Consider the possibility we are led by idiots 

Muck Rack Daily

Consider the possibility we are led by idiots 
March 22nd, 2018 View in browser
Muck Rack Daily

PR pros love a peek inside the minds of the journalists they pitch and work with on stories. Muck Rack recently had the opportunity to chat with Mike Murphy, technology reporter at Quartz. Jessica Lawlor asked him six quick questions on his first SXSW experience, covering the wide world of tech and the insane number of PR pitches he received before SXSW this year. Read on to find out what he had to say.


We have a new Zuckerberg talking point

The man of the hour, Mark Zuckerberg, finally breaks his silence, and Kevin Roose of The New York Times notes, “He said a lot.” Roose’s interview, with Sheera Frenkel, is Mark Zuckerberg’s Reckoning: ‘This Is a Major Trust Issue,’ and as James Poniewozik explains it, “The tl;dr of this Zuckerberg ‘bring the world together’ blah seems to be: you cannot make billions being circumspect with people’s data.” Roose also points out, “I asked Zuckerberg if he feels guilty about the way Facebook is being used around the world, e.g. in Myanmar. His answer was long, involved a dorm room.”

Ah, the fabled dorm room of ’04: “ladies and gentlemen, we have a new Zuckerberg talking point,” declares Alex Heath, who also highlights a similar answer (excuse?) Zuckerberg gave to Nicholas Thompson in his Wired Q&A, The Facebook CEO Talks Cambridge Analytica, the Company’s Problems, and Big Data.

“lol I guess there was an embargo on talking to Zuck at 9pm,” observes Mike Murphy, who links to yet another Zuck interview, this one with Kara Swisher and Kurt Wagner of Recode, Mark Zuckerberg says he’s ‘open’ to testifying to Congress, fixes will cost ‘many millions’ and he ‘feels really bad.’ They write, “‘So I’m open to doing it if I’m the right [person],’ he added. (Note to Mark: You are the right and only person to speak for Facebook at this point in the controversy.)”

And in his CNN interview last night, Zuckerberg told Laurie Segall that he is ‘happy to’ testify before Congress, as Seth Fiegerman writes.

So what should you do about your Facebook account? Tech journalist Dan Tynan has a suggestion. In his piece for Fast Company, he explains Why I’m Leaving Facebook-And Maybe You Should, Too, and Philip Gourevitch says, “this is a more deeply informed & thorough articulation of the reasons I gave on facebook for why I’m done there too.” Adds Harry McCracken, “If you read only one ‘Why I’m leaving Facebook’ essay, it should be this one by @tynanwrites.”


New scoop from Mike Levine of ABC News reveals that fired FBI official Andrew McCabe authorized criminal probe of Sessions, sources say (39,000+ shares), for lying to Congress about Russian contacts. As Kate Cox says, “..what.” Or as Karen Attiah says, “Whatttt.” Benjamin Domenech advises that we “Consider the possibility we are led by idiots.”

So many pockets

From Alex Emmons, Ryan Grim and Clayton Swisher of The Intercept, Saudi Crown Prince Boasted That Jared Kushner Was “In His Pocket” (20,000+ shares). Lawrence O'Donnell asks and answers the question, “Did Kushner betray intelligence sources? Answer: somewhere between possibly and probably.” “So many pockets, so few Jareds…” adds Jeffrey St. Clair.

Meanwhile, David D. Kirkpatrick and Mark Mazzetti of The New York Times explain How a Witness for Mueller and a Republican Donor Influenced the White House for Gulf Rulers. Laura Rozen’s take: “My god, it just looks like bribery, influence buying of Trump foreign policy. and it worked.” Adds Dan Pfeiffer, “Everyone is focused on collusion, but the corruption runs throughout this administration and will be the thing that puts a lot of people behind bars.”

It’s official: CBS News confirms that the 60 Minutes interview with Stormy Daniels will be broadcast Sunday.

And one more thing: “FINALLY the story I’ve been waiting for,” says Evan Smith. That’s ‘Elected to lead, not to proofread’: Typos, spelling mistakes are commonplace in Trump’s White House, by David Nakamura of The Washington Post. “Grammar addicts, this is for you,” tweets Sean Robinson.

Creepy in how normal everything appears to be

While Charlotte Alter of Time explains How Parkland Students Are Taking on Politicians in the Gun Control Battle, The Washington Post’s John Woodrow Cox and Steven Rich dig into the data and reveal The extraordinary number of kids who have endured school shootings since Columbine. The project, as Cox tweets, has been “A year in the making, our analysis of every American school shooting since Columbine — and what they've done to the more than 187,000 children who endured them.”

Next, here’s a “Deeply disturbing look at the final days of the Las Vegas shooter,” as Yaffa Fredrick puts it. That’s the forensic video investigation, He Gambles. He Tips Staff. He Eats Alone. All the While, He’s Stocking His Vegas Suite With Guns, by Malachy Browne, Natalie Reneau, Adam Goldman and Drew Jordan of The New York Times. Tweets Browne, “21 bags of weapons moved to his hotel room over 7 days. Our reconstruct of the Las Vegas gunman’s steps uses surveillance footage we excl. obtained from MGM Resorts.” “This surveillance footage is creepy in how normal everything appears to be. And we still have no idea why Stephen Paddock went on a rampage that killed 58 people and injured 100s of others,” notes Lisa Tozzi.

No wonder his family doesn’t trust the cops

“Amid the relief everyone feels in Austin today, I hope this story—about how police initially treated the bomber’s first victim ‘like a suspect in his own death,’ and failed to adequately investigate his murder or protect his family—does not get lost,” says Pamela Colloff, who links to The Austin Bomber Is Dead, But His First Victims’ Family Still Doesn’t Feel Safe, by Olivia Messer of The Daily Beast. Tweets Justin Miller, “Austin police initially said Stephan House may have killed himself, but he was murdered. No wonder his family doesn't trust the cops that all is well.”

And this is “Still happening regularly. Why did we stop paying attention and crying out?” asks DW Gibson, referring to Police shot a man 20 times in his bbackyard thinking he had a gun. It was a cellphone, by Alex Horton of The Washington Post. Jamil Smith highlights “A key detail from this report: you never hear the two Sacramento cops identifying themselves as police before firing 20 bullets at Stephon Clark, killing him as he stood unarmed in his own backyard.”


A new joint investigation by Frank Bajak of AP News and Lise Olsen of the Houston Chronicle finds Hurricane Harvey’s toxic impact deeper than public told. Tweets Brian Slodysko, “County, state and federal records pieced together by The Associated Press and The Houston Chronicle reveal a far more widespread toxic impact than authorities publicly reported after the storm slammed into the Texas coast.”

“Fighting for the public's right to know: @latimes files suit, claiming L.A. County has repeatedly violated state open records laws, lawsuit alleges.” Shelby Grad links to the story, by Jack Dolan of The Los Angeles Times, L.A. County has repeatedly violated state open records laws, L.A. Times lawsuit alleges.

Here’s a “Fab story about IBM brutally hacking employees age 40+...any top execs/board members over 40 should now go to w/o parachutes,” tweets Tracy Weber. That’s the aptly titled Cutting ‘Old Heads’ at IBM, by Peter Gosselin and Ariana Tobin, co-published by ProPublica and Mother Jones. Eric Umansky explains: “New from us: IBM has regularly flouted laws against age discrimination. One tactic: Workers were told to ‘retire’ or they'll be fired. That way, IBM doesn't have to record it as a layoff of older workers.” “Aging is inevitable; being discriminated against for it is not. @ProPublica shows how it takes the actions of people & institutions,” tweets Gosselin.

The future is now

OK, you deserve some good news after all that, so here it is: Matthew Schneier of The New York Times reveals that the paper’s beloved fashion and society photographer Bill Cunningham Left Behind a Secret Memoir. “Now that's how you release a memoir,” says Maggie Coughlan, but after all, “The man knew style—and this is a stylish move if ever there was one,” Brian Patrick Eha notes. Julia Bainbridge sums it up: “OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG.”

And one more great read for the day: the new Vanity Fair cover story by Jacqueline Woodson, Lena Waithe Is Changing the Game. Lots of love and respect for the magazine’s new editor in chief Radhika Jones, including this tweet from Lydia Polgreen, “Wow wow wow. @radhikajones is changing the game. Queer black writer @JackieWoodson profiling queer black actor @LenaWaithe on the cover of Vanity Fair. The future is now.”


Question of the Day

Yesterday, we asked: How many parts went into Newsday’s “Heroin Trail” series for which Les Payne won his Pulitzer Prize?

Answer: It was a 33-part series.

Congrats to...Well, no one got this correct, but even though Dan Rosenbaum explicitly told us, DO NOT CONGRATULATE, we’ll give him an honorable mention shout-out for answering 22, since perhaps he was elected to lead, not to proofread, and that’s just a typo.

Your question of the day for today is…who is the man behind dietbitcoin, a new cryptocurrency that’s “a faster, lighter alternative to bitcoin”? Extra credit for naming his famous/infamous brother, too.

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


Featured Journalist: Nick Moutvic

Today’s featured journalist is Chicago-based Nick Moutvic, bestselling author of That Could Have Gone Better. He’s also a freelancer who can be found contributing to places like Bustle and Thought Catalog. Here’s how Nick describes himself: “The internet’s gay cousin—blissfully preoccupied with trying to turn a career out of making gifs from the Lizzie McGuire Movie.” All that and he’s got a new book out this year, too. Find out more about Nick 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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