Fox News vs. DNC ripples; remembering a journalism legend; SXSW coverage

Your Monday news roundup

March 11, 2019
Category: Newsletters

One more thought about the Dems and FOX

The biggest media story of last week bled into the weekend and likely will continue to be a newsmaker for some time. That’s the Democratic National Committee’s decision to exclude Fox News from its presidential candidate debates, something I weighed in on with two columns last week on Thursday and Friday.

The topic made for a meaty segment during CNN’s “Reliable Sources” on Sunday that magnified the fact that this is not an either/or discussion. It’s not just about those who see Fox News as a legitimate news organization that should host a debate disagreeing with those who see Fox News as an untrustworthy mouthpiece for President Donald Trump.

There is actually a third segment out there: those who might think Fox News can be considered Trump’s “state-run TV,” yet still should be included in the debates by the Democrats. Veteran journalist Jeff Greenfield said the Democrats missed an opportunity to go on Fox News and call out the network for the misinformation it spreads.

“One of things that’s different from 2016 (is) Democrats have learned who they are not reaching that they used to reach,” Greenfield said on “Reliable Sources.” “Not everybody at Fox is a Kool-Aid-drinking Trumpist. There are lot of marginal voters there. And if you want to win an election, you should be able to make your arguments beyond on your base. I think the Democrats are already in a little bit of trouble because they are so anxious to appeal to their base.

“It has nothing to do with respecting Fox as a real news institution. This is a forum that would have redounded to their political benefit.”

Remembering one of the greats

Dan Jenkins with his daughter, Sally, at the 91st PGA Championship at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, in 2009. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Dan Jenkins, on the short list of the greatest sportswriters of all time, died last week at the age of 90. There were a number of touching tributes, but none more moving than the one written by his daughter, Sally, the elite sports columnist at The Washington Post.

She wrote:

“… in my estimation, he was a better father than nine-tenths of those I knew. Granted, growing up I thought everybody’s father drank 10 cups of coffee and smoked three packs a day, and wrote novels on vacations, and got hate mail from Notre Damers, and wore Gucci loafers with no socks, and swore like a janitor every time he put up the Christmas tree, and became the most influential sportswriter of his generation. Mainly, I thought all fathers were the drop-dead funniest guys on earth who could make three pajamaed-urchin children capsize their glasses of milk with convulsive giggling.”

She closed with this:

“So here’s the deal if you want a recipe for father worship, if you want kids who, when you are dying in the hospital, will race at 60 mph across town in search of the grape Popsicle you requested, just to please you one more time. Take your little girl or boy everywhere with you, even into bars. Do small, harmless things with them you shouldn’t, let them off easy and end every conversation with a laugh. But give them your God’s honest truth about what matters, and let them see you work.”

SXSW coverage

Omar Gallaga was in Austin this weekend covering South by Southwest for Poynter. You can read his coverage of Trevor Noah’s panel, read about covering America’s so-called “Trump country” and the challenges and importance of covering border family separations.

Best photo

Screenshot courtesy CNN.

See the photo above? That’s CNN’s Victor Blackwell next to a bunch of gumballs — 9,014 to be exact. That’s the number of times, according The Washington Post, that President Trump has made false or misleading claims in his first 773 days in office.

“I want you to think about that for a moment,” Blackwell said. “This year, the President of the United States is making, on average, 22 false or misleading claims a day. At this pace, he’ll hit 10,000 before Easter, and before the end of the term, we’ll need another rack.”

Curry to CBS?

Ann Curry in 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Page Six reports that former “Today” show co-host Ann Curry wants to return to network TV and that CBS could be a landing spot. She could end up as co-anchor on “CBS This Morning,” but Page Six said she is interested in hosting the “CBS Evening News” or joining “60 Minutes.”

CBS News could be ready for major changes now that president Susan Zirinsky has settled into her new job. There already has been talk that “CBS This Morning” co-host Norah O’Donnell could take over as anchor of the evening news.



Best tweet

On Saturday, Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro implied that Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) might not be loyal to the U.S. Constitution because she wears a hijab.

Pirro said, “Think about it. Omar wears a hijab, which according to the Quran 33:59 tells women to cover so they won’t get molested. Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative to her adherence to sharia law? Which in itself is antithetical to the United States Constitution?”

Fox News didn’t immediately comment, but one of Pirro’s colleagues did. Hufsa Kamal, a producer at Fox News, tweeted:

“@JudgeJeanine can you stop spreading this false narrative that somehow Muslims hate American or women who wear a hijab aren’t American enough? You have Muslims working at the same network you do, including myself. K thx.”

In a statement Sunday night to CNN, Fox said, “We strongly condemn Jeanine Pirro’s comments about Rep. Ilhan Omar. They do not reflect those of the network and we have addressed the matter with her directly.”

Pirro didn’t apologize, but was quoted by CNN as saying, “… of course because one is Muslim does not mean you don’t support the Constitution.”

More McFadden

Last week, I wrote about Cynthia McFadden’s reporting for NBC News on how hard it is to be a child in the Central African Republic. Another one of her pieces will air tonight on the “NBC Nightly News.” This report features McFadden talking to children who had been abducted and forced to serve in local militias. In some cases, they were forced to beat and kill people.

On a positive note, since the first of McFadden’s stories appeared on the “Today” show last week, UNICEF reports more than $1.5 million has been raised for CAR relief.

Check it out

American reporter Cody Weddle has this first-person account of his detainment in Venezuela.

What’s it like to be a photographer covering President Trump? The New York Times Doug Mills explains.

Variety tells how Trevor Noah and the Daily Show will handle the 2020 presidential election.

Have feedback or a tip? Email Poynter senior media writer Tom Jones at

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