June 28, 2021

Former President Donald Trump held a rally in Ohio on Saturday night and continued to spew lies about the 2020 election being stolen from him, calling it “the scam of the century and this was the crime of the century.”

By Sunday morning, a notable Republican had already seen enough.


Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney said it’s time for members of his party to “move on” and compared Trump’s lie to the shenanigans you see at the World Wrestling Federation.

Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Romney told host Jake Tapper, “Well, I do think it’s important for each person to speak the truth and to make clear that the ‘big lie’ is exactly that.”

Romney continued, “I also think, frankly Jake, that here in the U.S., there’s a growing recognition that this is a bit like WWF, that it’s entertaining, but it’s not real. And I know people want to say, yes, they believe in the ‘big lie’ in some cases, but I think people recognize that it’s a lot of show and bombast, but it’s going nowhere. The election is over. It was fair. Look, the president was crying foul on election night and actually before election night. And the question is, what were his sources of information? … Did he hear it from the Justice Department? No. Did he hear it from the intelligence community? No. So, where did he hear it from? The MyPillow guy? Rudy Giuliani?”

Saturday night was just the start of what’s expected to be a series of Trump appearances. The next one is scheduled for Saturday in Sarasota, Florida.

Trump coverage

Most TV networks skipped the Trump speech Saturday night, even Fox News. Three TV networks did, however, show it. One was C-SPAN. It was part of that network’s “Road to 2024” coverage, and because Trump could run for president, C-SPAN carried it.

The other two that carried the rally, or whatever you want to call it, were no surprise: pro-Trump networks One America News and Newsmax.

Politico’s Playbook wrote, “Fun fact: Trump was onstage for 97 minutes. That’s longer than the runtimes of ‘12 Angry Men,’ ‘Mean Girls; or ‘The Lion King.’”

The Trump lie

Trump wasn’t alone in continuing to peddle unproven lies about the 2020 election during the Ohio event. Others on the stage Saturday night did, too, including Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who told the crowd, “President Trump is my president, too. And he should be our president right now but the dirty, rotten Democrats stole the election.”

And the crowd ate it up, apparently. BuzzFeed News’ Kadia Goba talked to one Trump supporter who said, “Jesus Christ would have to come down and tell me that Biden won before I would ever believe it.”

Part of Trump’s speech in Ohio was to campaign for Republican congressional candidate Max Miller. Trump wants to see Republican Anthony Gonzalez voted out because Gonzalez was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump over the events on Jan. 6.

New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman had an interesting take on Twitter, saying, “Trump’s endorsement has been shown to be valuable in GOP primaries. But the endorsement rallies are vehicles for himself to get attention when he’s been kicked off Twitter and Facebook, and has gone from having the most attention he ever had to having the least in decades.”

Haberman added, “He’s beginning to hold them just as the Trump Organization may be indicted next week, a move that Trump aides have made clear Trump will treat as persecution of him (and which he did in a statement earlier today).”

On Sunday, The Washington Post’s Shayna Jacobs, Josh Dawsey and David A. Fahrenthold had this breaking news: “Trump Organization attorneys given Monday deadline to persuade prosecutors not to file charges against it.”

Important commentary

Rescue workers walk among the rubble where a beachfront condo building collapsed in the Surfside area of Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

John Dickerson, who is filling in these days for Margaret Brennan (who is on parental leave) as anchor of CBS’s “Face the Nation,” had a thoughtful commentary on Sunday morning’s show:

“Every Sunday, when I walk to this studio, I pass a firehouse. It is quiet that early in the morning. The firemen and women pass the time in easy conversation or preparing their equipment. It is nearly as peaceful as it was in the middle of the night Thursday at Champlain Towers South, just before the building collapsed. That nightmare — coming at the hour where we risk feeling safest, asleep in our beds — summoned police, emergency medical technicians, and firemen, like the ones I pass on the way to work each Sunday.

“In an instant that community of protection rushed to endanger their lives in the hope of saving the lives of others. Their heroism in falling rubble and live electrical wires gives hope in dark moments to the families, and to the rest of us, staggered by what we see. It is all too big, all the anguish and the loss, and the reminder, even after a year and a half of a pandemic of how thin the membrane is that separates any of us from tragedy. It makes me think about those morning walks by the firehouse, not because those moments are peaceful, but because even when the sirens are not blaring, those men and women are still dedicated every day to life’s preciousness, to rescuing people they don’t know simply because they are human.

“The rest of us may never face an acute moment of danger where we can be a hero, but we are all surrounded by humans every day to whom we can be generous, compassionate, and true. In these tragic moments, we feel our common human connection. We can honor those feelings by being like the first responders who recognize that human connection even after the tragedy passes.”

The Surfside building collapse

Here is some more notable coverage from last week’s horrific building collapse near Miami:

  • Go to the Miami Herald’s website for impressive coverage of the tragedy. The Herald’s superb coverage not only details the facts as we know them, but also takes readers into the heartbreak of those personally impacted by what happened. This is a local newspaper doing what local papers are supposed to do: being a go-to source for its community.
  • I also should mention the solid coverage on many of the local TV stations in Miami, including NBC 6, Local 10, CBS Miami and WSVN 7News, as well as the local Univision station.
  • The Washington Post and The New York Times also have provided valuable live update coverage.


The Freedom Forum’s Power Shift Project has updated its free Workplace Integrity curriculum with new content, to be delivered online. The goal is to produce workplaces free of harassment, discrimination and incivility, especially for those who have traditionally been denied it. Learn more.

Chris Wallace does his job

Solid work by “Fox News Sunday” moderator Chris Wallace for challenging Indiana Republican Congressman Jim Banks, who talked about Democrats wanting to “defund the police.”

Wallace pointed out Banks and many of his fellow Republicans voted against President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 relief plan, which included $350 billion for state and local governments — some of which could have been used to hire more police.

Wallace said, “Congressman Banks, you voted against that package, against that $350 billion, just like every other Republican in the House and Senate. So, can’t you make the argument that it’s you and the Republicans who are defunding the police?”

Banks danced around, pivoted and never really gave a direct answer to Wallace’s question, but credit to Wallace for knowing his stuff and pushing back on Banks.

Reopening from NBC News

(Courtesy: NBC News)

With July 4 just around the corner, NBC News will dedicate a portion of its coverage this week to America continuing to reopen.

“Reopening America” will air across all NBC News platforms, including the “Today” show, “Nightly News,” “Meet the Press,” MSNBC, and NBC News NOW. The coverage also will feature “Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt’s behind-the-scenes report on Macy’s fireworks ahead of July 4.

Creator of ‘Cops’ dies

John Langley, creator of the successful but controversial TV show “Cops,” has died. Langley died of an apparent heart attack in Baja, Mexico, while competing in an off-road race on Saturday. He was 78.

“Cops,” which followed police officers during their shifts, was on the air for 32 seasons and more than 1,000 episodes. It aired on Fox for most of that time, and then on Spike TV (which became Paramount) for several seasons. It also was popular on reruns and was on the leading edge of reality TV.

But it was pulled off the air in 2020 following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. The show had long been criticized for glorifying police and advancing stereotypes of those accused of crimes.

When the show was canceled in June 2020, Rashad Robinson, executive director of Color of Change, told The New York Times’ Nicole Sperling, “This is the right move and I want to give Paramount credit for being one of the first. We want to see more. These cop reality shows that glorify police but will never show the deep level of police violence are not reality, they are P.R. arms for law enforcement. Law enforcement doesn’t need P.R. They need accountability in this country.”

Last October, The Hollywood Reporter’s Rick Porter wrote that “Cops” had resumed production, but that the show would not be aired in the U.S. The show’s production team told Porter that “Cops” would air internationally in order to fill commitments in those places.

Interesting case study

Two respected media outlets. The same topic. And yet two very different framings of the story. Check it out for yourself. First, The Wall Street Journal’s Eric Morath and Joe Barrett with “Americans Are Leaving Unemployment Rolls More Quickly in States Cutting Off Benefits.” Then there’s The New York Times’ Patricia Cohen with “Where Jobless Benefits Were Cut, Jobs Are Still Hard to Fill.”

Media tidbits

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Correction: Ben Smith’s buzzworthy column was about Tucker Carlson, not Sean Hannity. 

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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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  • Reasonable comments from Mitt Romney about DJT’s “bombast” about election-fraud charges, comparing them to World Wide Wrestling. It’s fun to remember that Mitt has had his own WWF experience.