In a bizarre series of events, KRON invited Pulitzer Prize-winning former LA Times TV critic Howard Rosenberg and former CNN correspondent Charles Feldman to appear on Jan Wahl’s Jan. 3 interview program. Then Wahl told the pair that they had been canceled due to a format change. But the format didn’t change. Instead KRON News Director Aaron Pero, in a remarkably candid e-mail, admitted the authors were bumped because they wrote a book (titled “No Time to Think: The Menace of Media Speed and the 24-hour News Cycle”) that is critical of television news.
“I am not all that interested in a book that is going to be critical of what we do as a business,” Pero wrote in an e-mail to the author’s publicist.
Here’s a link to the media blog LA Observed and a story appearing in this morning’s edition of the Palo Alto Daily Post:
- KRON bans TV critics
BY IAN S. PORT
Daily Post Staff Writer
A Pulitzer Prize-winning TV critic and a former CNN correspondent have written a book critical of TV news, but a local TV news station won’t let them discuss it on the air.
KRON 4 has canceled the Jan. 3 appearance of Howard Rosenberg and Charles Feldman, after News Director Aaron Pero said he didn’t think such a conversation was fit for the airwaves.
“I am not all that interested in a book that is going to be critical of what we do as a business,” Pero wrote in an e-mail to the journalists.
Feldman blasted Pero’s decision in an interview with the Post last night, saying he didn’t care about the missed opportunity to promote the book but was appalled at the reason for the cancellation.
“It’s disgusting, that’s what it is,” Feldman told the Post. “It’s a paternalistic approach that says we know what is best for our viewers and we need to shield them from anything that’s critical of the industry. It is a betrayal of the public trust.”
Rosenberg, a former TV critic for the L.A. Times, and Feldman, a veteran former CNN correspondent, published “No Time To Think: The Menace of Media Speed and the 24-hour News Cycle” in October. Feldman said the pair were invited by KRON host Jan Wahl to discuss the book on a Jan. 3 interview segment, after she said she read and enjoyed the book.
Wahl and Pero did not return requests for comment last night. The segment would have aired on KRON’s Saturday morning news show.
Feldman said he and Rosenberg had already purchased their plane tickets when Feldman got a voice mail from Wahl on Sunday saying that the format of her show had changed and the journalists were no longer wanted.
“It didn’t make any sense,” Feldman said. “If she no longer does interviews on her show, what would she do?”
Later, the authors got an e-mail from Pero explaining the real reason for the cancellation.
The authors sent Pero an outraged e-mail that was published next to Pero’s note on the blog LAObserved.com.
“If they really are that nervous that two authors are going to come on and be critical of the industry and that’s going to somehow make their audience go away, they really have to seriously sit down, look themselves in the mirror and ask themselves what they’re doing wrong,” Feldman told the Post.
He said that the book focuses on the coverage of international networks like CNN — not local stations like KRON.
“It’s really more about the big boys than it is the small boys, but maybe the small boys just can’t take the heat,” Feldman said. “(Pero) is censoring something he hasn’t even read.”
Feldman, who now lives in L.A., said he’s open to appearing to discussing the book other TV and radio stations in the Bay Area, but hasn’t gotten any invitations yet.
UPDATE: Late last night, KRON offered to interview Rosenberg and Feldman for a news story that would appear Jan. 3, though the sit-down interview was still off. Rosenberg and Feldman turned down the offer, saying it was insincere and the brief amount of time given to such news stories would not allow them to discuss their book in depth.
While Rosenberg and Feldman have done interviews in other markets, they have not been invited to appear on either the Ronn Owens or Michael Krasny programs — the venues one might expect to hear such authors.