Media in pugilistic overdrive at Clinton-Sanders debate

Good morning.

  1. Brooklyn brawl
    Bernie Sanders “repeatedly savaged (Hillary Clinton’s) ties to wealthy donors and Wall Street banks…delivering a ferocious performance that Mrs. Clinton countered with steely confidence and her own sharp elbows. (The New York Times) “The heated rhetoric between the two candidates on the campaign trail boiled over.” (BuzzFeed) They “engaged in their most vicious debate yet.” (POLITICO)

    Meanwhile, sponsor CNN underscored how the cable networks have the debate thing down pat, be it marketing, execution (good job, especially, by co-moderator Dana Bash) or postgame analysis. At CNN it meant showing the debate in which the combatants were apparently unaware of any sound system in the room and then immediately go to a ringside interview (by Jeff Zeleny of Sanders) as soon as it was over. It then turned to a quote-ready battalion of observers. In this case, the circle around Anderson Cooper was so large, you thought they were at summer camp and might have looked for the nearby fire and marshmallows. Van Jones and David Axelrod at least offered some insights, while the rest of the cast tended to display a very firm grasp of the obvious.

    The consensus was that Sanders’ “clock was cleaned” by Clinton on guns and hers by Sanders on paid speeches. Over at MSNBC it was seen as “a referendum on the Democratic Party over the last 20 or 25 years,” said The Washington Post’s Robert Costa. Chris Matthews asked the questions and then, per usual, answered most of them. “It won’t tip the scales,” he said.

    On Fox, there was a fair bit of back and forth on the Clinton speeches issue, with the surfacing of Geraldo Rivera presenting a ringing moment of introspection by our most famous graduate of the Mick Jagger Graduate School of Journalism. “I would take $200,000 for a speech in a heartbeat.” As for the political universe being convulsed by the event, there was the therapeutic tweet from Katrina vanden Heuvel, publisher of left-leaning The Nation that, “You know, when your beloved father has an 86th birthday on debate night, you celebrate what is important.” (@KatrinaNation)

  2. Mika Brzezinski bashes her own tribe
    So the shoving case against Donald Trump’s campaign manager was dismissed, which prompted “Morning Joe’s” co-host this morning to inform us that “I tried to hold my fire on this because I thought people would go crazy, and it is a woman’s thing. I’m sorry…that was a sad case of history gone wild and blind hatred for Donald Trump.. And I’m not talking about Trump here. I’m talking about how we cover the story, that was pathetic.”

    She asked her guests why they were “all afraid” to talk about this,” a bit of a straw man, or straw woman. “A lot worse has happened to me in the press room.” As far as the extensive coverage, colleague Mike Barnicle said, “Shame on us.” Brzezinski concluded, “This was a joke from the beginning,” seething with a seeming moral indignation she then would not expand upon. But she did disclose she’d probably be voting for Hillary Clinton and that we were all missing a positive “sea change” in the comportment of Donald Trump (imagine such full disclosure from all the media!).

  3. Greenwald on Panama Papers
    Interviewed by Jorge Ramos, Glenn Greenwald “had his own theory about why few Americans were named in the Panama Papers.” It’s a “huge curiosity,” he says, that raises questions about who it was that leaked the information. “Was their motive to make a lot of enemies of the United States look bad, like Russia and China and various Arab countries who are averse to the U.S.?” (Fusion) And, he noted, as have many others, that much of what’s been disclosed is legal, even if he too seemed to miss another point that’s skirted the controversy: How did so many people, like Vladimir Putin’s, actually make so much money?
  4. Missing the Flint story
    Well, Geraldo Rivera (taking $200,000) and Mika Brzezinski (voting for Hillary) aren’t alone in striking admissions today. “I’m an environmental reporter from Flint. Even I ignored the water crisis story,” says Talia Buford of the Center for Public Integrity. “I shouldn’t have missed the story of lead-contaminated water in Flint, Mich. Not because I’m an environmental reporter, but because my mom told me what was happening there and I didn’t listen.” (The Washington Post)
  5. New York Post editor bidding farewell
    Col Allan, a Rupert Murdoch favorite, will exit at month’s end, thus leaving behind perhaps the greatest job in the history of journalism, namely working for a boss who didn’t mind losing $40 million to $60 million a year (some past estimates have been north of $100 million). Gawker was suitably reverent. “Racist Retires” was it headline. (Gawker) The New York Daily News took a much higher road last night with a photo of Allan wearing a Donald Trump “Make America Great Again” campaign hat with the headline, “TA-TA TO TRUMP’S TABLOID TOADY!” (@NYDailyNews) Murdoch praised Allan to the hilt. (New York Post) Stephen Lynch, the Sunday editor, will succeed Allan. Like Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel) in “The Producers,” he can focus on producing a surefire New York financial flop.
  6. The Post derides Trump and then…
    On the same day it announced the editor was splitting, it chided Trump for “policies that seem made on the fly,” the dumb notion of pulling U.S. troops out of Japan and South Korea, the really dumb proposal that both nations get nukes, for a wall-building plot that is “far too simplistic,” and language that “has too often been amateurish, divisive and downright coarse.” It then proceeded to endorse him in next week’s New York primary. (New York Post)
  7. Viacom king won’t testify
    Media mogul Sumner Redstone won’t give a deposition or testify in a Los Angeles trial next month regarding his mental competency. The Los Angeles judge upheld a previous ruling that Redstone, the 92-year-old controlling shareholder of Viacom and CBS Corp, would not be deposed. He also won’t accept any affidavit from him. Lawyers for his former companion, who wants to be reinstated as decision-maker for his health care, wanted him deposed before a trial. (The Wall Street Journal)
  8. The fruits of debate labor
    Among the 700 journalists credentialed to “cover” the Brooklyn debate, Gawker’s Brendan O’Connor blogged, “A correspondent for The Economist, sitting behind us, told his neighbor, ‘I’m not really covering this live. It’s a magazine, you see.’ Bully for him.” Meanwhile, “Gawker has received the following free items: a small bar of Mast Brothers’s allegedly fraudulent chocolate; an aluminum can of Brooklyn Roasting Company coffee beans; a large cup of Brooklyn Roasting Company cold-brewed coffee. Also, we have been given a brochure for the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a former federal shipyard decommissioned and sold to the city in 1966. ‘Today, products made at the Brooklyn Navy Yard include components of the Mars Rover, prototypes of next-generation motorcycles, and highly advanced protective gear for the military.'” And it’s the worst job in America? (Gawker)
  9. Former Mashable executive to the rescue
    Gannett, Hearst, McClatchy and Tribune Publishing are starting Nucleus Marketing Solutions to try to leverage their scale to better target digital advertising. (Marketwired) It will be run by former Mashable chief revenue officer Seth Rogin. This isn’t the first time newspaper publishers have gone down this path. Gannett, McClatchy and Tribune partnered in Classified Ventures, the parent company of the automotive website Cars.com, which is now owned totally by Gannett. (Poynter) Last year, The Guardian, CNN International, the Financial Times, Reuters and The Economist launched a similar-sounding sales alliance. “In 2008, Tribune, Hearst and Gannett joined with New York Times Co. to form a similar network called QuadrantONE. That venture ended in 2013 after struggling to adapt to rapid changes in advertising technology.” (The Wall Street Journal) And there’s a French venture that’s been in place since 2012. Which is to say that as Ringo Starr told us, it don’t come easy.
  10. Is newspaper reporter the worst job?
    Well, one annual report has suggested same, once again. (Poynter) My colleague Kristen Hare sought and elicited lots of responses from generally disapproving journalists, who said they’ve got pretty good gigs. Minneapolis TV reporter Pat Kessler tweeted, “No. Great job–> In last week I covered Trump, WI Primary, transgender rights, prison reform, RR safety, more.” (@PatKessler) The Baltimore Sun’s Diana Sugg responded, “Newspaper reporter is the best job. Part detective, part writer, lot of shoe leather. Vital work.” Then there was Luke Johnson of The Acadiana Advocate in Lafayette, Louisiana, who said, “Yeah, my job telling stories and getting paid to watch sports events that other people pay to watch really sucks.” (@LukeJohnsonAdv)
  11. Speaking of The Acadiana Advocate
    Well, in for a dime, in for a dollar, so I for the first time checked out the Louisiana paper and found an interactive map that let me track the final minutes of Will Smith, the former New Orleans Saints player who was gunned down in front of four witnesses Saturday after a car crash. (The Advocate) Here’s hoping we all have far safer weekends. Cheers.
  12. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin
    Marcus Weisgerber is now Global Business Editor at Defense One. Previously, he was ‎Global Business Reporter there. (Email) | Stephen Lynch is now the editor of The New York Post. Previously, he was Sunday editor there. (New York Post) | Lydia Polgreen will be the editorial director of NYT Global. Previously, she was deputy international editor there. (Poynter) | Job of the day: The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner is looking for a reporter. Get your resumes in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org.

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