Jorge Ramos lands big question amid debate-night hype

Good morning.

  1. A clicker-wearying night on cable TV
    Whew. CNN televised Univision's Democratic debate and landed its 1,245th "exclusive" Donald Trump interview, while FOX had a Donald Trump town hall and MSNBC had a Marco Rubio town hall. The boxing analogies were flying in last night's post-mortems and this morning's wrap-ups, notably about the Democrats. CNN's Chris Cuomo said Jorge Ramos landed "the biggest haymaker of the night" at Univision's Democratic debate with The Washington Post by asking Clinton if she'd drop out if indicted in her email mess. She declined to answer. Having been close to burying Bernie Sanders, the media now finds the Democratic race rekindled with his Michigan upset. Cuomo colleague John Berman said that it frustrated an attempt to pivot to the general election. Let's see.

    Joe Scarborough was in high dudgeon on MSNBC in the early hours today, bashing his party for "putting up clowns" every four years. He noted how Republicans "run this country" via governorships and state legislatures (throw in the U.S. Congress, too) but their solid souls "never seem to break through this primary process." He pointedly referenced former Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and pizza king-turned-former White House candidate Herman Cain. But his skewering seemed to miss how establishment types, namely then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush, Sen. John McCain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, were the party's last three White House nominees.

    Most TV analysts seemed to buy Clinton's line of the night on why so many don't trust her: "I am not a natural politician, in case you haven't noticed, like my husband or President Obama, so I have a view that I just have to do the best I can." Really? She's been, after all, one of most famous and respected women in the world for several decades. It's not really that as a former First Lady, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State, she's a bad politician. She's just not quite as good at feigning sincerity as, say, her more politically adroit spouse.

  2. Ann Coulter leaving the country?!!
    The theatrically acidic polemicist was chagrined with the Univision debate. "I'm watching a presidential debate in the United States tonight, being conducted in Spanish," she tweeted. "Adios, America!" (@AnnCoulter) Legendary former Democratic congressman John Dingell, 89, (or some aide de camp) responded, "You're finally leaving? Bye." (@JohnDingell)
  3. Is somebody footing Hulk Hogan's legal bills?
    Dan Abrams, founder of the legal news site Law Newz, figures there are three reasons the Hogan vs. Gawker Media case hasn't settled: Hogan himself is footing the bills, his lawyers took it on a contingent fee basis and hope they win or, finally, one of the legions of rich and powerful Gawker haters are subsidizing it. "We received a tip that certain Tampa lawyers believe a benefactor agreed to cover Hogan’s legal fees in some capacity. I have no idea if it’s true but it sure would explain a lot of the seemingly inexplicable in this already bizarre case." Well, conceding you have no idea if that accurate is, I guess, at least truth in journalistic advertising. (Law Newz)
  4. Erin Andrews not alone in being a victim of creeps
    "Even before revelations that the reporter Erin Andrews was secretly videotaped naked by a stalker in a hotel room in 2008, female sportscasters understood how frightening obsessed fans can be." (The New York Times) There are more female sportscasters, with growing fame and influence. "But the flip side is unwanted attention from a male-dominated audience that can include fans who get uncomfortably close, or even stalkers."
  5. ESPN falls for fake tweet
    Yesterday was the first day NFL teams could sign free agents and ESPN fumbled. It's partly a function of our addiction to social media it assumed an apparent tweet by a Fox Sports personality out one big signing was legitimate. It was not. It should have double-checked and later apologized. (Deadspin)
  6. Sounds of editorial page silence
    So the Sun Sentinel of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida is not happy with the GOP candidates for president and won't endorse one its primary, (Poynter) while The Chicago Tribune doesn't like Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders and won't endorse in its primary. By coincidence, they're both owned by Tribune Publishing, which means that these sounds of silence are bipartisan. (Tribune) Unlike its corporate brethren, The Tribune did endorse Floridian Marco Rubio.
  7. Reimagining a newspaper
    "The Dallas Morning News faces the same forces confronting the rest of the newspaper industry: the painstaking and painful process of re-imagining and remaking something that worked very well for a long time that now has a crumbling business model, an audience that’s moved on, technology that is constantly shifting and a culture largely entrenched in the way things used to work." (Poynter) Now Mike Wilson, having arrived from ESPN's FiveThirtyEight, is trying to bring a typical big-city newspaper into the digital age. It's still very early and too early to know if ongoing restructuring will take the enterprise where it needs to go: getting enough people to pay enough money for digital content to support a newsroom that can really chronicle a major American city.
  8. Those Trump press conferences
    Robert Schlesinger of U.S. News & World Report (where I write a weekly column on politics) finds a certain evil genius with the Trump conclaves. First, he stacks the first rows with chums, who just find every utterance brilliant and laugh at all his jokes, no matter how cutting or coarse. Second, only he's got a microphone so when questions come, he can either answer what he desires rather than what was asked (the TV audience is likely clueless as to the question) or just screen out or ignore those he just doesn't like at all. (U.S. News & World Report) Oh, and who exactly are those folks up front? Michael Bender of Bloomberg tells us: "For all the huge rallies and talk of angry outsiders, this small, expensively dressed group is Trump’s real base. There are CEOs, insurance brokers, health-care executives, former debutantes, trophy wives, and a woman in a short, sparkling silver dress (and thick bracelet to match) with an animal fur wrapped around her like a sash." (Bloomberg)
  9. A fascinating Bloomberg postscript
    You just assumed that if Michael Bloomberg had run for president, he would have bought himself an entire campaign apparatus. Well, it proves to be far more nuanced than that and, says longtime adviser Bradley Tusk. He would have utilized the growing sharing economy and its vast fleet of workers. The idea was that the Bloomberg campaign would pay these drivers, delivery people and others to be their field staff, campaigning for Bloomberg as they went about their routes." (Wired) Re/code elaborates on how Tusk "sketched out a plan that would employ DoorDash workers to deposit campaign literature along with the Chinese food, or invite those sharing their homes through Airbnb to display campaign signs." (Re/code)
  10. A miffed sheriff exacts petty revenge
    The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office in Florence, Arizona barred a local TV investigative reporter from attending a press conference being held by the sheriff, Paul Babeu. It could not possibly be related to the reporter having produced a series "about Sheriff Babeu’s tenure running a therapeutic boarding school in Massachusetts. Experts said the school horrifically abused its students and even tortured them." (ABC 15) Alas, Babeu has cited "the effectiveness of the punishments and assured family members the disciplinary measures were necessary and successful."(Casa Grande Dispatch) And one more thing: The guy's running for Congress, somewhere. He "filed to run for Congress in the wrong district in a series of paperwork errors that have added to issues plaguing the Republican hopeful." (Arizona Republic)
  11. How the media blew Michigan
    "It goes back to polling. Pre-primary surveys showed Clinton leading, on average, by 21.4 points. That’s massive. With journalists knowing (or thinking they knew) that the former Secretary of State was dominating in Michigan, it was only natural for them to look for the logical reasons that supported the conclusion. (The Washington Post)
  12. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin
    Emily Greenhouse will be the managing editor of the New Yorker. Previously, she was a writer for Bloomberg Politics. (Email) | Margaret Lyons will be a writer for Watching, The New York Times' new TV website. Previously, she was a writer at Vulture. (Digiday) | Job of the day: The Hartford Courant is looking for an insurance reporter. Get your resumes in! (Poynter Media Jobs Connection) | 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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