Category: CNN

Donald Trump rages in CNN meltdown over Obama 'birther' issue

 

Donald Trump is seething over the President Obama "birther" issue — and the latest target of his wrath is CNN.

In an interview Tuesday, the real estate magnate and "Celebrity Apprentice" overseer got into a war of words with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, castigating the network for what he dubbed "inaccurate" reporting and ridiculing its low ratings.

At one point, Blitzer said that Trump was beginning to sound ridiculous. "I think you sound ridiculous," Trump shot back via telephone.

Trump has been a leading proponent of the theory that Obama either was not or may not have been born in the U.S. This view is a focal point of attacks on the administration from some critics, although the state of Hawaii has offered documents that say Obama was indeed born there. Most leading GOP politicians have shied away from the issue, but it persists, particularly at a grass-roots level. Trump is keeping the issue alive even as he brandishes his support for the presumed Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. 

"A lot of people do not believe that birth certificate," Trump told Blitzer.

The mogul also trashed CNN's reported summary that led in to the interview, calling it "highly inappropriate." Trump said that if CNN would report the issue accurately, the network would draw "better ratings than you're getting, which are pretty small." Last week, CNN sank to its lowest prime-time audience levels in more than 20 years.

It's been quite the ride for Trump the past few days, with sharp attacks from both the right and the left. On Sunday's "This Week" on ABC, conservative columnist George Will called the mogul "a bloviating ignoramus."

RELATED:

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— Scott Collins (twitter.com/scottcollinsLAT)

Anthony Bourdain to join CNN in 2013

Anthony Bourdain will be joining CNN in 2013 with a new travel and food show

This post has been updated. See the note below for details.

Anthony Bourdain, the globe-trotting chef and food pontificator, is joining CNN as a host and commentator on the things he knows best: food and travel.

Beginning in 2013, Bourdain will be bringing his expertise to a new weekly CNN show airing on the weekends. He'll also be appearing across CNN's programming, offering commentary.

Bourdain is joining the network to bolster its weekend programming. CNN has been experiencing a pronounced ratings slump, with the channel's April ratings down an average of 21% from the same month a year ago.

In a statement, Bourdain said, "I'm really looking forward to coming over to CNN. I think the world is going to get a whole lot bigger for me. I hope that old fans and new ones will be excited about what's coming down the road."

Bourdain's deal with CNN is exclusive, so it looks as if we've seen the last of Bourdain's previous series "No Reservations," which has aired on the Travel Channel since 2005. The show's eighth season is coming to a close next week.

Bourdain's as-yet-untitled new show will continue in the same vein as "No Reservations," with Bourdain traveling to exotic locales to experience the local cuisine and customs. The same production company which produces "No Reservations," Zero Point Zero Productions, will be joining Bourdain on his CNN endeavor, so for fans of the author and host, the changes won't be that drastic.

[Updated, 11:45 a.m. May 29: According to CNN Worldwide executive vice president Mark Whitaker, Bourdain's new program will "evolve a little bit" but still retain the basics of "No Reservations."

"It will still have the things that make the show distinctive," Whitaker said Tuesday. "He travels the world and takes you into the different cultures. His unique voice and perspective are still there."

Bourdain's new program will retain the same split-season format of "No Reservations," with a first season of 16 episodes, divided into two eight-episode runs.

Whitaker also said Bourdain joining CNN is just one part of more changes coming to the ratings-challenged news channel.

"We're looking at a lot of things," he said. "We're actively involved now more than we've been in the past, both with developing ideas internally and hearing ideas from outside production companies."

[Updated, 2:30 p.m., May 29: Fans of Bourdain's shows on the Travel Channel won't be entirely at a loss with the announcement of his impending departure for CNN. 

According to a Travel Channel spokeswoman, "As part of Travel Channel's strategic repositioning of the brand and its core programming mission, the network has been aggressively developing new talent, new voices and new shows, as announced last year. Anthony Bourdain has been an iconic figure at Travel Channel for eight groundbreaking seasons of the Emmy Award-winning 'No Reservations' and he just finished shooting the latest season of 'No Reservations.' Additionally, we just began filming with Tony for Season Two of 'The Layover.' Original episodes of both series will run through 2013 and Bourdain programs will always have a home on Travel Channel. We are proud of the great storytelling Tony has brought to the network. We congratulate him on his new venture and look forward to working with him on new projects in the future."]

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Anderson Cooper ratings plunge as CNN scrapes decade lows

Anthony Bourdain dishes on "The Layover" and life as a TV foodie

-- Patrick Kevin Day

Photo: Anthony Bourdain. Credit: Mike Lawrie / Getty Images

Piers Morgan jokes about CNN's 20-year ratings lows

Piersmorgan
CNN host Piers Morgan may be under renewed criticism for alleged phone hacking, but at least he hasn't lost his sense of humor. On Wednesday, he cracked wise about his record-low ratings on "Piers Morgan Tonight."

Interviewing Conan O'Brien at a cable TV industry event in Boston, the British-born host surveyed the roughly three-quarters-full convention hall and joked, "I haven't had an audience this big for quite a while."

Though the crowd may have appreciated the witticism, it must have made Morgan's bosses wince. New Nielsen figures released Wednesday showed that CNN's prime-time lineup last week was its least-watched overall in more than 20 years, since at least September 1991.

Last week, "Piers Morgan Tonight" averaged 429,000 total viewers. How bad is that? Well, Morgan's show premiered in January 2011 with 2.1 million. And his predecessor, Larry King, was averaging 657,000 in late 2010 -- a level that was considered unacceptable at the time.

On the other hand, "Piers Morgan Tonight" was a star compared with "Anderson Cooper 360," the 8 p.m. version of which drew just 352,000 viewers. In the adults ages 25 to 54 demographic, Cooper's performance was catastrophic, with just 95,000 viewers in that category. To an advertiser, such a level means extremely low rates for commercial time; there are big-city newscasts that deliver more viewers in the target audience.

A CNN spokeswoman did not reply to an email and a Morgan rep did not comment.

What do you think of Morgan and CNN these days? What would you do to fix their problems?

ALSO:

Piers Morgan fingered in phone-hacking scandal

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Anderson Cooper kicks "human Barbie" off his talk show

-- Scott Collins (twitter.com/scottcollinsLAT)

Photo: Piers Morgan has seen CNN's ratings droop to their lowest in more than 20 years. Credit: Jerod Harris / Getty Images.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CNN host Piers Morgan a phone hacking whiz? Witness implies so

Piers MorganPiers Morgan has long insisted that, in his days as the editor of a London tabloid, he didn’t order or condone his reporters hacking into cellphones to get scoops about celebrities.

But a British TV personality told a special inquiry Wednesday that Morgan seemed to have some very specific knowledge about how to access other people’s phone messages. Morgan, now the host of a nightly talk show on CNN in the U.S., also joked about overhearing a phone conversation between a pair of celebrities, Jeremy Paxman testified before the British government panel investigating journalism ethics.

The BBC's Paxman recalled telling Morgan during a 2002 lunch that he was wholly unfamiliar with phone hacking. "He then explained the way to get access to people's messages was to go to the factory default setting and press either 0000 or 1234,” Paxman told the so-called Levenson inquiry, “and that if you didn't put on your own code, his words, 'You're a fool.' "

The testimony by the British news anchor was not the first to suggest Morgan might have had familiarity with unethical practices during his time at the Daily Mirror.

Last December, a former Daily Mirror journalist told the same inquiry that phone hacking was considered a "standard journalistic tool" at the tabloid once run by the CNN host. One-time business columnist James Hipwell said he believed that hacking by Mirror reporters was a daily routine.

In the more recent testimony, Paxman said the discussion about hacking began when Morgan teased another lunch guest, one-time weather woman and TV personality Ulrika Jonsson, about her affair with the manager of England’s soccer team, Sven-Göran Eriksson.

“Morgan said, teasing Ulrika, that he knew what had happened in conversations between her and Sven-Göran Eriksson, and he went into this mock Swedish accent,” recalled Paxman.

“Now I don't know whether he was repeating a conversation that he had heard, or he was imagining this conversation. ... It was a rather bad parody.”

Morgan last year denied that he ever listened to phone messages between the TV personality and sports celebrity.

Paxman said he didn’t know whether the conversation Morgan parodied actually occurred but that it made him uncomfortable because he felt Morgan verged on bullying Jonsson.

Morgan’s response to the latest testimony came via Twitter: "Right -- that's the last time I'm inviting Jeremy Paxman to lunch. Ungrateful little wretch."

RELATED:

CNN's Piers Morgan says he never authorized phone hacking

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--James Rainey

twitter.com/latimesrainey

Photo: The name of CNN host Piers Morgan, once editor of the Daily Mirror tabloid in London, has come up with some frequency at an inquiry into unethical practices by the British press. Credit: Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

Regis Philbin returns to TV as Piers Morgan's guest host

Regis Philbin
Regis Philbin just can't stay away from TV. The once ubiquitous host, who's logged more hours on TV than any other broadcaster, will be back chatting up guests as a guest host on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" next Tuesday.

Morgan's executive producer, Jonathan Wald, tweeted the announcement on Tuesday and even revealed who Regis' guest would be: none other than David Letterman. Letterman is widely acknowledged to be a difficult "get" for an interview, but Philbin has a long history with Letterman, including appearing on the "Late Show" host's first show after the 9/11 attacks.

Philbin has popped up in fill-in roles a couple of times since stepping down from his "Live! With Regis and Kelly" show last November. He appeared alongside the ladies of "The View" as a guest host in April, where he engaged in an awkward conversation about bikini waxing (during which he said he'd be willing to decorate his penis with a small rhinestone).

At the time of his departure from "Live!" Philbin talked about wanting to host a family variety show in prime time as his return to TV, but there have been no further announcements about that possibility.

Letterman has only done a handful of interviews outside of his own show in recent years. He appeared on "The View" when Barbara Walters returned from her bypass surgery and he was a guest on Oprah Winfrey's daily talk show.

RELATED:

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— Patrick Kevin Day

Photo: Regis Philbin. Credit: Associated Press.

Anderson Cooper ratings plunge as CNN scrapes decade lows

Anderson Cooper's ratings are down at CNN

The news keeps getting worse for CNN, with April ratings that sunk to their worst levels in more than 10 years. 

The ill tidings for the No. 3 cable news network were led by the 10 p.m. airing of "Anderson Cooper 360," which slid 26% compared with the same period a year ago, to 522,000 total viewers, according to Nielsen.

But that wasn't all. CNN's total-day viewership averaged 357,000 viewers — a decline of 21% compared with April 2011 and the network's worst performance in the category since August 2001. By comparison, Fox News stood at 1.1 million (up 2%), while MSNBC was a distant second with 425,000 (flat).

Asked for comment, a CNN spokeswoman emailed: "News ratings are cyclical."

Other CNN shows with big dips included "Starting Point" (down 26%), "Erin Burnett Outfront" (down 22%) and "John King USA" (down 24%).

Do you watch CNN? What do you think is behind the network's ratings problems?

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— Scott Collins (twitter.com/scottcollinsLAT

Photo: Anderson Cooper has shed more than a quarter of his 10 p.m. CNN audience in the past year. Credit: Evan Agostini/Associated Press.

Anderson Cooper has a second giggle attack on 'AC360' [Video]

Anderson Cooper

Anderson Cooper has given the world yet another viral video of him losing it on his CNN show "AC360."

The giggly Cooper couldn't keep it together, and even attempted to step off camera, during the RidicuList bit on his show Tuesday. The story was about Dyngus Day, the Polish American celebration of the end of Lent that's a tradition in parts of Ohio, Indiana and New York. And Cooper managed to keep a straight face, until this bit of narration, not read by him:

"The quirky little ritual includes girls sprinkling boys they fancy with water and the girls striking back with a tap from a pussy willow branch."

That sent Cooper over the edge, laughing uncontrollably on camera and explaining to viewers, "It's really so stupid."

This isn't the first time Cooper has had a major laughing fit on his show, during the RidicuList segment, no less. The last time was last August, when Cooper couldn't make it through a story on French actor Gerard Depardieu relieving himself in the aisle of an airplane before takeoff.

It would appear that dirty puns are Cooper's Kryptonite. Last year, he couldn't get past "Depar-doo" and this year, "pussy willow" did him in.

Cooper's serious newsman persona on CNN aside, the anchor would probably prefer to have his laughing fit be a clip from his ratings challenged daytime show, "Anderson."

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-- Patrick Kevin Day

Photo: Anderson Cooper. Credit: Gabriel Bouys / AFP/Getty Images

Obama strategist: Rush Limbaugh's comments worse than Bill Maher's

David Axelrod
President Obama's campaign senior strategist David Axelrod weighed in on one of the testiest political debates in recent weeks during an interview with CNN's Erin Burnett on Thursday: Was Bill Maher's ridicule of Sarah Palin as reprehensible as Rush Limbaugh's criticism of Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke?

Burnett asked Axelrod whether "to be consistent," Obama's Super PAC should return the million dollars the comedian recently donated to the president's reelection effort. Obama criticized Limbaugh's descripton of Fluke, who testified before Congress about the need for insurance coverage for birth control, as a "slut" and a "prostitute."

In past comedy routines, Maher has used vulgar, misogynistic terms for women to describe Palin.  

"Understand that words Maher has used in his stand up act are a little bit different than -- not excusable in any way -- but different than a guy with 23 million radio listeners using his broadcast platform to malign a young woman for speaking her mind in the most inappropriate, grotesque ways," Axelrod said.

Axelrod then described Limbaugh as the "de facto boss of" the GOP.

While Axelrod didn't excuse Maher's comments, he said Limbaugh's comments about Fluke were "perverse."

In the days after Limbaugh's initial outburst and the resulting cavalcade of departing advertisers, some on the political right felt that Maher's strong words about Sarah Palin were equally reprehensible.

RELATED:

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Photo: David Axelrod. Credit: Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press

CNN lifts Roland Martin's suspension

CNN analyst Roland Martin's suspension has been lifted, the news organization revealed.
CNN analyst Roland Martin's suspension has been lifted, the news organization revealed Monday.

Martin ran into trouble on the day after the Super Bowl when tweets he sent during the game raised the ire of gay organizations, including the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. The comments concerned Martin's distaste for an H&M ad featuring soccer star David Beckham.

He wrote: "If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about Beckham's H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him."

Though Martin claimed the tweet was meant to show his distaste for soccer and soccer fans, many felt the comments were homophobic. CNN suspended Martin shortly after.

During his suspension, Martin met with representatives of GLAAD. According to a statement from GLAAD, "[b]oth parties came away with a better understanding of one another and look forward to continuing this dialogue."

CNN made the announcement of Martin's return during a conference call with the media on Monday, according to FishbowlDC.

RELATED:

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-- Patrick Kevin Day

Photo: Roland Martin. Credit: Rolandmartin.com

Kirk Cameron says he's been 'slandered' by gay critics

Kirk Cameron, under fire for anti-gay remarks, speaks at CPAC
Former "Growing Pains" star Kirk Cameron is bashing back against critics who took him to task for anti-gay remarks on TV last week.

Cameron called homosexuality "unnatural" and "detrimental" to civilization during an interview with Piers Morgan on CNN. Those comments were quickly denounced by the advocacy group GLAAD, as well as Cameron's former "Growing Pains" costars Alan Thicke and Tracey Gold.

But Cameron, who is promoting a new film, sounded unrepentant in an email to ABCNews.com.

"I spoke as honestly as I could, but some people believe my responses were not loving toward those in the gay community," he wrote. "That is not true. I can assuredly say that it's my life's mission to love all people."

Cameron said in the email that he believed he "should be able to express moral views on social issues, especially those that have been the underpinning of Western civilization for 2000 years -- without being slandered, accused of hate speech and told from those who preach 'tolerance' that I need to either bend my beliefs to their moral standards or be silent when I'm in the public square."

His critics remain unimpressed.

"Saying that gay people are 'detrimental to civilization' may be 'loving' in Kirk Cameron's mind," GLAAD said, "but it's gay youth and victims of bullying who truly suffer from adults like Cameron who espouse these ideas."

What do you think of Cameron's latest remarks? Is he victim or victimizer?

RELATED:

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-- Scott Collins (twitter.com/scottcollinsLAT)

Photo: Actor Kirk Cameron speaks during the annual Conservative Political Action Conference on Feb. 9 in Washington, DC., attended by thousands of conservative activists. Credit: Win McNamee / Getty Images

 

GLAAD blasts Kirk Cameron for anti-gay diatribe

Kirk Cameron played a troublemaker on the 1980s sitcom "Growing Pains." Now, the actor-turned-evangelist has found trouble again, this time with his real-life comments about gay rights.

On Friday's "Piers Morgan Tonight" on CNN, Cameron called homosexuality "unnatural" and "ultimately destructive to so many foundations of civilization." He also spoke out against gay marriage.

 

Cameron's remarks drew a condemnation from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), which called them "outrageous" and invited supporters to retweet a message telling the former child star "it's time to finally grow up."

What do you think? Were Cameron's comments grown-up or just painful?

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-- Scott Collins (twitter.com/scottcollinsLAT)

Mitt Romney-Rick Santorum debate ratings on CNN beat NBC lineup

Rick Santorum, left, and Mitt Romney

The Mitt 'n' Rick Show is so entertaining, maybe they should make a regular series out of it. It already has NBC beat.

At least that was the case Wednesday night, when the GOP presidential debate featuring a showdown between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum delivered 4.7-million total viewers for CNN, according to Nielsen.

Unfortunately for NBC, that was more than the audience for its entire struggling prime-time lineup between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.: the sitcoms "Whitney" (4.1 million) and "Are You There, Chelsea?" (3.4 million) and the newsmagazine "Rock Center With Brian Williams" (2.7 million).

Ouch.

The CNN face-off was far from the most-watched debate. A December outing on ABC, when the GOP field had more active candidates (it's now down to four), scored 7.6 million viewers.

Still, the Republican debates have proved to be a ratings draw the past few months. Too bad for TV executives that Wednesday's outing was supposedly the last of 20.

What did you think of the debate?

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GOP debate beats 'Biggest Loser' in the ratings

-Scott Collins (twitter.com/scottcollinsLAT)

Photo: Rick Santorum, left, and Mitt Romney squared off in Wednesday's GOP presidential debate on CNN. Credit: Jae C. Hong / Associated Press.

 

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