Media Briefing for Friday, November 17, 2006

November 17th, 2006

A new study shows that political attack ads on television turn off the voters, and enthrall the media. The Washington Post reports. Meanwhile one Connecticut legislator is sick of misleading and vicious political attack ads on TV and radio.> Associated Press reports that his proposed a bill would ‘scrub clean? political ads in Connecticut.

Three cases of censorship? A Midwest hotel chain has pulled CNN from the TV sets in its guest rooms, accusing CNN of aiding terrorism. AP says the Iowa-based chain is upset CNN showed a video of Iraqi snipers shooting at American soldiers.> And in Tennessee, the authors of two plays with gay themes who originally were scheduled to appear on a talk show on WTVF channel 5, the CBS station in Nashville, were uninvited after the show producers carefully read about the plays. quoted the station as saying the appearance might offend the station’s ‘very conservative viewership.” And over at NBC, millions will be tuning in to Madonna to see her not get on a cross, as originally planned, after protests from religious and conservative groups. The Globe and Mail of Toronto reports the ?material girl? will gain wide viewership from all the controversy about the NBC broadcast Wednesday evening at 8 p.m. Across the ocean, in Italy, as reported briefly Thursday, the question is being asked on whether the pope may be spoofed by comedians. The Los Angeles Times provides a detailed story about this controversy, which is creating major headlines in newspapers throughout Italy.

Millions of Americans will be shopping on-line this holiday season for gifts for loved ones and friends. But the clear winners are no longer eBay and The Wall Street Journal reports that older retailers have been playing catchup and now sell on the web, in a major way. The top 10 e-sites for retail sales now include Walmart, Target, Apple Computers, Best Buy and Circuit City.> And when shopping for computers, iPods, Zunes and other computer, electronic and high tech items, one should become familiar with glitzy terms being used by manufacturers. The Wall Street Journal says that some terms include dual boot, dual core, flash player, high definition multimedia interface, and high speed downlink packet access. Do you know what those terms mean?

Books or pop movies? In St. Paul, there is a debate about whether the public library should be buying and lending out DVDs of popular movies and popular music. The Saint Paul Pioneer Press quotes one city councilman as saying that when books cost $30 or more to purchase, the library should be spending money on books rather than popular movies.>

When Europeans look at America, what do they see? Three documentarians went to Britain, France and Poland and found Europeans tend to love American culture, but on other issues things become more complicated. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the documentary, tentatively titled “The Anti-Americans,” is scheduled to air on PBS next year.>

CBS reports that half of people who view CBS shows streaming on-line, subsequently become viewers of the shows on broadcast TV. which is the website covering the convergence of television and the internet, reports the findings of CBS’s research department.>

A new book by Neal Gabler focuses on the history and life of American pop culture icon Walt Disney. Gabler says Disney overcame daunting cultural, artistic and financial obstacles. The Saint Louis Post Dispatch review says the book details how Disney succeeded in capturing the attention of hundreds of millions around the world, who became riveted to his animated characters, including Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Snow White, and many others.>

Clear Channel Communications, with nearly 1,200 of the nation’s strongest FM and AM radio stations, plus a national group of TV stations, has been sold for nearly $19 billion, the New York Times reports. The New York Timesalso has a blog of comments from more than 100 readers.> The Boston Globe says two big Boston investment firms are the purchasers of Clear Channel. The Chicago Tribune says the acquisition of Clear Channel could create major complications for bidders hoping to acquire the Tribune Co. newspapers and stations. The Chicago Tribune says a Tribune deal might create major conflicts with FCC rules on cross-ownership of broadcast stations and newspapers. The Chicago Tribune is, of course, the flagship newspaper of the Tribune Co.> The Washington Post calls the Clear Channel sale ‘the end of an era.”>

Media companies have become unloved on Wall Street, but the New York Times reports that there are still plenty of suitors elsewhere. The Times says there is strong interest in all the ?old? media, including newspapers, TV stations and radio stations.>

Medical shows on TV have become very popular in recent years. The Baltimore Sun reports that viewers believe the medical information presented on the fictional shows is very accurate, and make decisions based on them.>

While some big food companies like McDonald’s and Coca Cola have announced plans to change their advertising in response to the epidemic of child obesity, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette is concerned about local telecasts. The Post-Gazette reports that a fast food chain is heavily promoted in high school football coverage on one local station, with enticing pictures of the food and drink. The paper says the station is serving up burgers and fries on its ?(brand name fast food chain) Pre-game Pep Rally.”>

Just as some politicians use fear to try to get votes, some New York City local TV news operations are being accused of using fear to gain viewers in the current ratings sweeps. New York Daily News television columnist Richard Huff gives examples on several major city TV stations.

Currently subscribers to DirecTV — the satellite TV service — can tune in to stations from distant markets. A sales representative said she lives in South Florida, but can tune into her hometown New York City stations, with the service. That is scheduled to come to an end December 1. Broadcasting & Cable is reporting that two U.S. Senators have proposed a bill that would prevent that deadline from cutting off service. However the National Association of Broadcasters, which represents commercial TV and radio stations in the U.S., is opposing the bill, and wants the cutoff of distant stations to occur.>