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It’s the media's apocalyptic vision of American political life.
"The GOP tumbles toward anarchy: 'It's every person for himself or herself'" was The Washington Post headline that detailed how "Paul Ryan cut Donald Trump loose." (The Washington Post)
In an online chat yesterday, FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver wrote that the Post headline "seemed totally appropriate. I feel bad for reporters in future campaigns who will probably be exaggerating if they use language like that. Not so this time, I don’t think." (FIveThirtyEight)
Beat reporters, pundits, cable TV show hosts and numbers crunchers, take a deep breath. This is not a 2016 version of philosopher Thomas Hobbes' "war of all against all" forecast in his 1651 book, "Leviathan."
They've proclaimed the purported GOP apocalypse before. Long, long ago in...April. "Fox News guts Donald Trump as anarchy rules the Republican Party." (Politicus USA)
Oh, what about July, 2011: "The Republicans' flirtation with anarchy" (The New York Times) Back in 1997, in the wake of the ultimately failed Newt Gingrich "revolution" in Congress, academic David Weir's "Anarchy & Culture" declared, "Republican politics circa 1994-1995 encouraged a proliferation of power not unlike anarchism."
"Anarchy seems to be the absence of predictability based upon their preconceived notions, which were fairly naive and misplaced to begin with," said Rich Neimand, a Washington social impact marketer and former political consultant, when I pointed out the atypically screechy Post take.
"You don’t have a standard bearer like Trump and expect anything less than every person to himself. In addition, this strategy of separating down ballot races from Trump started way back before he got the nomination and intensified when he looked to be the winner of the nomination. Everyone in town knows that."
"This isn’t anarchy, it is simply survival according to plan. They built the bomb shelter long ago, they are now just calming walking into it, closing the door and making their rations stretch."
Journalism chroniclers of the GOP's supposed "anarchy," just watch. "They (Republican politicians) will come out in November, survey the field and figure out how to rebuild," says Neimand.
"Remember that after Obama won the first time all the press said was that the Republican Party was over. The only Democrat to win reelection since was Obama. Idiots."
Billy Bush, tabloid star
"Billy Bush is out at 'Today' multiple sources tell Page Six — but NBC News is carefully weighing when to make the announcement." The New York Post's gossip column cites "an NBC insider" — presumably anybody from the chief of Comcast to a stock boy in the NBC Store at 30 Rockefeller Plaza — as telling it, “He is technically fired. It’s just a matter of time. NBC isn’t ready to announce it yet. They are negotiating his exit.”
The Wall Street Journal says the same, "a person familiar with the situation said." Variety goes with "a source close to Bush," The Washington Post relies on "people familiar with negotiations" and The Hollywood Reporter opts for plain old "sources."
"Comcast is being fined $2.3 million for billing customers for products that they never ordered. The fine was announced as part of a settlement with the Federal Communications Commission, which says this is 'the largest civil penalty' it’s ever issued a cable operator." (The Verge) Comcast's 2015 revenues were $74.5 billion.
Imagine, Trump bigger than Tom Brady
"More people watched Twitter’s livestreams of the first two presidential debates than the NFL games Twitter has been streaming. Neither set of numbers are huge by TV standards. But they do give some credence to Twitter’s argument that it can be a live-video delivery platform." (Recode)
Why Dana Perino was right
The George W. Bush administration-bred Fox pundit noted after Sunday's Clinton-Trump debate that there'd been precious few, if any, questions in either debate of relevance to millennials. There's been nothing on technology and their work lives.
It's why Chris Wallace, her colleague who'll moderate the final tussle, should read a Harvard Business Review article that argues that mainstream professionals, like doctors, lawyers and accountants, won't be spared. "We expect that within decades the traditional professions will be dismantled, leaving most, but not all, professionals to be replaced by less-expert people, new types of experts, and high-performing systems." (Harvard Business Review)
How Twitter backfired on Trump, Clinton
Asked at the last debate about combating Islamophobia, Trump said that “Muslims have to report the problems when they see them,” and Clinton urged Muslims “be part of our eyes and ears. Well, "their answers immediately backfired on social media. The hashtag #MuslimsReportStuff quickly went viral, as Muslims took to Twitter to blast Trump and the hypocrisy of the responses." (ThinkProgress)
Now here's an op-ed lede for you!
Writes political consultant-writer Alexis Grenell, "I was in high school when a man grabbed my vagina on the subway. My younger brother started screaming, but I was so startled it took me a beat before shoving him off. Moments later, the train pulled into the station and the man stepped off smiling. The whole thing was a huge joke to him." (New York Daily News)
Barack Obama, magazine editor
"WIRED unveils today its November issue, guest-edited by President Barack Obama. This is the first time ever that President Obama — or any sitting U.S. president — has guest-edited a major publication."
It's focused on "Frontiers," with five sections dedicated to a "different frontier of the future" and includes an "exclusive" conversation with Obama, Wired Editor Scott Dadich and MIT Media Labor boss Joi Ito. Wired has done the guest editor thing seven times before, with Serena Williams last year.
This isn't out on tablet or in print until next week and, it's safe to say, Obama didn't do heavy line editing, respond to emails from angry readers, make sales calls, speak to graduate journalism classes or fume when the publisher asked him to trim $200,000 out of the budget. It's great editing work if you can find it.
The morning babble
"Trump slams Republican leaders for disloyalty" was the chyron as "Morning Joe's" Mark Halperin said, "If all the coverage of your campaign is your fighting within your own party, that is not a great dominant message to have."
Joe Scarborough demurred. "It is a message you probably need to have if you were near political death three or four years ago...The media can't see pass their uncontrollable sheer hatred of him. But the sheer hatred is stopping so many analysts from realizing he's doing the only thing he can do to keep his campaign alive: hold the core together and maybe use the last two weeks to expand."
Over at CNN's "New Day," a new Trump attack ad on Clinton's health was derided. Said analyst Errol Louis, "The problem with that particular argument is that it doesn't say anything about her character or her policies or her prospects or anything else." Later, there was a real story via Christiane Amanpour in Moscow with both the Russian foreign minister's de facto denials to her of Russian hacking of the U.S. campaign and his dancing around Russian bombing of Syrian civilian enclaves.
"Fox & Friends" was mired in the election muck and beckoned Clinton-bashing author Ed Klein, who is peddling his latest, "Guilty As Sin." His claims included that Clinton purposely didn't go after Bernie Sanders' age due to her own health ills (arrhythmia) and that President Obama and Valerie Jarrett offered to have Hillary go secretly to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, in part to procure an "inside" take on her health.
"Crazy stuff," was co-host Steve Doocy's admiring salutation when done. Well, he got the crazy part right.
A tale of two cities
"Giants season ends with huge ninth-inning bullpen collapse" (The San Francisco Chronicle).
"Cubs 'stay in the moment' and stage amazing ninth-inning comeback" (Chicago Tribune)
And tweet of the night from Bob Newhart, the venerable comic and Chicago native. "Cubs, I am 87 and I am getting too old for this... #GoCubsGo #FlyTheW." It included a photo of him before a big screen after the last out, a happy man. (@BobNewhart)
The brief, successful history of Vox
It started in a mere nine months with 150 employees and has grown to 750 across eight digital properties, including Vox, SB Nation and The Verge.
Publisher Melissa Bell says that she and Ezra Klein "were both interested in the 'idea of the broken news of breaking news.'" (Matter) "They came up with a business plan for what they called Project X, which contained the concept of explanatory, index-style 'card stacks' that would give context to complex news topics in the tone of your 'approachable, smart college friend.'"
The Washington Post took a pass, which ultimately sent them to Vox Media. Bingo. As for her own influences, "Her time on the magazine program at Medill had a deep impact. 'The first day they sent us out on the street and told us to go ask questions of people,' she says. 'I was like, ‘this is the coolest job ever. I get to be nosy for a living.’ It was amazing.'”
Trauma in Oregon
"No matter how you want to slice this cantaloupe, it doesn't look appetizing. At least not for Oregon fans. Not now. The Ducks have lost four straight games, and their national standing has evaporated along with the slide." (The Oregonian) Yup, the slicing cantaloupe can tricky, as the Barefoot Contessa would surely concur.
A swatch of fashion journalism
"Walking into an Anthropologie store is a sensory experience, incomparable in its visual richness and tactile quality to that of most other retailers. An ode to the cultured bohemian, a rainbow of floral-etched serving bowls might be stacked on a found-wooden table, a suite of turquoise-accented flatware laid out nearby. Just steps away, next to a velvet armchair piled with hand-woven pillows, one might find a rack of embroidered tunic dresses or patchwork skirts." (Business of Fashion)
Cut to the chase: They've opened a new "concept store" in Northern California that "is taking its experiential retail concept to the next level, integrating dining, beauty and home goods within 30,000-square-foot superstores."
It sounds very much like the old-fashioned department store of yesteryear that was long ago given its obituary. The past is prologue.