NFL yanks Super Bowl credentials from controversial sports site
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It seems impossible but, yes, there are more journalists at the Super Bowl than at Sean Spicer's initial White House briefings.
More than 5,000 will be there with credentials but not Barstool Sports, "a growing destination for sports fans, particularly young and male sports fans." It reflects the current zeitgeist: irreverent, off-color and with its own new show on Comedy Central.
"But the NFL does not find Barstool Sports amusing." It yanked its Super Bowl credentials because it’s arranged a sit-in at the NFL offices in New York City to protest $30 million-a-year Commissioner Roger Goodell's handling of the New England Patriots "Deflategate" kerfuffle. They were arrested, prompting the Super Bowl decision.
As for fact-checking at Barstool, please. So retro! On Wednesday, Dan Katz a.k.a Big Cat, told Chicago's WMVP-AM, "We are not traditional journalists. I have never fact-checked. We're more about making people laugh."
Goodell was asked about why Barstool was banned during a pre-Super Bowl press conference Wednesday in Houston and danced around it, claiming he didn't know about the matter. Big Cat promptly called him a liar on WMVP (I was bored and headed to a school bus pick-up).
Barstool was a very small, under-financed operation before it was bought by Chernin Group, which was founded by Peter Chernin, a prominent former honcho for Rupert Murdoch at News Corp. Its top executives include a onetime senior Yahoo official and a former Goldman Sachs partner.
Chernin Group itself is sponsored by Providence Equity Partners, an investment firm primarily focused on media and entertainment. (Fortune) It's all an example of mainstream folks trying to find the secret sauce in luring youth, even when these content producers have been known for "misogynistic harassment of those who raise the ire of Barstool readers."
As for Barstool's own response to Goodell on its website, its blogger El Presidente skirted gentility on a very prominently displayed piece:
"Oh you don’t know what Barstool Sports is? Oh we’re the guys who handcuffed ourselves to each other in your front fucking lobby, you b*tch. I love watching this antbag squirm. Look at his reaction when he hears our name!"
If you really want to see Goodell, here he is.
At minimum, it will give you an idea of how you, too, can attract the interest and capital of former Goldman bankers and respected News Corp. executives.
A belated show of moral indignation
"Alphabet, Apple, Facebook and Uber, along with a consumer packaged goods company and others are working together on a letter opposing President Trump’s travel ban, according to sources." (Recode)
"Tech companies are leading the effort but are working to involve other industries, the sources say. The letter will be the first major push from big U.S. businesses to try to support immigration in the wake of recent travel restriction order by Trump."
Secretly wishing to write a book?
"Following President Donald Trump's executive order suspending refugee admission to the U.S. and restricting immigration from seven Muslim countries, a number of literary agents from separate agencies have announced a collective open call for submissions by Muslim writers." (Publishers Weekly)
Ah, might one have wondered why a smart agent wouldn't have been looking for such potential talent earlier?
Well, if Betsy DeVos doesn't make it as Education Secretary, given a seeming turn against her by some Republican senators, maybe there'll be a call for books by experts on charter schools — or, also in the case of DeVos, grizzly bears.
Reuters on covering Trump
It's rather amazing, is it not, how we're already at a point where Steve Adler, editor-in-chief of Reuters, feels compelled to send a message to staff on "Covering Trump the Reuters Way." It's very solid and sensible, with do's and a few don'ts. The latter include:
"Never be intimidated, but don’t pick unnecessary fights or make the story about us. We may care about the inside baseball but the public generally doesn’t and might not be on our side even if it did."
"Don’t vent publicly about what might be understandable day-to-day frustration. In countless other countries, we keep our own counsel so we can do our reporting without being suspected of personal animus. We need to do that in the U.S., too." (Reuters)
Aussie reacts to Washington Post scoop
Greg Miller and Philip Rucker reveal details of a disastrous call between an apparently contemptuous Trump and the Australian prime minister. Trump "blasted Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over a refugee agreement and boasted about the magnitude of his electoral college win, according to senior U.S. officials briefed on the Saturday exchange. Then, 25 minutes into what was expected to be an hour-long call, Trump abruptly ended it."
Rucker told an Australian outlet, ""He doesn't really care so much that Australia is an ally over many, many years. What he cares about is the refugee policy that he has used as — that he views as dangerous for the United States." (The Age)
A columnist for Melbourne's The Age writes, "The real import of the Washington Post's bombshell coverage of that telephone conversation is that it vindicates Turnbull's hitherto lame protest to have acted strongly in Australia's interests. The corollary point is that Trump is the Mad King: volatile, vainglorious, and untrustworthy. Turnbull is right to handle him with kid gloves." (The Age)
From columnist Andrew P. Street of the Sydney Morning Herald: "Indeed, if the report about Turnbull's call with Trump is accurate, it sounds almost as though Trump was 'negging' the PM like a particularly low-rent pick up artist — describing the refugee deal as Australia's attempts to export the 'next Boston bombers,' boasting about his election victory and abruptly ending the call early. Stay mean, keep 'em keen." (Sydney Morning Herald)
Where's the toaster?
There are good deals, then there's the hint of desperation. The Los Angeles Times is offering a trial subscription — meaning unlimited digital access and the Sunday paper — for $4.99 for eight weeks. Is this a fabulous deal or devaluing your product or both? (L.A. Times)
Holding their representatives accountable
New York radio station WNYC, NPR and other member stations reported out what congressional delegations were saying on Trump's immigration order. What WNYC found:
"Of the 29 members of the New York delegation (this includes the two U.S. Senators), 20 are opposed, six are in favor, two are unclear and one member has not made a statement. In New Jersey, 11 are opposed, one in favor, one unclear and one member has not made a statement. Connecticut is far clearer: All seven members are opposed."
It's a very handy tool to find out where members of your delegation stand, along with allowing you to add statements by those members that you may come across. (WNYC) A sense of social obligation melds with solid reporting.
Roger Simon bows out
Four decades as an ace columnist is pretty darn impressive run. After long stretches at The Chicago Sun-Times, Baltimore Sun, Chicago Tribune, U.S. News & World Report and, in recent years Politico, Roger Simon opened a fine farewell:
"This is the end, my friends. It is time to say goodbye. I realize this is the worst possible time for a political columnist to retire, but what I didn’t realize is that any of you cared."
"Have I lifted a heart? Just once? Just for the most fleeting of moments?"
"Then I leave you a happy man, one filled with joy. And don’t worry. We will always have each other. And Twitter."
"So long." (Politico)
Covering Betsy DeVos
Hold the sauerkraut
"Machines across the world already make sushi, noodles and pizzas. Now a Japanese amusement park has taken a leap of faith by creating a restaurant with more robots than human workers." (Financial Times)
"A robot with arms prepares okonomiyaki — savory pancakes — while another makes cocktails or doughnuts in front of customers at a Dutch-themed resort in Sasebo in southwest Japan."
Can we envision Sean Spicer looking out onto a packed James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, making a brief statement and then opening up questions with, "Android No. 3, start us off?”
The morning babble
"Fox & Friends" opened with student protests last night over an ultimately canceled appearance "by polarizing Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos" at the University of California at Berkeley, a home of the free speech movement in the 1960s. (CBS) It showed tape of what appeared to be a Trump supporter being hit with pepper spray in the face. It was also live in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to see if the groundhog would surface, and heralding (at ample length) the induction of Fox's Janice Dean into the Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center Meteorology Hall of Fame.
CNN's "New Day" wondered where the leak of the Trump-Trumbull came from. Might it have been the White House itself, trying to make Trump look tough? The New York Times' Maggie Haberman doubted that and argued that it is losing control of the narrative of their White House in the first two weeks."
MSNBC's "Morning Joe" turned to foreign affairs and General Michael Flynn's badmouthing of Iran and the Obama nuclear deal. Richard Haas of the Council on Foreign Affairs was sympathetic, citing the array of Iranian behavior that makes Iran a regional threat. Joe Scarborough argued that Trump's based "loved hearing it." Mika Brzezinski said big deal, saying the base liked Iran being put "on notice" is "like saying the sky is blue." Yup.
Tamron Hall exits
It's no surprise. "Megyn Kelly’s impending arrival at NBC News — an event apparently as momentous, and disruptive, as a 747 landing in a cornfield — has claimed its first casualty." (The Daily Beast)
"Tamron Hall, for the past three years a co-host with Al Roker of the Today show’s third hour as well as anchor of her own eponymous 11 a.m. MSNBC program, has abruptly left the broadcast network and its cable channel without so much as a goodbye."
She was apparently offered millions to stay. Regardless, can somebody please email the list of stories she's broken? While we wait, I'll wager a few bucks she's employed somewhere within a week or two.
An annual case study in evasion
"Roger Goodell took the stage for his annual Super Bowl press conference just after 2 p.m. ET." writes Bryan Curtis in The Ringer. "When we finally see the most powerful man in the NFL, it’s always a shock that his speech is halting and his voice cracks slightly. Though he’s the son of a U.S. senator, Goodell talks like a politician reading his resignation speech."
"But this obscures Goodell’s real skill, which is apparent when reporters start asking him questions. Every year, there’s a hope that some kind of righteous pro-football-writer vengeance will be exacted upon Goodell at the Super Bowl. And every year, Goodell dodges potholes, exploits sloppy questions, and slips punches, even when they’re haymakers thrown by guys from Boston. If anybody’s going to corner Goodell, it won’t be in a press-conference setting. The questions may be righteous, but his answers are the kind a politician would applaud." (The Ringer)
A media lawyer's biggest blunder explained
George Freeman, former longtime top lawyer for The New York Times and now executive director of the Media Law Resource Center, kicks off the group's new newsletter with a Q and A ("Ten Questions to a Media Lawyer") that includes answering what was his biggest mistake. (MLRC)
"That’s easy. It deals with an article that was mentioned quite a few times this fall during the campaign. In the 80’s and 90’s, before computers and faxes, we vetted stories on weekends and at nights by phone. One Sunday, during the 1996 campaign, Bill Safire — a lovely man and wonderful client — called to ask that I review his op-ed column for the next day."
"As I stretched out on my bed, his assistant started reading it to me: it was about Hillary Clinton. It was pretty innocuous, and as it approached the end, my then 3-year old son came into my room, bounced on my bed, and jumped on my groin area. I was briefly in pain, as the assistant read a sentence about Hillary’s being a 'congenital liar.'"
"Had I heard that sentence, I am confident I would have asked him to rewrite it, since I wouldn’t approve a layman using such a scientific term without any scientific proof. But in the throes of pain, I didn’t hear it; ok’d the column; and the next day all hell broke loose at that unfounded allegation. Fortunately, Safire was a wordsmith, and defended the piece by quoting the fourth definition of congenital — someone who does something a lot — rather than by dealing with its common meaning — genetically present from birth."
If you have questions or otherwise want to participate in the group's newsletter, contact them via email@example.com.
Oh, he's also asked what he reads after getting up the morning. There's a particular media newsletter he claims is his very first pick. Modesty forbids my mentioning it.
He says he then looks at SI.com.