November 8, 2019

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Good Friday morning. All week, I was looking forward to Thursday’s “The View.” So what happened?

Trump Jr. and ‘The View’ disappoint viewers

Donald Trump Jr. appeared on “The View” on Thursday and it went down pretty much like you would have expected. It was a combative interview with both the panelists and the president’s son getting in their shots. (You can see the clips herehere and here.)

Both sides wasted time by digging up old stories with “The View” hosts talking about President Donald Trump’s comments about Mexicans being “rapists,” his mocking a disabled reporter and his “Access Hollywood” tape. Clearly ready for such attacks, Trump Jr. fired back by talking about Joy Behar once wearing blackface and Whoopi Goldberg once minimizing statutory rape allegations against movie director Roman Polanski.

The most captivating part was Trump Jr.’s exchange with co-host Meghan McCain, whose father — the late Sen. John McCain — was often criticized by President Trump. At first, Trump Jr. defended his father as being a “counterpuncher.”

But when pressed further, Trump Jr. said, “I understand that, and I’m sorry about that, and they did have differences. I agree with that.”

Also interesting was an exchange about Trump Jr. defending his possible outing of the whistleblower and turning the tables on ABC, which produces “The View.” Earlier this week, a video surfaced of ABC News’ Amy Robach complaining that the network had quashed a blockbuster story about convicted sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein.

“ABC is right now chasing down a whistleblower about all of the Epstein stuff because those stories were killed,” Trump Jr. said. “What’s the difference? I’m a private citizen putting this out there.”

But other than those brief exchanges — and Trump Jr.’s girlfriend (and Trump adviser and former Fox News personality) Kimberly Guilfoyle trying to play peacemaker — the segments offered more sizzle than steak. And that’s too bad because “The View” often delivers worthwhile moments.

Sadly, “The View” segments with Trump Jr. were not very productive. It felt like two sides more interested in getting their points across and making the other look bad than having a truly insightful conversation. It was a street fight where everyone lost — including the viewers.

About that whistleblower

Trump Jr. brought up a topic worth discussing when he mentioned the whistleblower. And it goes back to what he said about ABC. Journalist Yashar Ali reported Thursday that the person who leaked the video of Robach’s complaints to Project Veritas was discovered by ABC.

Turns out, the person has since moved on to CBS. Ali reported that ABC informed CBS who it was and that CBS has fired that employee.

So here’s the point some are making: News outlets are refusing to out the  identity of the whistleblower who sparked the Trump impeachment probe, but the networks were quick to track down — and punish — the person who leaked the video calling out ABC for sitting on a big story. That, critics could argue, is hypocritical.

The big difference, of course, is the person who leaked the ABC video isn’t likely to be in any physical danger if his or her identity were revealed. In addition, leaking a video does not afford you the same protection as the official Whistleblower Protection Act.

‘Living through three years of … hell’

Maria Ressa and Bill Whitaker in the Rappler newsroom in Manilla earlier this year. (Photo courtesy of CBS News)

Sunday’s “60 Minutes” on CBS will feature Maria Ressa, the head of a popular Philippine online news site, who has been arrested and charged with libel and tax evasion. But the real reason many believe she has been arrested and threatened with death was because her Rappler news site has written critically of the country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte, and his government.

During the segment, Ressa tells correspondent Bill Whitaker, “This is far worse than any war zone that I’ve been in. In a war zone, you know exactly where the threats are coming from. We’ve been living through three years of this kind of hell.”

Stephen A. Smith’s contract is extended;
Cris Carter is out at Fox Sports

Stephen A. Smith (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Two sports media items of note.

First, Stephen A. Smith has signed an extension with ESPN. The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reports the deal is worth $8 million a year. For that money, he will continue to co-host the morning show, “First Take,” as well as appear on “SportsCenter” and the network’s NBA coverage. Smith is believed to now be ESPN’s highest-paid on-air personality, surpassing “Get Up” host Mike Greenberg ($6.5 million). Smith is a polarizing figure, but clearly ESPN sees him as a valuable asset to pay him that well.

Meanwhile, Cris Carter is out at Fox Sports. He had been co-host of FS1’s debate show “First Things First.” There were reports that Carter was upset about not being a part of Fox’s “Thursday Night Football” coverage. But Marchand reported that was not the reason he was let go. Marchand’s sources say the matter was more serious than that.

All Fox Sports said was, “Cris Carter is no longer with Fox Sports. There is no further comment at this time.”

Deep in the heart of Texas Tribune

For this item, I turn it over to managing editor Barbara Allen.

Ten years ago this week, The Texas Tribune launched online. It has grown over the past decade to become a standard-bearer in journalism circles for doing lots of things right: online reporting, nonprofit journalism, maintaining its fierce nonpartisanship and watchdogging the government in Texas.

But it started as just some guys talking at a Mexican restaurant in Austin.

The Tribune now operates a $9 million annual budget, hosts dozens of events, and produces scores of stories, videos, newsletters and podcasts. Here’s how it almost didn’t happen, and why you’re not going to find The Oklahoma Tribune or The New Hampshire Tribune — or The Whatever-State-You-Live-In Tribune — any time soon … unless you want to start it yourself.

Longtime producer returns to NBC

Longtime NBC News producer Madeleine Haeringer is returning to NBC after a stint at HBO’s “Vice News Tonight,” where she won two Emmy Awards. Haeringer is returning as senior executive producer and will report directly to NBC News president Noah Oppenheim.

In a note to staff, Oppenheim said Haeringer will produce original daily news shows in NBC News’ partnership with Quibi, which launches in April. The two daily news shows (morning and evening) and two weekend shows all will run about six minutes each and are aimed at millennials.

Haringer spent 19 years at NBC and once led MSNBC’s news coverage before moving to become executive producer of “Vice News Tonight” in 2016. That show was not renewed by HBO earlier this year.

New Khashoggi fellow selected

The Washington Post Opinions section has selected Ezzedine C. Fishere as the next Jamal Khashoggi fellow. Fishere is an Egyptian scholar, novelist and former diplomat who will write columns in the Global Opinions section on autocracy, freedom of expression, shifting politics, and social and economic aspirations in the Middle East and North Africa.

Fishere is the second recipient of the fellowship, established in honor of the Post columnist who was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last year. The Post describes the fellowship as “an independent platform for writers from parts of the world where freedom of expression is threatened or suppressed.”

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Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
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