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We all remember the Ray Rice domestic violence story. But an arguably worse case of abuse, and National Football League complicity, inspires far less national attention.
And Christine Brennan, stellar sports columnist for USA Today, thinks that her colleagues are partly to blame.
For sure, Rice was a big star, at least far bigger than Josh Brown, an end-of-career New York Giants kicker who was arrested for domestic violence in 2015 and whose then-wife, we know learn, told the cops she'd endured "more than 20 incidents" of abuse by Brown.
Brown was only given the boot last week when tawdry details leaked out, including word that this had all been known previously to Giants owner John Mara. He's a respected member of what Brennan calls "the boys-will-be-boys club" of league owners.
Mara did zilch. The NFL did zilch. Mara said after the Rice mess that there's no place in the league for domestic violence. Unless, of course, you need a kicker and re-sign a guy whom you know allegedly beat his wife.
So it was wrong to buy the NFL's belated contrition about its handling of the Rice case and the vow to get tough on domestic abuse matters. Shame (again) on the NFL and Roger Goodell, the toady $34 million-a-year commissioner. (USA Today)
As for the media, Brennan tells me, "Clearly because there is no tape to go to, the story isn't as intriguing to our culture and to people in sports media."
"Let's be honest. Seeing it makes all the difference in the world, and that is a huge problem since this such an important issue. To think that video somehow makes it more real. Yes, of course, I realize the importance of seeing it. But in these kinds of awful stories, you would think that power of the written word would still carry a lot of weight."
But, she says, look at Donald Trump. His reputation for crude dealings with women was known. But it wasn't until we saw — over and over — that "Access Hollywood" tape that we were moved to outrage.
"It is disappointing that we apparently have to see it on video for anybody to get really riled up about it."
Bloomberg's Alex Sherman broke the story about how banks got "cold feet" over an amalgam of what they deemed two deteriorating companies, Gannett and Tronc (the former Tribune Publishing). "Now the deal is very much in doubt...They're newspaper companies and it's no surprise they're not doing very well these days."
Michael Ferro, a Chicago tech entrepreneur who desires to be a media mogul, successfully pushed Gannett's bid higher and higher. But, it appears, he pushed it too high and, for the moment at least, somebody apparently needs to find another source of financing. Both stocks tanked yesterday.
Meanwhile, anxiety in newsrooms is justified. If the job market were better, the brain drain would accelerate rapidly. But there is an exodus. The Los Angeles Times has seen staffers split to CBS News, The Washington Post and Vanity Fair in recent weeks.
Twitter shuts Vine
"While Vine’s growth had slowed in the past year and a half, it was once one of the most vibrant and creative factories of culture on the internet." (The Atlantic). From 2012 to 2015, there was simply nowhere online like Vine. You could get lost in Vine like it was Wikipedia, and you could laugh on Vine like it was YouTube. It welded the old internet’s spontaneity and 'randomness' to the new social web’s scale and diversity."
"As the web continues to expand and corporatize, as more companies merge an Apple-like aesthetic with Walmart-like scale, it’s hard to imagine anything like Vine happening again."
Amid the incessant references to a supposedly narrowly Clinton lead in some states, it was helpful to have CNN's John King, master of election maps, underscoring yesterday that a Trump win still looks like a total long-shot.
Behind a Snapchat IPO
Why might Snapchat's parent raise a desired $4 billion in an IPO? From Cooper Smith at Cheddar.com, the new site and digital newscast for business-minded millennials:
"Approximately 150 million people use the Snapchat app daily. For perspective, that’s more than Twitter but fewer than Facebook. That said, Snapchat is acquiring active users at a far faster clip than competing platforms. Snapchat’s daily active user base grew 68 percent between the second quarters of 2015 and 2016, whereas Facebook’s grew just 17 percent."
Nearly 75 percent of Americans "aged 12 to 24 have used the app, whereas only 23 percent of all age groups have used it." Then there's their expected ad revenues of $370 million this year, and an expectation it can get to $1 billion very soon.
Bill Clinton's clamps on the press
We now all know, thanks to Julian Assange in London's Ecuadorian embassy, about how Bill Clinton aides strong-armed combo donations for his foundation and himself. But while he desisted with the giant speaking fees about six months after his wife started her campaign, he did demand significant expenses and private jet travel, even from public universities.
He also, it turns out, insisted on "prepublication review of news releases, social-media posts and website materials. Mr. Clinton’s aides often imposed strict prohibitions on media interviews and other limits but asked public-affairs officials to keep the no-interview policy out of news releases." (The Wall Street Journal)
In case you missed that New York Times Story on the Clintons...
"The CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley" last night gave us "New Ammunition for Trump" and "The First Lady Embraces Clinton." Its two-part opening was largely a regurgitation of a New York Times story that detailed double-dealing of Bill Clinton via Doug Band, a foundation bigshot-turned-consultant.
On "NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt" it was "Money Trail: A hacked memo raises new questions about how the Clintons struck it rich as Hillary Clinton hits the trail with her not-so-secret weapon." The opening tale was initially about the First Lady embracing Clinton, then largely a recap of a New York Times story that detailed double-dealing of a foundation bigshot-turned-consultant ("not verified by NBC News," Andrea Mitchell said, as if the qualifier maintained journalistic purity).
On ABC's "World News Tonight" with David Muir, there was his hyperbolic opening: "Tonight, breaking news. The new polls just out as Michelle Obama joins Hillary Clinton for the first time on the trail. What they reveal about each other, just as WikiLeaks reveals major questions about millions made by Bill Clinton."
I took a pass on Diane Sawyer's 'PREDATOR ON CAMPUS?" segment. But not before seeing the newscast's first commercial, for Otezla, which helps psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
Yes, "it increases the risk of depression," as the ad made clear. But so can the sameness of the evening news some nights.
The morning babble
"Fox & Friends" started as usual with Trump reporter John Roberts and "PLANE PANIC," namely the the Mike Pence plane that skidded off a runway. a Fox producer, who was on board, described the scare.
It was the same on CNN's "New Day," at least with the Pence plane, since there was a CNN producer aboard, too. But it also delved into, would you believe this early, actual policy as it checked out Trump and Clinton tax plans (as it's done before).
MSNBC's "Morning Joe'" John Heilemann didn't buy the notion of a "tightening" race but sees signs of Clinton's lead accelerating. Like CNN's John King yesterday afternoon Sam Stein rattled off all the big states he could win, like Florida and Ohio, and still get wiped out.
Rolling Stone trial
There was evidence that University of Virginia administrators were convinced of the article's potential bias week before it actually came out. The dean of students' wariness, articulated in an email, "proved prescient." (The Washington Post)
There was also evidence that the university, in what could be seen as a pre-emptive strike, had the alumni magazine commission a piece on how it handled sexual assaults. Top officials who didn't want to deal with Rolling Stone let themselves be interviewed but, ultimately, there were qualms about the draft and it never saw the light of day.
And somewhere at Wrigley Field tonight...
Mark Kipnis was a top legal aide to newspaper magnate Conrad Black, and there was collateral damage when Black was convicted and wound up in prison for defrauding investors. Black's Chicago trial showed him and some confederates, one in particular, to be slimeballs. But not Kipnis, who didn't make one penny off the deals and signed various documents as told.
A federal judge realized that and, despite the jury's guilty verdict, sentenced him to probation and a $200 fine. Many people thought it was justice at work.
You can bet there'll be a similar sense of vindication when he surely shows at Wrigley Field tonight for the first World Series game there in 71 years. His son, Jason, who grew up in the Chicago burbs and was a huge Cubs fan, is the Indians second basemen. He gave his parents his $575,000 signing bonus out of college to assist with the dad's legal expenses, their mortgage payments and his siblings' education.
Mike Miner of The Chicago Reader, an alternative weekly I briefly ran, covered the Black prosecution and writes, "If I'm going to root for one player above all others during the World Series, it won't be one of the Cubs. And I mean no disrespect to the Cubs." (Chicago Reader)
Well, I have four soccer games to get to this weekend and no World Series tickets. But I'm not bitter. Yes, nitwit local politicians and radio ad sales reps scored tickets but not me. Again, I'm not bitter. Have a good weekend.