Fox

Fox Business is right to be scared of this provocative children's movie.

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Shepard Smith's Newsroom Set Isn't Even the Goofiest One in TV-News History

Why does Fox News want giant tablets, anyway?

This week, Fox News' Shepard Smith debuted the network's new newsroom set, featuring giant, 55-inch table screens that the Verge said "could be mistaken for a College Humor or Saturday Night Live parody." Who wants to scroll Twitter on a screen bigger than their bodies, as the Fox journalists are shown to be doing in the background of the set?

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Al Jazeera America’s first day of television programming began with an hour of self-promotion so urgent that it played like an episode of “The Newsroom,” a passionate condemnation of every other media outlet and a paean to its own righteousness. “We will connect the world to Americans and Americans to the world,” one voiceover declared. Interviews with everyday Americans in Nashville about deficiencies in the mainstream media (“I’m always amazed at how American-centric the news is here”) were coupled with big-name endorsements. “Al Jazeera is real news,” said Hillary Clinton.

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Why wouldn't Fox's parent company tell the network that the Justice Department had searched the communications of one of a Fox reporter? 

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Gus Johnson Won't Ruin Soccer

Americans aren't yet sold on the sport. The Fox broadcaster is just the salesman it needs.

Soccer fans call the sport, without irony, “The Beautiful Game.” Sportscaster Gus Johnson, by contrast, does not luxuriate in the beauty of any game. The 45-year-old Detroit native is known to American fans of football and basketball for catchphrases and ecstatic calls more befitting a fan than an announcer.

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He's not a bleeding heart, but... Ailes suffered from hemophilia and almost died after he bit his tongue as a pre-schooler. His father rushed him to a hospital sixty miles away. Chafets writes: "Bob Ailes’s coworkers from Packard came to the clinic to donate blood. 'Always remember,' Bob Ailes told his son, 'you’ve got blue collar in your veins.'" (page 9)

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Half-Court Press

The White House Pool Should Put Its Money Where Its Mouth Is

The White House pool should put its money where its mouth is.

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In November I introduced a periodic blog feature called “Language Cop” to “keep track of unacceptable words and catchphrases that enter the political dialogue.” In that column I exiled the terms “optics” and “inflection point.” Earlier this month I inveighed against “pivot,” and last week I suggested this euphemism be replaced with a new term, “shake,” in deference to America's first multiplatform gaffe.

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Oscar Grouching

The Oscar nominations rolled on out this week, but with a difference: In a rather explicit admission that it does not trust its own judgment, the Academy has upped the number of Best Picture nominees from the usual five to ten. Let’s begin there. Best Picture Last year, there was widespread disgruntlement that critical and popular hits Wall-E and The Dark Knight missed the cut for this award. So the Academy decided, in essence, to protect itself from its own ineptitude by nominating more pictures.

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The Orrscars 2009

What does it say that three of the top five films on my list this year--and another that could easily have made the top ten, Coraline--are “kid’s movies”? In the end not much, I think. Two of the three, Where the Wild Things Are and Fantastic Mr. Fox, were directed by talented indie auteurs (Spike Jonze and Wes Andersen, respectively) who merely happened to adapt children’s books in the same year.

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