Morning Mediawire: PolitiFact fact-checked the Academy Awards

The 90th Academy Awards are Sunday, and three of the best picture nominees are based on true historical events: “Darkest Hour,” “Dunkirk” and “The Post.”

Our colleagues at PolitiFact thought it would be interesting to fact-check each of these to see if there had been any embellishing for the sake of drama.

Here are some of the questions they get to the bottom of. (Warning! Spoilers and plot points ahead.)

“Darkest Hour”

  • Did the king really visit Winston Churchill late at night in his bedroom?
  • Did Churchill jump on the tube to talk to ordinary people?
  • And what was up with that backward V the prime minister used to infamously flash?


  • Did those troops really stay in lines, exposed on the beach?
  • Did the flotilla of private boats really go all the way to Dunkirk to pick up the troops?
  • And just what was the connection to a major disaster and the Moonstone vessel in the movie?

“The Post”

  • Did the Washington Post find the Pentagon Papers, or did the Papers find the Post?
  • Did Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara really plead with Katharine Graham not to publish the Papers?
  • Did the Post’s decision to print inspire other newspapers to follow?

The awards air on ABC at 8 p.m Eastern. and will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel for the second year in a row. Here are some other interesting takes on the Oscars from around the internet:

  • Forbes has a “by the numbers.” For example, at 88, Christopher Plummer is the oldest acting nominee ever.
  • Time has everything you need to know about this year’s edition.
  • The Hollywood Reporter takes you inside preparations for the official after-party, the Governors Ball. With 1,500 invited, here are a few of the food stats they list: 7,500 individual U.S. shrimp, 250 Maine lobsters, and 1,500 quail eggs. Oh, and 13,000 glasses for beverages.
  • Variety gives us a behind-the-scenes look at how the telecast is produced.
  • New York Magazine dishes about the best items in the Oscar goody bags.
  • Here’s a fun retrospective of the past 90 years of Oscars, courtesy of Reuters.


NO LIE, APPARENTLY: Hope Hicks, the White House communications director, announced she was leaving the Trump administration. The news comes a day after she spoke with House investigators and said she was occasionally required to tell white lies under Trump.

‘A GUT PUNCH’: Seven reporters, some of whom had never discussed this before, described how covering mass killings have affected them. Here are snippets:

  • "Don't suggest we like it." - Trevor Hughes
  • "I had never cried on the job until June 12, 2016." - Christal Hayes
  • ”I get sick. My stomach aches. My head hurts." - Alan Gomez
  • "An editor reminded me we have counseling services for reporters who cover tragedies" - Eleanor Dearman

Here’s the full story. Hat-tip to USA Today’s Elizabeth Shell, who put the package together.

CAN’T. STOP. SQUABBLING: Why do Fox News and CNN go at each other like a long-married couple? It’s smart business to differentiate, says Gabriel Kahn, a professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communication. “CNN can no longer afford to play it down the middle,” Kahn tells the Washington Post’s Paul Farhi. “They’d look like Melba toast in an environment of olive bread and croissants if they did. They have to define their audience. One way to define your audience is by saying what you’re not.”

Emma González
Screengrab from the CNN Town Meeting on Feb. 22.

IN HER OWN WORDS, EMMA GONZÁLEZ: “I’m 18 years old, Cuban and bisexual. I’m so indecisive that I can’t pick a favorite color, and I’m allergic to 12 things. I draw, paint, crochet, sew, embroider — anything productive I can do with my hands while watching Netflix. But none of this matters anymore.” Harper’s Bazaar gave the fearless Parkland survivor a column — and it’s fascinating reading.

BAD NEWS FOR GOOD NEWS: Little Things, which thrived by putting good news and videos up on Facebook, has closed, a victim of Facebook’s shift from publisher content to user posts in its News Feed, Digiday reports. The outlet said it lost 75 percent of its organic reach since the shift, announced in January. About 100 people are out of work. “We’re disappointed. It’s their platform,” company president Gretchen Tibbits said of Facebook. “But until earlier this month, what we were doing was working.”

OH, CANADA: Ottawa is giving $50 million ($39 million U.S.) to help save local Canadian journalism, beset by many of the same problems as their colleagues south of that border. One plan has it going to Canadian Press, a wire service, to hire local reporters, CJR reports. “If they spend it directly on hiring journalists in local markets, that’s better than supporting a dying business model,” says Erin Millar, founder of the online media outlet Discourse Media. “But it’s not really an investment in the future because those journalists will go away when the money goes away.”

THE DEAD BEAT: “It’s a job that no one thinks they want, a kind of Siberia.” That’s Margalit Fox, who has written nearly 1,400 obituaries for the New York Times since 2004. However, Fox, who is retiring, found that the obit beat is the best in journalism “because you get paid to tell people’s stories.” Among her obits: Charles Manson, Patty Duke, Joyce Brothers and Betty Friedan.

confused gifEXPLAINING THIS CPM/TRUMP/FACEBOOK THINGEE: BuzzFeed used Julia Roberts, Kim Kardashian and GIFs that look like they’re from “Numb3rs” to explain what the heck was going on with Facebook ads during the election. We hope this is helpful.

DISSOLVING: An organization that sought to bridge divides between journalists of color and different sexual orientations is calling it quits. The board of UNITY Journalists of Diversity voted unanimously to disband, with a target date of March 30. It will divide its estimated reserves, about $68,000, between three remaining member groups — the Asian American Journalists Association, NLGJA | The Association of LGBTQ Journalists, and the Native American Journalists Association. In a release, UNITY said its mission hit obstacles with the departure of two leading groups dedicated to journalists of color, the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

HIRED: Rachel Rosenfelt, founder of The New Inquiry and creative director of Verso Books, has been named publisher and vice president of the New Republic. J.J. Gould, formerly the editor of, remains as editor and has been appointed president. Also announced: A clutch of promotions and new hires, including Heather Souvaine Horn as senior editor for Global Affairs and Matt Ford, staff writer on politics and legal affairs.

kennedy funeral
Paul Fusco, via the Metropolitan Museum of Art

ATTENTION SPAN: Are we moving too fast to really grasp the power of still photography? Is a surfeit of citizen journalists devaluing the command that a classic professionally produced image, like this (right) by Paul Fusco from a train carrying the assassinated body of Robert F. Kennedy to Washington, could have? Journalism entrepreneur Jeff Israely asks those questions in Nieman Lab — and this: “How can we make great photography stand out in the non-stop stream of content?”

SETTLING: Ebony Magazine has agreed to pay nearly $80,000 to dozens of freelancers for unpaid work over the past two years. Under the deal, each freelancer will get the full amount owed over the next year, the Chicago Tribune reported.

SETTLING SCORES?: Is Wichita State University cutting the budget of its student newspaper by nearly half to punish it for hard-edged coverage? That’s what the editor of The Sunflower says about the “devastating” cuts. “If they want a little newsletter, then that’s what it will become,” Sunflower editor-in-chief Chance Swaim says. The school’s vice president says the cuts have “nothing to do” with purported retaliation for coverage. The cut came in a university committee meeting that was closed to reporters and the public.

MOTHER, WHERE ART THOU?: The kids are Instagram stars. They just don’t want you to know who their mom is. The four sisters go to great lengths to hide the identity of their mother, rabid Muslim-hater and diehard Trump supporter Pamela Geller. Geller has been banned from England for her vile Islamophobia. Her four daughters haven’t denounced her ideology; they’ve just tried to distance themselves, reports Taylor Lorenz for The Daily Beast.

Pamela Geller

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    Anne Glover

    Anne Glover worked as an editor at the Tampa Bay Times for more than 33 years, and has been a visiting faculty member at Poynter teaching copy editing and leadership.


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