here, but why the huge difference? The second question does highlight the fact that the public plan would compete with private insurance companies, but I don’t see a third of people changing their minds to protect insurance companies.

No, the main difference is that they omit the word “choice” from the second question. This plays into the conservative canard that somehow a public plan will drive insurance companies out of business, a contention that the CBO says is false. Conversely, letting people know that the public option provides them with a choice is not exactly push-polling.

When phrased correctly, support for the public option has consistently been in the mid-to-high 70’s, and as high as 79%. That’s not “kinda popular,” that’s near unanimous. More people support the public option than believe in Jesus.

Hume isn’t alone in downplaying the public option’s popularity. We have reported, on more than one occasion, consistent attempts by the media to celebrate the death of the public option, despite evidence to the contrary. Mainstream media personalities have consistently framed support for the public option as a “liberal base” issue. The standard trick all along has been to talk about the public option, but then cite polls that deal with the reform effort as a whole, or to quote the much lower outlier polls with the questionable phrasing. As Jason Linkins points out, the public option has been so popular for so long, the media can no longer ignore it.

Hume does crystallize the fate of the public option nicely, though. On the one hand, you’ve got most of the American people supporting the public option. On the other, Joe Lieberman and Olympia Snowe.