Today in Alternate Reality

Muck Rack Daily

Today in Alternate Reality
February 7th, 2017
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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.

"She needs to chew the gum slower, and not so many pieces.” Sean Spicer opened up to PRWeek about his thoughts on Melissa McCarthy, alternative facts, PR ethics and more (yes, that includes Dippin’ Dots). You don’t want to miss Steve Barrett’s timely interview with the “Spokesperson for America.”

It’s not your fault. You get busy. You forget some things. Fortunately, Muck Rack contributor Julia Sahin is here to jog your memory with these 6 PR principles we often forget.

Staggering stuff—even for Trump

In the Washington Post, Philip Bump reveals that while speaking to the US Central Command yesterday, the president went off script “to make a truly stunning claim: The media was intentionally covering up reports of terrorist attacks.”  Tweets Jim Conaghan, “Today in the Alternate Reality: Pres. Trump speculating that the media is covering up terrorist attacks.” Sean Robinson breaks it down for us: “Just a big lie.” While “the comments would seem to be a response to the hubbub over Kellyanne Conway having repeatedly cited a non-existent terror attack in Bowling Green, Ky., in recent days,” WaPo’s Aaron Blake reports that the allegations have a familiar source: conspiracy theory website InfoWars. Or as Jeff Stein of Newsweek puts it, “Weirdo conspiracy news site #InfoWars is behind Trump's idea that the media is covering up terrorist attacks.” Will Sommer of The Hill isn’t so sure, tweeting, “Not sure I buy this idea that Trump is getting the media terror cover-up thing from InfoWars.”

Regardless of who started it, WaPo's Chris Cillizza calls the claims coming from the president “very, very dangerous,” given that “For lots and lots of people listening to Trump, his suggestion that the media is complicit in a coverup of terrorist attacks will be taken as fact.” Adds CNN’s Brian Stelter, “Staggering stuff — even for Trump." But “meanwhile in the reality-based community,” tweets Alexandra Marshall, Claire Phipps at The Guardian details the “under-reported” terror attacks—and how they were reported.

A devastating portrait

In their reporting on how White House aides are rethinking their strategy after two weeks of stumbles (132,000+ shares), Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman at the New York Times shed light on some unexpected details. For example: “They sit in darkness or wander about trying doors,” notes colleague Patrick LaForge of the news that “Aides confer in the dark because they cannot figure out how to operate the light switches in the cabinet room.” “If you needed metaphor,” tweets Chandra Steele of Judith Timson of the Toronto Star calls the piece “A devastating portrait of an unhappy confused and incompetent White House w Trump wandering around in a bathrobe.”


“In which @FLOTUS #Trump states she wants to leverage the White House as some kind of ATM for big endorsement deals,” is how David Beard describes the reports by Judd Legum in ThinkProgress and Julia Marsh in the New York Post about the First Lady’s defamation lawsuit against the Daily Mail. Legum himself describes it thusly: “The lawsuit by Melania Trump is INSANE.” Among the finer points? Legum tweets, “Her lawyer literally describes the position of First Lady as a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ money making opportunity!”  And sure, he says, “You might think: Judd is making this up. I'M NOT MAKING IT UP.”

Across the pond, “Trump might get to sleep at Buckingham Palace but the House of Commons won't be so welcoming,” tweets Linda Kinstler of the news reported by Jon Stone in The Independent that John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, has said Donald Trump will not be welcome to address Parliament on his state visit. Sure, that has to sting, but “This will hurt Trump way more than the Bercow snub,” says The Guardian’s Jessica Elgot of an exclusive by Ben Riley-Smith in The Telegraph that Theresa May joked about the size of Donald Trump’s hands. “Maybe she really is Iron Lady II,” observes Tim Rostan of MarketWatch.

If you’re keeping score, it’s “SNL 1, Spicer 0,” tweets Josh Kraushaar of the National Journal. Oh, and “In case you'd forgotten how Donald Trump feels about women,” Ariel Cheung of DNAinfo helpfully directs you to this: White House rattled by McCarthy's spoof of Spicer. In it, POLITICO’s Annie Karni, Josh Dawsey and Tara Palmeri explain that “it was Spicer’s portrayal by a woman that was most problematic in the president’s eyes, according to sources close to him.“ MSNBC’s Margaret Menefee saw it coming: “ALL OF THIS is so predictable. I'm starting to get v bored.”

Ann Gerhart of the Washington Post asks the question of the day: “Is it chutzpah to arrest a bunch of protesting rabbis?” In what Rena Silverman of the New York Times notes is “(probably) a first! About 20 #Rabbis arrested protesting #Trump #TravelBan.”


DC life is rough. But “This is what a post DC life looks like,” says Kenis Gibson of ABC News, referring to the news that President Obama went kitesurfing with Richard Branson. “President Obama is seriously YOLOing right now,” adds MSNBC’s Kyle Griffin. Brian Moore of the Chicago Tribune has a slightly darker take: “Barack Obama is kitesurfing while the world burns. #ThanksObama

Question of the Day

On Friday we asked: Now that Ben Affleck isn’t directing the standalone Batman movie anymore (brilliantly titled “The Batman”), fans have started a petition to get which director on board?

Answer: That would be Zack Snyder.

Congrats to Dan Rosenbaum, who was the first to answer correctly.

Your question of the day for today is…Tomorrow, February 8, is National Boy Scouts Day. Many former US presidents were involved with the Boy Scouts, but only one earned the rank of Eagle Scout. Who was it?

As always, click here to tweet your answer to @MuckRack.

Career Updates
POLITICO Columnist, Best-Selling Author Roger Simon Retires


So long, Simon Says. Roger Simon, POLITICO's chief political columnist since 2006, announced his retirement last week. The best-selling author had previously served as an investigative reporter and columnist at the Chicago Sun-Times, White House correspondent for the Chicago Tribune, political editor at U.S. News & World Report, and chief political correspondent at Bloomberg News. Don't miss his farewell column, "A majority of one walks away from his keyboard."

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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