Good morning. We hope Disney executives raise a toast to Mickey Mouse, who on this day in 1928 made his first appearance in the silent film “Plane Crazy.”
- ABC News’ support of Stephanopoulos seems unwavering
Word that ABC’s George Stephanopoulos gave a total of $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation brought his apology and ABC’s seemingly firm support. On the media outrage scale — one being “who cares?” and 10 being the Brian Williams beatdown — this initially seems like perhaps a three. But what would ABC have done if he’d told them from the start? Its Thursday response suggests no real problem. As far as how this impacts his daily modus operandi, he says he’ll opt out of moderating a Republican presidential debate in February. That presumably means he continues everything else, including reporting on the Clintons. Go figure.
- A real King is dead
When B.B. King played at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival outside Chicago in 2007, he told the audience, “May I live forever, but may you live forever and a day” as he raised a cup to his fans, writes the Chicago Tribune’s Greg Kot. “And when they lay me off to rest … may the last voices I hear be yours.” Some of those voices are great music and obituary writers paying homage to him, including in the Washington Post, New York Times and, of course, Rolling Stone, whose big package includes “B.B. King’s 10 Greatest Songs.” One factoid from Rolling Stone: An early legend on black radio, B.B. King released 75 hit singles between 1951 and 1992. 75! A giant has passed.
- Amtrak engineer: saint, sinner or none of the above?
When tragedy strikes, media are often given to caricature, anointing individuals as saints and sinners and leaving a certain human complexity behind. It will thus be interesting to see how things play out with Brandon Bostian, who was driving the Amtrak train (apparently at 106 miles per hour) when it derailed in Philadelphia. He grew up outside Memphis, worked for a local newspaper during summers and initially studied journalism at the University of Missouri before switching to accounting. A neighbor in New York City describes him as “a really sweet person,” while others are downright glowing in some stories. Of course, it’s still too early to know what really happened Tuesday and whether he winds up depicted in an irreversibly unfavorable light.
- Will newspapers’ march to Facebook unavoidably intensify?
Newspaper industry analyst Alan Mutter, a former editor at the San Francisco Chronicle and Chicago Sun-Times, writes that a belief that quality speaks for itself may well be undermined by the reality of the importance of Facebook and Google referrals. In his blog he elaborates on what he told Poynter about the Instant Articles deal, namely that a dependency now seems institutionalized and, “fearful of being left behind, it is fair to assume additional media names in the not-too-distant future will feel obliged to join, too.”
- Reports of imminent Iran cyber attacks may have been hooey
Shane Harris, a stellar national security specialist with The Daily Beast, is raising significant doubts about a recent report co-authored by the American Enterprise Institute and Norse, a Silicon Valley security firm. It received a fair bit of attention in April among national media, given the sexy basic thrust that if we cut a deal with Iran on its nuclear program, and thus lifted economic sanctions, Iran would dump tons more money into a burgeoning cyber initiative. He reveals that Pentagon officials find the empirical basis of the report to verge on baloney, especially suggestions of imminent peril to the U.S.
- “Hey, Amazon, quick, guests are coming and I need wine and toilet paper!”
TechCrunch reports that “Amazon’s Echo speaker/intelligent tube/listening pal revealed a bit more of its true nature” on Thursday. Yes, It can now field voice-powered buying requests, translating your spoken desire for more paper towels into more actual paper towels, for instance.” But will it ever be able to pick up the kids at school in a pinch?
- Forget the horse race stories and follow the money
Today brings a nice bit of enterprise from Bloomberg News, detailing some of the fat fees received by Washington lobbying and consulting firms doing business with Russia. In particular, there’s Russia Big Oil trying to fend off increasing U.S. and European sanctions resulting from Russia’s reviled intervention in Ukraine. Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour are among the many former politicians making off with big bucks. In the capital, commerce again trumps ideology or good policy.
- Joe Biden, where are you, bud?
His press advisory for Friday is spare. “The Vice President will meet with senior advisors.” I hope that’s not entirely uncommon.
- Front page of the day, selected by Seth Liss:
The New York Daily News gives the wood to Brandon Bostian, who was driving the Amtrak train that derailed in Philadelphia Tuesday. (Courtesy the Newseum)
- Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin
Kevin Krim is leaving CNBC. He is general manager and senior vice president there. (TV Newser) | Steve Rossi will lead Digital First Media. He is chief operating officer there. (Poynter) | Job of the day: The Huffington Post is looking for a personal stories editor. Get your résumés in! (Mediagazer) | Send Ben your job moves: email@example.com.
Correction: An earlier version of this post said Steve Rossi will be CEO of Digital First Media. In fact, he will retain his Chief Operating Officer title.