You’re reading the Muck Rack Daily, so you probably like to stay informed. But have you ever thought that maybe you’re just a little too informed? Because “Holy wow, this story. Read @samdolnick on The Blockade, one man’s epic quest for ignorance,” advises Matt Flegenheimer. In The Man Who Knew Too Little (69,000+ shares), Sam Dolnick of The New York Times profiles Ohioan Erik Hagerman, who lives inside a self-created “blockade” to avoid any news about what’s been going on in America since the election of Donald Trump.
Reacting to the story, Christopher Booker invokes Flannery O’Connor: “Funny how ‘The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.’” For Brendan O'Connor, “This story is the ne plus ultra, the alpha and the omega, the apex of the vortex of all the NYT’s coverage of horrible petit bourgeois assholes. You cannot read this story and not become an avowed class warrior.” Adds Annie Zaleski, “You can be overwhelmed by news/politics + need a break, but still respect that your friends/loved ones don't have that luxury. The privilege involved with insulating yourself from current events (+ asking others to do the same around you) is immense.”
Super-Courageous rolls over
Philip Rucker of The Washington Post has the latest as the White House vows to help arm teachers and backs off raising age for buying guns (27,000+ shares). Mikey Kay notes, “156 mass shootings between 2009-2016 in U.S. 2 of the 156 were committed by men under 21. One of assault weapons was purchased legally (s: Everytown Research). Proposal to arm teachers w/out addressing easy access to AR-15s is barking and dangerous.” Steven Greenhouse puts it this way: “Remember when Super-Courageous Mr. Trump boasted that he'd run into a school unarmed to stop a killer with an AR-15 Well, challenged by the NRA, the Super-Courageous Mr Trump rolls over, reverses himself & drops his call to raise the age for buying guns.”
Meanwhile, Evan Sutton offers you this: “If you want to be depressed and embarrassed, watch @BetsyDeVosED on @60Minutes and remember that this clueless, willfully ignorant ideologue is the secretary of education.” OK, maybe not the greatest sales pitch, but the segment in question is Lesley Stahl’s interview with DeVos on 60 Minutes last night, Betsy DeVos on guns, school choice and why people don't like her (20,000+ shares). Parker Molloy says, “The entire interview is just... jaw-droppingly bad. She’s just such a thoroughly unintelligent person.” Adds MJ Franklin, “LESLEY STAHL'S FACE DURING THIS BETSY DEVOS INTERVIEW IS ALL OF US.”
Let her speak
In other 60 Minutes news, Trump Lawyers Are Considering A Challenge To “60 Minutes” Airing Of A Stormy Daniels Interview, as BuzzFeed’s Chris Geidner reports. Jim Rutenberg and Michael M. Grynbaum cover the story for The New York Times in As ‘60 Minutes’ Prepares Stormy Daniels Interview, Lawyers Battle. Rutenberg tweets, “Stormy Daniels’ attorney @MichaelAvenatti works aggressive media strategy for a simple goal: let her speak. (Says he’s had to get her 24 hr security, too).”
“Flood for Cobb? Well, it is still spring training, after all.” Jeff Nesbit links to the reporting by Maggie Haberman and Michael Schmidt of The New York Times, Trump Talks With Clinton Impeachment Lawyer Emmet Flood About Aiding in Mueller Response (13,000 shares).
In the meantime, “Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump obstructed justice is said to be close to completion, but he may set it aside while he finishes other parts of his probe for fear that Trump may move to shut the whole thing down, officials tell Bloomberg,” tweets Kyle Griffin, of the report from Chris Strohm and Shannon Pettypiece at Bloomberg, Mueller Is Said to Weigh Putting Off Trump Obstruction Decision. Greg Stohr calls it an “Intriguing story by @cstrohm and @spettypi on a big strategic decision looming for Mueller.” Norm Eisen offers some insight: “I have worked against & with Mueller, & this is him playing hardball with Trump to fight foot-dragging on an interview. Delay means probe will hang over POTUS, WH & GOP thru midterms--a disaster. Mueller is applying that pressure to make Trump testify.”
Fall from grace
For The Atlantic’s new cover, Michael Gerson writes about Trump and the Evangelical Temptation (56,000+ shares). Tweets Laurie Goodstein, “For everyone who has asked, ‘how did evangelicals get hitched to Trump?’ it's worth reading this sweeping analysis by a never-Trump evangelical, @mjgerson. It's about white evangelicals - not all - but takes a 150 year-view.” “Dead right on all this. Insightful and excellent analysis on Evangelicals' fall from grace by @MJGerson,” says Jess Lahitou.
In his new piece for The New York Times, Michael Tackett writes that White Evangelical Women, Core Supporters of Trump, Begin Tiptoeing Away (59,000+ shares). Erica Orden highlights “A nut graf for the ages: ‘As the WH fights to silence a pornographic actress claiming an affair with Mr. Trump, and a jailed Belarusian escort claims evidence against the American president, Mr. Trump’s hold on white evangelical women may be slipping.’” To which Raju Narisetti says, “Amen.”
Checking in with the family
Ivanka Trump’s continued relationship with her family's business has created a slew of problems, writes Anita Kumar of McClatchy DC. AP’s Jake Pearson reports that Trump Jr. partners with donor who pitched gov’t. Tweets Jonathan Lemire, “NEW: Donald Trump Jr. has undisclosed business relationship with GOP donor, a Texas hunting buddy who met with top NSC officials to push a plan that would curb U.S. sanctions in Venezuela in order to do business there.”
New from Julia Edwards Ainsley, Carol Lee, Robert Windrem and Andrew W. Lehren at NBC News, Qataris opted not to give info on Kushner, secret meetings to Mueller because they were worried about harming relations with the Trump administration. And Out of Public View, Trumps and Kushners Are Talking Business, write Ben Protess, Steve Eder and Jesse Drucker of The New York Times. Robert Reich sums it up: “Never before in American history has a president and his family so brazenly used and abused the presidency to line their own pockets, to the detriment of the American people.”
Across the U.S.
“To have nothing in a place of plenty. But never giving up. Inspiring @TeresaWatanabe,” tweets Shelby Grad. The story by Teresa Watanabe of The Los Angeles Times, He attends elite UC Berkeley but lives in a trailer with no heat or sewer hookups. Soon, he'll be scrambling to find new shelter (27,000+ shares). You should “Take time to read this today,” says April Glaser.
Meanwhile, Missouri is a destination wedding spot — for 15-year-old brides, writes Eric Adler of the Kansas City Star. Tweets ProPublica, “85% of children married under 18 in all states are girls. Most come from poverty and remain in poverty. They endure higher rates of psychiatric disorders, health problems and physical and sexual abuse. A majority of child brides drop out of high school.”
“I wrote about the women’s march, and why someone trying to lead a diverse political movement would associate with the Nation of Islam,” tweets Adam Serwer. That piece, for The Atlantic, is Tamika Mallory and the Farrakhan Conundrum, “In which @AdamSerwer methodically proves, among other things, that @TamikaDMallory, one of the leaders of the Women's March, doesn't care very much to fight one prejudice in particular,” tweets Jeffrey Goldberg.
At Vox, Matthew Yglesias says that Everything we think about the political correctness debate is wrong. The short version, courtesy of Derek Thompson: “Columns and commentary: Leftist campuses are the leading edge of a youth wave of anti-speech authoritarianism. Surveys and research: Public desire to stymie free expression is concentrated in the working class and targeted primarily at Muslims.”
In POLITICO Magazine, Susan Glasser talks with Chuck Todd about what it’s like When the President of the United States Calls You a ‘Son of a Bitch.’
And Elena Schneider and Alex Isenstadt of POLITICO report as Republicans wage 11th-hour blitz in Pa. special election. Rachael Bade points out, “Rs wage 11th hour blitz for Pa special in a district they've held for more than a decade & Trump carried by 20 pts. If he loses, they'll blame their candidate but that's a cop-out.”
Stunning investigative report
“Ankle bracelets, a mysterious death and a forced corporate takeover greased by Western lawyers and accountants - amazing detail in this must-read on the royal prisoners at the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton,” tweets Declan Walsh, of Saudis Said to Use Coercion and Abuse to Seize Billions, by Ben Hubbard, David D. Kirkpatrick, Kate Kelly and Mark Mazzetti of The New York Times. Patrick Wintour notes, “Questions posed here by New York Times that UK govt chose to overlook.” “Stunning investigative report by NY Times breaks as Saudi prince plans US visit,” adds Linda Deutsch.
We’re all the iguana
Jeff Bezos Says He’ll Spend ‘Amazon Lottery Winnings’ on Space Travel. Bloomberg’s Amanda Gordon and Tom Metcalf have the story as Bezos accepted the Buzz Aldrin Space Exploration Award at the Explorers Club Annual Dinner on Saturday night, where, by the way, he ate iguana. Andrew Mach “Can't unsee Bezos eating iguana (which is not the point of this story).” But you know what they say: “To infinity and beyond but first try the iguana,” as Jim Aley tweets. “tag yourself we’re all the iguana,” says Julia Wong.
“This story by @julie188 was a long time in the making, and it's pretty amazing read,” says Alexei Oreskovic. That’s THE TAKEDOWN OF TRAVIS KALANICK: The untold story of Uber's infighting, backstabbing, and multi-million-dollar exit packages, by Julie Bort of Business Insider.
And Antoine Gara points to some “Smoke signals out of Goldman,” linking to the statement from the firm, Harvey M. Schwartz to Retire From Goldman Sachs, David M. Solomon to Serve as Sole President and Chief Operating Officer.
Checking in with early aughts indie rock dudes
“plz crush up this Julian Casablancas interview and inject it directly into my left ventricle,” Chris Gayomali asks of you. At Vulture, David Marchese interviews Julian Casablancas on His Album, the Strokes, and How Money Ruined Modern Pop, and Chase Woodruff points out that “Every generation gets the incoherent rockstar politics it deserves.” Bradford Pearson thinks “The best part of that Julian Casablancas interview is when he acts haughty about knowing who Paul Robeson is and David Marchese tomahawk dunks on him,” whereas Chris DeVille finds “Endless entertainment in today's Julian Casablancas interview, but the best part is when he argues with @david_marchese about whether Hendrix was popular during his lifetime.” The point is, it’s been a “huge morning for self-owns,” tweets Jordan Fox. As Kaitlin Jessing-Butz says, “early aughts indie rock dudes are still early aughts indie rock dudes.”
RIP Hubert de Givenchy
BBC News is reporting that French fashion icon Givenchy has died aged 91. Tweets Heidi Moore, of the creator of the little black dress, “He didn’t make Jackie Kennedy an icon, but he did made her look like one.”