Tag Archives: CBS

Another media giant takes a header

I’m not going to venture too far out on the proverbial limb by making this declaration: Charlie Rose’s broadcast journalism career likely is over; he’s toast; he’s done, finished, a goner.

Sexual harassment and sexual abuse charges have brought down the former “CBS This Morning” co-host. CBS fired him today after allegations arose from eight women who said Rose pranced naked in front of them and made improper sexual advances. PBS also terminated its relationship with Rose, who had a late-night interview show on the public TV network.

The wave of reform continues to purge the media and the entertainment industry of men who behave badly. Yes, the political world also has been affected by this scourge. Women have accused Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of coming on to them when they were underage girls; U.S. Sen. Al Franken is facing pressure from political progressives to quit his office after two women have accused him of groping and unwanted kissing; U.S. Rep. John Conyers has acknowledged “settling” with women who accused him of harassment — but, in a weird statement, denies doing anything wrong.

I’m going to give Fox News credit for the way it handled the Bill O’Reilly matter. Women accused O’Reilly of bad behavior. The network where he worked as a talk-show host paid out big money to settle the complaints. It then suspended O’Reilly … and then it fired him.

The O’Reilly story, in my view, is what made Rose’s departure from CBS a done deal after the allegations came forth.

Where this all goes remains anyone’s guess. It well might end only when the last news media outlet gets rid of its last sexual predator; or when the last entertainment tycoon with similar proclivities is revealed.

As for the political world that is beginning to roil in this climate, it’s fair to wonder how many sudden “retirement” announcements we’re going to hear from pols who are overtaken by guilty consciences.

Something tells me many more men are going to be culled from the public stage.

Kim Jong Un is a ‘smart cookie’?

Donald J. Trump is locked in a battle of wits with a young dictator who is threatening to launch a nuclear attack against the United States of America.

So, how does the president refer to Kim Jong Un? He calls him a “smart cookie.”

That is such an interesting term to ascribe to someone who starves his people while spending a grotesquely inordinate amount of money building up North Korea’s conventional weapons arsenal and also while seeking to become a nuclear power.

Trump said on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” “And at a very young age, he was able to assume power. A lot of people, I’m sure, tried to take that power away, whether it was his uncle or anybody else.”

He added: “And he was able to do it. So obviously, he’s a pretty smart cookie.”

Smart cookie. That’s a term one might use to describe, oh, a nephew or niece who’s just been named to a high school honor roll, or perhaps to a small business owner whose company survived a serious economic downturn.

The term “smart cookie” isn’t something most of us would attach to a murderous dictator.

I kind of prefer the president use terms that are a good bit┬ámore descriptive, such as,┬ásay, “cunning killer,” or “ham-handed tyrant,” or perhaps “ruthless bastard.”

Profiling Muslims a possibility … seriously?

don trump

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump, thinks profiling Muslims is something that U.S. law enforcement should consider.

Yes, that’s right. The nation that proclaims itself to be the champion of religious freedom, where the government doesn’t care which faith you worship … or even whether you worship at all, should consider singling out Muslims, according to Trump.

But wait a second! Hasn’t Trump proposed banning Muslims from entering the United States? Who, then, is he suggesting we profile?

Oh, I get it. That would be Americans!

I’ll set aside the obvious — in my view — un-American aspect of such a proposal.

How does one identify a Muslim? Would it be the scarves that women often wear? Would it be the names of the individuals being profiled? How does law enforcement discern who deserves profiling and who doesn’t?

I ask these questions because Muslims come from all ethnic backgrounds. What about the red-headed and freckle-faced Irish man or woman who converts to Islam? Or the blue-eyed blond from Scandinavia?

Oh, and then you have, say, the Palestinian who happens to be Christian. I have a bit of experience with meeting someone of that ilk. In 2009, my wife and I toured Bethlehem on the West Bank. Our tour guide? A young Palestinian who proclaimed his love of Jesus Christ as “our┬áLord and Savior.”

Trump told CBS’s “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson this morning that we ought to follow the model set by Israel, which he said profiles Muslims.

I’ll just add one more bit of personal privilege here. Having traveled to Israel and endured the grilling by security officers at David Ben-Gurion International Airport, I can state without reservation that the Israelis profile everyone who leaves the country through the Tel Aviv airport.

Take my word for it, you haven’t lived until you’ve been interrogated by an Israeli airport security guard.


Trump told Dickerson he hates “the concept of profiling.”

Fine. So do I. So should all Americans.

Ratings tank for Democratic debate … who knew?

debate stage

Why is anyone surprised that the TV ratings for the Democratic Party presidential debate headed for the tank?

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley duked it out in Des Moines, Iowa. CBS carried it and by many accounts, the big winner of the event was John Dickerson,┬áhost of “Face the Nation” and the moderator of the debate.

I’ll offer a couple of theories on the ratings tumble.

First, the identity of the eventual Democratic nominee is pretty well known. It’s likely to be Clinton, the former first lady/U.S. senator/secretary of state. She stumbled a couple of times in Des Moines, but she did very little to harm her status as the prohibitive favorite to face whomever the Republicans nominate next summer.

Second, and this is probably the more telling reason, the debate was up against some late-night college football games.

I hate to acknowledge this, but a football game between two competitive teams is far more exciting than watching three politicians try to out-insult each other.

(A point of personal privilege here: I was in and out of the debate, tuning in finally to the final quarter of the Oregon-Stanford game that Fox was broadcasting. Oh yeah: the Ducks won it with a last-second defensive play in their own end zone. Go Ducks!)

Sure, the debate shed some light on important policy positions.

But there were no surprises. There was even less drama.

Hey, if it had been Republicans debating opposite those football games — even with their carnival atmosphere — I’m pretty sure football would have won those ratings, too.





Time for lesson on 'mainstream media'

Listen up, students. Professor John is going to lecture you today on the “mainstream media.”

You’ve heard the term, yes? It’s meant as an epithet. It’s said by those who think of the media as a four-letter word.

The term “mainstream media” came from the right wing of the political spectrum. I cannot cite the precise date the term surfaced, but it’s been around for some time.

MSM usually is a kind of code, students. It comes from those who want the media to think like the righties think. They see their own brand of MSM as pure. They’re the truth-tellers.

They hold, for example, Fox News as their model of truth-telling. Why? Well, Fox has an agenda. It is to undermine the “other side.” By that I refer to the president, Democrat Barack Obama and his Democratic allies in government. Watch most Fox broadcasts and you see how they continue to harp on the same so-called “scandals,” while other media turn their attention — usually — to other issues of the day.

What the righties don’t get, though, is that Fox has become as “mainstream” as the other media. Fox enjoys good ratings among news-and-commentary junkies across the nation. As the leading “conservative mainstream” outlet on cable TV, Fox has a good portion of that segment of the TV-viewing public to itself. Thus, its rating are good.

However, since Fox “covers” the news in a fashion that is suitable to those on the right, it is exempted from the pejorative label of “mainstream media.” Fox’s own talking heads even refer to other media as “mainstream,” sounding as if Fox is some outlier network seeking to be heard by a vast viewing audience.

The other so-called “truth-tellers” reside on the right. They comprise a variety of websites, online political newsletters, unabashed conservatives (of which I have no problem, if they ID themselves as such) and self-described political “watchdogs.” They, too, are exempted from the MSM label.

How about the other major networks: CNN and the broadcast networks — NBC, ABC and CBS? They’re the bad guys, according to those on the right. Why is that? Well, they report the news — in my view — without the flair of some other media. I’ll lump the “liberal” media outlets in that category, such as MSNBC. Don’t forget PBS, the network funded by private donations and from the government. At times, even PBS gets tarred with the MSM label. How silly.

Print journalism also gets lumped into the MSM camp. Namely it’s the New York Times and the Washington Post, the two big daddies of print journalism. Throw in the Los Angeles Times and a smattering of other major metros across the nation and you’ll see them criticized because they don’t cover the news with enough ferocity to suit those on the right. My own view is that they’re doing their job, which is to report the news … period.

However, these media outlets continue to be seen by those on the right as coddling left-wing politicians. Those critics miss a fundamental point here. It is that human beings rarely recognize their own “bias.” They see it in others, but not in themselves. If a news medium does not report on issues with one’s own slant, then they’re “biased.”

With that, students, our lesson ends.

If you’re going to criticize the “mainstream media,” take care to include your own favorite news organization in that category. Chances are they’re as “mainstream” as the media you are trying to criticize.

Memo to Alec: Watch your foul mouth, young man

This has been a tough week for TV news personalities masquerading as broadcast journalists.

First, it was Lara Logan of CBS’s “60 Minutes” being forced to take “administrative leave” for a botched news segment on the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya; four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, died in the firefight. Logan and her producer trotted out a security analyst who told “60 Minutes” he was there when it happened, except that he really didn’t get there until the next day. His credibility came into question after the report that was highly critical of the State Department’s reaction to the tragic event.

See ya, Lara.

Now it’s MSNBC’s turn to wipe the egg off its face. It had hired actor/comedian Alec Baldwin to do an hour-long show every Friday night. Baldwin is known for a lot of things. Yes, he’s a talented actor. He’s also capable of doing some great comedy sketches.

Baldwin also is a loudmouth with a hair-trigger temper.


Seems that that Baldwin got into an altercation with a photographer recently and spit out some highly inflammatory names to the fellow. He let loose with an anti-gay slur, preceded by an extremely vulgar adjective.

Hey Alec. You should know that the world is listening to every word you say. Dude, you’re a star and as such, you are not immune from prying eyes and ears. Two words need mentioning here, man: social media.

MSNBC has pulled Baldwin’s show. He says a leading gay-rights organization, GLAAD, and Andrew Sullivan, a noted columnist and author — who happens to be gay — had a hand in “killing” his show.

So what if they did?

He behaved reprehensibly and, as a symbol of a network devoted to news and commentary, he becomes one of the faces of the network.

Alec Baldwin had to go.

One final word of advice, although it will be ignored: Keep your mouth shut, Alec.

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.