The Dem debate: Press calls Hillary Clinton the winner, no contest (almost)

Good morning.

  1. Punditocracy doesn't have many doubts

    The homogeneity of the American reporting class (dominantly male, dominantly white) was met by the harmony of conclusions over what happened in Las Vegas last night. "Hillary Clinton won — by a landslide. (POLITICO) There was mention of her showing "relentless efficiency" (The Wall Street Journal), having "dominated" (The Weekly Standard), of her running the table (Bloomberg), of her "experience and self-assurance" (The Washington Post), of her being "all smiles" in a debate that "largely seemed to go her way." (Los Angeles Times), of being "commanding" (The New York Times), of having "owned it" (ABC News) and, yes, verging on the "spectacular." (Slate)

    There was a near unanimity, too, in the media echo chamber over Bernie Sanders, the grumpy old uncle, serving as her prime aide-de-camp: "By saying early in the night that Americans are tired of the controversy surrounding Clinton's use of a private email account, Sanders essentially neutralized the Democratic frontrunner's biggest weakness." (NBC News) That consensus was at odds with both a curious on-air Fox News focus group of Democrats, which was run by relentlessly self-promoting pollster Frank Luntz, that showed more than two dozen diehards preferring Sanders and the take that, Clinton strengths aside, "Sanders hit the main points that will likely keep his base intact." (CNBC) Oh, well, the pundits didn't concur. Even those with doubts ultimately about the strength of a Clinton general election candidacy conceded she came out on top: "She won because the first Democratic presidential debate focused on liberal politics — and not her email scandal or character." (National Journal) And as for the new data-driven journalism stars, there was one notable individual's sense that the media had exaggerated both a pre-debate Hillary-in-disarray campaign theory and her actual performance. Still, before and after, he believes, she's the obvious prospective party nominee. (Nate Silver)

  2. Shepard Smith's Howard Beale imitation

    Via a locker room TV, I stumbled into watching the Fox afternoon anchor pointedly noting the disjoint inherent in NBC announcing that Donald Trump would host "Saturday Night Live" next month. Remember its outrage over his crazy comments about Mexican immigrants as rapists? Well, there really is a contradiction between NBCUniversal dumping Trump as host of "Celebrity Apprentice," as well as no longer broadcasting two beauty pageants he runs, and now beckoning him as a host. Smith resembled Howard "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" Beale from the Paddy Chayefsky movie "Network" as he said, "Nice job, NBC. You made a stand, you stood for your values, you did what you must, forget the money, no more Trump! Except, more Trump." Fortunately, unlike the fictional Beale in the 1976 (time flies) flick, Smith didn't announce that he was going to commit suicide next week on live television. Imagine. That might draw bigger ratings than NBC surely knows it will get on SNL as its money-making partnership with Trump is renewed.

  3. Journalists attack Tesla workers?

    Talk about being charged for a story (rah-ta-boom)! Reporters from the Reno Gazette-Journal alleged broke into a Tesla construction site, where it's building a $5 billion lithium-ion battery facility, and "struck and injured a Tesla employee with a Jeep, the company said Tuesday." The electric car maker said they attacked workers with a vehicle. One reporter was arrested and charged with battery (how fitting) with a deadly weapon. The publisher said the paper is taking the matter "very seriously." (The Huffington Post)

  4. Conde Nast buys Pitchfork

    A day after Playboy announced no more nudes, there was a reminder of another changing of the magazine guard. Pitchfork Media? Founded in Chicago, it's the Rolling Stone or Spin for a new generation. As one prominent club owner told me, he reads Pitchfork, not the old stalwarts anymore. Smart move by Condé Nast. (Poynter)

  5. A coach's firing, a seeming lack of due diligence in hiring

    There was a good job by the Los Angeles Times in the wake of the dismissal of the football coach at the hometown University of Southern California. Clearly, he had a bad drinking problem but, it makes clear, it was one that was in evidence for five years at his previous coaching gig. "What emerged is a portrait of a man who favored Patron Silver tequila or Coors Light and frequented a handful of Seattle-area bars, typically accompanied by staff members, and didn't hesitate to drink — early — while traveling. During a stop at a rib joint in Nashville in January 2013, for example, Sarkisian and three assistants ordered four shots of Patron Silver, four shots of an unspecified liquor and five beers. The coach cashed out at 11:53 a.m." (Los Angeles Times)

  6. Journalists, if your TED talk failed, there's hope

    The series of short talks on big issues has inspired 1 billion views since inaugurated in 2006. If you've auditioned, but your talk didn't pass muster, there is hope. It's spelled S-T-E-P-H-E-N C-O-L-B-E-R-T. The late night host decided to start airing some of the losers in a "RejecTED Talks" segment. The first included a kid talking about his summer vacation and a Scotsman (in kilt) discussing why it is mandatory to eat your meat before having your pudding. (Slate) So make sure that if you failed, you did so ignominiously and can make the show.

  7. What you missed on Egyptian TV

    "An Egyptian TV news anchor has illustrated Russian air strikes on Islamic terrorists in Syria with footage from a war videogame. Ahmed Moussa said on news channel Sada el Balad that the footage showed what he called the 'effectiveness' and 'precision' of Russian air attacks on ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) fighters battling president Bashar al-Assad's forces in Syria, according to a report by Al-Jazeera." (Hollywood Reporter) Well, at least he didn't rely on Crossy Road and claim it showed ISIS trying to cross various Syrian and Iraqi rivers and railroad tracks.

  8. Are Twitter, NFL wrong about copyright infringement?

    If you make a GIF out of a single NFL play, the league will argue that you've crossed into copyright infringement from the legal, or so-called fair use. Twitter suspended accounts for Gawker Media's Deadspin site and the Vox Media-owned @SBNationGIF. Some think it made a mistake. (NiemanLab)

  9. San Francisco Chronicle suspends reporter for parroting press release

    The paper "has suspended its Golden State Warriors beat reporter after he wrote an article Monday that was nearly a word-for-word copy of a team press release." (CJR) All well and good. But just imagine if editors closely juxtaposed stories and press releases, especially in their financial sections. Imagine if readers knew how many items in each day's paper or favorite news website, including personnel announcements, are direct lifts. Loosen up big-time private sector and government publicists with a few shots of Patron Silver and hear their tales of playing the media like a fiddle.

  10. Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare

    Today's front page of the day comes from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, which led with Tuesday night's Democratic debate.
    HI_SA (Courtesy the Newseum)

  11. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin

    DeMarco Morgan will be a correspondent at CBS News. He is a reporter and co-anchor at WXIA in Atlanta. (Email) | Errin Haines Whack is now an urban affairs writer for the AP. Previously, she was a freelance journalist in the D.C. area. (Email) | Alexei Barrionuevo is now an editor at large for Curbed. Previously, he was a columnist for The New York Times. (Curbed) | Job of the day: The Bakersfield Californian is looking for a reporter. Get your resumes in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves:

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    James Warren

    New York City native, graduate of Collegiate School, Amherst College and Roosevelt University. Married to Cornelia Grumman, dad of Blair and Eliot. National columnist, U.S. News & World Report. Former managing editor and Washington Bureau Chief, Chicago Tribune.


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