U.S. Politics

MEDIA Surprise, Tamron Hall Left NBC Because She Wouldn’t Stand for Being Sidelined by Megyn Kelly


Image result for TAMRON HALL

The Huffington Post


It’s almost comical at this point how bad NBC is at this kind of thing.

This is really more of an aside to a couple of previous pieces that ran down NBC’s woes in terms of its roll-out of the shiny new toy it’s obsession over, Megyn Kelly. But it’s information that, while not surprising in the least, deserves to be seen far and wide so people can understand just how badly NBC screwed itself when it didn’t have to.

People magazine is reporting that Tamron Hall, who up until very recently was the popular-as-hell third-hour anchor of the Today show, made the choice to stop being that — and leave NBC entirely — because she wasn’t willing to be sidelined by Kelly. By now pretty much everyone knows that Hall was going to be pushed out, along with her co-host Al Roker, to make room for Kelly’s new hour-long weekday show. No one’s sure yet whether Kelly will replace the third or fourth hour of Today, but either way the anchors who were being given the bum rush were going to be the same.

Right off the bat this was a PR disaster waiting to happen — and happen it certainly did — because Hall and Roker were two black hosts holding the reins of a network morning show and they were being shoved aside to make space for a conservative white woman. That was always a staggeringly arrogant, stupid, and shortsighted move on NBC’s part. But it became worse when, late last week, Hall decided she wasn’t going to accept NBC’s offer of millions to stay put and would be leaving effective just about immediately. She was predictably gracious about her departure from what she now calls her “dream job,” but it was always a given that NBC’s slight of her and Roker — a duo who’d recently taken their hour of Today to number one in the ratings — was the impetus for her quick exit. As a friend of hers now says, Hall “wasn’t going to settle for sitting on the sidelines” for anybody.

This is starting to sound like a broken record, sure, but it’s almost comical how inept and flat-out negligent NBC is when it comes to handling its high-profile talent. Consider for a minute the number of times completely unnecessary psychodrama has accompanied one of 30 Rock’s big transitions from one marquee star to another. The number of times NBC has just mishandled the hell out of a delicate change-over, a hiring or firing, and has wounded egos and found the whole miasma spilling over onto the gossip pages.

Introducing Megyn Kelly should’ve been a piece of cake. Yeah, room would have to be made in the schedule, but the very least you could do is make it as seamless as possible so that both that new host you paid a ton of money for, your network as a whole, and those who’ve worked tirelessly for you for years were all treated fairly and got what they deserved. This shit isn’t brain surgery. It’s television. But damn if NBC can’t figure out a way to lose a patient on the table — if not more than one — every time it tries to do something like this.

U.S. Politics

Trump Falsely Accuses NBC Of Misquoting Him And Gets Blown To Smithereens On Twitter

Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

 Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images


Donald Trump must be feeling pretty damn humiliated right about now.

 It’s one thing to call out the media for getting something wrong, but it’s another when you are accusing them of misquoting you simply because you didn’t bother to read an article all the way through.

On Thursday, Trump frightened the world by declaring his intention to expand America’s already over-bloated nuclear weapons capabilities.

Apparently, Trump is so narcissistic that he reads about himself when something he says makes the news. But as he was reading an article written for NBC about his remarks, Trump became enraged because NBC allegedly only printed part of the quote. And, of course, he whined about it on Twitter.

Except that NBC didn’t misquote Trump at all. In fact, it turns out Trump misread the article, assuming he read it at all. Had he read the third paragraph slowly, he would have found his full quote.

In other words, NBC was being the opposite of “dishonest” while Trump lied. And he was apparently so outraged that his misspelled the word “quote.” This is the danger of Trump. He just got busted smearing the media for something that didn’t happen. He lied about NBC and sullied their reputation on purpose, which frankly should result in a defamation lawsuit against Trump.

But Twitter quickly stomped him for it.

Donald trump seriously needs to surrender his phone and start focusing on the presidency instead of tweeting out petty bullshit every day. It’s embarrassing and only makes the United States look foolish.

Stephen D Foster Jr

U.S. Politics

Seth Meyers: “Paranoid” Right-Wing Media Supporting Trump “Fed Their Audience Conspiracy Theories And Racial Resentment”


Meyers: “Paranoid Thinking Is Becoming All Too Common In The Right-Wing Media, And Now They’re Trying To Paint Hillary Clinton As An Election-Rigging, Criminal Sex Freak”


SETH MEYERS (HOST): Here is the crucial question Republicans will have to ask if they want to fix their party. How did this happen? One culprit they might want to look at is the right-wing media bubble that fed their audience a mix of conspiracy theories and racial resentment, and discredited all mainstream news sources as untrustworthy.


Trump has encouraged his followers to ignore the mainstream media altogether and rely on a different source for their news.


So if Trump’s supporters were to only read the internet this week, what stories would they have been exposed to that the mainstream media ignored? Well, there was one bombshell story that was extremely popular on right-wing websites like The Drudge Report this week and it came from The National Enquirer. The story was titled, “Hillary Hitman Tells All!” and claimed among other things that Hillary “is a secret sex freak who paid fixers to set up illicit romps with both men AND women!”


[Sean] Hannity and [Rush] Limbaugh aren’t the only right-wing media personalities Trump has courted. There’s also radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who has interviewed Trump on his show, and who this week offered a fascinating new theory for how that tape of Trump bragging about sexual assault with Billy Bush in 2005 came into existence.


That’s right. He thinks Billy Bush is a CIA agent who goaded Trump into bragging about sexual assault in 2005, knowing he’d run for president 11 years later, in the famous operation Zero Dark Talkin’ Dirty. But this kind of paranoid thinking is becoming all too common in the right-wing media, and now they’re trying to paint Hillary Clinton as an election-rigging, criminal sex freak in order to make her look illegitimate from day one, just like they tried to make President Obama look illegitimate. Some right-wing groups are already talking about impeaching her.


Trump Ally Alex Jones: Billy Bush Was A “CIA” Operative, “Set Up” Trump With Sexual Assault Comments

Sean Hannity Brings Supermarket Tabloid To Life By Inviting Clinton “Fixer” To Fox News Prime Time

The National Enquirer Has Become The New York Times“: Here Is The Man Hannity Hypes As Clinton’s Fixer

U.S. Politics

Seth Meyers Unravels Clinton’s Ridiculous Email ‘Scandal’


Practically every week, we are inundated with futile attempts to reinvigorate Hillary Clinton’s ’email scandal’ by rival Democrats, the Mainstream Media and Republican opponents. This week’s revelation was just another nothing-burger deluxe with a side of lies. Late Show host, Seth Meyers does a phenomenal job explaining this ‘scandal’, or as he says, ‘the story that just won’t die.’

Let’s face it, they’ve got nothing new. That’s because this is a problem about work rules regarding email, rather than a VIOLATION OF FEDERAL LAW!

When the ‘news’ surfaced earlier this week, we posted an article explaining the specifics of the latest media-driven email hysteria.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) released its anticipated report on the State Department’s handling of email and cybersecurity. Lost in the hyperbole is the fact that the OIG report was meticulous and thorough, but also dispassionate, just like any other OIG report I’ve read. There was no direct criticism of Clinton, sharp or otherwise. The OIG was examining the State Department’s practices, not specifically investigating Clinton’s actions.

The report mentions, there were no administrative penalties in place—either about the use of a private email server, or not following the established procedures for preserving emails—at the time Clinton served as Secretary of State.

Meyers devotes the right amount of ridicule to a story that warrants nothing more. He solidly emphasizes this point when he played soundbites of different broadcasters repeating that this is just more ‘drip-drip-drip’ from Clinton. Each minuscule revelation is either devastating to her or absolutely innocuous, depending on who’s watching. Seth ties this in to Bernie Sanders with this comment:

You know if you’re wondering why so many Democrats are attracted to Bernie Sanders. Bernie doesn’t have any drip, drip, drips, which for a 74 year old man is pretty remarkable. It’s a medical marvel!

Meyers emphasizes one of the fallacies oft reported about the investigation: the number of FBI agents that were devoted to this case was erroneously listed as 147 when the actual number was 12. Then we see several clips of Secretary Clinton admitting that she ‘takes responsibility’ for not maintaining two separate accounts for personal and work-related emails; so much so, Meyers predicts that it will be part of her swearing-in statement.

It’s always nice when the media begins to take note that this false hysteria has really gotten out of hand.

Meyers mocked the scandal, calling it “boring” and noting the report states other State Department officials have been reported to have used personal email accounts as well, and that the classified emails Clinton allegedly sent through her personal account did not necessarily represent an endangerment to national security — Meyers highlighted a quote from former CIA Director Michael V. Hayden who said he received a “Merry Christmas” email labeled classified. However, Meyers did conclude Clinton probably broke the rules.

It is very demoralizing that our Fourth Estate is downright desperate to legitimize this fabricated scandal. By entertaining every half-baked conspiracy theory contrived by Hillary’s detractors, they reveal that they are driven by viewership and money, not integrity. What’s worse is that this same media gives a free pass to her pathologically dishonest Republican opponent, a man who is perhaps the least qualified and mentally fit candidate to ever run for office in our nation’s history.

The drip-drip-drip of truth in media should concern us much more than a violation of a vague workplace regulation. Thank you Seth Meyers for mocking the ridiculous.

By LeftOfCenter

U.S. Politics

NBC’s big fight with the Republican Party, explained

VOX – By 

Republicans fumed this week over what they saw as CNBC moderators’ biased and disrespectful treatment of the GOP presidential field at the candidates’ third debate Wednesday night. During the debate, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, and other candidates blasted the moderators for their hostile questions, earning cheers from the mostly Republican audience.

On Friday, the Republican Party played its trump card: It threatened to cancel a Republican primary debate, hosted by NBC-owned Telemundo, that’s currently scheduled for February and let another media organization host the event instead. In a scathing letter, Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus accused the moderators of engaging “in a series of ‘gotcha’ questions, petty and mean-spirited in tone, and designed to embarrass our candidates.”

Not everyone agrees with these charges. Vox’s Ezra Klein, for example, argues that the moderators were just doing their jobs: “The problem for Republicans is that substantive questions about their policy proposals end up sounding like hostile attacks — but that’s because the policy proposals are ridiculous, not because the questions are actually unfair.”

But Republicans see things differently. In their view, the questions weren’t just tough but downright hostile. And they’re using their control over the Republican debate schedule to pressure NBC — and other mainstream media outlets hosting debates — to treat their candidates with more respect.

The GOP says the moderators were biased against Republican candidates

It’s the moderators’ job to ask tough but fair questions that will help to illuminate differences between the candidates and help voters decide which candidate to support. Conservative critics argue that in Wednesday night’s debate the moderators nailed the “tough” part, but they forgot about the fair part:

  • Moderator John Harwood listed some of Donald Trump’s less plausible campaign positions — such as a plan to build a wall along the southern border and make Mexico pay for it — and then asked, “Let’s be honest. Is this a comic book version of a presidential campaign?”
  • CNBC’s Carl Quintanilla mentioned that Marco Rubio had sponsored an immigration bill that “conservatives in your party hate and even you don’t support anymore,” and added, “Now you’re skipping more votes than any senator to run for president. Why not slow down, get a few more things done first, and at least finish what you start?”
  • Addressing Jeb Bush, Harwood asserted, “The fact that you’re at the fifth lectern tonight shows how far your stock has fallen.” He continued: “Ben Bernanke said he no longer considers himself a Republican because the Republican Party has given into know-nothingism. Is that why you’re having a difficult time in this race?”

These questions don’t seem calculated to elicit thoughtful responses from the candidates so much as to telegraph the moderators’ disdain for the candidates or — in the case of the last question — the Republican party as a whole.

“The media works from the unspoken assumption that Democrats are normal while Republicans aren’t,” National Review columnist Jonah Goldberg wrote after the debate. “Many mainstream media journalists think asking tough, even unfair, questions of Republicans is their job. They’re congratulated for it by the media critics and by Democratic activists who are often friends or even spouses of the reporters.”

While most of the complaints about the debate came from the political right, even some non-conservatives were put off by the moderators’ behavior. “CNBC showed us how to conduct a debate unburdened by a shred of respect,” late-night host Stephen Colbert said.

Attacking the moderators was a crowd-pleasing move at the debate

The Republican-leading crowd cheered every time candidates attacked moderators Carl Quintanilla, Becky Quick, and John Harwood. (Adam Jeffery/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
The Republican-leading crowd cheered every time candidates attacked moderators Carl Quintanilla, Becky Quick, and John Harwood | (Adam Jeffery/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

The candidates onstage didn’t appreciate the steady drumbeat of negativity from the moderators’ table, and a lot of Republican voters shared the sentiment. After all, most Republicans — who are, after all, the people the moderators are supposed to be serving — expect to vote for one of the candidates on stage. In recent weeks at least a quarter of voters have told pollsters they plan to vote for Donald Trump, suggesting that they don’t regard his campaign as cartoonish. The way the questions were framed seemed to confirm conservative suspicions that the moderators were hostile not only to particular candidates but to the conservative movement in general.

So the Republican candidates took every opportunity to hit back at the moderators. The most crowd-pleasing counterattack came from Ted Cruz, who lashed out at the string of one-sided questions he’d heard so far in the debate.

“The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media,” Cruz said. “This is not a cage match. You look at the questions — Donald Trump, are you a comic book villain? Ben Carson, can you do math? John Kasich, will you insult two people over here? Marco Rubio, why don’t you resign? Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen? How about talking about the substantive issues?”

Of course, these paraphrases aren’t quite accurate — Harwood suggested Trump was running a cartoonish campaign, not that he was a cartoon villain, for example — but the crowd roared its approval nonetheless.

Later, Harwood twice interrupted Chris Christie as he tried to answer a question about his stance on global warming. “I got to tell you the truth, even in New Jersey what you’re doing is called rude,” Christie shot back.

Continue reading here

U.S. Politics

10 things you need to know today: April 26, 2015

Omar Havana / Getty Images

The Week

1.Death toll in Nepal earthquake climbs above 2,200
At least 2,263 people are dead and nearly 6,000 are injured afterSaturday’s catastrophic earthquake in Nepal. A powerful 7.8 magnitude quake and a series of violent aftershocks — one an estimated 6.7 magnitude rumbling on Sunday — rocked the mountain nation, destroying historic buildings and buckling infrastructure. Thousands of people squatted in the streets after the first seismic activity, either because the quake leveled their homes or because it made them too afraid to go back indoors. The earthquake also triggered a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest that killed at least 18 people while injuring or trapping dozens more.

Source: The New York Times, CNN

2.12 arrested during Freddie Gray protest in Baltimore
Baltimore police on Saturday arrested 12 people after a dwindling protest over the police custody death of Freddie Gray descended into violence. An estimated 2,000 people marched peaceably for hours before a small splinter group began hurling rocks and scuffling with police. Protesters also tangled with bystanders and police outside Camden Yards during a game between the Orioles and Red Sox, prompting the city to ask fans to remain inside the venue until authorities cleared the scene. “I am profoundly disappointed to see the violence in our city this evening,” Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.

Source: The Washington Post, Reuters

3.Russian hackers obtained some Obama emails
Russian hackers infiltrated a White House computer system last year and scooped up some of President Obama’s emails, according to The New York Times. Citing senior sources informed of the incident, the Timesreported the hackers accessed internal email archives and were able to see some messages the president sent and received. However, they did not hack the more tightly guarded servers for Obama’s Blackberry and other classified material, nor did they gain direct access to the president’s email account.

Source: The New York Times

4.NBC finds more Brian Williams embellishments
An internal review of NBC anchorman Brian Williams’ reporting has found several more alleged exaggerations, according to multiple reports.The New York Times on Friday reported NBC found a half-dozen such instances; CNN and The Washington Post later upped the tally to 10 and 11, respectively. In February, NBC suspended Williams as it launched an investigation following his apology for embellishing details of his wartime reporting from Iraq. When completed, the investigation is expected to form the basis of NBC’s decision to keep or cut ties with Williams.

Source: CNN, The New York Times

5.Obama ribs press, politicians at annual White House gala
President Obama came to the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on Saturday with plenty of barbs about Washington lawmakers and the reporters who cover them. Noting that host Cecily Strong plays a CNN anchor on Saturday Night Live, Obama quipped that it was “surprising because usually the only people impersonating journalists are journalists on CNN.” And addressing Dick Cheney’s recent media tour in which the former vice president lambasted Obama, the president said the feeling was mutual. “He thinks I’m the worst president of his lifetime,” Obama said, “which is interesting because I think Dick Cheney is the worst president of my lifetime.”

Source: ABC

6.GOP presidential hopefuls court evangelicals in Iowa
Nine declared or potential Republican presidential candidates descended on Iowa on Saturday in hopes of wooing evangelical voters at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition summit. Representing a range of experience and political positions, the presidential hopefuls tailored their messages to fit the religious tenor of the evening. “There is a liberal fascism that is going after Christian believers,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) warned.

Source: The Hill, The Des Moines Register

7.Fighting intensifies in Yemen despite call for ceasefire
A Saudi-led coalition upped its offensive against Yemen’s Shiite Houthi rebels on Sunday, bombing targets around the country including some sites in the capital Sanaa. The strikes came less than one week after Saudi Arabia announced an end to its monthlong combat operation. On Friday, the United Nations estimated that fighting in Yemen has killed 550 civilians in the past month.

Source: The Associated Press

8.Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder rumored to eye 2016 bid
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) is raising eyebrows about a potential White House bid after dining this weekend with GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson while in Las Vegas for the Republican Jewish Coalition meeting. “It was my clear impression from my conversation with him that he is running,” former senator and current RJC board member Norm Coleman said. Earlier this month, The Associated Press reported the governor’s allies quietly established a fund allowing him to engage in potential proto-campaign activities.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

9. Golden State Warriors sweep into second round of NBA playoffs
The Golden State Warriors on Saturday completed a four-game sweep of the New Orleans Pelicans to advance to the second round of the NBA playoffs. Owners of the best record in basketball during the regular season, they are the first team to clear round one. On Sunday, the Washington Wizards, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Houston Rockets can cap their own sweeps and advance to join Golden State in the next round.

Source: Sports Illustrated

10.Judge rules Pink concert not tantamount to child abuse
A New Jersey judge has ruled that a mother who brought her daughter to a concert by the pop artist Pink is not guilty of poor parenting. The mother’s decision “did not subject the child to any unreasonable risk of harm, or compromise [her] health, safety or welfare,” Superior Court Judge Lawrence R. Jones wrote. The case arose after the mother’s ex-husband filed a complaint alleging child abuse for exposing his daughter to Pink’s ostensibly “sexually suggestive themes and dance performances” and “lyrical profanities.”

Source: NJ.com, Rolling Stone

Chuck Todd

Chuck Todd Takes A Beating In Facebook Chat

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.”

Jon Stewart · Meet The Press

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

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

U.S. Politics

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]


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]


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]


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]


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]


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]


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]


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]


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]


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]

David Gregory · Meet The Press

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.