Turkey’s media-bashing president would be a perfect running mate for Donald Trump

April 1, 2016
Category: Newsletters

Good morning.

  1. Erdogan pulls a Full Lewandowski in D.C.
    It was fitting that Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were in Washington Thursday given their deep mutual admiration for a free press. Erdogan’s presence at the decorous Brookings Institution led to “journalists being harassed by Turkish security, protesters assailing counter-protesters, Turkish security berating D.C. cops. It was nuts.” (BuzzFeed)

    Kurdish protesters were there to berate Erdogan. His security henchmen did a Full Lewandowski (hereby named in honor of Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski) as they jostled reporters (actually hauling one out of Brookings) in a manner that suggested Ronda Rousey in disguise and brought a quick response from the head of the National Press Club. Of course, Erdogan’s government has an awful track record on press rights and just took over Zaman, the newspaper with the highest circulation in Turkey. (CBS News)

    I turned on CNN International and, bingo, there was Christiane Amanpour with a long Erdogan interview (taped the day before). (CNN) It was revealing not for the mini-news of his chiding (hypocritically) other European nations for not doing enough on terrorism. (CNN)

    No, it was his godawful responses to her disbelieving queries about him and the Turkish press. He explained a ludicrous view of satire (a “simple sketch is fine” but not one where you “put the character in a shape that they are supposed to be in”). “We shouldn’t confuse criticism with insult,” he said. His line between reporters and spies seems invisible. Amanpour, who is a UNESCO ambassador for press freedom, was as stupefied as Matthews (if rather less demonstrative) had been with Trump as she chided Erdogan’s “war on the press,” presumably to no avail.

    It underscored why President Obama blew off Erdogan when it came to a formal meeting, though they chatted last night on the sidelines of a big international confab. Instead, Joe Biden found time in his busy schedule to grin and bear a formal session with Erdogan (perhaps an official from the Republic of Seychelles had cancelled on Biden). Now, can a few of those many European leaders, who apparently are aghast at our presidential campaign, just look in the mirror? Or at least in the vague direction of Istanbul? There’s a real mess, as Lewandowski himself might possibly concede.

  2. “We don’t surprise often enough”
    Remember when an in-house report on innovation leaked at The New York Times in 2014? Now it’s happened with Der Spiegel, the giant German weekly magazine and its very separate online operation. And the introspection by another old media stalwart seems pretty similar. “We inflate our importance…We can’t confess to weaknesses and certainly can’t show them…We don’t surprise often enough…We try too little that is really new…We set the wrong priorities.” (Nieman Lab) That doesn’t resonate quite enough for you? How about, “False sense of entitlement..a governance structure that prevents reform…2nd class status of digital..lack of urgency.”
  3. New owner, new layoffs
    Digital First Media, the new owner (out of a bankruptcy auction) of the Orange County Register and the Riverside Press-Enterprise, has quickly gone to work doing what newspaper proprietors do so very well (cutting), in lieu of what newspaper proprietors don’t do so well (investing and generating revenue). The editor and more than 70 Register employee will hit the exits shortly. (The Los Angeles Times) A bunch of other big managers on the business and sales sides are being booted, too. (Orange County Business Journal)
  4. Facebook’s suspect $500 million investment
    When Facebook acquired San Francisco-based LiveRail for as much as $500 million in 2014, it said that the video ad-tech company (with most of its engineers in Romania) would “help us make video advertising much better for everyone.” It hasn’t quite worked out that way for a raft of reasons that by and large offer a primer on how not to effect a merger. But, you’ll be glad to hear, the jury is still out on whether Mark Zuckerberg blew $500 million on this one. (Business Insider)
  5. Protecting your tweets
    Many journalists could not imagine a world without Twitter, where their views on world affairs, Donald Trump, March Madness, “Dancing With the Stars” or a grocery sale on Tropicana orange juice (without a bit of pulp) are not instantly transmitted. The hacking of The Associated Press’ account three years ago prompted the counsel that journalists seeking a password reset, “tweet at Twitter staff, and pray.” (The Committee to Protect Journalists) But the basic problem remains that, at least for journalists, “making use of the Twitter’s security features does not appear to be a priority for many of them.”
  6. Pulitzer winner upset with Susan Sarandon
    Susan Sarandon, a Bernie Sanders supporter, has such qualms about Hillary Clinton that she’s left the impression she wouldn’t be sure whom to back in a Clinton vs. Trump matchup. She since denied that’s the case. But Connie Schultz, a Pulitzer winner who is in residence at Kent State University’s School of Journalism, was taken aback by Sarandon’s subsequent tweet that she hadn’t said what she clearly had said. When a friend passed along the tweet, “I responded with a line from Sarandon’s character Annie Savoy in ‘Bull Durham’: ‘The world is made for people who aren’t cursed with self awareness.'” (National Memo)
  7. Eclectic images of the Arab Spring
    Photographer Moises Saman spent nearly four years covering the uprisings that swept through the Middle East and North Africa. He now chronicles the unrest in a book that “eschews a linear narrative” and punctuates his vivid offerings “with visual metaphors of tension: a lone plastic chair hanging from the rafters of a building that serves as a child’s makeshift swing, a group of seemingly angry camels, mouths all agape, and trash caught in the branches of a tree on the outskirts of a desert town in Tunisia.” (The Washington Post)
  8. Another departure at Yahoo
    “Yahoo is expected to lose yet another major executive, this time Sandy Gould, who is currently SVP of talent acquisition and development at the company,” Kara Swisher of Re/code reports, drolly citing “sources close to the situation (are there any other kind?).” (Re/code) He’d been hired three years ago “to much acclaim after a high-profile career at Disney/ABC Television Group, Linden Labs/Second Life and RealNetworks.” The mess around CEO Marissa Mayer only grows.
  9. The Sanders-Trump bond
    They both bash the press in roughly similar ways. “Sanders’ themes of a corrupt ‘corporate media’ are similar in ways to Trump’s populist tirades against reporters.” (Slate) The Sanders campaign argues that that while Trump is a master media manipulator, it’s by and large trying to offer a critique of the press so it will pay more attention to important issues. “But both sides are playing the same card to similar effect.”
  10. Sounds of (news) silence
    Cumulus Radio canned at least 20 full-time staffers Thursday morning from San Francisco’s all-news KGO Radio and KFOG 104.5, a local rock station. KGO may now go all talk. Well, maybe somebody should read that Der Spiegel innovation reporter over the weekend. Cheers and have a good one. (San Francisco Examiner)

  11. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin
    Rob Curley is leaving the Orange County Register. Previously, he was the editor there. (Los Angeles Times) | Job of the day: KQED Lab is looking for a product manager. Get your resumes in! (Poynter media Jobs Connection) | 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.