Tag Archives: Fox Broadcasting Company

Donald Trump To Join Fox & Friends News Chatter

Donald Trump at a press conference announcing ...

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As if Donald Trump doesn’t have his plate full enough what with Celebrity Apprentice, business mogul-ing (Is that even a word?) and maybe, possibly, it depends…running for president next time around,  he is now set to be part of the Fox & Friends “news” show.  It seems Fox & Friends will make room on their couch for Trump every Monday morning, cleverly dubbing it “Mondays with Trump.”

I saw some of the stellar promos for Trump’s segment with such lines as: “The Donald now makes his voice loud and clear on Fox.” Boy, they must have gotten some huge powerhouse agency to think that one up. While Fox has never been one to shy away from controversial  on-air people,  I can’t quite get a handle on what Trump can bring to the news table. Unless it is just basically Trump wanting face time in case he decides to run for president and Fox wanting more ratings for their coffee klatch with Steve Doocy, Gretchan Carlson and Brian Kilmeade.

I don’t watch the trio on Monday mornings or any other morning but the idea of listening to Trump with my coffee first thing in the morning is not my idea of a good wake-up call. Most presidential candidates are distancing themselves from their pundit or “news analyst” roles on TV stations so as not to show any conflict of interest. Newt Gingrich stepped down from his Fox Perch when he supposedly became a presidential candidate. This whole thing leads me to believe that Trump isn’t going to try to run for president at all but is just more of his usual blowhard, look-at-me PR stuff.

Trump however is not any kind of analyst or commentator or pundit but a mere contributor without a  contract that will just be on Fox on Mondays, indefinitely or probably until the regular news crew gets sick of him or the viewers can’t take looking at his hair in the morning or his Celebrity Apprentice show gets higher ratings. Or until some Fox focus group tells him he doesn’t have a chance in hell of running a country if he couldn’t run a casino, and running on a platform that President Obama wasn’t born in the USA just isn’t going to cut it.

At least he doesn’t have to worry about being fair and balanced or politically correct or even accurate about anything he says, after all , it’s just FOX.

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Difference between news analyst, commentator and pundit? None

Danse Macabre: The Pundits.

Image by quirkybird via Flickr

I decided just yesterday for no reason in particular, to throw my hat into the pundit ring. I’ve heard through other reliable pundits (pretty funny huh, using reliable and pundit in same sentence) that all you need is an opinion and a forum. I figure I have both.  My forum might be small by Fox or CNN standards but never-the-less a blog is a blog and you just never know who drops by.

I was in the newspaper business for many years, and the only words we ever used to describe who we were and what we did were typically reporter, correspondent, columnist and of course editor.  The editorial was the newspaper version of opinion along with columns, which were the express opinion of the writer who wrote them. As reporters or correspondents (which were our part-time reporters) we wrote news backed up with plenty of facts and sources or it didn’t fly. Pretty cut and dried.  But,  people even then,  expressed confusion about what exactly an editorial  was,  no matter that I once wrote an editorial explaining to readers exactly what an editorial was.  So evidently, opinion and fact and how they are packaged  has always been confusing for some. Myself included.

Today of course, we have been enlightened with so much opinion in our news, especially TV news, that the lines seem especially  blurred between pundit, commentator and news analyst. I have been researching these three terms for quite a while and have come to the conclusion that pundits, commentators and news analysts are completely interchangeable.  For a while, I thought a news analyst was not supposed to have a personal opinion. That he/she was supposed to gather the facts, have some extra deep knowledge to add to those facts that us dummies don’t know and present same to us in an unbiased manner.

But, my new pundit opinion thinking cap got in the way. If you are analyzing a situation how do you do that without bringing your own bias into the mix? How is an analyst going to analyze without coming to some conclusion? And you can’t come to a conclusion and be unbiased. If you just throw out the facts and don’t analyze then you aren’t an analyst anymore just a reporter or a correspondent or someone who just reads the news on TV with no comments whats-so-ever (an unheard of phenomenon). Even interpreting the news, which is something news analysts do often, is still interpreting the news by the standards of the analysts themselves or who ever they work for. So they still have a point of view.  A point of view cannot be void of opinion.

This is certainly not think-tank stuff but since a commentator is an opinion person, and a pundit is most definitely an opinion person (think Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck) and since I have personally dropped the status of news analyst to mere opinion person I think a new word to describe all three interchangeable words is in order.  Maybe something like anal-puntator or…I’m sure you come can up with plenty of your own.

(If you are a news junkie like I am you might want to pick up a copy of this; http://amzn.to/1rIhuzD “The News: A Users Manual.” It definitely shows how the 24hr. news cycle affects our lives. Now, the author does analyze in this book but maybe I like it because I agree with most of it.)  I bought it in hardcover rather than digital just because I find it easier to skim.  I am an Amazon affiliate so I do get a small commission If you purchase through my link.

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Fox Game Show Should Show Them The ($800,000.) Money

Day 203/365 - Post-It Note Impression No. 5

Image by Kevin H. via Flickr

I think it would be  a really nice New Year’s resolution for the producers at the new Fox game show, “Million Dollar Money Drop” to actually pay people when they answer a question correctly on their show. Especially when their “research people” get it wrong.  It’s kind of like, just because someone at Fox says it, doesn’t make  it so. Or even accurate.

Gabe Okoye and his girlfriend Brittany Mayti were the very first contestants on this Fox premiere show a few days ago that is a clone of a British show. The concept is you start out with one million dollars and wager parts or all of your million on questions asked by the show moderator.

The stump-the-Fox-researchers-question was “Which product was sold in stores first: Post-it-Notes, Macintosh computer or the Sony Walkman?” With much back and forth, the couple wagered $800,000. on Post-its but game host Kevin Pollack said they were wrong it was the Walkman. 

For days the internet was hot with conflicting information as everyone and their brother could Google the question and pretty much come up with the correct answer, which was the Post-it. Producers didn’t back down from their stance for a few days but finally they conceded they were given “incomplete” information from 3M.  I love how some lawyer probably told them not to say they were wrong or incorrect or inaccurate but “incomplete.”

In the end, the couple lost everything they started with and left the show with nothing but a right answer. On the other hand, the premiere “Million Dollar Money Drop” show started off with a lot of PR (all bad) and had to find the answer to the $800,000. question from viewers instead of it’s crack research team which included 3M the company that invented Post-its.

The couple have said they are not upset with Fox and they don’t know if they will take the producers of “Million Dollar Money Drop” up on their offer to return and play again because it was very stressful losing “all that money.”  I of course, think the producers should give the couple the $800,000. and call it a day. Why?  Well, when Brittany Mayti wanted to answer the question with the Sony Walkman answer, which is the answer the producers said was correct, her boyfriend talked her out of it. If they had gone with her answer ( the answer the show said was correct) and the producers later found the answer “incomplete”,  how quick do you think Fox would be on taking the money back?  Lawyers, start your engines…

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O’Reilly to Juan Williams; “I’ve got your back”

I really hate to beat a dead, already signed by Fox News horse but…I keep thinking about the Thursday night Bill O’Reilly and Juan Williams love fest where O’Reilly told Williams; “I’ve got your back” and then Williams told O’Reilly; “You know what, you are a standup guy”. When Williams uttered those words on O’Reilly’s show, I knew he had been bought by Fox News, hook, line and sinker.  Of course as we all know now, by the next day (Friday) Williams had a $2 million contract with Fox. It was like the mutual admiration society of these two spawned a new reason for living. Plain and simple; NPR bashing.

I like Juan Williams and you can tell by sifting through my blog archives that I am not in the O’Reilly or Fox News fan club.  I have already noted in my Thursday blog that I felt NPR’s firing of Williams was done in an unprofessional, and thoroughly distasteful manner, so no need to re-tread that.  Not many of us would get the opportunity to bash our ex-employers in a public setting but hardly anyone gets the national platform to do so, lucky him.  I found myself amazed that Williams was  so totally hyped up on O’Reilly’s show Thursday (with a ton of prodding from O’Reilly) that he appeared to gleefully relish knocking an employer of 10 years (an employer that helped make him pretty famous by adding to his credibility). 

While I understand that he was upset with his firing, as anyone would be, I didn’t really notice the calm, classy, voice of reason that I had come to expect from him over the years.  When O’Reilly’s Friday show hit the airwaves and Williams was pitch-hitting for an absent O’Reilly, much of the show was about the Williams and NPR continuing saga as everybody and his brother was dragged out to be “shocked” and “horrified” by what Williams had been subjected to. It seemed quite weird to me that Juan Williams was doing a show about Juan Williams.  Pushing his case, bashing NPR, explaining away and dissecting his Muslim statement as if we had all not heard it 100 times in the last 48 hours.

It was as if in the blink of an eye, the flash of a lost job and the promise of $2. million , Williams fell quickly into Fox mode. Journalism be damned, I’m a Fox pundit now for real, no more treading lightly as an “analyst’.  So, welcome to the “Fair and Balanced News” Juan Williams, and oh yeah, watch your back.

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NPR Juan Williams dillema; Fox pundit or NPR journalist?

I’m watching Fox News right now as Bill O’Reilly is threatening National Public Radio (NPR), his words; “NPR will rue the day”. This is all in response to the firing of Juan Williams, a NPR political analyst who has been with NPR for 10 years.  Williams spends a lot of time on Fox News, as a matter of fact, he got fired for something he said on Fox News Monday night on O’Reilly‘s show.  It appears his joblessness will be short-lived, he was fired on Wednesday and Friday he will be pitch-hitting for O’Reilly on his show on Friday while O’Reilly is “on assignment”.

On Fox News this week Williams stated “I mean, look Bill, I’m not a bigot. You know the kinds of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country. But, when I get on a plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”

 This is the statement that evidently got the firing ball rolling but it seems to have been a long time coming.  According to O’Reilly on his Thursday night show, Williams was told in 2009 by NPR that it did not want him to be identified with Fox News and did not want him stating that he was an NPR analyst when on Fox news.  I understand the views of NPR on that issue, but I don’t understand why they did not go to Williams much sooner and tell him; Look, It’s us or Fox, take your pick. Be an opinion giver or a journalist.

I always thought it was weird to see Williams on Fox News which is more or less the opposite of everything NPR stands for but I thought maybe he was a free agent and didn’t have an NPR contract. I was wrong, he had one. I was in the news business at a time when a more definitive line was drawn in the sand regarding opinion and news. Today in the news, it’s hard to tell.  A true journalist is not an analyst, or a commentator, or a pundit or whatever other names the media can come up with to cloud the issue.  A journalist (sometimes called a reporter) is supposed to report the news in the most unbiased way possible and let the chips fall where they may. It is then supposed to be up to the public to form their own opinion after receiving all the facts.

While I don’t think any NPR journalist should be masquerading as a Fox pundit, it is hard in today’s world to even utter the word Muslim without all hell breaking loose.  I don’t think Williams meant to be insensitive but he was. TV cameras thrown into our faces tend to make us think that our feelings and opinions must be important.  But if you are a journalist, they are not.

NPR is going to feel the shock waves of this more than they can ever imagine. While I don’t agree that Williams could have continued to play both sides against the middle, his NPR bosses fired the guy over the phone without even a face to face encounter. He will now get to blast NPR all over cable news and has already garnered the sympathy of many.  “All Things Considered,”  NPR better round-up their troops for some stellar PR moves and the first priority should be to tell NPR President and CEO Vivian Schiller , to find someone to help her tone down  her terse and foolish on-air statements. Or better yet,  let her keep blabbing and lose more public and privately funded money.

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