The unbearable lameness of our times

Muck Rack Daily

The unbearable lameness of our times
February 1st, 2018
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A whimsical riff free of reporting

It’s February, which means, believe it or not, January has finally come to an end. As we shared yesterday, Ryan J. Reilly and Amanda Terkel of HuffPost explained why January was a helluva year. Today, we have another rundown of the very long month, by Ashley Parker of The Washington PostThe month of January felt like a year and the pilot episode for the 12-part series to come. As she tweets, “Sick of all the scoops and breaking news? Turn your eyes here, for a whimsical riff free of reporting!” Jason Markusoff enjoyed the “Great line after great line in @AshleyRParker’s recap of holy shit all that happened in just one month in Washington.”

The headline barely scratches the surface

And now we’re back to all the scoops and breaking news. First up, Mueller Zeros In on Story Put Together About Trump Tower Meeting (18,000+ shares). That’s the exclusive from Jo Becker, Mark Mazzetti, Matt Apuzzo and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times, and as Patrick LaForge points out, “the headline barely scratches the surface.” Yashar Ali summarizes, “Mark Corallo, former Trump legal team spox, is planning on telling Mueller about a previously undisclosed conference call which led him to believe that Hope Hicks was going to obstruct justice.”

Next, the exclusive from Pamela Brown, Evan Perez and Laura Jarrett of CNN, Trump asked Rosenstein if he was 'on my team' (20,000+ shares). Also at CNN, Kevin Liptak, Kaitlan Collins, Sara Murray and Dan Merica report, Trump sees Nunes memo as a way to discredit the Russia investigation. Dan Berman recaps: “In phone calls last night and over the past days, Trump has told friends he believes the Nunes memo would expose bias within the agency's top ranks and make it easier for him to argue the Russia investigations are prejudiced against him.” Tweets Matt Ford, “It's extraordinarily helpful for us now and historians later that Trump just says all of this stuff openly.”

Meanwhile, “The Nunes memo appears to be about surveillance on Carter Page, so here’s his story.” Mark Murray links to the report by Rebecca Ballhaus and Byron Tau of The Wall Street Journal, Former Trump Aide Carter Page Was on U.S. Counterintelligence Radar Before Russia Dossier. Ballhaus explains: “GOP wants to release a memo they say shows prosecutors relied on a politically motivated + unsubstantiated dossier to monitor Trump aide Carter Page. But Page was known to U.S. counterintelligence for years before the dossier even got started.”

In an op-ed for POLITICO, Noah Bookbinder says Trump’s Saturday Night Massacre Is Happening Right Before Our Eyes. “This is (1) a great headline and (2) a must-read piece,” says Michael Kruse. John Dean, who’s pretty familiar with such massacres, calls it a “Good overview of the current GOP obstruction efforts with the Russia investigation....”

More revelations

In another CNN exclusive, Manu Raju, Laura Jarrett and Jeremy Herb report that, according to emails obtained by the network, Controversial FBI agent co-wrote initial draft of explosive Comey letter reopening Clinton email probe. “The new revelation about FBI agent Peter Strzok comes as Republicans accuse him of being sympathetic to Clinton while seeking to undermine Donald Trump during the heat of the 2016 campaign season,” they write. Bottom line, “the narrative around Trump's Russia thing resembles the narrative around Clinton's email thing in that no normal person could ever tell you what the fuck is going on,” says Harry Cheadle.

And since it was “Truly the news day that will not quit,” as Tucker Higgins puts it (oh, January!), there’s this, from Del Wilber and Aruna Viswanatha at The Wall Street Journal: FBI Officials Delayed Telling Congress of Clinton Emails Discovered Before 2016 Election. Although Feroze Dhanoa notes that it’s “not exactly new information. This ProPublica article was published last May.”

Tomorrow: TBD

We’re not done with the scoops. From Juliet Eilperin and Jack Gillum of The Washington Post‘Using his position for private gain’: HUD lawyers warned Ben Carson risked running afoul of ethics rules by enlisting son. Tweets Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, “What's Ben Carson's son doing at HUD? They aren't making it easy to find out, so we're suing.” Alex Wayne keeps track for us: “Yesterday: Trump's CDC director bought cigarette stocks while in office. Today: Trump's HUD secretary has his family and their businesses involved in the government. Tomorrow: TBD.”

Stephen Koff suggests, “If you work for tips or care about tips, you’ll want to read this. Great story from Bloomberg BNA.” The exclusive, from Ben Penn of Bloomberg BNA, Labor Dept. Ditches Data on Worker Tips Retained by Businesses. “Wow - the @USDOL ditched an internal economic analysis that found its new tip pooling rule would transfer billions of dollars in tips from workers to restaurant owners, @benjaminpenn reports,” tweets Lydia DePillis. Paul Brandus advises, “Pay Attention: if you're one of the millions of Americans who depends on tips, you might want to know what @realDonaldTrump is doing to take money from your pocket - and give it to your boss.”

Christopher Mooney and Steven Mufson of The Washington Post report, White House seeks 72 percent cut to clean energy research, underscoring administration’s preference for fossil fuels (30,000+ shares). Michael Balter is “Not so sure #energy industry is going to welcome this given how much they have already invested in making the pivot to clean sources.” Jeff Nesbit remains optimistic: “Renewable energy is inarguably the future of the new energy economy. DOE research has always helped lead the way, and will again some day. Just not today.”

And “Another #Brexit scoop from @AlbertoNardelli: January 2018 Brexit analysis seen by BuzzFeed News shows the cost of falling EU migration would more than wipe out the economic boost of a US trade deal,” tweets Alice Workman. That piece, by BuzzFeed’s Alberto Nardelli: The Leaked Brexit Analysis Shows How Cutting EU Immigration Will Hit The UK Economy.

Uglier and uglier

New from Rebecca Davis O’Brien at The Wall Street Journal, Olympics Officials Didn’t Act on Gymnasts’ Abuse Allegations in 2015. Jason Gay’s take: “This from the WSJ's @rebeccadobrien is the most important sports story you'll read today. And it's infuriating. This case just gets uglier and uglier.”

Errin Haines Whack of AP News tweets, “We asked 56/59 black players at the Pro Bowl last weekend if they or someone they knew had ever been racially profiled. All of them answered yes. This year’s NFL protests weren’t about patriotism; they were often personal. Please read and share.” Her piece, with Fred Goodall, Only on AP: For NFL players, racial profiling often personal.

A masterpiece

“If you read nothing else today, make this it: @molly__o reported out the story of how she almost died and very could have without health insurance,” says Katherine Krueger. Isha Aran agrees: “everyone needs to read this utterly terrifying and surreal and incredible story of how health insurance allowed @molly__o to cheat death itself.” Molly Osberg’s piece in Splinter News is called How to Not Die in America, and “Holy shit, this @molly__o piece on her near death experience—and how health insurance saved her life—is a masterpiece,” tweets Rafi Schwartz.

Nobody learned a single thing last year

“If this is our Jazz Age before some vast upcoming depression, how terribly sad. Not only because of the pain to come, but because the unbearable lameness of our times now. Anyhow read this beauty by @LilyKatz.” Thanks for that setup, Max Abelson. He’s referring to Lily Katz’s new piece in Bloomberg, A Bitcoin Conference Rented a Miami Strip Club-And Regretted It, or as Anders Melin puts it, “A Bitcoin conference rented a Miami strip club because nobody learned a single thing last year.” A warning, from Caleb Melby: “Your jaw will drop further and further to the floor as you read the latest from @LilyKatz.”

Reuters reporters denied bail in Myanmar

“So heartbreaking. Handcuffed and guarded, my Reuters colleagues Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo enter a Myanmar court, where Kyaw Soe Oo steals kisses from his two-year-old daughter. They hoped for bail; the court denied it. Please read/share,” Andrew Marshall requests. He links to the report from Thu Thu Aung and Yimou Lee of Reuters, Reuters reporters arrested under Myanmar Secrets Act denied bail.

Meanwhile, Foster Klug of AP News writes that AP confirms 5 previously unreported Myanmar mass graves.

Some actual good news for once

OK, here’s some good news. The Freedom of the Press Foundation is archiving the alternative press threatened by wealthy buyers, explaining, “Starting with Gawker and L.A. Weekly, we're backing up entire news sites that might be threatened by the ‘billionaire problem,’ in which wealthy buyers can erase coverage they dislike.”

And how about this: At the San Francisco Chronicle, Evan Sernoffsky reports that San Francisco will wipe thousands of marijuana convictions off the books, retroactively applying California’s marijuana-legalization laws to past criminal cases. The Chronicle tweets, “The move will affect thousands of people whose #marijuana convictions brand them with criminal histories that can hurt chances for finding jobs and obtaining some government benefits.” As Luke O’Neil says, “Amazing and some actual good news for once.”

Other media developments

Aaron Rutkoff announces, “Your friends @business have a new project that’s all about The Future and Driving Robots and Flying Cars and Space Rockets, and I’m editing it with many smart people, and we’ve got a logo even.” Check it out: Bloomberg Hyperdrive.

WIRED Magazine’s Jason Tanz tweets, “ok as I've been yammering about all morning, WIRED HAS LAUNCHED A METERED PAYWALL which you can read about here.” That’s Editors' Letter: The Next 25 Years of WIRED Start Today. “Yes, we built a paywall. Yes, you should subscribe. A subscription model means our incentive is to create the best, most original, most in-depth journalism we can, so that our readers find surprise and delight in everything they read,” explains Arielle Pardes.

Bless this Union Pool retrospective

“i love this official dragging of my 22nd year,” says Brittany Spanos. At The Cut, Allison Davis reveals that Everybody You Know in New York Has Hooked Up at Union Pool. Well, Jeffrey Nelson hasn’t, but “While I don't have a Union Pool hookup story to share, a blind man once hit on me/stroked my face/held my hand at the bar, and my boyfriend was not pleased.” Meanwhile, people are really sharing their hookup stories on Twitter, so you’ll totally want to check that out. And definitely read the story itself, because as Amanda Holpuch highlights, “Bless this Union Pool retrospective: ‘I locked in, and started throwing some vibes around heavily.’”

Watercooler
Question of the Day

Yesterday, we asked: Through a recently launched initial coin offering, you can acquire shares of an environmentally friendly plantation in Laos. What is the Ethereum-based token called?

Answer: Those are bananacoins, pegged to the export price of 1 kg of bananas. What a world.

Congrats to Dan Rosenbaum, once again first to tweet the correct answer.

Your question of the day for today is…Tom Hardy is living up to his end of the bargain by getting a tattoo after he lost a bet to Leonardo DiCaprio, who correctly predicted Hardy would get nominated for an Oscar for “The Revenant.” What does the tattoo say?

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

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Featured Journalist: Gina Cairney

Today’s featured journalist is Gina Cairney, a freelance journalist, researcher and visual artist based in Brooklyn. Gina covers education (K12 & higher ed), race and poverty, health, and sometimes science topics. She started out in Maryland as an online news producer and social media coordinator for the award-winning Education Week. From there, she moved to the Big Apple and managed social media for the New School for Social Research. Gina’s currently a School Equity Fellow at Eskolta and a communications associate for an educational nonprofit in NYC. Read more about Gina and check out her portfolio 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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