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We had some hope there for TVNewser for awhile. After young Brian departed to become a toady at the NY Times, there was an opportunity for TVNewser to stop the shilling for NBC/MSNBC/CNBC and actually become a first-rate blog devoted to reporting news within the television industry. Alas, all hopes have now been dashed. Not only did TVN decide to hire a former MSNBCer for the job, they also decided to bring on hacks like Gail Shister, who has a certain history of altering stories especially where Keith Olbermann is concerned.
The latest adventure in TVN "journalism" is their swiping of a story from another industry website, FTVLive.com. FTV is a subscription only site so we'll leave it to Inside Cable News to explain what went down:
FTVLive rips TVNewser for ripping it off without attribution. . .Yesterday FTVLive reported FIRST that CNBC lawyers were planning on filing papers with New York Supreme Court Today (Yesterday) to try an obtain an emergency injunction in order to keep Eric Bolling from appearing on Fox News Channel. Six hours after FTVLive posted that story, TVNewser writes " We hear the case of former CNBC Fast Money contributor Eric Bolling is back in court today." Gee Chris. . . Where did you hear that from? FTVLive maybe? Tisk tisk. . .
If that weren't bad enough, TVN insists that Keith Olbermann is a ratings success! On August 31, TVN posted this item:
Close Call in the Demo for Olbermann If you kept an eye on the cable ratings charts from this week, you may have noticed a narrower gap between Countdown with Keith Olbermmann and The O'Reilly Factor in the 25-54 demo. On Monday there was a 15,000 viewer gap; on Wednesday just 6,000. Many emailers have opined that the closeness is based on viewer sampling from Olbermann's NBC network appearance Sunday night. Others have written that it's because O'Reilly was off this week. An MSNBC insider tells TVNewser "Countdown has been gaining steam for months, it gets better and better creatively and viewers recognize that." We still have Thursday's and Friday's numbers yet to come to determine if there's any trend.
But did TVN analyze the numbers to see if there was a trend? Nope! Did TVN mention that O'Reilly was on vacation that week? Again, the answer is no! Journalism at its finest Ladies and Gents! But wait. . . . there's more! On Friday, September 7th, TVN breathlessly posted the following:
The 8pm Cable Picture Comes Into Focus Last night, Countdown with Keith Olbermann came within 19,000 viewers of The O'Reilly Factor in the 25-54 demo. Countdown beat The Factor in the first two quarter hours. Countdown had 408,000 demo viewers from 8-8:30, The Factor had 373,000 (live+ same-day DVR). In total viewers last night, O'Reilly still more than doubled Olbermann's audience.
That little claim is being challenged by Spud at Inside Cable News: September 7, 2007
Premature prognostications. . . TVNewser writes that Countdown came close to beating The O'Reilly Factor last night and broke out quarter hour numbers as evidence. I'm not convinced of the persuasiveness of this entry. Using quarter hours as a benchmark seems like shaky methodology to me at best. O'Reilly still won the hour so it really doesn't matter what Countdown did for select 15 minute segments, does it? And this really doesn't change anything. The Factor continues to regularly beat Countdown in The Demo. TVNewser paints the Demo battle as getting closer, but the data is inconclusive at best. Countdown may be having a good week but it's still just one week. Ratings trends need to be measured in the long term. Only time will tell whether Countdown is on the upswing vs. The Factor or this is just a temporary blip on the ratings radar. I would be interested in seeing a chart with long term Live+SD data (TVN uses Live+SD so that's why I refer to it) for the two programs to accurately gauge what's going on with the Live+SD ratings for the two programs.
See TVN? That's how it's done. You post numbers, you analyze the numbers, and you consider what other factors may be contributing to a bump in the ratings. Is that really so hard to do? Or is it just easier to post the press releases that MSNBC sends you and the "anonymous" emails from the PR types and no doubt Olbermann himself trumpeting his "ratings success".
They really should rebrand TVNewser and just call it CNBC/NBC/MSNBCNewer.