Tag Archives: CNN

So long, Piers Morgan

When you think about, the news that CNN has canceled Piers Morgan’s prime-time talk show should come as no surprise.

His ratings were terrible, almost as terrible as his show.

I tried many times to sit through his hour-long broadcasts. I don’t think I went the distance a single time.


CNN brought in the “Britain’s Got Talent” judge to succeed the venerable Larry King. From the get-go it became clear why Morgan was so different from King: He wouldn’t let his subjects speak their minds without getting into an argument with them.

Yes, King got downright bland late in his lengthy run on CNN. I reckon he grew tired. He’s, what, about 150 years old by now, right?

Morgan, though, distinguished himself — as the link attached to this blog notes — by making a fool of himself while trying to shame his guests.

He got onto an anti-gun kick for several weeks in a row after the Newtown, Conn., massacre of those children and their teachers, prompting some diehard Second Amendment fanatics to call for his deportation back to the UK. I did not buy into that silliness. He is, after all, entitled to speak his mind — even if he is a citizen of another country.

However, he seemingly failed to grasp how so many millions of Americans hold the words written into the Constitution as bordering on the holy.

I won’t miss Morgan. Frankly, I hadn’t watched his show in many months.

Which goes to show you just why CNN canceled his show. It’s the ratings, baby.

Will Greg and Ted stay together to the finish?

How long will it take — or should it take — for Republican Texas gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott to throw rocker Ted Nugent overboard?

Nugent’s appearances on behalf of Abbott have drawn considerable attention from those who oppose the loudmouth and those who endorse him. Count me, of course, as one of the former.


Nugent — aptly nicknamed The Motor City Madman — is prone to say some highly disgusting things about his political foes. He has called President Obama a “subhuman mongrel” — and that’s just one of the things he’s uttered.

He was in Denton this week and introduced Abbott to a crowd as “my friend.” Friend? Really?

I’ve known and covered Abbott for a number of years. I have interviewed him in his capacity as a candidate for the Texas Supreme Court, as a sitting justice, candidate for attorney general and as the incumbent. I’ve always considered him to be a gentleman.

It utterly astounds me that he would align himself with the likes of Nugent, the flaming pro-gun rights advocate who seems to take great personal pride in offending as many people as he can with his horrendously hyperbolic hysteria.

Why the alliance? Political observers think Abbott is trying to energize his GOP “base,” as if it needs energizing these days, particularly from someone who’s reprehensible rhetoric drowns out whatever message he’s trying to deliver.

Texas politics has long been considered a contact sport. If the Madman is going to stay on the campaign trail with his good friend Greg Abbott, we’d all better put on plenty of armor.

Antoinette Tuff: America’s newest hero

Do you want to know what a hero looks like?

She looks like Antoinette Tuff, a Decatur, Ga., elementary school bookkeeper who talked a gunman out of doing tragic damage in the school where she works.


The stunning 9-1-1 call contains a riveting conversation between Tuff and the gunman who eventually surrendered to police. He did fire a shot, but no one was injured.

Pardon my repeating myself, but we use the word “hero” a bit too loosely these days. The term doesn’t belong to athletes or politicians. It belongs to those who put themselves into harm’s way to prevent injury — or worse — from happening to others.

They are police officers, firefighters, military personnel and now, a remarkably brave and calm school bookkeeper.

“Let me tell you something, babe,” Tuff said to the police dispatcher after the crisis had passed. “I’ve never been so scared in all the days of my life. Oh, Jesus.”

That’s quite all right, Ms. Tuff. Heroes are allowed to afraid.

Al Jazeera coming to America

Al Jazeera has come to TV screens all across America next Tuesday.

Get ready for the backlash, which I don’t think will be warranted.


Al Jazeera, based in Qatar, is thought by many to be some kind of mouthpiece of Middle East terror groups. Al Jazeera America, which will be shown by many cable providers, has enlisted several prominent American broadcast journalists to take part. Are they part of some terrorist cabal? I think not.

I’ve seen a little bit of Al Jazeera at work. While traveling through Israel in May and June 2009, I stayed for a few nights in the Haifa home of a wonderful couple. Haifa is a gorgeous city on the Mediterranean coast and the couple that hosted me couldn’t have been more gracious.

I awoke each morning to Al Jazeera news and talk on the television. I had heard all the criticism of the network from those who dislike its Arabic origins, apparently believing — as some in the United States do — that all Middle East residents are closet terrorists and murderers.

Having been imbued with that negative feeling, I was stunned to see that Al Jazeera presents the news calmly, without bias that I could detect and it is — to borrow a phrase — fair and balanced in its reporting.

What will Al Jazeera America bring to U.S. airwaves ought to mirror what I witnessed not far from where the network originates.

I’m hopeful it will lend another important perspective in the United States on the news of the day.

RNC marginalizes itself with boycott vote

The Republican National Committee has just voted to marginalize its standing with the broad swath of Americans who will have a say in electing the next president of the United States.

The RNC voted to exclude CNN and NBC News from any 2016 presidential primary debates.


I’m a bit unsure as to how that will work. I suppose if either CNN and NBC proposes to host a debate, none of the candidates will show up. Perhaps the RNC will set up a debate and invite the other networks — CBS, ABC and Fox — to take part.

Whatever the case, the RNC has failed to grasp the difference between news and entertainment.

At issue are a couple of proposed projects involving Hillary Rodham Clinton, a possible Democratic candidate for president in 2016. CNN is planning to air a film on the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state; NBC is hoping to produce a four-part miniseries on HRC. The GOP says the networks are trying to influence voters by portraying Clinton allegedly in a positive light.

Well, no one knows yet how the networks are going to portray her. Nor has anyone grasped publicly the difference — in NBC’s case — the difference between the news operation and the network’s entertainment division. NBC White House correspondent Chuck Todd has tried to explain that the entertainment is independent from news and neither has any say in what the other does.

That doesn’t matter, according to the RNC. I suppose the GOP would be just fine with all of this if the networks were planning to broadcast hatchet jobs on Hillary. A “fair and balanced” portrayal of a major American public figure, though, isn’t good enough.

Fox News might have to clam up about HRC film

The Fox News Channel has been all over the tumult involving CNN and NBC’s involvement in projects involving former Secretary of State (and possible 2016 presidential candidate) Hillary Rodham Clinton.

CNN is planning to air a film about Clinton; NBC is hoping to air a four-part miniseries. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is threatening to shut the two networks out of GOP presidential debates when the 2016 campaign kicks into gear.

But wait. The New York Times reports that Fox Television Stations is involved in the production and distribution of the CNN project.


What say you now, Fox News Channel talking heads?

Priebus clammed up about the NY Times report, preferring to focus instead on the creative minds behind the works. Priebus, of course, loves FNC — as do political conservatives all over the country, given the network’s right-leaning slant.

Oh, I forgot, Fox is “fair and balanced.”

Whatever. I’m going to lay down a bet that Fox commentators might have to tone down their outrage.

RNC concern for fairness: real or contrived?

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus has issued a stern warning to NBC and CNN: Don’t air films about Hillary Rodham Clinton to avoid being shut out of Republican presidential debates during the 2016 election season.


I can’t pretend to know what’s in anyone’s heart, but Priebus says showing such a film would create an unfair advantage for the former first lady/senator/secretary of state were she to run against a Democratic Party primary field. Oh, he also mentions the advantage she’d have against the Republican nominee in the fall campaign, were she to be nominated by the Democrats.

“This suggests a deliberate attempt at influencing American political opinion in favor of a preferred candidate,” Priebus wrote. “I find this disturbing and disappointing.”

You know what? I think he might have a point. I wonder, though, about the wisdom of cutting the networks out of the debate process by showing the film. CNN is planning a feature-length film about HRC’s public service career; NBC is planning to air a four-part miniseries.

A couple of questions need fleshing out, however. Will these films look at the bad along with the good? No one in the know is saying how HRC will be portrayed. The best option would be characterize her in a neutral light — which wouldn’t be nearly good enough for those on the right who despise her so deeply. It might not be good enough, either, for those on the left who support her so ardently.

Make no mistake that Hillary Clinton is a compelling public figure. Still, it’s not yet been determined whether she’s actually going to run for president in 2016. Everyone with an opinion on the matter seems to think she is a shoo-in to seek the White House one final time.

Stranger things than a surprise announcement to the contrary, though, can and have happened.

Stay tuned.

Foes ignore Obama successes

The link attached to the blog attacks Fox News Channel for virtually ignoring some positive economic news.


I get that FNC – particularly the hosts of the “Fox and Friends” morning talk show – often ignore good economic news when it speaks to the success of President Obama’s economic policy.

However, such reaction is not really unique to this president and his foes. Other media outlets have done so over many decades of reporting. Left-leaning MSNBC wasn’t too keen on reporting successes during the George W. Bush administration – although looking back on it now it’s difficult to recall any specifics.

And Fox’s ignoring of this data mirrors Obama’s political foes on the right who’ve done the same thing. Any tick in the wrong direction and those critics are all over the president with loud and forceful critiques. Any movement in the right direction you get … well, silence. Yes, it cuts both ways.

What makes the Media Matters tattling on Fox so troublesome, though, is that the network calls itself “fair and balanced.” I keep scratching my head over that self-description. It’s neither fair or balanced. Is MSNBC fair and balanced? Well, no, but that network doesn’t trumpet itself so loudly as possessing either characteristic. To be sure, Media Matters is clearly a left-leaning watchdog organization.

CNN is another whipping child for political conservatives. CNN’s “sin,” according to the mainstream conservative media, is that the network doesn’t shill for the right wing the way Fox does. Instead, it reports the news with, shall we say, fairness and balance. It also offers a wide range of ideological punditry – with the likes of Newt Gingrich and Rich Lowry on the right and Paul Begala and Donna Brazile on the left.

My only advice to Fox and its supporters is this: The network should stop using the false “fair and balanced” public relations ploy. Using such language to describe itself only exposes FNC to critics who can see through the network’s thinly veiled ideology.