Echoes of the Sound of Silence: Sherman, The Scoop Machine, and a Shake-Up

Bits and pieces scraped from the bottom of our cable barrel, linked by a common factor: what wasn’t said…

Sherman’s Silence

The Cable Gamer has had a few interactions with Gabriel Sherman on twitter; he’s been cordial and willing to exchange ideas even though we disagree. His twitter feed is worth following, but the downside is that every now and then he comes up with the odd interpretation of something that seems perfectly normal and not in need of an ulterior motive:

It appeared to The Cable Gamer that there was a more likely, less conspiratorial reason for Dr. Carson’s increased airtime:

Mr. Sherman rightly suggested that both could be true, and The Cable Gamer thought we had arrived at a stalemate. But then came this:

A genuine point. If Sherman’s single, unconfirmed source is to be believed, Roger Ailes issued an order to push Ben Carson at all costs, and everyone just ignored it?

Mr. Sherman never responded. Perhaps he knows when silence is the better part of valor.

Another twitter exchange concerned the Megyn-to-CNN rumors Sherman ignited. As Inside Cable News pointed out, his reporting has been extrapolated to promote rumors that are neither accurate nor imminent, but still persist:

Sherman’s been tweeting since that was asked, but so far has let this stand without reply. Fascinating, on several levels.

The Scoop Machine

We wrote about Dylan Byers, who forgot to credit Mediaite‘s Joe Concha for breaking some big news about MSNBC. Now The Scoop Machine (so dubbed by Brian Stelter) just posted a piece announcing Kate Snow’s afternoon anchor slot, coyly describing it as one of the “long-expected changes” there. Of course it’s long-expected, because it was reported by Joe Concha weeks ago. But, consistent with Scoop Machine policy, Concha got no mention or credit. It’s startling to look like Byers is kind of stingy that way.

Shaking Up Is Hard to Do

Speaking of Mr. Byers, he co-wrote a story on how MSNBC is going to “emphasize news” as part of a major shake-up of the daytime schedule. It’s peppered with exactly the sort of quotes one expects:

  • straight-forward newscasts
  • news-oriented
  • a straightforward news network

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, The Cable Gamer notes that MSNBC continues to hire far-left opinionators and lets them pretend to be “correspondents.” And they are used during their “straightforward news-oriented” daytime newscasts, like the ones anchored by Thomas Roberts and Tamron Hall. They hired another one from HuffPo and the Howard Dean campaign just last week, though it got little attention outside of these pages.

Why is it that neither Dylan Byers nor his co-author Tom Kludt thinks any of this relevant to the “shake-up” hyped in their headline? How “straightforward” is the news when it’s reported by non-journalists with a partisan axe to grind? This horse isn’t dead yet and The Cable Gamer is determined to keep beating it.



  1. Michael Bennett

    As far as whether Roger Ailes has actually encouraged more appearances by Dr. Carson on Fox News, who knows for sure if this is true. Has Bill O’Reilly hosted Carson more frequently lately? It does seem that way.

    It does not seem unreasonable to advance the theory that if Dr. Carson were to overtake Donald Trump in the polls siphoning off some DT supporters, this would be perceived as good news for the party establishment because it weakens Trump’s standing. (Most would consider Trump the more formidable candidate in the primary races.)

    .But after Carly’s performance in the debate it seems more likely she would fill that role than would Carson.


  2. Sydney Bloom

    The problem is when you (i.e. Sherman) start with a conclusion (the purpose of Fox News is to elect the Republicans that Roger Ailes likes) and then try to shoe-horn everything that happens into some iteration of that theory. The news cycles change quickly, so the meme that Fox was promoting Trump (after having “created” him in some way that’s never explained) quickly changed to they’re trying to take him down. I’ve heard Fox is pushing Jeb Bush, John Kasich, and now Ben Carson, but why wouldn’t we see more or less of any of them based simply on how they’re doing in the polls? If a more conspiratorial theory were valid, wouldn’t there be a gross disparity in their coverage on Fox as opposed to, say, CNN? I haven’t seen it and I’m afraid Sherman hasn’t presented it. The word of an anonymous source sort of renders such issues irrelevant, because it’s what the source said that’s news, not whether in fact it is actually happening. From what I’ve seen, the evidence is thin.


  3. gcblues

    i would add please. i am libertarian type conservative with residency in a socialist country which qualifies me in the “noticing”department. i think the gringos are not fully grasping the “Fox is evil, lying, far right, no news, did i say lying? oh yeah … this meme in the USA of Fox being corporate run media representing the far right and all other media including PBC being corporate and devious in it’s broadcast choices is deeper than people think. i just visited the USA for the first time in years and was lectured by a person that never votes dem about how Fox is far right and all the others in cable and broadcast are right of center. the left is nowhere represented i was told except on the net. woo e woo e woo e woo. apparently the wheels came off while i have been gone.


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