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How outlets in the North Korea region viewed the speech
The White House strained in a press release late Tuesday that listed those lavishing praise on President Trump's partly bellicose but largely banal and conventional United Nations speech.
The inventory sent to White House correspondents opened with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but then followed immediately with Trump's own treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin; long-ago UN Ambassador John Bolton; and Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matt Brooks.
Its appended "Top Tweets" included this politically courageous foray from House Speaker Paul Ryan: "Great message from @POTUS at the UN. American leadership is needed now more than ever. We must stand by our allies and confront our enemies.”
Yikes. As the immortal Steven Seagal's former government intelligence operative Jack Cole declared in "The Glimmer Man" (1996), "If that's the best you got, I'm just going to have to kill you."
This prompted my perusal of some faraway media outlets, reminded that there are a few billion people out there not tied to Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, The New York Times, Bangor Daily News, Chicago's WSCR-Radio, Vox and the Peoria Journal Star.
There's NK News, which monitors North Korean state media. What might NK think of Trump belittling "Rocket Man"?
"Trump threatens total destruction of North Korea during UN speech" was its headline on its initial primary story. But it underscored how Secretary General António Guterres "struck a different tone from Trump saying that the solution to the North Korean issue must be peaceful."
By this morning, it had rounded up a slew of experts in the region that would not be known to many U.S. media. They include Akira Igata, visiting professor at the Center for Rule-making Strategy at Tama University, who said one can only guess about North Korea's response. "My guess is that while this speech would definitely elicit a strong verbal retort from the regime, it will not prompt North Korea to engage in any kinetic action that they had not previously planned on doing."
Then there's the conservative South Korean daily the Chosun Ilbo, which oozed scorn in a story headlined, "Nuclear Option Is the Only Way Forward for S. Korea." It derided talk of tougher sanctions against North Korea as "a lot of huffing and puffing" toward Kim Jong-un.
"U.S. President Donald Trump talks tough, but it has become clear that he is incapable of winning over China and Russia on the issue. "
Yes, the paper had best beware that it's not immediately the target of a nasty early morning West Wing tweet to the effect, "Money-losing fake news S. Korea paper doesn't get art of deal. A joke. Sayonara."
Oh, what about the Chinese? Global Times, a Chinese Communist Party affiliated paper, made no reference to Trump's speech during its Russia-China focused story:
"The Korean Peninsula nuclear issue must be resolved in a peaceful way, and that China would shoulder its share of the responsibility, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Monday."
The minister is thus right there with Paul Ryan in exhibiting the provocative fearlessness that keeps journalists covering the global drama in business (not). As Seagal's ex-Navy SEAL Casey Ryback declared in "Under Siege" (1992): "What kind of babbling bull—- is this?"
Twitter's new board member
"Twitter has added another longtime Google executive to its board of directors: Patrick Pichette, who served as Google’s CFO from 2008 until summer of 2015." (Recode) He replaces Hugh Johnston, Pepsi's CFO, who joined the board a year ago but is taking a board slot at Microsoft.
The 27th season of Jerry Springer's show started Monday and the fine new news site for millennials Cheddar interviewed the lawyer-turned-journalist and liberal Democrat about his name being floated as an Ohio governor candidate (don't forget, he was mayor of Cincinnati). "I'm 73 years old, so I've got to think if this is the way i want to spend the next five years of my life … I'm not dealing with it trivially."
He discussed thoughtfully the potential issues of a campaign in an era where a campaign by a TV star is so obviously imaginable. It then played a funny game with him, asking him whether show titles were real Springer ones or not.
"Extra! Extra! Ho's All About it"? He thought it was fake. He was wrong. It was one of his shows.
"Make Trailer Parks Great Again"? He got it correct: fake.
"America's Next Top Threesome"? Springer said, "It could be." Nope. Fake.
Finally, what about "Bisexual Twerkaholic Strippers"? He got it correct: Yes, it was a show.
So he was 2 for 4.
A Fox rebuttal
"Malia Zimmerman, a reporter at Fox News, fabricated two quotes for a bogus story that connected now-deceased Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich to Wikileaks, according to a lawsuit filed on behalf of the source those quotes were attributed to." (Poynter)
Fox has now formally responded to the Aug. 1 lawsuit, filed by private investigator Rod Wheeler and accusing Zimmerman and Trump supporter Ed Butowsky of "inventing a story to shift the blame away from Russia's hacking of the 2016 election." Wheeler also alleged that "President Trump was allowed to review a Fox News story before it was published."
In part, Fox declares, "Wheeler’s allegations are without merit and legally insufficient to state a claim. He has also brought them in the wrong forum. Wheeler alleges that he was defamed by being misquoted in a Fox News online report. In truth, he was neither misquoted nor defamed. He made substantially the same statements on the air in several on-camera interviews, before and after the Fox News report, and even stated publicly that the article he now challenges as false 'was essentially correct and worthy of further investigation.'”
Bloomberg's boss speaks
Writes Mike Bloomberg on his site that there's a world beyond the United Nations: "The ties that bind nations together today are deeply connected to trade and investment. Diplomatic relations are often grounded in economic relations, and while chief executives are not diplomats, they can be voices for cooperation on a wide range of issues in which the private sector can play a constructive role, from security to climate change. "
But the most interesting offering on Bloomberg this morning involves this: "Hotel workers in cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York have been gathering for training sessions recently on how to handle visits from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The sessions, organized by the labor union Unite Here!, teach workers how to effectively stonewall ICE agents, emphasizing employees’ right to refuse to answer questions or show identification."
Aspiring arts journalist?
Chicago's esteemed Goodman Theatre is offering "Criticism in a Changing America," a boot camp "designed to develop journalists’ understanding of how plays live in the wider context of contemporary issues." It will be held simultaneously with its 14th annual festival of new plays. The training includes workshops, keynotes, panels, readings and staged productions. Early career journalists are encouraging to send in an application. It will be a two-parter Oct. 5-7 and Oct. 13-14. Sept. 25 is the deadline for applications, which can be found at Goodmantheatre.org/
Embattled paper soldiers on
The Daily Herald in St. Martin is unable to publish its daily print edition following Irma and as Maria exits the area. Its digital edition reports, "As the island is awaiting the passing of Hurricane Maria out of the area, the public needs to be aware of the fact that the Sint Maarten Police Force, the Marines, together with the other law enforcement organizations on the island, will enforce a zero-tolerance policy related to the curfew."
On Nick Kristof's case
Tech site TechDirt is not a big fan of New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, including his work on sex trafficking. Now comes this broadside as it goes after 'his recent, extraordinarily confused piece attacking Google for not supporting SESTA – the 'Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act.'"
"As we've explained in great detail, SESTA (despite its name) is unlikely to stop any sex trafficking and likely would make the problem worse. That's because the whole point of SESTA is to undermine CDA 230, the part of the law that creates incentives for tech companies to work with authorities and to help them track down sex trafficking on their sites. What the bill would do is make websites owners now both civilly and criminally liable for knowledge of any sex trafficking activity on their sites — meaning that any proactive efforts by them to monitor their websites may be seen as 'knowledge,' thus making them liable. The new incentives will be not to help out at all — not to monitor and not to search."
Drip, drip, drip
As Gannett lays off one percent of its workforce nationwide, there was the small reminder from Nashville Scene that all pain is local.
"Layoffs hit Gannett's Tennessee newspapers on Tuesday as management cut one percent of the newspaper company's workforce nationwide. At The Tennessean in Nashville, that meant a digital producer and a reporter at the Dickson Herald lost their jobs."
"In Memphis, sources say two were laid off from the Commercial Appeal's newsroom. In Knoxville at the News-Sentinel, two reporters lost their jobs."
Election results are in!
The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) announced results of its 2017 Council election and those winding up with positions included "The Wire" creator and former Baltimore Sun stalwart David Simon, Splinter News' Hamilton Nolan, 1010WINS-Radio's Phil Pilato and Noisey/Vice's Kim Kelly.
The morning Babel
"Trump & Friends," saying North Korea "was the No.1 problem in the world today," lavished praise on him "calling out the lunatic in North Korea," no surprise, and reveled in "Rocket Man's [unidentified by co-host Steve Doocey] ambassador" exiting the room before Trump spoke (a bit of a UN tradition).
CNN's "New Day" reminded quickly there is a lot more going on, again going heavy on Hurricane Maria headed to Puerto Rico. The models have changed and now the U.S.is not out of any Maria-related peril, but we won't know for days. Oh, need co-host, as did Chris Cuomo, line up a local politician to talk by phone and instantly inquire, "Are you ok now to talk?" Yeah, she said, she was — from a closet inside her house.
MSNBC's "Morning Joe" began a second decade by underscoring how the UN speech is a genuine window onto Trump's world view and will be liked by citizens beyond his base. Former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and John Kerry surfaced but, as Washington Post columnist and regular David Ignatius wrote right afterwards and repeated on air, it was less shocking than initially reported by many (including pundits on MSNBC's own strong late-night Brian Williams show Tuesday via Wall Street Journal and McClatchy reporters). "He supported human rights and democracy; he opposed rogue regimes; he espoused a global community of strong, sovereign nations. Pretty shocking stuff."
Couldn't Trump have walked?
Presidential motorcades are comically long and, as New York Times White House stalwart Peter Baker, informed the press pool last night, "Motorcade departed the Palace at 8:20 and pulled up to Trump Tower just three minutes later. He's now in for the night and we have a travel photo lid."
Elton John and global politics
The Washington Post, The Guardian and Suddeutsche Zeiting all missed it:
"In what some security experts fear could be a high-stakes war of Elton John lyrics, minutes after Donald Trump called Kim Jong Un 'Rocket Man,' the North Korean dictator responded by calling Trump 'Honky Cat.'"
"As he issued the Elton John-based attack, Kim warned that he had an extensive collection of the singer-songwriter’s albums and was prepared to weaponize every lyric in them."
"The White House immediately struck back, warning Kim that 'any further provocation involving an Elton John lyric, especially 'Tiny Dancer,' will be seen as an act of war.'”
Thanks to foreign affairs expert (and satirist) Andy Borowitz of The New Yorker.