Breitbart's Super Bowl take: Tom Brady, victim of social media torture
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If only it were The Onion. But it's Breitbart News.
"Liberals explode with vitriol as #NotMySuperBowlChamps trends on social media" is the headline atop this profound cultural revelation:
"As the New England Patriots took yet another Super Bowl win, liberals from coast to coast exploded with vitriol on social media, furious that a team with tangential links to President Donald Trump came out on top Sunday. Since that final touchdown, the hashtag #NotMySuperBowlChamps and other similar tags have been trending." (Breitbart)
"The left-wing sports media has been out for blood for the better part of a year because Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, coach Bill Belichick, and team owner Robert Kraft all came out as unapologetic fans of President Trump. And now that they’ve won the Super Bowl, the left has turned apoplectic."
It even bought into one tweet whose author conceded he was joking with a faux anti-left diatribe. He later wrote, "Even Breitbart thought I was being serious. I guess parody doesn't work when it's so close to the loony reality." (lamknight7)
"But if I had to guess, this looks like it was made up out of whole cloth by Breitbart. Shouldn’t they be reporting on all the terrorist attacks you guys are ignoring?" said Andrew Rudalevige, a Patriots fan who's a political scientist at Bowdoin College in Maine.
"Given that the goal here is to blame anything Trump can't control — like the media, like the judges — for everything that goes wrong, yes, they're serious," said Keith Olbermann, who's starring in a series of web videos called "The Resistance" for GQ.
"As even the kind of quick perusal of the Goebbels approach that the late Andrew Breitbart and his cheesier successors would've made, the propaganda has to get wilder and wilder, but more importantly it has to get faster and faster, as you move forward."
Some White guys have all the luck
"Disney CEO Robert Iger may extend tenure again — few believe internal executives are poised to ascend and contend it would be tough for an outsider to take over in less than 16 months." (The Wall Street Journal)
And some women and minorities think the system is rigged?! Quelle surprise, as the French say.
For a very early print edition Sunday, The Boston Globe assumed that the giant deficit faced by the New England Patriots would stand. "A Bitter End" fronted that edition. (USA Today)
"While the cutline reflected that the game wasn’t over, it was below the fold. So, readers who got the early edition of the Globe were treated to a headline that boldly implied the Patriots lost."
Fox's O.T. bonus
"Because ad sales are about managing contingencies, Fox had pre-sold a number of bonus spots on the odd chance that Super Bowl LI would require a little temporal wiggle room, and as that prospect became a reality, other brands began making inquiries of their own." (Ad Age)
"We always have overtime agreements in place, and did so this year," said Fox Networks Group Exec VP-Ad Sales Bruce Lefkowitz. "We were also garnering commitments in real-time. We would have liked the greatest Super Bowl in history to go on forever, and were prepared if it did."
Headline of day
"This White House list contradicts Trump’s claim the news media ignores terror attacks" (BuzzFeed) Yes, more confirmable falsehoods.
Watching the government's overseas media
This is from BBG Watch, a long-time, and at times decidedly contentious, newsletter by activists in an outside the Broadcast Board of Governors, which oversees media that includes the Voice of America:
"Correction: An earlier version of this commentary had a reference to tweets and retweets allegedly posted on by a manager in the Voice of America Persian Service. We were subsequently informed that the Twitter account, which showed as having been started in March 2013 and, until it was shut down by last week, belonged to an impostor and not to any manager or staffer in the VOA Persian Service."
"...How such an allegedly impostor VOA Persian Service director’s Twitter account could have existed for so long and be followed by the VOA Persian Service itself, as well as VOA journalists and managers, without anybody at the VOA and the BBG alerting the public that it was a fake account, is still a mystery and a stunning admission of management failure at the Voice of America and the Broadcasting Board of Governors."
The take from Cambodia
William Monroe, a retired former State Department official who lives half the year in Cambodia, saw a piece here about the use of social media by the right-wing. He chimes in:
"Cambodia offers an interesting example of the powerful impact of social media — in expected and perhaps unexpected ways. The original view was that social media in Cambodia (use of which is surging) would help opposition parties get their message out in an environment where the government/ruling party essentially controls the media."
"They have had in fact some success in this, but as the attached article argues, clever leaders can also use social media to great effect as well — at worse as 'another tool of authoritarian power.' The author may overstate the danger in the US, but worldwide this is a fascinating phenomenon to watch." (East Asia Forum)
Real reason tech firms fighting Trump immigration move
It's not that tech firms get much talent from any of the seven countries. But, "According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 24 percent of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics workforce in computer-related occupations is foreign-born, compared with 16.7 percent of the general U.S. workforce. That's only possible because the U.S. is so strong in the international competition for tech talent." (Bloomberg)
Now a court says Google must fork over emails
"Just south of the Second Circuit Court of Appeal's district, a Pennsylvania (3rd Circuit) federal judge has come to (nearly) the opposite conclusion on law enforcement's access to emails stored overseas. The first case deals with Microsoft, this with Google, in particular "two FBI SCA (Stored Communications Act) warrants seeking emails that Google says aren't stored in the United States." (TechDirt)
"Google, however, also says the sought emails could be at any of its data storage sites — which would include those in the US. It all depends on when it's asked to retrieve the communications."
Alas, this new decision part company with the appeals decision, which concluded that emails in an Irish data center are not subject of warrants issued by U.S. law enforcement. "The court explains Google's process for handling user data, which is built for efficiency, rather than what's central to the FBI's demands: efficiency of retrieval in response to law enforcement requests." Here's the latest ruling.
Trump, Bannon vs. The Times
As Trump and Steve Bannon fulminate about the awful media, notably The New York Times, they might look at both a news story and an analysis by longtime Supreme Court and legal affairs writer Adam Liptak. Smart, measured, non-judgmental, fair. On the legal issues at hand on the immigration flap:
"A ruling by the court on Mr. Trump’s travel ban on seven predominantly Muslim countries could help answer some crucial legal questions: How much independent constitutional authority does the president have over immigration, and how much power has Congress given him?"
"The likely answer to both questions: a lot. But other parts of the Constitution may temper or defeat that power. Among them are the due process and equal protection clauses and the First Amendment’s ban on government establishment of religion."
Bannon would be hard-pressed to find anything remotely as strong at, let's say, Breitbart News.
Trying to keep sane
"Outside of work, I don't speak very much about my job reporting on crime and violence in my hometown of Chicago anymore," writes The Chicago Tribune's William Lee. "I'm sure this is a relief to my weary friends and family." (Lee)
"The truth is that I stopped talking shop outside of work for the same reason chefs don't discuss the unsavory things they witness in their work kitchens — some topics just aren't very appetizing, and few things are less enticing than the city's much discussed violence."
And, as a result, "As a result, my home is a news-free zone on my off days; I'll only scan a newspaper, allow for short visits to chicagotribune.com and avoid TV news broadcasts altogether. I'm not alone, knowing plenty of other journalists who cover crime and some cops who avoid news on their own time."
"Now, my mind is an endless log of murder victims' names, faces and intersections where the shootings occurred. I can feel the pain of family and friends like I couldn't as a young man."
White House "rattled" by Melissa McCarthy's Sean Spicer
As they should be, "White House rattled by McCarthy's spoof of Spicer." (Politico) You did see the "SNL" segment, did you not?
"More than being lampooned as a press secretary who makes up facts, it was Spicer’s portrayal by a woman that was most problematic in the president’s eyes, according to sources close to him."
"And the unflattering send-up by a female comedian was not considered helpful for Spicer’s longevity in the grueling, high-profile job, where he has struggled to strike the right balance between representing an administration that considers the media the 'opposition party,' and developing a functional relationship with the press."
Does Gorsuch's claim of assisting criminal defendants matter?
There was a very thoughtful pushback on a pushback on a pushback on a pushback on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show last evening. It involved her clear sympathy for a Wall Street Journal story, mentioned here yesterday (with skepticism), that made a lot (too much) out of Neil Gorsuch's claims of having done volunteer criminal justice work while at Harvard Law School.
Dahlia Lithwick, a fine legal affairs reporter for Slate, said this question was ultimately irrelevant to considering him. "This is a referendum on norms, a referendum on a stolen seat," Lithwick said, "and I always think these questions of 'Are you a good person?' as represented by these handful of behaviors never goes well. I've learned to call it sort of the cardiologic model of confirmation hearings."
Maddow came back at her friend to say she felt it is in no small measure a matter of White House and Gorsuch biographical integrity. But, on this matter, Lithwick seemed far closer to getting it right during what remained an insightful exchange.
"I hope this is not the main event at a confirmation hearing that might be the last best chance to talk about an independent judiciary and Donald Trump." Plus, the guy's record on prisoner rights is good, she noted, so shift the focus in any interrogation to what he thinks of Trump calling somebody a "so-called judge" and on his view of an independent judiciary, not his volunteer work 25 years ago.
Cheddar inks another partnership
You do have to check Cheddar, the very good sort-of CNBC for a younger crowd, especially strong on the tech sector. It's smart and fun and airs live for several hours from the New York Stock Exchange floor and Smart Flatiron Building in Manhattan. Now it will be on 60 percent of smart TVs in the U.S. as it launches on XUMO, the live and video-on-demand over-the-top digital service.
It's the first network on XUMO to boast live daily shows on XUMO. Says founder Jon Steinberg, "I want people to open up their TVs, connect to the Internet, and get a taste of Cheddar. With Xumo, we achieve that for 60 percent of the new smart TVs sold in the United States. Now everyone can get the free hours we provide on Facebook right on their TV."
Tiger Woods tanking
What is the deal, at least to journalists who cover golf? After a long layoff, Woods returned and has been both miserable and, now, he's injured again.
Says Ed Sherman, a long-time golf writer who co-hosts a golf talk radio show on WSCR in Chicago:
"The history of golf is full of great players who said they would stop playing when they were no longer competitive, and they continued to play. I would think Tiger Woods would be the same way, assuming his health allows. It might be his health won't let him play anymore. The guy hasn't played a full season since 2013. There is a lot of scar tissue. Plus, the Golf Channel's Brandel Chamblee said he looked like the oldest 41-year old golfer he's ever seen."
Adds Sherman, who also writes for Poynter, "Yet having said that, Woods is going to find inspiration from Darren Clarke, who won the 2011 British Open at age 42 when he was supposedly toast. He's going to look at Davis Love III winning the 2015 Wyndham Championship at age 51 after suffering through years of injury problems. He has to be thinking if they can do, I can do it."
The morning babble
"We get all these calls from people off the press, pushing this Bannon story," said Joe Scarborough on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," pooh-poohing notion that Steve Bannon is running the show. Still, Donny Deutsch, the ad executive-turned-bloviator, claims that Bannon is "in the business of promoting Steve Bannon" and is a leaker par excellence, a "greater self-promoter than Trump." Witness his mug on the current Time magazine profile.
"Fox & Friends" went after a California state politician who said "half of my family would be eligible of deportation under the executive order." As co-host Brian Kilmeade said,"Because they don't belong here, they should be eligible for mass deportation" (though they doesn't "think they'll be targeted initially"). Steve Doocy jumped from that claim to suggest validity to Trump's claim of million of illegal voters, though, "We don't know the numbers."
CNN took us to the Senate floor, where Democrats had been blabbing all night themselves to delay a confirmation vote on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. As underscored, it was a "Hail Mary" pass to find a Republican to break a 50-450 tie.
Well, this made it imperative to check out C-SPAN2 where Sen. Chuck Schumer was talking to a virtually empty chamber shortly before 6:30 a.m. Eastern. He was talking about Vladimir Putin and his inclination to "go to any lengths to silence political dissidents, including murder."
Its relevance to, say, charter schools was unclear but thankfully he gave way to solid, sober Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, who is languorous even in the midday sun. He informed that Rhode Islanders don't think billionaire DeVos understands working people.
As he spoke, The Washington Post was offering a Dana Milbank column arguing that "Democrats in the long run may thank the majority Republicans for confirming DeVos. In the fight against President Trump’s agenda, the new administration’s incompetence is their friend." The droning went on at C-Span2.
Back at "Fox & Friends," there was one of its quintessential B-list debates, on media coverage of Trump, with "journalist and author" Cathy Areu defending the press and The Federalist's Bre Payton telling Doocy what he wanted to hear. Yes, yes, the press were "lapdogs" to president Obama and "now the reverse is true" as it "serves media elites and audiences." All very pedestrian.
Let's hope tonight's CNN 9 p.m. health care debate between Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz is rather more engaging.