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5:45 PM ET, December 29, 2011


 Top News: 
Brian Stelter / Media Decoder:
An Election Year Dawns Without Keith Olbermann  —  Keith Olbermann, who came to Current TV this year to remake the channel and compete against his old home, MSNBC, is sitting out the biggest political nights of the season.  —  Despite being the biggest star on the fledging channel …
Discussion: Inside Cable News
Brian Stelter / Media Decoder:
Cable Channels Set to Begin Election Year Coverage  —  America's trifecta of cable news channels, Fox News, MSNBC and CNN, are just about ready to show off their election year staffs.  —  Each channel plans to cover the one-night Iowa caucus for a stretch of several days …
Frances Martel / Mediaite:
And So It Begins... NY Times Report Suggests Tension Between Olbermann And Current TV  —  Keith Olbermann has been manning the fort over at Current TV as its chief news officer since his departure from MSNBC last year, and yet at least one New York Times reporter noticed that …
Alex Weprin / TVNewser:
ID's ‘On the Case’ Hires Letterman Extortionist, Former CBS News Producer Joe Halderman  —  TVNewser has learned that Investigation Discovery's “On the Case with Paula Zahn” has hired Joe Halderman, the CBS News producer who attempted to blackmail David Letterman in 2009.
The Huffington Post:
CNN's New Morning Show Gets Name And Debut Date  —  Update: CNN announced the names of its new morning shows.  The 5-7 a.m. show will be called “Early Start.”  Soledad O'Brien's 7-9 a.m. program will be titled “Starting Point.”  —  CNN will debut its new morning show led by host Soledad O'Brien on January 2, 2012.
Andrea Morabito / Broadcasting & Cable:
New CNN Morning Show to Launch Jan. 2  —  Soledad O'Brien will anchor first days from Iowa Caucuses  —  CNN will debut its new morning show team of Soledad O'Brien, Ashleigh Banfield and Zoraida Sambolin on Jan. 2, the day before the Iowa Caucuses, the network said Wednesday
Discussion: Inside Cable News and TVNewser
From North Korea, an Altered Procession  —  The funeral of Kim Jong-il on Wednesday called to mind the best stage-managed Communist state productions: the falling snow, the wailing mourners, the perfectly spaced limousines and rows of chest-beating men.  —  So perhaps it was because the scene …
Arthur Bright / Christian Science Monitor:   North Korea not the only offender: 6 official photo fudgings
Charles Apple:   North Korean news operation engages in second Photoshopping incident of the year
Evan McMorris-Santoro / TPM:
Romney: I'm Going To Fix The Budget By Bringing Ads To Sesame Street  —  Here's a tangible, fundamental change to the American cultural landscape that will come with a Mitt Romney presidency.  Under President Romney, Sesame Street will be brought to you by more than “The Letter Q.”
Discussion: Wonkette
The Independent:
Murdoch's £100m plan to settle hacking cases before they get to court  —  Rupert Murdoch's News International is thought to have prepared a legal fund of £100m to settle civil litigation actions brought by victims of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal ahead of a High Court showdown in the new year.
Alexandra Topping / Guardian:   Leveson inquiry should address media sexism, women's groups demand
Adam Clark Estes / The Atlantic Wire:
At Least a Few Local Journalists Just Experienced an End of Year Miracle  —  News emerged Tuesday night that the new owners of the New York Times Regional Media Group would mostly likely be laying off a number of employees on Thursday.  This Atlantic Wire tipster made the cut.
Discussion: Poynter
Chris O'Shea / FishbowlNY:
Some Regional Media Group Staffers Already Getting Employment Offers
Discussion: FishbowlDC
Dylan Byers / Politico:
Times' grumbles grow
Discussion: Forbes and Erik Wemple
Mike Masnick / Techdirt:
Lamar Smith, Against Regulating The Internet... Until Hollywood Became His Biggest Campaign Funder  —  Well, well.  Via Julian Sanchez, we learn that SOPA's official “sponsor” and chief supporter, Lamar Smith, spoke out in 2006 about how Congress shouldn't regulate the internet:
Derrick Harris / GigaOM:
Could SOPA fly if big media put skin in the game?
Discussion: Betabeat and Future of Journalism
Elana Zak / 10,000 Words:
Confused by SOPA? Five Multimedia Explainers
Discussion: Prison, Thanks:elanazak
Dylan Byers / The Politico:
MSNBC now disclosing Bain Capital connection  —  Starting on last night's Ed Show with Ed Schultz, MSNBC anchors are now disclosing their parent company's ties to Bain Capital, the buyout firm co-founded by Mitt Romney.  —  In July 2008, NBC Universal, Bain Capital and Blackstone Group bought …
Storify Story Of The Year: A detailed inventory of reporter arrests at Occupy protests  —  The Free Press' Josh Stearns combines the craftsmanship of traditional journalism with the latest tools of new media to contribute an important and lasting piece of enterprise journalism.
Discussion: Capital New York
Leena Rao / TechCrunch:
Amazon: We Sold Over 4 Million Kindle Devices This Month; Gifting Of E-Books Up 175 Percent  —  Amazon has just released new data regarding its Kindle sales for the holiday season.  According to the e-commerce giant, Amazon customers purchased millions of Kindle Fires and millions of Kindle e-readers.
Ingrid Lunden / paidContent:
Linear TV Consumption Is Growing, But Is Ad Spend?  —  When you consider the internet, on-demand services, games consoles, mobiles, apps and [fill in your personal favorite here], we have more ways than ever before to watch TV content whenever and however we want.
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 More News: 
Nate Hoffelder / eBookNewser:
HarperCollins Saw 100 Thousand eBook Downloads on Christmas Day
Discussion: GalleyCat
Shia Kapos / Chicago Business:
Sun-Times sellers boosted return through prior asset sales
M Ilyas Khan / BBC:
Pakistan journalists ‘threatened by security’ personnel
Jim Romenesko:
Rossi: Kinsley review cut ‘Page One’ box office in half
Michael Cieply / Media Decoder:
Hollywood Copyright Dispute Still Flaring
Wall Street Journal:
Fuse Is a Flash Point in Cable Fight
 Earlier Picks: 
Craig Silverman / Poynter:
Conferences raise unanswered questions about fact checking
Jay Yarow / Business Insider:
After Losing Its Star Writers, Engadget's Traffic Has Gone Up
Lucas Shaw / The Wrap:
L.A. Times Adds More Games to Website, Hoping to Boost Revenue
Andrew Longstreth / Reuters:
Analysis: Manning's legal strategy could lead to plea deal