2016 Watch
March 14, 2014
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It used to be that Democrats would view Fox News with a mixture of disdain and awe. Disdain for the channel's casual relationship with the facts, and its GOP-line-toeing under the motto "Fair and Balanced"; awe at its megaphonic ability to spread its feverish narrative to a huge audience that is deathly serious about politics and shows up at the polls.

But in the last election it became apparent that Fox News may be doing the Republican Party more harm than good, casting the entire party as insular, intolerant, and more than a little crazy. At least that is one of the themes of The Loudest Voice in the Room, Gabriel Sherman's book about Fox head Roger Ailes, which was reviewed by Steve Coll in the latest issue of The New York Review of Books. As Coll writes:

Here lies the problem in the alliance between Fox News and the Republican Party that Ailes has constructed. Fox owes its degree of profitability in part to its most passionate, even extremist, audience segment. To win national elections, the Grand Old Party, on the other hand, must win over moderate, racially diverse, and independent voters. By their very diversity and middling views, swing voters are not easy to target on television. The sort of news-talk programming most likely to attract a broad and moderate audience — hard news, weather news, crime news, sports, and perhaps a smattering of left–right debate formats — is essentially the CNN formula, which Fox has already rejected triumphantly. [New York Review of Books]

It's common for people to describe Fox News as being an arm of the Republican Party. But with the 2016 race starting to take shape, and the network doubling down on its reputation as the channel of old white men, it might more accurately be described as a huge thorn in the GOP's side. Ryu Spaeth

Famous Firsts
6:27 a.m. ET
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Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors trounced the Los Angeles Lakers, 111-77, in L.A. on Tuesday night, led by Curry's 24 points and 9 assists. It was the 16th straight win for the defending NBA champs, and their 16-0 start to the regular season set an NBA record. The 1993-94 Houston Rockets and 1948-49 Washington Capitols both started their respective seasons 15-0 before losing. "It's a special accomplishment any time you can do something that hasn't been done before," Curry said.

The next record in the Warriors' sights is one held by the Lakers, who have the second-worst record this season: The 1971-72 Lakers won 33 straight games; counting last season, the Warriors just notched consecutive win No. 20. Peter Weber

War Games
5:33 a.m. ET
Alexei Nikolsky/AFP/Getty Images

One of the two Russian pilots who parachuted out of a Su-24 fighter jet shot down by Turkey on Tuesday is believed dead, possibly killed by a Syrian rebel faction, but the second pilot is "alive and well," Russia said on Wednesday. Russian President Vladimir Putin elaborated in televised remarks that the pilot is "safe and sound" at Russia's airbase in a government-held area of Syria following a 12-hour rescue operation involving Russian and Syrian special forces.

Putin has called the downing of the warplane an unprovoked "stab in the back" with "serious consequence," and Russia says its plane never entered Turkish airspace. On Wednesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that Russia is sending its new S-400 anti-aircraft missile system to Syria. Turkey says the Su-24 was warned repeatedly that it was in Turkish airspace before shots were fired. Turkey is the first NATO member to shoot down a Russian warplane in half a century. Peter Weber

last night on late night
4:35 a.m. ET

"We're just two days from Thanksgiving, and I just want to take this time to mention something I'm thankful for: Donald Trump," Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show. Why? "Because he gives all of us on TV something to talk about." On Tuesday's show, he wanted to talk about Trump's widely discounted claim that Muslims in New Jersey cheered the fall of the Twin Towers on 9/11, and Trump's recent claim to be able to foretell terrorist threats. After playing clips of Trump boasting how he predicted Osama bin Laden was dangerous in a 2000 book, Colbert noted bin Laden's long history of proving that he was dangerous dating back to at least 1993.

"That's spooky — it's like Trump has some kind of fifth sense that lets him see what's in newspapers and on TVs," Colbert said. Well, "NostraDonald is not the only one with this power," he added, launching an elaborate "attempt to predict the predictable." Colbert says there will be an iPhone 7 next year, for example, and a short-lived frozen yogurt shop in your neighborhood. The fortune in his fortune cookie, though, seemed like a shot at his audience: "Crowds will be easy to pander to, especially here in New York City, the greatest city in the world." Well, people do like hearing about Donald Trump. Watch below. Peter Weber

3:58 a.m. ET

The Netflix series Jessica Jones debuted on Netflix last Friday night, and if you're not familiar with one of Marvel's darker superheroes, star Krysten Ritter was on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Tuesday to explain her character's superpowers (she's really strong and can fly, sort of) and why it's not exactly your typical family-friendly superhero fare. (There's a lot of sex and violence, Jimmy Kimmel noted, often).

In the interview portion below, Ritter and Kimmel discuss the rules for spoilers on Netflix series, where you can watch all the episodes at once. Ritter said that it would be better to give people a little more time before ruining plot developments, then mentioned that her mother has already watched the entire first season. In fact, she did it in the first 24 hours. Her mom watched the first five episodes Friday night, then continued Saturday — "she's watching it on her phone while her oil's being changed," Ritter recounted. And what about the sex and dark pallor? "She was fine with it," Ritter said, "though she did have to watch Don't Trust the Bee as a palate-cleanser." Watch below, and be warned: Even though Ritter says she hates spoilers, she drops a few for Homeland and Breaking Bad. Peter Weber

Watch this
3:11 a.m. ET

If you're wondering how Jimmy Kimmel Live got to air the first trailer for Captain America: Civil War, it helps to remember that both the Avengers movie franchise and ABC are part of the Disney universe. In this new clip, Captain America (Chris Evans) has to choose between his evidently most-wanted friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and his Avengers allies, especially Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and War Machine (Don Cheadle). The whole gang is there, and it looks like it gets ugly. "Sometimes I want to punch you in your perfect teeth," Downey's Tony Stark tells Cap, and by the end of the trailer, he gets his chance. Wired has a more detailed breakdown of the trailer, but you can also just watch below. Peter Weber

By the numbers
2:38 a.m. ET

The U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State sends off two bombing sorties every hour, and has for more than 450 days. That can be hard to visualize, so BBC News added an audio component in this fascinating look at how the anti-ISIS bombing campaign compares with previous wars. If two bombing raids an hour "sounds relentless," says the BBC's Neal Razzell, "listen to what Serbia faced during the 1999 NATO bombing campaign," or Iraq faced in the 2003 U.S. invasion. All of those pale to the number of bombs the U.S. alone dropped each hour during World War II — though it should be noted that bombs before 1945 were generally neither as precise nor as powerful as the ones being deployed against ISIS, and WWII was fought on a much larger stage. Still, the comparison is eye-opening as the world tries to figure out the best way to defeat ISIS. Watch below. Peter Weber

Late Night Antics
2:13 a.m. ET

Can't keep track of what Donald Trump has been up to this week? Seth Meyers is here to help you catch up, with his Late Night segment "A Closer Look." Meyers breaks down the Republican presidential candidate's claims that he saw American Muslims cheering in New Jersey following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks; his inability to understand how television works; and his retweeting of a chart with incorrect data on crime statistics. "The source of this was the Crime Statistics Bureau San Francisco, which it turns out isn't a real thing," Meyers said. "It doesn't exist. It's one of those names that sounds less like a government agency and more like a police drama on CBS." Watch the clip below. Catherine Garcia

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