Host says ‘It’s un-American’ to mock Trump | Deadspin told to stick to sports | WP mag dives deep into prison life

October 29, 2019
Category: Newsletters

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The World Series starts up again tonight with Game 6 back in Houston. But there’s still plenty to talk about from Game 5. Not just what happened on the field, as the Astros took a 3-2 series lead to move within a game of the championship, but what happened in the stands. That’s where we start again today.

On the boos and chants that greeted Trump

No one should be surprised that President Donald Trump was greeted by a chorus of boos and chants during Sunday night’s Game 5 of the World Series in Washington, D.C.

Not because he deserved it — that’s up for you to decide. There’s another reason. Actually, two. First: location.

“Before tonight,” New York Times national correspondent Trip Gabriel tweeted on Sunday, “Trump had not appeared at a Washington sporting event or eaten at a restaurant except in his own hotel. The city, it goes without saying, is overwhelming liberal.”

Second, politicians getting booed at sporting events is not unusual. These days, the first three people you meet walking down the street likely aren’t aligned politically. Now try a stadium full of people. What was a bit surprising, however, were chants of “lock him up.” Even more surprising was MSNBC “Morning Joe” co-host Joe Scarborough, normally a fierce critic of Trump, standing up against those chants.

“It’s un-American,” Scarborough said on the air. “We are Americans and we do not do that. We do not want the world hearing us chant ‘Lock him up’ to this president or to any president.”

Scarbrough was quick to point out that those chants originated with Trump saying that about his 2016 presidential opponent Hillary Clinton.

“Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski said, “We find it sickening when it happens at his rallies. I find it kind of sickening when people (say it) to the president.”

In the meantime, “Fox & Friends” mentioned that Trump was at the game, but did not address the boos. Instead, co-host Jillian Mele said Trump was “greeted with mixed reaction.”

Deadspin memo: Stick to sports

The Daily Beast is reporting that G/O Media editorial director Paul Maidment, who oversees the sports website Deadspin, sent Deadspin employees a memo telling them to stay away from stories that do not have direct ties to sports.

The memo read in part, “To create as much great sports journalism as we can requires a 100% focus of our resources on sports. And it will be the sole focus. Deadspin will write only about sports and that which is relevant to sports in some way.”

It appears Maidment is saying it’s OK to touch on politics and pop culture, for example, as long as there is a sports connection.

“Where such subjects touch on sports, they are fair game for Deadspin. Where they do not, they are not,” Maidment wrote. “We have plenty of other sites that write about politics, pop culture, the arts, and the rest, and they’re the appropriate place for such work.”

I’ve always thought Deadspin was at its best when it wrote about whatever the heck the staff wanted to write about. It never felt like the site swerved too far outside the sports lane, and it does a good job of promoting other G/O Media sites.

The guess is that this is not going to go over well with Deadspin staff.

A look inside, from people on the inside


This week’s Washington Post Magazine cover. (Photo courtesy of The Washington Post)

“America incarcerates more people than any other nation.”

So begins the latest special issue of The Washington Post Magazine, “Prison.” What makes it so special? The issue was written, illustrated and photographed by those who have been or are currently incarcerated, and it’s a compelling piece of journalism. The Post said the goal was to “help readers learn about the experience of imprisonment, something that is poorly understood by Americans who are untouched by the system.”

The seven-part project includes how America has normalized prison; a journalist who writes about his most difficult assignment, which was writing a letter to the family of a man he killed; how prisons are designed for men and need to be improved for women; and a photo essay about being electronically monitored while on parole. There’s also a fictional essay about the trials of reentry.

Washington Post Magazine editor Richard Just told me in an email, “Prisons had been a topic that several of us on the magazine thought deserved more coverage, and, in brainstorming about topics we wanted to focus on in 2019, we talked about the idea of building an issue around incarceration.”

Along with colleagues Alexa McMahon and Whitney Joiner, the idea evolved. McMahon and Joiner reached out to various organizations and prison experts to begin connecting with writers. The project ended up taking nearly a year.

“I think the value of the issue lies in hearing about an aspect of American life that is an incredibly significant part of our society, but that is simply not well understood by most Americans — and hearing about it through the voices of people who are rarely heard from at all,” Just told me. “In that sense, it achieves what I think are some of the foundational purposes of magazine journalism: to tell people things they should know, but don’t; to present new ideas and facts through compelling writing and art; and to tell big stories in a way that captures their complexity and their human dimension.”

Former Fox Newsers want NDAs lifted


Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

NBC Universal, trying to fend off criticism from inside and outside its own building, said last week that it will release former NBC News employees from nondisclosure agreements if they want to speak out about sexual misconduct. Now, in a story broken by Vanity Fair’s Diana Falzone, former Fox News staffers want that network to do the same. At least six former Fox News staffers, including Gretchen Carlson, are asking that all women who signed NDAs should be released from them immediately.

Carlson, who filed suit against late Fox News chief Roger Ailes, told Falzone that releasing women from the NDAs will give them “the voices they deserve.”

Carlson went on to say, “None of us asked to get into a workplace dispute. We simply had the courage to stand up and say something — but in the end it’s our voices no one can hear. Because of our NDAs, we can never say what is factually correct or incorrect about what happened to us at Fox.”

Um, that’s not how it works

Interesting editorial in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal. Leading up to the general election, the paper’s editorial board invited each Republican and Democratic candidate for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general for an interview. All the candidates gave interviews, except for one. Republican Tate Reeves, who is running for governor, responded through his communications director by saying, “We are doing off the record editorial board meetings the week of Oct. 28th, in time for endorsements to be made the final Sunday before the election.”

Wait, off the record?

The Daily Journal’s editorial board responded that all interviews were on the record. They have yet to hear back from Reeves.

In an editorial, the board wrote, “When an elected official running for the state’s top office wants to speak to newspaper editorial boards off the record, one has to wonder how transparent he will be if elected, and how well the candidate can explain his vision for Mississippi with questions that go much deeper than looking for a sound bite response.”

As Mississippi Today editor-in-chief R.L. Nave tweeted:

“So if the editorial board wanted to endorse him, they couldn’t even say why”

CPJ lists deadly countries for journalists

For this item, I turn it over to Poynter’s Kristen Hare.

Thirteen countries made this year’s Global Impunity Index from the Committee to Protect Journalists. That list tracks places where the murder of journalists has gone unpunished starting on Sept. 1, 2009. In this year’s top five are Somalia, with 25 total unsolved murders; Syria and Iraq, both with 22; South Sudan with five and the Philippines with 41. Afghanistan, Mexico and Russia also made the top 13. According to the report, “In recent years, unchecked anti-press violence has spread to places previously considered relatively safe for the media.”

You can read the full report here.

Proof that age is just a number

Monday was the 75th anniversary of Sid Hartman’s first byline. It was Oct. 28, 1944, in the Minneapolis Times and it was about high school sports. Hartman went on to become a legendary sports columnist at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He went on to have more than 21,000 bylines — and counting. Yes, he still writes.

He’s 99.

I was fortunate enough to work with Sid when I was at the Star Tribune from 2000 to 2003. For a while, he was a “close personal friend of mine.” (Those who know Sid will get that joke.)

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Have feedback or a tip? Email Poynter senior media writer Tom Jones at tjones@poynter.org.

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