Ira Teinowitz is covering the Democratic and Republican conventions, documenting how television and advertisers mix it up with the politicians.


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August 2008 Archives

McCain's VP Pick Has TV Experience

August 29, 2008 9:54 AM

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who was selected today as Sen. John McCain’s running mate, may be best known for her political career, but her first job after returning to Alaska from college was as a part-time sports reporter for an Anchorage TV station.

Ms. Palin also was working as a commercial fisherman at the time, along with her husband, and the gig on TV apparently didn’t last long.

The TV job followed her graduation from the University of Idaho with a degree in journalism and a return to Alaska, where she grew up.

Speech Touts Parental Responsibility

August 28, 2008 8:48 PM

Amidst flashing cameras, and in front of a stadium-sized crowd, Sen. Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination, making little mention of the media ownership issues that show up prominantly on his Web site.

Squarely aiming his speech at a broader audience, the Democratic candidate instead promised health care, tax cuts to most Americans and energy independence within 10 years. He also promised to alter the tax system to eliminate tax breaks for sending jobs overseas.

In the only veiled reference to media issues, Mr. Obama said, "Programs alone can't replace parents. Government can't turn off the TV and make a child do homework," meaning it's an issue of parental responsibility.

More From Invesco Field

August 28, 2008 5:04 PM

Well, the Democrats haven't left much out on the last night at the convention.

First there was Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson singing the national anthem to the accompaniment of fireworks. Then Will.i.am and John Legend did a live version of Will.i.am's "Yes We Can," which set Barack Obama's words to music.

Now Sheryl Crowe is singing a song that includes "A change will do us good" as a refrain.

We will soon interupt this musical message to return to your regularly scheduled politics.

But where oh where is Oprah?

P.S.: Invesco Field is now much more crowded.

P.S.S.: One of CNN's analysts is having trouble not swaying with the music

Playing the Field at Invesco

August 28, 2008 3:48 PM

At Invesco Field, the names on one balcony may be football players', but the field tonight is politics, as Democrats get ready for speeches from Al Gore and then Sen. Barack Obama, accepting his party's nomination for president.

The networks have made the switch to Invesco from the nearby Pepsi Center. In temporary booths roughly 20 feet apart tonight sit NBC's Brian Williams, CBS' Katie Couric and ABC's Charles Gibson, along with anchors from Fox and CNN.

But with about three hours to go before the top speakers begin, Invesco Field is still a long way from full.

Matthews Revved Up by Live Coverage

August 27, 2008 11:14 AM

A day after convention protesters tried to disrupt MSNBC's "Hardball" program as it broadcast live from a Denver street corner, host Chris Matthews is saying he still likes the live convention segments.

"It is so much fun to be in the round," he told TelevisionWeek. "We've done it at all the Democratic and Republican debates, we've done it all the conventions.

"We did it in Herald Square last year. I had a man try to jump me and a bodyguard grab him," Matthews added.

"I had a drunk at Democracy Plaza on Election Night last year try to climb up a fiberglass panel. I had Zell Miller threaten to duel me. I enjoy it. I love the people," he said.

In Tuesday's incident, protesters tried to drown out the show's audience, forcing the show to abandon a normal segment where the hosts talk to the audience, but otherwise leaving "Hardball" unchanged.

Stars Shine as Scheduled Speakers Skip Women's Caucus

August 26, 2008 5:27 PM

Elected officials were joined by Hollywood stars Rosario Dawson, Eva Longoria Parker and Fran Drescher as well as 3,000 Democratic convention attendees at Tuesday's women’s political caucus, whose opening was sponsored by Lifetime Networks. However, two advertised high-profile speakers didn't show.

Sen. Hillary Clinton, preparing for a speech to the convention, didn’t come and Michele Obama postponed her scheduled appearance until Thursday at another Lifetime event.

Lifetime was the sponsor of the opening of the Democratic Women’s Caucus, with the network’s “Every Woman Counts” campaign hosting the opening “Women making history” salute.

Lifetime President-CEO Andrea Wong did speak, echoing Sen. Clinton’s statement that her presidential bid created “18 million cracks in the glass” ceiling for women in politics, as well as opportunities for the future.

“When women participate, all women make progress,” Ms. Wong said.

Ms. Longoria Parker, a co-star of ABC’s “Desperate Housewives,” said she was attending “representing all the desperate housewives out there.”

Ms. Drescher said the election this year is odd.

“We have a black man running for president and women and Hispanics are the deciding vote. It’s a world gone mad,” she said.

Lifetime also co-hosts a party with Rock the Vote tonight.

Lifetime Hosts Democratic Women's Caucus Events

August 26, 2008 8:33 AM

Lifetime Networks is scoring big time at the Democratic National Convention.

As part of its “Every Woman Counts” campaign to encourage women to speak out on issues, vote and run for office, and to commemorate Women’s Equality Day, Lifetime is hosting the opening and closing of the Democratic Women’s Caucus in Denver today and Wednesday.

The Tuesday event was already attracting some pretty major speakers, but late Monday two of the biggest were added: Michele Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton.

CNN Gets Into Restaurant Business

August 26, 2008 8:07 AM

CNN claims to have the best political team on television, but it’s also vying for a new honor this year: the best restaurant at the Democratic and Republican conventions.

CNN Grill

Demonstrating the confluence of TV and Internet production, advertising and publicity—at least during special events—CNN, like rival Fox, has taken over a restaurant at each convention.

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'Hardball' Takes on Crowds

August 25, 2008 2:31 PM

Across from Union Station, at MSNBC's live set, Chris Matthews is trying to conduct "Hardball" amidst a screaming crowd.

In the crowd is a man wearing a toilet seat costume warning that running water wastes water, people with Hillary Clinton signs, people with Obama signs and people with McCain signs—and I forgot the man in the Uncle Sam costume on stilts.

"It's like a carnival," says one man.

Recognizing Tim Russert

August 24, 2008 5:35 PM

It was SRO today at the Democratic National Convention as the Harvard’s Joan Shorenstein Center today opened its long planned Democratic National Convention conversation with the hosts of the network Sunday talk shows with a tribute to the late Tim Russert.

In the highest profile media event at the convention so far an overflow crowd at the Brown Palace Hotel heard Mr. Russert recognized for his dual roles as NBC’s Washington Bureau Chief and host of “Meet the Press.”

The tribute was introduced by NBC’s Tom Brokaw who suggested that Mr. Russert exemplified the kind of journalism the center encouraged.

The tribute came before PBS’s Judy Woodruff interviewed CBS’s Bob Schieffer, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos and NBC’s Tom Brokaw, who she said together represented 150 years of journalism.

Veteran Newsmen Discuss Sexism in Coverage of Clinton's Campaign

August 24, 2008 4:22 PM

NBC's Tom Brokaw and ABC's George Stephanopoulos are lending some surprise support to charges from Sen. Hillary Clinton's supporters that some of the media coverage of their candidate was unfair or sexist.

Speaking at an SRO forum sponsored by Harvard's Joan Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics & Public Policy on Sunday at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Mr. Brokaw said some of the early talk about the need for Sen. Clinton to drop out of the race for the nomination may have gone too far.

“The conversation was loaded up against her early on. The need for her to drop out of the race,” said Mr. Brokaw. “A lot of people were saying she should get out of the race too early, and I think that was a little unfair.”

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McCain Ad Jumps on Obama VP Choice

August 23, 2008 10:46 AM

It didn't take John McCain's campaign long to seize on Barack Obama's selection of a running mate to attack Sen. Obama.

The McCain campaign today, hours after Sen. Obama announced his choice of Sen. Joe Biden as his VP, launched an ad featuring Sen. Biden's criticism of Sen. Obama in January during the primaries for "a lack of experience."

Bring on the Convention Madness

August 21, 2008 5:37 PM

Live from the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, it's TV Week.

OK, some of the media hotels are in Cleveland, but heck, you know ... the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame …Red Rocks Park and Ampitheatre both have the word "rock," so it counts. Besides both will have rock stars—Sheryl Crow on Sunday in Denver will throw a concert to greet delegates.

For much of the media going to Denver, the Democratic convention kicks off Saturday night with a media party and the official donning of the press badges on Sunday. But on a more serious note, Sunday, Harvard's Shorenstein Center hosts "A Conversation with Sunday Morning TV Moderators" featuring NBC's Tom Brokaw, CBS's Bob Schieffer, and ABC's George Stephanopoulos in discussion with PBS's Judy Woodruff.

The event will include a tribute to Tim Russert, the late NBC News Washington bureau chief and host of "Meet the Press."

Starting Sunday afternoon, but especially Monday, it starts to get a bit crazy. There are restaurants taken over by cable networks, parties, studies to be released, stars talking about [insert cause or policy here] and ... Jon Stewart is taping Comedy Central's Daily Show during both conventions.

While the excitement starts in Denver, the action quickly turns to the Republican convention in St. Paul on Labor Day and the GOP convention already is showing signs of being too big for one city. A number of GOP events are in neighboring Minneapolis.

While it’s still early, it’s already starting to become clear that local television stations in both markets will get some advertising because of the conventions. A coalition of health care and smaller business groups launching mostly national advertising during the conventions urging Congress to make health care a first priority is saying it will advertise its message on cable news channels, Comedy Central and local stations in the convention cities.