A brutal day to cap off the worst year ever

Muck Rack Daily

A brutal day to cap off the worst year ever
November 16th, 2016
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Muck Rack Daily
Hello from Muck Rack, where you can get a snapshot of what journalists around the world are reading, thinking and commenting on right now.

Before we get to the day's journalism chatter, we've got a new piping hot Muck Rack blog post for you:

A student's perspective: 3 takeaways from PRSSA National Conference‚Äč

It's written by Ball State PR student Isaac Reynoso and features plenty of valuable insight on this year's Public Relations Student Society of America National Conference, from the perspective of one of the next generation's PR pros.

Who's pissing journalists off more: Trump or Zuckerberg?

Cold Fusion

Turns out it's not all rainbows and yawning kittens in the media world.

The Washington Post's Margaret Sullivan has a sad scoop, tweeting, "Post-@Gawker, Univision is chasing profits and millennials. Layoffs & restructuring at Spanish-language media giant." CNN's Brian Stelter added, "Univision is cutting 'almost 6% of its workforce,' 200-250 people. 'Many of the layoffs will be at Fusion.'" Former Fusion staffer and current Newsweek Executive Editor Margarita Noriega offered her condolences and support: "Shout out to my former Fusion and Univision colleagues, keep up your good work and reach out for coffee."

Fortunately, the staffers at Gawker, which Univision recently acquired, appear to be safe—at least "for now," tweets Andrew Beaujon of the Washingtonian. As the Daily Beast's Justin Miller points out, ".@johnjcook [executive editor at Gizmodo] to launch investigative unit starting Jan. 1."

But that's cold comfort for Fusion senior editor Felix Salmon who tweeted, "A brutal day at @Fusion to cap off the worst year ever."

We wish the talented, dogged, and creative journalists at Fusion the best of luck. With these looking like salad days for many institutions—based on Gerry Smith's Bloomberg report from yesterday at least—we know you'll land on your feet.

The Trump whisperer

That's how one might characterize Breitbart's Steve Bannon, Trump's newly-appointed Chief Strategist and a man who, according to an interview conducted by Jezebel's Brendan O'Connor with civil rights journalist and Salon contributor Chip Bertlet, is among the people Trump's putting into power "who are incompetent, arguably suffering from mental illness, neofascist, antifeminist, misogynist, white nationalists.”

He's also at the center of one of today's most talked-about pieces (nearly 10,000 shares), in which the Washington Post's powerhouse politics reporter David Farenthold examines nine radio conversations between Bannon and Trump which reveal how the former "flattered and coaxed" the latter into adopting into his campaign platform and performances the ideals of the so-called alt-right movement. "Powerful reporting here," states the New York Times' Michael Barbaro.

And what are those "alt-right" ideals exactly? As pointed out yesterday, we strongly recommend reading Abi Wilkinson's jaw-droppingly bleak piece in the Guardian on the alt-right "manosphere" Bannon helped build.

But as far as specific examples that Farenthold was able to unearth of alt-right rhetoric traveling via insidious osmosis from Bannon to Trump, the one raising the most eyebrows across Twitter today is Bannon's casual, perplexingly racist claim called out by Mother Jones' Adam Serwer that... "We have too many Asian CEOs." Seriously.

The Ringer's Joon Lee gets straight to the point: "Good god, this is terrifying."

The only thing maybe as bad as Bannon's racist rhetoric, suggests Science Magazine's Michael Balter, is how susceptible Trump is to Bannon's influence: "#Bannon, the master manipulator, and #Trump, the gullible stooge. A match made in alt-right heaven." GOOD's Andrew Price agrees: "Amazing insight into the Trump/Bannon relationship. Takeaway: Bannon is malignant and can shape Trump in his image."

Finally, the Wall Street Journal's Nick Timiraos tweets some simple advice for Silicon Valley execs: "Tech CEOs, call your offices."

Is there, like, some kind of contest between Trump and Zuckerberg to see who can have the most controversies?

Because it sure seems that way, what with reports this week of cowardly execs, mutinous engineers, and now this: Mike Shields of the Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook has once again miscalculated crucial metrics that brands and media organizations rely on to measure the reach of their posts, "including the weekly and monthly reach of marketers’ posts, the number of full video views and time spent with publishers’ Instant Articles" (nearly 2,000 shares).

Stories like this, not to mention the revelations last September that Facebook had "greatly overestimated" how much time users spend watching videos, are making journalists like the Washington Post's Mark Berman very skeptical of the social giant's ability to report metrics accurately: "Facebook, next week: 'Okay it turns out like three people are actually checking Facebook in total, that was our bad.'"

Others, like Quartz's Mark Murphy, can't help but notice a discrepancy between how seriously Facebook appears to be taking its various major scandals this week: "Facebook messes up ad metrics, forms 'council.' Allows fake news, rogue workers have to fix."

For Vanity Fair's Kia Makarechi, vowing to fix the issue isn't enough; he wants answers. "Facebook and Apple both massively messed up their own analytics (Instant Articles & Apple News). How? Why?"

At least Shields has a sense of humor about it: "Look, I don't know if Facebook influenced the election. I'm just glad they weren't tasked with counting the votes."

And in a surprising development...

Sorry, did we say "surprising"? We meant the opposite of surprising. In a totally expected development, Bloomberg's Jess Shankleman reports that Donald Trump's Twitter account was wrong when it claimed climate change was a hoax invented by the Chinese. A lot of you probably already knew that, but now we get the answer straight from China’s Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin himself, who offers the president-elect a "friendly reminder" says Reuters' Valerie Volcovici—who's being charitably friendly herself with that characterization.

Here's Zhenmin: “If you look at the history of climate change negotiations, actually it was initiated by the IPCC with the support of the Republicans during the Reagan and senior Bush administration during the late 1980s.”

Wait wait wait. Is he saying... actually, we'll let InsideClimate's Lisa Song explain the delicious irony here: "China to Trump: we *didn't* invent global warming as a hoax. Your own GOP started climate negotiations in the 1980s." Can we get an "oh, snap"?

Schadenfreude aside, it does make you wonder: Could Donald Trump's Twitter account be wrong about other things? The mind reels...

OK this is the last "open letter" we promise

Since Trump's surprising win, there's been no shortage of "open letters" written to express concern over the president-elect. But as journalists, this one perhaps hits closest to home: "15 journalism advocacy groups just wrote this open letter to President-elect Trump," tweets CNN's Brian Stelter.

"Journalism groups to Donald Trump: 'We respectfully ask you to instill a spirit of openness and transparency,'" tweets the Inlander's Scott Leadingham.

KPCC's Sandra Oshiro to journalism groups: "We shall see."

Question of the Day

Yesterday, we asked: Today, People Magazine announced that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is its newest "sexist man alive." Who was the first man given this honor by the magazine? (Bonus: What year?)

Answer: Mel Gibson, 1985. The winner was old quick-draw himself, Craig Pittman, who's won more of these trivia challenges than anybody else, at least since this Muck Rack writer began sending the newsletter. Honorable mention goes to Claudine Laforce who also knew the nickname People Magazine bestowed onto Gibson: "The new blue eyes." (Though in light of Gibson's later anti-Semitic outbursts, perhaps the less said about "blue eyes" or any other hereditary traits once thought by psycho crackpots to be "superior" the better.

Today's question of the day is: The name Edwin Edwards might not mean much to you. But the man he defeated in the 1991 Louisiana gubernatorial race on his very day 15 years ago (the final vote count was a landslide) is someone you've almost definitely heard of. (Hint: His named popped up in the news quite frequently during the 2016 election). Who did Edwards defeat?

As always, click here to tweet your answer to @MuckRack. We’ll announce the winners tomorrow!

Career Updates
Movin' On Up

Here are a few promotions at big-time outlets we'd like to point your attention to today:

First, Lauren Kern and David Haskell have been promoted at New York Magazine's parent company New York Media to the positions of Executive Editor and Editor for Business and Strategy, respectively.

And at Bloomberg Digital, business news obsessive Joe Weisenthal has been promoted from Managing Editor for Finance and Markets to Executive Editor of News.

Congrats to all three!

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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