Reality bites

Muck Rack Daily

Reality bites
June 6th, 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.

Sure, social media has transformed PR, but using social media to advance a cause or company position isn’t easy, notes Forbes contributor and Wynne Communications owner Rob Wynne, author of the new book, Straight Talk About Public Relations: What You Think You Know Is Wrong. Rob recently talked public relations and social media with Muck Rack’s CEO, Greg Galant, who he calls “one of the few realistic evangelists of digital media for public relations.” Read his new post on the Muck Rack blog, Straight talk about PR: 6 questions with Muck Rack CEO Greg Galant.

This seems...bad?

Luke O’Neil is referring to what Chelsea Matiash tweets is “The most detailed U.S. government account of Russian interference in the election yet”: Top Secret NSA Report Details Russian Hacking Effort Days Before 2016 Election (27,000+ shares), the scoop from Richard Esposito, Sam Biddle, Matthew Cole and Ryan Grim at The Intercept. Says Becca Caddy, “The Russian hacking tactics detailed in this leaked NSA report are just mind-blowing.” On the other hand, “phew thank god putin already told megyn kelly not to worry about anything,” says Aminatou Sow.

And then...just after The Intercept posted the story, the Department of Justice announced Federal Government Contractor in Georgia Charged With Removing and Mailing Classified Materials to a News Outlet. Scott Shackford speaks for all of us when he says, “I can't get past this person being named “Reality Winner.’” Yes, Reality Leigh Winner, a 25-year-old contractor with Pluribus International Corporation, was arrested by the FBI and admitted to “intentionally identifying and printing the classified intelligence reporting at issue...removing the classified intelligence reporting from her office space, retaining it, and mailing it from Augusta, Georgia, to the news outlet.” “Whoa. The movie just gets longer,” says Matthew Schwartz, who links to the piece by Charlie Savage in The New York Times, Intelligence Contractor Is Charged in First Leak Case Under Trump. Or is it the book? Tweets J.D. Biersdorfer, “If Reality Winner cracks open the election-hacking case, we're officially living in a Neal Stephenson novel.”

And that’s not all. As Michael Barbaro tweets, “Among many fascinating elements of this case, seems news org accidentally helped out its own source.” And Nathan VanderKlippe says, “Leak bust seems like it's on The Intercept, which scanned original document, sent to feds — should have retyped.” Blogger Rob Graham has posted a piece on How The Intercept Outed Reality Winner, which explains that “most new printers print nearly invisibly yellow dots that track down exactly when and where” a document is printed, enabling someone to identify specifically who printed the document.

Business Insider’s Sonam Sheth reports on some of the reactions to these new revelations in Politics: ‘This is huge’: National-security experts were floored by the leaked NSA document on Russia election hack,


With all eyes on Russian hacking and Reality Winner, you may have missed what Lionel Barber calls “BIG QATAR scoop.” In an exclusive for the Financial Times, Erika Soloman reports on The $1bn hostage deal that enraged Qatar’s Gulf rivals. Tweets Jim Pickard, “Staggering: Qatar paid $1bn to al-Qaeda & Iranians to release royals kidnapped during hunting trip to Iraq.”

The sword dance was for nothing

And this: According to Bruce Riedel of the Brookings Institution, The $110 billion arms deal to Saudi Arabia is fake news (19,000+ shares). Conor Powell explains: “Unlikely #Saudis could pay for a $110 billion deal any longer due to low oil prices & 2plus years old war in Yemen.” Says Richard Hall, “This is remarkable. Trump's Saudi arms deal was all hot air. The sword dance was for nothing.” Speaking of the Saudis, according to a report by Byron Tau and Rebecca Ballhaus in The Wall Street Journal, Trump Hotel Received $270,000 From Lobbying Campaign Tied to Saudis (19,000+ shares). Tweets Tau, “Trump hotel got $270,000 in business from the Saudi government as part of a lobbying campaign against 9/11 bill.”

Well, that backfired

According to a new Washington Post-ABC poll, Nearly 6 in 10 oppose Trump scrapping Paris agreement, as Brady Dennis reports for the Washington Post. “Well, that backfired,” says Emily Cahn. And, as Jane Mayer writes for The New Yorker, In the Withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, the Koch Brothers’ Campaign Becomes Overt (13,000+ shares). That’s Mayer “who literally wrote the book on them,” as Michael Luo notes. Mayer writes, "It is, perhaps, the most astounding example of influence-buying in modern American political history." Tweets Leon Lazaroff, “@JaneMayerNYer nails backstory to Trump's gratuitous decision to withdraw from Paris Agreement, follow Kochs $$$”

On the heels of all this, we learn Acting US ambassador to China, David H. Rank, resigns (19,000+ shares), reportedly over Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, according to CNN’s Elise Labott, Zachary Cohen and Michelle Kosinski. Tweets Keith Boykin, “This is the second ambassador to defy Trump in 2 days. Trump is at war with his own administration.” Which is a nice segue to Mark Landler’s piece in The New York Times, Some U.S. Diplomats Stage Quiet Revolt Amid Tensions With Trump (13,000+ shares). Tweets Landler, “From Beijing to London, a quiet revolt by senior career diplomats against President Trump.” The New York Times tweets, “David Rank was told to present Trump’s rationale for withdrawing from the Paris accord. Instead, he resigned.”

That thing Donald Trump's doing will be ready in two weeks. (It never is.)

Alex Wayne links to Toluse Olorunnipa’s piece in Bloomberg, In Trump's White House, Everything's Coming in `Two Weeks'. Tweets Max Abelson, “Finally a story as beautiful as Grizzly Bear's Two Weeks, thank you @ToluseO.”

Meanwhile at The Wall Street JournalThe Buck Stops Everywhere Else is where those “Notorious lefties on WSJ edit board come down on Trump,” says Craig Newman. “Those raving pinkies at the WSJ have really torn into @realDonaldTrump,” tweets Nick O'Malley. And Chris Isidore calls it “Harsh criticism of Tweeter-in-chief by that bastion of liberal MSM - opinion page of Rupert Murdoch's WSJ.” As Rachel Stassen-Berger says, “When you've lost the WSJ editorial page....”

Zombie myths

“Once more, with feeling” tweets Maud Newton. With their new analysis in the Washington Post, Nicholas Carnes and Vanderbilt University Associate Professor Noam Lupu say It’s time to bust the myth: Most Trump voters were not working class (24,000+ shares). “Who ever would have thought?” asks Wesley Lowery. “One more time for the people in the back,” tweets Caitlin Gibson. Ah, never mind. “It's a zombie myth that will never die…” says Joshua Holland.

Thank you for this genius

Max Read says, “this is excellent life advice that i have never ever followed.” Of her piece for Jezebel, Just Give It 7 Seconds, Leah Beckmann tweets, “I wrote about a rule I live and die by. Do not think about anything you've ever said or done for more than 7 seconds.” Tweets Kristin Salaky, “Welcome to my brain. Thank you for this genius.” And Kathryn Jezer-Morton says, “This is a HIGHLY serviceable piece that I will probably never fully be able to apply, but I'll try.” Or as William Turton puts it, “life is a series of extremely embarrassing and painful events until you die but this might help.”

Bob’s gonna get paid…

Joe Sneve is referring to the fact that, as The Guardian puts it, Bob Dylan delivers 'extraordinary' Nobel lecture - in the nick of time. Says Joe Heim, “Bob Dylan's Nobel acceptance speech is transfixing/hypnotic. A weird work of art all on its own.” “What a marvellous, moving recitation. The lecture which concludes the Swedish Academy’s ‘Dylan adventure,’” tweets Ranjita Ganesan.

Making the rounds:

Question of the Day

Yesterday we asked: In 1991, the NHL held its first outdoor game—an exhibition game between the LA Kings and the New York Rangers—in Las Vegas. What unusual visitors joined the action late in the third period?

Answer: Hordes of grasshoppers and black flies swarmed the ice, thinking it was water. As Wayne Gretzky said, “You had to be careful because you could skate on a fly and get hurt.” (Also seems worth mentioning that it wasn’t so safe for the bugs either, since they ended up freezing to death.)

This time, congrats go to David Daniel, who was first to tweet the correct answer. Honorable mention goes to Dan Tynan, who was oh-so-close with his answer, "has to be either penguins or hookers. or hookers dressed like penguins. what do I win?" 

Your question of the day for today is…Police in Vail, Colorado, are warning homeowners to bear-proof their homes after a bear was caught on a resident's security video doing what?

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

Featured Journalist: Tom Bacon


Today's featured journalist is Liverpool-based Tom Bacon, a freelance writer who focuses on the entertainment industry. You may have seen his work in Moviepilot and We Got This Covered, where he writes about films and TV shows. The self-described lifelong fan of superhero comics and films started out as a blogger and served as the Head Writer for ComicsVerse for a while. He says he also has a keen interest in both British and American politics, which are certainly entertaining these days. Learn more about Tom and check out some of his work here.

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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