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CBS Makes a Dumb assignment

Here are some truths: Sunday morning isn???t the place for expos??s. Features on people with new books are never hard hitting. Unless there???s been a recent affair, pieces on politicians??? wives are usually puff.

So is it any surprise that the CBS Sunday Morning profile of Lynn Cheney didn???t reveal anything other than her predilection for ecru walls?

But it???s still fishy that Rita Braver, whose husband, Robert B. Barnett, represented Cheney for her book deal, reported the piece. It doesn???t matter that Braver made a disclosure at the beginning of the piece, that book sales wouldn???t benefit Barnett (and by association, Braver) and that Braver did ask a few, sort of tough questions.


Oct 11, 2007 · Link · Respond

It’s always fun when elected officials don’t have time to answer questions about the decisions they made that affect, like, the people who elected them. It’s even more fun when they say “Don’t play me like that” and give you reason to file battery charges.

Reporter Sharyl Attkisson: Insta-awesome.

Oct 8, 2007 · Link · 1 Response

Strangely, Howard Kurtz’ new book eschews questionable ethnic metaphors in favor of shedding new light on the Dan Rather/CBS controversy. Kurtz claims Rather argued with Josh Howard (the exec producer of 60 Minutes Wednesday) over the Bush/National Guard story and refused to listen when Howard said they weren’t yet fully convinced of the story’s authenticity.

[DrudgeReport via TVNewser]

Oct 8, 2007 · Link · Respond

A former employee of The Price Is Right is suing Bob Barker and CBS for wrongful demotion.

After testifying in a wrongful discrimination suit against Barker, Deborah Curling claims she was moved to an ???intolerable??? working environment back stage.

Hello, what could be intolerable about watching hundreds of people live their dreams by guessing the price of a can of SpaghettiO???s?

Curling, who is black, also claims that the show was hostile to black employees and discriminatory to black contestants.

According to the lawsuit, “Barker created an atmosphere of terror on the show.???

Look, it???s in the rules of The Price Is Right that if your bid is over the retail price, you lose.

Oct 5, 2007 · Link · Respond

Twenty million dollars and a few nappy headed hos later, Don Imus is back. Imus is in talks with Citadel Broadcasting, which owns ABC radio, for a new show.

There???s no word on what the contract will be worth, but if his new one is worth more than half of the old one, he???ll come out on top.

He won a $20 million settlement from CBS Radio, half of what the remaining years would have been worth. So if he garners a contract worth more than $20 million, he made money from getting fired.

The lesson for all aspiring radio personalities: racism pays.


Oct 4, 2007 · Link · 5 Responses

TMZ reports that producers of Kid Nation are scouting overseas locations. Apparently the network is having trouble finding a spot in America that allows kids to suffer for the televised entertainment of adults.

We just checked the back of our t-shirt, and in Thailand anything flies.


Oct 2, 2007 · Link · Respond

“Deutsche Bank is downgrading CBS to hold from buy,” citing “disappointing rating trends and poor local advertising growth” as primary reasons. In other news, former CBS online honcho (and newly announced CEO of HuffPo) Betsy Morgan continues to have the Best Day Ever. [MarketWatch]

Oct 2, 2007 · Link · Respond

CBSNews.Com Gen Manager Chooses Arianna Huffington Over Katie Couric

Former general manager of Betsy Morgan will be announced today as The Huffington Post’s new permanent CEO.

“Getting somebody like this to come to our site says a boatload about where the industry is going,” said Kenneth Lerer, who has been acting as the chief executive of The Huffington Post and will move up to chairman.

And while Morgan’s move arguably solidifies HuffPo’s place in the blogosphere, it says even more about the direction CBS News is headed.

Oct 2, 2007 · Link · Respond

It’s A Good Thing Katie Couric ‘Has Never Been Obsessed With Ratings’ Since Not Even Her Daughters Are Watching

[My daughters] watch The O.C. They’re very excited about Gossip Girl. I don’t think they pay a lot of attention to the news right now…They do watch my broadcast occasionally. I give them a pop quiz when I come home for dinner.

–Katie Couric, explaining how her adolescent daughters—like most other viewers across the country—would rather watch Gossip Girl than the CBS Evening News [via People]

Sep 27, 2007 · Link · Respond

Former CBS exec producer Rome Hartman stopped by CNN’s Reliable Source and shared his reactions to the Dan Rather lawsuit:

More than anything, it made me sad. I just — it made me sad for him and for CBS News. I don’t understand why he would choose to dredge back into the spotlight what’s undoubtedly going to be remembered as the darkest moment of his career and a very dark moment for CBS News.

Hartman’s sentiments echo those over at rival networks, where an insider told us “people at ABC were surprised that he would risk further tarnishing his reputation with this lawsuit. Certainly not viewed as a wise move — more evidence that he ‘doesn’t get it.’”

Sep 24, 2007 · Link · Respond

Another round of applause for the scapegoat

Last night, Dan Rather took to Larry King Live to defend his $70 million lawsuit against CBS. Perhaps he hit up CNN because his own show on HDNet, you know, doesn’t have any viewers. Or perhaps because he knew Larry King would let him veritably read from his court filing to make his argument — which was the most surprising part. Larry King actually furthered the debate! Asked follow up questions! Made subtle efforts to challenge Dan’s rhetoric!

The second part after the jump.


Sep 21, 2007 · Link · Respond

At least that???s what his friends think, anyway.

Rather???s logic in this lawsuit is certainly a little screwy. He???s still standing behind the National Guard story, saying the piece is true. But at the same time, he???s claiming he wasn???t as involved in the production of the piece as he usually is.

Whether or not Public Eye is can be objective on this subject, they have a point when they write, ???it’s tough to understand the rationale behind the lawsuit.???


Sep 21, 2007 · Link · 3 Responses

Marvin Kittman Had Us Up Until The Part Where He Said ‘Keith Olbermann’

As a TV critic who has logged millions of hours of viewing to help save one of my three favorite commercial networks, I decided to volunteer my services to the Save CBS Campaign. Here’s what I would do: First, I would dump the Walter Cronkite school of reporting, of which Katie Couric is the latest practitioner. The objective that’s-the-way-it-is style they use at all the network evening news shows is so old, so over.

What the evening news shows need is less “objectivity” and more analysis…In short, what CBS (and all the others) need is a new Ed Murrow. Good news! There’s already one out there on the launchpad who has demonstrated his qualifications. I’m talking about Keith Olbermann of MSNBC. He has the journalistic chops and the mind, heart, instincts and courage.

–Excerpted from Marvin Kittman’s piece in The Nation entitled, “Olbermann the New Ed Murrow?” (We’re thinking it’s a rhetorical question).

Sep 21, 2007 · Link · Respond

When asked about their new media strategy, CBS sums it up in the most concise way possible: by drawing an analogy between their online expansion efforts and those kinky—but invariably unattractive—adult swingers looking for promiscuous no-strings-attached sex.

“Swingtown” is a CBS television show, scheduled for midseason, about partner-swapping couples. It’s also what CBS executives lightheartedly call their new Internet strategy. The idea is to let their online material be promiscuous: Instead of limiting their shows and other online video to, the network is letting them couple with [other websites]. “CBS is all about open, nonexclusive, multiple partnerships,” said Quincy Smith, president of CBS Interactive.

Neat! So, assuming the swinger analogy still stands, CBS is kind of like the creepy much-older guy at a party, hitting on all the hot underage co-eds by plying them with alcohol, feeding them cheesy pick-up lines and staring intensely at their breasts all as part of some pathetic misguided attempt at recapturing his youth?

Yep, sounds about right to us.

Sep 20, 2007 · Link · Respond

CBS couldn???t lock out critics from the national broadcast of Kid Nation. And their opinion is a universal I would rather have been watching Gossip Girl.

There was no child abuse in last night episode, only annoying children. And frankly, faced with the choice of exploitation or bad television programming, some critics would have preferred the former. As USA Today put it,

The show turned out to be far more tepid than its pre-show heat would have led you to believe. Whatever dangers the kids on Nation may have faced, the only risk posed to viewers by last night’s premiere was death by boredom.


Sep 20, 2007 · Link · Respond