Whitewashes his own New York Times: A new era began in Monday's New York Times.
Jim Rutenberg began his reign as the paper's new "media columnist," filling the chair which was once held by the late David Carr.
Rutenberg started his reign exactly where he should have. His inaugural column carried this headline:
"The Mutual Dependence of Donald Trump and the News Media"
Rutenberg devoted almost 1700 words to that important topic. In the process, he presented some valuable information. He also showed the ridiculous way players like him play the game.
Rutenberg presented punishing information about broadcast and cable TV. Why does a fellow like Anderson Cooper keep rolling over for Candidate Trump? After noting the way Fox News has improved its prime time ratings this year, Rutenberg eviscerates the pool boy's competing channel, which has scored much larger gains.
What's going on at CNN? Cover the children's eyes:
RUTENBERG (3/21/16): CNN entered the campaign season in a very different position. Some 18 months ago Wall Street analysts were questioning whether the network, then sinking near 20-year ratings lows, had a place in the new ecosystem of ''unlimited real-time information,'' as my colleague Emily Steel wrote at the time. With CNN's debates and heavy coverage of Mr. Trump, the network's ratings have increased about 170 percent in prime time this year.Why has the horrible Anderson Cooper been serving as number-one pool boy for Trump? Those numbers about CNN's ratings and giant ad prices tell a remarkable story. In all likelihood, President Zucker's excited remarks explain a great many things.
That's more than a reason to boast; it's an adrenaline shot to the heart.
Understandably, Jeff Zucker, the president of CNN Worldwide, was beaming when I saw him at a lunch with other reporters last week. ''These numbers are crazy–crazy,'' he said, referring to the ratings. How crazy? Two-hundred-thousand-dollars-per-30-second-spot crazy on debate nights, 40 times what CNN makes on an average night, according to Advertising Age. That's found money.
It certainly has to take the sting out of the criticism that CNN has handed its schedule over to Mr. Trump, which is a little unfair in that it is hardly alone...
Rutenberg pounds away at TV news orgs. That said, he only critiques the amount of time they devote to Trump. Even Rutenberg won't discuss the way players like Cooper roll over for Trump during those hour-long "interviews" which mainly serve as a chance for Trump to recite all his favorite ramblings.
Dearest darlings, it just isn't done! Within the guild, naming the names of the big major stars is considered a very rude play.
Meanwhile, Rutenberg almost completely forgets to discuss the role of our major newspapers like, for example, a certain newspaper called the New York Times.
Rutenberg's lengthy column includes some 34 paragraphs. He doesn't focus on the role of newspapers until he hits paragraph 32.
People, that's very close to the end! This piddle was all he could manage:
RUTENBERG: None of this is meant to let newspapers off the hook. In our rush to find new digital readers via iPhones and tablets, we are adding to the Trumpian churn. When Mr. Trump called Ms. Kelly ''Crazy Megyn'' on Twitter last week, for instance, it was just another in a long stream of derogatory posts about her. Not really news. Yet The New York Times, The Washington Post, Politico and others did separate news reports on it–giving Mr. Trump an audience well beyond his own seven million Twitter followers and contributing to what ultimately became Friday night's big fight. (Even Mr. Trump believes it is ''the craziest thing'' how ''I do a tweet on something, something not even significant, and they break into their news within seconds,'' he told my colleague Maureen Dowd last week.)"None of this is meant to let newspapers off the hook," the media columnist writes. He writes this after 31 paragraphs devoted to doing just that!
Rutenberg deploys a powderpuff with which to challenge his own branch of the press. As we've been telling you since the last century, this is the way these less-than-obsessively-honest people always play this game.
Rutenberg, the new media columnist, couldn't seem to find much wrong with the work of our major newspapers. The next day, in a Q-and-A with Slate, Daniel Okrent followed Anderson Cooper down, playing pool boy for the Times.
For background, see yesterday's report.
Inside the mahoganied walls which produces these journalistic scams, no one seems to be able to say how the Times should be covering Trump. When Okrent was asked a similar question, he couldn't seem to think of a single thing to say.
Incomparably, we can! In deference to Rutenberg's slippery first piece, we'll postpone those thoughts till tomorrow.