David RhodesLatest News and Opinion
Posted Wednesday 10/24/18 at 3:17PM EDT
CNN releases image of pipe bomb sent to its New York City headquarters
Source: New York Post
The suspicious package discovered at CNN's word headquarters today contained a crude pipe bomb and came with an envelope of white powder that was part of the packaging. The package was addressed to former CIA director John Brennan, misspelled "Brenan" with CNN in parenthesis, listing CNN's New York City address. The package listed U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, former chair of the Democratic National Committee, as the sender. “Responding officers identified a device that appeared to be an explosive device and they removed it for investigation,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said at a press conference outside the news network’s Columbus Circle offices. “What we saw here today was an effort to terrorize, this clearly is an act of terror, attempting to undermine our free press and leaders of this country through acts of violence,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. In a memo to CNN staff, CNN president Jeff Zucker wrote: "We remain vigilant regarding security concerns across all of our global locations. As you communicate via social media, out of an abundance of caution, please refrain from sharing any images or geo tags that would reveal your location. We have no particular reason to be concerned, but just think it would be the most cautious approach." He also thanked CBS News president David Rhodes for helping CNN staff during the evacuation. ALSO: Fox News says it stands in solidarity with CNN: "We condemn all attempted acts of violence against media organizations and our thoughts are with CNN for the safety of all of their employees"
- UPDATE: CNN president Jeff Zucker blasts Trump's White House for its attacks on the media: "There is a total and complete lack of understanding at the White House about the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media. The president, and especially the White House press secretary, should understand their words matter. Thus far, they have shown no comprehension of that."
- Zucker says CNN's New York City headquarters is now safe for employees to return to their offices
Posted Thursday 9/13/18 at 11:07PM EDT
Jeff Fager's ouster puts a spotlight on the divide between 60 Minutes and CBS News
Source: The New York Times
60 Minutes staffers fear that Fager's exit will result in the folding of the newsrooms of CBS News with the iconic newsmagazine, which operate out of separate buildings. 60 Minutes servers are inaccessible to CBS News staffers, who must ask permission and use the show's watermark if they want to show its footage -- "as it if it were a rival station," reports The New York Times' John Koblin and Michael M. Grynbaum. "In its half-century on the air," they report, "60 Minutes has never been at home within the larger CBS News family," As former CBS News president Andrew Heyward explains, "the people at 60 Minutes were paid more, they had longer time to work on stories, they got incredible recognition in terms of ratings and prestige, so naturally the people in the trenches would sometimes be resentful of that. It was like a hit TV show that happened to be at CBS News.” 60 Minutes staffers fear that CBS News president David Rhodes -- whom Fager hired from Bloomberg News in 2011 -- would dismantle what they consider an institution. "Mr. Rhodes so rarely visits the 60 Minutes office that one staff member likened his appearance there on Wednesday, to discuss Mr. Fager’s firing, to the sighting of a unicorn," reports The Times. "Likewise, 60 Minutes officials are infrequent attendees at Mr. Rhodes’s editorial meetings for senior producers every Monday morning. So when he did show up, many staff members reacted in anger." ALSO: 60 Minutes staffers coined "Fager World" to describe Fager's happy bubble.
Posted Wednesday 9/12/18 at 7:28PM EDT
60 Minutes boss Jeff Fager was fired for sending a threatening text to a CBS News reporter
Source: CBS News
CBS News reporter Jericka Duncan said on CBS Evening News that it was a text Fager sent to her that got him relieved of his duties today. Duncan said when she reached out to Fager on Sunday to comment on Ronan Farrow's New Yorker story accusing him of groping an intern, she was met with threatening text messages. “If you repeat these false accusations without any of your own reporting to back them up you will be responsible for harming me,” Fager texted, according to Duncan. “Be careful. There are people who lost their jobs trying to harm me and if you pass on these damaging claims without your own reporting to back them up that will become a serious problem.” CBS Evening News anchor Jeff Glor told Duncan that Fager's text was "unacceptable." CBS News president David Rhodes said in a statement that Fager's threatening message violated company policy. Fager had earlier released a statement saying CBS "terminated my contract early because I sent a text message to one of our own CBS reporters demanding that she be fair in covering the story. My language was harsh and, despite the fact that journalists receive harsh demands for fairness all the time, CBS did not like it. One such note should not result in termination after 36 years, but it did.” Meanwhile, 60 Minutes correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi said CBS News was wrong to fire Fager. “I think it’s a terrible day for CBS News,” she told The New York Times. “I think it is awful. I don’t understand how you get fired over a text message.” But longtime 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft appeared to agree with Fager's punishment. "The text to Jericka Duncan was threatening and inappropriate," he said. "It’s unfortunate and everything about this situation saddens me.”
Posted Wednesday 9/12/18 at 2:09PM EDT
Longtime 60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager out after sexual misconduct allegations
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
Fager, who has led 60 Minutes since 2004 and who was CBS News chairman from 2011 to 2015, is exiting CBS News, effective immediately, following reports accusing him of sexual misconduct and promoting an abusive workplace. Fager, 63, has been with CBS News since 1982 and was the second leader of 60 Minutes, succeeding the legendary Don Hewitt. Fager's exit comes three days after Ronan Farrow reported on a new allegation of sexual misconduct against Fager in The New Yorker. A former CBS News producer, Sarah Johansen, told Farrow he groped her when she was an intern. "This action today is not directly related to the allegations surfaced in press reports, which continue to be investigated independently," said CBS News president David Rhodes. "However, he violated company policy and it is our commitment to uphold those policies at every level." Fager will be replaced on an interim basis by 60 Minutes executive editor Bill Owens. Fager released a statement responding to his ouster: "The company’s decision had nothing to do with the false allegations printed in The New Yorker. Instead, they terminated my contract early because I sent a text message to one of our own CBS reporters demanding that she be fair in covering the story. My language was harsh and, despite the fact that journalists receive harsh demands for fairness all the time, CBS did not like it. One such note should not result in termination after 36 years, but it did.”
Posted Thursday 8/02/18 at 3:05AM EDT
CBS board hires two high-powered law firms to investigate Les Moonves, CBS News, and "cultural issues at all levels of CBS"
The board announced Tuesday it has hired the law firms Covington & Burling and Debevoise & Plimpton to "conduct a full investigation of the allegations in recent press reports about Chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves, CBS News and cultural issues at all levels of CBS." The board also named a special committee to oversee the investigation. Moonves will have no role in the investigation.
- Civil rights attorney Lisa Bloom, who briefly represented Harvey Weinstein, says the CBS board hired "Big Law defense firms" that would only give Moonves a "wrist slap"
- Moonves exits the Anita Hill-led commission on sexual misconduct
- CBS News president David Rhodes reportedly told his staff the new revelations “test your capacity for disappointment"
- USC School of Cinematic Arts suspends Moonves from its board
Posted Thursday 3/15/18 at 9:38PM EDT
CBS "tentatively" sets March 25 for airing 60 Minutes' Stormy Daniels interview
Source: The Washington Post
The Washington Post reports Anderson Cooper's highly anticipated sitdown with President Trump's alleged former mistress is scheduled to air 10 days from today. Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, tweeted a picture of him, Cooper and his client last Friday that "heightened the suspense" of the interview. "But the airing date remained vague," as The Post reports, "leading to speculation that CBS was embroiled in a legal battle before it could move forward with the salacious segment." Over the past week, Avenatti has helped fuel the speculation that Trump's lawyers have tried to prevent the interview from airing. CBS News president David Rhodes said earlier this week, however, that he hadn't seen any injunction, adding that the reason it didn't have an airdate was because "there’s still a lot of journalistic work to do."
Posted Tuesday 3/13/18 at 12:23PM EDT
CBS News boss talks 60 Minutes' Stormy Daniels interview, recalls asking Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell to announce Charlie Rose firing without a script
“The only reason it hasn’t run is that there’s still a lot of journalistic work to do,” CBS News president David Rhodes, speaking at the INTV conference in Jerusalem, said of the buzzworthy interview Anderson Cooper conducted last week with President Trump's alleged mistress, adding that there is still no airdate set. As for President Trump's lawyers stopping the interview from airing, Rhodes said, “I haven’t seen such an injunction, and I can’t imagine what the basis for that would be. Rhodes' interview also touched on Charlie Rose's firing last November for sexual harassment. “It was most important to me, as management, that they not feel managed in what they said,” Rhodes said of having King and O'Donnell respond openly on air and without a script. “So we didn’t prepare statements for them… we asked them to address it in their own words however they felt they should.”
Posted Tuesday 11/21/17 at 12:35PM EST
CBS fires Charlie Rose, citing his “extremely disturbing and intolerable behavior”
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
"A short time ago we terminated Charlie Rose’s employment with CBS News, effective immediately," CBS News president David Rhodes announced today of Rose, who co-hosted CBS This Morning and contributed to 60 Minutes. "This followed the revelation yesterday of extremely disturbing and intolerable behavior said to have revolved around his PBS program. Despite Charlie’s important journalistic contribution to our news division, there is absolutely nothing more important, in this or any organization, than ensuring a safe, professional workplace—a supportive environment where people feel they can do their best work. We need to be such a place. I’ve often heard that things used to be different. And no one may be able to correct the past. But what may once have been accepted should not ever have been acceptable."