Trump's favorite New York Times op-ed writer? There's no Dowd who it is

Good morning.

  1. 'I respect her'
    Donald Trump played media critic in an interview with Fox News' Howard Kurtz even as he was "UNDER FIRE FOR VIOLENCE AT RALLIES," as CNN put it this morning, for an incident in which a CBS News photographer was arrested. (Poynter) Trump again displayed anemic understanding of the First Amendment, asserting that libel laws are "nonexistent" because they place what he deems undue barriers against getting damages from media. (Fox News) Of course, this was contrary to his concerns for the First Amendment after he cancelled Friday's Chicago rally. (Law Newz) But if you doubted how thin-skinned he is, that was dispelled with the specifics of his deriding certain members of the elite media. "Get 'em outta here!" his new mantra, as MSNBC's Mike Barnicle put it this morning, might just as well be his admonition to the press, not just to unruly event attendees. Trump seems to have "surrendered to the narcotic of adulation," as Barnicle put it elsewhere, thinking he's somehow the first ever to draw such big crowds. (The Daily Beast)

    Though Trump claimed great respect for Fox boss Roger Ailes, he took after Fox folks Charles Krauthammer ("absolutely a disgrace"), Stephen Hayes ("treats me terribly") and George Will ("terrible"). CNN, he said, treats him better, but he didn't vent merely at cable personalities (perhaps MSNBC should be relieved to be deemed neither friend nor foe, even if not immediately on his radar screen). He spoke harshly of The Washington Post's Ruth Marcus and New York Times op-ed columnists Nicholas Kristof and David Brooks, saying that the animus "has to do with a personal hatred that's unbelievable."

    But his apparent fave at The Times? That's Maureen Dowd, even though she's at times been critical. He seems to like the notion that she at least calls him. "I respect her." Whether this is any badge of honor for her is unclear, although given Washington's adoration of access, she'll win points (and envy) among some confreres. But Dowd can now, for the first time in her career, find herself associated with Vladimir Putin, at least as a recipient of Trump's rhetorical largess.

  2. Puzzlegate!
    We don't trust our schools, organized religion, government or the press. We have some faith in the military. But puzzles? C'mon, what could be wrong? "A group of eagle-eyed puzzlers, using digital tools, has uncovered a pattern of copying in the professional crossword-puzzle world that has led to accusations of plagiarism and false identity." (FiveThirtyEight) It's claimed that the editor of one of the most widely syndicated crosswords has swiped from New York Times puzzles, often with pseudonyms for bylines, a new database has helped reveal. There are repeated themes, answers, grids and clues from older Times puzzles, with "hundreds" of others being basically copies of previous ones that the edited, though many republished under fake author names. Yes, the nation is unraveling.
  3. A window onto the D.C. media-political scene
    Viveca Novak of the Center for Responsive Politics analyzed the 8th Congressional District race in Maryland, which features Kathleen Matthews, a Marriott executive and former local TV anchor who's married to Chris Matthews. "Like Hillary Clinton in the presidential contest, Matthews is the pick of the Democratic establishment. That’s abundantly clear from scanning the names that turn up in her FEC filings. She has the highest number of donors who once had voting privileges in the House or Senate — former Reps. Vic Fazio, Harold Ford and Martin Frost and former Sens. Tom Daschle and John Breaux, to name a few. She has entertainment industry celebs like Barbra Streisand, Rob Reiner and Ed Begley." (OpenSecrets)
  4. The media's favorite Supreme Court parlor game
    Whom will President Obama nominate for the Antonin Scalia vacancy? Tom Goldstein, who oversees SCOTUSblog, the best regular analysis of the Supreme Court, said he figured it would be Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. But he qualified that by saying if not her, then it would be Judge Sri Srinivasan. (SCOTUSblog) Weekend reports suggest that Srinivasan, not Brown, is on a final list of three. (The Washington Post) But, of course, with Republicans controlling the Senate, the nomination may go nowhere.
  5. A profile reprised
    The New York's Mark Singer profiled Donald Trump in 1997. (The New Yorker) But he also discussed that piece at a 2009 New Yorker Festival appearance where he recalled Trump's very harsh response to the piece. It was funny and a tad scary, including a rather nasty note that Trump sent in response ("Mark, you're a total loser"). Singer decided to send Trump a note with the only thing Trump seemed to truly appreciate, namely money. Singer sent him a check for $37.82. Trump wound up cashing the check. (The New Yorker)
  6. March Madness' genteel initial interrogation
    Having spent billions of dollars on the rights to the NCAA basketball tournament, it's naive to expect that CBS Sports will tear into dubious picks for the tournament. Its two-hour selection show last night, however, did include at least a mild inquisition of Joe Castiglione, who oversaw the selection panel, after CBS announced the picks. There were matters such as why little-shots who had great seasons, like Monmouth, were seemingly shafted and why big-shots who had mediocre seasons, like Syracuse, are in the tournament. Kudos to Seth Davis for generally doing a good job of initial analysis and hisses for Charles Barkley, who proved totally inept in utilizing their electronic screen. You might have thought they'd have rehearsed that bit. ESPN, which also can be unduly tame toward the NCAA, raised stronger doubts via its bracket analyst, Joe Lunardi. (ESPN)
  7. A drama critic finds an impotent campaign media
    Chicago Tribune theater critic Chris Jones finds that "even as the Trump alarm bells have sounded at higher and higher rates of pitch and volume, the effectiveness of the warnings, even the satiric warnings, have only waned." Jones says it's not just attacks from politicians, like Mitt Romney, that have had little impact. Satirical takedowns from professional comics fall short, too. (Chicago Tribune) As an example, he cites John Oliver's segment on the ancestral forebear of Trump, namely "Drumpf." It was in its way brilliant, says Jones, and it's been viewed more than 19 million times. (The New York Times) "But it was muted by Trump's ability to make fun of the name, and because Oliver is selling stuff, not unlike Trump, who also sells stuff." One wonders if even Jon Stewart could have pierced Trump in any effective manner.
  8. Ted Koppel's return
    He surfaced for the first time as a new CBS News contributor on "Sunday Morning." His was a solid piece on guns as a way of life in Wyoming. It wasn't quite the old Koppel when it came to offering a distinct personal conclusion. But it came fairly close. Near the end, after various homages to guns, he said, "At this point, some gun control advocates in our major cities may be shaking their heads in disbelief. Folks out here, though, couldn't care less." (Sunday Morning)
  9. Another Pulitzer winner leaves the business
    The Daily Breeze in Southern California won a Pulitzer Prize last year, its first. By the time it won, one of the winning reporters, Rob Kuznia, had left for a media relations position at a university. "Now a second member of the Pulitzer-winning Breeze team, Rebecca Kimitch, is leaving the reporting business too. Presumably for the same reason: a bigger and more stable paycheck. Kimitch is reporting currently for the Los Angeles News Group's San Gabriel Valley Tribune. She starts next week on the public affairs team at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California." (L.A Observed)
  10. Why aren't more people talking about Flipagram?
    So I got through another weekend of kids sports, having friends over for ribs and fries, shopping, gossiping about Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and wondering about what hideous judicial candidates to vote for in a Tuesday primary...all of that without thinking about Flipagram. Then I ran into the story, "Why Aren’t More People Talking About Flipagram?" (Re/code) I am flummoxed. I just don't know. Why aren't more people talking about Sierra Leone? Well, Flipagram claims 36 million active users who peruse 5 billion photos and videos per month. Still, nobody on my block is talking about it. You just never know, do you?
  11. A primer on a contested convention
    With all the facile talk about a contested Republican convention, GOP lawyer-pundit Ben Ginsberg produces a very helpful primer for journalists and others about the party's convention rules and how they might play out if Trump doesn't arrive with a majority of delegates in hand. (POLITICO) In theory, it gets especially interesting on a third ballot. If it comes to that.
  12. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin
    Michael Coren will cover technology for Quartz. Previously, he was an environment reporter at the Palm Beach Post and San Jose Mercury News. (Talking Biz News) | Job of the day: The Newspaper Association of America is looking for a vice president of innovation. 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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