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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Your Views On The News March 23, 2010

John King's new program debuted last night, did you watch it? What did you think?
Also curious about your opinions on the Washington Post column on Christiane Amanpour's move to ABC News. Here's the place to put your views on the news.

By Tom Shales
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
If being the moderator of "This Week," ABC's Sunday morning news-talk show, required Senate approval, then journalist Christiane Amanpour -- recently named by ABC News President David Westin to take over the job -- would already be in big trouble.
In a way, Amanpour, scheduled to leave CNN after 18 years of international coverage and take over the program in August, could be seen as the opposite of the perfect candidate. "This Week" deals mainly in domestic politics and inside-the-Beltway palaver, an area where Amanpour is widely considered to deficient. Consider: Whenever CNN has thrown one of its big election-night, convention, or presidential debate spectaculars, drafting nearly every living staff member to appear, Amanpour has had a conspicuously low profile.
And even though Amanpour has often been touted for her expertise on foreign affairs, she has vocal and passionate critics in that arena as well. Supporters of Israel have more than once charged Amanpour with bias against that country and its policies. A Web site devoted to criticism of Amanpour is titled, with less than a modicum of subtlety, "Christiane Amanpour's Outright Bias Against Israel Must Stop," available via Facebook.
Amanpour grew up in Great Britain and Iran. Her family fled Tehran in 1979 at the start of the Islamic revolution, when she was college age. She has steadfastly rejected claims about her objectivity, telling Leslie Stahl last year relative to her coverage of Iran: "I am not part of the current crop of opinion journalists or commentary journalists or feelings journalists. I strongly believe that I have to remain in the realm of fact."
The conservative Media Research Center, on its NewsBuster blog, claims Amanpour has the "standard liberal outlook on the world," but then there don't seem to be many journalists that conservatives do not consider liberal
The group called Westin's selection of Amanpour to anchor "This Week" a "bizarre choice," but had also knocked her predecessor in the job, George Stephanopoulos, who has since moved on to "Good Morning America" and who previously worked to elect Bill Clinton and served in his White House.
As if outside opposition to Amanpour weren't enough, ABC News is practically in a state of internal revolt over her selection, according to such industry-watchers as TV Newser, which quotes ABC insiders as resenting Westin's hiring of a highly paid celebrity interloper for a job that many thought would go to White House correspondent Jake Tapper or to "Nightline" co-anchor Terry Moran. Either would have made a better "This Week" anchor, and neither would put ABC News in the position of having to rationalize spending big bucks on an superstar while making brutal cutbacks in the division.
Referring to the ABC staff as "too demoralized to care" about the nomination, an unnamed network veteran told TV Newser, "The appointment of Amanpour is a sideshow" because "the future of a Sunday morning talk show is trivial to people who believe they have no future at ABC News."
In defense of ABC, morale is hardly sky-high at any of the network news departments as personnel pruning continues and the news divisions try to deal with changes in TV technology and the exploding proliferation of news sources thanks to cable and the Web.
ABC News executives apparently see the future as belonging to so-called "backpack journalists" who can lug video equipment around and shoot their own reports -- much like a character once devised and played by Al Franken (now a congressman, of course) on "Saturday Night Live." Franken's jerk-of-all-trades one-man news bureau even had a small satellite dish on his head.
Giving Amanpour the "This Week" job seems like one more bitter pill for ABC professionals to swallow, even as they overdose on all the others they've been forced to gulp down. After artfully orchestrating a smooth transition from Charlie Gibson to Diane Sawyer on ABC's "World News," Westin now seems to have ended his winning streak with a resounding clunk.
From many angles, it was a bad choice -- one which could create so much consternation that Westin will be forced to withdraw Amanpour's name and come up with another "nominee" for the job. That would hardly be a tragedy -- considering how many others deserve it more than she does.

King did a recent interview with and talked of his new set, philosophy of the program, etc.

K.I.N.G. in the USA
by Joseph Hudak March 22, 2010 08:47 AM EST

Armed with his innovatively high-tech Magic Wall, CNN’s John King broke out as one of the most versatile reporters to cover the 2008 presidential election. Now, the politically minded anchor aims to break down the wall separating Everyday America from the D.C. Beltway with his new nightly series John King, USA—premiering tonight at 7/6c on CNN.

“We want to cover politics in an accessible way, and by that I mean not being held hostage to the language of Washington. We want to take people behind the curtain,” King tells “The biggest challenge to our business right now is to be relevant, because people are so busy and have so many choices.” It’s those very choices that make modern-day U.S. citizens among the most well-informed, King believes. “If you’re watching a cable news program at that time of night, you probably have a pretty good sense of what already happened that day. You log on at work, you get breaking news alerts, or you listen to the radio on the drive home,” he says. “So we have to tell them something they don’t know or that gives them new insight.”

According to King, that insight may come from an auto mechanic in Detroit or a farmer in Nebraska. “We make the mistake of sometimes reporting based on who is winning in Washington: Is it a good day for the Democrats or for the Republicans?” admits King. “I want to ask what the impact is on the person whose tax dollars or healthcare is at question. We have to put the people back in.”

The series also aims to make people feel at home, with a new, loose-feeling set that King says is different than anything currently on CNN. “It’s a mix of living-room comfort and fantastic technology,” he says, revealing his new Kingdom will boast an updated Magic Wall, a 103” plasma touch screen, and assorted personal trinkets—like items from the Massachusetts native’s baseball collection. “I’m a Red Sox fan, so the first big challenge will be to check our ratings in New York,” laughs King, who nonetheless may have a homerun on his hands thanks to USA’s homespun mission.

“Washington is a very fascinating place, but there are decisions being made in city halls and at kitchen tables all around this country that are just as important as anything happening here,” he states emphatically. “We have to cover all of it.”

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Anonymous said...

The show was terrible. I was bored to tears. I want CNN to succeed but if they keep this crap it, they won't.

Anonymous said...

CNN needs to make a decision. Which is more
important? Obama signing an historic health
care bill or what the Republicans are doing ?
CNN is devoting more coverage to the antics
of the Republicans and keeps stating the myth
that the people don't want health care. CNN
had more than 3 million viewers when the
bill passed and it was their highest numbers
all day long and the only time they topped
Fox. They really need to take a look at Gallup
to discover they are way off. People approve
49-40 that is a big change. For CNN the
rhetoric seems to be more important than
the reality.

Anonymous said...

I am very disappointed in CNN. Today
the described brick and objects being thrown
though the window of Democrats as outrage.
Last time I checked that is a crime. Does
anyone at CNN have a brain these days.
Thank goodness for MSNBC to expose the
real deal because CNN is clueless.

Anonymous said...

I think John King's program has some potential, and I like the informal setting for discussion. But he is a talent that is being wasted. CNN should have kept him in SOTU and added Candy Crowley as a correspondent or an additional anchor. SOTU was far more interesting with John traveling the country, than Candy's political theme each Sunday.
The NYPost is reporting that Christiane has been acting the part of the "Diva" because she wouldn't begin work for ABC until August. She vacations in France each summer and will not begin work until then.

Anonymous said...

I am wondering if John King is being viewed
as a possible replacement for Larry once he
retires. I like the informal setting and I think
all CNN shows should be like this;I am a big
fan of open inviting sets. That said the show
is kinda boring. Maybe a little less talk.My
fav is Pete on the street.I must admit that
I turn the channel with the way too long

There are a couple things that I am starting
to notice about CNN.On the day this show
debuted CNN trailed MSNBC in viewers and
the demo in a lot of the hours starting with
American Morning and it seems as though
MSNBC is growing from 5-9 and topping
CNN during those hours. It seems to be
a mixed bag for 360.It topped MSNBC
in viewers but not the demo.It is clear
that 360 is becoming CNN # 1 show.
Maybe it is time to make 360 live for 2
hours again by adding international news.

I hope CNN hires the people from
Nightline. They have figured out a way
to beat or stay equal to Leno and
Letterman. That shows what is possible.
CNN is in danger of falling behind MSNBC
during the day as well as in prime time.
That is not a good thing with MSNBC
finishing ahead of CNN in day viewers.
It seems like people are trying to come
back to 360 but not the rest of the
shows. The earlier people change the
channel they may not come back.
CNN needs to find a way to bring John
Roberts and perhaps Don Lemon into
more prominent roles during the week.
CNN needs to have anchors of stature
to show they are committed to solid

Anonymous said...

@7:19am: Though it has happened in the past, though rarely, with exception of John Roberts, who expected a promotion and didn't get it, the prime networks pay way more than cable. So I don't think any Nightliners really want to go to CNN.
360 was always the highest rated show IF LKL had a good lead in. When Larry retires, and it probably will be in the near future, I have a feeling AC will jump ship. Most of the best journos are leaving. Whether AC will be happy at a prime network is the big question. He will have to towe the line and will not be given the freedom to do whatever he wants as he does now.

Anonymous said...

Rachel Maddow really creamed Larry KIng last
night in the ratings and for good reason.There
is not excuse for CNN to put washed up celebs
to come on the air and make ridiculous statements
about the president. Now that lawmakers are
getting death threats maybe CNN will stop
embracing the hate in a desperate attempt
for ratings.CNN is going down because they
elected to join in on the hate.CNN is a part
of the problem. Keith & Rachel were right
all along abut the Tea Party and CNN missed
the boat on this one.I don't care how upset
a person might be, that is no excuse to
make threats against people.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Variety has an article that nails it with
regards to John King and CNN. Basically saying
CNN is failing to be an intelligent alternative to
it's cable counterparts. The news is getting lost
on CNN because of it's misuse of technology and
pundits.CNN management keeps messing things
up and making the situation worse. There is a
running bet as to how soon CNN will fire Jon
Klein. I am going with 6 weeks. The only problem,
who would want the job? CNN is a joke and
is in ruins.If CNN wants younger viewers try
doing some actual reporting and more
international news. The world is smaller.
Younger viewers are just not into the
talking heads unless they know what
they are talking about. the last thing CNN
needs is another political show right
after TSR, which Variety also says needs
to be fixed. The Rachel Maddow show
proves you can have a smart news show
at bring in viewers.CNN the more you
dumb down the news the lower your
ratings will go. Right now 360 is the
only thing that CNN has going for it right
now. That should prove to management
that news matters to CNN viewers.
CNN please give your newsroom back
to your journalists and don't hire
any more pundits.We expect better
from CNN and are just not getting it.
Has anyone else noticed that CNN
has promos airing with pundits saying
facts are not red or blue? Not smart
at all.

Anonymous said...

CNN seems to be sanitizing the threats made
against Dems.I am pretty sure some of those
statements had profanity. Why is CNN trying
to make it seems as though it is not that bad?
To say that people are claiming threats when
there is evidence of the threats is wrong.CNN
is incapable of seeing the truth.

Anonymous said...

I am just not feeling John King USa.

Anonymous said...

Rachel Maddow is a different breed of anchor and that's why it is working for her. She has a base and a following. Today's anchor, like Bill O'Reilly has a following as does Anderson Cooper. The problem with Cooper, however, is that he was overexposed at the beginning by Klein and CNN doesn't know quite what to do with him.
If anchors today, don't have a following, like Glen Beck for instance, the show will ultimately, fail. Beck has huge numbers.
John King is an excellent anchor, but he lacks a following. CNN should have left him on Sunday to develop more of a following. He and the time slot on Sunday were a good fit. Now he's just another political show stuck in a poor time slot.
CNN doesn't know how to showcase their talent and Klein must go.