April 12, 2016

Good morning.

  1. On all those ‘flat-earthers’ out there
    So will the meanie press say “it’s all over” after Donald Trump wins the New York primary next week, like they said it was “all over” when he lost Wisconsin? Joe Scarborough, the host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” posed that question to pundit Mark Halperin on his show this morning. Having introduced the straw man of “everybody” saying it was over, he opined with a pro-Trump subtlety and a personal defensiveness that had co-host Mika Brzezinski in a trademark eye-rolling mild dyspepsia mode.

    “It’s always against Trump,” he said. “I mean, will they say it’s over? Seriously. The jackasses who have been doing this for nine months should stop embarrassing themselves. It’s getting really, really old. What’s insulting to me is you can’t state politically obvious things, right, without people saying you’re in the tank for Trump or, ah, you’re supporting Trump. No, no, no.”

    Good thing he’s among the wise who, according to his own bloodless self-analysis, can “actually look at the earth and see the that the sun goes down and it’s actually not flat. But there have been a lot of flat-earthers out there for nine months right now, who’ve been writing stories in the mainstream media that Donald trump will never win. He’s a fool, he’s an idiot. When it looks like he could win, he’s Nazi, he’s a fascist.”

    He referred to a “bunch of idiots” who predicted Trump’s demise and concluded with a strained further attempt at media-bashing satire and referenced Trump’s “big, beautiful hands.” So, lucky viewers, a Scarborough mix of astronomy, politics and anatomy to start the day.

  2. ‘Free the Nipple’
    You could have had your breakfast with bare breasts, rather than Joe Scarborough, via The New York Times this morning. A video accompanying a story on the “Free the Nipple” movement seeking gender equality left nothing to the imagination. (The New York Times)

  3. Imitation breeds blind faith
    The City News Bureau of Chicago, a once-grand and now-defunct training ground for reporters, had a saying, “If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out.” Well, a B.S. website calling itself “ABC News,” ran a bogus story that looked vaguely legitimate and claimed the National Basketball Association was thinking about moving next year’s All-Star game from Charlotte due to the state’s new anti-LGBT ordinance. (Forbes)

    Cleveland.com got totally taken and ran a story. Now it’s apologized. “We saw that story, believed it to be real and decided to post the news on our website.” (Cleveland.com) Oh, and this: ” We combined it with an Associated Press story about the North Carolina controversy but left the AP byline on what we published. That made it appear that The Associated Press had been duped by the impostor website. That’s not fair to The Associated Press, a valued partner for Cleveland.com.” It’s apologized to the AP. Guys, remember, if your mother tell you she loves you…

  4. The Panama Papers’ real ‘lesson’
    CNN International interviewed Frederik Obermaier and Bastian Obermayer, two Süddeutsche Zeitung reporters who spearheaded the offshore tax haven expose. What’s the central lesson if, in fact, most of what they uncovered wasn’t illegal? “It’s very important to see the Panama Papers as not only about tax avoidance,” said Obermaier. “We see in the offshore world criminals hiding their wrongdoing, people evading sanctions. So everybody should realize it’s not just about taxes. It’s about criminals and other shady people hiding their doings.”

    And this tidbit: the paper set up an English-language website when it broke the story and, in the first 24 hours, they got more readers in English than on their German-language site.

  5. As to why some folks didn’t participate…
    Marina Walker Guevara, deputy director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, explained why some prominent news organizations took a pass on cooperating with her group on the expose.

    The group couldn’t swing a partnership previously with The New York Times, and so they apparently didn’t make much of an effort here. “We also pitched it to CNN. They said yes, but then they said no. They decided to pursue their own investigation rather than join ours. We were a little disappointed, but we understood. Then we pitched the story to ’60 Minutes’ and this time they said no as well. In the end we had Univision and Fusion. We had worked with both of them in previous investigations.” (ProPublica)

  6. ‘Appalling’ institutional neglect
    The Oregonian in Portland is no longer quite the esteemed regional paper it once was. Its website can get pretty frivolous, on some days making BuzzFeed’s early iteration resemble The New York Review of Books. Monday, for example, brought “32 cats you didn’t know were Instagram famous” and “In honor of National Pet Day, a naughty pets encore (photos).” But there was also a stunning Sunday opus about a 26-year-old heroin addict who spent seven days detoxing at the county jail and then died. The paper showed outrageous failures in the way she got medical treatment and virtually no accountability by the entire system around her. (The Oregonian) There’s even a clear paper trail of outrageous misconduct uncovered by reporter Rebecca Woolington.

    For more on the story, I contacted Ron Davidson, a nationally recognized psychologist I knew for years in Chicago. He now lives in Newport, Oregon, where he is executive director of the Children’s Advocacy Center.

    He said simply, “This was the most appalling case of negligent institutional death that I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of harm suffered by patients after reviewing substandard hospitals for state and federal agencies over the past 30 years. To its credit, The Oregonian detailed a woeful risk management failure as well as a level of administrative incompetence from top to bottom of this county’s jail system. Sadly, the quality of care outcome of this system failure was the tragic and entirely preventable death of a troubled young woman.”

  7. Media litigation (Part I)
    The Florida judge in the Hulk Hogan-Gawker Media case agreed to release lots of sealed documents in the dispute. A jury awarded Hogan $140 million in the sex tape kerfuffle, and the Tampa Bay Times, The Associated Press, CNN, First Look Media, Journal Broadcast Group and Scripps Media wanted the materials released. (The New York Times)
  8. Media litigation (Part II)
    BuzzFeed is seeking dismissal of a defamation suit brought by British journalist Michael Leidig and his Central European News. The catalyst is a a 2015 story about him and his company, which licenses “buzzy news stories to larger news organizations.”(Ad Age) Oh, the coyly-titled BuzzFeed piece was “The King of Bullsh*t News — How a small British news agency and its founder fill your Facebook feed with stories that are wonderful, wacky — and often wrong.”
  9. Trump and Reddit
    We’ll have a Trump-free column one of these days, I promise. “In the absence of a large, organized online operation, the Trump campaign has leaned on its candidate’s huge following on social media, where supporters share links and photos, argue on his behalf and spread his views to friends and family. But if major social media platforms are where Mr. Trump amplifies his pronouncements, sites like Reddit and 4chan, have become a sort of proving ground, where an extreme, Internet-amped version of Mr. Trump’s message is shared and refined.” (The New York Times)

  10. Viacom CEO covering up Redstone’s infirmities?
    Things are getting testier at beleaguered Viacom, where allegations grow that CEO Philippe Dauman has exploited his relationship with Sumner Redstone, his mentor and the firm’s patriarch, to cover up the 92-year-old’s grossly obvious health woes. “At the heart of the battle is the future of a media empire that also includes cable networks such as MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central. Mr. Redstone owns voting stakes of roughly 80% in Viacom and CBS Corp.” (The Wall Street Journal) And this: “Some investors were upset when Mr. Dauman’s total compensation rose 22% to $54.2 million for the fiscal year that ended in September.” One wonders why.
  11. Capital bulletin on capitals
    You say President Obama is a lame duck who can’t get much done? Hah! This news from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (part of the Department of Commerce, as all us D.C. savants well know): “National Weather Service will stop using all caps in its forecasts,” reads the headline on its press release. “Farewell teletype, hello mixed-case characters.”

    This is not fake news like the NBA boycotting North Carolina, I swear. As some communications PhD candidate somewhere probably knows, “teleprinters only allowed the use of upper case letters, and while the hardware and software used for weather forecasting has advanced over the last century, this holdover was carried into modern times since some customers still used the old equipment.” Until now. I bet a hyper Al Roker couldn’t sleep a wink last night. (NOAA)

  12. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin
    Meredith Long is now group publisher for TIME, Fortune and Money. Previously, she was publisher of TIME. (Email) | Job of the day: WJLA is looking for a photojournalist. Get your resumes in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org.

Corrections? Tips? Please email me: jwarren@poynter.org. Would you like to get this roundup emailed to you every morning? Sign up here.

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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.…
James Warren

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