Truth is so much stranger and scarier than fiction 

Muck Rack Daily

Truth is so much stranger and scarier than fiction 
July 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.

Tim O'Brien, owner of O’Brien Communications, is a veteran, accredited PR guy with over 30 years of experience in communications, and he started his career as a journalist. So he knows a thing or two about what makes an effective PR professional. He’s sharing some of what he’s learned in a new post for the Muck Rack blog. Read it to discover the 5 secrets of effective PR pros.

Weird times

Well, let’s go ahead and get this out of the way. Coca-Cola is replacing Coke Zero with a drink with a new recipe and name. Business Insider’s Kate Taylor brings us the disturbing news, and Rachael Larimore says, “I am already afraid of New Coke Zero.” What could possibly go wrong, though? “That last New Coke certainly worked out well,” notes Glenn Garvin. “This is the worst timeline,” says Matt Goldberg

“I've read this story three times now. Really stunning,” says Nicholas Riccardi. He’s referring to the scoop from Erica Martinson at the Alaska Dispatch News, Trump administration signals that Murkowski’s health care vote could have energy repercussions for Alaska (49,000+ shares), which reveals that each of Alaska’s two Republican senators received a phone call from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke letting them know Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s no vote on Tuesday’s health care had put Alaska’s future with the administration in jeopardy. Tweets Martinson, “Did you think @realDonaldTrump was going to just let that @lisamurkowski vote go with only a tweet?” “Threatening federal funds to a state to get a senator's vote? Reminds me of a certain South American country…” tweets Luc Cohen.

It’s about the wall?

We’ve seen a number of widely shared articles about the transgender troops ban in the past day. At Business Insider, Paul Szoldra has the story of Kristin Beck, transgender Navy SEAL hero: ‘Let’s meet face to face and you tell me I’m not worthy’ (1,100,000+ shares). And The Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham does the math: The military spends five times as much on Viagra as it would on transgender troops’ medical care (406,000+ shares).

So what’s the ban really about? POLITICO’s Rachael Bade and Josh Dawsey take us Inside Trump’s snap decision to ban transgender troops (70,000+ shares). They write, “‘This is like someone told the White House to light a candle on the table and the WH set the whole table on fire,’ a senior House Republican aide said in an email.” “Um. What?” tweets Baker Machado. Jesse Walker summarizes: “Trump wants money for his wall + Trump doesn't understand what a House fight is about = Trump burps out a trans ban.” “Well then,” says Taylor Kate Brown.  

Meanwhile, “There’s now a divide between DOJ & EEOC on whether the Civil Rights Act covers discrimination against gay workers,” tweets Katherine Miller, who links to Dominic Holden’s reporting in BuzzFeed, The Justice Department Just Argued Against Gay Rights In A Major Federal Case (34,000+ shares). 

At The Washington Post, Carol Leonnig, Ashley Parker and Philip Rucker report that Trump talks privately about the idea of a recess appointment to replace Sessions. But in Allies Warn Trump of Conservative Revolt Unless He Backs Off Sessions, Peter Baker and Jennifer Steinhauer of The New York Times write that White House aides think Trump will let Sessions stay, for now. Tweets Natasha Bertrand, “It's genuinely impossible to overstate the weird times we're living in.”

And in his new column for The New York Times, Bret Stephens reveals what it’s like When the White House Lies About You. Tweets Stephens, “I knew this White House lied. Then I learned what it is like when they lied about me. My latest NYT column.”

Folks, we have another #MadTweeter!

White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci had quite an interview with Chris Cuomo on CNN this morning. CNN tweets this comment: “.@Scaramucci on WH Chief of Staff Priebus: ‘If Reince wants to explain that he's not a leaker, let him do that.’”

But here’s The Real Story Behind Mooch's War on Reince, from Stephen Hayes at The Weekly Standard. Jonathan Last tweets, “Mooch accuses Reince of felony leaking. The ‘leak’ was publicly available. Just another day in TrumpLand.” Says Daniel Drezner, “The oceans of ignorance that @Scaramucci displays in this story are vast and deep.” And Jonah Goldberg tweets, “Can we stop with the ‘Wall Street guys can run the government better’ stuff now?”

And now, Peter Baker and Nicholas Fandos of The New York Times are reporting that Scaramucci Calls for Inquiry After ‘Leak’ of Financial Form. Tweets Baker, “White House leak hunter complains that he’s the victim of a leak. Though it’s not clear it really was.” “Folks, we have another #MadTweeter!” says Vivia Chen. “This is unbelievable....yet believable,” says Yashar Ali. Baker also writes, Scaramucci Tweets on Leak That Wasn’t Lays Bare White House Divisions.

Kyle Griffin says, “Read the report that started all the drama: Scaramucci still stands to profit from his investment firm in the W.H.” He links to the piece from Lorraine Woellert at POLITICO, Scaramucci still stands to profit from SkyBridge from the White House

Before we move on, in case you were wondering what’s next for Sean Spicer, according to a report from Marisa Schultz and Ian Mohr at Page Six, ‘Dancing with the Stars’ wants him. In other words, “Spicer is being considered for Rick Perry's old job,” says Andrew Joyce. “I hear there's serious bipartisan support for this…” tweets Heather Long, and Rebecca Nelson says, “please, god, I never ask you for anything.” “Please tell me this is NOT fake news,” says George Knapp.

This is rich

Jeff Bezos is set to become the world’s richest man, reports Robert Frank for CNBC, which tweets, “BREAKING: Amazon founder & Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos becomes the richest man in the world.” As Shelly Hagan and Spencer Soper write for Bloomberg, Bezos Surpasses Gates as World's Richest Ahead of Amazon Results. Tweets Mark Berman, “Inbox: Area newspaper owner becomes world’s richest person.” Or as Winnie O'Kelley puts it, “Not failing Amazon mints world's richest man.”

Also, New York Times Reports Strong Quarter on Digital Revenue Growth, reports The New York Times’ Sydney Ember, who notes, “For the first time, digital-only subscription revenue ($83 million) exceeded print advertising revenue ($77 million).” Tweets Thom Dunn, “Just in case you couldn’t tell we’re living in a bizarro world where ‘failing’ & ‘winning’ mean their opposites.”

In America and the Foxconn Dream, his new piece for Bloomberg Businessweek, Tim Culpan discovers, as he tweets, “Wisconsin's funding to Foxconn could buy an iPhone for every citizen!” “Let’s be clear: The big winner isn't the taxpayer,” he writes. “It’s Foxconn and its billionaire chairman Terry Gou.”

Libor no more

Max Colchester tweets, “Will Libor be no more? Scandal plagued benchmark is being phased out by 2021,” linking to his story in The Wall Street Journal, U.K. Calls Time on Scandal-Hit Libor. Suzi Ring has the report for Bloomberg, Libor to End in 2021 as FCA Says Bank Benchmark Is Untenable.

What could possibly go wrong?

Antonio Regalado tweets, “BREAKING: First human embryos edited with CRISPR in the U.S. (And it works great.)” He links to the exclusive report from Steve Connor in MIT Technology Review, EXCLUSIVE: First Human Embryos Edited in U.S. (25,000+ shares). Says Gina Badalaty, “I feel like science is just moving ahead on anything they can think of with a ‘What could possibly go wrong??’...”

Fantastic, engrossing, amazing reporting

“One lesson of my job: truth is so much stranger and scarier than fiction,” tweets Matthew Campbell. In his new piece with Kit Chellel, a longread for Bloomberg, we get a Real-life thriller: A mysterious hijacking, an unsolved murder, and $100 million in the balance. Tweets Stryker McGuire, “Terrific yarn: ‘It was July 2011, and the threat of Somali piracy in the Gulf of Aden had never been more severe.’” “Wow. Just wow. An amazing story by @KitChellel @MattCampbel Another Hollywood movie in the making,” tweets Tim Culpan. “this epic story starts with suspicious pirates and gets 10x crazier,” says Zeke Faux. And Tim Annett says, ”This is fantastic, engrossing, amazing reporting.”

Question of the Day

Yesterday, we asked: Patrons at a Dallas Chipotle restaurant got more than extra guacamole with their burritos recently. What fell from the ceiling during the lunch rush?

Answer: Depending on your source, it was either rats or “at least three” mice, which were then caught on video running around the restaurant, and hopefully, you’re not reading this while eating.

Congrats to…Deirdre Blake, first to tweet the correct answer. Next was Dave Royse, who appropriately punctuated it, “RATS!!!”

Your question of the day for today is…Happy birthday to Norman Lear, who turns 95 today. Lear started his career in public relations before moving into television writing and production. His second big sitcom, Sanford and Son, was based on what British series?

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

Career Updates
Carson moves to Forbes; Bell is Barron's new EIC; Yoon takes new role at Reuters

Biz Carson is moving to Forbes magazine. She has been a senior tech reporter at Business Insider covering startups and venture capital since April 2015. Before that, she was the assistant managing editor of Gigaom and an editorial fellow at Wired

Katherine Bell is leaving her position at Harvard Business Review, where she has been editor of, to join Barron's Magazine as its new editor-in-chief. Prior to her decade-long tenure at HBR, she was digital managing editor for America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Illustrated, website director for English cooking legend Delia Smith, and director of content for PlanetOut.

And at Reuters, Jean Yoon is taking on the newly created role of Executive Editor, Editorial Strategy, responsible for global editorial strategy in partnership with editor in chief Steve Adler. Yoon joined Reuters in 1995 and most recently served as Regional Editor, Asia and Global Editor, Strategic Centers. She has also held the positions of regional Desk Chief, Company News Editor, General Manager and Editor for Southeast Asia. She was named Reuters Editor of Year in 2012.

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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