Fox seeks to extend cable news domination in post-Ailes era

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THE HILL

Fox News dominated the cable news landscape for 20 years under Roger Ailes, but faces questions about whether it can extend its reign going forward.

The shocking departure of Ailes amid allegations of sexual harassment has left Rupert Murdoch, the 85-year old executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, in charge. But with a myriad of other major media properties to attend to and age considerations, Murdoch’s role running day-to-day operations out of Nee York will only be in an interim capacity.

A source familiar with the situation says it will be “multiple months” before any permanent successor to Ailes is decided upon.

The same source says there’s no rush to make a decision because current to management at the network is stable in the hands of Murdoch, Bill Shine ( executive vice president of programming) and Jay Wallace (executive vice president of news and editorial).

Rivals of Fox see an opportunity, while longtime political fans of the network, who saw it buttress the conservative political movement, are openly worried the network could shift under new leadership.

Murdoch’s sons, James and Lachlan, serve as co-chairmen and CEOs of Fox News’s parent company, and could use Ailes’s departure to reinvent the network.

“Fox News will be going through a dramatic transformation as it figures itself out without its creator,” said James Shepard, chair of the Communications Department at California State University, Fullerton.

“In the short term, I suspect we will see minimal turnover and experimentation,” he said. But in the long term, we may see softening of the most radical elements of programming and perhaps see more ‘fair and balanced’ news.”

Sky News in Britain, which is also operated by the Murdochs, doesn’t have the edge of Fox News in the United States. If there is a change, Shepard says it will be a sign that “the Murdoch sons want to put their stamp on the company by importing practices from Sky News in Britain.”

Shepard’s view isn’t necessarily a majority opinion.

The cable news network makes its parent company millions, and some think that alone means there will be no change.

Research firm SNL Kagan estimates Fox News generated $2.3 billion in ad sales alone last year. Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser says the operating profit for Fox News was $1.6 billion in fiscal 2015. That’s nearly 25 percent of 21st Century Fox’s overall operating profit.

“At this point Fox News is such a fine-tuned and well-oiled machine, I think even Mickey Mouse could step in and keep it running, says Doug Spero, associate professor of communication at Meredith College and TV veteran who includes ABC, CBS and NBC on his resume.

“They attract the same demos year after year and they’ve dominated with their prime-time lineup. Bill O’Reilly has been number one for years,” he said.

“As the saying goes, ‘If it ain’t terribly broken, don’t terribly fix it.’ Would they change the ideology or content? I don’t think so,” says Spero. “They’ve carved out their audience and if you’ve got the market, why mess with it? If the cash register keeps ringing, I can’t imagine the Murdoch family will allow that to stop.”

Fox has easily been number one in cable news for the past 15 years.

The network even recently finished at the top of all cable channels, including ESPN.

The competition with CNN and MSNBC hasn’t even been close, with Fox oftentimes at least beating the two audiences combined in both total viewers and the key 25-54 demo.

At the same time, many of Fox’s stars are aging, and it is not clear younger stars such as Megyn Kelly will stay with the network.

CNN has been making gains lately under industry veteran Jeff Zucker (who ran NBC before eventually going to CNN in 2012) and is clearly in a better positions of the two networks below Fox to make a serious challenge.

But is Fox vulnerable to a challenge?

The momentum of election years — particularly this one with the ratings gold that is Donald Trump — doesn’t always carry over into election off-years.

MSNBC, for example, finished second to Fox News after the 2012 re-election year of President Obama. The network finished so strong that MSNBC President Phil Griffin made the bold prediction that MSNBC would catch Fox in the ratings by the end of 2013. The exact opposite happened, with MSNBC falling backwards and behind a struggling-at-the-time CNN instead.

The key for both CNN and MSNBC, at least in terms of being truly competitive with Fox, is to have the kind of talent and compelling content foundation to keep audiences tuning in after the votes are counted on Election Day.

“Ailes has built a very strong machine. No one can deny that he’s built an empire at Fox News,”” says television veteran Doug Spero. “Yes, it’s bigger than one man, but it’s basically his baby. At this point, it’s so solid I don’t think it’ll budge even two ratings points even after he’s gone.”

Ailes was undeniably Fox’s most valuable employee.

But who will guide Fox News into next year and beyond?

Outside observers differ over whether the company will look outside for leadership.

Some media analysts see the top candidate as Bill Shine, Sr. EVP, Programming of FOX News and FOX Business. Under Shine, the business network has been enjoying its best 18 months in its history since he was promoted to handle the day-to-day operations in late 2014, even beating rival CNBC on some occasions, once an unthinkable feat.

Shine has been with the network since its inception in 1996, working his way up the ranks from producer to senior programming executive.

Jay Wallace is also seen as a strong contender for the job, having recently been promoted to executive vice president of news and editorial in April. Wallace replaced the now-departed Michael Clemente, who left the network last week for reasons — according to the network — unrelated to Ailes’ departure.

Wallace has also been with Fox News since Day 1, having started out as a tape coordinator. He now oversees daytime and weekday news programming.
The third and final serious contender internally is John Moody, executive vice president and editor. Moody has been with the network for four years and is Rome bureau chief for Time Magazine.

Another name making the rounds is David Rhodes. The current president of CBS News extended his contract last year through 2019.

But if the goal of the Murdochs is to use the Ailes departure as impetus to reinvent Fox News into a more traditional news outlet, Rhodes, 43, may be a viable option (if not costly given the existing contract) since he is also a former Fox News executive.

But David Parsons, a public relations executive for more than 40 years, with a focus on corporate and crisis communications, says another name with an impressive resume should be considered.

“I would see the candidate being embraced as having direct news experience, still young enough to navigate the digital world and all – someone like David Westin, former head of ABC News from 1997-2010,” says Parsons. “He was well respected and well liked, knows the political ropes and the talent handholding that are a big part of the picture.”

Chad Wilkinson, a longtime cable news producer and President of Liberty Media Strategies, sees Fox strongly considering a change but ultimately keeping with what’s worked for the past two decades in turning to Bill Shine, the EVP for programming and Fox Business.

“In the short term, I think Rupert taps Bill Shine to run the operation,” says Wilkinson. “
“Shine is respected by the staff and has done a strong job leading Fox Business since Kevin Magee has exited.

“Long term, I think Murdoch thinks long and hard about (CBS President) David Rhodes, but ends up staying the course with Bill Shine,” Wilkinson continues, adding, “Fox News is a money maker and staying the course with someone that knows the operation and what made it a success will win the job.”

By Joe Concha

Dan Rather slams media for acting like a ‘business partner of Donald Trump’ to boost their ratings

Dan Rather on CNN - (screen grab)

(Dan Rather on CNN – screen grab)

RAW STORY

Appearing on CNN’s Reliable Sources on Sunday morning, legendary newsman Dan Rather took a few shots at the political coverage of presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, accusing reporters of failing to ask follow-up questions and their bosses of essentially partnering with him to boost their ratings.

“So many journalists have had to recalibrate their expectations and their understanding of politics,” host Brian Stelter asked. “What has disappointed you in the media coverage of this [Trump’s] campaign?”

“What has disappointed me most is the lack of tough questions and the tough follow-up questions,” replied Rather.

Pressed by Stelter, “You don’t think he’s been asked tough questions?” Rather said reporters let Trump slide around giving direct answers.

“Well, he handles tough questions by doing the old side shuffle most of the time. And with rare exceptions — I give Jake Tapper credit here on CNN — with rare exceptions, nobody bores in and keeps asking the tough question,” the former 60 Minutes host stated. “The other thing that’s disappointed me a bit, and I do think there’s been some media complicity in the rise of Trump. It’s not the only factor, but it has been a factor in providing him so much airtime, and in some cases being complicit in arranging that airtime.”

“For the news viewer, for the consumer of news, I think never more has it been necessary to deal with skepticism. Not cynicism, never cynicism but skepticism,” he continued. “Skepticism, saying ‘OK, Trump is on for an hour and a half on this network. Why is he there?’ The answer, of course, is because he’s very good for ratings and very good for demographics.”

Asked by the CNN host if the networks should “have some sort of blackout” of Trump, Rather disagreed.

“No, I don’t agree with that at all. Certainly show him. But the control has to stay with the journalistic entity. What I worry about is in a way that the media is a political partner, a business partner of Donald Trump,” Rather explained. “The media wants the ratings. I don’t except myself from this criticism, by the way. Media wants the ratings. Trump delivers those ratings. So in a way, they’re business partners, where the role of the journalist is to be an adversary.”

WATCH VIDEO HERE>>>

 

 

Palin: Paul Ryan’s going down

Sarah Palin

CNN Screenshot

DAILY KOS

So $arah Palin, the half-term, half-brained former governor of Alaska, went on CNN to say that House Speaker Paul Ryan is toast for not backing GOP presumptive nominee Donald Trump.

I’m sure the House speaker is quaking in his running shoes.

“I think Paul Ryan is soon to be Cantored,” the Wasilla Hillbilly told Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union, trying to give the impression that she was “in the know” by using former Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s name as a verb.

“His political career is over but for a miracle because he has so disrespected the will of the people, and as the leader of the GOP, the convention, certainly he is to remain neutral, and for him to already come out and say who he will not support is not a wise decision of his,” she said in Palin-speak.

Palin promises to work for Ryan primary opponent, Paul Nehlen, although she hasn’t bothered to tell him yet. Nehlen has endorsed Trump. (I didn’t realize it, but Wisconsin has its state primary in August, even though the presidential primary is over.) Perhaps someone should remind Caribou Barbie that Trump lost Wisconsin.

So she’s still looking for ways to remain relevant, and apparently the media are willing to give her those platforms.

Sher Watts Spooner

Obama on Trump: ‘This is not a reality show’

President Obama will be missed when his term expires…(ks)

THE HILL

President Obama on Friday urged the news media to closely scrutinize Donald Trump’s record and past comments, and avoid coverage that highlights “the spectacle and the circus” of the campaign trail.

Obama previewed his role as an anti-Trump spokesman and pressed the media to follow suit.
“He has a long record that needs to be examined. And I think it’s important to take seriously the statements he’s made in the past,” the president told reporters at the White House. “I just want to emphasize that we are in serious times and this is a serious job.”
Obama took a jab at Trump’s past as host of the “Apprentice” reality television series: “This is not entertainment, this is not a reality show, this is a contest for president of the United States.”
Obama made a measured and stern critique of Trump and Republicans in Congress. He refrained from commenting about Trump’s controversial tweet that showed him posing with a taco bowl to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.
“I have no thoughts on Mr. Trump’s tweets,” Obama said, with a laugh. “As a general rule, I don’t pay attention to Mr. Trump’s tweets. That will be true for the next six months, so you can just file that one.”
The president indicated he’ll be playing up Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric about immigrants and women to offer a contrast to voters between Trump and likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Obama said GOP voters will have to ask themselves “whether this is the guy who speaks for them and represent their values,” adding that Republican women, in particular, “are going to have to decide, ‘Is that the guy I feel comfortable with?’ ”
At the same time, Obama reiterated he’s not going to intervene in the Democratic presidential primary between Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
“On the Democratic side, let’s let the process play itself out,” he said.
But Obama also tacitly acknowledged Clinton’s big delegate lead means she is likely to become the party’s presidential nominee.
“Everybody knows what that math is,” he said.
By Jordan Fabian

The Former Apprentice Contestants Who Spoke Against Trump Met Opposition On CNN

Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 10.47.00 PMCNN ScreenCap

MEDIAITE

[Recently], former Apprentice competitors joined together to publicly disavow their former boss, reality television personality Donald Trump. They were pretty harsh, in fact, so Don Lemon invited them on CNN tonight along with a former Apprentice star who supports Trump.

Before the segment began, Lemon accurately predicted that it was going to get wild, telling the audience they were gonna want to see this.

Kwame Jackson and Randal Pinkett were on hand to describe their concern over the “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” character that is metastasizing in Trump, as was Andy Dean, the supporter who has been stumping for his former boss all over cable news with generally unfavorable reactions from pundits involved.

A lot happened in the two-part confrontation. Dean revealed he’s been to over 20 rallies and hasn’t seen anyone on the Trump team incite or encourage violence. Jackson and Pinkett came down on him for failing to say “person of color” when talking about diversity. They revisited how “the culture of celebrity” and “fascination with everything shiny and bright” are to blame for Trump’s rise but must be resisted.

Dean got interrupted by all three of them multiple times, but did manage to point out that while six former contestants on the show signed the letter disavowing Trump, over 200 people have competed throughout the years.

by

CNN Tried To Humanize Donald Trump With Town Hall And It Was A Total Disaster

CNN Tried To Humanize Donald Trump With Town Hall And It Was A Total Disaster

CNN Screenshot

POLITICUS USA

CNN did their best to try to humanize Donald Trump with a New York town hall, but the result was a disaster that showed why Trump is unelectable.

CNN did their best to try to humanize Donald Trump with a New York town hall, but the result was a disaster that showed why Trump is unelectable.

The Trump family town hall on CNN began with the now standard Donald Trump whining about the delegate process, claiming that NATO was obsolete, and promising to deliver a policy speech on that hot-button issue of unity.

Anderson Cooper brought out Trump’s family and things quickly ventured into Stepford territory.

The Trump kids were full of talking points. Ivanka Trump talked about what a dealmaker her father was. Donald Trump Jr. talked about the frustration of the electorate after 2008 and 2012. Eric Trump called his dad’s campaign an amazing success story because he has only been in politics for eight months. Tiffany Trump said that her father is a hard worker. Ivanka Trump later said that the Trump family is not a family of politicians.

Eric Trump was asked about what he bonded with his father over, and he answered work. He said, “We love building. We love concrete. We love jobs.”

Ivanka Trump tried to solve her dad’s problem with female voters by saying, “I think the facts speak for themselves. I have witnessed the female role models that he has employed in the highest executive positions in the Trump organization my entire life.” Eric Trump praised his dad for being authentic and writing his own tweets.

What became obvious early on in the town hall was that for a family whose gimmick is that they are political outsiders, they were very well rehearsed on the campaign’s talking points.

The problem was that the Trump family made the creepy Romney clan of 2012 seem like the warm, friendly neighbors next door. The Trump family wants you the voter to know that they love their dad and that they think he will make America great. The Obama family has always given off a warmth in their interviews. There was no warmth to the Trump town hall.

If the purpose of the CNN town hall was to humanize Trump, it was a disaster. If this is the man that represents the Republican Party in the general election, the GOP is seriously screwed.

The fake was overwhelming during the town hall. The town hall was all about selling Trump as a president. It was impossible to find a genuine moment between Trump and his family. The Trump family gave a stump speech for Donald Trump.

CNN gave Trump a platform to show his warmer side. Instead, the Trump family tried to close the deal and sell the voters on Donald Trump as the next president.

By

Van Jones: ‘The Republican establishment has been completely destroyed tonight’

Van Jones speaks to ABC News

CNN

THE RAW STORY

CNN Democratic strategist Van Jones declared that Donald Trump had “completely destroyed” the Republican establishment following his Tuesday night wins in Florida, Illinois and North Carolina.

Noting that Sen. Marco Rubio had dropped out on Tuesday, Jones pointed out that Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) was the final “establishment” candidate in the race.

“The Republican establishment has been completely destroyed tonight,” Jones explained. “You literally have the only establishment candidate left is Kasich with one state! His own state that he camped out in for two months!”

“It doesn’t make any sense,” the CNN analyst added. “You cannot describe the devastation this guy [Donald Trump] has wreaked on the Republican Party. The Republican establishment has been destroyed tonight. And you now have Ted Cruz, who is the ultimate outsider, against Trump. And those are the only options left that are viable.”

Republican strategist S.E. Cupp agreed that the damage was done and that “it’s only going to get worse the farther he goes.”

Watch the video below from CNN.

Donald Trump Approvingly Retweets Mussolini Quote, Refuses to Condemn KKK

Donald Trump Approvingly Retweets Mussolini Quote, Refuses to Condemn KKK

Image Credit: AP

Is Trump dumber than George W. Bush appeared to be? (ks)

POLICY.MIC

The presidential campaign of Donald Trump took yet another disquieting turn this Sunday, as the Republican presidential front runner approvingly posted a Benito Mussolini quote to Twitter and refused to condemn the Ku Klux Klan on national TV.

Early on Sunday morning, Trump retweeted a user named “ilduce2016” — a reference to the Italian dictator’s title — who had written “‘It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.’ — @realDonaldTrump #MakeAmericaGreatAgain.”

It later emerged “ilduce2016” is an automated bot set up by Gawker, which wrote they had registered the account “under the assumption that Trump would retweet just about anything, no matter how dubious or vile the source, as long as it sounded like praise for himself.”

On the Sunday edition of NBC News’ Meet the Press, Trump said he knew what he was doing and even praised the fascist’s word choice.

“Mussolini was Mussolini,” Trump said, reported the Hill. “It’s a very good quote, it’s a very interesting quote. I know who said it, but what difference does it make whether it’s Mussolini or somebody else?”

“You want to be associated with a fascist?” host Chuck Todd responded.

“No, I want to be associated with interesting quotes,” Trump retorted.

In a separate appearance on CNN’s State of the Union, Trump refused to condemn former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke or the KKK itself, saying he didn’t know enough about either to pass judgment. Duke has previously endorsed Trump.

“Just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke, OK?” Trump said, reports CNN. “I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So I don’t know. I don’t know — did he endorse me, or what’s going on? Because I know nothing about David Duke; I know nothing about white supremacists.”

Host Jake Tapper again asked Trump whether he would like to take the opportunity to disavow Duke and the KKK.

“I have to look at the group. I mean, I don’t know what group you’re talking about,” the candidate responded. “You wouldn’t want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about. I’d have to look. If you would send me a list of the groups, I will do research on them and certainly I would disavow if I thought there was something wrong. You may have groups in there that are totally fine — it would be very unfair. So give me a list of the groups and I’ll let you know.”

“OK. I’m just talking about David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan here,” Tapper said.

Of course, Trump hasn’t innocently stumbled into the good will of racists. Thanks to his positions on immigration, Islam and race, Trump has earned numerous endorsements and praise from groups like the far-right American Freedom Party and the American Nazi Party.

In November, he infamously retweeted doctored statistics on black crime originating from a neo-Nazi account. A later study of his social media habits found Trump tends to retweet users who follow top white nationalist accounts or use hashtags like #WhiteGenocide.

According to Time, Trump knows very well who Duke is. In 2000, he condemned the former KKK official in a statement ending his presidential bid that year.

“The Reform Party now includes a Klansman, Mr. Duke, a neo-Nazi, Mr. Buchanan, and a communist, Ms. Fulani,” Trump said. “This is not company I wish to keep.”

Tom McKay

Watch RNC Chairman Reince Priebus SQUIRM As CNN Proves Trump Is Destroying His Party (VIDEO)

ADDICTING INFO

Republican National Committee chairman and anthropomorphic weasel person, Reince Priebus, joined CNN for an interview where he tried to convince Alisyn Camerota that the RNC was “in control” of Trump and Republican voters. To say it was not convincing would be an understatement.

Priebus actually thinks that the rest of America doesn’t hear his entire party railing about how bad Trump is, and how his Fascistic platform will be the doom of the GOP. Priebus responded:

“I embrace all of these candidates There folks are competing to join us. They are competing to join the Republican Party as our nominee depending on what the delegates decide to do or who wins the requisite amount of delegates. In Cleveland, we’re going to vote on the floor for who that nominee is. “That nominee joins the Republican Party. That’s what’s happening.

Priebus actually seems to think that trump is going to come to him, kiss his ring, and request his permission to be the nominee. While I can’t read Trump’s mind, I would bet hard cash that will never happen.

Camerota pointed out that there is a huge amount of the Republican establishment that has been railing against Trump, and planning what are essentially anti-Trump firewalls to halt his juggernaut-like campaign and popularity.

“But you’re making it sound simpler than, in fact, it is. Because as we have heard time and again over the past few weeks, there is a whole chunk of the Republican establishment that is not embracing Donald Trump. In fact, they’re rejecting him. We have heard about all of the big donors, all of the Republican Party elders, all of the people in Congress who are basically saying anyone but Trump.”

Camerota piled on more, reading an editorial from the Washington Post that was critical of Priebus and his apparent cowardice to stand up to Trump and his hate-fueled campaign. The reaction from Priebus was simply priceless. I’ve heard comebacks from 13-year-old schoolboys that were better.

The best part of it, though, is watching Priebus have to try to respond to the attacks calling him a powerless leader without also insulting Trump. It would be painful to watch him tie himself in knots like this, except for the fact he’s a Republican. That makes it just pure entertainment.

Watch Reince Priebus get proven to be the most impotent and powerless RNC chairman ever below:

Christian Drake

Clinton, Sanders Aim for Black Vote at CNN Town Hall

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets guests on her way off stage after participating in a Town Hall meeting hosted by CNN and moderated by Chris Cuomo at the University of South Carolina on February 23, 2016 in Columbia, South Carolina.

Scott Olson—2016 Getty Images

TIME

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders made their pitches to black voters in back-to-back appearances at a town hall hosted by CNN.

Held just days before a Democratic primary in South Carolina, where the majority of the electorate in 2008 was African-American, the town hall featured a wide-ranging discussion, but the two candidates returned several times to ideas they hoped would attract black voters.

Here are five things you may have missed.

Sanders clarified his college plan. Clinton’s surrogates such as Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina have repeatedly knocked Sanders, saying his free college tuition plan would endanger historically black schools that rely on tuition. The Vermont Senator sought to put to rest criticism of his college plan by saying he would expand funding for historically black colleges and universities, something that has not previously been part of his proposal.

“We should make sure public colleges and universities are tuition-free. In addition to that we must sustain and strengthen historically black colleges and universities,” Sanders said. “We will substantially increase funding for historically black colleges and universities.”

Sanders called birthers racist. Sanders slammed Republicans for obstructionism in Congress and suggested that those who have questioned that President Obama was born in the United States are racists. “We have been dealing in the last seven years with an unprecedented level of obstructionism against President Obama.” Speaking specifically about the birther movement, Sanders said “this is a racist effort to try to delegitimize the president of the United States.”

Clinton grappled with societal racism. When a black student told Clinton that she had recently decided to wear her hair natural and had been looked at differently, Clinton was empathetic. She said white Americans have a particular duty to cross racial divides. “We have serious challenges and I think its important for people, and particularly white people, to be honest about this and our experiences may not equip us to understand what our fellow African-American citizens go through every single day,” she said.

She resisted calls to release her Wall Street transcripts. Sanders has called on Clinton to release the transcripts of her private speeches to Wall Street institutions including Goldman Sachs, as well as pharmaceutical companies. Clinton has demurred, and did again on Tuesday. “Sure, if everybody does it, and that includes the Republicans, because we know they have made a lot of speeches,” Clinton said. “Why is there one standard for me and not for everybody else?”

Clinton named her Republican friends. When Clinton was asked whether she had a Justice Anthony Scalia to her Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she named Republicans in Congress she has worked with. “I worked with Lindsey Graham to get health care for the National Guard, Clinton said. “I traveled with John McCain, who I grew to very much like and consider a friend.” She also mentioned Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. “If you don’t have those relationships, it’s really hard to get things done,” Clinton said.

Sam Frizell