In the ever-evolving world of news, there stands a man who refuses to be overshadowed by the thunderstorms of sensationalism. Dan Abrams, a name that resonates in today's media landscape, has rooted himself firmly as the 9pm (ET) anchor of Dan Abrams Live on NewsNation, where he crafts news each weeknight and balances his life with the tranquility of his Ev&Em Vineyards, a Long Island winemaker.
Anchoring the News with Precision
Abrams imagines the media landscape as a sprawling vineyard, rows upon rows of stories waiting to be cultivated. A vintner of information, Abrams tends to these stories with care and precision, as he revealed in our recent Legends & Leadership interview.
Responding to my question about political coverage, Abrams explained the NewsNation difference. "On my show, unlike on let's say MSNBC or CNN, we don't focus on every single motion that is made in connection with the [Trump] cases. Every argument that's being made one way or the other. Obviously, if there are big events in a case, we cover them. But I think that there is, particularly in the left leaning media, a near obsession with everything related to any of the Donald Trump trials, and an effort to rile up the audience about how clear the cases are, how easy the cases are, and you know my goal is sometimes nuance. Nuance is a little harder -- to say that some of the arguments are stronger than others. And I think that that's one of the real dangers of what we're seeing, particularly in cable news today, is either it's about implicating Donald Trump or it's about trying to make sure that he is exonerated. And I don't have a position either way. I actually dig in when it's relevant, but don't do it every night on my show. We don't obsess all the time about minutia. My goal is nuance and perspective, which is a little harder."
Crafting a Balanced Perspective
In an era where social media-driven news threatens to overpower traditional journalism, Abrams emphasized the importance of providing nuance and context during the hour-long nightly news program while "tailoring our content for social media in a way that will resonate." Like a winemaker selecting the finest grapes, Abrams chooses moments and comments that engage while maintaining journalistic integrity. The challenge: ensure the bouquet remains rich and balanced, even amidst the chaos of social media.
The Art of Transparency
Ronald Reagan once said, "Politics is like showbiz," and Abrams concurs. Yet, he believes there's a way to entertain without compromising integrity. "I'm transparent about my biases," he asserted. "I'm not pretending that I don't have biases," he said, acknowledging that he's often accused of having both left and right-leaning biases depending on the story being told. He's proud that several organizations that rate bias in news, including Ad Montes and NewsGuard, judge NewsNation and Dan Abrams Live as the most balanced and reliable. "I think the fact that I'm being transparent gives audiences a level of assurance that I'm not pretending, as so many in the media have for so long, I don't have biases. It just happens that my bias tends to be somewhere near the middle."
Selecting the Ripest Stories
Explaining how he and his team at NewsNation prioritize their coverage, Abrams pointed out that "we don't have the luxury of just being able to say, 'We're gonna do the latest on Ukraine, or Trump, or Bob Menendez, and just lay out the story and just have a reporter tell me what happened. The goal is to think of stories others aren't covering; think of an angle that maybe others aren't focusing on. It's perspective that becomes really important. My legal background allows me to make arguments and I'll lay out a case with facts and evidence; dig in in a way that is about perspective. NewsNation strives to bring unique angles to the forefront, offering a broader perspective and balanced context to viewers."
The Quest for Reliable News
I asked Abrams how the public and advertisers can be convinced to care about reliable and unbiased news? Abrams answered with a mixture of pride and pragmatism. "This cable news startup is already viewed as more credible and factual than the best-known news operations in the country. That's kind of amazing but it also tells you about the opportunity that NewsNation has.
"I do see that there are two genres that seem to be really working in cable right now. Sports and news. There are a lot of people watching live events they want to see live on cable. That's sports and news. So big picture if I'm an advertiser. I would think I'd want to be where those kind of dynamic areas are that aren't falling off a cliff as a genre, the way that some others are. And yeah, news is news can be very divisive. And if this is why advertisers are reluctant to buy news, I would think of all the news options NewsNation would probably be the one that would be the least risky."
The Vineyard Beyond
Abrams, a vintner who's navigated the stormy seas of modern news, finds solace in his vineyard venture and the growth of his media empire that includes Mediaite.com (which Abrams reports averages 80 million pageviews monthly) and WhiskeyRaiders.com. "Long Island in the last 5 to 10 years has grown leaps and bounds in terms of the quality of the wines," he shared, revealing his passion beyond the newsroom. His luxury wine venture, Ev&Em Vineyards named after his two children, reflects his pursuit of excellence and balance in life.Law&Crime Network, the legal and true-crime video network and production company headed by Abrams has been acquired by Jellysmack in a reported nine-figure deal.
In a world where news can divide, Dan Abrams and NewsNation stand as a vineyard of balanced journalism, crafting news with precision and transparency in a world of extremes. The journey may be challenging but with transparency, integrity, and a keen eye on the horizon, Abrams remains steadfast in his quest for reliable journalism. To explore his captivating journey further, visit www.LegendsLeaders.org.