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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

An Emmy Nomination, Tasers and Whoops!

Congratulations to American Morning for their Daytime Emmy nomination. NBC's Today, ABC's Good Morning America and CNN’s American Morning go head-to-head in the 'outstanding morning program' category.

Speaking of American Morning they seem to be a much happier bunch lately. And obsessed with all things taser. Check out JR's reaction to a news story.

I'm enjoying Kyra Phillips subbing for new mom Kiran Chetry. I've loved Kyra ever since she did her mea culpa on Letterman. Her reason number 5 is killer.

If this is all new to you here's the original whoops that made Kyra Phillips the center of attention for a few days back in August of 2006. She is a very classy lady who knew enough to laugh along, even though she must have been mortified.

That's it for me today. Remember to keep those mics off and stay away from tasers! ~ Phebe

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Last Week's Ratings At A Glance

With Primary Night Covered Last Week
We’re Back to Weekly Ups and Downs in Cable News/Information

Every week doesn’t have to be stellar for a channel in cable news/information, but the primary helped all channels last week. Since we covered the PA primary results last week, there is no need to re-hash. Any researcher will tell you, one week does not make a channel, but developing trends and upswings or downswings over longer periods of time do matter. What are the cable channels thinking about now? -- How to preserve their increased viewership after the election. They would be well served to start strategizing that now and budgeting for it.

And let me try not to make any math errors this week…

Courtesy: CNN
Fox News: 459,000*
CNN: 187,000**
MSNBC: 315,000*

Each time period will have asterisks this week because of special programming; and all had primary coverage replace regular programming last Tuesday. Only Fox News is up over the week prior with Campbell Brown only airing three times – coded as Campbell Brown by CNN and Nielsen and Billo and COUNTDOWN airing 4 times due to primary coverage.

Courtesy: DC Fishbowl

Fox News: 371,000*
CNN: 301,000*
MSNBC: 151,000+

LKL once again is basically the same as the week prior with the other channels off of their previous week’s performance. HANNITY & COLMES did not have the big audience spike it had the week prior, and was pre-empted for primary coverage on Tuesday. Dan Abrams only aired three times this past week with primary coverage on Tuesday and a special HARDBALL on Wednesday.

Fox News: 336,000*
CNN: 307,000*
MSNBC: 158,000*

Well, GRETA is up and AC360 and the rebroadcast of COUNTDOWN are down from last week. This is just not unusual to have fluctuations and it doesn’t mean any program is trending down or up, weekly variances are par for the course. Friday, most of the primetime programs had losses of viewership. Three programs were up (Fox News), five programs were down (CNN and MSNBC) and one I would consider flat (Campbell Brown 8PM) with last week for this low viewership day.

Courtesy: CNN; PA Primary Night

TUESDAY was a great day for all cable news channels with CNN and MSNBC benefiting the most. Other than that, it was a fairly unremarkable week for cable news/information.

Courtesy: CNN – Plant in Peril

PLANET IN PERIL was re-broadcast again this past week in the 11PM EDT. Two nights out of four, it was #2 in the time period – not bad. What I did learn in going to the PIP section on the CNN site that only AC360 is carrying the PIP mini-stories this year.

*4 day average; PA Primary aired Tuesday.
**3 day average; PA Primary aired Tuesday; Special aired Friday.
+3 day average; PA Primary aired Tuesday; Special HARDBALL aired Wednesday.
^Courtesy Nielsen Media Research; Adults 25-54 Live + Same Day (LS); Fast Track Nationals.

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The Most ... in the Morning

CNN’s American Morning on Monday may have gone from the Most News in the Morning to the Most Factoids in the Morning. Throughout the program, John Roberts (aka google john), Ali Velshi, and Rob Marciano were adding in extraneous bits of information. I’ve put together several snippets from the exchanges:

In addition to the extraneous information, the clip includes part of an interview that Ali Velshi did with Michael Quincy. I’ve always wondered why you should or shouldn’t use premium gas in your car.

At the beginning of the video clip, John Roberts was talking about an interview that he was doing on Monday with Congressman Ron Paul. Dr. Paul has a new book that was just released. I don’t necessarily agree with Dr. Paul’s views, but the interview was fascinating. I would have liked to have heard what other questions John Roberts had for Dr. Paul. The full interview has been posted on

I always end up coming back to politics, even after this hyper primary season we've been having. Unfortunately, if you think that once the Democrats have decided who their nominee is going to be that things are going to quiet down, think again! The Democratic National Committee has started running ads against John McCain and the Republican National Committee wants CNN to not run the latest ad. A TVWeek article had this response from CNN: A CNN spokesman said the network had received the RNC's letter and planned to air the ad beginning Tuesday. The TVWeek article also has a link to the ad in question and CNN showed the ad on Monday while talking with DNC Chairman Howard Dean. What do you think? Is there a difference between running a political ad and running an advertisement for a competing news network? (I've seen ads for FOX while watching CNN- it happens.)

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Monday, April 28, 2008

In Other News...

Our favorite terrorism expert made a couple of appearances yesterday -- he was scheduled on Late Edition along with New America Foundation President/CEO Steve Coll to discuss the latter's new book about the bin Laden family, but the Taliban attack in Kabul was also discussed:

Professor Bergen also spoke with Rick Sanchez on NewsRoom about the attack:

Elsewhere... did you know that coal can be used to make gasoline? Ali Velshi spoke with the CEO of a South African company that is doing just that. It's not ready for use in the US yet (imagine the regulatory commissions that would have to pass! imagine the fights from Big Oil!) but it is an interesting future possibility. Although we still need to find a safer way to get the coal out of the ground...

And on Friday, CNN founder Ted Turner was at the NYSE and spoke with Susan Lisovicz about an anti-malaria campaign supported by the United Nations Foundation, "Nothing But Nets," the rising price of food and oil around the world, and ways to conserve our resources:

Last night, the AP ran a story about the next venture of former CNN anchor Aaron Brown:
Ex-CNN anchor Aaron Brown returns to TV on PBS' `Wide Angle'
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Aaron Brown, the former CNN anchor who found cable TV an awkward fit, is joining PBS' "Wide Angle" series and ending his on-air absence of more than two years.
"If I was going to do broadcast journalism again, be a public person again ... then it had to be something different from what I'd done," Brown told The Associated Press. "You can count on one hand how many gigs there are like this."
Anchoring "Wide Angle," a weekly public affairs series with a global focus, offers the chance "to work in an environment where people just think about making good TV and good journalism," Brown said.
"By the end (of an episode), you understand the world you live in and how it's connected to you," he said Saturday.
Brown, 59, who left CNN in November 2005 during a shake-up that gave his time slot to rising star Anderson Cooper, said he was contractually barred from working in TV until last June. He's been teaching at Arizona State University as its first Walter Cronkite Professor of Journalism.
"Wide Angle" begins its seventh season July 1. PBS planned to announce Brown's hiring on Monday.
Brown has distinguished himself as an anchor by avoiding a "booming voice-of-God" approach and instead delivering news as a storyteller, said Stephen Segaller, director of national production at Thirteen/WNET, the New York station that produces "Wide Angle."
Besides his distinctive on-camera demeanor, Brown has "a good sense of what international stories will mean to American audiences and how the stories will play," Segaller said.
Brown contrasted the work he expects to do at PBS with how cable television operated at times during his tenure.
"I don't want to get into the business of indicting cable TV, but some of what went on was just television, not journalism," he said. Expanding on his comments, he said that cable TV is a tough business that can be pushed into focusing on sensational, "tabloidy stories."
"I understand why they do it. It's a very ratings-driven environment," Brown said.
Before joining CNN, Brown worked at ABC as a reporter on programs including "World News Tonight with Peter Jennings" and "Nightline" and as anchor of "World News Tonight Saturday" and "World News Now."
His first day at CNN was Sept. 11, 2001, and his heartfelt anchoring from a rooftop in Manhattan immediately thrust him into a major role there. But expectations that he would become the face of the network didn't pan out.
Brown's quirky, cerebral 10 p.m. newscast had a following with fans who enjoyed his commentaries and "The Whip," a quick review of top international stories, but he lost ratings ground to Greta Van Susteren of Fox News Channel.
CNN chose to showcase its hotter personality, Cooper, whose profile had grown in 2005 and peaked during Hurricane Katrina coverage. Brown's time slot went to Cooper and Brown left by what CNN termed mutual agreement.
Reflecting on his time at the channel, Brown said he became "oddly emblematic" of what he termed an "anti-tabloid guy."
"I didn't practice the `high church' of journalism all the time, but I think there was some sense that I was uncomfortable in that other, tabloidy world, and I think viewers knew that and I couldn't pull it off," he said.
Besides serving as anchor of "Wide Angle" and helping prepare episodes for broadcast, Brown plans to do field work on a story, possibly involving Venezuela or the Middle East. Topics to be covered this season include the crisis in the Sudan and the changing role of Japan's military.

Finally... I've already bemoaned the decision to stop devoting one single hour per week to the wars we are currently fighting in order to give us yet another hour of politics. At the same time, we all love Tom Foreman's quirky sense of humor. But can anyone explain to me why the heck Tom was covering celebri-gossip on his show this week? Uh....?

That's it for today. See you next week!

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Thriller at American Morning

A few clips tonight for your enjoyment. The first is from This Week In Politics. Mike Luckovich is an editorial cartoonist and unlike some people who can’t wait for the primary season to end, he’s enjoying all of the material that the three presidential candidates have been providing him.

On American Morning, Lola Ogunnaike did a story on the anniversary of the Thriller video and was showing off some of the moves that she learned. Kyra Phillips did her best to get John Roberts to join in, but he was claiming that he was just Mr. Boring Old News Guy.

Finally, TJ Holmes did a report for Issue #1 about grocery shopping. At the end of the clip, Gerri Willis and Ali Velshi decided to have a little bit of fun discussing TJ’s shopping habits.

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Saturday catch-up

Don Lemon, sporting the casual look last weekend... I hope everyone is having a nice relaxing day today! I have a couple interesting clips from the past week.

Last Saturday I posted Jill Dougherty's blog entry about the sandstorms in Baghdad. She was covering training by disabled Iraqis for a paralympic competition. This week she did a report on the event itself:

Dr. Sanjay Gupta is in Lima, Peru, and on Thursday's American Morning he did a report from there about the current food crisis happening around the globe:

And on Friday, he did a report on the attempts to break the mother-to-baby transmission of HIV:

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Where in the World...?

Heading into the big Pennsylvania primary, on Saturday, Suzanne Malveaux reported from the Obama campaign in the towns of Paoli and West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania; Rick Sanchez was in Philadelphia to host a couple of special programs. Sunday, TJ Holmes and Soledad O'Brien reported on the Pope's mass at Yankee Stadium.

Monday, Ali Velshi, Candy Crowley, and Suzanne were all in Philadelphia; Dana Bash was in Selma, Alabama with the McCain campaign; and Wolf Blitzer was in New York City.

Tuesday, Suzanne was in Evansville, Indiana; Dana was in Youngstown, Ohio; Kyra Phillips began co-hosting duties on American Morning (covering Kiran Chetry's maternity leave); and Miles O'Brien was in Stamford, Connecticut, reporting on green "McMansions," a story he also covered throughout the week in prepared pieces.

On Wednesday, Candy was in DC and Suzanne was in New Albany, Indiana. Thursday, Dana was in New Orleans; Suzanne in Jeffersonville, Indiana; Sanjay Gupta in Lima, Peru; and Campbell Brown hosted AC360. 

Friday, Suzanne was in Jefferson, Indiana (yes, that is apparently a different town from yesterday's appearance); Dana was in DC; Larry King hosted his show from DC (where he will be all next week); and John King (above) hosted AC360 (not from NY, so he may have been in DC also -- tonight is the annual White House Correspondents Dinner, I wonder whether he still goes to those?)

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That's a wrap for me today. Enjoy the weekend, I'll see you on Monday!

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Updates: Snow, Quest, & Cafferty

How about a few updates tonight?

Jack Cafferty’s remarks have occasionally gotten him into trouble. But has CNN ever been sued for $1.3 billion before? The following is an excerpt of a report from Reuters:

A Chinese primary school teacher and a beautician have filed a suit against CNN in New York over remarks they say insulted the Chinese people and are seeking $1.3 billion in compensation -- $1 per person in China, a Hong Kong newspaper reported.

In New York, Liang Shubing, the beautician, and Li Lilan, a Beijing-based elementary school instructor, claimed Cafferty's words insulted all Chinese people and "intentionally caused mental harm" to the plaintiffs, the Ta Kung Pao newspaper reported on Thursday.

"The $1.3 billion averages out to $1 per Chinese person, so it isn't much," the newspaper quoted a lawyer as saying.

Cafferty has been doing his best to stay out of any further trouble this week, but sometimes his viewers’ comments have the potential to put him into hot water:

The Guardian reported that Richard Quest has entered drug rehab.

"At this time, CNN's primary concern is for his health and wellbeing. We look forward to Richard returning to CNN International," [CNN] said in a statement.

A CNN spokesman declined to "speculate" on when Quest would return to the network he joined in 2001. He began his career as a BBC news trainee in 1985 and spent 16 years at the corporation.

And finally tonight, Tony Snow has been released from the hospital and was on The Situation Room today with Wolf Blitzer. Snow wasn’t hospitalized for exhaustion as was originally reported.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Real Story in Election '08...CNN's Magic Wall

So we are now in month 15 or 16 (although it feels much longer) of the 2008 Presidential campaign and at this point what is everyone talking about? No it is not Obama, Clinton or McCain. The real story of the election season is CNN’s John King and his Magic Wall.

A reader of ATC sent an email to me the other day about the New York Times article about John King and his “magic wall” by Jacques Steinberg. Ms. Phebe used it in her post over at ATA on Tuesday night but I thought it would be a great for tonight’s post. To read Jacques' article click here.

Not only is the New York Times talking about the magic board but so is MTV News. Tim Kash of MTV News recently went to CNN and spoke with John King on Pennsylvania primary night. To read Tim’s account click here.

Also in keeping with the election coverage, Beet TV interviewed Live anchor Melissa Long Tuesday night on covering the elections live for the CNN website. To see the video interview, click here.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Odds and Ends

Nicole Lapin is the on the cover of this months issue of Powergirls, a magazine slanted towards more wholesome, substantive issues for young girls. There are some great role models for young women at CNN, nice to see some get involved in mentoring. Thanks to an ATC reader for sending this along.

photo courtesy of Jeremy Freeman/CNN

And the CNN Black in America College Campus Tour made it's last stop on Tuesday, in Atlanta, with TJ Holmes at the helm. All three Campus iReporter Contest winners were also at the tour stop, Clark Atlanta winner, Stephano Kaiser; Morehouse winner, Travers Johnson; and Spelman winner, Nashawn Anderson. To check out their iReports just click on their names. Congratulations to the winners and to CNN for a very interesting series featuring these young, talented students.

I'm beginning to think that Jon Stewart has a man crush on our man Wolf Blitzer. Or maybe it's just job envy?

And I'll leave you today with some CNN images from Tuesday night's Pennsylvania primaries. The ratings for CNN rocked, as did the coverage. Enjoy!

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Last Week's Ratings At A Glance


We’re also covering last night’s primary (April 22) since we already have the Overnights…and they were GREAT for CNN (as usual).

ABC took top honors for now being able to boast they have the #1 ranking primary debate (last Wednesday night) and the #2 ranking primary debate (New Hampshire double whammy which also aired on CNN). They may not have been the critic’s choice, but they were for audiences and the analysis which followed on the cable news/information channels. Cable got a great boost from the Pennsylvania debate. Can we say that cable channels used ABC’s “draft” (like in racing) to benefit from another network’s programming? 8Pm was dramatically affected in cable as that was the broadcast start time of the primary debate on ABC. Audiences began to tune into the cable channels at 9Pm and had great peaks at 10PM. On Wednesday, both LKL and AC360 were #1 in their respective time periods – far and away beating their competition on Fox News and MSNBC.

Courtesy: Google Images

There is also no question that other news stories which dominated the week also drove viewers for the in-depth coverage cable affords. The Economy and the religious sect in Texas certainly played a role. Let’s look at the week:

Fox News: 427,000
CNN: 202,000
MSNBC: 343,000

Billo had a disaster on debate Wednesday – I’ve never seen his numbers dip below 300,000 on a weekday night (exclude Fridays, they are usually low, but I don’t even remember Friday ever posting such a low audience for Fox at 8PM). He was 145,000 off of his five day average on that Wednesday. Campbell Brown had fluctuations in her numbers over the week, and was also off on Wednesday, but not as much as Bill – her Wednesday audience was off 39,000 from her five day average. COUNTDOWN is up over last week with good growth, but it also lost 64,000 on Wednesday as well, so the debate caused audience issues in cable, only with this hour.

Fox News: 436,000
CNN: 302,000
MSNBC: 159,000*

HANNITY & COLMES had two huge nights for them – over 500,000 in viewers on Tuesday and Thursday with a decent debate night on Wednesday. They must have been some very controversial topics because Sean Hannity knows full well how to “stir the pot.” The program is up from its performance the prior week. LKL was basically the same in audience from the week before, but there is nothing wrong with a steady performance. Dan Abrams’ Verdict aired 4 days with a special HARDBALL airing on debate night. Based on Hardball’s performance, they should have stuck with a special COUNTDOWN like they did at 10PM or stayed with Abrams. Chris Matthews with 139,000 viewers did MSNBC no favors that night.

Fox News: 338,000
CNN: 327,000
MSNBC: 199,000

Yes, it was a close week between AC360 and GRETA. 360’s special debate analysis coverage within the regular 10PM program really helped it on Wednesday night. The program was soundly #1 in the time period for Wednesday defeating GRETA by over 100,000 in the key demo of Adults 25-54. Friday night, surprisingly was also a very strong night for 360 against GRETA, but she had enough audience on other nights to beat CNN for the week. However, AC360 is up over 63,000 Adults 25-54 from the week prior. That’s a good increase in anyone’s book. COUNTDOWN’s 10PM repeat would have been just down slightly from the week prior had it not been for a good debate analysis night.

PENNSYLVANIA PRIMARY NIGHT, Tuesday, April 22, 2008:

Courtesy: The New York Times

CNN was once again the leader with the key demographic of Adults 25-54 for the PA Primary night.

Fox News: 316,000
CNN: 479,000
MSNBC: 431,000

Fox News: 483,000
CNN: 720,000
MSNBC: 651,000

Fox News: 507,000
CNN: 785,000
MSNBC: 679,000

Fox News: 679,000
CNN: 910,000
MSNBC: 594,000

Even MSNBC had an excellent night by pulling in several correspondents from NBC News which included Brian Williams and Tim Russert. In fact, MSNBC beat Fox News from 5PM – 9PM before coming in third at 10PM. CNN was #1 for the full evening from 5PM – 12MD. At 9PM and 10PM, CNN was also #1 for Total Audience 2+, but came in second for all other hours in Total Audience. A great night for CNN. But I won’t say “the phrase that shall not be named” even though the numbers back up the statement. What I will say is that CNN has a great advantage with John King’s analysis and expertise at the “magic wall” along with the channel having terrific pace for disseminating information to viewers. They weren’t first to announce the winner, but they have made a point to be right rather than first.

*4 Day Average, Did Not Air (DNA) Wednesday, April 16, 2008.
^Courtesy, Nielsen Media Research; demographics where noted; Live + Same Day (LS); Fast Track Nationals.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Raw Politics

What won't Senators Clinton, McCain, and Obama do in order to boost their chances of becoming President? I just couldn't believe the news on Monday that all three of them were appearing on WWE Raw. Here's a clip of Wolf Blitzer in The Situation Room Monday afternoon discussing the appearance:

I don't have anything against professional wrestling, but I do find the idea of campaigning on WWE just a bit bizarre.

It wasn't that long ago that CNN aired a Special Investigations Unit program on professional wrestling. Remember Drew Griffin's reporting in Death Grip: Inside Pro Wrestling? He interviewed WWE Chairman Vince McMahon:

For more information, Drew Griffin talked about his interview with Vince McMahon with Pro Wrestling Blog v2.0..

Another item that I fit into the bizarre category on Monday: CNN has a new conservative commentator.... Tony Snow. I had never heard of Tony Snow prior to him becoming the president's press secretary in 2006. Finding out that Fox News was on his resume didn't impress me much. I'm curious to see how CNN fits him into the Best Political Team on Television. Here are a few blurbs from the CNN Press Release:

“In the White House, Tony brought a remarkably human touch to the discussion of public policy, which he will continue to do as part of the Best Political Team on Television,” Klein said. “He will contribute a unique breadth of political and journalistic expertise to what is already the most provocative and wide-ranging political analysis on the air.”

“I’m delighted to be able to join CNN during the most exciting and unpredictable political year in memory,” Snow said. “The big challenge in 2008 is to develop deep, creative and aggressive analysis of both political parties, their candidates and campaigns. I’m eager to get started, since this race is sure to shape American politics for years to come.”

An additional note on Snow, the AP has reported that he cancelled a speaking engagement today and was admitted to the hospital for exhaustion. Hopefully, he'll have a speedy recovery.

Let me throw in one last item to tonight's ode to the bizarre. What do all these statements have in common?

  • iReporter films mysterious lights in sky
  • Baby falls 20 feet onto postal worker
  • Blind man grabs, pummels intruder
  • Rep calls workers 'illiterate peasants'
  • Russian missile obliterates spy plan
  • Pacing man stuck 41 hours in elevator
  • Synchronized swimmers faint in unison
  • Citizen tickets cop for $540 violation
  • Mom delivers her own baby at 80 mph
  • Drinking, movies lead to FLDS exile

These are all headlines from and at the time of writing this post, they are all available for purchase on CNN T-Shirts.

Take a close look at the Latest News section of the front page and you'll find a new icon next to several of the stories. Click the T-Shirt and it will take you to a beta site where you can specify the color and size of your T-Shirt.

For $15.00 plus shipping and handling, this headline can be yours. The list of headlines that are available for purchase are updated through the day. To see the current list, visit:

Thanks to the reader who sent us the tip about the new feature.

All content, unless otherwise cited, is © All Things CNN and may not be used without consent of the blog administrator.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday Blues

We all know that prices for everything, including food, have gone up a lot in the past few months. We're all checking our monthly budgets more closely these days. But in several countries around the world, there are already food riots breaking out as prices send bread and grain out of the reach of the most at-risk families in the world. Food donations from the US and other countries are also being undermined by shortages and a weak US dollar.

Zain Verjee explains more on Issue #1

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There have been a lot of airline scares in the past couple of months, and thanks to Miles O'Brien, here's one you had no idea was a possibility. (The good news: a fully-loaded aircraft can glide for twelve minutes after losing all four engines! Yup, I feel better already!)

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There was quite an uproar last week over some comments that Jack Cafferty made regarding China recently. I have honestly been amazed by the virulent protests in reaction, because I am completely at a loss as to what he said that was wrong, let alone offensive. Here's the original quote, in response to Wolf Blitzer's comment that we now have a lot at stake because of our current economic relationship with China:
I don't know if China's any different, but our relationship with China is certainly different. We're in hock to the Chinese up to our eyeballs because of the war in Iraq for one thing. They're holding hundreds of billions of dollars worth of our paper. We also are running hundreds of billions of dollars of trade deficits with them as we continue to import their junk with the lead paint on them and poisoned pet food, and export jobs to places where you can pay workers a dollar a month to turn out the stuff that we're buying from Walmart. So I think our relationship with China has certainly changed. I think they're basically the same bunch of goons and thugs they've been for the last 50 years.
There's nothing there that hasn't been said over and over on news programs for the past year, as all the toy and pet food recalls went on and on. (As for those who think "goons" is a racial/ethnic slur, you have the wrong word.)

At any rate, Jack issued a clarification that it was the government of China he was referring to, not the ordinary citizens, a sentiment most Americans appreciate (thanks to our own current administration). 

Just imagine the furor if Jack had brought up Tibet...!

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Last Friday, The New York Times reported that CNN's Richard Quest was arrested in New York City on a misdemeanor charge of possession of methamphetamine. We at ATC wish him the best, including (hopefully) a successful rehab and continued tenure with CNN.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Another New Arrival

Soledad O'Brien at Yankee Stadium

If you've been watching CNN on Sunday afternoons, you may have come to expect to see Ballot Bowl. Today, CNN cut back on the politics to continue coverage of the Pope's visit to the United States. This afternoon, he celebrated mass at Yankee Stadium.

Soledad O'Brien talking with CNN Sr. Vatican Analyst, John Allen, at Yankee Stadium

T.J. Holmes at Yankee Stadium

Here are a few highlights from this week's events:

The CNN family just keeps growing and growing. On Saturday's Your $$$$$, Ali Velshi explained why his co-anchor, Christine Romans, was not there... she had recently welcomed a baby boy into her family. Here's the video clip... recently posted an interview with Kiran Chetry. Here's a few snips:

What’s your definition of a Modern Mom?

Well, since I’m answering this question typing on my blackberry and wrangling my two year old in her doctor’s office for a check-up, I guess I would say a lot of being a modern mom is trying to juggle it all!

We want to be able to spend as much time as we can caring for and enjoying our kids, while at the same time many of us are working full-time or keeping a household running, or both!

What’s your secret to balancing career and family?

Hey, if someone knows the secret, tell me! But since I work so early (I leave the house just after 3 am) a small afternoon nap is key. It gives me a little recharge so I can spend the afternoon and evening with the family and keep up with my daughter until her bedtime.

To read the full interview which includes a picture from her daughter's second birthday, visit

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Saturday, April 19, 2008


As you can see from the photo, it is once again sandstorm "season" in Baghdad. Jill Dougherty had this post on the In The Field blog:
April 18, 2008
In the eye of the sandstorm
Posted: 1222 GMT
I knew something was strange as soon as I woke up. An eerie yellow haze at the window instead of the morning sun. I climbed up to the roof and looked out over Baghdad toward the blue Bunyah mosque. It had disappeared behind a thick curtain of microscopic dust.

I had never experienced a sandstorm. I instinctively tried to stop breathing until I could get indoors. We were about to leave to shoot a report on an Iraqi paralympic competition. “They can’t go ahead with it!” I thought. When we called, however, they said it was still on. So we piled into our car and set off for the running track.
On a good day, the streets of Baghdad are dusty, blanketed with dirt, crumbling concrete and assorted trash. This dust , swirling in the high winds, is lighter but more penetrating. It fills your lungs insidiously. But, as we drove through Baghdad, I saw, at the most, two or three people with masks. Most were walking purposefully through the haze.
As we passed the Green Zone, where the United States Embassy and Iraqi government offices are located, I saw a man in running shorts and t-shirt jogging on the street. At the running track the athletes were arriving, some missing legs, or arms. Many are victims of the war. In the distance, a loud explosion roared. The athletes and their friends muttered but quickly returned to more important things. Bombs, sandstorms - it’s a nuisance but nothing that will stop them from competing.

But the storm, the worst in years, did shut down Baghdad Airport. The helicopters that roar every few minutes through the skies of the capital were grounded. Back in our bureau everything - computers, cameras, monitors, desks, pens, coffee cups, my eyeglasses -was covered within minutes with a fine yellow talcum. There was no getting away from it.
In 2003, just after the start of the invasion of Iraq , a giant sandstorm blanketed southern Iraq. Some Iraqis began calling it “Allah’s Shroud,” God’s protection from the “invaders.” To me, it’s just as exotic. A sandstorm in Baghdad. Like Ali Baba’s 40 Thieves, I said the magic words “open sesame!” and waited for the skies to clear.
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Rick Sanchez is anchoring from Philadelphia this weekend. I think Pennsylvania may sink just from all the CNN people who have "migrated" there! Some highlights from the CNN press release regarding Tuesday's coverage:
CNN’s special prime-time programming will begin at 7 p.m., following wall-to-wall politics on The Situation Room, and will run late into the night. Lead political anchor Wolf Blitzer will direct the coverage and be joined by anchors Campbell Brown, Anderson Cooper, Lou Dobbs and Soledad O'Brien. Chief national correspondent John King will again provide in-depth, Pennsylvania-specific data and analysis using the CNN “multi-touch” board, a unique tool that makes complex information more understandable and accessible. The coverage will lead into a special edition of Larry King Live at midnight hosted by Larry King. American Morning with John Roberts and Kyra Phillips will be live the following morning from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. with post-election analysis.

In the lead-up to Tuesday, CNN’s correspondents are traveling across Pennsylvania to cover the race. Ali Velshi will be live aboard the CNN Election Express, the network’s mobile news bureau, as it completes its stint as CNN’s mini-bureau in Philadelphia and will anchor Issue #1 from the site at noon for both Monday, April 21, and Tuesday, April 22. Candy Crowley and Suzanne Malveaux are covering Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama as they make last-minute pitches to the voters. Jim Acosta, Dana Bash, and Jessica Yellin will also provide live reports from the trail.

Gloria Borger, senior political analyst; David Gergen, senior political analyst; Bill Schneider, senior political analyst; Jeff Toobin, legal analyst; and CNN’s nationally known contributors Paul Begala, Bill Bennett, Donna Brazile, Amy Holmes and Roland Martin will provide commentary from the CNN Election Center. Also joining them will be commentators Alex Castellanos, Leslie Sanchez and Jamal Simmons.
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Where in the World...?

Saturday, Suzanne Malveaux was in Philadelphia; John King was in Pittsburgh; and Dana Bash was in Grantham, Pennsylvania. Sunday, John, Candy Crowley, and Campbell Brown were also in Grantham (site of the "Compassion Forum.")

Monday, Dana was in Pittsburgh, Candy was in Philadelphia, and Anderson Cooper hosted "AC360" from Miami. Tuesday, Kyra Phillips returned to her co-hosting duties for "NewsRoom," although she was in DC all week, using the "Late Edition" set.

Wednesday, Cal Perry was in Blacksburg, Virginia for the anniversary of the VT shootings; John King was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Miles O'Brien was in NYC; and Alina Cho subbed for Kiran Chetry. (As has been reported already, Kiran is now out on maternity leave.) 

Thursday, John King anchored part of "The Situation Room" so that Wolf could meet with the Pope (above); Suzanne was in Greenville, North Carolina. Friday, Dana was in DC; Suzanne was in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

That's all for me... enjoy your weekend!

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Camp Justice

I have a few quick items from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show that took place this week in Las Vegas. First is an interview that Andy Plesser did with John King:

TVNewser caught up with John King to talk to him about the 2008 election and what he expects to be doing next year. The Q & A is available here.

Jeffrey Toobin is a regular contributor to The New Yorker. His latest article, Camp Justice, is about Guantánamo and what is considered as "justice" for the prisoners kept there. The article has been posted to The New Yorker's website.

Other articles that can be found on the New Yorker site by Jeffrey Toobin include: For the Love of Jury Duty, Unforgiven , Where’s Manny?, Fraud Alert, and Death In Georgia. These and other articles are available here.

On today's American Morning, they announced that Kiran Chetry gave birth to a 7 pound baby boy on Thursday night. Christopher Chetry Knowles is Kiran and her husband, Chris Knowles, second child. Their daughter, Maya, is 2 years old.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Wolf Meets The Pope and Ratings

Today during Situation Room Wolf Blitzer spoke with John King about just meeting with Pope Benedict XVI. It is nice to know that Pope Benedict watches CNN like all of us.

Wolf was also joined by Delia Gallagher to discuss the breaking news of Pope Benedict meeting with some of the victims of the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal. It is really unfortunate that we only get to see Delia when it concerns the Pope but she look fabulous and it has been great seeing her. A commentor a few weeks ago when I posted about Delia's birthday asked where Delia has been so I hope you have enjoyed the last few days having her back on CNN.


Can I say the “dog days” of April? You would have to with this past week’s audience performances. Even out of primetime programs are in full malaise with audiences – David Gregory was off from the previous week and HARDBALL is off. In primetime, COUNTDOWN’S rebroadcast at 10PM is down in the dumps, Billo had desertion for most of the week at 11PM in comparison to weeks prior, and 8PM was nothing for him to write home about either. Is the same for CNN? Well, all three programs in primetime have witnessed growth from the week before. Whether or not they are substantial, at least they are up.

Fox News: 460,000
CNN: 201,000*
MSNBC: 315,000

Campbell Brown did double duty for most of the week, anchoring her program at 8PM and subbing for four days for Anderson Cooper at 10PM. Her 8PM numbers are up nicely over the week prior – 34,000 Adults 25-54, but her program is a four day average - it did not air (DNA) on Friday. Billo’s audience was flat with the week prior but once again, audience eroded in the time period over the week and really fell on Friday (321,000). COUNTDOWN was also down for the week also witnessing a weak Friday.

Fox News: 371,000
CNN: 307,000
MSNBC: 154,000*

Fox is down, Larry is up and MSNBC is down. Is there a pattern here? Not really, just typical tune-in, tune-out viewership in a month of little news activity. LKL’s strongest nights were Monday – Wednesday with typical erosion on Friday like every channel except MSNBC. Dan Abrams was ‘way off of his week prior, and he only aired 4 nights. A special documentary and then discussion at 10PM aired on MSNBC – and it was a powerful doc – “Meeting David Wilson.”


Fox News: 285,000
CNN: 264,000
MSNBC: 179,000*

10PM is down for Fox News, CNN is up slightly and MSNBC is flat with the week prior. GRETA barely hit 300,000 and only on one day of the week. Anderson Cooper had subs of Campbell Brown and Erica Hill at 10PM for the five days, and MSNBC’s COUNTDOWN repeat was a four day average with Friday being devoted to a Brian Williams led discussion of the documentary on race. MSNBC has used NBC network news personnel on a regular basis, and I have to say, it definitely attracts audiences. MSNBC with 299,000 took the 10PM time period on Friday even though for the week they were third. GRETA barely squeaked out a win against 360 by only 21,000 viewers. AC360 beat GRETA on three nights (Monday, Wednesday and Thursday) so it was a close contest.

*4 Day Average; program did not air (DNA) Friday.
^Courtesy Nielsen Media Research; Adults 25-54 Live + Same Day (LS); Fast Track Nationals.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Getting to Know Robin

Would you believe all of the pics above are Robin Meade? I didn't believe it either. Here is a really cute videography of Robin including some pics in her early days as well as a chance to see her doggies, house, and learn that Steven King is a fan?!

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