NBC

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)

 

Obamacare fight gets too hot for Kochs: We’re not backing GOP’s shutdown tactics

Koch brothers

The Raw Story

As the government shutdown moved into the ninth day on Wednesday, even conservative billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch appeared to be abandoning Republican lawmakers who were trying to use the tactic to derail the president’s health care law.

NBC’s Michael Isikoff reported that Koch Industries, which is privately owned by the activist brothers, sent a letter to members of Congress, insisting that “Koch has not taken a position on the legislative tactic of tying the continuing resolution to defunding Obamacare nor have we lobbied on legislative provisions defunding Obamacare.”

Phillip Ellender, the company’s president of Government and Public Affairs, instead declared that the company had put its emphasis on “reducing our nation’s debt and controlling runaway government spending” with the hopes of never needing to raise the debt ceiling again in the future.

“Congress should focus on these efforts: balancing the budget, tightening and cutting government spending, curbing cronyism, and eliminating market-distorting subsidies and mandates,” Ellender wrote.

The letter was prompted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) charge on the Senate floor on Tuesday that the Koch brothers “have been raising and spending hundreds of millions of dollars to get us to where we are right now.”

Isikoff told MSNBC’s Tamron Hall that the Koch Industries letter was fascinating because groups funded by the Koch brothers had spent more than $200 million in an effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

And those groups had pushed the tactic of “defunding the government as a wedge to get Obamacare defunded,” Isikoff explained. “Now, here we have the Koch brothers, who in some ways helped foster that movement, saying, ‘Whoa, slow down, we’re not there, that’s not what we think Congress should be focusing on.’”

Watch this video from MSNBC, broadcast Oct. 9, 2013.

Obama Plans Media Blitz Monday As Syria Vote Looms

TPM LiveWire

President Barack Obama will give interviews [today] to ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN and Fox, according to a White House pool report, as he seeks to persuade Congress to approve a U.S. military strike against Syria.

The interviews will be taped in the afternoon and appear in the evening on those channels, per the pool report.

Earlier Saturday, Obama made pressed his case in the White House weekly address, promising that the mission in Syria would not turn into another Iraq or Afghanistan. He vowed that the strikes would be limited and that Bashar al-Assad’s regime must be punished for using chemical weapons to murder his own people.

“We cannot turn a blind eye to images like the ones we’ve seen out of Syria,” he said. “Failing to respond to this outrageous attack would increase the risk that chemical weapons could be used again; that they would fall into the hands of terrorists who might use them against us, and it would send a horrible signal to other nations that there would be no consequences for their use of these weapons.  All of which would pose a serious threat to our national security.”

Meet the Press thought Romney had something worthwhile to say about ’63

 

From Kos’ Open Thread For Night Owls

Daily KosMeteor Blades

Ain’t it great? The idiots at “Meet the Press” were hard-pressed to come up with a “balanced” approach to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.  So what did they do? They asked viewers to complete the sentence “I have a dream,” as if Martin Luther King Jr. had failed us on that score. Let Nicole Belle at Crooks and Liars explain why NBC chose to exhibit Mitt Romney giving us his take on the subject:

So MTP viewers are treated to the odd and jarring juxtaposition of rapper Snoop Lion asking for safe communities with no guns to failed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney asking for kids to be “great.”Not to put too fine a point on it, but WTF??? The figures that Meet the Press think can best speak to the civil rights fight are Snoop Lion and Mitt Romney?

The Mitt Romney who lied about seeing his dad march with MLK?

The Mitt Romney who claimed that Obama support was high because black people wanted more free stuff?

The Mitt Romney whose campaign was filled with racist dog-whistles?

The Mitt Romney who pandered to the racist birther movement?

The Mitt Romney who was a prominent member of a church that for the first 31 years of his life taught that black people were “cursed”and barred from the priesthood?

The mind reels, NBC.


 

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2006VA-Sen: Frameshop: Allen At It Again, Winks At White Folks:

Adding insult to injury in the “macaca” affair, video cameras trained on George Allen’s latest apologies have captured yet another disturbing scene: Senator Allen winking at a room full of white folks before apologizing for his racism.The video in question was published in a Washington Post article by Michael D. Shear and Tim Craig (“Allen Calls Webb Aide, Apologizes For Remark” 24AUG06).

Just after the 1 minute mark in the video, Senator Allen responds to a question from the audience by saying “I want to be very careful about the words I use,” then winks and smiles at the all white, elderly crowd in Springfield, VA. In response to Allen’s wink and smile, the crowd erupted into laughter. In the next scene of the video, Allen apologies for the “macaca” incident saying, “From the deepest part of my heart, I am sorry and I will do better.”