Alec, Lara, Maria, All on the Same Cruise, Different Decks

It would be an interesting cruise to be on. The one with Alec Baldwin, Lara Logan and Maria Bartiromo as your ship mates. Interesting if you didn't care where you were going or if you got there.

Logan has been suspended by CBS for her part in a grossly erroneous report on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. An independent review of the 60 Minutes story found that Logan, in essence, went looking for facts to support a theory, her theory, as to what happened. It was a theory, a bias, she fully expressed in a speech she gave to the Better Government Association in 2012. In that speech, along with other things, she criticized the Obama administration for not acknowledging that the attack was carried off by terrorists, something 'everyone' knew. So, what do these two incidents tell us?

First, that she should be let go. And secondly, that she needs to take a hard look at exactly what she wants to do for a living. Journalism is not easy. Certainly not easy in the physical sense, something she knows all too well thanks to the despicable attack on her while covering the uprising in Egypt.

But journalism takes ethical toughness as well as physical stamina. It has become 'old world' to discuss ethics in journalism, but it's a discussion that needs to happen. Actually, that boat has likely sailed, but let's at least pretend that journalism is an ethical profession shall we?

In this ethical give and take I'll go first. When reporting you can not allow your personal feelings or bias to color your vision as to the facts of any story. You can not do it by 'feel' or by 'gut instinct.' Both of those enter into it certainly, but the bottom line is a simple one -- if you don't have the facts your don't print or go to air. And that means all the facts. You have to look under every rock, even if you're afraid that by doing so you'll find out something that doesn't support your theory.There is no such thing as wasted time reporting or investigating a story. If you spend 10 or 11 months reporting a story and in the end you don't have the facts, so be it. You didn't waste your time or your network's time, you were reporting. Ethically, fully, to a certainty.

I will say that Logan was not done a service by her network by allowing her to give the kind of speeches she did. Lara you are a reporter, not a celebrity, not an 'opinion maker', not an expert witness. There was a time reporters of any stripe at any level were barred, either by mandate or by ethical nuance, from expressing their opinions about anything they may one day cover or be involved in. Imagine that. Logan is, or was, a reporter for what was once considered the pinnacle of broadcast journalism. We'll soon see if it still is.

And she was also done a disservice by her company,CBS. The all too cozy relationship between the book and publishing division and the broadcast news division gives off a smell that is less than appealing. It's not something you can blame on the dog at Thanksgiving.

Speaking of less than appealing, exhibit number two is Alec Baldwin. I've thought it, so I'm just going to come out and say it. Baldwin is the 'liberal' version of Donald Trump.

So how did this guy get a television show on MSNBC anyway? Hey Trump has one on NBC, so why not? Actually Baldwin is a good example of the crossover between entertainment, opinion and news ( a loosely used term at this point). The trials and tribulations of MSNBC's lack of ratings are old news and this Baldwin episode simply restates them. They don't have any, Baldwin is famous, sort of, he has a mouth, isn't afraid to stick his foot in it, ergo, he gets a TV show. And now he's lost it.

Speaking of losing something, CNBC, the business network, has lost Maria Bartiromo, likely its best known on air personality. In the 'big picture' of broadcast journalism being a CNBC personality is akin to being in the witness protection program. The core, advertiser desired, audience for CNBC on a daily basis is estimated at 31,000 folks. Its main competition, which is where Bartiromo is going, sports a number around 10,000 for the same group. It's kind to call it small. In essence both CNBC and Fox Business News, and even Bloomberg TV, are really 'local' broadcasters.

Their market is a few streets wide in New York City, the Financial District, and maybe a block here or there in Chicago and San Francisco or Silicon Valley. However, it is as lucrative a market, by size, that you can find, which explains how FBN can afford to pay Bartiromo more than CNBC. Speculation has it in the neighborhood of 5 to 6 million per annum, a bump up from 4.

Worth it? In her couple block market place there is no doubt that Bartiromo is Queen Bee, and deservedly so. She knows her narrowly defined topic and is known by the few people who watch and who want to talk. But it's rumored that one of the reasons she left, apart from the few million here or there, is that she wants a bigger 'voice', she wants her own Fox News show, so she can express her opinions on everything, not just business. Uh oh. Fox is willing to give her that shot, NBC was not. Taking a chance? Hey, you never know, but I will say that a few years back when Disney released a turkey of a movie entitled the 'Alamo', Maria announced its paltry box office numbers with gusto, but did call the movie the 'Ah---lam--mo'. Yeah, Davey Crockett died there too.

So you're on a cruise with Lara Logan, Alec Baldwin and Maria Bartiromo. It would be fun, as long as Logan doesn't just take you where she wants to go, Baldwin isn't playing Skipper, and Maria doesn't point it towards San Antonio.