Jersey Shore Cast Goes Mainstream On Today Show – Ha, Just Kidding

The millions of soccer moms who may have previously been unaware about the smushing that occurred on MTV Thursdays at 10pm were introduced this morning to the cast of Jersey Shore on NBC’s Today show.

It went pretty much how you’d expect – the cast members were themselves, and Meredith Vieira conducted the anthropological exploration as a curious outsider.

The introduction by correspondent Jeff Rossen summed up the show’s reaction: “The people who like it are obsessed with it, the people who hate it – they really really hate it.”

The report included explanatory details sure to horrify Mommy Minivan. “That’s Nicole Polizzi, nicknamed ‘Snooki,’” said Rossen in the report. “She was even punched in the face this season!”

Then it was time for Vieira (Jersey Shore nickname “M-Scream”) and her interview. “Fistpumps all around for you guys,” she said, and set-up the big reveal – that the cast had re-signed for season two. This of course was not breaking news, except maybe to the majority of Today’s audience. “The situation is, I believe, all of us have, all in agreement, that we’re all going to be coming back for a second season and we’re all pretty excited about that,” said The Situation.

Then it was time to get to know the cast. “When you say you want to meet a tan, juiced up guido, is that you talking, or is that just a ‘we made up these characters,’” Vieira asked Snooki, who earnestly shook her head no. Are you kidding? Snooki is real!

At the end of the segment, Vieira tried to break some actual news, asking if Sweetheart and Ronnie were together. “We’re both happy, so…” said Sweetheart. The whole exchange was made more interesting by the fact that Ronnie was not present for the segment. Rossen (nickname – “J-Muscle”) tweeted about his absence:

Many of you asking where Ronnie was this morning. Word is, he has the flu. He was basically unreachable this morning…

The flu…sure. Sounds like too much Ron-Ron Juice.

The cast also hung out with Demi Moore in the green room, whose husband’s Punk’d could never claim to be “the highest rated show in MTV history” (which is what Jersey Shore achieved for the finale last month).

Well folks, this is no longer reality TV – this is reality. Get used to it.

Here’s the segment from Today:

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• Asylum covered the recent Jersey Shore lookalike contest.

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Jon Stewart: Secret Neocon?

You may recall that one of the biggest concerns in the comedy world was that the election of Barack Obama would be the end of political humor, particularly where Jon Stewart was concerned. After years of being the unrelenting, sorely needed, voice of what many considered to be their only ‘true’ news source (that’s a whole other conversation) during the Bush years, a whole lot of people wondered how Stewart would find a way to bring his biting humor to Obama who seemed — a year ago anyway! — to be untouchable. Regular viewers of the show will know it hasn’t been all that much of a problem, particularly these last nine months (the ‘Beer Summit’ was pretty much tailor made for late night).

However, Stewart has been taking such sharp aim at the President of late (or is it that Obama is just provided a bigger target?) that some people are speculating he may be…wait for it…a secret neocon! (I have no doubt that was a Onion headline at some point in the last decade). From Howie Kurtz today:

Bill Kristol, the Weekly Standard editor and an occasional guest, sees a glimmer of hope. “Jon has always been a crypto-neocon,” he e-mails. “Could he be coming out of the closet? . . . A neoconservative is a liberal mugged by reality.”

Oh lordy. Actually, I have no doubt Bill Kristol has created some happy fantasy wherein Jon Stewart sees the light and comes out as a Palin 2012 supporter. But back in the land of reality it would seem that what the Right is actually reacting to is the novelty of a wildly popular (liberal media elite) comic who is able to take equally sharp non-partisan aim! In Stewart’s world everyone is a target. That said, the neo-con line certainly makes for a good hed. In the meantime, in what has to be one of the funniest segments he’s done in a long time, here is Stewart just skewering Keith Olbermann.

Chyron of the Day: Fox & Friends Explores Pres. Obama’s Bowing Problem

Fox News, 8:14amET:

Several blogs picked up the story of Pres. Barack Obama appearing to bow yet again over the weekend. Only this time it wasn’t with a foreign dignitary – it was with the Mayor of Tampa, Florida. Fox & Friends used this opportunity to explore all the bowing this President has done since he was elected.

“Bow Wow!” screams the chyron, as the FNC hosts went through a list of the several times Pres. Obama has been photographed bowing to someone. “Maybe he’s stretching,” said guest host Alyson Camerota. “It could be a pilates thing,” joked Steve Doocy.

As for whether the recent Tampa bow was actually a bow (there’s no video, just one AP image), Doocy qualified the comments: “They had to check and make sure that he hadn’t dropped something. Apparently not.”

One idea the Fox & Friends hosts didn’t bother to throw out there – the ‘who cares, this is a non-story’ option.

Do you have a pick for Chyron of the Day? Email, or check out past Chyrons of the Day here.

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Scott Brown Wants Another Go At American Idol For ‘Available’ Daughter

On Sunday, we summarized Scott Brown’s first high-profile sit down on This Week with Barbara Walters, but never addressed what is perhaps Brown’s biggest legacy so far. That’s right: his daughters are “available!” When Barbara brought it up, Brown motioned with a gun to his head (one daughter is not, in fact, available) and then made an offer, on behalf of his daughter Ayla, to Simon Cowell of American Idol.

“I’d love to have him have her on the show again,” he said, stammering a bit, possibly nervous about incurring the wrath of embarrassed daughters again. “She’d never even put on make-up until she walked in the American Idol studios.” He continued: “I’d love them to get together and have her get on Idol again. It’d be great for her, it’d be great for the show.” And he kept right on going, adding, “Ayla actually respects Simon greatly.” Hear that, Mr. Cowell? The new senator from Massachusetts’ daughter appreciates your work!

Not quite news of national weight, but a chuckle-worthy media moment, to be sure. Check out the clip below:

Soundbite: Roger Ailes Wants To Advance The Runners, Not Hit Home Runs

“She recalls that the Fox News chief Roger Ailes, known as a talent spotter, said to her, ‘The only way you can disappoint me is if you try to hit a home run instead of a single.’”

FNC anchor Megyn Kelly describing her boss, FNC Chairman Roger Ailes in a NYT profiles today.

Megyn Kelly’s new two-hour 1pmET show, America Live, premieres today on Fox News and she talked to the New York TimesBrian Stelter ahead of the premiere. The full section about Ailes’ advice:

When she was invited to substitute as an anchor for the first time, she recalls that the Fox News chief Roger Ailes, known as a talent spotter, said to her, “The only way you can disappoint me is if you try to hit a home run instead of a single.” Fox viewers noticed Ms. Kelly almost immediately.

Mr. Ailes repeated the advice after she was promoted to the afternoon shift. She interprets the comment to mean “just do a solid newscast.”

It’s an interesting insight to the thought process of one of the most successful TV news executives ever. He’s asking Kelly to perform successfully (and keeping the already strong ratings stable) without swinging for the fences – it would be ‘disappointing’ if she tried to go for the home run, even if it succeeded.

And this idea of paying your dues, albeit successfully, could pay dividends for Kelly. When asked about the idea of a prime time program for Kelly, SVP Michael Clemente said “Let’s see how these two hours go…Has she had a fast rise here? Absolutely. Does she deserve it? Absolutely. What does it lead to? Who knows?”

But as Stelter notes earlier in the article: “Inside the News Corporation, the owner of Fox, Ms. Kelly has been mentioned as a leading candidate for a prime-time anchor job. Fox’s contract with Greta Van Susteren, the longtime 10 p.m. anchor.”

Photo by Andrea Mohin/The New York Times

Here’s the preview for Kelly’s new show:

• In other Fox News news, Shepard Smith, who’s finishing January #1 at 7pmET for the 100th month, is profiled in the Chicago Tribune.

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Axelrod on Alito’s Heckle: Well, It’s A ‘Weird Political Season’

Once again the only aspect of an Obama address that appears to have survived the 24 hour newscycle is an outburst. While much of the rest of the impact (or lack thereof) of Wednesday’s State of the Union was swept away by Friday’s riveting question and answer period with the House Republicans (so much so, someone suggested to Mike Allen that next year the President merely say “The state of our union is strong…OK, who’s first?”) much of the talk on the Sunday shows remained focused on the president’s harsh remarks to SCOTUS and Justice Alito’s reaction.

On CNN’s Reliable Sources Floyd Abrams (father of Mediaite founder Dan Abrams) who argued for the winning side defended SCOTUS’s decision:

Yes, I’m OK with that in the same way I’m OK with the fact that CNN and “The New York Times” can speak out as they choose to. I think it’s all inseparable. As far as I’m concerned, we don’t distinguish and shouldn’t distinguish based on the corporate nature of an entity.

Meanwhile on Meet the Press, David Axlerod defended the President’s decision to call out the Supreme Court to their faces during an (inter)nationally televised address. A transcript of the exchange can be found after the jump but basically, says Axlerod, he’s the president…suck it up. As for Alito’s response, Axelrod says: “Well, I–look, we–in this weird political season, we’ve become accustomed to unusual outbursts in the chamber during these speeches, so.” Meaning that between the town halls and Joe Wilson, being heckled by a Supreme Court Justice is pretty much par for the course. Video below:

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Comedy Central Covers The White State Of The Union

After Keith Olbermann’s post-SOTU j’accuse of a bevy of conservative talking heads, in which he equated their cries of “arrogance” with the racially inflammatory “uppity,” many thought Keith was overreaching at best.

Be that as it may, both The Daily Show and The Colbert Report covered a case of the pot calling the kettle “arrogant,” as they reported on the unprecedented bit of reverse-place-putting that was the Republicans’ Mini-me SOTU. It’s not that Obama is “uppity,” it’s that the Republicans have been too “downity.”

Unfortunately, I missed the Republican response to the President’s State of the Union address because I had to write up Chris Matthews’ hour-long case of blacknesia, and had to travel to DC for two days. I finally caught up, via DVR, when I got home last night, and I was amazed. Here’s Jon Stewart’s take on the WSOTU:

The GOP’s embarrassing spectacle provided more than enough material for Stephen Colbert to cover the same ground without being redundant:

I haven’t seen much else on this, which is a shame. There’s an all-pervasive attitude these days that if you mention racism in the absence of the n-word and/or a lynching, you’re a “race-baiter.” Oh, and suddenly, accusing someone of racism seems to be worse than actually being a racist. There’s got to be a way to discuss this like adults.

I’m going to give it a try.

Right off the bat, a reasonable adult would have to conclude that the object of the GOP response was to put President Obama in his place, or if you like, to put themselves in what they see as their own rightful place.

As Stewart and Colbert point out, this type of display is completely unprecedented. The optics are clearly meant to mirror the actual SOTU, and the choice of Bob McDonnell, whose victory in Virginia has been heralded by GOPers as a repudiation of Obama, was clearly meant to send a message: The GOP shall rise again!

Now, a different question is whether they were trying to put Obama in his place because he’s black, or for some other reason. In fairness to the Republicans, unless one of them comes out and says it, there’s no way to know for sure. What is knowable is whether or not it’s even a fair question.

As Colbert points out, the Republicans chose, as the site of their speech, the same chamber from which Confederate President Jefferson Davis delivered his 2nd inaugural address. Still, Barack Obama did deliver a speech at a dinner honoring the birth of confederate General Robert E. Lee last year, so maybe they get a pass on that. Really, is there a place anywhere in the South that doesn’t relate to the Confederacy somehow?

Both Colbert and Stewart point out that nobody ever did this to any of the white presidents. That logic can be used on any number of incidents, though. Nobody ever openly heckled the white presidents at a joint session of Congress, for example. Does that mean it was because Obama is black? Not necessarily, but is it a fair question?

Is it a fair question when the party putting on the pageant in question has a history of using black people as boogiemen or scapegoats for white unemployment, whose heroes fought tooth and nail against civil rights legislation, who lament the passing of the era of segregation?

Yes, it is a fair question.

This could also be a manifestation of the white male persecution complex. Everybody but us is special, they get their own “History Months,” hate crime laws, National Associations for their Advancement, maternity leaves. We’re the only people you can still make fun of in polite company. Now, we can’t even be President? I’m sure there are a lot of people gleefully thinking “Get over it!” right now.

It’s also fair to assume that race played no part in this, that the Republicans would have put on the same embarrassingly petty spectacle for President Hillary Clinton, if things had gone differently, or outgoing President John Edwards. There were eight years worth of unprecedented partisan bitterness that preceded Obama’s election.

I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, and I’m sure it never occurred to most Republicans that this move would appear so racially tin-eared. I’m also not prepared to listen to outrage at the mere suggestion. There has got to be a way to discuss this calmly, like adults.