Thursday, November 30, 2006

Are you ready for some football?

Apparently some cable operators are saying...NO. Find out why here.

A civil war?

Did NBC News overstep its bounds when it classified the situation in Iraq as "civil war"? Reactions abound.

Satellite radio merger?

The potential linking of Sirius and XM seems practical. I, for one, never thought each could survive.

A 70-inch television?

Don't laugh.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Al-Jazeera English-language service

Has anyone had the opportunity to see substantial amounts of Al Jazeera's English-language service? I would like to provide some general thoughts to my students, as we approach the end of the fall semester.

O.J. Simpson, and the book and interview that won't be

Did FOX bow to affiliate pressure? Or was it public pressure? Both? Other things? In the end, it doesn't matter. There will not be an O.J. Simpson book and interview surrounding the "If I Did It" theme.

The decision to yank both suggests at least three things to me:
1. The general public remains convinced -- some 12 years after the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman -- that O.J. Simpson did it;
2. Simpson has done nothing in the past dozen years to rehabilitate his public image;
3. The book and interview might not have done as much business as first thought.

The last point is the one upon which I will briefly elaborate --

I saw a report around midday today noting that some FOX affiliates already had made it clear they had no intention of airing the much-hyped interview. FOX might have been willing to stand the growing public heat (or perhaps general public disinterest in Simpson?), but once the affiliates began to say "won't touch this", then that ensured that FOX would lose valuable advertising money. The game, so to speak, was over at that point.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The death of Ed Bradley

Reports and retrospectives of Ed Bradley and the work he did are already filling up media Web sites, and similar stories ought to fill the Friday morning papers. I did not know Ed Bradley; in fact, I never met him. But I will note that as a viewer I was always struck by the sincerity and care he devoted to each story. I doubt that was a television persona. His storytelling always suggested to me a real concern about getting it right and making sure it was also worth paying attention to. We've lost a great TV journalist today.

Election night TV thoughts

I spent Election Night in Manhattan...no, not that one. The other one. Kansas' version of it, attending an academic conference at Kansas State University.

Watching the coverage provided by two cable networks, CNN and FOX, I was struck by a few things...

1. The pundits had this one right -- the Democrats wouldn't take control of Congress in a tidal wave-type victory, but they would certainly gain control of at least one branch.

2. CNN's coverage, though quite strong, was visually very busy. Too much movement, too many people appeared to be contained in too small a space. William Bennett was exceptional. James Carville was, too. Paul Begala came off as a bit too high-handed. And in my opinion Candy Crowley might be the best political reporter out there today. One final thought -- Wolf Blitzer, please stop cutting off Jeff Greenfield. If you did it once, you must have done it 20 times, as I watched. The analyst was prevented from pointing out key races and making certain comments too often; Blitzer is too seasoned to be making such mistakes.

3. FOX's coverage, though visually dull, was quite good. Brit Hume has always had a commanding presence. I think most of the FOX pundits are too heavy on the conservative rhetoric, but then again you don't watch FOX expecting to hear Carville-like opinions. I confess Michael Barone is growing on me.

4. CNN was first to project the Democrats winning control of the House, but FOX seemed to be a step ahead on many of the projections.

5. Neither network made any glaring mistakes (at least none while I was watching), which is always a good thing.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006