CNN beats Fox in election coverage

From WaPo:

MSNBC has seen the future, and it is politics.

Delivered with plenty of opinion.

Preferably with lots of cameo appearances by big-name news stars from the mothership.

The perennial third-place cable news channel enjoyed a nice bump in the ratings during the midterm campaign, in part because the likes of Brian Williams, Tim Russert, David Gregory and Campbell Brown broke away from their NBC duties to help out.

“We’ve found a voice as of late, and a large part of that voice is politics,” says MSNBC General Manager Dan Abrams. And although he doesn’t plan to put on “all politics all the time until 2008,” Abrams says he wants to continue “branding” MSNBC as a haven for political junkies.

Of course, MSNBC has done well in other campaigns, only to have the gains vanish after Election Day. All of cable news tends to get big spikes during major stories — war, scandal, missing white women — that fade when the news cycle moves on.

“The chronic problem — and it will likely happen again in the days ahead — is a big drop-off back to unpleasant, distant-third reality,” says Erik Sorenson, a former MSNBC president.

There’s no plan to transform the channel into an extended version of Chris Matthews’s “Hardball,” but MSNBC covered the House leadership shootout between Jack Murtha and Steny Hoyer with presidential-campaign intensity.

During the midterm campaign’s stretch run, Abrams devoted two full days to politics and persuaded some of NBC’s heavyweights to anchor hour-long programs. In October, MSNBC’s ratings were up 14 percent over a year earlier, while Fox News was down 17 percent and CNN was down 8 percent. Of course, the NBC channel started from a much lower base. Fox averaged 792,000 viewers for the month, CNN 491,000 and MSNBC 287,000. (CNN scored a rare ratings win between 7 p.m. and 2 a.m. on election night, drawing 2.54 million viewers to Fox’s 2.39 million and MSNBC’s 1.58 million.)

NBC hotshots once looked down their noses at their cable sibling. But Andrea Mitchell, the network’s chief foreign affairs correspondent, who made frequent MSNBC appearances during the campaign, is now anchoring an hour most mornings at 11. Although the cable audience is far smaller, “you would not believe the kind of reaction I’ve had from people I really respect,” Mitchell says. As for potential guests, “many people want to do live interviews as opposed to edited interviews where they’ll be a 15-second sound bite.” more

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And the party over the death of the NeoCons continues.

October is the bloodiest civilian month in Iraq

Photo: APFrom CNN.com:

The United Nations said Wednesday that 3,709 Iraqi civilians were killed in October, the highest monthly toll since the March 2003 U.S. invasion and another sign of the severity of Iraq’s sectarian bloodbath.

The U.N. tally was more than three times higher than the total The Associated Press had tabulated for the month, and far more than the 2,866 U.S. service members who have died during all of the war.

The report on civilian casualties, handed out at a U.N. news conference in Baghdad, said the influence of militias was growing and torture continued to be rampant, despite the Iraqi government’s vow to address human rights abuses.

“Hundreds of bodies continued to appear in different areas of Baghdad handcuffed, blindfolded and bearing signs of torture and execution-style killing,” the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq report said. “Many witnesses reported that perpetrators wear militia attire and even police or army uniforms.”

The report painted a grim picture across the board, from attacks on journalists, judges and lawyers and the worsening situation of women to displacement, violence against religious minorities and the targeting of schools.

Based on figures from the Iraqi Health Ministry, the country’s hospitals and the Medico-Legal Institute in Baghdad, the report said October’s figure was higher than July’s previously unprecedented civilian death toll of 3,590.  more

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By every measure our Iraq policy is a failure.

Obama – A way forward in Iraq

Barack Obama has delivered a major speech on Iraq.  He presents the situation and logically presents the possible alternatives.  “There are no good options in this war.”  He is 1000% correct. 

It is my opinion that the strength of his statements points to a presidential bid in 2008.  I would be floored if he doesn’t run. 

I don’t know if he would be a good or great president.  All I know is that he is clearly an upgrade from where we are. 

His speech is here.  Enjoy.