New Black Panthers Case Continues As More Media Pick Up Latest Developments

As the Black Panther Department of Justice whistleblower story continues, the latest developments are drawing more attention by sources outside Fox News and conservative blogs.

Yesterday our White House correspondent Tommy Christopher asked Robert Gibbs about the case – and tomorrow Megyn Kelly will have a must-see interview with the head of the New Black Panther party.

While Kelly, who conducted the initial interview with J. Christian Adams which broke the story wide open, will interview Malik Zulu Shabazz, Tommy Christopher talked to Shabazz yesterday (and discussed the DOJ case as well). Gibbs, however, said he hasn’t “paid any attention to it.”

The most up-to-date info is here:

The bipartisan panel investigating allegations that the Justice Department wrongly abandoned a case against the New Black Panther Party plans to issue a new round of subpoenas and call for a separate federal probe following explosive testimony from an ex-Justice official, a commissioner said.

As the case heats up, members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights may even travel to South Carolina to track down one witness.

And say what you want about who is driving this story (ok, Fox News is), but other outlets are certainly taking notice. The New York Times has a detailed story on the recent developments. Also, on cable news, CNN has covered the story six times this week, and MSNBC has covered it twice this week (according to TV Eyes).

Side note: For an interesting perspective, here’s “The New Black Panther Case: A Conservative Dissent” (and stay tuned to Mediaite for the full 30-minute interview with Shabazz.)

Here’s Gibbs’ answer:

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Bill O’Reilly And Univisión’s Jorge Ramos Reach Stalemate On Immigration Reform

With the illegal immigration debate still raging in Arizona, new statistics are showing that there are 1,100 undocumented convicted felons in only one of the state’s counties– statistics that have Bill O’Reilly concerned about the federal government’s opposition to the state’s new illegal immigration law. O’Reilly invited Univisión’s top anchor Jorge Ramos on the Factor, who opposes the law, to ask him for a fair alternative solution. 

O’Reilly began by proposing a hypothetical: “You are governor of Arizona, and you have 1100 guys and gals convicted of violent felonies on one county– in Phoenix, Arizona county– what do you do?” Ramos seemed much less concerned about this statistic that O’Reilly was, citing numbers that showed national crime diminishing in recent years, as well as specifically in Arizona, according to the FBI. O’Reilly didn’t see this as a solution to the problem, so he tried again and asked the same question. This time, Ramos explained that “most illegal immigrants are not criminals,” and that “they are here because many Americans, thousands of American companies, are hiring them, and millions of Americans, including you and me, benefit from their work.”

At this point O’Reilly seemed to lose his patience and began shouting “You’re dodging the question!” repeatedly at Ramos (Ramos was not directly answering the question, but there’s an argument to be made that his response was simply that he would do nothing about illegal immigration because he didn’t see it as a major problem, given the lower crime statistics). O’Reilly then refocused the discussion on the controversial law itself. This didn’t make the conversation flow any better, with Ramos declaring that “If I were in Arizona right now, I could be detained simply because of the color of my skin,” and O’Reilly telling him that “that’s simply not true.”

O’Reilly’s conclusion on Ramos’ argument? “You’re not saying anything wrong,” but “you just simply don’t know what to do with violent criminal aliens… and, so, therefore you lose your authority to criticize the state of Arizona.”

While the conversation ended in a predictable stalemate, it’s refreshing to see a big-name Spanish-language American journalist on primetime cable news, so credit goes to Fox News for taking the initiative and changing the dynamic. Journalists like Ramos– who, in practice and stature, can be compared to Brian Williams or Anderson Cooper for Spanish-speaking Americans (yes, he’s that respected)– can add a unique perspective that the garden-variety Latin American cable news pundits simply can’t, based on the experience of serving the audience he does alone.

Video of the debate below:

Why We’ll Miss Larry: King Asks Netanyahu Hard Hitting Questions (About Dancing Soldiers)

God, we’re going to miss Larry King Live. Not only did King seriously make this writer’s day recently, he’s now given us this wonderful moment from his interview with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. King asked Netanyahu about the video of Israeli soldiers dancing to a Ke$ha song that has been getting a lot of headlines. Why is this clip so great? Not because King gets an insightful answer. Just because it would never air on any show that doesn’t have the word “live” in the title. Also, it made me laugh.

MTV Networks Buys Gaming Developer Social Express

Nickelodeon

After its popular Rock Band franchise saw sales dwindle last year, MTV Networks (NYSE: VIA) has sought to find other ways of building up its gaming holdings. The Viacom company is now looking to capitalize on the social gaming trend and has acquired developer Social Express to continue to build up Nickelodeon Digital’s offerings. Terms weren’t disclosed.

San Francisco-based Social Express, which is only eight months old, will be folded into Nickelodeon Digital, MTVN said in a statement. Social Express co-founder and CEO Tony Espinoza will oversee social gaming strategy and development as VP and GM of Social Gaming for MTV Networks’ Nickelodeon Kids & Family Group. Neil Souza, co-founder of Social Express and FoulPlay Media, will be VP of Technology, Social Games. Both will report to Dave Williams, SVP and GM of Games, Nickelodeon Kids & Family Group. Williams continues to report to Stephen Youngwood, EVP for Digital, Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids & Family Group. The news was first reported by Venturebeat.

Aside from Rock Band, for the past three years, MTVN has been heavily concentrating on building up its gaming offerings, mostly on casual online games and virtual worlds. When Nickelodeon unveiled its major push into gaming in July 2007, it pledged $100 million to develop and acquire nearly 5,000 games by 2009. A month later, MTV said it would invest about $500 million on developing games to match its programming.

The strategy doesn’t seem to have changed much. Social Express, which has been operating in stealth mode since opening its doors in December, will be charged with developing social games based on original shows from MTV, Nickelodeon, and other Viacom-owned brands. Nickelodeon has been at the center of MTVN’s gaming strategy. Its AddictingGames division has sought a balance between ad support and the sale of virtual goods and has explored paid subscriptions in the past.

In addition to AddictingGames.com, MTVN’s other gaming properties include Shockwave.com, Nick.com Games, Nick.com Arcade, Neopets, GameTrailers, and Xfire. Citing May comScore (NSDQ: SCOR) figures, MTVN said its game sites drew over 22 million uniques and ranked as the number one destination in the online gaming segment. Release

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Mediaite Office Hours, With Sanjay Gupta, Darren Rovell And Patrick Gavin

Mediaite Office Hours is live today from Livestream.com today at 3pmET – with CNN anchor/correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNBC’s Darren Rovell and Politico’s Patrick Gavin. There’s certainly a lot to talk about.

Watch live streaming video from mediaite at livestream.com

Do you have a question, comment or complaint about anything concerning Mediaite? Well if you do, today is a real chance to make your voice heard. We will be holding our Mediaite Office Hours at 3pmET.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta will be calling in from the Gulf Coast, where he is anchoring this week. Next week he’s returning to Haiti with several other CNN correspondents. Gavin will be talking about the D.C. goings on, and Rovell will discuss the big event of the day (or week) – LeBron and the ESPN special tonight. Twitter follows: Gupta, Gavin, Rovell.

Glynnis MacNicol, Steve Krakauer and Rachel Sklar host the live-streamed call-in show, and others in the Mediaite team, like, Colby Hall and our fantastic interns, will appear periodically, as well as special guests.

Our call-in number is (347) 632-8956. Also, we’re using Skype now, so you can video chat in to our username – Mediaite. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Watch us live here on this page at 3pmET, or check it out at www.livestream.com/mediaite.

See you at 3pm – the order will be Gavin, Gupta, Rovell.

Panasonic Adding Movie VOD Transactions To Its Connected TVs

VieraCast

The connected-TV space is about to unleash whole new opportunities for video content owners to distribute and profit from their content.

In one of the latest examples, Panasonic is adding a third-party movie vendor, AceTrax, to VieraCast, the connected-TV interface on its TVs and Blu-ray players, in Europe.

Zurich-based AceTrax claims a library of over 2,000 titles from WB, Universal, Paramount and smaller studios and aggregators. Viewers can watch them on up to four different devices, including computers, using a PIN to identify each.

The service will be available on Panasonic TVs in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and Italy.

AceTrax and Panasonic are making a point of pitching their offering against movies from Sky Movies and Virgin Media (NSDQ: VMED), which require a set-top box, and from the movie rental service LoveFilm, which operates via subscription. AceTrax offers both rentals (£1.49-£3.49) and pay-to-own (£4.99-£11.99) on an a la carte basis, direct to the TVs. Titles are DVD- but not HD-quality.

AceTrax says it has similar deals with other home electronics makers which it will be announcing later in the year.

The likes of Sky Movies will likely need to talk with home electronics makers about carrying their own services on new gadgets, lest their historical advantage be crowded out. LoveFilm had been interested in getting carriage on the BBC-led Project Canvas connected-TV platform, which will offer transactional internet services over broadband.



New ESPN-ACC 12-Year Deal Includes ESPN3 Simulcasts, Live Games On Mobile

ESPN corridor

How does ESPN (NYSE: DIS) keep its growing empire fed? With deals like the exclusive 12-year pact with the ACC announced today. In exchange for a serious chunk of change—SBJput it at nearly $2 billion or $155 million a year—ESPN gets more than 4,800 events to spread across its various networks and media properties plus syndication. On the digital side, that includes exclusives for ACC football, men’s and women’s basketball and Olympic sports with simulcasts on broadband net ESPN3.com; live games on ESPN Mobile TV; and extensive content plus highlights for ESPN.com. The deal runs 2011-12 through 2022-23. More details in the release.

We'll be addressing some of these themes during our next conference, paidContent Mobile: Leveraging the Smartphone Boom, July 20 in New York City. You can find out more about the agenda and register at http://paidcontent.org/event/mobile2010/.

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