MEDIA LAY ANOTHER EGG
Diversified media conglomerates were slammed particularly hard Monday in the stock-market sell-off following the House of Representatives' rejection of the proposed $700-billion bailout. CBS, which dropped 7.14 percent, and Time Warner, which fell 9.22 percent, recorded 52-week lows, while News Corp, down 8.91 percent, and Viacom, off 7.25 percent, fell to their lowest levels in more than four years. Among the hardest hit was home-satellite provider Dish Network, which plunged 19 percent and cable giant Comcast, whose shares dived 11.48 percent. Other losers included Disney (-9.22 percent), General Electric (-8.51 percent), Liberty Media (-9.6 percent), DirecTV (-10.9 percent). However, by mid-morning today (Tuesday), the storm appeared to have subsided. Most media stocks remained at or near their closing prices on Friday, and a few appeared to be recovering. Comcast was up 3.6 percent and General Electric, 6 percent.
IN BLAME GAME, MEDIA ARE OVERLOOKED
While Republicans and Democrats in Congress continued to blame one another for the latest U.S. financial crisis, Advertising Age columnist Simon Dumenco on Monday suggested that the news media ought also to be taken to task. Dumenco, who calls himself "The Media Guy," at AdAge, wondered why no mea culpas have been forthcoming from print and broadcast financial reporters. "Nobody's really been stepping up to the plate to say, 'With our woefully incomplete and often shamefully gullible reporting on the murky financial underpinnings of the real-estate bubble, we let our readers and/or viewers down,'" he wrote. Indeed, he wrote, it is as if the media had been reporting on the wonders created by the Wizard of Oz, but not spending "enough time peeking behind the curtains and questioning the too-good-to-be-true magic."
VIEWERS SEE STARS
ABC's Dancing With the Stars danced away with the ratings Monday night, averaging 19.28 million viewers between 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., peaking in the 8:30 p.m. half hour with 20.34 million viewers. CBS's comedy lineup in the two hours drew solid ratings, with Two and a Half Men attracting 13.8 million viewers. The competition was too much for NBC's Heroes, however, which placed third with 9.3 million viewers. CBS took over the top spot at 10:00 p.m. with CSI Miamidrawing 14.07 million viewers. ABC's Boston Legalwas second with 10.24 million viewers, while NBC's season premiere of Life came in third with 7.4 million viewers.
CBC APOLOGIZES FOR COMMENTARY ON PALIN
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has apologized for a column by award-winning writer Heather Mallick that appeared on its CBCNews.ca website on September 5, attacking Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Appearing under the headline, "A Mighty Wind Blows Through Republican Convention," the column, among other things compared Palin to a "porn actress." It eventually came under attack by numerous Palin supporters in Canada and the U.S. and eventually was brought to the attention of Vince Carlin, the CBC ombudsman. Carlin condemned the article for making assertions that lacked any basis in fact. In a statement issued on Monday, John Cruickshank, CBC News publisher, said that he agreed with Calin's conclusion. "Mallick's column is a classic piece of political invective. It is viciously personal, grossly hyperbolic and intensely partisan," he wrote, "And because it is all those things, this column should not have appeared on the CBCNews.ca site." Cruickshank said that as a result of the controversy, "we have put new editing procedures in place to insure that in the future, work that is not appropriate for our platforms, will not appear. We are open to contentious reasoned argument but not to partisan attack. It's a fine line."