A social media extravaganza (and on the record)
If imitation were not just the sincerest form of flattery, but also a business model, The New York Times would be sitting pretty today.
Its real-time tweeting of a Donald Trump interview Tuesday dominated social media and mainstream news outlets. The off-again, on-again session was decidedly on-the-record, unlike a big confab the day before between the President-elect and mainstream TV officialdom. (Poynter)
Politico, for one, should pay royalties to Times Editor Dean Baquet and rapid-fire tweeting colleagues, who provided the afternoon and evening story schedules for editors and producers everywhere. Take Politico:
-"Trump says he's not interested in pursuing case against Clinton."
-"Trump: 'The president can't have a conflict of interest.”
-"Trump disavows the alt-right."
-“Trump calls New York Times treatment of him 'very rough.'"
-"Trump to reporters: 'You'll be happy' with my views on the First Amendment.”
-"Trump defends Bannon, Breitbart."
-"NYT: Trump 'would rather do the popular vote.'"
"Trump: Jared Kushner could broker Middle East peace."
-"Trump cancels, then uncancels meeting with New York Times."
So The Times got a landslide of attention, with perhaps the most repeated tale being his not prosecuting Hillary Clinton, which is so obviously based on the total pandering campaign folderol of going after her. It wasn't going to happen.
Trump also got a truckload of free publicity as he appeared accommodating but suggested that he doesn't accept the assembled's sense of self-importance. He disparages The Times as freely he seeks its attention and legitimacy, while doing important and pragmatic 180-degree turns, including on climate change.
Was there any extent to which the paper got played, even if not like the supplicant TV guys and gals?
Says Bill Kristol, the Trump-wary editor of The Weekly Standard: "I think we can say after the past year that Donald Trump understands today's media better than the media understand themselves — and that Trump is more likely to out-maneuver the media than vice-versa."
Amazon world domination proceeds apace
"Amazon launched its online ticketing business just last year, but it already has plans to expand it in Europe, Asia and potentially the U.S., according to a series of job listings posted recently." (Recode)
"The hiring efforts are part of a new initiative to 'position Amazon Tickets as the world’s premier destination for purchasing tickets,' according to one posting."
Maybe we don't want to know
"Google’s AI translation tool seems to have invented its own secret internal language." (TechCrunch)
A lesson or two for Snapchat
As it prepares for a gigantic IPO, "it should benefit from seeing how Facebook and other, more established companies have dealt with the spread of misinformation and racist, sexist vitriol—and be able to adopt those approaches into its software from the beginning." (The New Yorker)
"If blogs were the high-tech disruptors of the elections of the aughts, and Facebook and Twitter took their place more recently, Snapchat could well be 2020’s version. We’d all do well to be more prepared next time."
"ABC's World Tabloid News Tonight"
ABC News anchor David Muir and writers were in banal rhetorical overdrive last night, perhaps prompting the late Peter Jennings to spin in his grave.
"Tonight, breaking news," Muir opened with robotic and melodramatic solemnity. "After the deadly storm the new and major system set to hit tonight....affecting millions traveling this Thanksgiving." (Chyron: "Breaking News") "Also breaking, what we have just learned about the driver in that deadly school bus crash (chyron: "Deadly Bus Crash")...the children who survived revealing to us what happened on that bus moments before the crash."
Then, "The police officer ambushed, now the arrest...what the suspect says when he is asked, 'Did he kill the officer?'" (chyron: "Suspected Killer Speaks"). I was about to search for a defibrillator, my heart was pounding so fast. There was more.
Yes, like everybody else, "Mr. Trump's about-face?" But, then, Muir proclaimed, "Breaking now, pictures coming in of a chemical plant explosion, several injured..."
Look at those flames! I couldn't handle any more. But there was more: "And a new security bulletin out just before the holiday."
I had to turn the dial to college basketball, possibly the last hoops I would ever see as ABC's apocalypse approached.
A big friggin' oops!
"Michael Hirsh, national editor of Politico Magazine, resigned Tuesday after posting the address of White nationalist Richard Spencer online and urging people to 'exercise your rights as decent Americans.'" His bosses weren't happy. (Poynter)
Image problem for CNN?
Miriam Elder, World Editor at BuzzFeed News, was tweeting at the International Press Freedom Awards in New York City last evening. The dinner chair was CNN's leader Jeff Zucker. As he spoke, she tweeted, "'We will hold the administration's feet to the fire,' Jeff Zucker tells @pressfreedom dinner. Laughs in part of the crowd."
There was this, too, from her: "Someone also keeps adding 'off the record' to the end of Zucker's sentences," apparent reference to the off-the-record meeting between Trump and TV executives and reporters the day before. But she was not alone.
Tweeted Jeremy Scahill, a co-founder of The Intercept: "Com. to Protect Journalists dinner: Jeff Zucker just gave blah blah about holding Trump to account. He just went to off record Trump meeting." Then came Anna Holmes, founder of Jezebel.com:
"CNNs Jeff Zucker — the man who approved hiring Corey Lewandowski — is talking at @pressfreedom dinner & lamenting assaults on journalism." And then there was Lydia Polgreen of The New York Times:
"Some cognitive dissonance hearing David Remnick then Jeff Zucker on press freedom tonight at the CPJ awards dinner," apparently a thumbs-up for The New Yorker, a thumbs-down for CNN.
CNN's own story by the estimable Brian Stelter briefly noted that his boss "spoke in detail about the president-elect one day after attending an off the record meeting at Trump Tower."
There was no overt suggestion of hypocrisy expressed around the room. But that clearly was the take of some at the august New York gathering put on by the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Acceptable discourse (cont.)
Hirsh's bosses at Politico felt his act was beyond "acceptable discourse." But what about using the n-word on air at CNN?
Trump critic Charles Kaiser, a former New York Times reporter, used it during a debate on Brooke Baldwin's show. He claimed it had been used by Breitbart executive-turned-Trump-advisor Steve Bannon.
Baldwin was clearly upset as she ended the segment. "It's not OK, it's not OK," to use it, she said. Bannon's former fiefdom was exhilarated: "CNN Leftist Charles Kaiser Uses N-Word Live on Air, Makes Anchor Cry." (Breitbart)
The morning babble
"Fox & Friends" opened with Trump boosterism and railing against its supposedly in-the-tank competitors. Said Steve Doocy, "Just two weeks after being elected President, Trump sends Wall Street soaring to an all-time high. But look at the New York Times front page. Didn't see it there. And don't expect the legacy media to cover it that way at all, either."
Steve, two days earlier, The Times wrote, "Two weeks after Donald J. Trump swept to victory, investors from around the world are betting that his promises of tax cuts, fewer regulations and a spendthrift federal government can recharge the American economy."
On CNN "New Day," Times reporter Maggie Haberman gave an insider's take on Trump at the Times session. She said she'd only wished there were time to ask him how he could now claim no business conflicts of interest, let his kids run his enterprises and yet surely have groused if Clinton won and Chelsea Clinton still ran their foundation.
ON MSNBC's "Morning Joe," pundit Steve Rattner strained to badmouth Mitt Romney as a Secretary of State pick and earned Joe Scarborough reproach. It included a taped interview with Mika Brzezinski's dad, national security legend Zbigniew Brzezinski, on picking a team, dealing with Russia and setting a steady tone overseas.
At 88, the former Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter aide seemed sharp as a tack. And his daughter double-checked that he was coming to her place tomorrow. Yes, but "not too long," he said, apparently meaning one night, not two. Ah, parents!
Credit where credit's due
On "CBS Evening News" Scott Pelley informed that reporter "Julianna Goldman" has found that the president elect's charity has admitted to a violation of its own." Ah, no, that would be The Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold's story. (The Washington Post)
In case you missed it
President Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 21 outstanding Americans, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, physicist Richard Garwin, Tom Hanks, Robert De Niro, Robert Redford, Bruce Springsteen, Diana Ross, Ellen DeGeneres, the late Native American rights activist Eloise Cobell and Chicago attorney Newton Minow.
All the cable networks went live to catch an event in which, would you believe, honorees Bill and Melinda Gates seemed dwarfed.
Obama was at his thoughtful, wry best. He informed the uninitiated that Jordan is actually "more than just an internet meme," a reference to that "Crying Jordan" meme. Yes, he also played basketball.
The descriptions of each winner were smart and heartfelt, and a reminder of the astonishing talent the nation breeds. If you have a chance over the holiday, check out C-SPAN's video of the event. (C-SPAN)
And Happy Thanksgiving, whether you're an honoree or, like most of us, just mere meme-less mortals. One of them — that would be me — will see you again Monday.