October 26, 2022

Legendary Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward just released eight hours of conversations with Donald Trump for the trilogy of books he wrote about the former president.

“The Trump Tapes” reveal a lot about Trump. But they also reveal a lot about someone else.

On Tuesday, The Washington Post’s Elahe Izadi wrote, “What ‘The Trump Tapes’ reveal about Bob Woodward.”

Izadi wrote that the interviews offer “… a surprising window into the legendary investigative reporter’s process — a perennial focus of both mystique and critique. At various points, Woodward argued with Trump, sympathized with him, and — in one phone call that Woodward’s own wife suggested crossed an ethical line for a journalist — seemed to advise the president on how to manage the pandemic.”

Izadi notes that the interviews don’t sound like a polished conversation you might hear on TV or radio. She’s right — news consumers used to hearing TV and radio will likely hear more interruptions and a more free-flowing back-and-forth than they’ll hear in broadcast news. Izadi notes that Woodward intentionally was not confrontational or argumentative with Trump, which Woodward saw as potentially being counterproductive to getting information. After all, the tapes show that it was difficult enough to pin Trump down on even basic information at times.

Releasing this audiobook is a fascinating and, frankly, rare experiment. As Izadi astutely writes, it also gives us a good look at Woodward and his reporting. Izadi writes, “Does it demystify the Woodward reporting process or expose too much of his tactics? If so, what does that mean for his future reporting projects?”

Woodward tells Izadi he isn’t sure if he will write another presidential book, but he does want to write a book about reporting. He told Izadi, “It’s an endless process, learning about reporting.”

Trump’s reaction

Trump, of course, is reacting to Woodward’s audiobook and the response is nothing if not thoroughly confusing and contradictory.

On his Truth Social platform, Trump wrote, “As he fully understands, writer Bob Woodward never got my permission to release tapes of my various interviews with him. Those tapes were allowed only for purposes of making sure that he got my quotes & statements correct for ‘the WRITTEN WORD,’ in other words, for his, nevertheless, highly inaccurate book. The tapes are much better than the book, at least if they were not bludgeoned to death by him to make me look as bad as possible, but he & his publisher had no right to use my ‘VOICE’ or them!”

Catch all that?

When it comes to what’s fair game about on-the-record reporting and quotations and that sort of thing, I think we can trust the Pulitzer Prize winner and one of the most iconic reporters in journalism history.

Making the right call … finally

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

After several days of criticism, Adidas finally cut ties with Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West. The move comes after West, the musician/fashion designer, made a series of antisemitic remarks. While there were calls for Adidas to part ways with Ye, including strong statements from the Anti-Defamation League, Adidas was slow to act, drawing widespread criticism.

Whether it was because Adidas finally realized that Ye had crossed the line, or grew tired of the horrible public relations backlash or hated watching its stock prices tumble (or perhaps all of the above), Adidas finally severed its relationship with Ye.

In a statement, Adidas said, “Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech. Ye’s recent comments and actions have been unacceptable, hateful and dangerous, and they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness.”

The announcement will have a financial impact on both Adidas and Ye. Adidas announced the short-term impact would result in a loss of about $246 million for the company. Meanwhile, it is being reported that Ye will lose his status as a billionaire. Forbes reports that without the Adidas deal, Ye’s net worth has dropped to $400 million.

CNN’s Nathaniel Meyersohn points out, “… there are major costs if a celebrity who is closely linked to a brand becomes engulfed in a scandal or controversy.”

Meyersohn notes examples such as Subway and Jared Fogle, Jell-O and Bill Cosby, and Nike and Lance Armstrong.

Even though Adidas has cut ties with Ye, did it wait too long? Has it damaged its reputation and brand by not making a move sooner?

Stefan Hock, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Connecticut, told CNN, “The best thing to do if you have an endorser who misbehaves is to cut ties quickly. If you drag your feet it creates a downward spiral.”

Yahoo Finance’s Brian Sozzi wrote, “Adidas is a mess of a retail brand right now, and it’s not only because of ties to problematic musician-turned-designer Kanye West.”

Sozzi reports that Adidas’ stock is down 64% so far in 2022, and continued to fall with this latest controversy. Sozzi wrote, “Besides the West drama, Adidas is entering wounded into the holiday season — the latest retailer to get flat-foot operationally as global economies have slowed. That poor execution has primarily led to a glut of Adidas inventory that will have to be aggressively marked down at the expense of profits, the company warned a week ago.”

Ye has reportedly threatened to take his Yeezy brand and open his own retail stores.

“But,” The New York Times’ Vanessa Friedman, Michael J. de la Merced and Melissa Eddy reported, “the future of the Yeezy brand is unclear. Ye still owns the Yeezy trademark. However, Adidas said in its statement that it was the ‘sole owner’ of all design rights to existing products that came out of the partnership, as well as previous and new colorways arising from the collaboration. What the sneakerheads who made the last release of Adidas Yeezy shoes, on Oct. 17, a sell-out product, will do next is now the question.”

Corden’s apology

CBS talk-show host James Corden was off last week from his late-night show, but he was still in the news. A New York restaurateur took to Instagram to announce he was banning Corden after Corden treated restaurant staffers rudely. Corden and the restaurateur hashed things out and Corden’s ban was lifted. But his reputation took a hit and other stories circulated online about him being a bit of a louse sometimes.

Corden was back on his “Late Late Show” Monday night and apologized for his behavior at the New York restaurant. Corden explained that he had to have his wife’s meal sent back several times because it contained food she was allergic to. He said he used to work in restaurants himself and that he has nothing but respect for people in the service industry.

He then said, “But here is the truth of it, right, because I didn’t — because I didn’t shout or scream, like I didn’t get up out of my seat. I didn’t call anyone names or use derogatory language. I have been walking around thinking that I hadn’t done anything wrong, right? But the truth is like I have — I made a rude comment and it was wrong, and it was an unnecessary comment. It was ungracious to the server.”

He then added, “I understand everybody getting upset and I accept — I accept everybody’s opinion. I also hate, as I said to the owner that day, that I’ve ever upset anybody ever — it was never my intention. It just wasn’t. And I love that restaurant. I love the staff there. I hope I’m allowed in again one day, so when I’m back in New York I can go there, and apologize in person, which is something I will absolutely do.”

As apologies go, it was a good one.

A final Final Four

CBS announcer Jim Nantz. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)

Big news in sports media. CBS’s Jim Nantz will call his final Final Four men’s basketball tournament next spring after being on the call for more than three decades. New York Post sports media columnist Andrew Marchand broke the news and reported that Nantz will be replaced by Ian Eagle — one of the best and most underrated sports announcers in the business, especially when it comes to basketball.

Nantz told Marchand that he is giving up the basketball gig to spend more time with his children. Nantz still will be CBS’s lead NFL announcer, as well as being the host of CBS’s golf coverage, including the Masters.

This upcoming season’s Final Four will be in Houston where Nantz went to college. Houston will be Nantz’s 32nd Final Four. Nantz replaced Brent Musburger as the play-by-play voice of the Final Four.

“I’ve been very fortunate,” Nantz told Marchand. “I’m going to take Brent’s torch and pass it on to Ian. I’ve had the greatest seat in the house and it’s time for someone else to do it.”

He told Marchand, however, that he would like to continue returning to the championship every year to hand out the trophy to the winner.

Media tidbits

  • Axios’ Sara Fischer has been hired as an on-air contributor by CNN. Fischer will be called upon to comment on topics such as ​​corporate media, technology, deals, entertainment, media regulation and consumer habits. She will continue on the media beat for Axios, including writing her weekly media newsletter. That coverage will include continuing to cover CNN and its parent company Warner Bros. Discovery — something that Fischer should probably disclose when she writes or reports about the news network.
  • More CNN news: it’s starting a “Guns in America” beat dedicated to tracking and unpacking all aspects of guns and gun violence in the U.S. The beat will be led by CNN guns and security correspondent Josh Campbell and feature reporting and analysis from Reload founder Stephen Gutowski, The Trace’s Jennifer Mascia, and Abené Clayton, a reporter on The Guardian’s “Guns and Lies in America” project.
  • Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple with “Tucker Carlson. megalomaniac.”
  • Here’s another teaser clip from an upcoming episode of “The Problem with Jon Stewart.” In this one, Stewart dismantles the comments of Arizona’s attorney general Mark Brnovich regarding the 2020 election. Stewart continues to show how a well-prepared interview is done.
  • Speaking of election denial, I wanted to point out a must-read column from The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin: “There is no compromise with election deniers. And that’s the problem.”
  • The Associated Press has joined TikTok. Here’s a video of the announcement.
  • Jonathan Martin is leaving The New York Times to join Politico as politics bureau chief and a senior political columnist. This is a return for Martin, who was at Politico before joining the Times in 2013.
  • Sad news as The Washington Post’s Adam Bernstein writes, “Neema Roshania Patel, Post editor who cultivated younger audiences, dies at 35.”

Hot type

Major investigation by The Washington Post’s Desmond Butler, Amy Brittain and Alice Li: “Built & Broken. Female bodybuilders describe widespread sexual exploitation.”

Powerful stuff as The Oregonian’s Rob Davis looks at the paper where he works in “The Oregonian’s Racist Legacy.”

And here’s an apology from Therese Bottomly, editor of The Oregonian.

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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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