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Monday, June 30, 2008

Anatomy of a Smear

(I just want to point out that whoever Photoshopped the above graphic 
swiped the screengrab I made of Michael for the front page of my site. 
Kinda nervy, under the circumstances!)

Well, I imagine some of you have been wondering what I might have to say about the rather entertaining gossip of the past week. 

The basics of the story were old news to me: a post on a conservative blog on December 3 of last year originally made the allegations, although in a form you would not recognize if you just read the articles this week. 

The original tale had Michael Ware walking in on Lara Logan "entertaining" an unnamed State Department employee in the CBS house in Baghdad. There was no proof, of course; just some supposed water-cooler gossip from CBS, written up by a self-described neocon, and conveniently about two reporters that the neocons just love to hate. The story went nowhere.

Fast-forward to June 17, when Lara appeared on The Daily Show. Among other things discussed, she lobbed some very harsh criticism at the American media coverage of the war, including making a joke about having to threaten to shoot her bureau chief with an RPG to get CBS to agree to run her pieces. (Personally, I thought the joke was pretty tasteless, considering the amount of violence directed at the media over there, but whatever.)

Eight days later, The National Enquirer runs a two-page spread about Lara (since when did she become a celeb?) which quotes the divorce lawyer of the wife of the man with whom Lara was supposedly having an affair.

So the first question is, who tipped the lawyer off to the stale blogpost (which didn't even name her client's husband)?

Second: did you follow that trail? A supermarket tabloid quoted a divorce lawyer citing an anonymous blog post about some office gossip… and we're supposed to assume it's true? Hello?

So how come the rest of the media did? The New York Post isn't surprising, it's a tabloid itself. But HuffPo? WaPo? Network television affiliates? When did the pesky matter of checking facts become such a quaint notion? Oh, wait… as long as you can point to a prior "source" it's okay? 

Granted, the affair itself has apparently been confirmed (supposedly Joe Burkett -- the State Department guy -- named Lara during the divorce hearing) but Michael's role in all of this was solely based on that blogpost. Could it have happened? Sure. Did it? Who knows? Not me. Not the original blog poster, who claimed to have heard it from CBS staff. Not anyone who based their story on that original one. It's not exactly "fruit of the poisoned tree," but it also doesn't pass the whiff test, either.

And y'all do recall that childhood game of Telephone, do you not? What started as Michael and Lara having a "loud and public fight" in the CBS house somehow morphed into "a very Dynasty-like moment" in which the two men "reportedly duked it out at the Baghdad airport!" Uh… wha--?!? Another writer, in a virtual explosion of hyperbole, breathlessly wrote about a fistfight in a foxhole as bullets whizzed by overhead. Mm-hmm. 

The whole thing would just be silly except for the fact that there is a young child involved (the Burketts have a daughter); the entire story spotlights a growing trend of treating random blogs and what used to be called "scandal sheets" as credible equals to established print, electronic, and online media outlets that actually vet their sources (the divorce lawyer even says she intends to introduce the blog post in court!); and the mere possibility that Lara was targeted by her co-workers or employers for being outspoken about the lack of coverage of the Iraq war.

Also, as far as who was or wasn't married or separated … none of my business. (Nor that of anyone other than the parties involved and their spouses.) 

But there is the question of whether this would have been such a big deal if the "homewrecker" had been a male reporter. Granted, Lara makes for a gorgeous pin-up, but we've also seen photos of male reporters and anchors in the tabloids. If, say, Matt Lauer was named as the third party in a divorce case, you think it wouldn't make the Enquirer? (You think they wouldn't pull file photos of him shirtless on a beach and run those with the story?)

Still, if you want evidence of sexism in this case, I suspect you would find it… in the high-fives that Michael is no doubt being offered by his male co-workers these days!

* * * * * 

I'm only including this so you don't spend $3.95 to buy the stupid thing. Be sure to read the last paragraph, you don't want to miss the oh-so-sincere concern the divorce lawyer has for Lara's welfare:

I also have three clips of Lara on my site: in December of 2005 she interviewed Michael for a CBS News story about the Iraqi elections; she also interviewed him as part of her 60 Minutes piece on the Battle of Tal'Afar; and she appeared on Reliable Sources last June to discuss the difficulty she had getting a story about Iraqi orphanages aired.

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

Sunday, June 29, 2008

And The Winner Is...

Last Sunday, I asked who you thought was the better American Morning coanchor. The votes have been ocunted and the results:

Kyra Phillips came out ahead with 69% of the votes.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to leave a comment and vote in the poll!

Former CNN Newsnight anchor, Aaron Brown, is coming back to television on Tuesday, July 1st as the host of "Wide Angle," a weekly foreign affairs documentary series. PBS recently posted a short Q&A with him to their website. Here’s an excerpt of Five Good Answers from Aaron Brown:

What is your take on the news coverage in the run up to the invasion of Iraq?

This is such a complicated question I'm not sure this is the right place to kick it around. So let me just say this: I wish I had done better.
I don't think I did badly, that I made horrible editorial decisions, but I do think they could have been better, that skeptics could have appeared more often and (especially) received better placement in the program.

I think this is generally true in the business but I am a lot more comfortable talking about my own mistakes than others'.

But again, I do believe this whose coverage question is hugely important and very complex and just think there is a better forum than this to deal with its complexity.

What have you missed most since leaving daily broadcast journalism?

Less than I thought.

I miss the staff of course. The people I worked with at CNN were incredible.

For some reason, I missed reporting Virginia Tech. The presidential campaign, of course, has been great fun and great history. I'm not sure I have missed the day to day of it but there were days when it would have been a hoot.

That said, I really like the road life has taken me down and hardly sit around thinking about what I miss. I have far too much.

You're a journalist, but you're also a teacher. What is the single most important piece of advice someone has given you?

If the facts are wrong, the story fails, regardless.

It doesn't matter how well you wrote it, how pretty are the pictures, how wonderful is the editing and producing and all the rest. An error of fact fails the piece.

Below is a preview of Tuesday night’s program: Heart of Darfur: An eyewitness account of the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.

If you don’t have a local PBS station, you can view the program on PBS’ website after it airs.

On Wednesday, John Roberts filled in for Gerri Willis and Ali Velshi on Issue #1. During a news break, Don Lemon questioned if Roberts was up too late:

Also on Wednesday, Kyra Phillips ran into a glitch at the beginning of CNN Newsroom: no script & no teleprompter.

Even members of the best political team on television can get tongue tied over this year’s political season. Wolf Blitzer had fun describing a new politically themed soda.

And my last clip for tonight, Larry King had James Carville on the program and he showed a clip of Luke Russert doing a pretty good imitation of him.

One last item tonight… I found a few high resolution pictures of John King at Sen. Clinton’s June 7th concession speech. Photo credit: afagen. Click on the images to view at their full size.

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

Saturday, June 28, 2008

This Week in Warzones.

Jamie McIntyre had a piece on Lou Dobbs Tonight Tuesday contrasting the war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan:

Here is the full report from Nic Robertson that Jamie referenced:

Meanwhile, two somewhat positive reports from Iraq -- first Jill Dougherty, about a new movement for Iraqi women to receive training in order to work at checkpoints in order to search local women for bombs:

And Morgan Neill has a report about the Explosive Ordinance Detail (the bomb squad, for us non-military types) and the fact that they are getting more down-time these days:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Christiane Amanpour was invited to North Korea for some implosion fun:

...and here is her report on arrival:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Where in the World...?

SATURDAY: Nic Robertson reported from Kabul, Afghanistan; John Vause from Beijing; Matthew Chance from Moscow; and Cal Perry from Beirut.

SUNDAY: Peter Bergen appeared on Late Edition.

MONDAY: Ed Lavendera was in Cedar Rapids, Iowa as flood clean-up began; Morgan Neill reported from Baghdad (video above); Chris Lawrence from Honolulu, Hawaii about the high cost of food there (above); Candy Crowley and Dana Bash were both in The Situation Room; Wolf Blitzer hosted Election Center.

TUESDAY: Nic Robertson phoned in from Kandahar about the airport fire (video above); Jill Dougherty reported from Baghdad about the Daughters of Iraq (video above).

WEDNESDAY: Ted Rowlands reported from Los Angeles about drilling for oil in the city; Ali Velshi reported from Fort McMurry, Alberta about bitumen oil; Christiane was in Beijing en route to North Korea; John Roberts hosted Issue #1.

THURSDAY: Christiane arrived in Pyongyang, North Korea (video above); Suzanne Malveaux was in Honolulu to do reports about Barack Obama's childhood there; Harris Whitbeck reported about the drug wars in Mexico City.

FRIDAY: Candy was in Unity, New Hampshire for the "Kumbaya rally," but back in DC in time for Election Center and AC360.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

That's it for me today, and I'm late for work (...again!!)

Monday I'm planning a Very Special Post ... and I am really looking forward to writing it!!

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

Friday, June 27, 2008

Decisive Poll of Polls

CNN Digital Network Takes No. 1 Spot for 11th Consecutive Month

Coverage of Presidential Primary, Natural Disasters Drive Record Video Streams and International Traffic

Continuing its No. 1 ranking in total minutes for the 11th month in a row, the CNN Digital Network maintained the top spot among all News and Information properties. May also was a record-setting month for in terms of international traffic as well as the number of online video streams served.

According to Nielsen Online, CNN Digital Network generated 1.3 billion gross usage minutes in May, establishing a powerful lead among other News and Information properties and finishing ahead of MSNBC Digital and the Weather Channel. With access to a variety of multimedia storytelling formats, including articles, video, photo galleries, interactives and user-generated content, more people spent more time on than any other news and information site.

In May, kept its global users informed of the latest developments surrounding two devastating natural disasters: the cyclone in Myanmar and the earthquake in China. During the month, Myanmar-related coverage generated more than 12.5 million page views; while reporting about the earthquake in China and the tens of thousands it affected received 9.9 million page views. (Source: Omniture SiteCatalyst, U.S. and International editions combined).’s reporting on these tragic events yielded record traffic for its international edition.

Setting a record for its highest month ever, served 116.7 million video streams, including nearly 4 million live streams from Live, the network’s live, multi-stream video news service. These numbers also reflect strong growth for the international edition of, where video usage is up 250 percent compared to this time last year. The Democratic National Committee rules meeting on May 5 regarding the fate of Florida and Michigan delegates and the Democratic primaries on May 31 for Indiana and North Carolina yielded the strongest days for Live. (Source: Omniture SiteCatalyst, U.S. and International editions combined).

As a key component of CNN’s dedicated “Issue #1” coverage of the economy, – CNN’s exclusive business site and the online home of FORTUNE, MONEY and FSB: FORTUNE Small Business magazines – is up 16 percent year-to-date in total minutes versus the same period last year. It has also grown its unique visitor base by 20 percent year-to-date versus the same period last year according to Nielsen Online.

According to Nielsen Mobile, CNN Mobile remains the No. 1 mobile Internet news provider taking the top ranking for the 19th month in a row, with 8.2 million unique visitors.

CNN's legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, is a fountain of wisdom at times. This clip is from The Situation Room.

I'm in complete agreement with him about those June polls!

Toobin writes for the New Yorker, his most recent article starts off like this:

A sign inside the front door of Miami Velvet, a night club of sorts in a warehouse-style building a few minutes from the airport, states, “If sexual activity offends you in any way, do not enter the premises.” At first glance, though, the scene inside looks like a nineteen-eighties disco, with a bar, Madonna at high volume, flashing lights, a stripper’s pole, and a dancer’s cage. But a flat-screen television on the wall plays porn videos, and many clubgoers disappear into locker rooms and emerge wearing towels.

Not what you were expecting? The article is about Roger Stone who has been involved in Republican politics for several decades. The Dirty Trickster: Campaign tips from the man who has done it all follows Toobin as he interviews Stone and also provides several of Stone's "rules."

One more Jeffrey Toobin clip, this one also from The Situation Room. Wolf Blitzer is talking with Jack Cafferty, but keep an eye on Toobin who doesn't realize he's on the air.

One reminder, the poll that I posted on Sunday, What's Missing In The Morning? is still open. The question at hand: Who’s the better co-anchor on American Morning?

Kiran Chetry

Kyra Phillips

The poll is completely anonymous and it will be open for votes through noon (ET) on Sunday, June 29th. Results will be posted on Sunday night.

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

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sanjay's Busy Weeks and Clips

Dr. Sanjay Gupta has a full schedule for the next couple of weeks according to two CNN press releases.

CNN’s Fit Nation Team Steps Up to Build New Orleans Playground
CNN, Cox Communications Provide Money, Manpower to KaBOOM! to Fix Katrina-Damaged Playground

CNN and Cox Communications New Orleans recently made a contribution to KaBOOM!, a national non-profit organization that empowers communities to build playgrounds, to continue their long-term commitment to the renewal of the New Orleans community after Hurricane Katrina. CNN’s Fit Nation, a multi-platform initiative to stop obesity, will launch its first activity in 2008 at Pontiff Park in Metairie, La., to emphasize the benefits of a healthy lifestyle as the region continues its recovery from nearly three years ago.

As part of that contribution, CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and other CNN employees will join volunteers from the community and Cox Communications New Orleans to rebuild the playground at Pontiff Park on Saturday, June 28, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (CT). The park design is based on drawings provided by children from the community who attended a KaBOOM! “Design Day” event in April.

Gupta will also tape House Call with Dr. Sanjay Gupta from the build site, interviewing local community leaders who come out to help. House Call is a program dedicated to the latest health and medical developments and airs on Saturdays and Sundays from 7:30 to 8 a.m. (CT).
“I had the opportunity to see the destruction Katrina caused first-hand while I was reporting from New Orleans after the hurricane,” Gupta said. “I’m glad that Fit Nation can contribute to the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast region by creating a space for the community to use in achieving an active lifestyle.”
Hurricane Katrina damaged the park when five feet of water covered the grounds for nearly two weeks. The new playground will provide more than 10,000 children annually with a place to play in Jefferson Parish.

Video excerpts of the build will appear on, which also includes an interactive special section featuring fitness success stories, tips for staying fit and weekly updates from Gupta and CNN’s medical unit.

The playground build marks the first Fit Nation activity in 2008. CNN’s Fit Nation initiative began in 2006 as an ongoing multi-platform initiative to stop obesity and encourage healthier lifestyles. Over the past two years, Fit Nation and Gupta have traveled across the country engaging people in their own communities to get more active and develop local programs to meet the challenges of being overweight. In July and August, the Fit Nation mobile tour will visit cities across the United States, including Dallas, Seattle, Minneapolis, Minn., and Columbus, Ohio.

CNN to Focus Spotlight on Saving World’s Children with Global Broadcast
Dr. Sanjay Gupta Anchors July 6 Special with UNICEF Ambassador Lucy Liu, Musician Joel Madden

CNN will focus a lens on the world’s children in harm’s way and examines child survival issues in-depth during its global broadcast, The Survival Project: One Child at a Time. Anchored by CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the special will focus on healthcare, education, water sanitation and protection from violence for children. UNICEF ambassador Lucy Liu and Good Charlotte musician Joel Madden join Gupta as panelists for the program and speak about their experiences with UNICEF. Following recent crises in Myanmar and China, CNN viewers moved by the devastating stories and images are looking for ways to help. In May, the month of the devastating natural disasters in both nations, the “Impact Your World” special section on more than doubled the previous month’s page view numbers for users looking for information on how to help. Shot in high-definition television before an audience at the Alliance Theater inside Atlanta’s High Museum of Art, The Survival Project: One Child at a Time will premiere on Sunday, July 6, at 8 p.m. and will replay at 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. All times Eastern. The broadcast will be simulcast on CNN and CNN International.

Clay Aiken, Dayle Haddon, Joel Madden, Ne-Yo, Nicole Ritchie, Al Roker, Marcus Samuelsson and Amare Stoudemire appear in special video diaries of their volunteer experiences and encourage viewers to help children around the world.

For the first time since the United Nations began tracking child mortality, the number of children who die each year before their fifth birthday has dropped below 10 million. Bringing the stories of these children to CNN viewers from four continents, Gupta and international correspondents Wilf Dinnick, Jill Dougherty and Dan Rivers will brief viewers on the challenges that remain to save more lives through the innovative works of organizations such as UNICEF. The United Nations Children’s Fund operates in more than 150 countries in an effort to reduce the child mortality rate everywhere.

Gupta will report on the 1,500 children who live with HIV/AIDS in Peru, as well as those orphaned by the disease. From Laos, Rivers will report on the impact of the second largest worldwide killer of children under age five – a lack of clean drinking water. Dougherty will report from Baghdad on children who have been displaced due to war and conflict. Dinnick will report from Ethiopia on how vaccinations and nutritional supplements are saving the lives of children and pregnant women.

ATC sends belated birthday wishes to Rob Marciano who celebrated his birthday on Wednesday June 25th.

Time for clips from CNN programming this week.

Betty Nguyen, TJ Holmes and Fredricka Whitfield during Saturday's News Room discussed the possibility of clothing optional newscast.

On Sunday's Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer, Wolf ended his show by fulfilling a request from Luke Russert, son of the late Tim Russert.

During the tease for Situation Room on Monday Kyra Phillips and Don Lemon asked Wolf about his love for dogs. After the tease Susan Lisovicz joined the conversation.

During Situation Room, Jack Cafferty shared with Wolf what he did on his day off. Sounds like Jack did not enjoy this activity as much as I did when I did it.

Thursday's American Morning had John Roberts, Kiran Chetry and Allen Chernoff discuss gas and beer. I have to agree with John's remedy but to be honest the Canadian beer from John's yesteryear would probably work better.

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

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Getting to Know.....Betty Nguyen

1. When did you decide that you wanted to be a journalist? What attracted you to this professional? If journalism wasn't your initial career goal, what was?
Nguyen: I initially planned on becoming an attorney but, after working at a law office in high school, I realized it just wasn’t for me. What I did enjoy – were my classes in debate and drama – and we all know TV news has a lot of both. I also had a passion for writing. So once the idea of becoming a journalist crossed my mind, there was no turning back. I was sold.

2. What was your big break (or are you still waiting for it)?

Nguyen: So far, CNN has been my big break. I didn’t even apply at the network. Here’s how it happened: I was leaving a job fair at a journalism convention in San Diego when I passed by the CNN booth. The Talent Director asked if I had a resume tape and luckily I had one left. I handed it to him and headed out the door, not thinking anything would come of it. A few months later, he called while I was working for the CBS affiliate in Dallas and asked if I wanted to audition for CNN. That was an easy answer.

3. Who was your mentor?
Nguyen: There have been numerous people throughout my career who’ve given me guidance like college professors, newsroom managers, and other journalists. I’ve never been shy about asking for advice.

Vino Wong/AAJA Atlanta

4. What's on your iPod? What's in your Netflix queue? What was the last book you read (or the one that you're currently reading)?
Nguyen: Estelle, Mary J, Kanye…Dave Matthews, Robin Thicke, John Legend. It varies but the majority is R&B and rap. I don’t get Netflix, VOD, or anything of that. Honestly, I rarely have time for a movie. However, I did finish reading The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran and I’ve started on Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth.

5. Please tell us a little about the off camera Betty. Your family, hobbies, favorite authors, favorite episodic television, things in your life that you are the most proud of, etc.

Nguyen: When I’m not working, I’m usually on a plane somewhere. I love to travel. Whether it’s Phuket, Cabo, Montego Bay or Nha Trang – I haven’t met a beach I didn’t like. I also try to spend time with my family in Texas. My little sister is still in high school so I make a point to get home as often as I can. There’s not much time for TV shows. I’ll catch a few episodes of Lost or Brothers & Sisters every now and then. I used to make a point to watch 24 but Jack Bauer seems to be MIA. These days I dedicate a lot of my free time to Help the Hungry, a non-profit my family and I founded to assist poverty-striken families. Right now, we’re gearing up for a humanitarian aid trip to Vietnam later this summer.

6. You have made it a life mission to give back to your homeland. Can you tell us a bit about the charity work you support?
Nguyen: When my Mother and I returned to Vietnam for the first time since fleeing the war, the poverty, hunger and despair was still very evident. I couldn’t help but think that could be me. In the rural areas of Vietnam, families have little more than grass huts with dirt floors and hardly enough food to survive. Combine that with the annual monsoons and the destruction is both devastating and deadly. Something had to be done. Help the Hungry is the result of a simple passion to assist those in need by providing food, clothing, medicine and other basic essentials. But here’s the beauty of it – the people we help are the ones who give a much greater gift to our volunteers and donors. We’re able to see, first hand, the smiles of a hungry child, tears of joy from worried parents, and relief in the eyes of the elderly. Help the Hungry’s mission is more than just delivering aid, it’s about experiencing life in a meaningful way. If you’d like more information, please go to

7. What's your favorite must have gadget?
Nguyen: My blackberry. I feel lost without it. There has to be some kind of treatment for this problem.

Vino Wong/AAJA Atlanta

8. Live television can be unpredictable- can you tell us about an on air moment that didn't go quite as planned or went awry?
Nguyen: Can be unpredictable? It’s often unpredictable. That’s what makes it both fun and frustrating. One of the more memorable moments happened during breaking news. I was about to do an interview with a foreign official. With just seconds to spare, I was still waiting to hear how to say this person’s last name. It was spelled Dikshit. Now that’s one you don’t want to mispronounce.

9. What's been your most difficult assignment as a journalist to date?

Nguyen: I remember holding a small child who got lost during Hurricane Katrina. Every time a young woman walked by, she held out her arms and cried “Momma”. I later learned her mother was just 13 years old. So essentially, you had a lost child looking for a lost child. I also don’t think I’ll ever forget my assignment in Sierra Leone, Africa – the world’s poorest country. I met people who had both arms hacked off by rebels during a decade of civil war. They were so eager to have a voice in their country’s Presidential election that one man showed me how he planned on voting with his toes.

10. If you could pick one story from history to cover, what would be your dream story be?Nguyen: Looking back through history, there are many stories that have had a profound effect on our lives. But personally, I would not be where I am today had my family not fled to the U.S. as Saigon was falling to communism. Too young to remember any of it, I would love to document my mother’s harrowing journey. Like thousands of others, she faced heart-wrenching decisions and harsh conditions in order to give her family a shot at freedom and opportunity in a place called America.

11. What is your guilty pleasure?
Nguyen: I don’t splurge on much but I’m a sucker for designer handbags.

12. Where is your favorite place in the entire world to vacation?

Nguyen: I couldn’t possibly pick just one. There’s just so much out there to see that I try not to vacation in the same place twice. Some of my favorite cities include:
Monaco, France
Cape Town, South Africa
Venice, Italy
Barcelona, Spain
Phuket, Thailand
Saigon, Vietnam

Thank you so much to Betty for taking the time to answer our questions. It's really a great treat for our favorite CNN personalities to give us a peek behind the scenes.

If you have any requests or suggestions for future q & a's please email us at ~Phebe

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

John King & Dana Bash - Married

John King Dana Bash wedding May 25, 2008John King Dana Bash wedding May 25, 2008John King Dana Bash wedding May 25, 2008

CNN's John King & Dana Bash were married on May 25, 2008 at the Wequassett Inn in Cape Cod. We came across this beautiful video from the special day.

Congratulations, John & Dana!

Related Posts:

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Ratings At A Glance

Ratings for the week JUNE 16, 2008 - JUNE 20, 2008

Adults 25-54
Adults 25-54
Adults 25-54

This week, FOX is back on top during the 8PM and 9PM hours. CNN took the 10PM hour for the week.

Friday night, CNN had interesting ratings. They were second behind MSNBC during the 9PM hour, won the demo during the 10PM hour, and came in a close second behind FOX during the 11PM hour. But the percentage of viewers Adult 25 - 54 compared to total viewers was high.

  • 9PM hour: 48%
  • 10PM hour: 45%
  • 11PM hour: 52%

^ Courtesy Nielsen Media Research; Demographics where noted; Live + Same Day (LS) Fast Track Nationals.

The poll that I posted in my Sunday night post, What's Missing In The Morning? is still open. The question: Who’s the better co-anchor on American Morning?

Kiran Chetry

Kyra Phillips

The poll is completely anonymous and it will be open for votes through noon (ET) on Sunday, June 29th. I’ll post the final results in Sunday night’s post.

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

Monday, June 23, 2008

Keeping Track

As promised, today I have updates on several hot-spots that CNN has been covering. First, Nic Robertson returned to Kabul to learn what is happening there with the resurgence of the Taliban. His first report aired Thursday on American Morning:

On Friday, AM ran a behind-the-scenes piece showing Nic's trip from London to Dubai to Kabul. He was calling in reports less than an hour after landing in Afghanistan, as his team loaded up their gear:

(Nic also wrote a blog piece about arriving, which included this:
Barely four hours in our hotel and we discover the Taliban have issued a direct threat against it, starting that day for the next 48 hours. Such is the credible weight of their propaganda these days that we quickly move out.

Rumors we quickly discover are rife. One of the latest doing the rounds is that Westerners are now targets for kidnappers. For money or political zeal, whatever wind was in my sails when I blew in to town is rapidly emptying.

Was the threat real? We don’t know. The 48 hours are up and the hotel hasn’t blown up yet.
Read his full entry here.)

On Saturday, Nic was doing reports live, and recapped that June has so far been deadlier to Coalition forces in Afghanistan than it has been in Iraq:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Also Thursday, Michael Ware had a report that summed up Iranian influence in Iraq and how the so-called "Special Groups" are attacking our troops. It is an absolutely chilling look at what our soldiers and marines face every day:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Cal Perry reported from Beirut during NewsRoom on Saturday regarding Israel's war exercise that seems to have been rather pointedly based on Iran's uranium processing plants:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

On Sunday, Peter Bergen was one of the guests on Late Edition, speaking here about why the new government in Pakistan is talking about negotiating with the Taliban...:

...and later discussing a recent trip he made to Iraq:

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

What's Missing In The Morning?

American Morning

My post tonight is going to be a bit more op ed than normal. This does not mean that the views expressed here reflect those of everyone who contributes to AllThingsCNN- these are mine.

Over the last year, I’ve started watching CNN’s American Morning on a regular basis. That alone is a credit to AM. I’m not exactly what you would call a morning person. Most people don’t attempt to approach me until after they’ve seen proof that I’ve started on my third cup of coffee.

I tend to highlight the lighter moments of the program in some of my posts but the program delivers a good balance of news, politics, weather, interviews, and information that you can use. John Roberts isn’t a stranger to the morning anchor chair. Add to that the time he spent as a White House correspondent and it’s not hard to see why he’s the right person for the program. Whether he’s interviewing an Washington insider, a person having breakfast in a diner on the day of a primary, or someone who just lost their home in a disaster he asks the right questions and provides the viewers with the information that they need for the day.

American Morning regulars like Ali Velshi, Lola Ogunnaike, Alina Cho, Sunny Hostin, Veronica De La Cruz, Sanjay Gupta, and Rob Marciano give the program depth and makes the morning a little bit more interesting.

While watching America Morning this week, there seemed to be something missing. I will admit, I’ve never been Kiran Chetry’s biggest fan, but up until this week there was never anything substantive that I could point to that would back my whining. My primary criticism is that she's just not the same caliber of journalist as John Roberts or the AM regulars. But did that really matter?

Kyra Phillips temporary assignment to the AM anchor chair answered my question on whether it mattered. Here’s a veteran journalist who is very capable not only at the anchor desk, but also with field reporting and long format programs like the Special Investigations Unit program about the Jena 6. Her credentials aside, for the eight weeks that she was there, American Morning was an overall better program. From her first week on AM, she looked like she belonged there and if you had never seen the program before, you could've easily have mistaken her for the regular anchor. Her absence this week was noticeable and for lack of a better word- the program seemed a bit bland in comparison.

So, my question to you tonight: Who’s the better co-anchor on American Morning? Kiran Chetry or Kyra Phillips?

Kiran Chetry

Kyra Phillips

The poll is completely anonymous and I’ll leave it open through noon (ET) next Sunday. Cast your vote. Let me know what you think. I’ll post the final results in Sunday night’s poll.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Saturday stew

I have quite a variety of clips to share today, so let's start serving them up:

First is Dr. Sanjay Gupta's PiP report about monkey pox, which aired Tuesday on American Morning:

Also Tuesday, NewsRoom ran a clip in conjunction with the start of the same-sex weddings in California -- a brief look at gay rights in different countries around the world. Hugh Riminton reports from Hong Kong, David McKenzie from Nairobi, and Cal Perry from Beirut:

Thursday, Christiane Amanpour spoke with Kiran Chetry about North Korea's nuclear program:

Miles O'Brien was back on the American Morning set on Friday to talk about the discovery of life -- or at least ice -- on Mars:

Also on Friday, Ali Velshi spoke with Wilf Dinnick via broadband as the Saudis prepare to host an unprecedented meeting between countries that produce oil and those that consume it:

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Where in the World...?

SATURDAY: Dan Simon was in Des Moines, Iowa, while Sean Callebs and Jim Acosta were in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to cover the flooding; Miles O'Brien was in Atlanta to cover the Discovery landing.

MONDAY: Sean Callebs and Allan Chernoff were in Iowa City, Iowa for flood coverage; Ted Rowlands was in San Francisco for the first gay marriages there; Candy Crowley was in The Situation Room; and Kiran Chetrey was back on American Morning.

TUESDAY: Ed Lavendera was in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Sean Callebs was in Burlington, Iowa; and Allan Chernoff in Lone Tree, Iowa. Also, Kyra Phillips returned to co-anchoring NewsRoom (although from NYC) and Anderson Cooper returned to anchor AC360.

WEDNESDAY: On flood watch, Sean Callebs was in Des Moines, Iowa; Allan Chernoff was in Oakville, Iowa; and Drew Griffin was in St Louis, Missouri. John King reported from Hanoi, Vietnam as he covered Cindy McCain's trip to that country.

THURSDAY: Nic Robertson reported from Kabul, Afghanistan; Chris Lawrence reported on the rise in food prices in Honolulu, Hawaii; Suzanne Malveaux was in The Situation Room to discuss the Obama campaign; Wolf Blitzer hosted Election Center (as he also would Friday).

FRIDAY: Ed Lavendera was in Clarksville, Missouri as the flood water moved south; Wilf Dinnick reported from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia at the meeting of oil producing/consuming countries; Dana Bash (above) was with the McCain campaign in Ottawa, Ontario.

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That's it for me today... hope you enjoyed the varied flavors today! Peter Bergen is scheduled to be a guest on Late Edition tomorrow, so Monday, I will have that clip, as well as clips from Nic Robertson in Afghanistan and Michael Ware in Iraq. Sounds like a special Global War on Terrorism edition...

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Rock It, Baby!

As we mentioned in an earlier post, John King was reporting from Vietnam this week. has posted two of the reports. The first one is from the National Military History Museum in Hanoi.

The second video is of John King’s interview with Cindy McCain:

Earlier this week, CNN's Christiane Amanpour attended the 67th Annual Peabody Awards at the Waldorf Astoria in New York. She received an award for God’s Warriors.

TVWeek had an article about this years Peabody award receipients. Amanpour mentions in the article that God's Warriors has not been released on DVD because CNN has been unable to get rights to some of the historical footage.

I have had the song Home Sweet Home going through my head ever since I found out that Larry King was interviewing Motley Crue about their new album on Larry King Live Friday night. There are few people who are just as comfortable interviewing world leaders & politicians as they are hard rock legends. Larry King got to go behind the scenes and play drums and guitar with Motley Crue. Here are a few clips from the program:

“Rock it, baby” so says Larry King.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Fun Clip Thursday

Tonight I thought I would share some great moments from CNN this past week.

Last Friday was Kyra Phillips last day of filling in for Kiran Chetry while Kiran was out on maternity leave. With the rising cost of airline tickets and new luggage charges, master of the prop, Ali Velshi brought out one of Kyra's suitcases to get the point across.

Friday brought us the third installment of the Washington Trio's reports (Zain Verjee, Tom Foreman and Jamie McIntyre). At the end of the piece Zain Verjee joined John and Kyra. What happened next has to be one of the funniest intros I have ever seen. Also the best reaction award goes to John Roberts. This clip is so funny it was Jon Stewart's moment of zen Wednesday night.

John began and ended Friday's American Morning letting the viewers know it was Kyra's last day on American Morning. Only Kyra would add her own flare to the fist bump.

Monday morning was Kiran Chetry's first day back on the job after her two month maternity leave. The end of the show had some cute pictures of Kiran's two beautiful children. Phebe posted the first pics of baby Christopher and he has certainly grown since those pictures were taken

Thursday morning John Roberts learned how freeing not wearing pantyhose is to women. Seems that Kiran, Heidi Collins and Tony Harris have a good laugh.

You know we are living in a world when people are introduced as a web address. Ali Velshi and Poppy Harlow had a cute moment during Issue #1's Quick Vote segment.

I did check and as of this posting no one has bought that site domain name.

Every afternoon edition of CNN News Room ends with the closing bell on Wall St. Before the closing bell a piece aired on people who spend $15 on a single cup of coffee. Betty Nguyen, Don Lemon and Stephanie Elam discussed the idea out this "expense"

What would a week be hear at ATC with a Daily Show with Jon Stewart clip regarding something that aired on CNN. Jon was covering the coverage of the Midwest floods. Gary Tuchman, Don Lemon and Susan Roesgen all made appearances.

Hope you enjoy these light hearted moments from this past week in CNN. Until next week ~ Sapphire

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