A hearty exercise in expectation-lowering 

Muck Rack Daily

A hearty exercise in expectation-lowering 
September 12th, 2018 View in browser
Muck Rack Daily

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Mega storm

With Hurricane Florence bearing down, here’s a timely story from Jenavieve Hatch of HuffPost: 6 Years Ago, North Carolina Chose To Ignore Rising Sea Levels. This Week It Braces For Disaster. As Lydia Polgreen tweets, “In 2012, politicians in North Carolina banned officials and developers from using climate science to plan for sea level rises. Now, the state faces a mega storm, and possibly a mega disaster.” Adds Dan Satterfield, “Kinda had a feeling this would come back to bite them. See Sink or Swim by Colbert here.”

At CNN, Jason Hanna, Kaylee Hartung and Faith Karimi report that Hurricane Florence’s ‘Mike Tyson punch’ is shaping up to deliver disaster for days to the Carolina coast. The storm’s predicted pause and left turn is also expected to put more of South Carolina in greater danger.

President Trump’s analysis of the approaching monster storm: “Tremendously big and tremendously wet — tremendous amounts of water.” As Ashley Parker of The Washington Post notes, in addition to reaching for paper towels, Trump reaches for superlatives in the face of calamity. Vera Maria Bergengruen recommends that you “Read @AshleyRParker on how disasters show a ‘revealing glimpse into Trump’s penchant for the dramatic — a habit of narrating even deadly crises in superlative terms that render him more a rubbernecking bystander than a conventional commander in chief.’”

Disgusting reminder

Speaking of mega disasters, Trump also said that he thinks “Puerto Rico was an incredible, unsung success.” In case that doesn’t sound quite right to you, well, trust your instincts. Frances Robles of The New York Times did some fact-checking in her piece, Trump Calls Storm Response in Puerto Rico, Where 3,000 Died, ‘One of the Best,’ tweeting, “No, the Puerto Rico electric grid wasn't ‘closed’ before Hurricane Maria. We fact-check.” Of Trump’s self-congratulatory remarks, Steven Greenhouse says, “This is shockingly dishonest and shockingly insensitive,” while Bob Gaydos tweets, “This is seriously sick stuff.” Many were also tweeting the comment by Chef José Andrés, “The death toll issue has been one of the biggest cover-ups in American history.”

For more on the reality of the response in Puerto Rico, turn to Nidhi Prakash of BuzzFeed News, who news found out that More Than 2,000 Puerto Ricans Applied For Funeral Assistance After Hurricane Maria. FEMA Approved Just 75 (31,000+ shares). This piece is also, as Jennifer Salan points out, a “Disgusting Reminder - Money taken from FEMA for ICE.”

Getting the shaft

On the 10th anniversary of the 2008 financial crisis, Nelson D. Schwartz of The New York Times explores how The Recovery Threw the Middle-Class Dream Under a Benz. Stephanie Strom says it’s a “Beautifully written, simply explained and sobering explanation of how we got to where we are.” Brian Donlon calls it an “outstanding piece,” tweeting, “Tough to argue this point in @nytimes: Ten years after the financial crisis, getting ahead by going to work every day seems quaint, akin to using the phone book to find a number or renting a video at Blockbuster.” Adds Tim Hayward, “Really quite terrifying how this maps on to BREXIT. The class that makes money out of money benefits. The classes that work are shafted.”

Americans Want to Believe Jobs Are the Solution to Poverty. They’re Not, says Matthew Desmond of The New York Times. Meredith Kolodner says she “Ran into this again and again during recent trips to Iowa: People have jobs, sometimes two or three -- they just don't have enough money.” As Amanda Katz notes, “This starts out as a news story about the working poor, interwoven with a profile, and ends up as a pitch to profoundly reset how Americans think about work.” “Everyone with any power in Washington should read this,” says Alex Wayne.

And what about the hidden costs of working in some of those jobs? Hayley Peterson of Business Insider shows us that the disturbing accounts of Amazon delivery drivers may reveal the true human cost of ‘free’ shipping. Peterson provides additional background about this story on Twitter: “I spent 8 months interviewing Amazon delivery drivers about their jobs. I heard claims of missing wages, lack of overtime, intimidation, favoritism, and grueling shifts where they felt pressure to speed and urinate in bottles.” This is where Brett Molina offers “A friendly reminder Jeff Bezos net worth is reportedly $167 billion.” Just get through the lede and you’ll be agreeing with Alex Wilhelm: “jesus christ amazon.”

Meanwhile, Stef W. Kight of Axios reports that the U.S. is on course for $1 trillion deficit. Tweets Bob Herman, “Medicare + Medicaid spending ↑ <4% so far in 2018. But corporate income taxes ↓ 31% and payroll taxes somehow flat despite low unemployment.”

Manafort, part 2

“If Trump thought Manafort would keep quiet, he’d better think again,” says William Saletan. Some interesting developments in Paul Manafort’s second trial, which is just days away from jury selection. The report by Tom Hamburger, Devlin Barrett and Spencer Hsu of The Washington Post, Manafort in talks with prosecutors about possible plea, according to people familiar with the discussions. In response, Chris Geidner tweets, “Reupping this from Friday,” linking to an earlier story by David Voreacos and Neil Weinberg of Bloomberg, Manafort Weighing Plea Deal to Avoid New Criminal Trial, Source Says. In either case, “Probably not a headline the president wants to see... We will all have to see what develops…” tweets Dan Rather.

Officials are fretting

The new piece by Sean Sullivan of The Washington Post is headlined, ‘Shipwreck:’ GOP grows fearful about losing Senate as candidates struggle, Trump support tumbles. On Twitter, he calls it a look “Inside the party’s 5-alarm fire, where there is frustration in the WH w/Cruz’s woes and private polling that officials are fretting.” But Lydia Polgreen thinks, “This feels like a hearty exercise in expectation-lowering by Mitch McConnell.” And while the piece quotes McConnell comparing the races to “a knife fight in an alley,” Mark Hamrick tweets, “Oh, please. A false sense of machismo if ever there was one. These folks would cut themselves before the ‘fight’ could begin.” Meanwhile, Ted Genoways has a crazy idea: “You know, @SenateMajLdr, you could always try to win back voters by doing your job—refusing to confirm corrupt court nominees, investigating executive branch crime, offering a real check on reckless power. Just a thought.”

Genuinely frightening

In her new piece for The Atlantic, A Warning From Europe: The Worst Is Yet to Come, Anne Applebaum writes that Trump’s America is following a pattern Europe knows all too well. Tweets Rachel Donadio, “MUST READ this terrific, complex, personal and heartbreaking @anneapplebaum piece about what went wrong in Eastern Europe. One takeaway is that people who know they might not do so well in meritocracies tend not to mind autocracies.” “This story is beautifully written and genuinely frightening,” says Adrienne LaFrance, and Denise Kersten Wills notes, “More than anything else I've read, this brilliant essay by @anneapplebaum helped me see the big picture of what we’re now living through.”

Hint: It’s not just the “bad press”

Maura Judkis calls this next one “The Mike Isabella deep dive you’ve been waiting for, from @timcarman and me. It’s not just ‘bad press’ that caused his bankruptcy.” That Washington Post piece, by Judkis and Tim Carman, follows the rise and fall of Mike Isabella, from ‘Top Chef’ stardom to bankruptcy. In addition to bad press, “Mike Isabella is still blaming ‘old school’ kitchen culture for his failures. No dude, *you* messed up. Plenty of people grew up in the same kitchens as you and didn't create restaurants where sexual harassment was rampant,” Bradford Pearson points out.

Dragging a load of unintended consequences

Erica L. Green’s piece in The New York Times, Education Dept. Reopens Rutgers Case Charging Discrimination Against Jewish Students, has gotten a lot of attention. Jon Perr breaks the story down for us: “STUDENT1: I support a Palestinian state and the BDS movement. STUDENT2: You’re an anti-Semite! STUDENT1: What? I’m Jewish. My cousin is in the IDF. TRUMP DEPT OF ED: Yes, you’re an anti-Semite. You violated the civil rights of ethnic Jewish students.” As Abraham Riesman explains: “If you know anything about today's anti-Zionist movements, you'll know that anti-Zionist Jews exist and are generally welcome in Palestinian solidarity spaces. The idea that ‘Zionist’ and ‘Jew’ are synonyms is ill-informed, at best.” Aram Zucker-Scharff puts it this way: “This is a very fine line in a China shop being walked by a bull dragging a load of unintended consequences.” Adds Mark Lamster, “i can really think of nothing less jewish than a prohibition against adopting a position in an argument, no matter how unpopular. a shonda, this.”

Book marketing is out of control

Seems like we should have seen this one coming: Meagan Flynn of The Washington Post reports that an Oregon novelist who wrote about ‘How to Murder Your Husband’ has been charged with murdering her husband. “Her next novel: How To Murder Your Prison Guard,” tweets Cecily Hilleary. For Topher Matthews, “What gets me is how surprised she looks that she was caught.” As Megan McArdle points out, “This could be the most inept murderer in human history.” Either that, or as Lincoln Michel says, “Book marketing is out of control.”

Wednesday round-up:


Question of the Day

Yesterday we asked: How many secretaries did Murphy Brown have in the show’s initial ten-year run? Bonus: Name the actress who played the last one.

Answer: She had a total of 93 secretaries — and Bette Midler played #93.

Congrats to…Craig Pittman, first to tweet the correct number and answer the bonus question.

Your question of the day for today is…What did work crews find in the basement of Como, Italy’s Cressoni Theater while gutting it to make way for luxury apartments?

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

Career Updates

New roles for Story, Crow, Rodriguez

The Wall Street Journal has hired Louise Story to fill the new role of Editor, Newsroom Strategy. Her team will include Audience & Analytics, the innovation lab, newsletters, editorial ventures and the paper’s soon-to-be-hired student editor. She’ll also be joining the Sunday senior-editor rotation. Story previously worked at The New York Times as an investigative reporter, led Live Video for the Times in 2016 and 2017, and co-hosted the TimesCast live video program in 2012. She was also the business contributor for WNYC’s “The Takeaway” for three years.

David Crow has been named banking editor of the Financial Times and will be relocating to London next month. Crow has been FT’s senior U.S. business correspondent for the past four years and, before that, an assistant news editor. He previously worked for City A.M. in London and The Spectator.

Reuters journalist Salvador Rodriguez is joining CNBC.com to cover Facebook and other tech companies. Prior to Reuters, Rodriguez covered the tech industry for Inc. magazine, the International Business Times and the Los Angeles Times. He’s also contributed pieces to Vice, Digital Trends and the Federal Times, among others.

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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