"Peanut butter is better than fire-bombing"

Muck Rack Daily

"Peanut butter is better than fire-bombing"
October 19th, 2016
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"Peanut Butter Is Better Than Fire-Bombing."


So Much Depends On a Family-Size Jar of Low-Sodium Peanut Butter...

A Wisconsin woman who supports Hillary Clinton has been accused of masterminding an oddly endearing (but mostly just "odd") anti-Trump demonstration, making use of a household item that's gone largely underutilized by practitioners of nonviolent resistance—until now:

A family size jar of creamy, low-sodium JIF peanut butter.

To journalists like Oliver Darcy of Business Insider ("21 more days," he tweeted in exasperation) this story and others like it merely underscore why Election Day 2016 can't come soon enough. Others like CBS' Sopan Deb simply tweeted, "Guys.", expressing in social media shorthand a multitude of subtle and ineffable Internet-specific emotions that have no other words in English to describe them.

But folks, the peanut butter angle is only the fourth or fifth most interesting part of this story:

As reported by Huffington Post's David Moye, police have accused Wisconsin Democrat Chelsea Ferguson of plotting to smear peanut butter on some 30 cars belonging to Donald Trump voters. That's something you certainly don't see everyday. But what happened next was even weirder: The plan had been executed beautifully save for one single, spectacularly botched detail: She smeared the wrong cars. What's worse, the owners of the cars mistakenly caught in the woman's smearing spree belonged to members of a community conservation group fighting to protect the environment. They were basically hippies!  And while Jill Stein might be more their speed than Hillary Clinton—whom Ferguson backs—the chances are slim that a bunch of conservationists are voting for the guy who said climate change is a Chinese hoax.

So what began as one of the greatest political pranks in U.S. history, might now be one of the worst political pranks in U.S. history—unless of course the alleged peanut butter vandal can redeem herself in the final moments, which of course she does, leaving us with a valuable quote she shared with the police officers who arrested her that can be applied to just about anything in life:

“Peanut butter is better than fire-bombing.”

"This is a real problem."

That's Max Boot of the Council on Foreign Relations, calling on Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to take a long hard look at a "surge" of anti-Semitic tweets throughout the 2016 election—many of which are being shared by supporters of Donald Trump, writes the New York Times' Jonathan Mahler (almost 10,000 shares). To those who have become targets for this hateful rhetoric, The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg advises, “It seems to me that when the Twitter Nazis hate you, you are probably doing something right,” before wondering what that says about Donald Trump who is quite popular with many of the very same "Twitter Nazis."

An "avalanche of wrongness"—and the reporter who tried to conquer it


For reporters, telling the truth isn't just a personal aspiration. It's a professional imperative. And so when the news industry encounters a man like Donald Trump who, to cite just one example, lied 34 times over the course of a single 90-minute debate, you can expect reporters to rise to the occasion, whether that means deploying an entire unit of reporters to fact-check the debates, or devising clever technological solutions in order to debunk falsehoods in real-time. But for Daniel Dale of the Toronto Sun, it still "wasn't enough," likening Trump's deceit to "a daily avalanche of wrongness" the scale and severity of which cannot be sufficiently captured by calling out each snowflake as it falls. And so, as recounted in a Politico Magazine piece called "Confessions of a Trump Fact-Checker," Dale describes the 33 days he spent buried in that avalanche, and what he learned in the process of digging himself out. That includes the staggering but not exactly surprising data around Trump's "most honest day," during which he still lied 4 times, and his "most dishonest day" (not including debates) during which he lied 25 times.

"The 'other' opioid crisis"

The startling rise over the past decade of U.S. deaths due to overdosing on opioids—including street drugs like heroin and legally-prescribed pain relievers like OxyContin—has attracted a ton of much-needed attention, culminating last summer when Congress passed a comprehensive addition reform bill dedicated to the crisis. But this isn't a problem specific to America. Far from it, writes the Wall Street Journal's Justin Scheck in a heartbreaking portrait of how addiction to opioids—specifically a pain reliever called Tramadol—is ravaging a number of places in the developing world. "The 'other' opioid crisis," tweets one of Scheck's WSJ colleagues, Stefanie Ilgenfritz. In places like the African country Cameroon, it literally grows out of the ground, its active ingredient found in a very common local root. And today, abuse is so high, the pills even "seep into the groundwater," observes Jeanne Whalen, another of Scheck's WSJ colleagues. It's everywhere.

The new "silent majority," and just as importantly...

...why they're so silent. At Vox, Matthew Yglesias explores both shifting voter demographics—which have come about in large part, he writes, thanks to more education opportunities for women and minorities—but also the psychosocial reasons for these voters' relative "silence." He quotes Rebecca Traister who says at New York Magazine that "No one likes a woman who yells loudly about revolution." She could be talking about Hillary Clinton herself, but she's really referring generally to members of a female coalition of voters who don't necessarily share their opinions in public or on Facebook very often, but who speak loud and clear at the polls. Laura McGann, a colleague of Yglesias' at Vox, describes this "silent majority" a bit more bluntly: "A bunch of people who don't wave Pepe signs and scream at rallies are going to win this election."

Journalists are geeking out over this Guardians 2 teaser

How about a little escapism to cheer us up after another serious and sobering day in Newsville? At almost 6,000 shares, Muck Rack journalists are embracing their inner nerd in anticipation of the sequel to 2014's smash hit superhero comedyGuardians of the Galaxy (which, for this Muck Racker, gave all those "serious" comic book movies like Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Cries In Front Of a Mirror For Three Hours a run for their money). Fans can't get enough of a new teaser trailer—particularly the shot below of everyone's favorite Bradley Cooper-voiced raccoon partnering up with the "newest" member of the Guardians team: Baby Groot. The image speaks for itself, as Entertainment Weekly's Jessica Dershowitz's implores her followers to "LOOK AT ROCKET AND BABY GROOT." Indeed, I'll have this image open all day as a therapeutic pick-me-up throughout another 24 hours of fresh election year outrages and atrocities. I recommend you do the same.


Question of the Day

Yesterday we asked: Airbnb cofounder and CTO Nathan Blecharczyk said if you offer a ______, you can make on average $10 more per night.

Answer: Hair dryer

Congrats to Craig Pittman of the Tampa Bay Times whose sharp mind and quick Twitter fingers make him the winner. Honorable mention goes to Center Ring Media editor in chief Dan Rosenbaum who adds, "No telling what a Keurig will get you."

Your question for today is...


Next month marks the 20th anniversary of the 90s fan favorite Space Jam starring Michael Jordan, Bill Murray, and Bugs Bunny. And to mark the occasion, the movie will return to select theaters across the country in a few weeks.

In addition to Jordan, the movie features some of the most popular NBA players of the 1990s, including the Charlotte Hornets' diminutive point guard Muggsy Bogues—who, at 5'3", is the shortest player to ever play in the NBA.

Can you name of one of two players who, at 5'9"" apiece, are tied as the shortest players currently playing in the NBA today? (Hint: One of them, despite his small stature, is the only player to have won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest three times).

Click here to submit your answers to @MuckRack. IMPORTANT: If you choose not to click that link, please include the word "answer" in your tweet so we can find it (the link will automatically do so for you)! We’ll announce the winners in the next Daily!

Jennifer Bradley Franklin


Few gigs in the media industry are more envied than that of a travel journalist. People will say things like, "Wait, so you get to travel the world, frequenting some of the most posh, exotic or renowned locales across six contients, getting drunk off craft everything, meeting and having adventures with one unforgettable global citizen after the next, and to top it all off, somebody else foots the bill?"

Yeah, travel journalism sounds pretty awesome, even if it's not all wine and roses (just wine). And I'm sure there are things about their job that annoy travel journalists just as much as the things that annoy other workers, media and non-media alike.

But here's the thing about awesome, enviable jobs: because they're so attractive, the people who get them and thrive in those positions usually had to work that much harder to succeed; compared to, say, an aggregation jockey at a content farm who can afford to be lazy and not very good because no one wants to do that job.

Jennifer Bradley Franklin, an Atlanta-based freelance travel journalist, seems to fit that mold of determination and diligence, whether she's jetsetting to parts unknown or staying local to review her city's nightlife. Her ability to hustle is abundantly clear by her portfolio, which includes bylines at some 50 or more outlets, many of which are top news brands like USA Today, TIME Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler, and People Magazine. Somehow she even found time to contribute to a book that's called, Make it ZERO, the Movement to Safeguard Every Child.

So if you run into Franklin—based on her travel schedule, it's only a matter of time before she shows up in your city—don't hate, comisserate. Because despite the perks, being a travel journalist can be an extraordinarily tough gig. And if you think Franklin makes travel journalism look otherwise, she must be working twice as hard, or else it wouln't appear so effortless.

Career Updates
It's in their blood: NYT gets passed down to a 5th generation of Ochs-Sulzbergers


In 1896, as the New York Times faced potential financial ruin, 38-year-old Adolph Ochs, who'd already purchased a couple smaller newspapers with money borrowed from his parents, scraped together enough cash to buy the Times at a sweet price. Of course, the newspaper still faced financial ruin, but Ochs had a plan. Instead of trying to compete in the crowded New York market and out-tabloid the tabloids and other yellow journalism rags, the Times would set itself apart by adopting a bold and innovative new approach to journalism: It would be objective.

Ochs' plan worked. By the 1920s, the Times readership had grown almost one hundred times over, from less than 10,000 readers to almost one million.

Today, 36-year-old A.G. Sulzberger, a member of the fifth generation of Ochs-Sulzbergers, was chosen to become the paper's new Deputy Publisher. And not unlike Ochs before him, he'll be responsible for leading the Times into the future.

To be clear, A.G. is more than a just a man who was lucky enough to be born with the last name Sulzberger and Adolph Ochs' blood in his veins. As you may or may not remember, he was the principal author of the Times' 2014 internal "Innovations Report" which, after it was leaked to other journalists, became the stuff of legend, offering an honest, clear-eyed look at everything wrong with the New York Times in the 21st century, from the belly of the beast itself.

Don’t forget - if you change your job in journalism or move to a different news organization, be sure to email us (hello [at] muckrack [dot] com) so we can reflect your new title. News job changes only, please! Thanks!
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