Media tracks big night for Trump and Clinton
- Why Megyn Kelly cracked up
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough held up The New York Times this morning. "We predicted this ahead of anybody else," said Scarborough, whose friendship with Donald Trump has raised questions of partisanship, indicating the banner headline: "Trump and Clinton Feast as 12 States Vote." The consensus most everywhere is that the vaunted and derided GOP establishment has two weeks to derail Trump. (The Washington Post) The Hillary Clinton-Bernie Sanders race was very much ancillary, with the media's Trump-mania overshadowing her predictably strong night fueled by minority votes. (The New York Times)
CNN's Chris Cuomo underscored a lack of fervor on the Democratic side, with The Atlantic's Ron Brownstein suggesting to him in the pre-sunrise that Trump is a destabilizing force for both sides as he lures working class whites to himself but also may invigorate a Democratic coalition of millennials, minorities and college-educated socially liberal whites. Amid the sober punditry last night, there were some quintessential TV moments. At CNN Trump advocate Jeff Lord and liberal Van Jones got very heated over Trump's views of race, and what Jones called "the circus wing of your party." (CNN) Meanwhile, the corporate shotgun pairing of Brian Williams and Rachel Maddow did fine, with Williams very droll after misidentifying The Washington Post's Robert Costa as with The New York Times late in the evening.
But Fox topped them all with spontaneous humor after a Democratic activist-pundit called current polls "political Viagra. They rise critically, they fall real fast." Megyn Kelly, Donald Trump's media bête noire, cracked up, looked straight at the camera and told viewers, "Viagra has an ending that is not advertised in the commercial apparently." Chimed in pundit Juan Williams: "This could be a four-and-a-half hour show." When Kelly co-host Brett Baier tried to interject a poker-faced breaking news update on the vote in Minnesota, Kelly said, "You're a pro. Look at you, just soldiering right through it." Said Baier: "You gotta get past the Viagra quickly." He went to a break but promised (and gave us) those winning Marco Rubio and Sanders results. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
- A tough cross-examination for Erin Andrews
The sports reporter filed a civil suit as a result of a nude peephole video shot while she was a guest at the Nashville Marriott. The defendants are Michael Barrett, an insurance executive who filmed her on his cellphone, and Windsor Capital Group, the hotel's management company. Yesterday saw the occasional brutal realities of the legal system on display yesterday when a Marriott lawyer grilled her. (Business Insider) He sought to make a case that she had financially benefited from the exposure in negotiating subsequently more lucrative contracts with ESPN, her then-employer, and now Fox. "Your income has gone up substantially since this occurred,” attorney Marc Dedman declared. (New York Daily News) He also noted endorsement deals with TruBiotics, Reebok and Diet Mountain Dew that followed the incident — as if that's at all germane to her underlying grievance.
- Ban reporters from locker rooms?
Despite the traditionally solicitous nature of many sportswriters toward teams they cover, there's growing tension about coverage of professional sports teams. Access is getting harder. That issue and others surfaced during a Poynter symposium with owners of three area pro teams: the NFL Buccaneers, baseball's Rays and hockey's Tampa Bay Lightning. The owners spoke to the Associated Press Sports Editors, a big sports confab of editors and journalism academics, among others. Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg warned of the ramifications of banning reporters. "Be careful what you wish for. You've got all these people around writing and caring and covering and photographing and blogging and what not. And you wake up one day and nobody's there." (Poynter)
- Facebook executive arrested due to encryption policy
Yesterday brought a classic congressional spectacle of a hearing with the FBI Director and Apple's general counsel testifying about their tussle over the encrypted phone of one of the San Bernardino killers. (The New York Times) Meanwhile, "Facebook executive Diego Dzodan was arrested by Brazilian police Tuesday morning on his way to work for the same reason Brazilian authorities succeeded — albeit temporarily — in having WhatsApp banned from the country back in December: Encryption." (Re/code)
- A conservative getting heat for criticizing Trump
Ross Kaminsky is a former options trader who moved to Colorado and got notice as a conservative blogger and talking head. He's got a new gig as host of a show on TalkRadio 630 KHOW in Denver. He thinks Trump is bad news. But he's "discovered that many of his listeners don't care about principle when it comes to Trump: To use a Limbaugh-coined expression, they are 'low-information voters.'" So much for Kaminsky, a self-described libertarian, believing that Trump is "reminiscent of Germany and Italy in the 1930s. It's all about being a strongman." (Bloomberg)
- Gawker's new union contract
Its editorial staff approved the first such union contract for a digital media company after talks between management and the workers' new representatives at the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE). There's a minimum annual salary of $50,000, minimum 3 percent hikes in the three-year deal and rights as far as book deals. But there's also help for what one negotiator calls Gawker's "permalancers" that might be worth note industrywide. If such a supposed freelancer has worked an average of five shifts a week over the previous 52 weeks, management must decide whether to "(a) offer the contractor the choice between full-time employment or continuation as a contractor; or, (b) terminate the contractor relationship." It will have to pay that person "no less than the rate it pays to unit employees performing comparable work." Gawker writer Hamilton Nolan says, "It's notable because such a big portion of people who try to make a living writing are freelancers in one form or another. If we are going to unionize this industry, and I think we are, it's important to try to do what we can to include the freelancers in those gains to the extent possible."
- Gawker's old legal fight
Jury selection began in Hulk Hogan's (Terry Bollea's) four-year-old $100 million defamation suit against Gawker Media, inspired by a one-minute, 41-second excerpt of a sex tape the site published online and later took down. (Tampa Bay Times) Just before he arrived, he tweeted his 1.4 million followers. “Time for the real main event! 'I AM' going to slam another Giant! Hogan vrs Gawker! Watcha Gonna Do Gawker? Only Justice Brother HH.” (The Associated Press)
- The ethics envelope, please!
Well, not quite yet. We have to wait until April 29 for the winner of the University of Wisconsin's Anthony Shadid Award for Journalism Ethics, which aims to laud high ethical standards while pursuing the truth. In some instances, there were pretty tricky issues to navigate before publishing. The finalists are: McClatchy newspapers for work on the human toll of America’s Cold-War-era nuclear energy programs (McClatchy); ProPublica and NPR for also protecting privacy rights in detailing states curbing workers compensation programs (ProPublica/NPR); the Columbus, Ohio, Dispatch for a series on suicides as a public health issue (Columbus Dispatch); the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Gina Barton in dissecting a 40-year-old murder case of a teenage victim (Journal Sentinel); and the Associated Press in assessing "slave labor" in Southeast Asia used to produce a lot of the fish we eat. (The Associated Press) After scanning all of these, I can say they're quite superior.
- Melissa Harris-Perry goes loudly into the MSNBC night
After splitting with MSNBC, she's tweeting pointedly. She suggests her bosses leaked a memo about her displeasure. She says she should have spoken up when other hosts were shown the exit. And she contends that "one of the consequences of salary inequity — harder to get us to take one of those non-disclosure payoffs huh?" (Adweek) Well, that at least allows her to get in her licks after her weekend show kept getting pre-empted by campaign coverage.
- Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin
Nick Bilton will be a special correspondent at Vanity Fair. He is a columnist at The New York Times. (@nickbilton) | Josh Elliott will be an anchor at CBSN. Previously, he was an anchor at NBC Sports. (CBS News) | Job of the day: The Los Angeles Times is looking for a multi-platform editor. Get your resumes in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves: email@example.com.
Correction: A previous version of this newsletter misspelled Melissa Harris-Perry's name.