posts about or somewhat related to ‘cable’

Cable on Climate Science

Via the Union of Concerned Scientists:

CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC are the most widely watched cable news networks in the U.S. Their coverage of climate change is an influential source of information for the public and policy makers alike.

To gauge how accurately these networks inform their audiences about climate change, UCS analyzed the networks’ climate science coverage in 2013 and found that each network treated climate science very differently.

Fox News was the least accurate; 72 percent of its 2013 climate science-related segments contained misleading statements. CNN was in the middle, with about a third of segments featuring misleading statements. MSNBC was the most accurate, with only eight percent of segments containing misleading statements.

Read the overview here, or jump to the study here (PDF).

Images: Science or Spin?: Assessing the Accuracy of Cable News Coverage of Climate Science, via Union of Concerned Scientists

Who Controls The Media? Who Controls The FJP?
Let’s take this in order: Who controls the media?
If we’re talking traditional, corporate media it typically looks like this:
GE Owns: Comcast, NBC, Universal Pictures.
News-Corp Owns: Fox, Wall Street Journal, New York Post.
Disney Owns: ABC, ESPN, Pixar, Miramax.
Viacom Owns: MTV, Nickelodeon, BET, Paramount.
Time Warner Owns: CNN, HBO, Time, Warner Brothers.
CBS Owns: 60 Minutes, Showtime, NFL.com.
They all own way more than this, and I’d also add Clear Channel to the equation since it owns the majority of radio stations throughout the United States.
But you can’t talk about “owning the media” without talking about who owns cellular and Internet pipes. That includes companies like AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Verizon and Time Warner Cable.
Online sources remain remarkably diverse despite reliance on upstream providers. People can reach and enjoy them despite the depth and breadth of overall marketshare of the properties mentioned above. That said, recent Network Neutrality rulings threaten our ability to access, interact with and enjoy this online diversity. Take, for instance, this AT&T patent application that would let it discriminate against online content and gives us access (or blocks access) accordingly:

A user of a communications network is prevented from consuming an excessive amount of channel bandwidth by restricting use of the channel in accordance with the type of data being downloaded to the user. The user is provided an initial number of credits. As the user consumes the credits, the data being downloaded is checked to determine if is permissible or non-permissible. Non-permissible data includes file-sharing files and movie downloads if user subscription does not permit such activity.

Similarly, you can’t talk about owning and influencing the media without paying attention to how our technology companies operate within the ecosystem. Namely, how our interaction with information and communication is mediated by the code created by the likes of Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple. As CUNY’s Lev Manovich has written:

Software has become a universal language, the interface to our imagination and the world. What electricity and the combustion engine were to the early 20th century, software is to the early 21st century. I think of it as a layer that permeates contemporary societies. If we want to understand today’s techniques of communication, representation, simulation, analysis, decision making, memory, vision, writing, and interaction, we must understand software.

So, that is more or less who controls American media.
Second question, who controls Future Journalism Project?
Ask a question, get an answer: meet the power behind the throne.
Most days though it’s me and Jihii. — Michael

Who Controls The Media? Who Controls The FJP?

Let’s take this in order: Who controls the media?

If we’re talking traditional, corporate media it typically looks like this:

  • GE Owns: Comcast, NBC, Universal Pictures.
  • News-Corp Owns: Fox, Wall Street Journal, New York Post.
  • Disney Owns: ABC, ESPN, Pixar, Miramax.
  • Viacom Owns: MTV, Nickelodeon, BET, Paramount.
  • Time Warner Owns: CNN, HBO, Time, Warner Brothers.
  • CBS Owns: 60 Minutes, Showtime, NFL.com.

They all own way more than this, and I’d also add Clear Channel to the equation since it owns the majority of radio stations throughout the United States.

But you can’t talk about “owning the media” without talking about who owns cellular and Internet pipes. That includes companies like AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Verizon and Time Warner Cable.

Online sources remain remarkably diverse despite reliance on upstream providers. People can reach and enjoy them despite the depth and breadth of overall marketshare of the properties mentioned above. That said, recent Network Neutrality rulings threaten our ability to access, interact with and enjoy this online diversity. Take, for instance, this AT&T patent application that would let it discriminate against online content and gives us access (or blocks access) accordingly:

A user of a communications network is prevented from consuming an excessive amount of channel bandwidth by restricting use of the channel in accordance with the type of data being downloaded to the user. The user is provided an initial number of credits. As the user consumes the credits, the data being downloaded is checked to determine if is permissible or non-permissible. Non-permissible data includes file-sharing files and movie downloads if user subscription does not permit such activity.

Similarly, you can’t talk about owning and influencing the media without paying attention to how our technology companies operate within the ecosystem. Namely, how our interaction with information and communication is mediated by the code created by the likes of Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple. As CUNY’s Lev Manovich has written:

Software has become a universal language, the interface to our imagination and the world. What electricity and the combustion engine were to the early 20th century, software is to the early 21st century. I think of it as a layer that permeates contemporary societies. If we want to understand today’s techniques of communication, representation, simulation, analysis, decision making, memory, vision, writing, and interaction, we must understand software.

So, that is more or less who controls American media.

Second question, who controls Future Journalism Project?

Ask a question, get an answer: meet the power behind the throne.

Most days though it’s me and Jihii. — Michael

Stepping Up: Al Jazeera Takes on US Cable News
After a series of fits and starts, Al Jazeera America launches today.
The network had tried to enter the US market over the years. When that didn’t work it bought Al Gore’s Current TV for $500 million to essentially get broadcast rights to 48 million homes. Consider that a cost to entry.
US media is skeptical about its possibility for success. “Al Jazeera America launches without significant advertiser base,” says the New York Post; “Al Jazeera America Will Have To Work Hard To Win Viewers,” says NPR; “Al Jazeera America faces more than the usual new-kid challenges,” chimes the Los Angeles Times; “Some Advertisers View Al Jazeera America as Too Risky: Conservative clients are balking,” warns AdWeek.
And all this is true, of course. The network entered American consciousness during the Iraq War. As US outlets focused on where missiles were launched from, Al Jazeera often spent time on where those missiles landed. Sadly, one of those missiles killed an Al Jazeera reporter.
At the time, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld accused the network of “enflaming” Arab passions. “You could say it causes the loss of life,” he said of Al Jazeera. “It’s causing Iraqi people to be killed.”
And so, bogeyman. Terrorism. Al Jazeera.
This is the lens through which many Americans know it.
I started paying attention to the network around 2003/2004 as well. I was working in Saudi Arabia. I remember watching broadcasts of Osama Bin Laden. And these were important broadcasts that weren’t being shown on US television. This was, after all, the man who bombed the World Trade Center. You would think people would want to hear what he had to say. But hearing what he had to say was anti-American and Al Jazeera, by showing it, was anti-American by default.
Now, ten years later, Al Jazeera opens its New York offices. It begins broadcasting to America. I wish it the best of luck. Anyone who flipped to its online, live coverage of the Arab Spring knows how well they can do what they do.
And so, let’s watch them launch. They do so with some familiar faces. John Seigenthaler, former weekend anchor of NBC Nightly News, is on board. So too Joie Chen (CBS News and CNN) and Antonio Mora (Good Morning America). Ditto Soledad O’Brien.
And the network’s mission is less talk, more hard hitting news. As Brian Stelter kicks off his piece for the New York Times:

Fourteen hours of straight news every day. Hard-hitting documentaries. Correspondents in oft-overlooked corners of the country. And fewer commercials than any other news channel.
It sounds like something a journalism professor would imagine. In actuality, it is Al Jazeera America.

Can’t argue against that. We’ll be tuning in. — Michael
Related 01, circa 2009: Fred Kaplan, Why I Love Al Jazeera.
Related 02, circa today: Nikki Usher, Can Al Jazeera Win the Cable Wars?
The Schedule: That would be here.

Stepping Up: Al Jazeera Takes on US Cable News

After a series of fits and starts, Al Jazeera America launches today.

The network had tried to enter the US market over the years. When that didn’t work it bought Al Gore’s Current TV for $500 million to essentially get broadcast rights to 48 million homes. Consider that a cost to entry.

US media is skeptical about its possibility for success. “Al Jazeera America launches without significant advertiser base,” says the New York Post; “Al Jazeera America Will Have To Work Hard To Win Viewers,” says NPR; “Al Jazeera America faces more than the usual new-kid challenges,” chimes the Los Angeles Times; “Some Advertisers View Al Jazeera America as Too Risky: Conservative clients are balking,” warns AdWeek.

And all this is true, of course. The network entered American consciousness during the Iraq War. As US outlets focused on where missiles were launched from, Al Jazeera often spent time on where those missiles landed. Sadly, one of those missiles killed an Al Jazeera reporter.

At the time, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld accused the network of “enflaming” Arab passions. “You could say it causes the loss of life,” he said of Al Jazeera. “It’s causing Iraqi people to be killed.”

And so, bogeyman. Terrorism. Al Jazeera.

This is the lens through which many Americans know it.

I started paying attention to the network around 2003/2004 as well. I was working in Saudi Arabia. I remember watching broadcasts of Osama Bin Laden. And these were important broadcasts that weren’t being shown on US television. This was, after all, the man who bombed the World Trade Center. You would think people would want to hear what he had to say. But hearing what he had to say was anti-American and Al Jazeera, by showing it, was anti-American by default.

Now, ten years later, Al Jazeera opens its New York offices. It begins broadcasting to America. I wish it the best of luck. Anyone who flipped to its online, live coverage of the Arab Spring knows how well they can do what they do.

And so, let’s watch them launch. They do so with some familiar faces. John Seigenthaler, former weekend anchor of NBC Nightly News, is on board. So too Joie Chen (CBS News and CNN) and Antonio Mora (Good Morning America). Ditto Soledad O’Brien.

And the network’s mission is less talk, more hard hitting news. As Brian Stelter kicks off his piece for the New York Times:

Fourteen hours of straight news every day. Hard-hitting documentaries. Correspondents in oft-overlooked corners of the country. And fewer commercials than any other news channel.

It sounds like something a journalism professor would imagine. In actuality, it is Al Jazeera America.

Can’t argue against that. We’ll be tuning in. — Michael

Related 01, circa 2009: Fred Kaplan, Why I Love Al Jazeera.

Related 02, circa today: Nikki Usher, Can Al Jazeera Win the Cable Wars?

The Schedule: That would be here.

White Men, Everyone Else: Gender and Ethnic Diversity on Cable News

Media Matters spent the month of April reviewing evening guests on cable news. The results, unfortunately, don’t surprise: CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC “overwhelmingly host male and white guests.”

Read through for the details as the watchdog group breaks down the numbers for each network. We learn, for instance, that “Out of 1,677 total guests, CNN had the largest proportion of men — 76 percent — during the month of April;” and “Fox News had the largest proportion of white guests — 83 percent.”

Hat tip to Chris Hayes, whose show is the most diverse in cable evening news. And getting there isn’t very difficult. “We just would look at the board and say, ‘We already have too many white men. We can’t have more,’” Hayes told Ann Friedman at the Columbia Journalism Review back in March. “Really, that was it.”

Images: Diversity On Evening Cable News, via Media Matters. Select to embiggen.

producermatthew:

So this just happened on CNN.

FJP: Will Ferrell & Zack Galifianakis respond. Oh my.

producermatthew:

So this just happened on CNN.

FJP: Will Ferrell & Zack Galifianakis respond. Oh my.

(Source: matthewkeys)

How Low Can CNN Go

I don’t like posting about cable news. The target is too large. The critiques are better done elsewhere.

Besides, the mock outrage over irrelevant political foibles, the faux debates about important issues masked as “balanced” because political operatives trade the day’s partisan talking points, and the hyping of every item in the daily news cycle as BREAKING, tires my head.

But one thing that goes largely unsaid is just how boring and irrelevant it can be.

In a recent piece in the Columbia Journalism Review, Michael Massing writes:

More than anyone else, Wolf Blitzer is the face of CNN today. On June 7, he made a splash with a long interview with Bill Clinton in which the former president tried to explain away his earlier comments about Romney’s sterling business record and the need to extend the Bush tax cuts. In addition to the standard political questions, Blitzer asked him about his diet, told him he looked great, seconded Clinton’s comment that he hopes to be around for a lot longer, and asked him about his daughter Chelsea. Noting that he had recently seen her at a Kennedy Center event, Blitzer said that, watching her eyes, “I saw the best of Bill Clinton and the best of Hillary Clinton. You’ve probably seen that as well. I wonder if you’d want to talk a little bit about that.” Remarkably, Clinton said he was very proud of his daughter. For the rest of the day and into the next, CNN shamelessly milked the interview, playing snippets over and over accompanied by more commentary.

Seeking a respite, I tuned in to Piers Morgan at 9 p.m., only to find that his first guest was Wolf Blitzer, talking about his interview with Clinton! After a while, Morgan finally moved on, to an “exclusive” interview with author and transgender advocate Chaz Bono in which he asked how much “the fact that you decided to become a man” contributed to his break-up with his girlfriend.

Massing rightly points out that CNN International is pretty good. And the reason it’s pretty good is because its competition isn’t FOX and MSNBC but the BBC. It has to be smarter. It has to go more in depth. It has to move beyond news as entertainment and the vapidity that is our daily, domestic cable news fare.

And it does so. Too bad we can’t get more of that here. — Michael

Michael Massing, Columbia Journalism Review. Dumb and dumber: How far can CNN sink?

Video: John Stewart on CNN’s recent wall-to-wall coverage of England’s Diamond Jubilee for Queen Elizabeth.

reuters:

Al Gore’s Current TV has bigger problems to deal with than a potential lawsuit from fired news anchor Keith Olbermann - namely not getting kicked off Time Warner Cable for low ratings.
According to three sources with knowledge of the situation, Time Warner Cable Inc’s carriage agreement with Current TV stipulates that, if the left-leaning political news network fails to meet a minimum threshold for overall viewers in a given quarter, financial penalties such as Current TV being required to increase marketing and promotion spending on the cable operator’s systems are triggered.
If Current TV misses the audience benchmark in two consecutive quarters, another clause is triggered that would allow Time Warner Cable to drop the channel. The condition was built into the most recent distribution pact between the two parties, which was signed in 2010.
If it was not for Olbermann’s show, which averaged a total of 177,000 viewers per night, Current TV likely would have missed Time Warner Cable’s viewership benchmark, said one of the sources.
EXCLUSIVE: Low ratings could end cable deal for Current TV

reuters:

Al Gore’s Current TV has bigger problems to deal with than a potential lawsuit from fired news anchor Keith Olbermann - namely not getting kicked off Time Warner Cable for low ratings.

According to three sources with knowledge of the situation, Time Warner Cable Inc’s carriage agreement with Current TV stipulates that, if the left-leaning political news network fails to meet a minimum threshold for overall viewers in a given quarter, financial penalties such as Current TV being required to increase marketing and promotion spending on the cable operator’s systems are triggered.

If Current TV misses the audience benchmark in two consecutive quarters, another clause is triggered that would allow Time Warner Cable to drop the channel. The condition was built into the most recent distribution pact between the two parties, which was signed in 2010.

If it was not for Olbermann’s show, which averaged a total of 177,000 viewers per night, Current TV likely would have missed Time Warner Cable’s viewership benchmark, said one of the sources.

EXCLUSIVE: Low ratings could end cable deal for Current TV

Segments Covering Trayvon Martin on Cable News, Feb 26 to March 19.
Via ThinkProgress.

Segments Covering Trayvon Martin on Cable News, Feb 26 to March 19.

Via ThinkProgress.

By A Nearly 2 To 1 Margin, Cable Networks Call On Men Over Women To Comment On Birth Control — ThinkProgress.

By A Nearly 2 To 1 Margin, Cable Networks Call On Men Over Women To Comment On Birth Control — ThinkProgress.

Why I Want to Quit Cable

Cut the Cord | The Comcast & Cable Cabal

Cut the cord.“Cut the cord” has become the rallying cry for those interested in abandoning cable television in favor of streaming online video to their phones, tablets, desktops and – forsooth! – televisions.

It’s an apt phrase, not merely for its echoes of severing the umbilical cord in the delivery room but for its metaphoric reach into that almond-shaped space in the Venn diagram between baptismal rebirth and outright renaissance.

There are variations, of course. Google indicates that “cut the cable” is a fraternal twin. It also brings up a blogger who simply calls himself “John,” who launched Cut-the-Cable.com two years ago. John matter-of-factly identifies his online effort as “the anti-COMCAST blog and resource site” and admits to having a “chip on my shoulder” due to the layoff that affords him the free time to take on the “fat bastards,” which presumably no longer fits his budget. Though his posts are sporadic, they are typically vitriolic and directed at discrediting and defaming the cable giant. Among them is a relatively recent analysis of a Houston news site story headlined “Comcast Contractor Accused of Raping a Child,” replete with a mug shot.

Whether or not John’s informative if pungent tirades are justified (and they are to anyone who has ever made a phone call to Comcast’s customer service), they’re a bellwether of sorts and he’s not alone. Crystal Collins, the discount doyenne behind TheThriftyMama.com, doesn’t cast cable providers as evildoers, she does provide a gleeful step-by-step guide to cutting the cable, which, depending on your cable consumption needs, she claims can save one upwards of $600 a year. Lifehacker.com also show how to slice and dice one’s media diet, with additional info on where to stream your favorite live television feed.

With all this blogging and flogging of cable companies, cutting their core product might seem to be grassroots movement. However, one should keep in mind the fact that broadcast networks themselves have stoked much of the fervor by streaming their content directly to consumers via their respective websites, effectively sidestepping cable – their one-time rival turned overlord (adjust a pair of rabbit ears lately? Yeah, didn’t think so).

Moreover, Hulu is a consortium of a several networks – NBC, itself owns over a 30 percent stake. This is ironic given the fact that Comcast now owns NBCUniversal (the merged version of the network and the studio). However, the Department of Justice mandated as part of Comcast’s acquisition, it “must relinquish its management rights in Hulu” lest it “interfere with the management of Hulu, and, in particular, the development of products that compete with Comcast’s video service.”

Comcast isn’t crying since they dominate much of the broadband market (at least locally). To wit, the cable behemoth still profits by the umbilical link through which the data that is, say, Parks and Recreation, comes tumbling. In fact, it’s a completely vertically-integrated strategy.  The revolution is being televised on the Internet, brought to you by the very entity against which you’re in revolt. Sort of like cutting off cable’s nose to stream its face.

(Source: fmrl.com)

How Do You Spell Revolving Door? →

Former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell was named head of the leading cable TV trade association.

Via LA Times:

Powell will become president and chief executive officer of the National Cable and Telecommunications Assn., taking on the role of “the cable industry’s leading advocate, spokesman, and representative in its relationship with the U.S. Congress, the administration, the FCC, and other federal agencies,” the group said Tuesday in a news release

…He left the FCC in 2005 after more than seven years as a commissioner, including a controversial four-year tenure as chairman. Powell led an aggressive crackdown on over-the-air obscenities while at the same time pushing to scale back the government’s role in the telecommunications industry. He championed a loosening of media ownership rules that was later struck down by the courts.

Takeaway, Part I: The more things stay the same, the more things stay the same.

Takeaway, Part II: If Network Neutrality is your thing you have a deep insider you’ll be battling against.

The Future of Online Video? →

GigaOm’s Josh Levy outlines the promise and difficulty Web video is having in the American media landscape.

While writing about how Roku, a set-top box that lets you stream Web video to your television, added Al Jazeera English so that users could watch the Egyptian protests, cable providers are fighting against consumer ability to cut the cord.

Roku’s move was a thrilling taste of what online TV might look like if big cable loses its grip on channels and viewers. Imagine if more channels, sick of waiting in virtual holding pens to be allowed to join cable lineups, instead just joined up with Roku or one of its competitors. And then imagine if viewers followed these channels off the cable reservation, cut their cords and relied solely on little Internet boxes for their TV content.

It would be a shiny future for online video. Except the cable giants won’t stand for it, and are using all their power to stop it: The cords that pipe in your cable TV also deliver the Internet, and big cable is all too eager to exploit that fact, threatening to throttle or block content they don’t like or that competes with them.

Independent online video efforts are running into problems left and right, and the cable giants are trying to stymie them for as long as possible while they test out their “TV Everywhere” offerings — which is their attempt at rolling out online video services without allowing subscribers to “cut the cord.” Thanks to loopholes in a recent FCC decision, there are a number of ways Comcast and friends could degrade or throttle Netflix, Hulu and other channels offered by Roku.

It’s true that with more innovations like Roku’s addition of Al-Jazeera English, the future of online video could be bright. But if big cable succeeds in squashing competition and stifling innovation, it could also get really, really dark.