Media

Target, Target, Target

Move over, network TV. Step aside, major dailies. Talk radio — beware. Cable news is taking over. And the Web ain’t far behind.

No doubt about it, cable news is in. The recent issue of Adweek had an interesting survey about where Americans get their news on politics. The days of the major newspapers, Walter Cronkite-style anchors, and radio personalities dominating political news are over.

When asked “Where do you get most of your political information?” cable TV leads with 30 percent, followed by network TV with 22 percent, the Web at 19 percent and print media at 17 percent. Network radio is way down at 5 percent.
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True Blue: Who Knew?

It doesn’t really matter that Democrats won back control of Congress; most Americans still prefer Republican ideals. Or, as Brit Hume pronounced on election night 2006, “from what we could see from all the polling and everything else, it remains a conservative country.” Oh, yeah?

That’s the conventional wisdom we hear from the mainstream media. And now we know it’s absolute bunk. A new study by Media Matters for America and the Campaign for America’s Future shows that on most issues, across the board, Americans are true-blue liberals ... and much more liberal than most members of Congress.
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News Blues

I attended an awards dinner last night put on by the Society of Professional Journalists and came away with a number of questions:

1) In TV news, is it really only a choice between buffoonery and news from the crypt? Why is it so often a choice between Paris Hilton and something akin to watching paint dry?

2) In print: Actually, the questions are the same.

3) Why do we spend so much time aiming coverage at people barely past puberty, who couldn't care less anyway? (And yes, this is sour grapes. I am more than barely past puberty.)
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Daring to Dream

I agree with Brent. Paris Hilton has got to go.

I feel as though this is déjà vu all over again — didn’t I rail against cable going crazy over the Anna Nicole Smith fiasco in a previous blog?

On Saturday, Pat Buchanan, Alex Witt and I did our usual Saturday morning bit on MSNBC and talked about immigration. But I couldn’t hold my tongue. They had just bumped Tucker Carlson the night before for “breaking news” on Paris Hilton, and all cable shows were competing for “the story.” My line was something to the effect that we had just been talking about 12 million people whose lives were hanging in the balance, yet nearly all the coverage was about one spoiled brat.
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'Do-Nothing' Programming

I have such a GREAT idea for C-SPAN. Picture watching this: The Senate grinds on up to the point that someone announces debate is about to begin on the immigration legislation. Then the screen goes blank. Well, in this case, maybe it simply shows a 700-mile-long fence. But the point is that no one would have missed anything.

Think of the possibilities: On the cable news networks, aerial shots of Paris Hilton's motorcade could suddenly end. Fade to black.

Of course that will never happen. There would be an uproar. Besides, ratings would plummet. I mean, people really care about Paris Hilton. And as we found out, they really care about the "Sopranos"' ending, too, or the lack thereof. 
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Paris Hilton: The Queen of Cable Television!

Give credit where it's due: Paris Hilton has just achieved a domination over cable news that was so total for a period it bordered on monopoly.

The urgent Marine Corps request from the front lines, for life-saving equipment, has been 90 percent ignored since 2005. This cost American lives but received no coverage compared to Paris.

Medical experts now forecast a huge increase in Alzheimer's, while biotech companies may find breakthrough treatments, but Paris Hilton overwhelmed it all.
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Slipping Through the Cracks

If you focus too closely today on the third GOP presidential debate, the 30-month prison term of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby or the 16-count indictment of Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.), you will miss much more interesting political news, facts so fascinating I compiled a list. Let me know if you political junkies agree that this is a massive news day ...

1) Support for the new Democratic Congress is falling, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll that found six weeks ago the new majority had a 24-point lead over Bush but that, without action on the Iraq war, those numbers have "collapsed to a dead heat."

2) A USA Today poll has presidential contenders Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) virtually tied.

3) Lynne Cheney could be a contender to replace Sen. Craig Thomas (R-Wyo.), who died yesterday, based on interest she has expressed in the past.
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Slouching Toward the Pork

Have you read the Post today and Milbank’s piece on this ongoing Murtha battle? I hope Dana’s tongue was planted firmly in his cheek, because rarely have I seen such a devil-may-care attitude about some serious indiscretions in Congress — missteps that the Post traditionally and repeatedly assails in the A section.

Let me get this straight: Murtha saunters over to the Republican side of the aisle, sticks his finger in Mike Rogers’s face and threatens to cut off all his projects, and Milbank characterizes that by writing, “This is how it all works in the Capitol…” ????

I’m sorry, Dana, but didn’t Democrats run (and your paper report) on a “clean up Washington and control spending” platform? What’s even more egregious is the way Milbank paints Rogers, as some gadfly who is not even supported by his own colleagues. That’s not the story I’ve been reading and hearing in Washington since it broke last week. You can bet if Tom DeLay had threatened to strike Democrats’ earmarks, they wouldn’t have stopped their wailing and gnashing of teeth until a full Justice Department inquiry had been launched. Where are Chuck Schumer and Rahm Emanuel now??
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Pew Research Poll on Muslim Americans Reveals Horrifying Data

If you read nothing else today (other than The Hill, of course), read the entire Pew Research poll about the views and beliefs of Muslim Americans. Don’t simply read the highlights on the first page. Dig deep. The information contained therein is disturbing and not likely to be reported widely by the major media outlets.

Here’s an example:

“Asked whether they believe groups of Arabs carried out the attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001, 40% of Muslim Americans say yes, while 28% say they do not believe this, and about a third (32%) say they do not know or decline to answer the question.”
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CBS Should Bring Back General Batiste

CBS should bring General Batiste back to the airwaves because he is an authoritative, informed and important voice on Iraq and all military matters.

As a commander in Iraq, he has particular knowledge of the battlefield, the strategy, the troops and the policy.

Having made a television ad for a change in Iraq policy, General Batiste’s interest is the most visibly disclosed in American television, an arena where “guests” and “consultants” regularly have draconian, undisclosed conflicts of interest.

Keep in mind, General Batiste left the military in protest against policies he could not support, and America would be a better place if others had done the same. Retired generals often make small fortunes in the private sector, exploiting their military background, and by speaking out General Batiste gave away substantial personal wealth by alienating many potential sources of income.
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