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May 30th, 2013
11:43 AM ET

Adam Levine: "I don't hate America!": CNN's Pamela Brown reports

Singer expressed frustration with "The Voice" results when two of his contestants were voted off the popular singing competition show.

CNN's Pamela Brown reports Adam Levine is pledging his allegiance to his country today after coming under fire for saying some unpatriotic words.


Filed under: Media • Music • Reality TV
Fired for defending her hairstyle on Facebook; Ex-KTBS meteorologist Rhonda Lee: 'Other people are given platforms, I was given a pink slip'
December 12th, 2012
09:42 AM ET

Fired for defending her hairstyle on Facebook; Ex-KTBS meteorologist Rhonda Lee: 'Other people are given platforms, I was given a pink slip'

Could you lose your job for defending yourself on Facebook? Rhonda Lee says she was fired from her job as meteorologist for KTBS in Shreveport, Louisiana because she responded to a racial remark posted by a viewer on the station's Facebook page. Lee, who keeps her hair short and natural, received a comment on the page from a viewer who didn’t like her hairstyle. Lee’s response was followed by her termination. Lee joins “Starting Point” live from Dallas to talk more about it.

This was the first time Lee says someone has commented on her looks on a Facebook page, but it isn’t the first time that she’s heard ever a comment on her hair. “I’ve even had a news director once say that my hair was too aggressive for Sacramento, so I wasn’t even allowed to interview at that point” she says. “It’s been an interesting journey with my hair.”

According to KTBS, Lee violated the social media procedure of the station by responding to the viewer's comment. Lee says she was not even aware of the policy at the time. She simply thought she needed to respond to the remark that was addressed to her in particular. "Racial comments can be very sensitive," she says, but she didn't consider her topic controvercial at all.

Soledad O'Brien relates Lee's experience to that of Wisconsin reporter Jennifer Livingston, who was criticized about her weight by a viewer earlier this year. She responded to it on air and her station rallied around her while others cheered her on. O'Brien asks whether Lee could have used this opportunity to launch a similar conversation. Lee says Livingston's experience came to mind, but her "first response was education." "I feel like I was being punished for defending myself," Lee says. "Whereas other people are given platforms, I was given a pink slip instead."

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Filed under: Jobs • Media • Social media
November 30th, 2012
10:34 AM ET

Should guests be able to criticize networks they appear on? Ashburn and Kurtz weigh in

Earlier this week, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Tom Ricks appeared on FOX News to promote his new book, "The General," but ended up making headlines for something else entirely when the interview was cut short, following Ricks' criticism of the network's coverage of the Benghazi consulate attack. The interview lasted less than ninety seconds and has started a dialogue on whether it's acceptable for news guests to criticize the network they're appearing on. CNN Host Howard Kurtz and Daily Beast Contributor and Daily Download Editor-in-Chief Lauren Ashburn stop by “Starting Point” this morning to discuss Ricks’ rebellion and what should be the proper response from a host in a similar situation.

Kurtz says the handling of Ricks’ interview, “has been a ‘PR’ debacle for FOX” because it sent the message “that you get silenced because the criticism can’t be tolerated.” Ashburn says that regardless, “It’s FOX’s right to be able to do that. It’s their air.” Kurtz adds that if FOX had allowed the interview to continue, “It wouldn’t be this big of a deal…on the other side of that they’re certainly getting a lot of publicity.”


Filed under: Media
September 10th, 2012
01:11 PM ET

"Covert Affairs" Actor Christopher Gorham on the realism of the CIA-based show: 'The topics that we deal with are very real, but how we do it is always fictional'

The Navy Seal behind “No Easy Day”, the tell-all book about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, told “60 Minutes” last night that a CIA agent was central to accomplishing the mission. Actor Christopher Gorham, who plays a blind tech ops expert for the CIA on hit the USA show, “Covert Affairs,” joins Zoraida Sambolin and Ali Velshi on “Starting Point” this morning to reveal his take on the realism of the show.

Gorham credits some of the realism of the show to the fact that the writers meet with CIA officers at Langley ever year. Actress Piper Parabo, who plays the lead role as CIA Agent Annie Walker, has met with real CIA officers as well. “The show is fictional, but we try to at least base some of the reality of the inner office dynamics on the stories that they hear from the real CIA officers,” Gorham says. But he tells Ali Velshi that it’s “much more fun to be on the show” than being a real CIA officer. “It’s definitely much safer to be on the show as well.”

CNN Contributor and Columnist for TheBlaze.com Will Cain asks Gorham about playing a blind CIA operative and making eye contact. Gorham’s character Auggie Anderson was in the Special Forces and had his sight until losing it in injury while serving in Iraq. “For guys like him, they’re actually very good at making eye contact even after they’ve lost their sight,” Gorham explains. Gorham says their excellent muscle memory allows it. “So, we have to make him worse at it on the show so that it’s not confusing for the audience,” he says.

CNN Contributor and Fmr. Clinton White House Special Assistant and Senior Adviser Richard Socarides asks Gorham if the government ever restricts them from subjects that may be secret. “Our storylines are pretty fictional,” Gorham says. “The kind of danger that we deal that with on the show is very real. And some of the topics that we deal with are very real, but how we do it is always fictional, so we don’t run into any problems.”

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Filed under: A little fun • Media
September 10th, 2012
12:45 PM ET

Award-Winning Journalist Lynn Povich: There are 'still very few women at the top'

Award-winning journalist Lynn Povich is one of 46 women who organized and filed a lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 1970, citing discrimination against women in hiring and promotion. More than 30 years later, the first promoted female senior editor of Newsweek writes of the experience in her book, “The Good Girls Revolt.”

“We would actually go in to the ladies room. Look under the stalls, see who was there, and if no one else was there, we’d approach someone at the sink and say, ‘You know I have to check a story by this guy and it’s terrible, or I could do it better,’ and if they responded, we’d say, ‘We’re thinking of doing something to change this,’" Povich says of organizing women at Newsweek to file the complaint. "And then we would start reeling people in one by one.”

For Povich, there has been “enormous progress” for women seeking jobs in the media industry and in corporations since 1970. However, there are "still very few women at the top" in the media industry and in corporations, she says. In Newsweek, for example, only 43 of 49 cover stories published in 2009 were written by men.

“I do think that there's still an imbalance," Povich argues. "I think also that women need to push themselves more... It’s a question about how much is discrimination and how much do women still need to have the confidence to go forward, because they certainly have the skill and they certainly have the talent.”


Filed under: Authors • Inspiration • Jobs • Journalism • Justice • Law • Lawsuit • Media • Memoir
August 17th, 2012
08:51 AM ET

National Geographic reveals the winners of its 2012 photo contest

National Geographic Traveler magazine is filled with incredible images from around the world, and the publication recently invited readers to submit their own photos as a part of their annual traveler's photo contest.

The best images were chosen from 12,000 submissions from more than 150 countries and the winning pictures are stunning.

National Geographic Traveler's contributing editor George Stone shares the top images on Starting Point this morning and explains what criteria went into selecting the winning pictures.

Check out the winners' gallery for yourself here.


Filed under: Media
June 27th, 2012
12:14 PM ET

'Magic' Johnson on launching ASPiRE, a TV network focused on positive achievements in African-American community

Earvin "Magic" Johnson isn't just a Hall of Fame basketball legend. He is also a successful businessman who has developed an empire of movie theaters, fitness centers, and has a stake in the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Now he's going to become a media mogul.

Johnson is launching a new television network today called ASPiRE, and it highlights the positive achievements of the African-American community. The programming will feature movies, music, comedy shows aimed at an audience that may be yearning for family friendly content.

"Magic" talks with Soledad on "Starting Point" about the new network.

Magic also shares some wisdom for Anthony Davis, the anticipated #1 NBA draft pick this year. See what he has to say in the clip below.


Filed under: Media • NBA
May 25th, 2012
11:23 AM ET

Facing financial constraints, Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper decreasing publication

A Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper in New Orleans will only be printed three days a week instead of daily, and is laying off a third of its staff as a result.

The 175-year-old Times Picayune is merging with NOLA.com to form the NOLA Media Group. The newspaper will be home-delivered and available in stores on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. The website, meanwhile, will transform into a 24-hours-a-day news source.

Three Alabama newspapers are undergoing similar restructuring, causing many to wonder whether or not this is the beginning of the end for newspapers.

New York Times reporter Christine Haughney joins the Starting Point panel today weigh in on the difficulties local newspapers are facing in an increasingly digital world.

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Filed under: Media
March 13th, 2012
09:19 AM ET

Is Bravo's 'Shahs of Sunset' the next 'Jersey Shore?' Cast member Reza Farahan weighs in

Reza Farahan, cast member of "Shahs of Sunset," discusses the new show and explains why he chose to join the cast.


Filed under: Media
March 1st, 2012
01:33 PM ET

NY Times's Brian Stelter on what James Murdoch's moves mean for News Corp.

Brian Stelter with the New York Times on James Murdoch stepping down as head of a News Corp. U.K. subsidiary.


Filed under: Media