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June 3, 2019
Good morning! Here are some of the media stories that are catching our attention today.
Editor limits screen time
New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet is pushing to keep his journalists away from pundit TV, Vanity Fair reports.
Should newspaper reporters who claim to be objective go on cable TV shows that might have political biases? That’s at the heart of a compelling report by Vanity Fair’s Joe Pompeo, who learned that The New York Times recently nixed an appearance by finance editor David Enrich on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show.
Pompeo went on to report that the Times would “prefer” its reporters not appear as guests on certain shows because executive editor Dean Baquet thinks the opinion shows are getting even more opinionated. One Times source told Pompeo that “Their view is that, intentionally or not, it affiliates the Times reporter with a bias.”
The Times’ handbook says, “In deciding whether to make a radio, television or Internet appearance, a staff member should consider its probable tone and content to make sure they are consistent with Times standards. Staff members should avoid strident, theatrical forums that emphasize punditry and reckless opinion-mongering.”
Baquet told The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove, “We will still appear on television when invited. It’s the most sharply opinionated shows that give me pause. I’m not sure which shows we will avoid. The line is increasingly blurred. Again, this is not an assault on our television compatriots. It’s my strong view that opinion and news need to be separated.”
No one would argue with Baquet’s assessment that opinion and news should be separated, and it’s understandable that the Times would want to appear objective. But it feels like this decision was driven by the Times’ desire to avoid conservative criticism for appearing on shows seen as left-leaning.
The Times’ strategy on this could benefit The Washington Post, which told Pompeo that it sees TV appearances as a way to expose its journalism to different audiences and only asks that its reporters speak objectively.
In a Twitter thread well worth your time, New York University journalism professor and media observer Jay Rosen wrote that Washington Post executive editor Marty Baron “must be chuckling softly as he watches his rival tie himself into knots over the problem of what the right wing might say about The New York Times. And as Wash Post reporters fill those seats on TV shows from which the Times has been frightened away by its enemies.”
Like all newspapers, the Times is looking to expand its audience and stay relevant. (For example, it even started its own TV show Sunday night.) Going on TV, whether it’s MSNBC or Fox News, is a good way to do that. Perhaps the Times should trust its reporters to do and say the right things whenever they agree to be on television.
‘Was it racist?’
On HBO show, Axios national political reporter Jonathan Swan pushes Jared Kushner for answers.
Jared Kushner, senior adviser to President Donald Trump, speaks during the TIME 100 Summit in April. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
The most fascinating interview of the weekend was Jonathan Swan’s sit-down with presidential adviser and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, during Sunday’s “Axios on HBO.”
Swan showed his superb interview skills when he questioned Kushner on whether or not Trump was a racist. First he asked Kushner if he ever saw anything that would suggest Trump is a racist. Kushner said no. Then Swan asked if the birtherism questions surrounding former President Barack Obama were racist.
Kushner: “Um. Look, I wasn’t really involved in that.”
Swan: “I know you weren’t. Was it racist?”
Kushner: “Like I said, I wasn’t involved in that.”
Swan: “I know you weren’t. Was it racist?”
Kushner never gave a yes or no, but said he knows who the president is and has not seen anything in him that is racist.
Also in the interview, Kushner would not say if he holds Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman responsible for the death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Kushner said he wants to wait for the results of a United States investigation before assigning blame.
A SuriusXM radio host is suspended, issues an apology and then jokes on Twitter about being right about his insensitive comments.
Golf instructor Hank Haney, right, watches his star pupil, Tiger Woods, center, in 2008 in San Diego. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Hank Haney still doesn’t get it. Last week, the famed golf swing coach, who used to work with Tiger Woods, was suspended from his SiriusXM Radio golf show for insensitive remarks while talking with fellow instructor Steve Johnson.
When Johnson brought up this past weekend’s U.S. Women’s Open, Haney said, “I’m going to predict a Korean. … That’s going to be my prediction. I could name you like six players on the LPGA tour. No, maybe I couldn’t. Ah, well. I’d go with Lee. If I didn’t have to name a first name I’d get a bunch of them right.”
Haney apologized and then on Sunday, he tweeted:
“My prediction that a Korean woman would be atop the leaderboard at the Women’s US Open was based on statistics and facts. Korean women are absolutely dominating the LPGA Tour. If you asked me again my answer would be the same but worded more carefully.”
Haney then seemed to make a joke out of it again after Jeongeun Lee6 won the U.S. Open. on Sunday. He tweeted:
“Congratulation to Jeongean Lee6 on your great win at the US Women’s Open. Who’s the Great Predictor now Steve Johnson. I knew a Lee would win.”
According to the Associated Press and her LPGA bio page, Lee6 includes the number with her name professionally because she was the sixth player named Jeongeun Lee playing in the Korean LPGA tour. “She has embraced the number, answering to it and writing a large ‘6’ on her balls. Her South Korean fan club is called ‘Lucky 6,'” the AP wrote.
Sunday shows shine
Highlights from this week’s Sunday morning news talk shows include pushback and Russian revelations.
From left, President Donald Trump, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan at a meeting with Caribbean leaders at Mar-A-Lago in March in Palm Beach, Florida. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
This week’s Sunday morning news shows were particularly strong. Here’s the best of what you might have missed:
On “Meet The Press,” host Chuck Todd grilled acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on whether President Donald Trump accepted that the Russians interfered in the 2016 electionto help him win. Mulvaney said it “didn’t make a difference.”
Todd, sternly, nudged back and said that was not the question, adding, “You guys always try to change it to, ‘But no votes were changed’ … That’s not the point.”
Mulvaney then said, “Fine … Yes, Russia did attempt to interfere in our election.”
Most interesting answer
On Sunday’s “Face The Nation,” host Margaret Brennan asked Sen. John Kennedy (R-Louisiana) if he would support Trump’s threat to put tariffs on Mexico.
Kennedy said, “I think it was a mistake. I’m not saying we don’t have a crisis at the border. We clearly do. I’m not saying it won’t work.”
But, Kennedy said, the United Sates and Mexico already have a trade agreement (NAFTA) and he worries about long-term ramifications if the U.S. goes back on its word.
“My experience with the president is, he is a very smart man,” Kennedy said. “I wouldn’t call him risk averse. He has been known to play with fire but not live hand grenades. And if he slaps a 25 percent tariff on Mexico, it’s going to tank the American economy. I think the president knows that and he’s not going to do it.”
Most interesting guest
ABC’s “This Week” co-anchor Martha Raddatz interviewed Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif who said “there will be consequences” if the United States tries to pressure Iran economically.
“This may work in the real estate market,” Zarif said. “It does not work in dealing with Iran. It may work even in dealing with other countries, for a brief period, not for long term, but it doesn’t work with Iran for a brief period, or in medium or long. The only thing that works with Iran is respect.”
A list of great journalism and intriguing media.
Elton John poses for photographers at the photo call for “Rocketman” at Cannes. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)
- Cool walk down memory lane: the Los Angeles Times prints Robert Hilburn’s 1970 concert review of a new rock talent by the name of Elton John.
- Still trying to figure out where you might go this summer? The New York Times asks 25 writers to give their favorite beach destinations.
- Peggy Noonan writes in the Wall Street Journal that President Trump should be censured, not impeached. (Note: column is behind a paywall.)
Correction: Due to an editing error, the subject line from Friday’s newsletter incorrectly referenced The New York Time’s “The Weekly” TV show as “The Daily,” its daily podcast. We regret the error.
Have feedback or a tip? Email Poynter senior media writer Tom Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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