September 23, 2008 |
Television news reports about the war in Iraq and its repercussions took top honors Monday night at the 29th annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards. Among the pieces recognized was a "60 Minutes'" investigation into the claims by Curveball, an Iraqi defector who provided the bulk of the intelligence the U.S. used in alleging that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and a story on "NBC Nightly News" that exposed flaws in the body armor used by U.S. troops.
September 20, 2008 |
Fox News tough guy Sean Hannity assured us this week he would press Sarah Palin for real answers -- no going easy on the woman who could be the next vice president of the United States. "No topic," Hannity intoned, "is off limits." A couple of nights earlier, Fox's hard-talking lawyer, Greta Van Susteren, promised to take us to unknown places in her exclusive interview with Alaska's so-called First Dude, Todd Palin. "You will see this," Greta declared, "nowhere else!" No, you won't.
September 1, 2008 |
ThiNGs weren't supposed to work this way. Last week's Democratic convention in Denver came off as a tightly scripted affair; all the drama resided in how the thing was covered on TV. It was the ultimate meta-event! Take, for example, the Matthews Meltdown. Discussing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's speech on Tuesday, MSNBC host Chris Matthews lost it after colleague Keith Olbermann seemed to mock him with a hand gesture that suggested Matthews was talking too much. Hair askew, looking as if he had spent the night on a bench in a bus station, Matthews shed TV's normal protocol and retorted: "I can do the same to you!"
August 2, 2008 |
Memo to Barack Obama: You know in your heart the surge strategy worked. That is, the media surge strategy -- enticing a posse of network anchors and press hordes to ride your coattails and hang on your every word during last month's picturesque swing through the Middle East, Afghanistan and Europe that culminated in a speech before an estimated 200,000 flag-waving Berliners. Memo to John McCain: You were watching too. And admit it, worrying.
July 22, 2008 |
The Television Critics Assn. Press Tour, the semi-annual gathering of television journalists from around the country, began at the Beverly Hilton on July 8. This is our final dispatch. -- NBC News President Steve Capus today defended the dual roles that MSNBC hosts Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews play on the cable news network, arguing that the ratings prove viewers are comfortable watching them pivot between commentary and news anchoring. "The audience gets it, and that's the single biggest factor that I see," Capus said.
July 17, 2008 |
Barack Obama's trip to Europe and the Middle East, seen as crucial to burnish his foreign policy bona fides, will play out before big audiences. All three television network anchors plan to interview the Democratic presidential candidate during the tour. Political analysts see the combined audience of 20 million as a potential boon to Obama, but also a bust if he makes any major missteps.
July 14, 2008 |
Tailored suit, tasteful hair, good posture, all business, only rare hints of perkiness. I've been checking out Katie Couric, really putting the evil eye on her. You know, Couric, the former NBC "Today" superstar and subsequent $15-million-a-year Jeanne d'Arc who fell hard from her CBS high horse when delivering no miracles to lift that network's evening newscast from third in the ratings. Media wonks are now wondering who will leave office first, George W. Bush or Couric.
June 7, 2008 |
Former Times Television Critic Howard Rosenberg, a Pulitzer Prize winner for criticism in 1985, will be writing occasional commentaries about news on television and the Internet. -- It seems like a couple of centuries since His Holiness Pope Walter reigned as God's deputy on the airwaves. Even longer if you think about leave-'em-laughing funnyman Keith Olbermann.
March 2, 2008 |
In this Apatowian Age of the Big Baby comedy, Will Ferrell is the undisputed avatar. He plays seriously self-absorbed characters who do not have much self to absorb. He is also, obliviously, a tantrum-throwing tease. In movie after movie and, before that, on "Saturday Night Live," he bares his midriff, he displays the ringlets of his fuzzy-wuzzy chest. Can no one stop this man from mooning? From streaking?
February 5, 2008 |
The New York Giants weren't the only ones to walk away winners from Super Bowl XLII. News Corp. said it reaped $250 million in advertising revenue for the day of the game -- the biggest day in Fox network history. The football game, with the Giants' unexpected victory over the previously undefeated New England Patriots, was the second-most-watched telecast ever, with 97.5 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.