NBC

Chuck Todd Takes A Beating In Facebook Chat

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NBC’s Chuck Todd | AP Photo / Charles Dharapak

Just deserts is a good  description of what Todd got in these exchanges…

TPM LiveWire

Equipped with that knowledge, NBC’s new “Meet the Press” moderator waded into a Facebook Q&A on Friday ready to swat down any such hostility that came his way.

When one user asked him why he is “always trying to win the midterm for the Republican Party,” Todd was prepared.

“I think folks mistake analysis of political reality with cheerleading,” he said.

But that accusation of bias was tame compared to what followed.

“Was false equivalence your dream or did it come to you over time?” another user asked.

According to Todd, that guy was on the wrong social media platform for that kind of sarcasm.

“Happy to answer any serious questions. If you want to snark, do it on Twitter,” Todd said.

Todd responded similarly when he was taken to task for not investigating “GOP Voter Discrimination or the Sequester to Blocking everything Obama wants.”

“Why didn’t you ask me when I stopped beating my wife? Come on,” Todd said. “Ask a serious question and I’ll give you a serious answer. There’s always more nuance to the facts that partisans, left and right, want to admit.”

One user called Todd an “a$$ clown” for his suggestion that Alison Lundergan Grimes had “disqualified herself” for refusing to say whether she had voted for President Obama.

“I understand you have to be mad at someone, so why not a member of the press,” Todd responded. “That’s why God invented social media.”

Report: NBC Actively Pursued Jon Stewart To Host ‘Meet The Press’

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Comedy Central | screen grab

I haven’t watched MTP for years.  If Jon Stewart had accepted the job, I would have watched every week…

TPM LiveWire

Before settling on Chuck Todd, NBC executives seriously considered tapping Jon Stewart to serve as the new moderator of “Meet the Press,” according to a report from New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman.

Sherman cited “three senior television sources” who said that NBC News president Deborah Turness held negotiations with the “Daily Show” host to take over the longtime Sunday morning program. The negotiations did not bear fruit, but it apparently wasn’t for lack of trying by NBC, Sherman reports:

One source explained that NBC was prepared to offer Stewart virtually “anything” to bring him over. “They were ready to back the Brinks truck up,” the source said. A spokesperson for NBC declined to comment. James Dixon, Stewart’s agent, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Turness did not respond to TPM’s request for comment.

Todd debuted as moderator of “Meet the Press” last month after the show’s ratings had slipped precipitously under David Gregory. The show saw an initial ratings boost after Todd took over, but has since slipped back to third place behind rival programs on CBS and ABC.

Todd, for his part, tried to make light of the news on Twitter with a reference to the sign-off for both “Meet the Press” and the “Daily Show.”
If it’s Sunday, it’s your moment of zen.
— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) October 8, 2014

10 things you need to know today: October 3, 2014

An ambulance waits outside of the Dallas apartment where an U.S. ebola patient was staying.

U.S. journalist in Liberia is stricken with Ebola, Appeals judges uphold Texas abortion rule, and more

The Week

1. U.S. journalist in Liberia stricken with Ebola
An American freelance journalist working for NBC News in Liberia has been diagnosed with Ebola, the network said Thursday. The 33-year-old man, whose name is being withheld at his family’s request, began showing symptoms on Wednesday, one day after NBC hired him as a second cameraman for NBC News Chief Medical Editor and Correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman. The rest of the crew members, including Snyderman, are being monitored but have shown no symptoms of Ebola. [New York Daily News]

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2. Appeals judges uphold Texas abortion rule, forcing 13 clinics to close
A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that Texas can enforce a law requiring abortion clinics to be built according to the same standards as hospitals, effectively ordering 13 of the state’s 21 remaining abortion clinics to shut down immediately. The law had been struck down as unconstitutional in August and placed on hold pending appeals. Abortion rights activists said the latest decision “gutted Texas women’s rights” to safe abortion. State officials said it vindicated lawmakers trying to ensure that clinics are safe. [Los Angeles Times]

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3. 76 million JPMorgan Chase customers’ data exposed to hackers
A cyberattack on JPMorgan Chase that was disclosed in July exposed personal information from 76 million households, the company said in papers filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday. The information included names, phone numbers, and email addresses. Data from seven million small businesses also was compromised. JPMorgan said it found no evidence that the hackers had acquired account information, such as account numbers, passwords, or Social Security numbers. [USA Today]

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4. Health officials place Ebola patient’s family in isolation
Authorities have placed four relatives of Thomas Duncan, the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the U.S., in isolation after they allegedly failed to comply with an order to stay home. The apartment where Duncan stayed before he was admitted at a Dallas hospital still had not been cleaned, and sheets and towels had not been taken out, out of fear of contagion. Health officials are trying to find at least 80 people who might have come into contact with Duncan since he arrived on a flight from Liberia last week. [The New York Times]

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5. Turkey joins the coalition against ISIS
Turkish lawmakers on Thursday voted to authorize the country’s military to attack Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militants. Turkey also will let other members of the international coalition against ISIS use its soil. The decisions came as ISIS forces advanced to within a mile of the predominantly Kurdish Syrian border town of Kobani. “Most civilians have left the city, and any minute Isis will be inside Kobani,” said Rami Abdulrahman of the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. [The Guardian]

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6. Four suspects arrested in killing of 920 chickens during farm break-in
California authorities have arrested four teenage boys for the slaughter of 920 chickens at a poultry farm. Some of the birds were beaten to death with golf clubs during a break-in last month at a Foster Farms facility in Fresno County. One of the suspects, 18-year-old Gabriel Quintero, was charged with burglary and felony cruelty to animals. The other three — all juveniles — were not immediately publicly identified but were booked on the same charges. [Reuters]

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7. Hong Kong leader agrees to meet with democracy advocates
Fewer pro-democracy demonstrators showed up in the streets of Hong Kong on Friday, after the city’s Beijing-backed chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, agreed to meet with protest leaders. Thunderstorms and fatigue after a week of protests also reportedly contributed to the dwindling crowds, so it was unclear whether the crowds would grow again over the weekend. Leung, however, refused to resign, as protesters have demanded, or to guarantee that 2017 elections to pick his successor will be free of the Chinese government’s influence. [The Associated Press]

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8. Two suspects charged with killing two British tourists in Thailand
Two unidentified workers from Myanmar have been arrested for the murders of two British tourists on the resort island of Koh Tao last month. The bodies of David Miller, 24, and Hannah Witheridge, 23, were discovered Sept. 15 on the beach not too far from their hotel. Witheridge had been raped. Police said DNA evidence linked the two suspects from neighboring Myanmar, or Burma, to the crime scene. Thai police have pinned crimes on migrants in the past, but one official said they wouldn’t dare try “bringing in a scapegoat” in such a high-profile case. [CNN]

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9. Google threatened with $100-million lawsuit over leaked nude celebrity photos
Google responded on Thursday to the threat of a $100 million lawsuit for allegedly facilitating the posting of leaked nude photos of actress Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities. A Hollywood entertainment lawyer representing affected celebrities sent Google a letter accusing it of not trying to remove the pictures from search results even though it knew they were stolen private property. Google said it had removed tens of thousands of photos from its websites within hours of being notified they were there. [The Hollywood Reporter, The Telegraph]

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10. Royals accuse paparazzi of harassing 14-month-old Prince George
Lawyers for Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, are threatening legal action against a photographer if he doesn’t “cease harassing” Prince George. The palace said in a statement that the paparazzi, Niraj Tanna, appears to have placed the 14-month-old royal baby “under surveillance” and monitored his daily activities to plot opportunities to snap photos to sell. Tanna’s lawyers say he is “fully entitled” to take pictures of George in a public park. [BBC News]

NBC hired a ‘psychological consultant’ to find out what is wrong with David Gregory’s ratings

David Gregory on Jay Leno | Hulu

The Raw Story

***UPDATE (5:02PM)*** We received a statement from NBC spokeswoman Meghan Pianta, as follows:

Last year Meet the Press brought in a brand consultant—not, as reported, a psychological one—to better understand how its anchor connects. This is certainly not unusual for any television program, especially one that’s driven so heavily by one person.

According to Politico , they contacted the author of the piece, Paul Farhi, and reported this :

Farhi said he checked with NBC twice on Sunday about the term “psychological” and that they had no objections at the time.

“I checked it twice with them yesterday. No objections then,” he wrote in an email.

******

With NBC’s crown jewel Meet The Press slipping to third place among the Sunday morning talk shows, studio brass hired a ‘psychological consultant’  to interview host David Gregory’s wife and friends  in search of a solution to his plummeting ratings.

According to the Washington Post, the ratings for Meet the Press have been in a free fall during the past three years with the show now charting behind Face the Nation on CBS and This Week With George Stephanopoulos on ABC.

In the first three months of this year, MTP ratings among the desirable 25 to 54 demographic coveted by TV news advertisers has plummeted to its lowest level ever.

Last year, the network commissioned a psychological consultant to interview Gregory’s friends and wife. According to a network spokeswoman, Meghan Pianta, the network wanted “to get perspective and insight from people who know him best,” a project some at the network found unusual given his almost 20 year tenure at NBC.

Rumors had swirled earlier this year that NBC was considering replacing Gregory only for the network to instead expand his duties by increasing the shows “digital presence” so that, in the words of NBC News president Deborah Turness, Meet the Press would become a “7 days-a-week source for politics and beltway buzz.”

In its heyday, under the late Tim Russert, Meet The Press was a cash cow for NBC earning the network  a reported $60 million in 2007.

Archconservative Jim Inhofe Has Change Of Heart About Democrats

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK)

The Huffington Post

One of the most partisan Republicans in the Senate, Oklahoma’s Jim Inhofe, said Sunday that his “attitude” toward Senate Democrats has changed as a result of the outpouring of sympathy he received from colleagues after the death of his son. Perry Inhofe, 52, was killed in a plane crash in November.

“I probably shouldn’t say this, but I seem to have gotten more — well at least as many, maybe more — communications from some of my Democrat friends,” Inhofe told host David Gregory on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “And I’m a pretty partisan Republican.”

In the wake of his personal tragedy, Inhofe said, “all of a sudden the old barriers that were there — the old differences, those things that keep us apart — just disappear. It’s not just a recognition that I know how much more important this is, but they do, too. And they look out. And they realize that you’ve lost someone. And that brings us closer together.”

During three terms in the Senate, Inhofe has established a reputation as a take-no-prisoners political brawler, and as a legislator whose ideology is both fiscally and socially to the right of many in his party. An outspoken skeptic of the scientific evidence for man-made climate change, Inhofe has butted heads on the Senate floor over the issue with nearly every member of the Democratic leadership.

When news of his son’s death reached Washington, however, politics were quickly set aside. And even though Inhofe is a legendary thorn in the side of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the loss of Inhofe’s son served to underscore for him the things that he and Reid have in common.

“Harry and I … disagree on all this stuff, this political stuff. But we were both married the same year, in 1959. And we’ve both had some illnesses. So yeah, I would say that when something like this happens, you get closer together. The differences are still there. … But your attitude changes,” said Inhofe.

Like Inhofe, Reid is an unapologetic partisan. But in a speech Reid gave on the Senate floor shortly after Perry Inhofe’s death, the Majority Leader described the genuine friendship he’s formed with the Oklahoma Republican. “I really care a lot about Jim Inhofe, and he and I are unquestionably friends,” Reid told the assembled senators. “We may not agree on all political issues, but we agree that we’re friends. I’ve helped him when I could, and he’s helped me when he can.”

As friends, Reid said, he and Inhofe “put all the disagreements to one side and look at each other for what we are, outside of our politics.”

On Sunday, Inhofe suggested that his change of heart is likely to extend beyond personal dynamics to his work in the Senate. “I can’t help but think when I’m confronting someone on something in which we disagree, I’ll know how they responded to my loss. And how we got closer. And it’ll stay that way,” he said.

C-Span Video of Sen. Reid offering condolences to Sen. Inhofe

Greta Van Susteren Slams Media’s ‘Bad Questions’ For Obama

Is hell about to freeze over?  A Fox News commentator defending our President?

The Huffington Post

Greta van Susteren said on Sunday that President Barack Obama’s end-of-the-year press conference Friday provided further evidence of why his approval ratings have dropped so low and how the media are not helping.

Appearing on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos,” the Fox News anchor criticized reporters’ treatment of the president and the questions they asked at the press conference.

“The media beat up on him,” Susteren said. “The media had bad questions. They kept punching him.”

At Friday’s press conference, Obama was asked several times to reflect on what some are calling the worst year of his presidency. Most notable were the question from Fox News’ Ed Henry on the NSA scandal and the question from NBC’s Chuck Todd regarding the failures of the Obamacare website.

Susteren said that Obama’s presence on Friday was “depressing” and “pathetic,” concluding that the president has lost his greatest strength: “his ability to inspire.”

“He sucked the oxygen out of the room,” she said. “He ends the year where you just want to slit your throat almost because it was so depressing.”

Watch the video for the full clip.

Stewart Praises Budget Deal: Hallelujah! A Break From All the ‘Congressional F*ckery!

Mediaite

It’s been so long since Congress actually compromised on something, Jon Stewart seemed almost giddy Wednesday night that there’s a budget deal that could very well pass. Stewart even played “Hallelujah” in celebration, though quite frankly, absolutely no one on either side is really happy about this.

Stewart fully expected to do another cursory look at “today’s congressional f*ckery” but was legitimately surprised at the “witchcraft” that must have led to this deal. He mocked all the piling on the deal prior to reading what was actually in it, and John Oliver stridently declares the deal is so good, it “ranks up there with the Civil Rights Act.”

But let’s face it, this isn’t a sexy story, so in the second segment of the show, Jason Jones tried to make it more like Die Hard, but buzzkills like NBC’s Chuck Todd ruined all the fun for him.

Watch the first segment below, via Comedy Central:

Pope Francis Is Time’s Person Of The Year

time person of year 2013

Outstanding choice…

The Huffington Post

Pope Francis has been named Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2013.

Time’s editor revealed the magazine’s decision on NBC’s “Today” Wednesday morning.

Pope Francis, who gained world praise in 2013, became the first Jesuit pope in March 2013 following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.

Here is the cover:

pope francis

Managing editor for Time Nancy Gibbs explained the magazine’s choice on Wednesday, calling the Pope “a new voice of conscience.”

“In his nine months in office, he has placed himself at the very center of the central conversations of our time,” she said. “About wealth and poverty, fairness and justice, transparency, modernity, globalization, the role of women, the nature of marriage, the temptations of power.”

Developing…

 

Online, a digital trove of JFK material

Tour guide Dorothy Kennedy looked over a display at JFK Library

In honor of the 50th anniversary of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s assassination, Rachel Maddow spoke of the following links on her show last night.  As promised, she posted them on her blog and I’m re-posting them here.

The Rachel Maddow Blog

For you to peruse and process at your own pace, here are some of the JFK archival materials Rachel referenced this evening on the air, including the exceptionally rare footage unearthed from the NBC archives by Hardball producers earlier this week (above).

In the video below, conductor Erich Leinsdorf breaks the news of Kennedy’s assassination to the audience of the regular Friday afternoon Boston Symphony Orchestra concert at Symphony Hall.

And here is Time Magazine’s interview with William Shisler, the Boston Symphony Orchestra librarian and one of the only remaining witnesses to the event.

Parts 1 and 2 of Lady Bird Johnson’s Audio Diary for November 22, 1963.

…and the transcript with her handwritten notes. (pdf)

The LBJ phone call with Sen. Richard Russell, November 29, 1963, in which the president pushes Russell to participate in the special commission to investigate Kennedy’s assassination. (mp3)

The newly digitized Warren Report (77.45MB pdf)

“Morning Maddow” News Links 10/24/2013

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius seen arriving in the Rose Garden of the White House, Monday. | AP Photo/ Evan Vucci

 

The Maddow Blog

Health officials to hold daily briefings on efforts to fix healthcare.gov. (NBC)

BuzzFeed goes looking for the face of Obamacare.

Sen. Orrin Hatch declines to endorse his junior Senator, Mike Lee. (Deseret News)

Conservative group challenges Virginia county over not purging voters. (Washington Times)

Case explores rights of fetus versus mother. (NY Times)

How @NatSecWonk’s colleagues tried to out him. (Washington Post)

Researchers have found the most distant galaxy yet. (McClatchy)