British press unite over soccer team’s dismal performance
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Imagine: Not one but two Brexits in one week! First the European Union and now the European soccer championships. But England must be in mourning and rage after losing to Iceland, 2-1, in what ESPN's Bob Ley called "one of the great upsets in sporting history on this planet." We await the next issue of Soccer Universe to see if there's been bigger on Pluto or Mars.
For sure, Iceland qualified for its first major tournament ever by twice defeating the Netherlands, a longtime power, as precious few in the press noted. So this wasn't quite an AYSO team of 7-year-olds coached by a befuddled dad (though the co-coach is a practicing dentist). But British media waxed apocalyptic:
"England's Ultimate Humiliation: Where governments crumble, markets collapse and the nation's football team loses to Iceland." (Daily Telegraph) "England Humiliated by Minnows of Iceland." (BBC) ESPN match announcer Ian Darke was beside himself as the game ended. "It's one of the biggest sensations in the history of football. Iceland!" Then came a pregnant pause. "Iceland!" he said again….Oh, my goodness me. A calamitous, clueless display by England."
The left-leaning and cerebral Guardian went right to the team's management ranks as prime culprit: "For Roy Hodgson, it was a desperate and ignominious way to end his four years as England manager. Whatever else happened in that time, his period in charge will probably always be remembered for the full-on humiliation that accompanied this defeat and the knowledge it will rank among the more infamous results in the history of the national team." (The Guardian)
In Iceland, it appeared to be an easy night for copy editors at one paper since its main news story said only this: "There are no words. We will let the pictures do the talking." (Iceland Monitor) Still, as in Liverpool, there was a lengthier reminder that all news can be local. Its lead story after the game in the paper read by fans of mighty crosstown rivals Manchester United and Manchester City declared: "Shocking CCTV (video) footage shows brazen thief snatch cash from 91-year-old woman at ATM in Bury." (Manchester Evening News) Well, maybe it took one's mind off that shamed band of underperforming multi-millionaire athletes.
The latest Benghazi report
"There doesn't seem to be a smoking gun," said CNN Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash on CNN's "New Day" amid today's release of the House Benghazi Committee Republican majority's report. "CLINTON'S CONTRADICTION: PUSHED VIDEO EXCUSE DESPITE WITNESS ACCOUNTS," blared Fox News. There was a lot of fumbling and speculation by on-air folks who hadn't read it, opining as their hearts desired.
Meanwhile, "NBC News obtained the first 175-page section of the full 800-page House Select Committee on Benghazi report that will be released later Tuesday." (NBC) "One section of the report seems to allege that U.S. officials fundamentally misunderstood who their allies were at the time." On "Morning Joe," it was easier discoursing on Elizabeth Warren's ability to rouse a crowd. "Why is she Led Zeppelin?" asked Joe Scarborough, evincing a rare lack of certitude. "...You get them on the stage, they fill the stage. Why does she fill the stage like Zeppelin?"
America's big dailies adapt to change
A pair of stemwinders about two of America's biggest newspapers were published this morning. Politico's Joe Pompeo examines sweeping changes coming for The New York Times as it plans to reinvent itself by 2020. (Politico) And New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman takes a ruminative look at The Washington Post under the ownership of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Among the tidbits in his story: Bezos once asked senior execs why reporters needed editors and planned to skip Ben Bradlee's funeral until he got an email from Bob Woodward. (New York)
Sick of online ads? Join the crowd
"The number of people in the U.S. using ad blockers is set to rise to 69.8 million this year, more than a quarter of the country's Web users. And, says eMarketer, next year will see even more people avoiding ads online, rising to 32%, or nearly 87 million, of U.S. Web users." (MediaPost)
Dumb tweet of the day
After the Supreme Court abortion ruling, Trevor Noah's team gave us, "Celebrate the #SCOTUS ruling! Go knock someone up in Texas!" (@TheDailyShow) After requisite criticism, they sent out this: "Friends, we’re certainly not promoting abortions. Just excited about #SCOTUS reaffirming right to choose." (@TheDailyShow) "Where to start with how bad this tweet is?" (Slate) "For one thing, it assumes that everyone reading it is a man. It proposes that 'knock[ing] someone up' — a phrase that entirely erases a woman’s agency in the act of procreative sex — is a recognizable form of celebration, like clinking champagne glasses or blowing a party horn."
That abortion ruling and...
Lyle Denniston, writing in the terrific SCOTUSBlog, saves you time in reading up about the importance of throwing out a conviction against a former Virginia governor. "Ruling broadly (but not finally) in favor of a convicted ex-governor’s legal argument, even while denouncing his personal behavior and that of his wife as 'tawdry,' a unanimous Supreme Court on Monday made it much harder for federal prosecutors to prove charges of public corruption against elected officials. The decision in McDonnell v. United States appears to lift a heavy legal cloud from routine political favors, even if done in return for cash, loans or gifts." (SCOTUSBlog) Denniston is leaving the SCOTUS beat. (Politico)
"Most powerful women in sports"
Adweek's list of “30 Most Powerful Women in Sports” includes several "sportsnewsers": ESPN’s Hannah Storm, Fox Sports’ Erin Andrews, and NBC's Rebecca Lowe and Jenny Storms. (Adweek)
The other Brexit
British Prime Minister David Cameron put on a rather impressive, two-hour and nine-minute performance before his House of Commons Monday as he answered questions about the tumultuous vote and his impending resignation. It was all so decorously free-wheeling, as one has come to expect from the Brits.
The opening of this impressive show of parliamentary democracy was big news for CNN, Fox and MSNBC — until the new political tag team of Hillary Clinton and Sen. Elizabeth Warren surfaced for the first time at a mutually-admiring Clinton rally in Ohio. There was a short foray into showing both, then CNN and MSNBC opted for Clinton-Warren and Fox went back to punditry and news. Brexit junkies were left with C-SPAN2. (Poynter) And do note that it was a Fox female host, not a man, who somehow felt it relevant to underscore how Clinton and Warren were wearing similar colors. Presumably, it's the odious fashion sense of those liberal Democrats.
In case you weren't at Cannes
There's been a big annual advertising confab there and, by one account, the consensus is that "VR is the next big thing." But clearly it doesn't mean publishing is a goner as "the New York Times was a surprise big winner of the week, earning double Grand Prix for its virtual reality initiatives. The Times VR platform itself claimed the top prize in Mobile. In the Entertainment Lions, The New York Times took the Grand Prix for its VR experience 'The Displaced,' which took viewers into the lives of refugee children pushed from their native countries. Entertainment Lions Jury President Jae Goodman, CCO at CAA Marketing, said the idea 'catapulted the Gray Lady 100 years forward.'" (Ad Age) Ah, how many people under the age of 70 know what "the Gray Lady" refers to?
Lena Dunham unloads on Kanye West
It so befits the tasteful essence of so much social media to read how Dunham used her Facebook account to offer her view of West's new music video that features wax figures of him naked in bed alongside his wife Kim Kardashian, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Chris Brown, editor Anna Wintour and others. “I know that there’s a hipper or cooler reaction to have than the one I’m currently having. But guess what? I don’t have a hip cool reaction, because seeing a woman I love like Taylor Swift (f–k that one hurt to look at, I couldn’t look), a woman I admire like Rihanna or Anna, reduced to a pair of waxy breasts made by some special effects guy in the Valley. It makes me feel sad and unsafe and worried for the teenage girls who watch this and may not understand that grainy roving camera as the stuff of snuff films.” (Just Jared)
Peyton Manning and PEDs
"Recent reports regarding the NFL’s intention to interview players implicated by the Al Jazeera PED documentary omitted reference to retired quarterback Peyton Manning," wrote Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, an NBC analyst. "Some (me) thought this arose simply from the fact that Manning is no longer a member of the NFL Players Association, and thus not part of the push-and-pull and back-and-forth between the NFL and the NFL Players Association as the interviews are arranged." Nope. He will be interviewed, as the NFL then confirmed. (ProFootballTalk)
Trump flack dumps on PolitiFact
CNN's Brianna Keilar read a PolitiFact analysis to contract a claim by Trump flack Katrina Pierson on the candidate's immigration position. "You're saying there's no vetting process," Keilar said. "I just read the vetting process. How does he want to change it?" Undaunted by facts, Pierson replied, "Here's the thing. We're not going to base national security off PolitiFact." (Business Insider)
Heard on the street
Social media prompts a few too many journalists to think others are interested in the details of their every waking moment. That said, I was walking up Michigan Avenue in Chicago at lunchtime yesterday when a lady with a clipboard saw a young fellow who was wearing headphones and staring at his smartphone walking her way. "Sir," she declared loudly enough to be heard inside the Art Institute a block away, "are you texting about women's reproductive rights?" He walked right on by, so we'll never know.
Correction: A previous version of this story referred to Bob Ley as Bob Lee. Thanks to columnist Ed Sherman for pointing it out. We apologize for the error.