What should we expect from the Democratic National Convention? Reporters weigh in
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.
The media circus has now moved to Philadelphia from Cleveland. It will again exhaust itself at an event unlikely to produce nights as provocative as Melania Trump's plagiarism, Ted Cruz's skunk-at-the-dinner-party oratory and Donald Trump's 75-minute imitation of a South American strong man.
So what do some really smart media folks now await at the Democratic National Convention?
Rich Lowry, editor of National Review
"I would except them to savage Trump in every way and use as many real people as possible. And also to make a detailed case on their economic program, since Trump didn't do much of that in Cleveland. It will be much more professionally run but that may feel 'status quo' to people, and it's going be hard to generate the same interest as Cleveland."
Jill Lawrence, commentary editor, USA Today
"Will Bernie backers stage their last stand, and how enthused will Sanders be about Clinton? Will he be as helpful to her as both Clintons were to Barack Obama at the 2008 convention after he had humiliated them in the primaries? Will Hillary Clinton be overshadowed by Obama, Sanders, her husband, Elizabeth Warren or even Tim Kaine?"
Jonathan Alter, reporter, author, TV producer, host on SiriusXM
"The big question is whether Hillary can take a leaf from George H.W. Bush in 1988 — when he was essentially running for a third Reagan term — and use her acceptance speech to make a calm and eloquent argument for herself that will increase the odds of her beating Trump."
John Harwood, CNBC and The New York Times
"I want to know if Hillary Clinton can use these four days to in any material way improve the way Americans think about her."
Michael Shure, BitTorrent News
"I am curious about the Sanders voters. However, I am going to be looking at how the ticket spends four days emphasizing the liberal credentials of Tim Kaine. That said, I am most interested in seeing how the convention treats guns. The GOP flirted with it, and had Chris Cox of the NRA as a speaker, but it will be fascinating if the Democrats do not take the issue head on at a time when it is so prevalent."
Roland Martin, host and managing editor, NewsOneNow
"Will President Obama absolve Debbie Wasserman-Schultz of blame and praise her from the podium since he made the decision to go all-in for Clinton, thus leading the DNC to do the same? Can Hillary Clinton rise to the occasion and give an inspirational speech that projects a spirit-filled dawn of a new America to contrast with Trump's hell-in-a-hand basket speech?"
Al Hunt, columnist, Bloomberg View
"How can Hillary Clinton, who has been a national political figure longer than any presidential candidate in history, embrace change, not be the status quo?"
Michael Barone, senior political analyst, The Washington Examiner
"How do they reconcile the negative picture of the nation — as dark and pessimistic in its own way as Donald Trump's — with the fact that their party has been in the White House for eight years? You can think of intellectual arguments, but there is a certain tension there."
And then there was a journalist chum who took a pass on being quoted but brought up the fascinating reality of Bill Clinton. He speaks Tuesday. He's going to turn 70 soon — yup, 70 — but pretty much knocked it out of the park in 2004 for John Kerry and in both 2008 and 2012 for Obama.
What happens this time? Does he make the case for his spouse, and against her rival, better than she can? The answer will help justify a lot of expense account meals this week for the giant encampment of press.
Verizon nabs Yahoo
The rumor had been percolating for quite a bit, but it now seems like a done deal. "Verizon and Yahoo are set to announce that they are striking an acquisition deal, according to sources close to the situation. The news is expected by Monday, although it could come earlier or later. (Recode) Kara Swisher notes that it would still have to pass "regulatory muster," faces qualms from Verizon shareholders and, possibly, ample corporate integration issues down the road.
The Times beats Bloomberg on Bloomberg
The New York Times broke the story of Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, backing Hillary Clinton, attributing the decision to senior Bloomberg consigliere Howard Wolfson. (The New York Times)
But the usual Bloomberg News self-censorship about its founder and boss was thankfully scrapped as it ran an actual story. Of course, you had to get to the 12th and final paragraph to learn, "The news of Bloomberg’s endorsement was first reported by The New York Times." (Bloomberg)
There is, too, the irony of a boss driven by performance metrics tied to wins and losses on stories and headlines handing this clear victory to a competitor he's so craved to own.
A navel-gazing dandy
New York magazine offers a navel-gazing, self-flagellating spectacular with "The Case Against The Media By The Media." It offers an A-list of media folks giving their take on campaign coverage and the state of the press. Says New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet: “Talking heads, screaming, fighting, and some of the faux-journalism practiced by people like O’Reilly — there’s a cynicism to that kind of coverage."
Dahlia Lithwick, senior Supreme Court reporter for Slate: “When the only thing that’s consumed is the one-day tweet and the listicle and the ‘Seven Awesome Slams From the Obergefell Dissent,’ then there really isn’t time to do the piece that we need to do, which is, ‘Hey, I read all 80 pages of the opinion, and here’s what it means, and here’s why it matters, and here’s what the district court has to do going forward’ — all of that disappears."
And then there's Tucker Carlson, founder-editor of The Daily Caller and a Fox News regular: “This is the lecture I give to my reporters: Nobody has time to read. People barely can read. So you need to give them an overwhelming reason to read your piece. You need to grab them by the face and pull them in, and cover them in the hot stinky garlic breath of journalism until they fuckin’ wake up.”
There's a lot more, along with transcripts of all the interviews. This will be a staple of graduate journalism school classes this fall. Listen closely and you'll hear the sound of keyboards adding this piece to the syllabus. (New York) Maybe you can smell the stinky garlic breath of journalism, too.
Nancy Armour in USA Today called the International Olympic Committee to task Sunday after it announced its decision on Russian participation in Rio: "The International Olympic Committee has sold its soul. Not that it was ever really in doubt, but its decision Sunday to allow Russia to participate in the Rio Games despite damning evidence of a widespread doping program traced to the highest reaches of its sports administration confirmed it." (USA Today)
A scoop on a weird sports saga
Chris Sale, star pitcher for the Chicago White Sox, went nutso Saturday in refusing to wear one of the many retro jerseys Major League teams are often inclined to these days. He proceeded to apparently tear his and those of teammates apart in the locker room long before game time. Watching another game, I heard the announcers credit Ken Rosenthal of Fox News with the saga. Nope. It was broken as a tweet, and later amplified upon in a story, by reporter Tommy Stokke of something called FanRag Sports. (Today's Knuckleball)
Giddy over Kaine
The cable networks went big on Hillary Clinton's first appearance with Sen. Tim Kaine since she tweeted his selection as running mate. "We all now know why Hillary Clinton picked Tim Kaine to be her vice presidential candidate," said an emoting Wolf Blitzer on CNN. "I don't know if he could do any better in his acceptance speech Wednesday. The crowd loved it and they certainly loved his Spanish!" As for Clinton, "She seemed so happy and relieved," said analyst Gloria Borger.
The punditry at Fox was handled by a Saturday show hosted by The Wall Street Journal's Paul Gigot and featuring Journal colleagues. It was actually smart and analytical and devoid of the usual Fox, Clinton-bashing hyperbole. In particular, political consultant Doug Schoen, an influential Democrat, raised some early doubts. "She needs turnout and Tim Kaine won't get turnout," he said, arguing in no small measure that a more populist, anti-trade partner would be helpful in luring reluctant Bernie Sanders followers.
Wasserman Schultz out, Brazile in, nothing changes
Howard Fineman of The Huffington Post is right on the mark in analyzing the change atop the Democratic National Committee. You didn't really have to go past the headline, "With Donna Brazile, Democrats dump one centrist loyalist for another." "...Everyone knew Debbie Wasserman Schultz was on her way out as DNC chair, but replacing her with Donna Brazile isn’t much of a change." (The Huffington Post)
Latest WikiLeaks materials
There's lots of stuff on the press. It includes word that a CNN contributor of pro-Clinton sympathies went after Bernie Sanders in an op-ed she first ran past the Democratic National Committee. (The Washington Post) And also how Kenneth Vogel, an ace Politico investigative reporter, ran a story about the Clinton fundraising machine by the DNC. That apparently involved double-checking some fundraising complexities and, while the emails show no substantive editing, Politico conceded it made a mistake. (The Huffington Post)
Poll mania and the WikiLeaks-inspired exit of Wasserman Schultz as Democratic National Committee head were the topics du jour today. New polling shows good signs for Trump and how he was helped in ways by those "dark" musings of his last week that had some pundits mulling moving to Canada. This morning Ron Brownstein argued on CNN that Clinton's lead with college-educated whites continues to be historically notable and spells electoral doom for Trump if it persists.
On "Morning Joe," panelists wondered why Wasserman Schultz doesn't just leave now rather than currently being scheduled to speak tonight and Thursday and thus likely get booed in the process.
And Fox, being Fox, offered the Republican take on the mess by interviewing her GOP counterpart, Reince Priebus. "I don't do a lot of email. I don't do that," he said. He heralded his tenure for "playing it down the middle."
Follow the money
While Trump still relies heavily on free media, here are the media markets where pro-Clinton PACs are throwing money, meaning they've booked radio and TV time already between Aug. 4 and the election. (Ad Age) It's an obvious window onto campaign strategy:
-Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, Florida, $8.27 million
-Denver, $7.91 million
-Tampa-St. Petersburg (Sarasota), Florida $7.64 million
-Philadelphia, $6.41 million
-Cleveland-Akron (Canton), Ohio $5.79 million
Critically important journalism advice
BuzzFeed informs that the Bernie Sanders campaign "considered demanding a private plane staffed and funded by the Democratic National Committee as part of negotiations with Hillary Clinton heading into this week’s convention, according to a Sanders memo obtained by BuzzFeed News." (BuzzFeed)
But lest you doubt the utility of cleaning up after yourself, whether at home or on the road, get this: "A copy of the memo was shared with BuzzFeed News after it was found on June 5 in a Los Angeles hotel, a DoubleTree where Sanders and his aides stayed that night."