Once upon a time, conservatives were furious with Twitter. This would be around the time the social media platform kicked off then-President Donald Trump in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection.
But ever since Elon Musk bought Twitter, it has become even more welcoming of conservatives. Case in point: Guess where Ron DeSantis is going to announce he is running for president?
NBC News’ Dasha Burns and Matt Dixon report that the Florida Republican governor will announce his candidacy on Twitter tonight during a conversation with Musk. DeSantis and Musk will talk on Twitter Spaces at 6 p.m. Eastern. The conversation will be moderated by David Sacks, a tech entrepreneur who is described by NBC News as “a Musk confidant and DeSantis supporter.”
DeSantis’ campaign also is expected to release its first video ahead of campaigning in several states this holiday weekend. And he is expected to appear on Fox News after his conversation with Musk on Twitter.
But it’s the Twitter part of this, especially a conversation between DeSantis and Musk, that’s intriguing. Burns and Dixon write, “The relationship could be a significant boost for DeSantis by giving him an introduction to, and credibility with, Musk’s massive following — including his 140 million Twitter followers. But it could prove a burden should DeSantis become distracted by the tycoon’s many controversial comments.”
Last November, Musk said he would support DeSantis if DeSantis ran for president. At the time, he added that he was a fan of Barack Obama’s presidency and had voted for Joe Biden over Donald Trump.
So how much influence does Musk really have? Well, as many have pointed out, Musk urged Americans to vote for Republicans in last year’s midterm elections, but the so-called “red wave” never happened and the Democrats even remained in control of the Senate.
Is cable news dying?
Donald Trump’s town hall on CNN earlier this month drew a little more than 3 million people. That made it a good night for CNN, but when you think about it, 3 million isn’t a lot of people.
The same can be said for Tucker Carlton’s former show on Fox News. At times, it was the most-watched show in cable news. But that was often in the 3 million viewers range — again, not a lot in the grand scheme of things.
The Washington Post’s Paul Farhi has a spot-on story when you consider these kinds of numbers. Take the Trump town hall. Farhi writes, “The tepid response may reflect Trump’s waning drawing power, or the fact that the town hall aired eight months before primary voting begins. But it also tells an ominous tale about cable news’s declining influence and troubled business model.”
When we think of cord-cutting, we often think of sports networks and network TV. But it really could cut into cable news, particularly when you consider that there doesn’t seem to be a big appetite to stream news (see: CNN+).
Farhi points out how quickly the landscape is changing. When Trump was elected president in 2016, about 70% of households with a TV had either cable or satellite subscriptions. Now? That number is just under 40%. Farhi has data that more than 2.3 million customers cut the cord in the first quarter of this year alone.
Farhi wrote, “The leading cable networks remain enormously profitable, largely because of the economic dynamics of the larger cable industry. The financial foundation of cable news isn’t advertising but the license fees that cable-system operators pay for the right to carry them. Regardless of whether a cable subscriber watches Fox, CNN or MSNBC, their monthly cable payments help fund those companies. Last year, the licensing fees collected by the six biggest cable news networks (Fox, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, Fox Business and HLN) amounted to just over $4 billion, according to S&P. Advertisers added another $2.6 billion.”
“But,” Farhi added, “the day could soon come when an exodus of cable subscribers leaves cable operators unable to afford the hefty license fees that those news programmers now command.”
It came as no surprise, but it was still depressing to hear that a Moscow court refused bail for Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, and extended his detention until Aug. 30. Gershkovich is being charged with espionage — a charge he and the U.S. government vehemently deny. Russian authorities have not presented any evidence in the case.
Especially heartbreaking was that Gershkovich’s parents were at Tuesday’s hearing when the latest rulings were made. The New York Times’ Roger Cohen wrote, “Mr. Gershkovich’s parents, Ella Milman and Mikhail Gershkovich, waited for more than an hour outside the courtroom before being allowed into the hearing. It was their first sighting of their son since his arrest on March 29. The couple, who live in New Jersey, arrived in Moscow on Saturday.”
In a statement, the Journal said, “… we expected there would be no change to Evan’s wrongful detention, we are deeply disappointed. The accusations are demonstrably false, and we continue to demand his immediate release.”
Take some time today to check out this extraordinary work from The Associated Press’ Kat Stafford: “From birth to death.”
The AP introduces this series by writing, “From birth to death, Black Americans fare worse in measures of health compared to their white counterparts. They have higher rates of infant and maternal mortality, higher incidence of asthma during childhood, more difficulty treating mental health as teens, and greater rates of high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease and other illnesses. The Associated Press spent the past year exploring how the legacy of racism in America has laid the foundation for the health inequities that Black people face.”
The package is extremely well done and well worth your time.
The Sports Emmy winners were announced Monday night. ESPN and Fox led the way with nine wins apiece.
Among the more notable winners:
- Outstanding weekly studio show: “Fox NFL Sunday”
- Outstanding daily studio show: ESPN’s “SportsCenter”
- Studio host: NBC’s Mike Tirico
- Play-by-play announcer: ABC/ESPN’s Mike Breen
- Studio analyst: ESPN’s Ryan Clark
- Game analyst: ESPN2’s Peyton Manning
Manning won for his work on the “ManningCast.” That’s the “Monday Night Football” alternate broadcast that he does with his brother, Eli, and various guests. Part of the appeal of the broadcast is the banter between Peyton and Eli, particularly when the two of them tease each other. Eli is especially good at poking fun at Peyton and he didn’t let the latest opportunity pass.
When ESPN’s public relations Twitter account sent out a congratulatory tweet for Peyton, Eli retweeted it and wrote, “I did not know you could win an Emmy for just telling fans when coaches should call timeout.”
A’s announcer fired
Glen Kuiper, the Oakland A’s announcer who appeared to use a racial slur on air, has been fired.
Earlier this month, I wrote how Kuiper, who calls games on NBC Sports California, told viewers about a trip he had taken to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City. Instead of saying “Negro,” however, it sounded as if he used a racial slur. (Here’s the clip.) He apologized later in the broadcast, saying he said something that “didn’t come out quite the way I wanted it to.”
He was then suspended by NBC Sports California. He was fired after an internal investigation. A person familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press’ Josh Dubow, “… the decision was based on a variety of factors, including information uncovered in the internal review.”
Kuiper put out a statement insisting what he said was “a terrible but honest mispronunciation, and I take full responsibility.” He added that “racism is in no way a part of me; it never has been, and it never will be.”
He also said, “I am an honest, caring, kind, honorable, respectful husband and father who would never utter a disparaging word about anybody. Those who know me best know this about me.”
He probably should’ve stopped there, but he kept going, saying, “I wish the Oakland A’s and NBC Sports would have taken into consideration my 20-year career, my solid reputation, integrity, and character, but in this current environment traits like integrity and character are no longer considered. I will always have a hard time understanding how one mistake in a 20-year broadcasting career is cause for termination, but I know something better is in my future.”
One mistake? Current environment? Maybe that something better in his future is him getting a clue.
- The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin with “CNN needs a new chief. Here’s the ideal candidate.”
- Markie Martin, a Dallas-based correspondent, has been named co-anchor of NewsNation’s morning show “Morning in America,” which is expanding to four hours (6 to 10 a.m. Eastern). Martin will co-anchor the newscast with Adrienne Bankert starting June 12.
- The New York Times’ Benjamin Mullin with “BuzzFeed Tries to Ride the A.I. Wave. Who’s Hungry?”
- Slate’s Hillary Frey with “How the ProPublica Guys Broke That Huge Clarence Thomas Story.”
- The Media Development Foundation with “The State of Local News in Ukraine in 2023.”
- From the American Journalism Project and Loretta Chao: “We asked 5,000 people across the country what they want from local news. Here’s what we learned.”
- The New York Times’ Jaeah Lee with “How One Uvalde Family Learned to Grieve in Public.”
- As we approach this weekend’s series finale of HBO’s “Succession,” The Ringer took the opportunity to write, “The 40 Best TV Finales of the 21st Century, Ranked.” It’s a good list, and the kind of thing The Ringer does so well.
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