February 25, 2020

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Finally, a guilty verdict

Media mogul Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of two felony sex crimes on Monday: rape and criminal sexual act. He was acquitted on three other counts, including the most serious charge of being a sexual predator. He faces at least five years and up to 25 years in prison.

It might not have been the total victory that many were hoping for, but the New York Times described it as a “#MeToo watershed” moment. And it was the work of New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, in their blockbuster report in 2017, that blew the lid off of this story.

Let’s be clear: The real heroes in all of this were the brave women who came forward to tell their horrifying stories about Weinstein. They risked their reputations, their futures, their careers and so much more.

However, Kantor and Twohey’s dogged reporting was a pivotal part of this story, shining a light on Weinstein and helping to start a movement. Their book “She Said” is a textbook for how to report a sensitive story.

The Mediaite “Live From the Green Room” newsletter described it as “the tirelessness of the two journalists who pursue their profession’s loftiest ambition: to hold power to account, and give voice to the powerless.”

Meanwhile, the Times continues to do important work on this. Nicole Sperling wrote how Hollywood is still a man’s world, noting that while Hollywood is talking the talk when it comes to inclusion, it still isn’t walking the walk.

But again, it all goes back to the women who stood up to Weinstein. Kantor and Twohey, along with Grace Ashford, Catrin Einhorn and Ellen Gabler, had a powerful piece talking to those women. The headline: “Finally.”

Lastly, Kantor and Twohey with what the Weinstein conviction means. The two Times reporters are expected to be the guests on today’s “The Daily” podcast.


All apologies

MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews. (Photo: mpi04/MediaPunch)

Chris Matthews apologized Monday night for comparing Bernie Sanders’ victory in the Nevada caucuses to Nazis invading France in 1940.

“Before getting into tonight’s news, I want to say something quite important and personal,” Matthews said Monday night to open his “Hardball” show on MSNBC. “As I watched the one-sided results of Saturday’s Democratic caucus in Nevada, I reached for a historical analogy — and used a bad one. I was wrong to refer to an event from the first days of World War II. Senator Sanders, I’m sorry for comparing anything from that tragic era in which so many suffered, especially the Jewish people, to an electorate result in which you were the well-deserved winner. This is going to be a hard-fought, heated campaign of ideas. In the days and weeks and months ahead, I will strive to do a better job myself of elevating the political discussion. Congratulations, by the way, to you Senator Sanders and to your supporters on a tremendous win down in Nevada.”

I wrote about this in Monday’s Poynter Report, and while I acknowledge that Matthews wasn’t actually comparing Sanders to Nazis (Matthews was comparing the inevitability of Sanders’ victory to the inevitability of the Nazi’s victory), it still was a bad choice of words. And Matthews seemed to get that in his apology.

All’s fair … or is it?

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The Chris Matthews comments about Bernie Sanders is just the latest example, Sanders and his supporters say, of media bias against Sanders. In particular, Sanders’ campaign has complained about MSNBC. In fact, there have been reports that Sanders has met personally with MSNBC executives over this issue.

Maybe all this complaining is working? Vanity Fair’s Joe Pompeo reported Monday that one source told him, “Will they bring in more contributors that are pro-Sanders? That’s where the chatter is. As a matter of news, you have to. Management is sensitive to it, that he is now very possibly gonna be the nominee. He’s winning.”

Another network executive told Pompeo, “Yes, the race has changed over the last couple of weeks, and we are going to reflect that and make adjustments. One easy way to do that is to seek out more smart, pro-Sanders voices from people who can make our coverage more insightful.”

However, don’t expect to see the coverage sway too far the other way.

“Their campaign,” the executive said, “like any other, is due fair coverage, not fawning coverage.”

Sun sets on ‘High Noon’

(AP Graphic/ESPN)

As first reported by Sports Business Daily’s John Ourand, ESPN will cancel its afternoon show “High Noon” at the end of March. Technically it’s a debate show, but it’s not one of those “Why-are-those-guys-yelling?” shows that are just full of hot takes. Hosts Bomani Jones and Pablo Torre are smart opinionists, but apparently, the show just never found an audience, according to ESPN.

As New York Post sports media columnist Andrew Marchand tweeted, the initial length of “High Noon” was an hour, which might have been too long. Then it was cut to a half-hour, changed time slots and even networks, going from ESPN to ESPN2 on Mondays. All that likely hurt its momentum.

This does not mean the end of Jones and Torre at ESPN. Both are well thought of (and they should be). But until ESPN figures out what’s next, expect to see them on shows such as “Around the Horn,” “Highly Questionable” and as fill-in hosts on shows such as “Pardon the Interruption” and “First Take.”

Former ESPN personality Jemele Hill reacted strongly on Twitter with some R-rated language over the news that “High Noon” was being canceled.

Media tidbits

  • The Democrats hold another presidential debate tonight. This time CBS hosts. The next one after that is March 15 in Phoenix, hosted by CNN.

  • The entire New York editorial staff of Men’s Journal was laid off last week. For more, check out Kathryn Hopkins’ story for WWD.

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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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