The media find a veepstakes favorite
The Great Mentioner has settled on a running mate for Mitt Romney.
Geez, that was fast.
Rob Portman, start writing your convention speech.
Never heard of Portman? Doesn’t matter, you will, whether he winds up being chosen or not.
A quiet campaign is under way to portray the candidate as an average family man. Howard Kurtz on the media’s role in softening Romney’s image.
The story about a 35-year friendship between Mitt Romney and Benjamin Netanyahu was striking for reasons that had nothing to do with international diplomacy.
Mitt Romney declaring victory in the Wisconsin presidential primary in Milwaukee on April 3 (M. Spencer Green / AP Photo)
To be sure, it was interesting to learn that the future presidential candidate and future prime minister met in 1976 when both worked for the Boston Consulting Group. But the real head-snapper in the New York Times piece last weekend came in the seventh paragraph.
“We can almost speak in shorthand," Mr. Romney said in an interview. "We share common experiences and have a perspective and underpinning which is similar.”
What we lose when a media giant leaves the scene.
The passing of Mike Wallace has got me thinking about the passing of a journalistic generation.
Mario Suriani / AP Photo
Wallace was unusual, to say the least, in that his career spanned seven decades and he helped create—and came to define—investigative reporting on television. But in recent years I have gone to memorial services for, or memorialized in print, such industry giants as Walter Cronkite, Don Hewitt, Peter Jennings, Daniel Schorr, Tim Russert, and Johnny Apple. And the likes of Charlie Gibson and Barbara Walters (mostly) have headed into retirement.
This is not a lament that things have gone to hell in a handbasket since some mythical golden era. There are tremendously talented journalists today, and they must operate in a faster-paced, multimedia environment. Anthony Shadid of The New York Times, who died recently in Syria, was as fine a foreign correspondent as has ever traveled the globe.
"60 Minutes" star Mike Wallace, pioneer of the ambush interview, died Saturday. Howard Kurtz reflects on his time with the broadcast legend, and how Wallace changed the face of television.
Mike Wallace was a force of nature, and I’ve been on the receiving end of his gale-force personality.
The iconic CBS newsman, whose death at 93 was reported Sunday, was of course famous for ambush interviews and hidden-camera investigations, but he could take things too far. In 1994 I reported that he had secretly taped a conversation with a reporter, Karon Hall, who thought she was just providing background information to the program and did not want to go on the air. CBS wound up reprimanding Wallace for “a violation of journalistic ethics.”
The next time I spoke to him on the phone, he greeted me with thusly: “Hello, you prick.” But he said it good-naturedly, having realized he was wrong.
The network excoriates its fired anchor by painting him as an arrogant and uncooperative slacker. Howard Kurtz on the latest round in the legal war.
Current TV filed a countersuit against Keith Olbermann on Friday, charging that it had every right to fire the $10 million–a–year host “rather than continuing to pay a princely sum while receiving a pauper’s performance.”
Moving a day after Olbermann sued the network for up to $70 million, the suit says that he “completely shut himself off from the rest of the network”—and backed it up with a series of intemperate-sounding emails from its former star.
For instance, after a problem with an unspecified employee during an appearance by Michael Moore on his show, Olbermann wrote Joel Hyatt, Al Gore’s cofounder at Current: “Give me a name so I know which of them to kill with my bare hands.”
The fired host unloads on Current TV, accusing Al Gore of being a dilettante and co-owner Joel Hyatt of blackmail. Howard Kurtz on the war over Keith’s firing.
Keith Olbermann filed suit Thursday against Current TV, charging that owners Al Gore and Joel Hyatt and their deputies “are no more than dilettantes portraying entertainment industry executives.”
Jason Kempin / Getty Images
In the lawsuit, promised as a response to his firing last week, Olbermann calls his dismissal “the latest in a series of increasingly erratic and unprofessional actions undertaken by Current’s senior management.” The former host, who lasted 10 months there after a bitter breakup with MSNBC, is seeking $50 million to $70 million in lost compensation and equity.
The suit is nothing if not personal, and at one point suggests a failed bromance. Hyatt “attempted to isolate Olbermann from his professional representatives in an awkward attempt to form a close personal relationship with his new star,” it says. “When Olbermann did not reciprocate Hyatt’s advances, Hyatt reacted by withholding necessary production resources, disparaging Olbermann in the press, denying him contractually guaranteed editorial control over Current’s election coverage and the program website” and “cutting out Olbermann of internal discussions of other programs on Current, and directing Current’s attorneys to harass Olbermann with vague and spurious claims of breach.”
The former Current TV host got so mad over a snafu that he shattered a glass mug. Howard Kurtz on the intensifying legal war over Olbermann’s firing.
As the legal battle between Keith Olbermann and Current TV heads toward the courtroom, both sides seem intent on painting an unflattering picture of the other.
Keith Olbermann gives a half-hearted mea culpa on Letterman.
The channel founded by Al Gore fired Olbermann for breach of contract last week, and the $10 million–a–year host has been making the case, most recently as a guest with David Letterman, that Current was a rinky-dink operation with lousy production values.
But the view of Current executives is that Olbermann was a hard-to-control hothead. And that view is reflected in an email obtained by The Daily Beast.
Will the hard-core anti-Romney pundits come around?
Romney could cause “the destruction of the conservative movement as we know it,” Erickson wrote. (Emmanuel Dunand / AFP-Getty Images)
The founder of the red-meat blog RedState.com sat down last fall in his Macon home, beside a towering painting of Abraham Lincoln, and banged out an epic rant. Romney was “unprincipled,” he wrote, and yet certain to win the Republican presidential nomination—an outcome that would cause “the destruction of the conservative movement as we know it.”
Time has not softened Erickson’s stance. The onetime Presbyterian church deacon turned CNN commentator now tells Newsweek: “There are a whole lot of conservatives who think Romney is not really a whole lot better than Obama.”
His bitter divorce from Al Gore’s network followed months of escalating complaints to Current TV executives. Howard Kurtz unearths the acrimonious correspondence.
It was a terrible marriage from the beginning.
Keith Olbermann poses at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif. (Mark J. Terrill / AP Photo )
Just weeks after Keith Olbermann launched his nightly program on Current TV last June, his team was complaining that the network founded by Al Gore and attorney Joel Hyatt wasn’t living up to its promises to support a professional cable news show.
The arguments escalated for months, with Olbermann directly appealing to the former vice president on three or four occasions, until relations had become so poisoned that, on Friday, Current fired Olbermann for breach of contract. He has vowed to take the matter to court and questioned the ethics of Gore and Hyatt.
Senator says court ruling will lead to major scandal.
Any notion that John McCain might be abandoning his longtime crusade for campaign-finance reform vanished on Tuesday as he sprayed a variety of targets, from the Supreme Court to super PACs to his fellow Republicans.
Tom Williams, CQ Roll Call / Getty Images
He called the new breed of political action committees, sometimes run by a candidate's former campaign manager, "the worst joke in Washington. It's outrageous. It's an insult to anyone's intelligence to say they're not connected, and independent." He also predicted the current system of unlimited spending would lead to a major scandal.
The GOP's 2008 presidential nominee spoke at a forum at Washington's Newseum, sponsored by Reuters. The discussion was moderated by Harold Evans, Reuters's editor at large and the husband of Newsweek/Daily Beast editor in chief Tina Brown.
He leads a Trayvon Martin rally and covers it for MSNBC.
Al Sharpton, who has been crusading in racial cases for three decades, has claimed a starring role in the Trayvon Martin case.
He’s also assumed a starring role in MSNBC’s coverage of the case.
Mario Tama / Getty Images
These are colliding in ways that have nothing to do with journalism.
Blaming the hoodie for Trayvon Martin’s death.
Geraldo, Geraldo, Geraldo. What were you thinking?
A black teenager is dead, through no apparent fault of his own, and you blame his wardrobe choice?
It was all the fault of the hoodie.
Most pundits say dumb things from time to time. But in weighing in on the killing of Trayvon Martin, Geraldo Rivera conducted a premeditated drive-by.
Why television is tuning out the 2012 race.
When Mitt Romney was winning the Illinois primary on Tuesday night, Bill O’Reilly moved from a short discussion of the contest to segments on whether Barack Obama is pushing the country toward socialism and whether he’s been tough enough on Iran. Sean Hannity led off his show with another debate on whether Bill Maher is a bad guy.
Paul Sancya / AP Photo
It wasn’t just Fox. On MSNBC, Ed Schultz devoted half his program to the killing of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.
The next morning, the campaign wasn’t among the top three stories billboarded by the Today show, which included: “What is it about this two-year-old that has more than three million people logging on to YouTube to watch her?”
Top Aide's 'Etch-a-Sketch' Remark Unleashes a Wave of Mockery
Mitt Romney was riding high after his Illinois victory when a top adviser made the colossal blunder of comparing him to a children’s game.
The Etch-a-Sketch image erases the rave reviews that Romney was starting to garner for winning a big-state primary, and wiped off the screen his carefully timed announcement that Jeb Bush is endorsing him.
In a phrase so potentially damaging it might have been hatched in a laboratory by James Carville, Romney communications director Eric Fehrnstrom bobbled a routine question on CNN about whether Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich “might force the governor to tack so far to the right it would hurt him with moderate voters in the general election.”
His response: “Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch-a-Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.”
The unmistakable image: Romney has no fixed principles. Forget about what he’s saying in the primaries, all we have to do is hit the reset button. His positions are no more firmly held than the leaden particles that form those boxy images on the screen and then dissolve with a mere shake.
The media drumbeat for Gingrich’s exit is growing louder. Howard Kurtz on whether Tuesday’s voting in Alabama and Mississippi, where he’s neck and neck with Santorum and Romney, could seal his fate.
Josh Rogin reports on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s approval of a bill to arm the rebels.