Morning Media Newsfeed: Sony’s Pascal to Step Down | Williams Draws Criticism

Amy Pascal to step down at Sony Pictures. Brian Williams draws criticism for false Iraq story. These stories and more in today's Morning Media Newsfeed

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Amy Pascal to Step Down From Top Sony Post (THR)
Amid the fallout of the Sony hacking crisis, Amy Pascal will step down from her post as co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment. PRNewser We’ve read enough well-spun corporate statements to know that this is the beginning of the end for Pascal, though she will still get production credits on the coming Ghostbusters reboot and future Amazing Spider-Man movies. Variety She will remain at the studio as part of a new producing deal. Pascal will stay in place through May, at which point she will take the reins at her new venture. No decision has been made on her replacement, according to an individual with knowledge of the situation, but there is a deep bench on the Sony lot. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Pascal had served as co-chair alongside CEO Michael Lynton since 2006. The cyber attack, by the hacking group Guardians of Peace, exposed Pascal’s private emails, as well as the personal information and social security numbers of staff, film budgets and financial figures. A threat from the hackers also led several theaters to cancel showings of Sony’s The Interview. WSJ As recently as November, Pascal was negotiating with Sony to extend her contract, which expires in March, according to emails stolen by the hackers and released online. However, she was damaged more than other executives by leaked emails, which revealed she was struggling to find a new direction for the studio’s Spider-Man franchise, second-guessing many of her own decisions, and facetiously speculated about whether President Obama prefers movies starring black actors.

Brian Williams’ Apology Draws Mixed Reviews From Mission Vets (Stars And Stripes)
Apologies by NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams for a false claim of being on a helicopter forced down by Iraqi rocket fire in 2003 satisfied some soldiers who were there but left a few insisting that details were still misrepresented. Williams admitted on air that he was not on the Chinook that was struck by enemy fire, saying he was “instead on a following aircraft” and writing a Facebook apology to soldiers saying “I was indeed on the Chinook behind the bird that took the RPG.” FishbowlNY According to David Luke, a retired soldier from Texas who was a flight engineer with a company of the helicopters under the 159th Aviation Regiment, the Williams formation of three Chinooks was headed back to Kuwait, flying at one point over a white Iraqi pick-up truck. Another company of Chinooks, he says, flew past in the opposite direction towards Baghdad and were subsequently fired on by the men in that pick-up. WSJ It remains to be seen if there will be a backlash against Williams from NBC viewers. But Williams has been lambasted by other media professionals and former journalists. NBC, a unit of Comcast Corp., had no comment on Williams’ actions and wouldn’t say what steps, if any, it might take as a result of them. TVNewser Among high-profile journalists, few have declared themselves solidly in favor of Williams continuing in his role as anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News.

ISIS Video Brings Huge Traffic to FoxNews.com (TVNewser)
Fox News executives didn’t know how many people would actually want to see the unedited — and horrific — video released by ISIS that seems to show a captured Jordanian pilot being burned to death. Mediaite The 22.5-minute video has accounted for a total of 10 percent of all streams since it was posted on the Fox News site Tuesday. Fox executive John Moody said earlier this week they decided this video was important to show viewers the reality of ISIS brutality. The Washington Post / Erik Wemple The raw video from the Islamic State plus the news package featuring Fox News correspondent Catherine Herridge accounted for about 50 percent of the video streams on FoxNews.com Wednesday, when the site delivered 7.7 million streams. That’s about double the normal volume. All of these figures stem from Omniture metrics provided by Fox News. HuffPost Fox News’ Howard Kurtz told Megyn Kelly Thursday night that he does not stand with the network in their choice. Just the day before, Special Report host Bret Baier chose to air still images from the video during his program. Kurtz said that posting the video in full only helps to “spread the fear” of ISIS.