Brief, thrilling, chilling

Muck Rack Daily

Brief, thrilling, chilling
June 27th, 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.

Failing? Or just failing to get the word out? Wendy Marx, president of Marx Communications, says PR is, unfortunately, its own worst PR agent. In her new post for the Muck Rack blog, she takes a look beyond the provocative headlines to find an evolving industry, but one that still depends on “the ability to tap into the imagination to craft engaging stories.” Check out the post and share your thoughts: Is the PR industry failing?


First up today, huge congrats to all those receiving recognition in this year’s National Press Club journalism contest. The first-place and honorable mention winners will be recognized at the annual awards dinner on Friday, July 28 at the National Press Club in Washington. In the meantime, check out the list of winners here.

Not a lot of love for this bill

And now on to some of the big news making the rounds today. The CBO released its report on the Senate Health Care Bill yesterday, predicting the bill Would Leave 22 Million More Uninsured, as Thomas Kaplan and Robert Pear report for The New York Times. Vox’s Ezra Klein highlights The most devastating passage in the CBO’s report on the Senate health bill: “few low-income people would purchase any plan.” Meanwhile, Vox’s Sarah Kliff reports, 6 Nobel Prize-winning economists announce opposition to Senate health bill.

At The Washington Post, Robert Costa and Sean Sullivan write, Trump-McConnell bond, and the entire GOP agenda, are being tested by health bill. Tweets Costa, “Several GOP operatives have privately said that failure would not be a total disaster, since no one loves the bill.” Even so, as POLITICO’s Josh Dawsey and Burgess Everett report, Republicans eye billions in side deals to win Obamacare repeal votes, noting, “The White House and Senate GOP leaders have nearly $200 billion in savings to divvy up among senators’ priorities to secure votes for the imperiled bill.”

Also not popular

A new 37-nation poll from Pew Research finds U.S. Image Suffers as Publics Around World Question Trump’s Leadership, as Pew Research Center’s Richard Wike, Bruce Stokes, Jacob Poushter and Janell C. Fetterolf report. Daniel Dale highlights, “More Canadians (30%) have confidence in Xi Jinping doing the right thing than the US president (22%). Unreal data.” The poll finds only two countries where Trump is more popular than Obama: Russia and Israel.

Surprise warning

Some confusion last night over statements from the White House that Syria May Be Preparing Another Chemical Attack, Warns Assad Will “Pay A Heavy Price,” as reported by BuzzFeed’s Claudia Koerner and Nancy Youssef, who noted, “Officials across the Pentagon did not know what the White House was referring to until Tuesday morning. ‘I am not seeing anything that warranted a 10 pm White House statement,’ a second defense official told BuzzFeed News.” The New York Times’ Michael Shear, Helene Cooper and Eric Schmitt also reported on the “Surprise warning,” as Shear tweets. They write, “Several military members were caught off guard by the statement from President Trump’s press secretary.”

“Sacrificial gifts”

Harry Cheadle points to “another of Trump's lawyers who may need a lawyer,” in Jon Swaine’s new piece for The Guardian, Trump lawyer's firm steered millions in donations to family members, files show (12,000+ shares). Tweets Swaine, “Trump attorney Jay Sekulow pushes the jobless to make ‘sacrificial gifts’ to his nonprofit, which pays him millions.” Aron Pilhofer says, “Some superb document work here by @jonswaine. Only nit: I want to see the docs! Can @documentcloud help next time?”

*Super Friends voice* MEANWHILE

Thanks for the setup, Ivan Lajara. New from Devlin Barrett at The Washington Post, we’ve learned that the FBI has questioned Trump campaign adviser Carter Page at length in Russia probe. “At length” translates to about 10 hours of questioning, which occurred over a series of five meetings in March. Yes, “Carter Page, the only American alive who could incriminate himself ordering at Denny’s,” as Rusty Foster notes. Steven Rich asks, “Is this the tick tick tick tick tick?” And Kim Masters says, “Turn the Page.”

CNN retraction fallout

Tweets James Greiff, “A dodgy 1 anonymous source story gets by 3 veteran journos. Beware confirmation bias while reporting.” CNN’s Brian Stelter has the breaking news from his own network that Three journalists are leaving CNN after retracted article. The journalists are Thomas Frank, who wrote the story in question, Eric Lichtblau, an editor in the unit, and Lex Haris, who oversaw the unit. Tweets Stelter, “‘The story wasn’t solid enough to publish as-is.’ CNN internal investigation found a breakdown in editorial workflow.” Jacob Shamsian’s take: “CNN is effectively ending a special investigative unit after a botched article.” Says Al Tompkins, “I am really sorry to see this. Good journalists here.” Also read Erik Wemple’s take in The Washington Post here, in which he writes, “The event is a cataclysm accentuated by the peculiar bind in which the 24-7 network has found itself.” He concludes, “Purveyors of fake news, after all, don’t take drastic personnel moves following a bogus story. They rejoice in it.”

Dispatches from Cape Grim

For “Today's horrible news on the ongoing ecopocalypse, from Cape Grim, no less,” Joel Brown refers to the piece from Justin Gillis in The New York Times, Carbon in Atmosphere Is Rising, Even as Emissions Stabilize. Hannah Fairfield explains, “Scientists worry about the rapid rise of CO2 in the atmosphere, which may mean Earth’s natural sponges have changed.” And Gabriel Snyder says, “This is terrifying news. Google ‘runaway greenhouse effect’ for the stuff of nightmares.”

Also in The New York Times, Coral Davenport reports, E.P.A. Official Pressured Scientist on Congressional Testimony, Emails Show (12,500+ shares), and Dan Pfeiffer says, “I will bet you any amount of money this is happening all over the government every single day.” Tweets Eilene Zimmerman, “Speechless about this. The E.P.A. has taken down websites about climate change & questioned the science.”

Skewed searches

Leo Kelion of BBC News reports, Google hit with record EU fine over Shopping service. The European Commission ruled the company had abused its power by promoting its own shopping comparison service at the top of search results. For more on the story, read coverage from Bloomberg’s Aoife White, Google Gets Record $2.7 Billion EU Fine for Skewing Searches, and Natalia Drozdiak and Sam Schechner of The Wall Street Journal, Google Slapped With $2.7 Billion EU Fine Over Search Results. But let’s put that into perspective. Says Sam Unsted, “Looks big, but Google has $90-odd billion in cash. Equivalent of me paying a parking fine.”

This is madness

“Some pretty damn good @mat here,” says John Paczkowski, and Ellen Huet says, “i enjoyed this @mat dispatch: brief, thrilling, chilling.” They’re referring to Amazon’s New Echo Show Is Very Cool And A Little Creepy, by BuzzFeed’s Mat Honan. Tweets Alex Kantrowitz, “This is madness. Don't understand why anyone would want this.”

Good morning

And, “On a happier note, our old pal Buzz Bissinger had 5k words on Serena in @VanityFair this morning,” tweets Jon Wertheim, linking to Serena Williams on Her Pregnancy, Finding Love, and More, the new Vanity Fair cover from Buzz Bissinger, with photos by Annie Leibovitz. “Good morning. You're all amazing. Not as amazing as Serena. But close,” says Joanna Robinson. And Johanna Barr says, “took a break from staring at the serena photos to actually read the article and it was delightful.” Kafi Drexel’s assessment: “This is just about some of my favorite writing ever.”

Also making the rounds:

Question of the Day

Yesterday we asked: People lie about all kinds of things. What is the number one movie people say they’ve seen but haven’t actually seen?

Answer: According to a study by LOVEFiLM, “The Godfather” tops the list of classic movies people lie about having seen. Somewhat related: Many astute readers pointed out that The internet insists Sinbad played a genie in a movie called, 'Shazam'; he didn't.

Congrats again to Dan Rosenbaum, first to tweet the correct answer. Honorable mention to Kelly Phillips Erb, who asks the question on our minds, too: “Why would anyone lie about seeing a movie (other than as an alibi)?”

Your question of the day for today is…What’s the only insect with the ability to turn its head a full 180 degrees?

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

Featured Journalist: Debbie Hathway


Today’s featured journalist is freelance writer Debbie Hathway. After building a successful career in journalism, public relations, investor relations and publishing, she’s now her own boss, with a focus on lifestyle, travel, business and the arts. From her home office in Cape Town, South Africa, she concentrates on “unpacking the luxury lifestyle, from the places readers love to explore to the beautiful timepieces they collect and covet.” She writes for Private Edition, a luxury quarterly publication, Sawubona, SAA's in-flight magazine and Wanted Online, among others. You can also find her byline in the Cape Times, Financial Mail and on’s Bizlounge entertainment website. Check out her bio and read some of her 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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