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Monday, April 22, 2013

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Like a lot of Americans, when I woke up on Friday morning and found out there was a manhunt in the Boston area for the remaining suspect in Monday’s bombing at the marathon, I turned on CNN. It’s a common impulse, although less common than it used to be. The news audience has been chopped up into ideological camps, and CNN’s middle way has been clobbered in the ratings. The legacy networks’ news divisions can still flex powerful muscles on big stories, and Twitter and other real-time social media sites have seduced a whole new cohort of news consumers.  But the biggest damage to CNN has been self-inflicted — never more so than in June, when in a rush to be first, it came running out of the Supreme Court saying that President Obama’s health care law had been overturned. It was a hugely embarrassing error. Still, when big news breaks, we instinctively look to CNN. We want CNN to be good, to be worthy of its moment. That impulse took a beating last week. On Wednesday at 1:45 p.m., the correspondent John King reported that a suspect had been arrested. It was a big scoop that turned out to be false. Mr. King, a good reporter in possession of a bad set of facts, was joined by The Associated Press, Fox News, The Boston Globe and others, but the stumble could not have come at a worse time for CNN. When viewers arrived in droves — the audience tripled to 1.05 million, from 365,000 the week before, according to Nielsen ratings supplied by Horizon Media — CNN failed in its core mission. It was not the worst mistake of the week — The New York Post all but fingered two innocent men in a front-page picture — but it was a signature error for a live news channel." (David Carr)



"Kids used to ask each other: If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears, does it make a sound? Now there’s a microphone in every tree and a loudspeaker on every branch, not to mention the video cameras, and we’ve entered the condition that David Foster Wallace called Total Noise: 'the tsunami of available fact, context, and perspective.' This week was a watershed for Total Noise. When terrible things happen, people naturally reach out for information, which used to mean turning on the television. The rewards (and I use the word in its Pavlovian sense) can be visceral and immediate, if you want to see more bombs explode or towers fall, and plenty of us do. But others are learning not to do that. The Boston bombings, shootings, car chase, and manhunt found the ecosystem of information in a strange and unstable state: Twitter on the rise, cable TV in disarray, Internet vigilantes bleeding into the FBI’s staggeringly complex (and triumphant) crash program of forensic video analysis. If there ever was a dividing line between cyberspace and what we used to call the 'real world,' it vanished last week. Microblogging and social media intruded sharply upon the chain of events. The @CambridgePolice, having tweeted SUSPICIOUS PACKAGE reports through Thursday night and Friday morning, stopped tweeting in case the 19-year-old fugitive Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was glued to his cell phone like everyone else ('monitoring police response via social media'). And why wouldn’t he be? The Internet revealed his supposed Twitter name, which instantly acquired tens of thousands of new followers. Reddit users assembled a crowd-sourced map of the Thursday-night shootings and car­jacking. The @Boston_Police begged other tweeters to stop 'Broadcasting Tactical Positions of Homes Being Searched.' Someone instantly registered the domain name ­shouldIlivetweetthescanner.info in order to post a short message: 'NO. NO, NO and NO.'" (NYMag)



"Bill Clinton was honored at the GLAAD Media Awards for his gay rights advocacy as well as his endorsement for same-sex marriage on Saturday. As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, the former President credits his daughter for changing his mind. The former President said during his acceptance speech that his daughter 'has had a profound impact on the way I see the world. It's sort of humbling when you get to be my age when your child knows more than you do about everything.' 'Chelsea and her gay friends have modeled to me how we should all treat each other regardless of our sexual orientation or any other artificial difference that divides us,' said the honoree. 'Many of them come and join us every Thanksgiving for a meal. I have grown very attached to them.'" (PageSix)


"Last night I went down to the Four Seasons restaurant on East 52nd for the annual Through the Kitchen dinner which benefits the Cancer Research Institute Irvington Fellowship Program. Lauren Veronis started this Sunday night affair thirty-one years ago this year, and they’ve raised $8 million for this one program. The Institute concentrates on research in the field of immunology. Mrs. Veronis brings out a good crowd of many prominent New Yorkers. Mayor Bloomberg and Diana Taylor were among the guests. It is one of the few benefits that the mayor takes the time out to attend. And on Sunday night too. Police Commissioner Kelly was also there with his wife Veronica.A lot of the guests are friends, or no more than two degrees of separation from almost everyone in the room. It could be called the Lauren Veronis’ own private Linked-In. It also attracts friends of friends. The reason they can pull in several hundreds on a Sunday night is because of The Cause, of course, but also there’s a camaraderie in the room. And the food. That is Lauren Veronis’ ace. And in this beautiful, now landmarked classic restaurant of New York. They give you a chef’s apron as you enter the kitchen, big plate in hand. And before you it's ... a cornucopia." (NYSocialDiary)


"The ballet isn’t generally known as a place for great humor, but Woody Allen was a cutup at the Youth America Grand Prix Gala, spies said. The 'Annie Hall' director and wife Soon-Yi Previn were spotted there as guests at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center last week, along with David and Julia Koch, Wilbur and Hilary Ross, Debra Black and Karen LeFrak, who composed the score for a premiere of Marcelo Gomes’ dance piece 'Tous Les Jours.' When the well-heeled group filed in for dinner after the performance, Allen was seen desperately scanning the place cards at his table. 'I like it when Soon-Yi’s at the same table,' he explained to a guest, relieved to find she was seated nearby. When a party photographer asked to snap a pic, Allen quipped that he’s always happy to pose because, 'It keeps me from eating.' And when a guest exclaimed Allen hadn’t changed since they’d met 35 years before, the director put his hand on his heart, tapped his chest and concluded, 'No maturity.'” (PageSix)


"Next week, Comedy Central will host a five-day comedy festival that includes a lineup of legends like Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner alongside popular young comics like Amy Schumer and the director Paul Feig.But there will be no smoky comedy clubs. No lone microphones and stools positioned on stage. No two-drink minimum.  The festival will take place almost entirely on Twitter, with comedians posting video snippets of routines and round tables and posting jokes using the hashtag #ComedyFest. The partnership between Comedy Central, a cable cannel owned by Viacom, and Twitter represents the evolving relationship between television and social media. Twitter is often incorporated into programming with viewers using the site as a second screen while watching live television. But slowly, Twitter is becoming an outlet on which to watch video. In January, Twitter introduced Vine, a video-sharing service that lets users post six-second clips — brevity that matches Twitter’s model of 140-character messages." (NYTimes)

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