The Cutline
  • Rupert Murdoch and "Fox And Friends," Fox News' loopy morning show, were spoofed on "Saturday Night Live" on Saturday, with Fred Armisen impersonating the 81-year-old mogul. Watch a clip of the cold open above.

    Earlier Saturday, Murdoch--who has been using Twitter as an outlet for his unfiltered political views--lamented the medium.

    "Seems impossible to have civilised debate on Twitter," Murdoch wrote. "Ignorant, vicious abuse lowers whole society, maybe shows real social decay."

    Read More »from Rupert Murdoch spoofed on ‘SNL’: Fred Armisen plays News Corp. chief (VIDEO)
  • Brian Williams (ASME)

    Christopher Hitchens was honored at the National Magazine Awards—the Oscars of the magazine industry—on Thursday with a posthumous prize for three columns published in Vanity Fair last year.

    "He's the bravest man I've ever known," Graydon Carter, Vanity Fair editor-in-chief, said while accepting the so-called Ellie for Hitchens at a ceremony at New York's Marriott Marquis. Hitchens, who died last December after a battle with cancer, "wrote with speed and accuracy" until the very end, Carter said.

    Brian Williams—who served as the evening's host—arrived late after anchoring Thursday's "NBC Nightly News," blaming cross-town traffic and the "poured-cement" hotel's confusing elevator system.

    New York magazine won three awards, edging the New Yorker, which won two. Time won magazine of the year. In all, 18 magazines were honored with Ellies.

    "If you publish a magazine—even desktop publishing—you're winning an award," Williams joked. "If Cat Fancy wins for best commentary, be happy for them."

    Tim Rogers, the editor of Dallas-based D magazine, won the unofficial award for most awkward acceptance speech, saying his magazine's Ellie (for a profile of the hacking group Anonymous) would help him in the bedroom. "Tonight, with a little bit of luck, a little red wine, I'm gonna get lucky," Rogers said, pointing to his wife in the crowd.

    Williams said he felt bad for "Mrs. D."

    "There's a lot of pressure on her now," the "Rock Center" host said.

    Later, Williams professed his love for magazines.

    "I am a lover of this tactile medium," he said. "I get on a plane [with a magazine] and I pretend to bathe in it."

    The full list of winners:

    Read More »from National Magazine Awards: Christopher Hitchens honored with posthumous Ellie
  • Bin Laden in an image broadcast on April, 17, 2002. (AP/MBC)

    In a letter outlining al-Qaida's media strategy ahead of the tenth anniversary of 9/11, the terror group's top spokesman expressed disdain for Fox News.

    "From the professional point of view, they are all on one level—except [Fox News] channel which falls into the abyss as you know, and lacks neutrality too," al-Qaida spokesman Adam Gadahn wrote in the January 2011 letter. The paper was one of a selection of more than 6,000 pages of documents seized during the May 1, 2011, raid that killed Osama bin Laden, which West Point's Combating Terrorism Center released on Thursday.

    Writing to an unknown recipient, Gadahn, an American, gives a detailed critique of U.S. media outlets, and brainstorms about where al-Qaida might focus its press efforts:

    As for the neutrality of CNN in English, it seems to be in cooperation with the government more than the others (except Fox News of course). Its Arabic version brings good and detailed reports about al-Sahab releases, with a lot of quotations from the original text. That means they copy directly from the releases or its gist. It is not like what other channels and sites do, copying from news agencies like Reuters, AP and others.

    I used to think that MSNBC channel may be good and neutral a bit, but is has lately fired two of the most famous journalists —Keith Olberman and Octavia Nasser the Lebanese—because they released some statements that were open for argument.

    CBS channel was mentioned by the Shaykh, I see that it is like the other channels, but it has a famous program (60 Minutes) that has some popularity and a good reputation for its long broadcasting time. Only God knows the reality, as I am not really in a position to do so.

    ABC channel is all right; actually it could be one of the best channels, as far as we are concerned. It is interested in al-Qa'ida issues, particularly the journalist Brian Ross, who is specialized in terrorism. The channel is still proud for its interview with the Shaykh. It also broadcasted excerpts from a speech of mine on the fourth anniversary, it also published most of that text on its site on the internet.

    "In conclusion," Gadahn wrote, "we can say that there is no single channel that we could rely on for our messages. [They] may ignore them, and even the channel that broadcast them, probably it would distort them somehow. This is accomplished by bringing analysts and experts that would interpret its meaning in the way they want it to be. Or they may ignore the message and conduct a smearing of the individuals, to the end of the list of what you know about their cunning methods."

    "As for Fox News," he added, "let her die in her anger."

    Read More »from Al-Qaida letter about Fox News: ‘Let her die in her anger’


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