How much do the news media ultimately affect how you vote?
April 18th, 2012
03:35 PM ET

How much do the news media ultimately affect how you vote?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

"A vast left-wing conspiracy."

That's how Mitt Romney describes the media's effort to sink his presidential bid.

In an interview with Breitbart TV, the likely Republican nominee was asked whether he was ready to take on the media and liberal nonprofit groups that are "working together."

Here's what Romney said in response: "There will be an effort by the vast left-wing conspiracy to work together to put out their message and to attack me. They're going to do everything they can to divert from the issue people care most about, which is a growing economy that creates more jobs and rising incomes."

Romney said that dealing with journalists is an ongoing problem for Republicans. He added that many in the media are "inclined to do the president's bidding" and described it as an uphill battle for his party.

But Romney insists he's ready for the fight, saying Democrats will try to make the race about anything but President Barack Obama's record and the economy.

Of course, Romney's attack on the media is an echo of words made famous in 1998 by Hillary Clinton. She said her husband was the victim of a "vast right-wing conspiracy" in the early days of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

And we all know how that turned out. Bill Clinton was eventually impeached before being acquitted by the Senate.

Nonetheless - between 24/7 cable news and instant reaction from pundits on the Web and social media - it seems the news media play a larger role in the political process than ever before.

Just how much does all the blather actually matter on Election Day?

Here’s my question to you: How much do the news media ultimately affect how you vote?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • News Media • Voter Turnout
July 12th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

In light of alleged crimes in England, should the U.S. government investigate Rupert Murdoch's companies in the U.S.?


A copy of the front and back page wrap of the last edition of the British tabloid newspaper, the News of the World. (PHOTO CREDIT: CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As fallout intensifies over the hacking scandal that brought down the British tabloid News of the World, the CEO of parent company News Corp., Rupert Murdoch, his son James, and former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks have been asked to testify before Parliament next week.

And as this scandal grows, chances are Murdoch's troubles won't be contained to that side of the Atlantic. News Corp. could face investigations in the United States for possibly violating bribery laws. The U.S. watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is calling on Congress to look into whether News of the World journalists engaged in illegal newsgathering practices in the United States.

Earlier this week, the UK paper The Daily Mirror reported claims by a former New York police officer that the News of the World offered him money to give the paper access to voice mails and phone records of 9/11 victims and their families. Just sick.

But where does this end?

The Rupert Murdoch media empire, under the News Corp. umbrella, goes far beyond tabloids in the UK. Here in this country, Murdoch owns Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post. You have to wonder what other illegal or unethical practices journalists working for other Murdoch outlets might be engaging in.

On Sunday's "Fox News Watch" program over on the F-word network - a show devoted each week to media criticism - the panel did not discuss the British scandal on air, instead focusing on topics like the Casey Anthony trial and the ongoing sexual assault case against former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

However, on the Fox News website, in its regular "Behind the Breaks" segment, which is essentially video shot during commercial breaks, the panel chats about "the subject we're not talking about today." And at one point hosts jokingly dare another to bring the topic up.

Not surprisingly, nobody did.

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: News Media • Rupert Murdoch
July 5th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

What role did the news media play in the outcome of the Casey Anthony murder trial?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Casey Anthony's defense team is slamming the media over its intense coverage of the case leading up to and during the high-profile trial.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/images/07/05/art.caylee.jpg caption="Caylee Anthony"]
Anthony's attorney Jose Baez applauded the jury shortly after leaving the courtroom today for doing what he said they are supposed to – finding their verdict based on evidence and not emotion. Baez said, "You cannot convict someone until they have their day in court."

The defense team believed the public and the media had already decided Anthony was guilty of killing her two year old daughter before the jury even heard arguments in the case. Baez and his colleagues pointed to the seemingly non-stop coverage of the case on cable television outlets, commentary by so-called "legal experts" on various pieces of evidence and testimony on television and in print, as well as the crowds that gathered outside the courthouse daily possibly as a result.

But despite what these and other defense attorneys perceive as a media bias in high profile cases– guilty until proven innocent– many juries simply don't buy in. Many very famous defendants in very high profile cases with the most media coverage have all gotten off. O.J. Simpson, Michael Jackson, and William Kennedy Smith were all acquitted in trials that featured intense media coverage.

And while the defense slams the media, it might be worth taking a moment to think about why so many of these big cases have the same outcome.

Here’s my question to you: What role did the news media play in the outcome of the Casey Anthony murder trial?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Law Enforcement • News Media
June 20th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Why would NBC edit out part of the Pledge of Allegiance before the U.S. Open?


Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after his U.S. Open victory. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

A 22-year-old from Northern Ireland won the U.S. Open Sunday at Congressional Country Club outside Washington. It was a stunning performance. It's too bad the same can't be said about NBC, the network televising our national championship.

At the beginning of the telecast, NBC aired a patriotic montage featuring video clips of national monuments and soldiers raising an American flag, cut around a group of school-aged children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Only during the pledge, the phrases "under God" and "indivisible" were edited out, twice. The piece was supposed to play up the whole patriotism theme with the golf course hosting our national championship so close to our nation's capital and all. But a lot of people couldn't get past the missing lines. Who does this?

Angry viewers immediately took to Twitter bashing NBC and suggesting a boycott of the network. Others called into their NBC affiliates to complain. And before the broadcast ended, announcer Dan Hicks issued an on-air apology of sorts, saying the omission was not meant to upset anyone and that the network was sorry to those who were offended. It wasn't nearly enough.

Today, NBC went one step further, releasing a statement:

"We are aware of the distress this has caused many of our viewers and are taking the issue very seriously. Unfortunately, when producing the piece - which was intended to capitalize on the patriotism of having our national championship played in our nation's capital - a decision was made by a small group of people to edit portions of the Pledge of Allegiance. This was a bad decision."

The network also said if disciplinary action is taken, it will be handled internally and not be made public.

The original Pledge of Allegiance, of course, did not include the words, "Under God." They were added by Congress in the 1950s. As a result, they are as much a part of our salute to our flag as the rest of the words in the pledge. And it boggles the mind that a bunch of morons at NBC can take it upon themselves to decide which part to include and which part to omit. Those responsible ought to be fired on the spot.

Here’s my question to you: Why would NBC edit out part of the Pledge of Allegiance before the U.S. Open?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: News Media
March 15th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Will the internet eventually kill newspapers?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

A rapidly unfolding story like the earthquake in Japan and the devastating tsunami and nuclear concerns that followed shows the strengths of the news media but at the same time exposes its limits.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/images/03/15/art.japan.phone.jpg caption=""]
The Japan earthquake hit about 12:45 a.m. ET last Friday morning. Internet news sites, blogs and cable television broke the story right away and stayed with it. Newspapers on the other hand scrambled to get such a late breaking story to print... and could only report so much before the presses got rolling. "Hot off the presses" wasn't so hot when it hit doorsteps across the country, so readers relied on other outlets to find out the latest.

A new report from the Pew Center's Project of Excellence in Journalism says 41 percent of Americans say they get most of their national and international news from the Internet. That's up 17 percent - more than double - from a year earlier. And that number's likely to grow. The internet not only provides up-to-the-minute news to anyone who's interested, but in the case of Japan, also puts them one-click away from humanitarian aid websites, groups that are helping loved ones find each other, and opinion blogs.

And laptops, smartphones and electronic tablets like the iPad are making the Internet easily accessible almost everywhere.

Here's my question to you: Will the internet eventually kill newspapers?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 6pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Filed under: Internet • Japan earthquake • Journalism • News Media
January 6th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Internet to replace TV as top news source?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

We - meaning those of us in television news - may soon go the way of the dinosaurs.

A new report shows that the Internet is gaining on television as Americans' main source of national and international news.

The Pew survey shows overall 41% of those polled say they get their news from the Internet - that's up 17 percent from just three years ago.

Television still tops the list as the main news source at 66%, but that number is down significantly from 82% as recently as 2002.

Newspapers and radio are at the bottom of the heap in this survey.

Although the use of the Internet for news is growing among all age groups - it's especially pronounced among young people.

For the first time in 2010, the Internet was the main source of news for those under 30 years old.

There are also differences when it comes to education and income.

The survey found college graduates are just as likely to get their news from the Internet as television, while those who only have a high school diploma are much more likely to say TV is their top source of news.

When it comes to money, it's not a big surprise that wealthier people are more likely to get their news from the Internet than those with incomes under $30,000.

So - take a good look at Wolf and me while you still have the chance!

Here’s my question to you: Is the internet destined to replace television as the primary source of news?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Internet • Journalism • News Media
December 16th, 2010
04:38 PM ET

What will you remember most about Larry King?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Tonight night marks the end of an era - not just at CNN but in cable television.

Larry King will do his final live, nightly broadcast for CNN at 9 p.m. ET tonight. And when he walks out of the building, there will be a space that will never be filled quite the same way again.

In fact, if it weren't for King, it's entirely possible I wouldn't be doing this job right now. And a lot of the rest of us in this business wouldn't be either.

When CNN was in its infancy and the rest of television was laughing at Ted Turner's idea, King came along and put this network on his back and carried it until its credentials as a viable news organization were accepted by the viewing public.

And along the way, he became the gold standard for talk television. So many of his interviews made the news elsewhere.

There wasn't anyone in the last 25 years he didn't talk to on CNN - including Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George H.W. and George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

Entertainers such as Marlon Brando, Johnny Cash, Paul McCartney and Barbra Streisand - virtually everyone from the world of show business - and foreign leaders such as Mikhail Gorbachev, Margaret Thatcher, Nelson Mandela and Vladimir Putin. Impressive doesn't do justice to his resume.

He also was very kind to a first-time author when something called "It's Getting Ugly Out There" was published.

I have known Larry since my days at WNBC-TV in New York when he would occasionally be a guest on my program there, "Live at Five."

He's a class act. He's my friend. And I, along with millions of television viewers, will miss him.

Here’s my question to you: What will you remember most about Larry King?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: News Media
December 14th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Does Boehner's crying diminish his credibility?


Incoming Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio). (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

"Weeper of the House"... that's what Joy Behar dubbed the incoming Speaker John Boehner after his teary-eyed performance on CBS' "60 Minutes."

Boehner got choked up multiple times during the interview with Lesley Stahl, including when talking about the nation's children.

He also teared up another time toward the end of the piece with his wife, Debbie, at his side.

And this "60 Minutes" interview isn't the first time we've seen the speaker-to-be get choked up. On election night, when it became clear the Republicans had won control of the House, Boehner got teary-eyed talking about how he spent his whole life chasing the American dream.

Boehner describes himself as "a pretty emotional guy." No kidding. He told "60 Minutes" he's comfortable in his own skin and that people who know him know that he gets emotional about certain topics.

But not everyone is so comfortable. Barbara Walters said Boehner's got an "emotional problem." Others are now questioning the emotional stability of the man who will be second in line for the presidency. Of course, there are some stereotypes at work here.

In 2008, Hillary Clinton revived her presidential campaign when she started blubbering in a New Hampshire diner. Voters saw the tears as showing her human side. But if a man cries, typically it's seen as a sign of weakness.

When outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi was recently asked about Boehner's crying, Pelosi said she cries about a personal loss, "but when it comes to politics, no, I don't cry." Where Pelosi's concerned, it's the taxpayers who cry … but that's another story.

Here’s my question to you: Did John Boehner's crying on "60 Minutes" diminish his credibility?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


September 23rd, 2010
03:00 PM ET

Why do presidents cooperate with Woodward on books about them?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

In 1974, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein brought down the presidency of Richard Nixon with their reporting on Watergate.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/09/23/art.book.jpg caption="The cover art for Bob Woodward's latest book: 'Obama's Wars'"]
But Bob Woodward was just getting started on the occupants of the White House.

In 1994, he wrote "The Agenda" about President Clinton, in which he revealed disputes, temper tantrums and heated debates in the president's second year in office.

In 2004 he wrote "Plan of Attack" about Pres. George W. Bush in which he famously revealed how CIA Director George Tenet told Bush it was a "slam dunk case" that Saddam Hussein had WMDs.

In 2006, he wrote "State of Denial" - also about Bush - and revealed how the president failed to tell the truth about how badly the Iraq war was going.

Woodward's 16 books are all bestsellers. He's a writer/reporter who stays on the story until he has something no one else has.

It used to be said the worst news you could get at the office is "60 Minutes is on the phone and wants to talk to you." The idea being that no good would come of a conversation with them.

The same applies to Bob Woodward.

So you have to wonder, looking at his body of work, why anyone would open the door to him when he knocks and says he wants to write a book about the president. But that's exactly what the Obama administration did.

The result is Woodward's latest, "Obama's Wars."

How good or bad it will be for the Obama White House remains to be seen. But it's too late to worry about that now.

Here’s my question to you: Why do presidents choose to cooperate with Bob Woodward when he wants to write a book about them?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: News Media • President Barack Obama
June 18th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

White House: Cable news not 'where all of real America lives'

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Traditionally there's not much love lost between any White House and the media.

And so it was this week:
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/18/art.gibbs.jpg caption=" White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs"]
Almost two months into the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, Pres. Obama addressed the American people from the Oval Office about the Gulf oil spill.

And his speech got panned... pretty much everywhere... including MSNBC which usually just loves anything this president does.

They said the president wasn't specific enough and didn't appear to show that he was in charge. They were absolutely right. The speech was weak.

The next day in the White House briefing room - Mr. Obama's Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, was asked about the drubbing his boss took. Reporters wanted to know what Gibbs thought about cable news critics who said the president is being too hands-off when it comes to the oil crisis.

Gibbs responded:

"I appreciate the hand on the pulse of America by those who live on cable TV. I don't actually think that is where all of real America lives."

Gibbs also said that if Mr. Obama had decided to run for president based on what the pundits were saying a year before the primaries started... he would still be in the Senate.

Meanwhile despite all the talk about the president's speech and the criticism that followed... it was the second least-watched Obama speech ever. The audiences for his speeches are beginning to mirror his job approval ratings.

Here’s my question to you: White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says cable news is not "where all of real America lives." Is he right?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


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