The media's riveting election night: Drama, history and a plea for restraint
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Geraldo Rivera wore a sparkly blue tux on Fox last night as if he were a mustachioed member of a Temptations cover band. But maybe the ill-suited attire (he'd been at a charity event) fit the evening's topsy-turvy essence. It started with hour after hour focused on unceasing fallout of Donald Trump's "Mexican" judge remarks. (Poynter) Then, polls started closing and winners were announced. Then, it switched to Trump's awkward use of a teleprompter and Hillary Clinton's seemingly concise trashing of Trump in her "victory speech." (Vox) Ah, if we only had a buck for every use of the adjective "presumptive!"
During this politics junkie's feast of a night, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow was unimpressed by the Trump who was being lauded post-speech over on Fox as "thoughtful and presidential" by Newt Gingrich and praised by Bill O'Reilly. "That was not him being himself," Maddow declared. "That was him being managed by politicians. His personality and magnetism and charisma disappeared." Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt then agreed with her and skewered Trump's candidacy, noting he didn't do much to fix the panic within some GOP circles. Bernie Sanders was around, too, albeit surfacing in the early morning and leaving his status ambiguous two days before he'll go to the White House to meet President Obama. (ABC News)
You might have suffered a bit of whiplash if you persisted with this for hour after hour. But then came a needed reality check. "A month ago all the dominoes fell and Donald Trump stood a colossus astride the Republican universe," said David Axelrod, the former Obama strategist, on CNN very late. "And Hillary Clinton was struggling with Bernie Sanders, and that was the discussion we were having around this table." Axelrod, no Clinton shill, concluded, "Tonight it's a good night for Hillary Clinton. But it's a reminder that this is a dynamic process and there will be a lot of turns and twists in this road."
By this morning critiques were of a screechier sort. Notably, "Morning Joe's" Joe Scarborough nearly morphed into the movie "Network's" fictional anchor Howard ("I'm mad as hell and I'm not gong to take this anymore") Beale. He derided scared, spineless fellow Republicans (House Speaker Paul Ryan tops his list of shame) who made mild rebukes of Trump's racist remarks but rationalize support as the means to topple Clinton. Axelrod's firm grasp of the obvious was by then hours-old but remained a helpful reminder amid the theatrical thrust toward the unequivocal.
Dealing with idiots
"A number of journalists who cover presidential candidate Hillary Clinton reported being harassed by angry readers as a result of the AP's decision to declare Clinton the 'presumptive nominee' Monday evening. 'I won't be answering calls from unknown numbers today, after third call from Bernie supporters telling me they'd hunt me down in the streets,' New York Times reporter Amy Chozick tweeted on Tuesday." Other reporters talked of nasty messages, too. (Politico) Meanwhile, The Associated Press distributed a staff memo warning reporters and editors of irate Bernie Sanders supporters. (Poynter)
Now you can be just like Mark Zuckerberg
It's really easy: come up with a dumb, simplistic password that gets hacked. He apparently did have such a password — "DaDaDa," perhaps reflecting the joys of new parenthood — and apparently had his Twitter and Pinterest accounts hacked over the weekend. (Poynter) He's not saying anything on the matter, at least not yet, and will probably want to take an un-Trump-like vow of silence.
Fashion journalism to run with
"Every year, as much as $100 million in counterfeit sneakers is seized by U.S. customs alone. And that's just scratching the surface: Worldwide, counterfeit fashion is estimated to be a $600 billion industry, and if U.S. customs figures are accurate, about 40 percent of all counterfeit goods are sneakers. That makes counterfeit kicks a $240 billion problem to sneaker makers like Nike, Adidas, Converse, and more." (Fast Company) So what to do? If you're Brooklyn-born Greats, a small brand, and you've got NFL star Marshawn Lynch to endorse a pair, you try to prevent your $140 shoes being ripped off via "technology popularized by Bitcoin to create 3-D printed smart tags that can track any pair of the new Greats x Beastmode 2.0 Royale Chukka sneakers back to the factory — and which are impossible to fake."
Tale of the online tape
"There are now more Americans working for online publishers and broadcasters than for newspapers, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment at online outlets first eclipsed newspapers in October 2015." (Nieman Lab) According to BLS, there are about 198,000 working in “internet publishing and broadcasting,” compared to just over 183,000 working for newspapers.
Covering a story, discovering a passion
"When CNN correspondent Arwa Damon reported on the horrific case of a 4-year-old Iraqi boy, Youssif, who was doused with gasoline and set on fire in 2007, she didn’t know it would be the beginning of a long personal relationship." (Adweek) The boy, who needed expensive treatment to deal with horrible burns, now lives in Los Angeles, enters high school in the fall and wants to be a doctor. And his transformation "from horror to hope" led to a charity, Inara, which Damon co-founded. It helps children damaged by war and these days is dealing with media help for children from Syria.
Jake Tapper blasts sniveling questions
"Trump supporter Kayleigh McEnany pointed to Clinton’s brief round of questions that included such hardballs like 'Secretary Clinton, is it setting in that you might be making some serious history here tomorrow?' and 'People just come up to you and they get tears in their eyes. Do you feel the weight of what this means for people?'" The CNN host called those queries “ridiculously sycophantic” and called for the press to apply equal scrutiny to Trump and Clinton. (Mediaite)
Fox Sports is covering a big soccer tournament, the Copa America Centenario, mostly involving South and Central American teams but also the U.S. Between two games last night, I caught its rather juvenile set of civics primers on various countries in the Americas. There it was on screen, a big text block on Paraguay: "Population: 6.8 million. FIFA World Ranking: 44th. In Asuncion there are car-babysitters wherever you park; payment is optional but strongly advised." Then there was Colombia: "Population: 48 Million. FIFA World Ranking: 3rd. Has the biggest salsa festival & outdoor horse parade in the world. Given the high price of cell phone usage, people on the street sell 'minutes' on their personal phones to passers-by." Said Rob Stone, the fleetingly lame host, "Ah, love this world!"
CNBC buries NFL commissioner
We may have a pattern here: Hackers got a hold of the @NFL Twitter account, announced that Commissioner Roger Goodell had died and suckered at least CNBC. "At 12:41 p.m., in the middle of a commercial break, CNBC flashed a banner on screen, citing the NFL, that Goodell had died. It was up for about :10 seconds. By the time Fast Money returned from break about a minute later, another banner read that the tweet had been deleted." (Adweek)
Johnny Apple redux
I gave a eulogy at a service for William Rice, a renowned Chicago Tribune food and wine writer (and first restaurant critic for The Washington Post long ago and, later, editor of Food & Wine magazine). People came from all over to pay homage to a mix of incredible professional sophistication, collegiality and personal decency. Along the way, I mentioned tales involving him and a buddy, the late R.W. Apple Jr, a legendary New York Times reporter, gourmand and frequent food writer. Realizing that some might not know much about Apple, I stole an anecdote about his penchant for epic feasts and prodigious expense accounts found in a great 2003 Calvin Trillin profile of Apple. (The New Yorker)
When it came to spending Times money, he was "without peer." When Joseph Lelyveld, the then-foreign editor (and future editor) once surfaced in London, where Apple was bureau chief, they had a lavish dinner. "When the check arrived, Apple reached over to scoop it up. 'You better let me take this,' he said. 'They’d never believe it coming from you.'" Now, maybe Johnny Apple and Bill Rice will be toasting one another somewhere in heaven. First with martinis, then either Dom Perignon or Veuve Clicquot and, finally, a really great Bordeaux.