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Hotline / MEDIA MONITOR

This Morning

May 6, 2008

"Today" led with the cyclone in Myanmar. "Early Show" led with the cyclone in Myanmar. "GMA" led with the IN and NC primaries.

Just Like Riding A Bike

HDNet's Dan Rather is "back in the saddle again." Rather will be on HDNet tonight covering the IN and NC primaries for "at least two hours." Rather, "who presided over two decades' worth as the CBS anchor," says HDNet's election coverage will be "something different." Rather: "If all we can do is do what the others do, there's no reason to do these programs." Therefore, "instead of video walls and short bursts of analysis between exit polls and election results, Rather and his team are going to have what he calls a 'conversation.'"

However, "this could be the last coverage of the primaries from HDNet." Rather said it's unclear "whether there will be more special coverage of the primaries or even the conventions themselves beyond what he does in 'Dan Rather Reports'" (Gough, Hollywood Reporter, 5/5).

 

"I don't think we care anymore."
--GOP strategist Ed Rollins, asked who GOPers would prefer to run against in the fall, "AC 360," CNN, 5/5.

We Do What We Want

The New York Times and MSNBC have "joined forces for a new cable show." 5/5 was the debut of "'The New York Times Special Primary Edition,' a new political show hosted by John Harwood where Times-journos will handicap the election." From a memo, "it appears these shows will appear as specials -- that is, they won't run every week, but whenever MSNBC and the paper choose to do it." The 5/5 show previewed the IN and NC primaries (Koblin, "Media Mob," New York Observer, 5/5).

Livin' On The Edge

Barack Obama and NBC's Tim Russert "were a much bigger draw" in Indianapolis, IN, on 5/4 than were Hillary Clinton and ABC's George Stephanopoulos. NBC's "Meet the Press" was viewed in 91K "households there, a third of all those watching television at the time." Meanwhile, ABC's "This Week" was watched in 14K households, "just" 4% of those watching TV. "The margin of victory for" Russert over Stephanopoulos "was larger than usual in Indianapolis."

"This could be a good sign for" Obama, "who is supposed to hold an edge in Indianapolis. ... Yet it could also speak to his edge with well-educated voters, who presumably are among the most likely to tune in to the Sunday public affairs programs."

However, Clinton and Stephanopoulos "narrowly beat" Obama and Russert in the Chicago TV market, which reaches into IN. In NC, "they won by a similarly slim margin in Charlotte." But Obama and Russert "won by substantial margins in Raleigh, Greenville and Greensboro" (Rutenberg, "The Caucus," New York Times, 5/5).

The Many Quirks Of Carlson

MSNBC's Tucker Carlson "isn't much of a dancer. He admits as much and points out that he gained weight" when he trained for ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." Carlson: "I gained about eight pounds of doughnuts. ... I had never danced sober before. I had only danced at bar mitzvahs and weddings."

Carlson "comes with quirks. For one thing, he never locks his car even though a woman once stalked him and another accused him of rape. ... He once found a guy asleep and wrapped in newspaper in the back seat of his Volvo station wagon." Carlson: "I beat on the windows and made him get out."

Carlson also "never watches himself on TV. Ever. He never reads stories about himself," because the stories "freak him out," as strangers "know details about his family, children and personal life." Carlson also "habitually" makes the sound of a "revving motorcycle, apparently to show excitement."

He's "all revved up, but once the election is over," his contract as a campaign correspondent with MSNBC ends. Carlson "revels in this question-mark phase of his life because he knows at that 38, he's not washed up." His "ideal next step" is to host "Jeopardy!" and a Sunday politics show. Carlson: "I'm open to everything. Something interesting always happens" (Rothstein, The Hill, 5/5).

We Have A Winner

For the week of 4/28, NBC's "Nightly News" was the most-watched network evening newscast, winning "in total viewers, adults 25-54, and homes." The Brian Williams-led newscast averaged 8.183M, 226K more than ABC's "World News"' 7.957M and a 2.414M lead over CBS' "Evening News'" 5.769M. "Season-to-date" the "Nightly News" leads "World News" by 227K viewers (release, 5/6).

Laugh Track

Jay Leno: "The federal government announced that the economy lost jobs for the fourth straight month in a row. But President Bush tried to turn it around by saying, 'The good news is, we anticipated this.' See, that's the good news. So what is he saying? 'See, I knew I was going to screw up the economy. And guess what. I was right.' All of a sudden, that response to Hurricane Katrina is starting to make sense now. ... Hey, did you see Hillary Clinton on Fox News? She was on 'The O'Reilly Factor.' ... You know, they were yelling at each other. ... And you know something? Maybe I'm wrong. I could feel the sexual tension. Did you see it? Could you feel it? [on screen: video of 'Clinton' and 'O'Reilly' talking, then making out]" ("Tonight Show," NBC, 5/5).

Jon Stewart: "I want to apologize to the administration. I forgot last Thursday was the fifth anniversary of President Bush's 'Mission Accomplished' declaration. I'm sorry! Usually on that day, I let the president dress up in a flight suit and land on me. But at least the White House has gained some perspective on that fateful day [on screen: video of WH Press Sec. Dana Perino saying Bush realizes he should have clarified which mission he thought went well]. Oh, oh. And that the war should have been more carefully planned and probably shouldn't have been started. But really, half a decade into the war, the one thing the Bush administration would have changed is the banner font. Should have gone with Times Courier, d'oh. Bunch a font crazies just went, 'Ooh! He said what we love!' Folks, today is Monday, which means tomorrow is Tuesday, which means it must be time for, 'Indecision '08, The Long Flat Seemingly Endless Bataan Death March to the White House.' The United States election is headed to Guam, where residents of our nation's 32nd largest island ... in your face Hinchinbrook Island, Alaska! ... got a chance to weigh in, reaping the benefits of America's 1944 retaking of the turd-shaped paradise. ... They split Guam! It's like two miles wide. They split it. The margin would have been even closer, but the Ferguson's canoe got hit by a sea turtle. That's probably unfair to Guam, is it not? I don't know anything about Guam. But the bigger prizes this week are of the more, shall we say contiguous, variety, Indiana and North Carolina. The primaries are tomorrow, [and] with the race this tight, the candidates are pulling out all the stops. ... In this corner, from Yale, via Wellesley, Hillary Clinton. In Pennsylvania, she embodied Rocky's 'Never say die' attitude. But that won't translate to the non-boxing states of Indiana and North Carolina. Oh! [She's] at a rally at the NASCAR Museum, [she spoke] under a banner for Skoal chewing tobacco. That's NASCAR. ... And check out her latest pantsuit [on screen: photo of Clinton in a NASCAR-inspired pantsuit]. Niiice. So don't worry, Hoosiers, she feels you, too [on screen: video of Clinton asking IN voters to 'start your engines' in the spirit of the Indy 500]. Come with me! I will take you on an excruciatingly long ride that goes absolutely nowhere. With a bag strapped to your leg for urination purposes. ... But while Senator Clinton proved she knew that they liked cars, Obama played the other game they like. But would his basketball skills assuage charges he's too elitist and/or too black and angry for the heartland? Let's go to the videotape [on screen: Obama playing basketball]. There is Obama driving the lane and, oh, nice try, Harvard! Gonna build a yacht club with those bricks? Why don't you try another one there? Whoa! We get it, Malcolm X. It's just a game. ... Back to Hillary. Clearly this late in the race, this far down, she needs a hail pander. I know, cheap summer gas! ... A summer-long break from the 18.5 cent federal gas tax. What a holiday. You know what my favorite part of gas tax holiday is? The 'Peanut' special. ... Of course, there are cynics. [on screen: video of Clinton yelling at people who called her a panderer for supporting the gas tax]. If I were pandering to you, wouldn't I be doing it from the bed of a vehicle that represents nostalgia for a past? That you perceive a simpler and better? ... Ah, my old pickup truck [on screen: Clinton talking to voters while standing in the back of a pick-up truck]. I remember driving around Wellesley in one of these, guzzling boxed wine, blasting Emily Dickinson on the radio. F*ck yeah! I'm one of y'all! But there is one small problem with the gas tax vacation [on screen: Clinton telling ABC's George Stephanopoulos that she isn't going to 'put [her] lot in' with economists on the gas tax issue]. Really? Even on economic issues? I mean, I can understand health-related things. You're not going to go to an economist and say 'Hey, what's this?' There, you go with a doctor. What's happened to her? One of the most educated people to ever run for president, Wellesley grad, Yale Law, former first lady, sitting senator, and not from some bullsh*t state either. ... I was pandering. All of a sudden, she's rejecting the opinions of experts, speaking with a folksy accent, threatening to obliterate Iran. I mean, it's like, 'Oh my God! He's never leaving. In one way or another, he'll always be our president [on screen: photo of Pres. Bush]" ("Daily Show," Comedy Central, 5/5).

Stephen Colbert: "Nation, gas prices are at an all-time high, at least if you don't have a personal relationship with a Saudi oil sheik. Hassan. Salaam alaikum, my brother. Keep those tankers coming. The high fuel cost is raising the price of everything. The situation demands a novel, yet practical solution, which brings us to tonight's 'Word': Free gas. Look, I know that Senators McCain and Clinton have proposed a summer gas tax holiday. And I applaud their courage in the face of so-called experts who have universally rejected the plan with delicate critiques like 'pointless and disappointing,' 'bad policy' and 'so ridiculous, so unworthy of the people aspiring to lead our nation.' Fine. So the level of discourse has dropped. It can't always be about flag pins. But these proposals did get at least one glowing review. 'I don't know any prominent economist who favors this McCain-Clinton proposal.' That is why it is so good. Backing a policy experts think is a terrible idea just proves you are ready to be president [on screen: 'Specifically, President Bush']. And just like a good president, Clinton put the blame for past failures where it belongs [on screen: Clinton discussing the gas tax with ABC's George Stephanopoulos]. Sure, if you think about it, lifting the tax will increase demand, and ultimately lead to higher gas prices, but doesn't it feel like this is going to help somebody? [on screen: 'OPEC?']. Now, I do have some criticism of this summer gas tax holiday. For one thing, how do we know when it ends? It's always summer somewhere [on screen: 'Soon, Will Always Be Summer Everywhere']. But, folks, my biggest problem is that it doesn't go far enough in making me feel like I'm saving money. 18 cents a gallon? To save any real cash, I'll have to drive my Hummer 24/7. That's why I'm announcing a truly bold initiative. Stephen Colbert's 'Total Gas Holiday.' From here on out, free gas for everyone. Voila! Immediate relief from the gas crisis. And, folks, it could not come at a better time. High fuel costs are leading Americans to buy smaller cars. Smaller cars? This is America. If we go to smaller cars, before you know it, we'll be just like Europe. Folks, that means I'll be wearing tight red jeans and eating snack crackers with strange brand names. Now, I'm sure you're asking, folks, how will we pay for unlimited free gas? [on screen: 'Take Out A Subprime Mortgage?']. Well, the answer is simple. I don't care. Besides, have you forgotten about a little thing called our grandkids? Because they are very generous, even though they don't know it yet [on screen: 'No Child Left Unscrewed']. They can be the generation that walks to work or uses public transportation. They'll have to, because without a gas tax to pay for infrastructure, there won't be any roads. So, Nation, call your representatives and demand they make gas free. Then go out there and burn it like it is going out of style [on screen: 'Because It Is']. And that's 'The Word'" ("Colbert Report," Comedy Central, 5/5).

Conan O'Brien: "Happy Cinco de Mayo. ... And, of course, the president marked this occasion earlier today. President Bush said that Cinco de Mayo is an opportunity to recognize the strong ties of family, economy and culture that bind the United States and Mexico. That was nice. Yeah. Then the president said, 'Now, let's get back to building that fence.' ... I guess it's neck and neck with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. They've got a big primary tomorrow, and they're everywhere right now. Yesterday's entire 'Meet the Press' was devoted to Barack Obama, while the entire 'This Week with George Stephanopoulos' was devoted to Hillary Clinton. ... Meanwhile, John McCain spent the day watching a 'Golden Girls' marathon" ("Late Night," NBC, 5/5).

           TOP TEN REASONS HILLARY CLINTON LOVES AMERICA
                   (as presented by Hillary Clinton)

e>
         10. We have more Dakotas than every other country
             combined.
          9. Canadian Bacon: soggy and chewy; American
             Bacon: crisp and delicious!
          8. Thanks to the Internet, I can order new
             pantsuits 24/7. There's your pantsuit joke,
             Dave. Are you happy?
          7. 232 years and not one cookie shortage.
          6. TiVo.
          5. Did I mention the soup? Mmm, soup.
          4. Did you know former President Teddy Roosevelt
             was an American? 
          3. Where else can you get a car painted for
             $29.95?
          2. Is this the part where I say, "Live from New
             York it's Saturday Night Live!"?
          1. Apparently anyone can get a talk show
             (CBS, 5/5).

e>

This article appears in the May 6, 2008 edition of Latest Edition.

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