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Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Taliban, al Qaeda, and the Cosmic War ... plus a little swine flu

Welcome to my new day of posting on ATC!

Sunday, Ivan Watson explained why it is that the Taliban has been able to gain such a large following in Pakistan: by promising justice to people who are accustomed to seeing only the wealthy gain from such a concept. And if that means virtual enslavement for the women of the country? Oh well...:

Tuesday, Nic Robertson was on from Islamabad to discuss speculation that Osama bin Laden may be dead. Or not. No one really has a clue. (My money is on not; as Peter Bergen has said, OBL's "martyrdom" for the cause will be big news and will be trumpeted by al Qaeda.)

Wednesday, Cal Perry reported on a series of car bombings in Baghdad, most in the Sadr City section of the city:

Also Wednesday, Reza Aslan was on American Morning to discuss President Obama's first 100 days in office, specifically his outreach to the Muslim world:

And what would this week be without some Swine Flu reports? Monday, Karl Penhaul looked at what the ban on public assembly has meant to the pro soccer games in Mexico City:

And Phil Black reported from the college in Auckland, New Zealand that had 9 students and a teacher show symptoms upon return from a trip to Mexico:

That's all for me today ... Saturday I'll be doing a "Where in the World?" post, and then see you on Monday with more clips!

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

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Out of the Box April 29

Better Late Then Never:

Anderson Cooper:
Anderson Cooper appeared on TNT’s sports show Over Time last Thursday and spoke with Charles Barkley via satalite. Here is a transcript.

Barkley on the Somali pirates: "Why don't they shoot those damn pirates?"

Cooper: "It's a good question, a lot of people have asked about that. They brought (one pirate) to the United States, he was smiling and clearly seemed disoriented; it must have been surreal for him. But I don't know why they don't shoot them or at least arrest them. NATO arrested a couple just the other day and released them so they are back out there doing the same thing."

(Ernie) Johnson on Cooper's Twitter page: "You have 154,000 followers on Twitter and we are on Twitter for the NBA Playoffs. Do you have people Tweeting for you or do you do your own Tweets?"

Cooper: "We have a show (Anderson Cooper 360) Twitter and anytime it's me Twittering, we say that it's me and if it's something about the show, it might be somebody else. If it's from me, I'll say `this is from Anderson' because I wouldn't want anyone Twittering in my place. If you're saying it's from you…you guys might actually have to do this. Not sure if that's the answer you wanted."

Follow Up

Campbell Brown:
Campbell Brown was honored with the Matrix award Monday night. Here is a clip of Campbell’s speech that aired on No Bias, No Bull Monday night.

That is it for me this week hopefully next week we will have some events to share with you all ! Sapphire

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

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ratings For The Week of April 20, 2009

CNN is letting YOU grade President Barack Obama.

Watch The CNN National Report Card: First 100 Days on Wednesday, April 29 (7pm ET) and let your voice be heard. Led by anchors Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, John King and Soledad O’Brien, the show will gauge the public’s opinion on how President Obama and other elected officials have handled their first 100 days in office, as well as how the country is progressing on significant issues.

Throughout the evening, CNN will open up voting on a variety of important topics letting real viewers voice their real thoughts and criticisms. Viewers will be able to share their opinion on, with the results appearing immediately online and on television. In addition to real-time grading on, the “First 100 Days” special report will allow users to watch video and weigh in on stories about the Obama administration in its first 100 days at The special report will feature an issues tracker that examines action on topics such as the economy and health care, a photo gallery from the first 100 days and a quiz, testing readers' knowledge of 100-day events.

Tune into The CNN National Report Card: First 100 Days on Wednesday, April 29th (7pm ET) on CNN. Let your voice be heard.

Ratings for the week April 20, 2009 - April 24, 2009

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

Here's your rundown of last week's cable news ratings for the Adults 25 - 54 demographic:

CNN had a repeat of last week's rankings. At 8PM, they remain in fourth. Even though they only managed a second place finish twice last week, their average ratings for the week are just slightly better than MSNBC to grab second. At 10PM, they were a consistent second.

MSNBC took third place at both 8PM and 9PM and slip to fourth during the 10PM hour.

HLN came in second place at 8PM; fourth place at 9PM; and third place at 10PM.

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

With the news media preparing to grade President Obama on his first 100 days, the Pew Research Center conducted a survey to see grade the news media on their coverage of the new administration.

Here's how the top news networks ranked when asked the following questions:

Which Networks Are
Too Critical of Obama?
And Which Are
Too Easy?
Fox News29%CNN16%
CBS3%Fox News5%

TV Week recently released their TV News' 10 Most Powerful. CNN came in third this year:

3. CNN Team

Jim Walton, president, CNN Worldwide

Jon Klein, president, CNN/U.S.

Ken Jautz, executive VP, CNN Worldwide, responsible for HLN

Can a network be classified as bipolar? Despite the overstuffed pundit panels and Wolf Blitzer’s “best political team on television” tic, CNN’s election coverage was singled out for a Peabody Award and boosted the network to its best year ever in 2008; likewise for CNN HLN (formerly Headline News) and If only the flagship network had been able to entice those viewers to stick around.

The network’s March numbers were still slightly ahead of last year, so CNN is seeing some benefit from the pre-election tune-in. But competitively, CNN’s primetime standing has plummeted as Fox and MSNBC have seen their numbers surge. It frequently finishes fourth in key demos in some timeslots, the only consolation being that one of those it’s losing to is HLN.

CNN argues that it’s the only pure-play hard-news network, and shouldn’t be compared to Fox and MSNBC with their delineated politics in primetime. That might resonate more if only Mr. Klein didn’t undercut the argument by promptly answering “Roger Ailes” when asked at a recent forum to name the “single most important problem” facing his network.

While the primetime lineup still suffers from an identity crisis, there are signs of hope elsewhere on the schedule, including John King’s new Sunday morning show, which has had a promising debut. Meanwhile, HLN is stronger than ever, and any pain of seeing former HLN-er Glenn Beck break out on Fox has been ameliorated by the surprising success that his replacement, Jane Velez-Mitchell, has shown in his slot.

And here's a round up of some of the latest rating related articles:

New York Times: With Rivals Ahead, Doubts for CNN’s Middle Road

CNN has even dipped behind its sister network HLN (formerly Headline News) on many occasions. Since the beginning of 2009, CNN has finished fourth in prime time among the cable news networks on 35 out of 84 weeknights.

The development raises an obvious question: With its rivals stoking prime time with high-octane political opinion and rant, can CNN compete effectively with a formula of news delivered more or less straight?

Executives of competitors and even some of CNN’s own staff members say recent trends suggest the answer may be no.

“The people who watch these channels are news junkies,” said Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC. “They’ve already had access to the headlines all day long on the Internet. In prime time you’ve got to stand out and make a splash.”

One veteran CNN correspondent agreed. “All of a sudden it seems a little unfashionable to be in the middle,” said the correspondent, who requested anonymity in order to speak freely about CNN’s strategy. “I think people are struggling with that.”

CNN’s management disavows any struggles and says it is standing steadfast with its “no bias” strategy. For one thing, they argue, it is effective: CNN’s overall ratings are up from last year, and significantly up over the last three years. More important, they say, profits are up.

Jim Walton, the president of CNN Worldwide, said CNN had posted double-digit profit growth for five straight years. SNL Kagan, a media research firm, backed those growth figures for CNN and estimates that for 2009, earnings for CNN (including HLN) before taxes and depreciation will be about $455 million.

CNN is doing more business in integrated sales to advertisers across platforms that include its widely viewed Web site and its international channel, Mr. Walton said. “Prime time represents only 10 percent of our annual revenue.”

But that 10 percent is still the biggest individual chunk of CNN’s cash flow, and, as competitors like Mr. Griffin eagerly note, CNN has no problem stating how well it does in prime time when it manages to win a night — like election night and inauguration night.

That points to the dilemma facing CNN: It remains the destination of choice when big events are happening. CNN is, Mr. Griffin acknowledged, “the Coca-Cola of news, the greatest news brand in the world.”

But translating that impressive brand value into a winning performance in television’s most competitive and lucrative hours is proving to be a challenge.

... to continue reading ...

MediaWeek: Lofty Ambitions: Fox News Guns for USA Net's Top Rung

While pundits of all stripes will fall all over themselves this week as they try to assess the impact of President Barack Obama’s first 100 days in office, for Fox News Channel there’s nothing ambiguous about what the new administration has delivered…from a ratings perspective, anyway.

Since the inauguration, Fox News commands nearly half of the gross ratings points in the cable news marketplace, and is now on course to mark its tenth straight week as ad-supported cable’s No. 2 network.

Naturally, Fox News says that second place isn’t good enough. Even after taking the silver among ad-supported cable in the first quarter of 2009, averaging 2.26 million total viewers to USA Network’s record delivery of 3.26 million, the channel won’t rest until it has reached the summit. In short, FNC wants to win the prime-time ratings crown outright, and as the upfront season approaches, its ad sales team is trumpeting that message to media buyers.

... to continue reading ...

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

Monday, April 27, 2009

Rotations, Trafficking, and Divorce

Last week, Frederik Pleitgen ended his rotation in Baghdad and flew out to Afghanistan. But he did it in style, aboard a C-17 cargo plane carrying a unit of road-clearing men and machinery into Kandahar. Thursday on NewsRoom, we got a look at what it takes to make such a massive move:

That same day on International's BackStory, a look at the behind-the-scenes hurry-up-and-wait effort that went into making the move. And yes, that is legendary CNN producer Tommy Evans making a rare appearance in front of the camera:

That same day, Cal Perry started his Baghdad rotation covering a dubious report of an arrest (still unconfirmed as of today) and the start of the bloodiest 24 hours Baghdad has seen this year:

Friday, Cal's news from Baghdad was even more grim, and if several months of relative quiet has let you forget what hard news out of Iraq looks like, this will remind you in a hurry:

Back to Afghanistan, as Atia Abawi reports on drug trafficking there and how it is being used as a weapon in a political campaign:

Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia, women become even more disposable, with a court allowing divorce via text message. Mohammed Jamjoom reports:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

From the ATC calendar: Campbell Brown will receive a 2009 Matrix Award tonight at the Waldorf-Astoria.

That's it for me today ... I'm back on Thursday this week, see you then!

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

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Highlights... State of the Union April 26, 2009

On State of the Union with John King this morning, it is day 97 of the Obama administration. The first guest on this morning's program was Senior White House Advisor, Valerie Jarrett. The topics of the interview included: Swine flue outbreak, the torture memos, the bailouts, partisanship in Washington, and diversity in the White House. Jarrett was very clear during the interview about what she would and wouldn't say. For instance, when asked about prosecutions of those responsible for torture 1:

KING: Who should be prosecuted for what. If it's not those who acted on the advice they were given, who were told it was legal, what are we talking about here? Are we talking about the attorney general in the previous administration, the CIA director, Secretary Rumsfeld?

JARRETT: You and I aren't talking about anything. We are going to leave that all up to the attorney general. As you know, the Senate Intelligence Committee is having hearings as well. That is the appropriate place I think for any further investigation. And then the rest we leave to the attorney general.

KING: You have a fascinating job because you have the trust of the president and you have become his conduit to many of the CEOs around America right now. He is dealing with the auto bailout. He is dealing with the financial institutions and the banks. He is in negotiations now over credit card reforms.

And you are the person who is often in touch with these CEOs, getting their advice and telling the administration things, seeking their input. One of the questions on the table is these stress test for all of the banks.


John King spoke with Senators Dianne Feinstein (D), Lindsey Graham (R) and Joe Lieberman (I) about the torture memos, Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

James Carville and Mary Matalin: both political strategists, one a Democrat, the other a Republican, husband and wife, and back again on CNN together. Topics discussed: Gov. Palin's comment regarding President Obama's first 100 days, state of the Republican Party, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's campaign debt. The two wanted to continue on with the discussion as John King attempted to go to a commercial break. Here's a snippet from the discussion about Secretary of State Clinton's campaign debt 1:

KING: Let me -- let me close on a lighter note, and that is, to James, you are a friend of now-Secretary of State Clinton. You were trying to help her retire her campaign debt when she was Senator Clinton...


... running against now-President Obama. And the Clinton campaign organization, trying to reduce its debt, has put out a letter offering people who contribute three potential prizes.

One is a day with former President Clinton in New York City. One is tickets to the "American Idol" season finale. And the third is, spend a weekend in Washington, D.C. with James Carville and Paul Begala.


Mary, you've got the checkbook there?


MATALIN: Oh, well, as you can see, I'd rather be here at Jazz Fest and the Zurich Classic and the Bubba Gump Run. And good luck in Washington with your crazy, loony lefties.


CARVILLE: I don't know.

MATALIN: That's a prize. What's the second prize, James?

CARVILLE: I always insist, the last two words, with Secretary of State Clinton and any conversation we have -- and they have always been, "Yes, ma'am."


So, whatever she wants, I'm delighted to do.

KING: James Carville and Mary Matalin, we are -- we are thrilled to have you back with us, together. We will see you again on "State of the Union" in the near future. Enjoy what looks like a beautiful morning, there in New Orleans.

Howard Kurtz's Reliable Sources started off with a heated discussion on the torture coverage with Dan Lothian, David Frum, Joan Walsh, Chris Cillizza. The next topic was 100-day mania. Frum had an interesting comment 1:

FRUM: Well, when I was asked in the beginning of the administration about press coverage, I predicted that at 100 days, it would subside from the rapturous to the merely worshipful, and it's impressive to see that the press has managed to sustain the rapture for a hundred days.

Here's the thing that people forget about the 100 days. The phrase does not originate with FDR. It originates with Napoleon Bonaparte. A hundred days was the period from Napoleon's escape from Elba to the Battle of Waterloo and the restoration of the Bourbons. In other words, it commemorates overarching hubris ending in total disaster.

Ben Mankiewicz, Steve Lopez, and R. B. Brenner discuss the two movies coming out that have journalists as the main characters: State of Play and The Soloist.

Kurtz talked with Perez Hilton via Skype about his comments on Carrie Prejean's answer at the Miss USA pageant.

In case you missed Reliable Sources, CNN has posted the program to their website:

Former White House insiders: David Gergen, John Podesta (D), Ken Duberstein(R) joined King to discuss Mahmoud Ahmadinejad latest comments about Israel, the torture debate, and the first 100 days.

John King was at Jamm's Restaurant in Las Vegas and discussed Obama's first 100 days as part of his CNN Diner segment.

This week's behind the scenes staff briefing:

Ali Velshi took a look at the administration's first 100 days concerning the economy.

The next panel, consisting of three former or current White House correspondents, Dana Bash, Gloria Borger, and Dan Lothian, discussed: the torture memos, first 100 days, and budget politics.

John King was in Las Vegas last week and spoke with Mayor Oscar Goodman (D) about President Obama's comments about Las Vegas early in his administration as well as the stimulus package.

King's next guest was the official White House photographer, Pete Souza. King talked to Souza about what it was like to have full access to the President. Souza was also the photographer for President Reagan and describes himself as a "visual historian." Here's a clip of the interview: *UPDATED*

The program ran a bit long (about 30 minutes) this morning as it covered the White House Press briefing on the Swine Flu outbreak. King discussed the outbreak with Elizabeth Cohen and Fran Townsend.

In case you missed anything, the following podcasts are available on

State of the Union with John King premiered just a few days prior to President Obama taking office, so as the President comes up on his first 100 days in office, so does the Sunday morning program. Throughout this morning's program, King took a look back at some of the interview and reports that aired. From the start of the program, there has been an emphasis of getting outside the beltway and King has visited 17 states (only 33 states and a hand full of territories to go). Let's take a closer look at how the program has done based on a few statistics:

  • There have been 15 Sunday morning programs (some followed by an abbreviated 8PM ET version) and one one-hour special on
  • There have been 111 guests. 2 Who's been on the program the most:
    • Overall:
      • 10 appearances: Dana Bash and Donna Brazile
      • 9 appearances: Gloria Borger and James Carville
      • 8 appearances: David Gergen and Ed Henry
    • Breakdown of the politicians:
      • 8 Governors
        • 16% of the Governors from the 50 states
        • 4 Democrats
        • 4 Republicans
        • Gov. Jennifer Granholm has appeared three times
      • 9 Representatives
        • 2% of the US House of Representatives
        • 5 Democrats
        • 4 Republicans
        • none making repeat visits
      • 16 Senators
        • 16% of the US Senators
        • 7 Democrats
        • 1 Independent
        • 8 Republicans
        • 5 have been on the program twice
      • 5 Mayors
    • 4 Military Experts (either currently serving or retired)
    • 1 Foreign Leader (this is probably the biggest difference between Late Edition and the current Sunday program)
  • The program has an established format along with regular segments like the CNN Diner, John King's reports from outside the beltway, and a look at what was said on the other Sunday morning programs. The first hour focuses on the big interviews, second hour is Howard Kurtz' Reliable Sources, the analysts come in during the third hour and then four hour typically includes a recap of parts of the first hour along with the last word.
  • State of the Union and Reliable Sources both have Facebook pages that get updated through the week.
  • Howard Kurtz and State of the Union both have active Twitter accounts (John King doesn't seem to be convinced that tweeting a good idea.)
  • State of the Union has a website that is updated weekly.
  • Reliable Sources has a website, but no updates.
  • Both programs have a video podcast that is updated weekly.
  • State of the Union has an audio podcast that is updated weekly.
  • State of the Union frequently gets promoted on both CNN and
  • Howard Kurtz does self promotion on Twitter each week.

I'm not handing out any grades tonight... I'll leave that to you.

1Source: CNN Transcripts of State of the Union with John King, April 26, 2009. 9 AM, 10 AM, 11 AM, 12 PM hours.

2 Guest tally does not including the CNN Diner or out of the beltway reports that had interviews with multiple people.

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

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Taliban Takeover

It's been quite a week in Pakistan, with Taliban forces accepting a "peace" deal with the government in which they would surrender their weapons in return for keeping control of the Swat Valley region, and then the Taliban doing what they always have done in the past: saying thank-you-very-much and continuing to advance.

Tuesday Reza Aslan was on American Morning to discuss the situation with John Roberts and the possibility of the Pakistani government collapsing:

(I'm currently reading Reza's new book -- it is excellent, of course!)

Wednesday John spoke with Ivan Watson in Islamabad, who reported on the overnight move that brought the Taliban within 60 miles of Islamabad:

Later that day, Ivan had a piece on The Situation Room that showed how Islamabad's residents were reacting to the advance:

An interesting piece from International's Jim Clancy that shows how the Taliban really advances -- by using Sharia law to intimidate their way to power:

Friday, Roland Martin spoke with Ivan about the situation on the ground, and with Peter Bergen about the long-term possibility of the Pakistani government collapsing. Ali Velshi and Erica Hill also take part in the conversation:

So, time for a reality check -- just how close to Islamabad are the Taliban forces? Thursday on International's BackStory, Michael Holmes used Google Earth to show just how far that 60 miles "as the crow flies" is -- and a look at the mountainous terrain is quite reassuring. (Well, maybe not if you live there, but...)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Where in the World...?

SATURDAY: Suzanne Malveaux was in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago with President Obama.

MONDAY: John Roberts co-hosted American Morning from Atlanta, where he emceed a fundraiser for the Brain Tumor Foundation for Children. TJ Holmes was in for Heidi Collins.

TUESDAY: Randi Kaye was in Boston to cover the "Craigslist Killer." TJ was again in for Heidi.

WEDNESDAY: Jeffrey Toobin was in San Francisco; Ivan Watson was reporting from Islamabad; Frederik Pleitgen (above) traveled from Baghdad to Kandahar with an Army unit that specializes in clearing bombs from roads... legendary producer Tommy Evans also traveled with him (clips in Monday's post.)

THURSDAY: Cal Perry is back in Baghdad.

FRIDAY: Nic Robertson is back in Islamabad. TJ was in for Rick Sanchez; Dr. Drew was in for Larry King.

That's it for me today... have a great weekend!

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

Friday, April 24, 2009

The First 100 Days and NAB 2009

Time published a photo essay for the President's first 100 Days with a behind the scenes photo essay. Above are two photos that caught my eye. The first is a seating chart from a correspondents luncheon. In attendance at the luncheon were two anchors from CNN: Wolf Blitzer and John King. The second is the result of a few "no blackberry zones" within the White House. Can you imagine the anxiety of those that have to give up their communication devices?

A few highlights from NAB 2009:

First, RTNDA has posted the Insiders’ Look at Washington session that was moderated by John King.

Next, David Bohrman spoke with Broadcasting and Cable:

You are going to be presenting at the NAB Show in Las Vegas next week, can you talk about what you will be discussing there?

I am going to really focus on politics and innovation, and a little bit of evolution of that over the last 50 years. I have some interesting clips going back, from ‘56 and 1960, and there are clear echoes in some of the coverage we did in 2008.

I just looked back at the clip of Douglas Edwards and Univac predicting the 1956 election, and trying to explain how computers work to viewers. Match that up against our Magic Wall with John King, and the level of production and graphics and all the things we have learned over the years and the boundaries we have pushed.

Our first toe into the water with this was in 2004, when I pushed to do the election coverage at the NASDAQ, where we had 72 screens. Visually, it looked very much like 1956 or ‘60, where back then they had a wall of vote boards, and they were fixed-this one was the West, this square was California, there were numbers that were changing but there was no flexibility in it. So we took this idea of a big expansive wall of votes, and brought it to the floor of the NASDAQ, where you had electronic screens, but at the snap of your finger that would also become several live video streams and exit poll graphics.

That sort of environmental graphic look really lead to The Situation Room. It has sort of begun to change daytime cable-very different than a traditional evening newscast with an anchor and a full screen graphic. Then we went with that in 2006 and 2008, where we have multiple vote board and pie charts on the walls, and interactive data, and John King drilling into Indiana, explaining why we are unable to project it while our competitors have, and here is why. The tools have allowed us to be clearer and better.

Which of the technologies that you used during the election got the best reception?

I think the wall with John King. It is a little odd that we call it the "Magic Wall," but that is what it is called. It is one piece of technology that doesn't intimidate or get in the way of what you are trying to explain, whether it is showing Google Earth on a map or county-by-county votes. It was probably the key and most important technology.


How do you think John King has been doing on his new Sunday show?

I think he has been doing great. It is very early in the genesis of the program. I have created a lot of programs over the last 30 years, and I think it is off to a great start. There are some things I know I want to tinker with. Michelle Jaconi, who is the executive producer, has really leapt into it, has very quickly figured out the systems at CNN. And the program is beginning to have a voice that is clearly John's, with a little bit of Michelle mixed in.

I have a list of things I would like to see it do and evolve, but I think it is the program to watch on Sunday mornings, and as we evolve it more and more it will become irresistible.

One of the things I remember from my 13 years at ABC was that Roone Arledge wanted to own Sunday morning, to create the Sunday morning newsmagazine newspaper that modulated and had the biggest guests and interesting stories. I think State of the Union has all the makings of that.

I know he continues to use the Magic Wall on the show. Will we be seeing more tech on the show going forward?

John was very skeptical of the wall, but it just became an extension of his brain. Whether he has the chairman of the joint chiefs or General Odierno [commander of the multinational force in Iraq], you can use those tools and have some of the guests come on and illustrate things and explain their perspective and point of view. It is one of the signature aspects of the program, but it would be a mistake to think it revolves around the wall. It revolves around John; he has a lot of depth and a lot of abilities.

What does CNN have planned for Barack Obama's 100th day in office?

We promised that we would keep them honest, and we will take a look, big stock, at what everyone has been doing-the president, the administration, how congress is doing, how everyone who got elected is doing. Did they live up to their promise? Did they do what they said? What haven't they done? Basically, it will be a report card on how they are doing.

I think it is important for us to keep reminding the viewers of what people promised to do, and reminding elected officials what they said they would do, and then it is our job to keep track and let viewers make decisions. I think it is part of the core of our responsibility to check up on those guys and see how they are doing.

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

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thursday Odds & Ends

TVNewser is reporting that Mary Matalin has signed on as a CNN political contributor.
Matalin will appear on various CNN shows as well as twice monthly alongside her husband, Democratic strategist and fellow CNN political contributor James Carville. Those appearances will be on State of the Union with John King beginning this Sunday. Matalin and Carville appeared together often on Meet the Press during the Tim Russert era.
Matalin was formerly a co-host of CNN's Crossfire and CNBC's (later MSNBC's) Equal Time.
Matalin held White House positions including assistant to President George W. Bush and counselor to Vice President Dick Cheney. She was also a strategist in the 1992, 2000 and 2004 Republican presidential campaigns.

Congratulations go to CNN correspondent Kate Bolduan who recently became engaged.

The ladies of The View each talk one-on-one with Larry King, the week of May 4:

Monday, May 4 / 9:00 pm ET
BARBARA WALTERS (Co-Executive Producer/Co-Host, THE VIEW)
Walters talks with King about news of the day and revisits her book Audition, the riveting memoir culminating over forty years of her interviews with heads of state, world leaders, movie stars, criminals, murderers, inspirational figures, and celebrities of all kinds.

Tuesday, May 5 / 9:00 pm ET
The irrepressible Joy Behar talks with King on Tuesday, May 5, discussing the latest in politics, pop culture and news of the day.

Wednesday, May 6 / 9:00 pm ET
Elisabeth Hasselbeck talks with King about her new book, The G Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide and shares her wisdom about living a gluten-free lifestyle, with tips and personal insights about the diet’s benefits.

Thursday, May 7 / 9:00 pm ET
Larry King welcomes back Whoopi Goldberg, discussing news of the day, as well as Goldberg’s latest children’s book, Sugarplum Ballerinas: Toeshoe Trouble.

Friday, May 8 / 9:00 pm ET
Stand-up comedienne, actress and View co-host Sherri Shepherd discusses news of the day and her experience as the newest addition on THE VIEW, in her first interview with Larry King

That is it for me on Thursday nights. I will be back next week on my new night with another Out of the Box. Until then have a great week ~ Sapphire

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

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Out of the Box April 22

Wolf Blitzer:
Wolf Blitzer will address the winners of the National Peace Essay Contest at a banquet dinner on June 25 in Washington, DC.

Better Late Than Never:

John Roberts:

John Roberts was the Master of Ceremonies on April 19 at a benefit for the Brain Tumor Foundation for Children in Atlanta.

Christiane Amanpour:Christiane Amanpour was a presenter for the Goldman Environmental Prize in San Francisco, Monday, April 20th. The awards, often referred to as the Nobel Prizes of the environmental world, went to activists in six continents who took on everything from toxic chemical dumps in the former Soviet Union to ship-breaking in Asia.

Ms. Amanpour was also an attendee of the Vanity Fair party for the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival at the State Supreme Courthouse on April 21, in New York City.

David Gergen:Gen. David Patraeus answered questions at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. David Gergen was the moderator at the forum on April 21st, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Alina Cho:Alino Cho attended the 6th Annual New Yorkers For Children Spring Dinner Dance at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on April 15th in New York City. Her escort was John Dempsy, President of MAC Cosmetics.

Anderson Cooper:
Anderson Cooper attended the 2009 Preview Gala at Asprey on Thursday, April 17th. He took time to tour the room in the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club show house that was designed by his mother Gloria Vanderbilt.

Follow Up:
Fareed Zakaria:

Dallas News Editor Michael Landauer did a short review of Fareed Zakaria speech to the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth that was held on April 17th at The Fairmont Dallas. To read follow the link.

Things are going to be changing for the summer here at ATA. BA will continue on Sunday and with her ratings post on Tuesdays. Monday and Thursday Cyn will catch you up on CNNi, Where in the World and any other news that has caught her eye. Out of the Box will remain on Wednesday with Sapphire taking over for me and our master researcher, Julie, will be handling a new weekend post that will be online midday Saturday.

While I'll still be handling the email, questions, tips and comments for ATC I won't be doing a weekly blog post. But you can still find me weeknights at ATA.

Speaking of Julie, she's getting married on Saturday. The whole ATA/ATC team send congratulations and wish her all the happiness in the world!

As always much thanks to Julie and to BA for the research help. ~Phebe

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

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ratings for the week of April 13, 2009

Ratings for the week April 13, 2009 - April 17, 2009

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

Here's your rundown of last week's cable news ratings for the Adults 25 - 54 demographic:

CNN was consistently in fourth place during the 8PM hour. At 9PM, they bested MSNBC three out of five nights and come in with the second highest average ratings for the week. CNN/ Larry King versus Ashton Kutcher via twitter does indeed help CNN's ratings. CNN was all over the place during the 10PM hour with three nights in second place; one night in third place, and one night in fourth place. Their three second place finishes were enough to hang on to second place in the week's overall average.

MSNBC took third place at both 8PM and 9PM. During 10PM, they slip to fourth.

HLN had a strong second place finish for the week. At 9PM, they remain in fourth. They were close, but just didn't have enough second place finishes for the week to get above a third place average at 10PM.

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

And this week's ratings related article comes from MultiChannel News:

Already six weeks into the process, Greg D'Alba, executive vice president and COO of CNN Ad Sales, and his team still have miles to go before they wrap up their customized upfront presentations to advertising agencies.

Although tailored to client needs, they're delivering a basic message: CNN, when multiple platforms are tallied, has the widest reach among all broadcast and cable networks and has a package of more than 30 programming specials grouped under nine subject for sale during the 2009-10 season.

The news organization's pitch points to information from the Nielsen TV/Internet Fusion database indicating that in January 27.7 million watched CNN and/or went to CNN Digital Network online. Among that total were 18.2 million persons 25 to 54, the so-called news demo, 15.8 million adults 18 to 49 and 5.3 million persons 18 to 34. Further, within the 25-to-54 set, there were 7.7 million households with annual income exceeding $100,000.

"CNN's trust and credibility delivers an expansive audience that is very engaged in our diverse platforms," said D'Alba, who also noted that CNN had its best first quarter in total day among viewer and the news demo since 2003 and the Iraq War.

CNN said it continues to reach more viewers than Fox News Channel or MSNBC every month. In March, CNN topped the competition in cumulative total viewer audience with 70 million viewers, while Fox News was second with 62 million and MSNBC third with 55 million.

Click here for the rest of the article.

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

Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday catch-up

This morning Kate Bouldan updated the latest information on American journalist Roxana Saberi, who has been sentenced to 8 years in prison in Iran on charges of being a spy:

The Committee to Protect Journalists has several articles
on the Saberi case on their Iran page.

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This morning, John Roberts spoke with Michael Hastings, who has written an article for GQ magazine on the current status in Afghanistan:

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Ben Wedeman reports on a tomb near Alexandria that may hold the remains of Antony and Cleopatra:

Ben's article for is here.

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Finally, from this weekend's edition of Your $$$$$ (and considering the state of the economy, shouldn't that be re-titled $$$ or $$ by now?) Ali Velshi and Christine Romans talk to Richard Quest about internet piracy, car-scrapping schemes, and Susan Boyle:

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Reza Aslan will be on AC360 tonight; he is also on The Daily Show tonight, and his new book is out tomorrow! All good stuff!

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

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Highlights from State of the Union April 19, 2009

This morning's State of the Union with John King started off with a discussion with Department of Homeland Security's Janet Napolitano. They discussed the 14th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing; the release of CIA memos; and from the magic wall they discussed the protection of the border, illegal immigration, and drug & gun trafficking.

Then John King talked with Sen. John Ensign (R) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D). The conversation started off with immigration reform, President Obama speaking with President Hugo Chavez, the CIA memos, same sex marriage, and the Minnesota Senate race (that still hasn't been resolved).

The first panel of the morning included Donna Brazile and Mary Matalin covering the topics of President Hugo Chavez, CIA memos, and same sex marriage.

This week's behind the scenes staff briefing is about the Chesapeake Bay report:

John King reported on the state of the Chesapeake Bay. He talked with Don Pierce, a crabber, as well as Jackie Harmon and Tommy Leggett of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation:

On Reliable Sources, Howard Kurtz started the program off with Amanda Carpenter, Ann Marie Cox, and Frank Sesno. The topics included the coverage of the tea parties (FOX, CNN, MSNBC), and the new first pup. Kurtz also talked with Frank Sesno about his new project with PBS: Planet Forward. The program takes a look at citizen video's as a way to question the White House.

Next up was an interview with Michael Smerconish. Smerconish is a Republican who backed Obama during the primaries. They discussed the state of cable news and talk radio.

Jonathan Martin and Lynn Sweet joined Kurtz to discuss the Minnesota Senate election that continues without a resolution as well as the Newsweek article about Eliot Spitzer, Blagojevich desire to be on a reality TV program, and Texas' session from the union.

If you missed the program, you view the Reliable Sources podcast:

Back to John King with a discussion with (Mary Matalin's other half) James Carville and Bill Bennett. They talked about the CIA memos, right wing extremists, Obama's performance on the international stage, and tax day parties.

John King took the diner segment down to Cape Charles, Virginia to Kelly's Gingernut Pub. They discussed how President Obama has done during his first 100 days.

The next panel of the morning included David Gergen, Stephen Hayes, and Gloria Borger. They analyzed the summit that the President attended, homeland security, and tax day parties.

And then program changes as a result of the President's press conference. A report on the Florida everglades was dropped at the last minute. The panel returned to fill the time until the 35 minute press conference started. After the press conference, John King spoke with Stephen Hayes.

New York Governor, David Paterson, was scheduled to have the last word on the program. This segment didn't air Sunday morning, but it was posted to

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

"Peace" at any price?

Tuesday, Reza Sayah had a report about the "peace" deal between the Pakistan government and the Taliban. Perhaps I have completely misunderstood, but aren't the public punishments and prevention of female education a basic part of the Taliban's interpretation of Sharia law?

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The story of the 8-year-old Saudi girl who was married off by her male relatives has been in the news quite a bit lately and on Tuesday, International's Mohammed Jamjoom spoke to Wolf Blitzer about the legalities of the case:

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Karl Penhaul is back in Bogota after spending several weeks tracking the Mexican drug cartels. Wednesday CNN began airing his report on the traffic in Juarez:

Roland Martin spoke with him live that afternoon:

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This Sunday, Fareed Zakaria has exclusive interviews with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and US "Special Envoy" Richard Holbrooke. Here is a preview of the interview with President Karzai:

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Where in the World...?

SATURDAY: The week began with the pirate/hostage story still dominating the news, and Stan Grant was in Mombasa, Kenya; Barbara Starr in Manama, Bahrain; and Susan Candiotti in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts. Melissa Long was in for Fredricka Whitfield.

SUNDAY: Melissa was again in for Fredricka.

MONDAY: Joy Behar was in for Larry King.

WEDNESDAY: Karl Penhaul was in Bogota, Columbia (above) after spending several weeks tracking the drug cartels in Mexico. Kitty Pilgrim was in for Lou Dobbs; Christiane Amanpour was in for Anderson Cooper.

THURSDAY: Suzanne Malveaux was in Mexico City to cover President Obama's trip; Larry broadcast his program from San Ysidro, California; Candy Crowley was in Evansville, Indiana to cover a speech by Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Kitty was in for Lou.

FRIDAY: Kitty was in for Lou.

Enjoy the weekend!

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