New York Times
Chief television critic for the New York Times
New York Times
Chief television critic for the New York Times
'The Americans' seems incredibly timely right now With all the talk of secret Russian operatives, spies and espionage in the news these days, the television show “The Americans” seems incredibly timely today. The series, created by a former CIA officer, follows two Soviet spies who pose as a married American couple in Washington during the Cold War. The show returns to FX Tuesday night for its fifth season.
Matt Lauer faces critics after NBC’s presidential forum NBC’s Matt Lauer is facing critics Thursday for his performance as the host of the network’s presidential forum on foreign policy. Observers say he failed to push back against Donald Trump when he said he did not support the war in Iraq, which he did. Lauer also didn’t follow up when Trump said things that required a little more explaining: like how, in response to Lauer’s question about whether Trump’s rhetoric could destabilize foreign relations and put American lives at risk, Trump responded: “I think if you saw what happened in Mexico the other day, when I went there, I had great relationships, everything else. I let them know where the United States stands… And if you look at what happened, look at the aftermath today where the people that arranged the trip in Mexico have been forced out of government. That’s how well we did.” Without pushing back, Lauer moved on. But he did spend a full third of Hillary Clinton’s portion of the forum pushing back on her use of a private email server during her time as Secretary of State. Was Lauer inappropriately tough on Clinton and easy on Trump?
The Ethics of Live-streaming Video We’ll delve more deeply into the technical realities and cultural impacts of live-streaming video of police shootings. How should social media sites like Facebook handle such explosive material, and are we prepared to deal with the aftermath? Do we need new rules of the road for the digital age? We'll discuss the mechanics – and the ethics – of the Castile video, which was live streamed on Facebook. Photo: A still from the Facebook Live stream of the death of Philando Castile, who was shot in Minnesota. The video was taken by his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds. (Diamond Reynolds)
Stephen Colbert Returns as Plain Old Stephen Colbert With Randy Newman on piano and a cast of almost 100 celebrities -- actors, athletes, newscasters, pundits and political figures -- Stephen Colbert said goodbye to Comedy Central last night. Colbert declared himself "immortal" and jumped on a sleigh with Santa Claus, Abraham Lincoln and Alex Trebek. He'll next be seen as David Letterman's replacement on the CBS Late Show. Colbert's character is said to be modeled on Bill O'Reilly of Fox News, and the two have maintained an on-camera rivalry. During the presidential election year, 2012, Colbert started his own Super PAC to give viewers a crash course in the new political finance regime, after the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. He sat down with Ted Koppel to talk about the influence of Super PACs. James Poniewozik writes about TV for Time magazine.
Comcast-GE Deal Will Reshape Television When General Electric bought NBC Universal , broadcast television was a reliable cash cow. Now, cable provider Comcast has cemented the deal with GE to buy NBC Universal, a pioneer in free, broadcast TV. Jay Leno, The Office and the Peacock itself are "being thrown in the deal like complimentary floor mats in a new car." That's according to James Poniewozik of Time magazine, who looks at the likely consequences for viewers now and in the future.
The Boy Who Was Not in the Balloon Cable news viewers got an hour and a half of commercial-free programming yesterday while a large, UFO-shaped helium balloon floated 7000 feet above Colorado. The awful possibility was that six-year-old Falcon Heene was aboard. Mercifully, the truth turned out to be very different, but the full story has yet to be unraveled. James Poniewzik is TV critic for Time magazine.
Saturday Night Live, Hillary Clinton, and Pop Culture and Politics Hillary Clinton 's new momentum has political junkies fixated on the influence of popular culture on politics. Gushing videos by supporters of Barack Obama prevailed on YouTube until a satirical late-night TV comedy skit made Clinton seem victimized by reporters. In the MSNBC debate just before the Ohio and Texas primaries, Clinton made a rather awkward reference to the Saturday Night Live skit. Suggesting that she was getting tougher questions than Barack Obama, she asked if the reporters didn't want to get him a pillow. Did that influence news coverage of the campaign? How important was it for Clinton to laugh at herself with Jon Stewart ? Have TV and movie portrayals of black and women presidents helped to make possible what used to happen only in fiction?
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?
What is Trump's plan for Middle East peace? On his first foreign tour, President Trump has promised "peace" between Israel and the Palestinians. Are there any details for re-starting talks that have been stalled for the past three years?
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.