March 16, 2016

Good morning.

  1. With malice toward most, charity to few
    Donald Trump’s latest victory speech emanated from what MSNBC’s Brian Williams likened (in his best performance since return from ethics exile) to a “Waldorf inside your house” at Trump’s Florida estate. It included what appeared to be a shot at Megyn Kelly of Fox News, via an awful imitation, and his zeroing in on the press cordoned off in the back of the ballroom. He cited a campaign of “lies, deceit, viciousness, disgusting reporters.” Yes, the press. “Horrible people…Some are nice, some are nice.” But, clearly, not many. “Some really disgusting people back here.” No long after he tweeted that he couldn’t stand Kelly.

    Talk about biting the hand that feeds you! By one account, the guy has received about $2 billion in free media attention. Quite obviously, it dwarfs all his rivals and doesn’t appear to have any precedent. (The New York Times) But did anybody foresee any of this? Amid the smarter pieces last evening was Robert Costa and Philip Rucker of The Washington Post noting the significance of Marco Rubio’s exit: “Years of carefully laid plans to repackage the Republican Party’s traditional ideas for a fast-changing country came crashing down here on Tuesday when Sen. Marco Rubio suspended his campaign for the presidency after a crippling defeat in his home-state primary.” (The Washington Post)

    This morning the consensus was unambiguous: Clinton is a shoe-in, Trump is pretty close. Joe Scarborough claimed that the media, establishment Republicans and the donor class didn’t buy into the seemingly alluring story of Marco Rubio and, instead, working-class voters fooled them all by opting for a Manhattan billionaire. Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin said on “Morning Joe” that Ted Cruz doesn’t have a clean one-on-one fight with Trump he needs, with the road tough for either him or John Kasich. Clinton? “She’s ready to turn the corner,” said CNN’s Jeff Zeleny this morning. “Politically all but impossible for Bernie Sanders. The party is now ready to take on Donald Trump.” Oh, as for the humbled Washington-based GOP establishment, the five stages of grief surely haven’t brought it from anger to acceptance of Trump. And insult added to injury this morning as the capital’s Metro system shut for the entire day for repairs. Like Trump, they’ll now have to rely on car and driver.

  2. New rules for anonymous sources at New York Times, sources say
    Well, actually, editors at the paper openly disclosed new rules on anonymous sources. (Poynter) Wrote Public editor Margaret Sullivan, “Although the policy does not ban anonymity, it is intended to significantly reduce what Mr. Purdy characterized as an over-reliance on unnamed sources.” This means, she underscored, that “one of three top editors to review and sign off on articles that depend primarily on information from unnamed sources — particularly those that ‘hinge on a central fact’ from such a source,” one of the new rules’ co-authors told her. (The New York Times) Let’s hope this has actual impact elsewhere, though the early odds are long.
  3. Unabashedly pushing an ideology
    A conservative talk radio host and the Republican governor of Illinois are teaming with a publisher to produce 11 weekly papers statewide, with another five planned. The “advertorial-like papers focus on local and state political news, with stories about suburban city council actions, local election campaigns and the state’s pension crisis.” Talk host Dan Profit concedes, “We have a point of view, and we want to advance that point of view in terms of policy solutions.” (Crain’s)
  4. Denton in the dock
    “When Hulk Hogan’s attorney Ken Turkel cross-examined Gawker founder Nick Denton on Tuesday, it started off as a heated battle between two worthy opponents. Then it got weird.” (Law Newz) So Hogan’s lawyer opened with an interrogation about journalistic practices, then went right to the sex tape and commentary written to accompany it that was originally written by Gawker’s former editor in chief, A.J. Daulerio. Asked by the lawyer to read it in a “humanizing tone,” Denton went right at it “in what instantly became one of the most bizarre moments of a trial that has already been sheer insanity. His soft, dulcet British voice describing ‘squealing’ and ‘moaning’ sounded like an audio version of a smutty romance novel.”
  5. The role of facts
    So what’s up when a candidate tells an audience to just Google something to find out “the facts?” There is something going on as far as traditional notions of an informed citizenry, contends Michael Lynch, a professor of philosophy at the University of Connecticut. “The danger is that increasing recognition of the fact that Googling can get you wherever you want to go can make us deeply cynical about the ideal of an informed citizenry — for the simple reason that what counts as an ‘informed’ citizen is a matter of dispute. We no longer disagree just over values. Nor do we disagree just over the facts. We disagree over whose source — whose fountain of facts — is the right one.” (The New York Times)
  6. Forget Apple News already?
    It was launched late last year and hasn’t revolutionized Western civilization. So Apple will try an ad campaign, with billboards in Chicago, New York and San Francisco. ESPN and Vox Media are partners who will be featured in the campaign. (Re/code) But don’t count Apple out: The news app comes standard on all devices with iOS software.
  7. CBS plans to jettison radio
    Radio is a fascinating industry that’s gone through many cycles. I remember one convention in the late 1980s when Wall Street investors were knocking on hotel room doors, begging executives inside to take stations off their hands. Later came an upswing. Now things are looking down and CBS wants to hawk most if not all its 117 stations in 26 markets, including clusters in such top markets as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. It took a nearly $500 million write-down on their value in the final quarter of 2015 and, now, want to boost “shareholder value” via a sale. (Variety)
  8. Jerry Springer on the presidential race
    Why did it take so long to get the two cents of a serious man-turned-TV-provocateur? He told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin that the difference between his godawful TV show and the campaign is, “If you look closely at the screen,” he said referring to his show, “you won’t find one person there running for president — that’s the difference.” Now there’s righteous insight! The former mayor of Cincinnati is a Hillary Clinton backer. (CNN)
  9. National Review on the Breitbart News kerfuffle
    Says the conservative bastion: “The press is somehow slack-jawed by Breitbart’s predictable refusal to stand up to Trump. What is more interesting is that credible news organizations have for months now ignored the Trump campaign’s disregard for the media. For ratings and clicks, they’ve taken seats seven rows back at his self-parodic press conferences at Mar-a-Lago while his golf-club members are given front-row access. For ratings and clicks, they’ve allowed themselves to be penned up like farm animals at his rallies and risked scuffles with the Secret Service for covering the events like actual reporters. For ratings and clicks, Trump has been allowed to violate the rules of a presidential debate — consulting with a campaign manager during a commercial break — with impunity. For ratings and clicks, Trump has been allowed to phone in to prime-time and Sunday shows while his challengers have been required to show up on set.” (National Review)
  10. Taking a break
    They may not know how to stop Trump, but establishment forces know how to stop this newsletter. Spring break commences today for our two kids, so we’re heading West on vacation. Bernie Sanders had best win one of the states we’re visiting or he truly is toast.

  11. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin
    Lee Ann Colacioppo is now interim editor at The Denver Post. Previously, she was news director there. (Poynter) | Cory Haik is now the top editorial staffer at Mic. She joined as chief strategy officer in December. (Ad Age) | Gurman Bhatia will be a news apps developer at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She is an intern on the investigative team at the Palm Beach Post. (@GurmanBhatia) | Job of the day: Law 360 is looking for a San Francisco Courts reporter. Get your resumes in! (Poynter Media Jobs Connection) | Send Ben your job moves:

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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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