May 3, 2022

In case you missed it, be sure to check out the stunning work by New York Times reporter Nicholas Confessore in his three-part profile of Fox News prime-time host Tucker Carlson. The three parts are:

It’s incredibly detailed reporting, and remarkable insight into cable news’ biggest star and the danger he poses. Confessore’s story says Carlson’s show “may be the most racist show in the history of cable news.”

In his piece “The Times’ Tucker Carlson series is a triumph of explanatory journalism,” Northeastern University professor and media observer Dan Kennedy writes, “Times reporter Nicholas Confessore has done a remarkable job of combing through Carlson’s past and present in an attempt to explain his rise from stylish but obscure magazine writer and failed television host to the most powerful force in cable. And Confessore offers partial answers, at least, to some aspects of the Carlson phenomenon.”

CNN senior writer Brian Lowry had a really smart take writing for CNN’s “Reliable Sources” newsletter: “Reading the NYT’s deep dive, I can’t help thinking about the genius of Roger Ailes’ model, which, by labeling the ‘mainstream media’ as illegitimate, inoculates Fox against criticism. Carlson is thus already turning the exhaustively reported examination into a badge of honor — basically ‘I must be telling the truth if they are out to get me’ — and further ammunition against outlets like the Times. It’s a force field that no amount of reporting and analysis has been able to penetrate. As the piece notes, Carlson (and indeed all of Fox) has fashioned itself as ‘his aggrieved viewers’ partner in victimhood.’ Fox has clearly concluded, with strategic justification, that slings and arrows from quadrants its viewers have been programmed not to trust will not fray that.”

Media Matters for America is a liberal nonprofit organization and media watchdog, and a frequent and harsh critic of Fox News. Still, it should be pointed out that Media Matters’ Matt Gertz wrote a scathing column about Fox News in wake of the Times’ investigation.

Gertz wrote, “The takeaway for those involved with Fox — staff, guests, and companies that buy ads on the network — should be clear: You are supporting a company that prioritizes the promotion of white nationalism in the U.S.”

Gertz added, “The Murdochs, Carlson, and their colleagues are not going to stop. They’re going to keep promoting white nationalism. And everyone in business with Fox should be clear-eyed that their ongoing participation is part of the network’s strategy.”


First day

Monday was Chris Licht’s first official day running CNN. And he put out a rather interesting memo to staff to introduce himself.

First, Licht, who replaces the popular Jeff Zucker, thanked the staff and various leadership at the network and wrote about how it was his “honor” to lead CNN.

Then he wrote about his mission. “I will look at all decisions,” he wrote, “through the lens of: Is this good for the CNN brand? And as a leader, I believe I best serve this mission by making sure the right people are in charge and by empowering them to do their jobs as effectively as possible. You can rest assured that will be my focus.”

Licht went on to say he will be a “very engaged consumer of our content, but I’m not here to get into the weeds of day-to-day editorial decision making.”

Then Licht talked about the state of media and CNN’s role, writing, “CNN must be a vital, relevant, and respected part of our culture. Sadly, too many people have lost trust in the news media. I think we can be a beacon in regaining that trust by being an organization that exemplifies the best characteristics of journalism: fearlessly speaking truth to power, challenging the status quo, questioning ‘group-think,’ and educating viewers and readers with straightforward facts and insightful commentary, while always being respectful of differing viewpoints. First and foremost, we should, and we will be advocates for the truth.”

NBC self reports plagiarism

NBC News put out a note to readers on Monday that revealed 11 articles written for its website by the same reporter over the past year included “passages from other news organizations that were used without attribution.” In other words, plagiarism.

Several articles found on NBC News’ website include an editor’s note at the beginning that says passages that were “not properly attributed” have been removed. The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple tweeted that a source at NBC told him the reporter no longer works at the network. When contacted by Wemple, the reporter had no comment “for now.”

The NBC News note said, “In all cases, the passages were not central to the stories, but instead contained supplemental or background material that did not represent original reporting.” The note also said, “Maintaining the trust of our readers and viewers is essential to NBC News, and our work must always meet the highest standards of our profession.”

Wemple tweeted, “Though the note talks about the importance of trust, the note lacks the sorts of details that would help build it.”

Mediaite’s Ken Meyer wrote that an NBC source told him that the improper sourcing became known during a “routine editing process detected an initial incident.” That led to a review of other articles that revealed more articles with unattributed sentences.

Kushner’s memoir

Former Trump adviser Jared Kusher with wife, Ivanka Trump, in November 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Everyone who works in the White House has to write a book, right? Add Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner to the list. Kushner’s book — “Breaking History: A White House Memoir” — is set to be published Aug. 9.

Kushner was more than just a son-in-law. He was considered to be one of the most influential voices in Trump’s White House. Broadside Books, which will publish the book, put out a statement that said, “His memoir is his account of the most astonishing presidential campaigns in history, the high-stakes Russia investigation and impeachment trial, and the existential crises of the COVID-19 pandemic. Kushner reveals what really happened inside the Trump White House — not to settle scores, but to give a true insider account of history.”

What really happened? Hmm, let’s reserve judgment on that until the book is out.

Oops, he did it again

The MyPillow Guy is the BannedAgain Guy.

Mike Lindell, the pillow guy who has made a more infamous name for himself by constantly pushing baseless and ridiculous conspiracy theories about how the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump, has been banned from Twitter for the second time — just hours after he set up a new account to access the social media network.

Lindell was permanently banned a little more than a year ago, in January 2021, for continuing to push false claims about Trump and the 2020 election.

On Sunday, from his new account, Lindell tweeted, “Hello everybody, I’M BACK ON TWITTER. My only account is @MikeJLindell! Please RT and FOLLOW to SPREAD THE WORD.” It included a video of Lindell saying, “All those other ones are fake accounts and they’ve been using my name out there, so we started this account. Please share with everybody you know, let everybody you know, so we can get the word out at Twitter in case they do take it down. Thanks a lot for helping out.”

Twitter said Monday that Lindell’s new account was “permanently suspended for violating the Twitter Rules on ban evasion.”

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Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
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