August 11, 2017

Good morning. Here’s our morning roundup of all the media news you need to know. Want to get this briefing in your inbox every morning? Subscribe here.

Anthony Scaramucci’s self-exile is as brief as his tenure as White House communications boss. Shown the exit after 10 days, he’ll surface on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos‎” and Stephen Colbert’s CBS late-night show Monday.

Figure it will be a mix of premeditated and rehearsed self-deprecation and a homage to President Trump. But what should one ask? Readers have a few ideas:

“As a practicing Catholic, you lasted a novena prayer plus a day. If you could change one thing from your tenure, what would that be and why?” (K.B. Forbes)

“You know that the anatomical gymnastics you accused Steven Bannon of performing is impossible, right? Was that a metaphor?” (Jack Altschuler)

“I’d love to ask him if he thinks (John) Kelly fired him to say, ‘Don’t mess with me’ to the rest of the staff? Also, if Javanka backed him being hired, why did they back him being fired so quickly? Does he regret choosing being used and tossed away like a Kleenex over his marriage?” (Jon Maas)

Jeffrey Lord’s canning

CNN’s firing of Trump-loving pundit Jeffrey Lord may be as unconvincing as his hiring, as it cites as “indefensible” his invoking the Nazi salute in a tweet.

In several interviews, including one with Vox, he said “that CNN had gotten the story backward — that he was mocking Nazi salutes, not embracing them.”

Collating research by ThinkProgress and The Daily Beast, Vox notes, In two years, “Lord blamed Ariana Grande for the Manchester terror attack, said the KKK was an arm of the Democratic Party, defended Trump’s encouragement of police brutality as a form of ‘New Yorker sense of humor,’ suggested Black Lives Matter created a neo-Nazi group, lied about voter fraud, falsely claimed Trump’s travel ban would have prevented 9/11 and called Trump the ‘MLK’ of healthcare.”

And CNN stood by him until his tweet.

Why Eric Bolling’s lawsuit is destined for oblivion

Bolling made a gesture even more gratuitous than uninvited sexts — he initiated a $50 million defamation lawsuit against the HuffPost writer.” (Law Newz)

The lawsuit itself, claiming that (Yashar) Ali defamed Bolling by accusing him of sending the lewd texts, is destined for failure for several reasons — most obviously that all indicators point to Ali’s story being true.

Netanyahu as “pathetic”

The head of Israel’s Press Council labeled as “pathetic” an unvarnished attack on the press by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Jerusalem Post)

“Netanyahu accused the Left and the media of being one and the same, together on ‘an obsessive, unprecedented witch-hunt against me and my family, seeking to overthrow the government.'”

Quote of day

“’If you want my advice, get off Twitter and go to dinner,’ Jeffrey Lewis, an expert on North Korea’s nuclear program, wrote on Twitter as social media panic grew. ‘The nuclear war isn’t tonight.'” (The New York Times)

Old fashioned dough for The Young Turks

“Progressive digital outlet The Young Turks has raised $20 million in a round of funding led by the growth equity firm 3L Capital.” (Ad Week)

An editor’s ordeal

Paul Glastris, editor of The Washington Monthly, informs that his spouse, Kukula, the publication’s terrific books editor (I can attest from personal experience), was admitted to a hospital with shortness of breath and diagnosed with severe pneumonia that evolved into Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome.

That meant being placed on a ventilator July 9. She’s been on it since, mostly sedated and unconscious. But there have been recent signs of improvement, Paul reports. Our thoughts are with her. Paul is posting updates here.

Heavens to Betsy

Surprise! Education Secretary Betsy DeVos gave a real interview to real reporters (from The Associated Press), a rarity. She’s been ducking them after an ignominious Senate confirmation hearing and uninspired early tenure.

USA Today’s Greg Toppo, who heads the Education Writers Association, was happy to see the development and complimented the AP’s Maria Danilova and Carole Feldman. (Poynter) That said, DeVos was not particularly impressive or convincing, notably in walking back previous comments on the role of historically black colleges.

The fruits of competition

CNN went after a discredited Fox News story that claimed a link between Wikileaks the the death of Seth Rich, a Democratic Committee staffer. It suggests that the real culprit behind the botched story is Rod Wheeler, a former detective and Fox contributor who was hired by Rich’s family but “went rogue.”

It’s a bit complicated, but its reporting concludes that Wheeler “sent the network’s editorial process into chaos, and as a result the article was rushed to the site without undergoing the kind of editorial scrutiny it should have received.”

CNN, which recently fired three people for a piece that did not undergo the kind of editorial scrutiny it should have received, based its account “primarily on conversations with four people familiar with the matter — and others who corroborated select parts of the story — who spoke to CNN on the condition of anonymity.”

It is also relied on information in a Wheeler lawsuit against Fox, “interviews he has done, text messages between some of the key players that CNN has obtained, and an edited audio recording of Wheeler posted online by an anonymous person seeking to damage his credibility.”

A media investor with problems back at the office

“With its stock price sinking and its financial losses piling up, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong’s NantHealth is reducing its headcount by about 300 staff, the company said on Thursday.” (STAT)

The biotech billionaire’ was lured by Tronc (former Tribune Publishing) boss Michael Ferro to invest in the company amid his successful warding off of a Gannett purchase. But the two soon began feuding amid the billionaire’s craving to purchase the company’s flagship Los Angeles Times and Ferro’s craving to be a media mogul.

Tough day for the propertied class

If you see a Washington Post employee, give them a hug and a tuna sandwich. “Global tensions sparked a market selloff Thursday that drained $42.7 billion from the net worth of the world’s 500 richest people and knocked Inc. founder Jeff Bezos from his spot as the world’s second-richest person.” (Bloomberg)

He’s down to $82.2 billion.

Ants and gamers

The Washington Post Ben Guarino crafted a very engaging look at the successful genetic manipulation of ants. Yes, it’s very interesting. Then comes this:

“Before laying eggs, though, the workers have to become pseudo-queens. (The scientific term for a pseudo-queen is a ‘gamergate’ — no relation to the anti-feminist video game hullabaloo circa 2014.) If a jumping-ant colony loses its queen, the workers go through a gauntlet of ritualized antenna-flailing duels. The victor transforms into a pseudo-queen.”

Well, former suburban Chicago journalist Cheryl Howard reached out my way and says, “Did someone really think gamers (I am one) would suddenly confuse mutant ant research with the blowup over the lack of inclusiveness in electronic game design? I believe those who know Gamergate would not be confused, and those who don’t have just had their train of thought blown off the tracks.”

Morning babble

“Trump & Friends” loved their guy doubling down on his North Korean threat. You know “That statement may not be tough enough.” And then blamed the Obama administration for inaction. “Great instincts from a leader who knows how to stare somebody else down. Soft talk and diplomacy has not worked.”

CNN’s “New Day” was, surprise (not), rather less sympathetic as very bright Jamie Metz of The Atlantic Council underscored how Trump is weakening the U.S and destabilizing our allies with lots of talk and no real strategy. “He should put some duct tape on his mouth,” chimed in Philip Mudd, the omnipresent garrulous CIA former counterterrorism official who’s never met a question he couldn’t respond to without the slightest equivocation.

“Morning Joe” on MSNBC chewed over all the same material with Trump critic Donny Deutsch, the ad guy, feeling Trump’s rhetoric was needed.”I and a lot of people I talk to also — and this is not going to do well for me in the Hamptons this weekend — under their breath were saying, ‘Maybe that needed to be said.'”

Yes, there could be hell to pay amid those bucolic estates and Mimosas and Mojitos (Donny, don’t forget the fresh mint) in the Hamptons.

Vacation news

Not all the Trumps are in Bedminster, New Jersey.

“Forced to set loose their best friend in the whole world, the Trump boys on Thursday sadly released their pet alligator into the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.”

One assumes the alligator is named “Hannity.” But it’s a non-fact unmentioned by The Onion.

OK, non-fake news: That’s it for us for the next two weeks. The ignominy approaches of initially being a Yankees diehard amid the fire and fury of Red Sox Nation in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont. It will be a teaching moment for the boys. See you in a bit.

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

Support high-integrity, independent journalism that serves democracy. Make a gift to Poynter today. The Poynter Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, and your gift helps us make good journalism better.
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.…
More by James Warren

More News

Back to News