Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday October 30 -- Got news or an update?

If you have news or an update, leave it in comments.


Anonymous said...

Interrupt this major schaudenfreude
moment about the future of the MSM

New York Daily News
by Josh Greenman

The MSM is dying, they say. Good riddance to the mainstream media, they say. Through a purely economic prism, it's hard to argue with the prognosis. Old-model journalism simply doesn't look sustainable. Print is bleeding red ink. Newspapers and magazines are slashing labor costs and toying with new subscription models, and plenty are still shuttering. Most "solutions" look like tourniquets. But why the broad-based gloating among so many in the next-generation media...
Via -

Anonymous said...

Fox News Evening Ratings Near 2008 Election Levels, Competition Down 50%+ (TV by the Numbers)

We’ve had lots of cable news charts on the site recently showing dramatic declines for both individual cable news show and cable news network ratings as a whole compared to their October 2008 election period.

Many have asked about a comparison of Fox’s results with those of CNN and MSNBC, and reader MikeS has come through again, compiling the charts below showing the relative audience for each network compared to its October 2008 average for both adults 25-54 and average viewers.

It’s pretty clear that the election year ratings hangover being suffered by both CNN and MSNBC initially struck Fox News as well.

Their ratings declines on a percentage basis were similar through early 2009, but beginning in February CNN and MSNBC audiences continued falling relative to their pre-election levels and Fox News’ ratings stabilized at about 90% of their election period levels.

CNN did have a Michael Jackson death ratings spike in mid-summer, but that has now entirely dissipated.

Beginning in mid-summer, Fox News’ ratings began climbing and are now at or near the levels for October, 2008 while both CNN and MSNBC are down 50% plus from their October, 2008 levels.

Anonymous said...

It must be all those darn irrelevant Tea Party viewers.

Like ACORN and the SEIU, probably bussed in and paid to watch Fox News.

Anonymous said...

CBO Puts House Health Bill Total Cost At $1.055 Trillion (

The Congressional Budget Office said Thursday a U.S. House health-care system re-write would extend health insurance to 96% of the nonelderly U.S. population by 2019, and spend $1.055 trillion to do so.

Penalties imposed on individuals who did not purchase insurance, and employers who did not offer coverage to their workers, would raise $161 billion over that time-frame.

That brings the net cost of the bill to $894 billion through 2019, CBO said.

House Democrats have seized on that net cost figure to claim that their bill is below President Barack Obama's upper limit which he set for health-care legislation of $900 billion.

The $1.055 trillion estimate also does not include $245 billion needed to stop Medicare payments to doctors from decreasing, which the House plans to address through separate legislation introduced Thursday.

Anonymous said...

It's alive!DEATHCARE End-of-life counseling in health bill (AP)

It's alive. The Medicare end-of-life planning provision that 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin said was tantamount to "death panels" for seniors is staying in the latest Democratic health care bill unveiled Thursday.

The provision allows Medicare to pay for voluntary counseling to help beneficiaries deal with the complex and painful decisions families face when a loved one is approaching death.

Anonymous said...

A 1,990-Page Medical Monstrosity

Speaker Nancy Pelosi's cry in unveiling the House's massive reform bill might as well have been "Viva la health care revolution!" America never voted for change like this.

Just as most congressional Democrats refused to listen to the angry public at town halls in the summer, Speaker Pelosi was not interested in ordinary Americans attending the outdoor rally on the West Front of the Capitol, where she and her fellow House Democrats rolled out their 1,990-page monster health reform bill on Thursday.


Weeks after its unveiling, new tricks are still being discovered within the Senate health bill.

Kaiser Health News' Julie Appleby reported Thursday that, despite claims the bill will limit what those in the lower and middle income groups will pay for health insurance, "The fine print shows that, over time, the premium costs could rise well beyond those caps."

Anonymous said...

House Democratic bill ceremony closed to public (The Washington Times)

House Democrats blocked the public from attending the unveiling ceremony of their health-care bill Thursday morning, allowing only pre-approved visitors whose names appeared on lists to enter the event at the West side of the Capitol.

The audience at the crowded press conference included Hill staffers, union workers, health care providers and students, according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who thanked them for attending.

Anonymous said...

VIDEO: GOP Congressman Denied Entrance To Pelosi's Unveiling Of Health Plan (Real Clear Politics)

Speaker Pelosi denies public access to Health Care Public Plan announcement. He is told he is not "authorized" by the Speaker's staff.

Anonymous said... Issues Warning to Democrats Opposed to 'Public Option'(Fox News)

To any Democrat who might join Republicans to filibuster a government-run insurance option -- if you oppose the government option you will lose support from the organization's 5 million members

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Monday that the Senate's version of a health care reform bill will include a so-called public option. issued its e-mail to its supporters threatening revolt one day later.

The group said it surveyed its members over the weekend and found that "93 percent of MoveOn members agreed that any senator who helps block an up-or-down vote on a health care bill with the public option should lose the support of all five million of us -- no donations, no volunteering, and no help getting out the vote."

To ensure conservative Democrats will not oppose the public option, the group is launching an "emergency campaign" to urge them to support an up-or-down vote

Anonymous said...

The White House Stupidly Goes To War With Car Website
(The Business Insider)

It is an odd, and we'd say regrettable, pattern of this White House that it lets itself get dragged down into fights with specific media outlets.

George W. Bush experienced acrimony with the New York Times, but for the most part, other than general frustrations of a conservative administration, complaining about a liberal media, it was no big deal.

But in addition to Fox News, now The White House is going after highly-respected and influential car site

They're actually using The White House blog to dispute the site's analysis of Cash-For-Clunkers (via Detroit News).

The post is snarkily titled: "Busy Covering Car Sales on Mars, Gets It Wrong (Again) on Cash for Clunkers"

Anonymous said...

Ex-Friends, The Associated Press joins the White House enemies list.(WSJ)

An early progress report on President Barack Obama's economic recovery plan overstates by thousands the number of jobs created or saved through the stimulus program, a mistake that White House officials promise will be corrected in future reports," the Associated Press reports.

Time magazine's Joe Klein has not yet labeled the AP's reporting seditious, but the Obama administration does seem to have added the wire service to its enemies list.

Tommy Christopher of reports Ed DeSeve, senior adviser to the president for Recovery Act implementation, complains that "the story draws misleading conclusions" and "looks at only a small portion of the data."

But, Christopher writes:
The problem is, the Associated Press notes all of this in their story, with one exception.

Rather than concluding that the much larger round of reporting will definitely be more accurate, they say "The reporting problem could be magnified Friday" when the new data is posted.

The AP does quote DeSeve's assurances that the new data will be more reliable DeSeve's "real facts" consist of things that are either already in the AP's report, or won't be available until Friday.

It doesn't seem fair to punish the AP writers for their lack of a time machine. I've had problems with AP reporting in the past, but in this case, they're on solid footing.

The fact that they found errors is newsworthy, and they provided fairly broad context for their story. DeSeve should have thought of a way to tell his side of the story without trashing the AP.

Anonymous said...

Time Inc. to Cut $100 Million; Extensive Layoffs Are Expected (The New York Times)

Signaling that worse times are ahead for magazines, Time Inc. is expected to announce next week that it will cut $100 million from costs, including another big round of layoffs.

The timing is coordinated with parent company Time Warner’s third-quarter earnings announcement, sources said, scheduled for Wednesday morning.

Time Inc., the publisher of titles like Time, Fortune, and People, has already cut costs dramatically: a year ago, it announced it was dismissing 6 percent of its work force, or about 600 people.

That was apparently not enough to make up for revenue declines. The $100 million in costs is expected to come largely from layoffs, said sources, who asked to remain anonymous as they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

Michael Nathanson, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., said he expected that third-quarter revenue at Time Inc. would fall about 19 percent, to $900 million.
“For the year, we’re at about $3.7 billion, and this company had done almost $5 billion as late as 2007,” Mr. Nathanson said.

Since 2004, Time Inc. has cut about $800 million in costs, Mr. Nathanson said.

Anonymous said...

Wall Street Journal Closes Its Boston Bureau (

...Today we told our team in Boston that we are closing the bureau in its present form.

The economic background to the closure is painfully obvious to us all. An investigative function will remain in Boston, but the core reporting team will be disbanded, though all nine reporters affected will certainly be able to apply for openings elsewhere on the paper.

Coverage of the Boston mutual fund industry will switch to the Money and Investing team and we are creating an enhanced New York-based education team...

Anonymous said...

Papers cite 20.6% drop in revenue, but stay in black (

Philadelphia Newspapers L.L.C. expects to see a 20.6 percent drop in revenue this year, a figure that includes a 27.7 percent fall in ad revenue, according to documents the company filed late Tuesday in its bankruptcy case.

The company projects advertising and overall revenue to continue to fall through 2011, but with the decline diminishing each year.

The company will still post positive end-of-year cash flow figures in all three years, according to the filing, largely because of how it accounts for about $27 million in bankruptcy expenses this year, and expected cuts in labor and benefits expenses.

The projections show the company trimming about $18.5 million - roughly 10 percent - of its $180 million in labor and benefits expenses by next year.

Anonymous said...

Empire State Suicide (New Yorkers are Fleeing the State in Droves) (New York Post)

As Gov. Paterson and legislative lead ers meet today to tackle a multibil lion-dollar budget shortfall, they should note a new report's warning: New Yorkers are fleeing in droves -- and it's wreaking havoc with the public fisc.

The report, by the Empire Center for New York State Policy, shows that some 1.5 million people left the state between 2000 and 2008 -- including 1.1 million from New York City alone.

Anonymous said...

Meredith Broadcast Revenue Down 13%(

Meredith Corp.'s Local Media Group reported total revenue of $61 million in its fiscal first quarter, off 13% from the $70 million it posted last year. Non-political revenues were down 7%, compared to the same quarter last year.

Anonymous said...

Tax Dollars Flushed Away (FOX John Stossel)

When an initial report by a government oversight board claimed President Obama's $787 billion stimulus plan had already resulted in 30,000 jobs, the White House said that was evidence the stimulus was working.

Now the Associated Press has reviewed the stimulus contracts and found, oops, the government exaggerated the job numbers.

You always suspected your money was being flushed away. Now you have proof.

Anonymous said...

BBC to cut more than 100 managers to make £20m executive savings (Gaurdian.UK)

The BBC will cull more than 100 senior managers and freeze the pay of its executive board for a further three years as part of moves to reduce its £79m executive remuneration budget by 25%.

The measures were announced today by the BBC Trust as part of an overhaul of the BBC's remuneration structure that will reduce the £79m annual pay bill for more than 600of its most highly paid executives by £20m over the next three-and-a-half years.

The restructuring will also see the number of senior managers at the BBC cut 18% by 31 July 2013 – a reduction of 114 out of 634.

The BBC Trust has also endorsed a new pay strategy for senior managers joining the corporation and agreed to freeze the pay of the nine executive board directors, including the director general, Mark Thompson, for three more years.

Today's move comes after the BBC was criticised by both Labour and Conservatives over executive pay.

"The Trust challenged the BBC Executive to review senior pay at the BBC," said the BBC Trust chairman, Michael Lyons.

"Mark Thompson and his team have responded with a comprehensive set of proposals that strike the right balance between ensuring the BBC can attract the best people to do the job, while ensuring maximum value for the licence fee payer".

Anonymous said...

Imus Rants About His Fox Critics; Calls Obama 'A Whiny Little Titty Baby and a Girly Man'

Ever since long-time radio talker Don Imus inked a deal with the Fox Business Network to simulcast his morning radio program, he said he has been getting pushback from several acquaintances.

And as he explained and showed on his Oct. 28 program, he's not particularly pleased with the reaction about his deal with Fox News.

"I get this email and the e-mail says, ‘Sorry to see you've sold out to Fox Business, or whatever. But I am not surprised you sold out to Fox Business, disappointed.'

Could you explain to me exactly what does that mean? When you walk in the door here, Roger Ailes or Neil Cavuto or what's the other fat guy's name? Kevin McGee? Not the other fat guy, that was unfortunate."

Anonymous said...

Gannett Downgraded by Wells Fargo Over Advertising, Circ, and ... Leno? (Editor and Publisher)

NEW YORK Citing a weak ad recovery, a decline in circulation and the impact of the Jay Leno show on local TV affiliates, Wells Fargo Securities downgraded shares of Gannett Co. this morning from "market perform" to "underperform."

Senior analysts John Janedis and Jaime Morris forecasted that newspaper advertising revenue at the McLean, Va.-company will fall 14% in 2010 noting they expect ad revenue to decline almost 30% this year.

While circulation volume across the country is on a steep decline, Wells Fargo is particularly focused on Gannett's circulation revenue. Analysts modeled a 4.4% drop in circ revenue in 2010. For the six months ending September 2009, Gannett's daily circulation (including USA Today) was off about 14%. Circulation revenue in Q3 fell 4.9% year-over-year.

Gannett's newspaper segment isn't the only thing worrisome to the Wells Fargo analysts. The company was knocked down a peg over concerns that broadcasting revenue will slow due mainly to the time slot of the Jay Leno show, which precedes news programming and has had weak ratings.

Anonymous said...

Obama Upset With Commoners For Criticizing His $74,000 Date Night (GatewayPundit)

The elitist in the White House is upset with the commoners for criticizing his £45,000 ($74,000) date night in New York City during the worst recession since the Great Depression.

The Daily Mail reported that Obama’s date night in New York City cost £45,000.

That’s for three private jets, two helicopter rides, extra planes for security and closing roads for motorcade

It was a campaign pledge that Barack Obama didn’t dare break – a promise to take his wife out for dinner and a show once the election was over.

So on the weekend he booked a babysitter, asked Michelle to put on a little black dress and swept her off for a date...

The romantic jaunt is estimated to have cost the taxpayer more than £45,000 in transport and security costs – because the date was in New York.

The President used three planes, one to carry the couple and two to ferry aides and reporters all the way from Washington.

The cost of each flight was thought to be nearly £15,000.

The bill was pushed even higher with the use of two helicopters, one to take the Obamas to catch their plane in Washington and another to zip the party into Manhattan from JFK airport.

And, it seems like it was just yesterday that Barack Obama was telling us that everyone was going to have to sacrifice for the greater good.

Anonymous said...

Two Minnesota Dailies Opt to Drop Days (Editor and Publisher)

CHICAGO Two American Consolidated Media-owned dailies in Minnesota are dropping a day of publication beginning next week.

The Mesabi Daily News in Virginia, Minn., is dropping Mondays. The Duluth (Minn.) News Tribune reported Thursday, in a story by Candace Renalls, that bundles delivered to carriers Wednesday included a notice that read,

"It's official: the Mesabi Daily News will not be publishing a Monday paper henceforth."

The Daily Press in Ashland said it would not publish a Tuesday print edition, but will cover news that day with its Web site.

American Consolidated owns 11 dailies in Minnesota. Its Australian parent company, Macquarie Media Group, disclosed earlier this month that it expects the newspaper chain to be in default of the debt coverage ratios in its loan agreements.

Macquarie said American Consolidated has sufficient cash flow to service its $133 million debt load, but that the technical default would give lenders the right to demand accelerated payments and possibly take over the chain.

Macquarie said it does not intend to infect (Freudian slip?)more capital into the newspaper unit.

Anonymous said...

17 of 18 Families of the Fallen Denied Obama His Photo-Op at Dover

Barack Obama was nearly denied the photo-op he traveled to Dover Air Force Base for early this morning as all but one of the military and civilian families of the fallen refused permission for the media to report on the return of their loved ones.

The sole family to allow media coverage was the family of Sgt. Dale R. Griffin.

According to media reports, Griffin's casket was the last to be brought off the C-17 cargo plane that carried the bodies of 15soldiers and 3 DEA agents killed this week in Afghanistan.

That is a stark contrast to the reported 60% approval by families for media coverage since Obama lifted the ban on media coverage in April.

Byron York reported a month ago that media interest has plummeted since April such that at most dignified transfers there is only an AP stringer there to take still photographs.

While not casting judgment on the decision by the family of Sgt. Griffin, the near unanimous decion of the families to deny Obama his photo-op, compared to the average 60%, is telling.

Anonymous said...

Layoffs expected at AP by end of '09 (Politico)

Since the Associated Press hasn't met targeted cuts in payroll, it's expected that there will be layoffs by the end of 2009.

“As first outlined by President and CEO Tom Curley last November, the AP’s goal is to reduce payroll costs by 10 percent this year,” spokesman Paul Colford said in a statement.

“That goal remains in place and we are moving forward carefully to meet it.”

When asked about reducing staff, Colford acknowledged that layoffs were first raised as a possibility a year ago and remain a likelihood if the goal isn't met.

Over the summer, the AP tried bringing down staff levels through a voluntary retirement program. In a July memo to staff, obtained by POLITICO, there are 92 staffers listed as taking the buyout. (I've heard there may have been about five more).

Early estimates put the 10 percent payroll cut at roughly 400 staffers. But it's unclear how many would be cut, given that the targeted reduction is in payroll and not a direct headcount.

However, if more staffers with higher salaries are selected—most likely, those with more seniority—that number of layoffs would be less. Right now, the AP has about 4,000 total employees, with roughly 3,000 of them in news.

Anonymous said...

California Rep. Waters Is Under Investigation (AP)

The House ethics committee said Thursday it's investigating whether California Rep. Maxine Waters used her influence to help a bank in which her husband owned stock — and whether the couple benefited as a result.

Waters is the No. 3 Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee and chairwoman of its subcommittee on housing. She has been an influential voice in the committee's work to overhaul financial regulations.

Waters came under scrutiny after former Treasury Department officials said she helped arrange a meeting between regulators and executives at OneUnited Bank last year without mentioning her husband's financial ties to the institution.

Anonymous said...

Another Minnesota newspaper pulls back (

Continuing to chronicle the print pullback in nonmetro Minnesota: the Mesabi Daily News is dropping its Monday edition, according to the Duluth News Tribune.

Last month, the Mesabi paper (which is based in Virginia, Minn.) put its website behind a paywall and began charging non-subscribers $65 a year to get through it.

News Tribune reporter Candace Renalls notes that a 21 percent drop in third-quarter revenues likely means Daily News parent American Consolidated Media will violate loan covenants.

Anonymous said...

Chamber: White House attacks are backfiring (Politico)

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue says a campaign by the White House and its allies to undermine his $200-million-a-year association has largely failed — and actually has helped raise even more money for its pro-business efforts.

In a 75-minute interview with POLITICO, Donohue dismissed recent defections by Apple and at least four other companies, which quit over the Chamber’s opposition to Democratic climate change legislation — as essentially meaningless. “Members come and go all the damn time,” he said.

Anonymous said...

Sam Zell: No Newspapers Can Survive (businessinsider)

When posed with the question of whether or not he regrets his Tribune deal, Sam Zell admitted, "It's certainly the most amount of money I ever lost in a single deal."

He goes on to say that the entire newspaper industry, including Tribune, has seen a crash in revenue, and that "nobody can survive."

Anonymous said...

The Obama White House: Bundlers' Paradise (Town Hall)

Like Capt. Renault in "Casablanca," I am shocked, shocked to discover that access peddling is going on in the Obama White House.

Perks for deep-pocketed donors? Presidential meetings for sale? The stale Chicago odor of pay-for-play wafting from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?

Knock me over with a feather.
Despite the president's claimed distaste for the campaign finance practice known as "bundling" (rounding up aggregate contributions from friends, business associates and employees), the House of Obama has been a campaign finance bundlers' paradise from Day One.

A new report by Matthew Mosk of The Washington Times just confirms the gob-smackingly obvious: It's business as usual in the era of Hope and Change. O's wealthiest Democratic donors have received lavish receptions, golf outings, bowling dates and movie nights with Obama.

Anonymous said...

London Lite may be next to fold in battle of freesheets (UK)

The Lite's owners have begun a 30-day consultation with its 36 employees

London Lite, the London freesheet, is expected to close next month after Daily Mail and General Trust, its owner, concluded that it could not compete with a newly free Evening Standard.

DMGT said that it would consult the newspapers’ 36 staff, but that the month-long exercise “may result in closure” of the weekday publication, which has a giveaway circulation of 400,000 copies a day.

London Lite had been running up losses of about £10 million a year, but executives at DMGT concluded that the paper had no chance of becoming profitable after the Evening Standard, owned by Alexander Lebedev, went free at the end of September with an increased circulation of 600,000.

Anonymous said...

Barack Obama accused of 'selling' access to the White House
Telegraph (U.K.)

President Barack Obama has been accused of betraying his campaign promise to change the culture of Washington by "selling" access to the White House to prominent donors.

Leaked Democratic National Committee documents showed the party had offered up to four briefings a year from senior presidential advisers in exchange for a personal donation of $30,400 or a commitment to raise $300,000 for the 2010 midterm elections.

They would also be entitled to "twice-monthly conference calls ... [and] contribute to shaping policy agendas", the documents said.

Major donors to Mr Obama's presidential campaign have already been rewarded with invitations to lavish parties at the White House for occasions such as July 4, St Patrick's Day or a recent celebration of Latino music.

Others were offered chance to use the residence's bowling alley or basketball court with the family and friends, according to an investigation by the The Washington Times.

Scott Thomas, former chairman of the Federal Elections Commission, said: "It's OK to have a big bash and people can have a nice piece of rubber chicken but where you actually start drawing people in who have given the money to the policy discussions – I think there ought to be some way to draw a line there."

Meredith McGehee, policy director at the non-partisan Campaign Legal Centre, said: "What is so striking with President Obama is that he ran on a platform of change. This is business as usual."

The president has repeatedly claimed his administration will be the "most transparent in history" but it has refused to publicise guest lists for major events at the White House.

He has promised to make the visitors' log public, but only after the first eight months of his term.

Anonymous said...

On the Web, Amateurs Rivaling Professionals (WSJ)HAT TIP M-WATCH

This is the age of the amafessional, when amateurs are rivaling professionals in opportunity, talent and the ability to produce quality work.

It's happening in virtually every field. In areas ranging from communications to medicine to simply making things with your hands, amafessionals are gaining in numbers and the ability to market their services.

Struggling amateurs used to want to become stars, and of course some still do, but this new phenomenon is different. Millions are participating just for the fun and challenge of it–-almost like running in a marathon.

"Amafessionals" include both the amateur/professional hybrid and pajama professionals, who often work at home rather than the studio or the office.

The last time we looked at blogging industry sources pointed to 452,000 bloggers who receive some kind of pay for their services. But those sources also indicated that there was a universe of 1.7 million total bloggers – three times as many doing it totally for the joy of it, with no compensation at all.

Without a doubt, these 1.7 million bloggers have shaken the profession of journalism to its core, especially with the rise of all-online publications.

Their collective power and influence was recently recognized in the publication of FTC rules governing their behavior, adding in effect a set of standards to be followed by the amateurs.

A recent op-ed in the New York Times lamented that the "shuttering of Gourmet [magazine] reminds us that in a click-or-die advertising marketplace, one ruled by a million instant pundits, where an anonymous Twitter comment might be seen to pack more resonance and useful content than an article that reflects a lifetime of experience, experts are not created from the top down but from the bottom up."

But blogging is just the tip of the amafessional iceberg. Etsy - a site where people sell what they make – has registered nearly 200,000 sellers, and sales more than doubled in a year, all from people making arts and crafts.

Here you will find $35 art works, $10 hand-made gloves, and $5 earrings, most of which are made by amafessionals who for the first time can go to a broader marketplace with the goods they make but could never get to market before the Internet opened it up.