Tag Archives: Journalism

Is This the Beginning of the End for Fox News?

I don’t want to get my hopes up, but if this continues to spread from the UK to the US, this just might be the beginning of the end for Fox News.

This story is definitely worth watching.  It’s lead to resignations at the highest levels of the Murdoch properties such as the “Wall Street Journal” and the closure of their flagship UK newspaper.  It’s also claimed the head of Scotland Yard and the London Police, as well as a top aid to the PM.

If they have hacked phone records of prominent US citizens, politicians, journalist and 9/11 Victims in the USA, as has been alleged, this just might bring down Murdoch and his entire empire-including Fox News.

From RawStory.com:


A former producer with Fox News claimed in a lengthy essay gaining new traction this week that the conservative television station has a “Brain Room” in its New York headquarters which enables employees to view private telephone records with ease.

Though published years ago, the allegations have returned to relevance in the wake of the phone hacking scandals that have rocked News Corporation to its very core, threatening to topple one of the world’s largest and most powerful media conglomerates.

According to former Fox News executive Dan Cooper, whose gripes with his former employer run quite deep, Fox News chief Roger Ailes allegedly had him design the so-called “Brain Room” to facilitate counter-intelligence efforts and other “black ops.”

In a lengthy 2008 diatribe said to have doubled as a book pitch, Cooper claimed his own phone records had been hacked by Fox News employees, who he says used them to pinpoint him as a source used by David Brock, who founded liberal watchdog group Media Matters.

“Ailes knew I had given Brock the interview,” he wrote. “Certainly Brock didn’t tell him. Of course. Fox News had gotten Brock’s telephone records from the phone company, and my phone number was on the list. Deep in the bowels of 1211 Avenue of the Americas, News Corporation’s New York headquarters, was what Roger called the Brain Room. Most people thought it was simply the research department of Fox News. But unlike virtually everybody else, because I had to design and build the Brain Room, I knew it also housed a counterintelligence and black ops office. So accessing phone records was easy pie.”

That wasn’t the last time word of Ailes’s “Brain Room” surfaced: in a recent piece for Rolling Stone, journalist Tim Dickenson discusses Cooper’s allegations too, focusing on the man Ailes allegedly picked to run the secretive office.

“Befitting his siege mentality, Ailes also housed his newsroom in a bunker,” Dickenson wrote. “Reporters and producers at Fox News work in a vast, windowless expanse below street level, a gloomy space lined with video-editing suites along one wall and an endless cube farm along the other. In a separate facility on the same subterranean floor, Ailes created an in-house research unit – known at Fox News as the ‘brain room’ – that requires special security clearance to gain access. ‘The brain room is where Willie Horton comes from,’ says Cooper, who helped design its specs. ‘It’s where the evil resides.’


“If that sounds paranoid, consider the man Ailes brought in to run the brain room: Scott Ehrlich, a top lieutenant from his political- consulting firm. Ehrlich – referred to by some as ‘Baby Rush’ – had taken over the lead on Big Tobacco’s campaign to crush health care reform when Ailes signed on with CNBC.”

While none of these claims have been substantiated, they seem increasingly plausible given the widening coverup of Murdoch’s British hacking scandals, which have grown from the desk of just one allegedly “rogue” journalist to topple some of Murdoch’s top deputies, including the former publisher of The Wall Street Journal and the chief of News International, which oversees News Corp.’s British newspapers.

Cooper’s phone records as well would not be the first time Fox News or U.S. News Corp. employees have been accused of hacking. According to The New York Times, a New Jersey company called Floorgraphics accused News Corp. in 2009 of hacking into their password-protected computer systems to obtain proprietary information, then allegedly spreading “false, misleading and malicious information” about the firm, causing them to lose important contracts.

News Corp.’s response to the scandal was to buy Floorgraphics outright, after offering a $29.5 million settlement.

Cases like Floorgraphics’ are hardly unique: in recent years, the Times noted, News Corp. has paid over $655 million in settlements and hush money to keep allegations of anti-competitive and illegal behavior under the rug.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice have launched their own investigations into whether News Corp. participated in the hacking of 9/11 victims or U.S. officials.

via Former Fox News producer claimed network’s ‘Brain Room’ led to phone hacking | The Raw Story.

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Lies Become Truths: The Demise of the Newspaper Leaves Americans Dumber, Blinder and Prone to Ideological Manipulation | | AlterNet

Great article on AlterNet.com about the impact of the death of newspapers.

Here’s an excerpt and a link to the full article:

The great newspapers sustained legendary reporters such as I.F. Stone, Murray Kempton and Homer Bigart who wrote stories that brought down embezzlers, cheats, crooks and liars, who covered wars and conflicts, who told us about famines in Africa and the peculiarities of the French or what it was like to be poor and forgotten in our urban slums or Appalachia. These presses churned out raw lists of data, from sports scores to stock prices. Newspapers took us into parts of the city or the world we would never otherwise have seen or visited. Reporters and critics reviewed movies, books, dance, theater and music and covered sporting events. Newspapers printed the text of presidential addresses, sent reporters to chronicle the inner workings of City Hall and followed the courts and the police. Photographers and reporters raced to cover the lurid and the macabre, from Mafia hits to crimes of passion.

We are losing a peculiar culture and an ethic. This loss is impoverishing our civil discourse and leaving us less and less connected to the city, the nation and the world around us. The death of newsprint represents the end of an era. And news gathering will not be replaced by the Internet. Journalism, at least on the large scale of old newsrooms, is no longer commercially viable. Reporting is time-consuming and labor-intensive. It requires going out and talking to people. It means doing this every day. It means looking constantly for sources, tips, leads, documents, informants, whistle-blowers, new facts and information, untold stories and news. Reporters often spend days finding little or nothing of significance. The work can be tedious and is expensive. And as the budgets of large metropolitan dailies shrink, the very trade of reporting declines. Most city papers at their zenith employed several hundred reporters and editors and had operating budgets in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The steady decline of the news business means we are plunging larger and larger parts of our society into dark holes and opening up greater opportunities for unchecked corruption, disinformation and the abuse of power.

via Lies Become Truths: The Demise of the Newspaper Leaves Americans Dumber, Blinder and Prone to Ideological Manipulation | | AlterNet.

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Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show Ratings Soar, Fox News Slumps in May Ratings

Good news from the Media world…

Maybe Fox News’ audience is dying off faster than anticipated…or people are finally getting wise.

And Jon Stewart has been at the top of his game this year…

Another good trend for next year’s elections if it holds….

From Rawstory.com:

Comedy Central and “The Daily Show” both surged in the May Nielsen ratings, posting their best numbers yet. “The Daily Show” dominated its time slot across all of television, cable and broadcast, and boasted a very impressive 19 percent increase in viewership in May alone.

Meanwhile, according to Mediabistro’s TV Newser, Fox News suffered an overall decline in viewers in the highly sought-after 25-to-54-year old demographic for May, with total ratings down 10 percent. Bill O’Reilly’s viewership dropped 9 percent, Sean Hannity’s 6 percent, with Greta Van Susteren and Glenn Beck suffering the steepest losses with Van Susteren’s “On the Record” losing 12 percent of its audience and Glenn Beck sliding a whopping 17 percent.

Some of the fall-off in Beck’s numbers may be attributable to the fact that his show is going off the air, but it has been a consistent loser in the ratings for several months. The drop in public interest is echoed in ratings for radio shows hosted by Beck and Rush Limbaugh, which have each lost a third of their listenership in the last year, according to the radio polling group Arbitron.

The new Nielsen numbers show that “The Daily Show” averaged 2.3 million viewers, beating every program on Fox except Bill O’Reilly’s average of 2.8 million. “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” beat all other cable and broadcast programming in a number of categories, including having the most affluent viewers and the most active web-sties.

via Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show ratings soar, Fox News slumps in May numbers | The Raw Story.

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Jane, I mean Laura, You Ignorant Slut…

Doesn’t NBC remember they started this as parody on Saturday Night Live in the 1970’s?

And now, it’s become reality….

This is the latest bust up at MSNBC

Ed Schultz will take one week of unpaid leave from MSNBC following his controversial comments about Laura Ingraham.

On his radio show Tuesday, Schultz called Ingraham a “right-wing slut.”

Wednesday evening, the network released the following statement about the matter, saying “remarks of this nature are unacceptable and will not be tolerated”:

And this is where Dan and Jane started it all….

Seems the times aren’t a changing that much.

Except satire has now become reality…

via Ed Schultz To Take Unpaid Leave From MSNBC Following Laura Ingraham ‘Slut’ Comment.


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Conservative Talk Ratings Slide

Hopefully people are finally getting tired of these evil clowns….

Or their elderly audience is passing on…

From Political Wire:

“Right-wing talk radio may have worn out its welcome, at least for now,” reports Crain’s New York Business.

A new Arbitron report shows Rush Limbaugh’s ratings down 33% from a year ago and Sean Hannitty down 28% over the same time period. Meanwhile, more centrist personalities — Don Imus in the morning and John Batchelor at night — were both up from a year earlier.

via Conservative Talk Ratings Slide.

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Arnold and Maria split: Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver to Separate

I’m amazed they lasted this long…

And it’s sad to see them split after this much time together…

Still, I can’t help but think how much Maria gave up–her career, for one thing– for Arnold.

She also is the one who gave him gravitas…

He wouldn’t have been governor without her…

I’ll be interested to see what she does with the next chapter of her life…

Him?  I don’t care too much…

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, have separated, with Shriver moving out of their Brentwood mansion while the two determine the next step in their 25-year marriage.

Shriver has been residing apart from the actor-turned-politician for the last few weeks. The former first couple confirmed the separation in a joint statement released Monday after questions were raised by The Times.

“This has been a time of great personal and professional transition for each of us,” the statement read. “After a great deal of thought, reflection, discussion and prayer, we came to this decision together. At this time, we are living apart while we work on the future of our relationship.

“We are continuing to parent our four children together. They are the light and the center of both of our lives.” We consider this a private matter and neither we nor any of our friends or family will have further comment. “We ask for compassion and respect from the media and the public.”

via Arnold and Maria split: Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver to separate – latimes.com.

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U.S. CEO Pay Jumps 11 Percent

Interesting that Media company CEO’s take 4 of the top 10 slots…

Kind of tells you why we can’t trust the mainstream media….

Does the phrase “bought and paid for” jump out to you like it does me?

This is why “hard” news is being replaced by entertainment programming….

WASHINGTON — Compensation received by chief executives of the biggest US companies surged 11 percent over the past 12 months — to $9.3 million on average, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Citing a study conducted for the newspaper by management consultancy Hay Group, The Journal said the increase was largely due to decisions by company boards to reward CEOs for strong profit and share-price growth with bigger bonuses and stock grants.

The survey covered the 350 biggest companies that filed their statement between May 1, 2010, and April 30, 2011.

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman topped the list after receiving compensation valued at $84.3 million, more than double his 2009 pay, the report said.

Larry Ellison, the billionaire founder of Oracle, took second place, according to The Journal.

Long ranked among the highest-paid chiefs, he received compensation valued at $68.6 million for the year ended last May 31.

CBS CEO Leslie Moonves landed the number three spot with compensation valued at $53.9 million.

Overall, the CEOs of media companies claimed four of the top 10 spots, the paper noted.

via U.S. CEO pay jumps 11 percent: survey | The Raw Story.

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Margaret and Helen are Back!

My favorite 80 something year old bloggers have been quiet for a while and I was growing concerned…

Well, they’re back with a new post.

I’m glad to see the old girls are still alive and kicking!

Margaret, I wish Harold could have lived to see this day.  As a veteran, he was always hopeful that we would one day get Bin Laden.  He would have been very proud and then he would have been pissed.

Had I not seen it with my own eyes, I would have never believed it.  FOX found a way to turn even this into a negative for Obama.  I tuned in after you called and watched Sean Hannity make a fool of himself like you were saying.  Honestly, that is exactly what I would have expected from FOX – complaining because the US military took the time to follow Muslim traditions before eventually ditching the son-of-a-bitch at sea.   Sean, of course, wanted something a bit more flashy.  Had we done it Hannity’s way, the body would have been photographed wearing Princess Beatrice’s hat.  Honestly FOX, why don’t we just  hang him on a cross and see if his followers retaliate?  Sean is an idiot.

Of course Greta and Glenn were vying for stupidest person on FOX as well, but a race to the bottom on that network is over before it begins.  Was I the only one who noticed all three of them kept accidentally saying Obama rather than Usama? I bet not.  But I bet I am the only one who points it out.

It’s called honor Mr. Hannity, Mr. Beck and Mr. Van Susteren… you jackasses.  Obama understands it.  The US military has it.   FOX needs it. It makes us better than them.  But I guess the morons over at FOX are more worried that 72 Virgins really were waiting for him.  And yes, I know I typed Mister Van Susteren… plastic surgery can only get you so far.

Ten years were a long time to wait for the end of Bin Laden.  I ask you, how long before we see an end to FOX?

Change the channel America.  I mean it.  Really.

via Margaret and Helen.

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How Glenn Beck Cost Fox News More Than $40 million | Media Matters for America

It’s always about money…

And Glenn Beck wasn’t pulling in the advertising dollars because companies weren’t willing to advertise on his show…

This was due to the boycott caused by his lunatic performances…

How much has the advertising exodus cost Fox News? In September 2009, ColorForChange, which was instrumental in launching the Beck ad boycott, published its analysis. Based on advertising rates it concluded that Glenn Beck was bringing in approximately $600,000 less per-week (or approximately $2.4 million per-month), than it was before the boycott began. Keep in mind, that’s when 50 or 60 advertisers had jumped ship. Today, that number hovers between 300-400.

Using that $2.4 million per month estimate, since the fall of 2009, it’s possible the ad-starved Beck show booked nearly $43 million less than it would have if it weren’t facing a boycott. $43 million.

It’s true that throughout the boycott, the official word from Fox News has been that the advertising exodus wasn’t a big deal and that they were just moving advertisers around to other programs and that everything was just fine on the sales side atGlenn Beck. All of which made no sense.

The television industry is built around supply and demand. Glenn Beck has supply in the form of roughly 20 minutes of advertising time sold each episode. And it wants to build demand. Usually, healthy ratings drive that demand since advertisers want to reach the masses. But if suddenly hundreds of advertisers raise their hand and announce they’d be happy to spend money with Fox News, but not on Glenn Beck, then the show’s demand plummets, but the supply –the 20 minutes of advertising inventory—remains the same.

Bottom line? The ad rates go down, even if Glenn Beck remains the third highest rated show in cable news.

via Ratings, Revenues And A Painful Lesson: How Glenn Beck Cost Fox News More Than $40 million | Media Matters for America.

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The Glenn Beck Show is Going, Going, Gone…

Finally, some good news from Faux News….

Glenn Beck really has become toxic if Fox is getting rid of him…

CNN already fired him before he went to Fox….

He’s running out of networks, so he has to go out on his own…

From the Los Angeles Times:

Completing a swift rise and fall from TV stardom, controversial host Glenn Beck will lose his once-popular Fox News show later this year, the network announced Wednesday.

Beck’s 5 p.m. program, which earned scorn from liberals for its attacks on President Obama as well as its devotion to sometimes-obscure right-wing thinkers, was a top cable draw in 2009 and a signpost for the populist “tea party” movement in last year’s midterm elections, which dealt a ballot-box rebuke to the White House.

But ratings plummeted and advertisers bailed as Beck — a cherubic, salt-and-pepper-haired longtime radio host who has compared himself to a rodeo clown — increasingly pursued a hard-to-follow agenda that many found too conspiracy-minded. He also chafed his bosses at Fox News, who faulted him for spending too much time on his far-flung business operations and not enough on honing his TV presentation.

Both sides cobbled together a diplomatically worded statement Wednesday that noted Beck would “transition off” his daily program but stressed that the host and Fox News had reached a new deal for future, as-yet-unspecified projects. Joel Cheatwood, a senior Fox News executive, was hired away to help run Beck’s company, Mercury Radio Arts.

Fox News and Beck both declined to comment beyond the statement.

Roger Ailes, the Fox News chairman and chief executive who until recently had overridden doubts about Beck among his subordinates, said in the statement: “Glenn Beck is a powerful communicator, a creative entrepreneur and a true success by anybody’s standards.”

But there was little mistaking the upshot of the move: Less than three years after joining Fox News from CNN’s Headline News amid a burst of publicity, Beck is being booted off the air. His sinking ratings certainly didn’t help — they fell 32% for the first three months of this year, to 1.9 million total viewers, according to the Nielsen Co.

And after months of reported friction between the host and Fox News as well as an aggressive advertiser boycott after Beck dubbed President Obama a racist, analysts professed little surprise.

via Fox News to end Glenn Beck’s show – latimes.com.

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