Good morning. Here's our daily summary of all the media news you need to know. Want to get this briefing in your inbox every morning? Subscribe here.
Glenn Kessler is a journalism hazmat unit and, for much of the past year, his Washington Post "Fact Checker" column has been devoted honorably to the hyperbole, deflections, half-truths and outright lies of presidential candidates.
It's been a Bataan Death March of truth-seeking and prompts his pre-election wrap-up in advance of Tuesday's momentous day: "The Biggest Pinocchios of Election 2016." All you need know is that the most egregious mistakes and lies earn four Pinocchios.
"Donald Trump has amassed such a collection of Four-Pinocchio ratings — 59 in all — that by himself he’s earned as many in this campaign as all other Republicans (or Democrats) combined in the past three years," he writes. "His average Pinocchio rating was 3.4. (By contrast, the worst Pinocchio rating in 2012 was earned by Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota — an average of 3.08 Pinocchios)."
"Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, ended up with an average Pinocchio rating of 2.2. That put her in about the same range as President Obama and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in 2012. (She had a total of seven Four-Pinocchio ratings.) If not for her statements about the email controversy, which earned her lots of Pinocchios, her average rating would have been much lower."
So what does this tell us about anything? What's the legacy of holding presidential candidates accountable, especially with Trump?
"I don't think it has altered fact-checking except that it has made it more visible," he tells me. "My traffic is five times higher (unique visitors) than in 2012. Not sure if you know, but political fact checking has exploded across the globe in recent years. The U.S. led the way, but now it's everywhere." He cites this article in Foreign Affairs but you should also check the accounts of Alexios Mantzarlis, who leads the International Fact-Checking Network for The Poynter Institute.
Cut to the chase: What about the impact on Trump's chances? Kessler doesn't know for sure but thinks Trump's false claims are one reason why he lags behind college-educated voters. Many voters make their decisions based on partisan habit, so they may ignore fact-checking. But not all.
"There are all sorts of reasons they may have issues with Trump (his policy positions, his personal behavior) but they could have also been influenced by fact checks," he said.
If only one could invest in media futures pegged to the theses, journal articles and books to be written about "Sex, Lies and ("Access Hollywood") Videotape: The 2016 Presidential Campaign."
Nate Silver's Sunday sense of the race
Hillary Clinton "has a 64 percent chance of winning the Electoral College in our polls-only model and 65 percent in polls-plus, putting her somewhere in the range of being a 2-1 favorite." (FiveThirtyEight)
"At the same time, it shouldn’t be hard to see how Clinton could lose. She’s up by about 3 percentage points nationally, and 3-point polling errors happen fairly often, including in the last two federal elections."
A superior overview
Brian Stelter's "Reliable Sources" on CNN Sunday was a smart overview of presidential coverage. It got into many issues that will keep political scientists busy in coming years: Trump's media-bashing, the declining respect Americans have for the press and the problem of paid partisan TV analysts. One peg for the latter was the ignominy of Donna Brazile, CNN's longtime pundit shown the exit for debate-related deceits.
Stelter ended with a cri de coeur on behalf of journalism, in particular asking that more people pay for decent news coverage. It was heartfelt and implicit, at least, was the destruction of business models.
I listened on the radio while returning from a soccer game, where I'd discussed the topic on the sidelines with a top Chicago ad executive. The flight of digital ad dollars to Facebook and Google (and, he added, an emerging Amazon) is breathtaking. Yup. It won't be made up in any meaningful fashion by paid subscribers at this point, no matter the honorable pleas to a citizenry that doesn't get the press' role or its link to democracy.
Tapper v. Conway
On CNN's next show, "State of the Union," my post-soccer journey brought an example of one campaign legacy: the debatable role of truth-telling.
Jake Tapper fenced with Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, an omnipresent Trump media surrogate Sunday. He presented her with various facts that she either denied or refused to confront, including top Trump aides tweeting erroneously that he'd been the target of an assassination attempt in Nevada the day before. (Business Insider)
There were other realities she skirted, including matters unresolved because of Trump's refusal to show his tax returns. She preferred bashing CNN. When the prickly back-and-forth ended, there were curt and pro forma "thank you's" to one another.
Oh, about the tax returns: From David Cay Johnston, a former New York Times reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner who knows taxes: "There’s very good reason to believe Trump’s been engaged in tax fraud." (Business Insider)
Cuban on Facebook, YouTube mistake
Mark Cuban told Cheddar, the lively business news startup for millennials, that YouTube and Facebook would both err by oversaturating the market with too much live video. "The real question is not if people want to consume video but at what point do you oversaturate people's feeds with options?" (Cheddar) The risk that consumers will be inundated, and look elsewhere, is a challenge for Facebook and for Google in competing against it.
The interview was part of an eventful week for Cheddar, which announced a deal with Sling TV to be carried live from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and also one with Twitter to be carried live. You should check these guys out: fun, sophisticated, a younger vibe and heavy accent on tech, media and startups.
World Series photos spark dispute
A much-followed site for photographers was home for a dispute about the two Chicago papers' page one photos of the Cubs winning the World Series. The Chicago Tribune used staff photographer Brian Cassella's shot, while the Sun-Times, which laid off its photographers in 2013, used one by Associated Press shooter David J. Phillip.
“Front pages of @chicagotribune whom employ a staff of pro photographers & @Suntimes who laid off all their photogs. Iconic v Forgettable,” tweeted St. Louis Post-Dispatch photojournalist David Carson.
For sure, the Tribune's was superior. But can one really argue the layoffs precluded having a better shot than the Tribune's guy? Did a page designer err in seeking a landscape shot to run across the double-truck front-back pages? Did a page one editor slip up? The facts known the next morning didn't justify any conclusion other than that one paper had a better picture. It happens. (Petapixel)
The echo chamber's best work
Margaret Sullivan, the former New York Times public editor who's now at The Washington Post, gives generally lousy grades to the media for its campaign coverage. But she decided to look at the glass half-full and cites 13 positive highlights.
Alas, all those she applauds were produced by a limited number of largely same old, same old mainstream outlets in the New York-Washington-Boston corridor. It's as if no journalism produced outside the Northeast Echo Chamber merits kudos. There's a larger country out there, which many media observers can routinely forget.
"Fox & Friends" was predictably chagrined by FBI Director James Comey's Sunday announcement, with Steve Doocy showing the New York Post cover, "Saved at the bell," but finding more relevance in the Daily News' version, "NOW HE TELLS US."
On CNN's "New Day," pundit Ron Brownstein found the decision to have made the original announcement all the more inexplicable, given how 41 million have already voted. “Trump praised FBI last month, now crying foul,” was the correct chyron about a man "found unhinged" by many, said David Gregory.
"If I were Hillary Clinton...I'd be so pissed off" with Comey's actions, said Joe Scarborough on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
Dark cloud in a Silver storm
"FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver blasted The Huffington Post in a tweetstorm Saturday afternoon after the website published a critical article accusing Silver of "monkeying around with the numbers" in his forecasting model."
(Business Insider) There was lots of related talk this morning about differing survey methodologies, including possibly errant turnout models. It means, noted "Morning Joe's" Willie Geist, that you still gotta wait until folks actually vote tomorrow.
Facebook targets TV ad budgets
Having brought much of the print industry to it knees, "Facebook has wanted to get its hands on TV ad budgets for years. Now it’s taking another step closer, by selling ads that will actually appear on TVs." (Recode)
Peggy Noonan on the D.C. press and political establishments
Three-quarters of the way through her last pre-election column, Peggy Noonan writes:
"The Democratic Party and its lobbyist/think-tank/journalistic establishment in Washington have long looked to me to be dominated by people devoted mostly to getting themselves in the best professional position and their kids into Sidwell Friends School. They want to be part of the web, the arrangement. They want to have connections, associates, a tong. They want to be wired in."
"They don’t want to be I.F. Stone, alone, reading the fine print of obscure government documents," she writes, referring to the great, nervy maverick journalist who was blacklisted during the McCarthy era. (The Wall Street Journal)
Much of the Chicago media instantly went with the totally nuts claim by the City of Chicago that 5 million people attended the victory parade for the Cubs on Friday. Five million in a city of 2.7 million population (perhaps commuter trains and Lockheed C-5 Galaxy military cargo planes were airlifting suburbanites). The Chicago Tribune, Crain's and the Associated Press were among the uncritical messengers (The Chicago Sun-Times went with "hundreds of thousands"). Then there was the Fox owned and operated TV station:
"Officials estimate that 5 million people showed up to the Chicago Cubs parade and rally Friday, making it the 7th largest gathering in human history." (Fox)
There's civic boosterism — and then there's rank stupidity.