Good morning. Here's our morning roundup of all the media news you need to know. Want to get this briefing in your inbox every morning? Subscribe here.
Covering Donald Trump is not hell. Nor is an inability to procure sufficient access to reclusive Trump Cabinet members. Those are trifling, first-world travails.
It's being screwed and stuck, unnoticed, in most local jails, as The Marshall Project reminds in "Just another week in hell" by Ken Armstrong, a Pulitzer Prize-winner who's been an investigative reporter at the Chicago Tribune and The Seattle Times.
The Marshall Project is a wonderful, if often melancholy, chronicle of criminal justice by an evolving, high-quality nonprofit. Armstrong's latest effort opens with a succinct description of the pedestrian daily barbarity around us:
"In San Jose, California, three jail guards stood trial this week, charged with beating an inmate to death, ripping his spleen nearly in half. In northeast Arkansas, two supervisors at a juvenile lockup pleaded guilty to conspiring to pepper-spray kids without cause. And in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, an inquest revealed that jail guards cut off water to an inmate’s cell seven days before he died of dehydration."
"At The Marshall Project, we regularly check in with newspapers around the country, collecting stories and links for Opening Statement, our daily email, and for The Record, our 'searchable encyclopedia for criminal justice journalism.' This week we couldn’t help but be taken aback by the litany of horrors in county jails and juvenile detention centers, most of them inflicted on the mentally ill and minors."
The dehumanizing reality in lockups, including suicides, has received a fair bit of attention, this concedes. But it wraps up its own litany of a mere five days of "stunning misconduct by keepers and contempt for the kept."
And this focuses just on local lockups, not state prisons. If it had, "this week’s coverage would include a story in St. Louis, in which a mentally ill inmate hanged himself while one guard surfed Twitter, Amazon, Facebook and LinkedIn, and another guard streamed the movie 'Blue Streak' on Netflix, and a story in Sacramento, Calif., in which officers pepper-sprayed a mentally inmate and strapped him, naked, to a gurney for 72 hours."
No, it just focuses on local lockups. Do you even know where any are in your community? For most, they might as well be in Lithuania.
Armstrong knows the locations of many, having long reported on the criminal justice system. It's not an easy task, in part since it can easily inspire rank cynicism amid intractable ills and the inattention of readers (and, sometimes, editors).
Bill Keller, Marshall Project's editor in chief and former executive editor of The New York Times, said Monday that "one of the dangers of covering dark places is that you get jaded."
But, he notes, "Ken Armstrong will never be jaded. He's seen it all before, but he still pays attention."
Bidding farewell to Shine
So now longtime Rogers Ailes lieutenant Bill Shine is gone, too. So "Why did the Murdochs finally throw Shine under the bus, if well-wrapped in dollar bills?" (TheStreet)
"Here, the playbook is clear as it was in the wake of O'Reilly's ouster. They have a history of overextended loyalty to those who have built the empire; a good quality in moderate doses. So they delay, delay, delay and often times, the ill winds die down. When they don't, they do what needs to be done. Empire first."
Fox's own online story was predictably discreet.
A limited range of opinions
Daniel McCarthy, a writer at large for the American Conservative who tweets at @ToryAnarchist, responded to the kerfuffle over the first effort by New York Times op-ed columnist Bret Stephens by tweeting, "Problem with columnists at NYT, WaPo, etc. is their ideological range somehow omits both Trump & Sanders views — every day is Clinton vs. Bush." (@ToryAnarchist)
There's a bit of truth embedded there. A bit. But what would a Trump point of view consist of, given his mish-mash of declarations? A very fluid, twice-a-week defense of contradictory positions promoted as some new pragmatism. Good luck with that.
Will Fox buy Tribune?
Chicago-based Tribune Media owns 42 TV stations, including 14 Fox affiliates, as well as WGN America and Tribune Studios. Reports indicate the Murdochs' interest in grabbing Tribune, with the reports pushing up Tribune's stock.
There's a bigger-is-better logic to a deal but also a case to be made against it that reflects an economic determinist portrait of Rupert Murdoch that is not especially new. (TheStreet)
A big get
Cheddar, the business news service for millennials, scored an interview with David Solomon, the president and co-COO of finance giant Goldman Sachs on why culture matters in business and how it's been a culture of innovation, teamwork and innovation. How does that translate to business with Silicon Valley? (Cheddar)
He explains that, noting the company's tradition of innovation in finance and the technology of finance. He also notes how it's focusing on a loan platform (called Marcus) that's partly for millennials, and how disruption has come to the giant and how it tries to use technology to be better, faster and smarter for its clients.
Fake news et al.
Last night at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, journalists Susan Glasser of Politico, Brian Stelter of CNN and Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post engaged in a thoughtful and understated discussion of the state of the press, impact of technology, Donald Trump setting the media agenda, among other issues, in an inartfully titled "Defining truth in modern politics" session. (YouTube)
Stelter spoke of "prison bubbles" and the outright hatred that many Americans have of the press (in part after hearing Sean Hannity's radio show on his way to the event). He brought up the role of TV ratings in a smart way; admirably cited the B.S. (my term, not his) of cable news' bare bones and misleading identifications of many guests and pundits; and conceded he was a millennial who doesn't know how to use Instagram Stories.
Glasser evoked a bygone era in which there were actual arbiters of facts, compared to one where "chaos and anarchy of the media moment" rein, and the unintended consequences of a world in which there's more good information (and political reporting) than ever. She was good, too, on the success and future of niche, high-end media, if not more general interest journalism.
Kessler, a former White House reporter and now the Post's chief fact-checker, underscored how Americans are not exploiting technological change, and the access to lots of information, to read opposing views. He talked about the shift from laptop to mobile and the frustration of not necessarily impacting with facts those of differing views.
There was no grand finale consensus on anything. But it was well-paced and, amid so much of the crap around us, old-fashioned smart.
The take from Storm Lake
Shortly before they started in Philadelphia, I'd just called Art Cullen, editor of the Storm Lake, Iowa Times, who just won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. He's a man of the left in a small town in Northwest Iowa, and I just wanted to shoot the breeze.
He agreed that many journalists in big towns may underestimate the deep level of mistrust toward them. It's a resentment of most institutions but the media is right up there. And, as he read tweets from journalists at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner Saturday night, he rolled his eyes over "how gratuitous it was."
"They don't get it," he said. "They shouldn't be there. If they’re serious about journalism, and they are, don't show up in a party gown. Especially now, it gives me the wrong taste in my mouth right now. I'd start there and say, 'We shouldn't be here.'"
Headline of the day
"Comcast under fire for using bullshit fees to covertly raise rates" (TechDirt)
Apple's mountain of cash
"Apple Inc. is expected to report Tuesday that its stockpile of cash has topped a quarter of a trillion dollars, an unrivaled hoard that is greater than the market value of either Wal-Mart Stores Inc. or Procter & Gamble Co. and exceeds the foreign-currency reserves held by the U.K. and Canada combined." (The Wall Street Journal)
The greatest heavyweight fights
The heavyweight boxing champ was once the most famous athlete in the world. No longer. Can you even name the champ?
Well, as 90,000 people who packed London's Wembley Stadium can now attest, it's Brit Anthony Joshua, who took the title from Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko in a bloody and exciting bout that prompted Sports on Earth to give its debatable list of the 10 greatest fights ever, starting with the fabulous "Thrilla in Manilla" between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier and, then, well, it's a debatable list, with its No. 2 a 1909 fight for which there's no video.
Privacy in "Silicon Valley"
"Silicon Valley," the comedy about the tech industry, is in its fourth season and just took on the "heated privacy debate" Sunday. (The Verge)
"On the show, newly minted CEO Dinesh takes the reins of PiperChat, the video chat app that emerged from the smoldering remains of Richard’s failed idea for a platform. Little did Dinesh know that the terms of service he failed to import into his new chat app contained a very important legal protection."
He's violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which aims to protect those under the age of 13 from using services that could collect information on them and be sold to third parties. He could be liable for $25 billion in fines. And "while the show plays up the idea that PiperChat is becoming a haven for child predators, the real connection to the tech industry is around the ethics of data collection."
Imagine if the North Korea guy apes Trump
Is a bump in Twitter activity attribute to Trump? That's unclear, but "we’d love it if every world leader used Twitter as their primary mechanism to talk to their constituencies,” Twitter Chief Operating Officer Anthony Noto said. “The more that happens, the better we are going to be at showing what’s going on in the world.” (Bloomberg)
A quick 180-degree turn
"Hours after CNN reported on an internal Peace Corps email that announced a plan to stop supporting the former first lady’s 'Let Girls Learn' program, a White House spokesman said there had been no changes to the initiative." (The Washington Post)
The morning babble
Flush with Trump saying its "ratings have gone through the roof," "Fox & Friends" pushed the "liberal apocalypse" control room tape and went heavy with "violent" (liberals and "self-proclaimed anarchists") May Day tumult in Portland, Oregon, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City. I jammed a kitchen table against my front door.
CNN "New Day" went more wonkish, on Trump's risky healthcare initiative, with some raising the possibility of a deal by week's end if pre-existing condition issues can be resolved. But Bloomberg's Jennifer Jacobs, who interviewed Trump Monday, said "it was hard to tell" what Trump meant on some rather key matters.
MSNBC's "Morning Joe" rolled tape of Trump's latest odd, contradictory and historically errant comments, as well as his dismissive finale to a weekend CBS interview with John Dickerson. Its pre-breakfast post-mortem was undisguised: The guy's got a screw loose, with Mika Brzezinski exhibiting the seemingly worried, patronizing concern of a license-less psychologist: "I'm not sure he's OK," she said, with mournful mien, especially as Trump reaches out to North Korea's nutbag dictator.