Monday, October 04, 2010

Rick Sanchez vs Jews, Abbie Boudreau vs James O'Keeffe : CNN Trouble

CNN is under fire.

In firing Rick's List Anchor Rick Sanchez, the Cable News Network has ignited an Internet conversation over censorship, as much as it has the overall stupidity of an employee getting on radio and getting off racist bombs against his own employer.

While many agree that what Sanchez said was wrong, there are a number of people who respond to the opposite, and say not only that Sanchez was correct, but that he had a right to make his statements. One of those with such a view is noted writer Christopher Hitchens.

In Slate on Monday, Hitchens calls for CNN to reinstate Rick Sanchez in an article called Is it so offensive to note the effectiveness of the Jewish lobby?:

In the manner in which Sanchez spoke, also, there was something like a buried resentment. He didn't descend into saying that there was Jewish control of the media, but he did imply that liberalism was linked to a single ethnicity. Still, there is nothing criminal about this, and the speed of his firing, like the other recent abrupt disappearances of Laura Schlessinger and Octavia Nasr, seems to suggest a network system that cares only about playing safe and avoiding "offense." The best way to demonstrate the hidden influence of the chosen people would be for Jon Stewart and others to join me in calling for Rick Sanchez's reinstatement. If it then didn't happen, it would help us understand who really pulls the strings around here.

In his generally indirect way, Hitchens is implying that CNN's proving Sanchez' point by so quickly ridding themselves of his presence. Personally, Rick should have been made to explain his radio blast and CNN would have enjoyed a much-needed ratings bump from curious television viewers.

Indeed, erasing Sanchez would seem to run counter to CNN's recent habit of trying to cause discussion by over-featuring the Tea Party Movement and young conservative activists. In the case of CNN Correspondent Abbie Boudreau, her entire segment called Right On The Edge, seemed to be an excuse to cover attractive young white men and women. The only thing we learned is something that's no real surprise: James O'Keefe is not a nice person.

If you're new to this story, Anti-ACORN Activist James O'Keefe, who pretended to be a pimp (badly) and made hidden videos showing how some ACORN workers helped he and his "prostitute," played by Conservative Activist Hanna Giles, tried to "pimp" Abbie Boudreau. In the segment that aired Saturday night, O'Keefe wants to meet just with Boudreau, and she agrees. Here's what was said according to CNN's transcript:

O'KEEFE: I just want to talk. I just want to have a, you know, a meeting with you and talk to you face to face about this because I don't -- you know, I feel sort of -- let's just say reserved about, about letting people into my inner sanctum.

BOUDREAU: So, I agreed. And a week later, I flew to Maryland for the meeting. James had founded a new organization called Project Veritas, and Izzy Santa was the executive director. The group is supposed to be dedicated to exposing corruption and supporting James' undercover endeavors.

But then, upon driving to meet him, Abbie realizes that it's a blue house next to a boat called "Cinco" and not an office O'Keefe's in. This is what Abbie said:

BOUDREAU: When I pulled up to the property, there was no office. Just a blue house. Izzy Santa was waiting for me.

BOUDREAU (on-camera): And she said, I need to talk to you. Can I get in the car? And I was like, OK. So, I noticed that she had like a little bit of dirt on her face. Her lip was shaking. She seemed really uncomfortable, and I asked her if she was OK, and the first thing that she basically said to me was, I'm not recording you. I'm not recording you. Are you recording me? No. And she showed me her digital recorder. It was not recording.

Then Izzy explains that it was James' intent to get her on the boat. Now, here's where details cloud the overall issue. This blogger's contention is Abbie had a certain comfort with making the trip to Maryland to meet James because he was white, attractive, and male.

That upsets some people, but the question persists: Abbie herself says she wasn't making the trip alone to interview James, but to just "talk." If she wasn't going to interview him, what the hell did she expect to have happen?

His plan was to seduce her and make CNN look bad. And James almost succeeded because Abbie put herself in the position of flying down there, but not to interview O'Keefe, only to see him face-to-face alone. Abbie at least expected that to happen - she says so in the transcript:

BOUDREAU (on-camera): And I was like well, you know, that's just not something I'm comfortable with is to have this conversation recorded. Plus, it's not an interview. I mean, I'm just here to try to, you know, answer your questions and answer your concerns, address your concerns about this upcoming shoot.

Abbie could have either done that on the phone, or not agreed to meet James by himself. Abbie never insisted that someone else be at the meeting. Meanwhile, in the transcript, O'Keefe says he wants to meet with "just you." It's right there in black and white.

Abbie Escapes Thanks To Izzy, But...

So, as reported here, Izzy Santa spills the beans on James O'Keefe's ugly plan to make a kind of sex tape, and Abbie avoids a bad situation. But, again, why did Abbie place herself in that position?

Why the story? What's the story?

Others observers are asking questions about Right To The Edge. Tommy Christopher at Mediaite says "Abbie Boudreau doesn't ask anything approaching a tough question." Heather at Crooks and Liars was even harsher:

"..All they did is lend some very undeserved credibility to Andrew Breitbart and his minions who have a terrible history with ambushing politicians or anyone else they decide to scapegoat for the week and then putting out highly edited videos later. That's not journalism. CNN should really be ashamed of themselves for this horrid piece of "investigative journalism.".."

And for the record, Mediaite, Crooks And Liars, and are all liberal blogs.

Not A Good Period For CNN

Overall, score it a "D for CNN. The Rick Sanchez issue's causing a backlash. Sanchez' replacement Brooke Baldwin has the looks but not the cutting-edge zest for Twitter that Rick brought to his shows. And Abbie Boudreau's taking flack for an "expose" that really looks more like an all-white Abercrombie and Fitch commercial, with all the sexual overtones we've come to expect.

Can CNN recover? Stay tuned.

Jersey Shore says good bye to Angelina once and for all By Nikky Raney

Thursday, September 30, at 10 p.m. E.T a new episode of Jersey Shore aired on MTV. Fans expect and tune in for the drama and scandal, but this episode was so outrageous that immediately after airing MTV aired a "Jersey Shore After Show" to discuss what went on in the episode.

Snooki & Angelina fight it out
This episode stands out as a more memorable one - Angelina decides to leave the show for good. After JWOWW had actually admitted that Angelina earned her spot in the house with all the things she dealt with - Angelina decided to pack her bags. Of course, she had to make the most dramatic exit possible.

Angelina decides to scream of how she hates every single person in the house. Angelina's blood boils when she sees Snooki bring home a guy that she had once hooked up with. Snooki removes her earrings and tackles Angelina. The Situation makes sure to move the table out of the way so that Snooki and Angelina will have more room to fight. After the seemingly pathetic excuse for a cat fight Snooki walks away and chants, "I AM STILL PRETTY!"

The irony of it all is that as Angelina leaves she says that she wished someone had asked her to say. After screaming about how fake all the roommates are and how much she hates them it's unclear as to why she would expect anyone to ask her to stay - it wasn't enough that JWOWW admitted she had finally earned her spot in the house?

Angelina takes the time to tell Ronnie and Sammi what horrible friends they have been to her - even though the truth of the matter is Angelina was the phony from the start.

The after show features Vinny sitting in between Snooki and Angelina - this is the first time Snooki and Angelina have seen each other since the fight. Snooki claims that the whole ordeal with Angelina got to the point of no return when Angelina hooked up with Vinny, because apparently everyone knows that Snooki has a crush on Vinny. Vinny explains that the only reason he slept with Angelina was so that the next time she insulted him he could retort, "That's not what you said last night."

JWOWW accepts Angelina
The next two cast members who most would expect to come on stage would be Ronnie and Sammi. The cast members to appear next are described as "the only people who gave Angelina a real chance." The Situation and JWOWW show up on stage and everything goes chaotic.

Angelina goes on about how much she loves her new boyfriend, and the rest of the Jersey Shore cast members grow tired of her. One by one the cast members leave the set - Vinny is the last one sitting next to Angelina who after looking around gets up and walks away.

Angelina is always the one who left her cast mates, but this time she was the one left behind.

The third season of the Jersey Shore has already finished filming with no appearances from Angelina. It's interesting to think of how much money Angelina was paid to go through all that she did, but it wasn't even enough to stick it out until the end.

Unless by some miracle someone gives Angelina a spin-off or she somehow ends up as a relevant reality tv star it's safe to say the only time her face will ever be seen again is on Jersey Shore re-runs.

All images courtesy of

Tyler Clementi, Ty Smalley, and Kirk Smalley At Center Of Anti-Bullying Efforts

Tyler Clementi, Ty Smalley, and Kirk Smalley are at the center of anti-bullying discussion and efforts in the wake of Clementi's and Smalley's suicides.

Tyler Clementi is the gay Rutgers University student who committed suicide after his sexual encounter with a male student was secretly broadcast online.

Ty Smalley is the 11-year-old who also committed suicide after being suspended from school for defending himself. Smalley was bullied by peers for over two years because he was small for his age.

Kirk Smalley, Ty Smalley's father, wants to end this and has taken up a new anti-bullying effort. Smalley told CNN that "I will do everything I can possibly do to stop bullying dead in its tracks."

But what can he do? One clue is in Contributing Editor Christina Villarreal's blog post called "Bully-proofing Your Daughters: How To Support A Girl Facing Relational Aggression." The Doctor has an extensive post that's worthy of review.

More on this soon.

The Social Network is a movie not to miss By Nikky Raney

David Fincher's The Social Network can easily be labeled the movie of the year, because it shows how the 21-year-old evil genius Mark Zuckerberg, played by Jesse Eisenberg, used his advanced abilities as a hacker to manipulate those around him in order to create the largest social networking site used by over 500 million users. Zuckerberg always seems to have an arrogant comeback for every remark thrown his way.

Eisenberg plays the role of Zuckerberg brilliantly - the way he portrays the young Mark Zuckerberg is believable and matches up with the personality that Zuckerberg presently exhibits.

A huge part of why this is the movie of the year is, because it's more than just a movie. If this was a work of fiction then it may not have as big an impact - but this movie is based on the real story of how Zuckerberg did whatever he had to do, even if it meant betraying his closest friend, in order to make it to the top. The selfish Harvard student can easily be labeled as an arrogant jerk, but he is in fact the arrogant jerk who has created a site that millions of users spend hours of their day on.

The movie does not portray Zuckerberg as a likable character, which reflects on how he is viewed by many in reality. He shows that he will screw over whoever he has to to make his way to the top, and this is proven when he betrays his best friend who in turn ends up suing him.

It's quite intriguing to find out how Zuckerberg was able to create this empire - users are able to see how the site that they spend a majority of their time on came to be. It also gives an uneasy feeling that all the information on the site could at any point be accessed by Zuckerberg; the movie does not help Zuckerberg's case about the privacy issues that stirred up much controversy over the summer.

With Zuckerberg being so quick to screw over and break the trust of his best friend Eduardo Saverin, played by Andrew Garfield, why should users trust that he isn't hacking onto their accounts and taking account of their personal information?

While watching Justin Timberlake play the role of Napster's creator Sean Parker it's hard not to wonder what the real Sean Preston thinks of this depiction - especially since hew as fired from Facebook after being caught with cocaine, but the movie also shows him with underaged girls.

Parker is shown as cocky and delusional although playing a vital role in getting funding for Facebook - abandoning Saverin's ideas for advertising. Is this portrayal of Parker accurate - surely it will only be a matter of time until he speaks up.

It will be interesting to hear the feedback from the actual people who are depicted in the movie. It will definitely be worth while to find out what the real people have to say about the movie as a whole and how they feel they were represented.

When Zuckerberg was on Oprah he said that the movie was a piece of fiction, but the court cases, hacking, etc. are all too believable. Either way, the world's youngest billionaire will no doubt gain more traffic and the site will earn even more money and popularity due to the release of this film.

The Social Network deserves a five star rating and is a box office hit.

It would also be nice to know if Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, who sued Zuckerberg for stealing the name and idea for Facebook, have their own Facebook accounts now.

Written by Nikky Raney
Journalist & Blogger

Rick Sanchez Replaced By Brooke Baldwin On CNN According To Twitter

Rick Sanchez departure from CNN, well, firing, has opened the door for his on-air sidekick Brooke Baldwin (in photo with her high school classmate Shelvis Smith-Mather) to take his place.

Rick's List was the 3 PM to 5 PM EST time slot, but on her Twitter page, Baldwin reports that she was asked to fill in "for now:"

BrookeBCNN Brooke Baldwin - @JTenBrink yes they have asked me to do the 3-5p shift. for now.....
20 hours ago

Brooke is the Twitter contact and follow beneficiary of Rick's last tweet as of this writing, as it was a re-tweet of her tweet:

BrookeBCNN Brooke Baldwin - by ricksanchezcnn - *VIDEO* Brooke has a special surprise for Rick Sanchez! Also, Rick meets a special fan. Very cool! - 1 Oct

Brooke's On Twitter... A Lot  

Like Rick, Brooke's an active Twitter user with a Twitter Grader score of 100 as of this writing. Her Tweet Cloud reports that her most used term is she's in love, followed by @richsanchezcnn, and then in much smaller font, CNN itself.

(Now, I'm not saying she was in love with Rick Sanchez, but just reporting on the way her cloud reads, ok?)

As of this writing, she has 5,763 Twitter followers, but that will change, and fast.  Let's see how long it takes her to go by my over 8,000 Twitter followers on Zennie62.

THANK YOU @DavidYurman for my US Open tennis ball! I think I ... on Twitpic

Brooke's tweeted on everything from her height (she's 5-foot, nine) to her plan to follow-up with Perez Hilton on the blogger's comments that he may change his ways in the wake of the Cyberbullying story, to the news that she wasn't "a Barbie fan as a kid" even though she had to report on Barbie last week, to her special U.S. Open Tennis Ball, autographed by Serena Williams.

Not bad.

Rick Sanchez Replacement Speaks Spanish

There's an interesting clue as to how Rick may have managed to snare Brooke to work with her on Rick's List: she's fluent in Spanish. Rick's Cuban-American and also fluent in Spanish, which explains the more bi-lingual flavor of the show. Her ability to work with Rick in that capacity was a plus with Latino audiences. What's interesting to watch is if that will continue after Sanchez.

Other Info About Brooke

According to her CNN page, she's unfortunately a graduate of The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, which means she doesn't know a lick about basketball.

From reading her tweets, Brooke really seems to enjoy what she's doing and people in general.  She will be a great replacement for Rick, but CNN should give her a chance to make the show her own.    How about having her shooting some baskets with President Obama?  He loves North Carolina basketball.

Rick Sanchez Back-Stabbed By CNN Using Howard Kurtz

CNN back-stabs Rick Sanchez.

In the wake of his firing by CNN for his stupid remarks about CNN, his employer, being ran by Jews, Rick Sanchez got back-stabbed by the network, who put Howard Kurtz up to it with a segment on his show Reliable Sources, Sunday.

Here's the video:

It's one thing for CNN to fire Rick, but frankly this action was classless. CNN did it because everyone in media and around the country was talking about it and they had to get in on the action they created. Moreover, its also because, it seems, there are a lot of hard feelings at CNN and Rick didn't apparently back down from his words behind the scenes.

Now, we have Howard Kurtz, who's work I like, taking time to essentially make the case that there were people who worked at CNN who did not like him, by presenting some of those people on his show. Moreover, this was done in public and on television for all to see.  You're seeing it now.

One can only wonder what Rick Sanchez will think of this? CNN should have handled this with more class than this shows.

As a person who's been called the both black and Jewish slurs because of my name and background, what Rick said was both hurtful and stupid. Rupert Murdock, who owns News Corporation, is not Jewish.

The Sanchez episode reminds me of how stupid my Junior High school teacher was, who said that when she saw my name said "I thought I got a nice little Jewish kid." To which I remarked "You did. You got half" (the other half black.)

That was how I thought of myself at that time, and enough to see her as an idiot. But with that, I put her in her place in my mind and always treated her with dignity and respect.

CNN should know that two wrongs do not make a right.

The Rick Sanchez Poll

What do you think CNN should have done in the Rick Sanchez case? Take my poll:

create a free poll on

Silicon Valley's Mitra Says TechCrunch AOL Deal Cool, Blogs Not VC Play

Menlo Park's Sramana Mitra, a true "Woman In Tech" well-known in Silicon Valley and who should have been at Tech Crunch Disrupt SF as a panelist, says the TechCrunch AOL Deal for $30 million was great for TechCrunch Editor Michael Arrington, but that it's an example of successful bootstrapping, not VC play.

Mitra's an entrepreneur and a strategy consultant who's started three companies, sold two of them, and refused a deal with Ralph Lauren for the third company. She's advised and consulted over 80 companies, from SAP, to Cadence Design Systems, and Webex, and many more.

Sramana Mitra's not afraid of giving advise, and candidly, this blogger should add from personal experience. She doesn't see the TechCrunch deal as a reason VCs should jump in and start investing in blogs. In her blog post she says and has said:

I am personally not in favor of venture funding for blogs, since they are essentially small businesses, not venture scale enterprises. The only way to build an “enterprise” out of this business model is to put a lot of successful blogs under one banner. So, if GigaOm, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, paidContent, etc. could come together as a “network”, that could, conceivably, build critical mass. They would still need to graft more properties, but the only way I see in which venture-style “bulk” can be built in this niche of the media business is through a roll-up.

Mitra observes that with TechCrunch under AOL's wing, CEO Heather Harde, a mergers and acquisition specialist, now has enough resources to launch a roll-up strategy (where they get other online media platforms) that could see the new division of AOL eventually taking in $50 million. And, as this blogger has stated, the next round of activity is in acquisition of blogs looking for an exit.

While $10 million to @20 million may not be a VC level exit, there are a number of angel investors that would not look down on such deals.

Keep an eye on this new phase in the blog industry.