Another day, another hell of a story 

Muck Rack Daily

Another day, another hell of a story 
September 21st, 2018 View in browser
Muck Rack Daily

Who does the ethics?

Well, you may have seen a new theory making the Twitter rounds yesterday, implying that this whole Kavanaugh accusation was all just a case of mistaken identity. In their latest reporting at The Washington Post, Seung Min Kim, Josh Dawsey and Emma Brown explain, “Ed Whelan, a former clerk to the late justice Antonin Scalia and president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center...named and posted photographs of the classmate he suggested could be responsible.”

Christine Blasey Ford dismissed the theory, and this morning, Whelan tweeted that he’d made an “inexcusable mistake” by identifying Kavanaugh’s classmate. As Scott Lemieux tweets, “So evidently Ed works for the ‘public policy’ part of the operation, but who does the ethics?” And Josh Marshall notes, “Post doesn’t come out and say it but seems overwhelmingly likely Kavanaugh knew about Whelan’s nutbar theory, possibly played some role in concocting it.” However, according to the latest from Robert Costa and Elise Viebeck of The Washington Post, Kavanaugh ally says he did not communicate with White House or Supreme Court nominee about theory of another attacker.

Meanwhile, Sheryl Gay Stolberg of The New York Times reports that Ford says she’s prepared to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week, so long as senators offer “terms that are fair and which ensure her safety,” her lawyer told the committee, especially in light of the fact that she’s been receiving death threats.

Really don’t know what to say anymore

Dan Pfeiffer says, “It’s the fear about more stories like this one that is causing the Republicans to rush this nomination through as fast as possible.” Stephanie Kirchgaessner and Jessica Glenza of The Guardian have learned that “Tiger Mother” author and Yale professor Amy Chua said she would advise students on their physical looks to help them win posts in Kavanaugh’s chambers. That story is ‘No accident’ Brett Kavanaugh’s female law clerks ‘looked like models’, Yale professor told students (54,000+ shares), and “Well, this gives a creepy slant to his touting of his record of hiring women clerks,” Joan McCarter points out. Will Bunch calls it “The Kavanaugh plot twist you were waiting for.”

Since that story came out, Adam Edelman and Kasie Hunt of NBC News report that Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken has responded with a letter to the law school community saying the reports that Chua would groom female clerks for Kavanaugh are ‘of enormous concern.’

The New Yorker’s Jia Tolentino tweets, “The Kavanaugh news cycle has reminded me of something I almost forgot from high school. I wrote about it, and the defense of ‘horseplay,’ here.” Her new piece: After the Kavanaugh Allegations, Republicans Offer a Shocking Defense: Sexual Assault Isn’t a Big Deal. Lainna Fader reacts to the headline simply with, “I really don't know what to say anymore.”

This seems like a good point to mention that South Carolina Congressman Ralph Norman made a joke about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and sexual assault at a debate on Thursday, as Tracy Kimball reports for The Herald.

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds more Americans oppose Kavanaugh confirmation than support it, reports Mark Murray of NBC News, who notes that Kavanaugh is the first Supreme Court nominee to be “below water” in the history of the poll. Some context: Even Harriet Miers was +6.

Emails about bans

So “Here’s how much of a mess it was inside the Pentagon after Trump tweeted about banning transgender people from the military.” Matt Berman links to “Boss Needs To See This Now” New Emails Show Confusion At The Pentagon After Trump’s Transgender Ban, by Vera Maria Bergengruen of BuzzFeed News. As Scott Bixby explains it, “When President Trump declared transgender troops would no longer be allowed to serve in the military, Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that ‘this was a military decision.’ Internal Pentagon emails reveal that to be (duh-duh-duh-duuuh) a huge lie.”

There are other revelations unearthed in emails about another ban. John D. McKinnon and Douglas MacMillan of The Wall Street Journal found out that Google Workers Discussed Tweaking Search Function to Counter Travel Ban. Those internal emails showed that Google employees brainstormed (but didn’t implement) ways to alter the search function to help people learn about how they could contribute to pro-immigration causes after Trump issued the travel ban. Daniel Castro thinks, “If you are more concerned about Google's reaction to the anti-Muslim travel ban, rather than the travel ban itself, you are doing it wrong.”

Russia, etc.

From George Stephanopoulos, Eliana Larramendia and James Hill of ABC News, we’ve learned that Michael Cohen spoke to Mueller team for hours; asked about Russia, possible collusion (43,000+ shares).

Also, as Oz Katerji tweets, there’s a “Huge scoop from @Bellingcat. The Kremlin's story has been torn apart by solid journalism. ‘Bellingcat and the Insider can confirm definitively that both ‘Alexander Petrov’ and ‘Ruslan Boshirov’ are active GRU officers.’” The Bellingcat Investigation Team reports, Skripal Suspects Confirmed as GRU Operatives: Prior European Operations Disclosed. Elias Groll is “Thoroughly enjoying the way in which @bellingcat continues to burn the Skripal op to the ground.”

And “Another day, another hell of a story by ⁦@skirchy⁩ & crew,” tweets Spencer Ackerman. This time, Stephanie Kirchgaessner, Dan Collyns and Luke Harding of The Guardian are revealing Russia’s secret plan to help Julian Assange escape from UK. Julian Borger calls it an “Amazing tale of Assange’s aborted, Russian-assisted escape plan, by ⁦@skirchy⁩ ⁦@yachay_dc⁩ and ⁦@lukeharding1968⁩.”

Color me totally shocked

“Speaking as a clever hard-ass and decent feminist writer who has engaged critiques of Peterson, I find this, uh, interesting.” Chelsea G. Summers is referring to the exclusive by Irin Carmon at The Cut, Jordan Peterson Threatened to Sue Author for Calling Him a Misogynist. Carmon sets it up on Twitter: “New, by me: Free speech champion @jordanbpeterson sent a legal threat to feminist critic @kate_manne for, among other things, ‘referring to him as a misogynist’ in a @voxdotcom interview.” Or as Callie Beusman tweets, “extremely alpha free-speech warrior Jordan Peterson is threatening to sue a woman for defamation because she said that his book contains ‘eyebrow-raising’ and sexist statements.” Jenée Desmond-Harris highlights, “One nugget in this is that she was chosen to be interviewed because she, ‘unlike many Peterson critics, actively engaged with his ideas.’ Color me totally shocked that taking him seriously didn't lead to increased understanding & a happy ending for all.”

Also at The Cut, Kate Beaton writes about Our Sister Becky and wonders what might have happened if the doctors had listened to her. Tweets Lisa Ryan. “.@beatonna on the loss of her sister is so heartbreaking and infuriating. Doctors (and everyone else!) need to LISTEN TO WOMEN.” “The gender bias in medicine is killing people. The racial bias in medicine is killing people. The trans bias is so extreme they rarely have any access. People without documents do not get care. This story and many others,” tweets Mikki Halpin.


In a new piece co-published by ProPublica and Newsday, Hannah Dreier tells us about The Disappeared: “Police on Long Island wrote off missing immigrant teens as runaways. One mother knew better — and searched MS-13’s killing fields for answers.” “It's one thing when violent street gangs begin murdering teenagers in your neighborhood. It's another thing entirely when police stand by and let it happen. It's a heartbreaking read, but an essential one. By the awesome @hannahdreier,” tweets Ginger Thompson. Adds Minhee Cho, “Love this three-pronged approach for @hannahdreier's latest MS-13 report: 1. A stunning online presentation on @ProPublica. 2. The print cover on @Newsday. 3. And tomorrow's full-length episode of @ThisAmerLife.”

Meanwhile, “Why is Latin America the world's most murderous region? I went to Acapulco to try to find some answers. I left feeling very depressed,” says David Luhnow. He writes about it in his new piece for The Wall Street Journal, 400 Murders a Day: The Crisis of Latin America. As Nicholas Riccardi says, “Good God. Read this and weep.” Theo Francis calls it “A horrifying story by @davidluhnow, but a must-read nonetheless.”

New from Yanan Wang and Dake Kang of The Associated Press, China treats Uighur kids as ‘orphans’ after parents seized. Gerry Shih says this is “One of the most startling and ambitious reports so far on what’s unfolding in Xinjiang. @AP again breaking new ground on Chinese govt orphanages where Uighur detainees’ children are held, reported from XJ, Turkey Kazakhstan.”

And Carrie Budoff Brown says, “This new @TimAlberta piece is a must read, for so many reasons. Corrupt Iowa caucus practices. Prison transformation. And a shocking family tragedy.” That piece, by Tim Alberta for POLITICO Magazine, is Kent Sorenson Was a Tea Party Hero. Then He Lost Everything. As he explains on Twitter, “I spent much of this year writing a story about greed and dishonesty, corruption and loyalty, friendship and tragedy, racism and redemption. If you’d like a breather from the 24/7 Trump news cycle, give it a read.” 

Weekend reads

Richard Innes tweets, “A lot of people have already shared this, but having just read it, I felt obliged to do so. Your worst nightmare delivered to you in a short, beautiful, utterly brilliant bit of writing by @robdelaney.” That’s Henry, Rob Delaney’s heartbreaking essay about his son’s battle with cancer.

Just so you know, “this is very good and definitely won’t improve your mood,” tweets Josh Terry. At The Baffler, Miya Tokumitsu writes, Tell Me It’s Going to be OK, about which S. Smith says, “I’ve been reading a lot of superb work on the self-care industrial complex in a time of anxiety and this is particularly good.”

It was 51 years ago today, September 21, 1967, when “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” taped its very first episode, so now’s the perfect time to read an excerpt from Maxwell King’s “The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers,” at Longreads, Mr. Rogers vs. the Superheroes

Making the rounds:


Question of the Day

Yesterday, we asked: Apparently, Bert and Ernie are just friends, so we can move on to other pressing Muppet-related questions: What’s Guy Smiley’s real name?

Answer: Guy Smiley is the stage name of one Bernie Liederkranz, and here’s how we all learned that.

Congrats to…Craig Pittman, who was once again first to tweet the correct answer.

Your question of the day for today is…A gym in Christchurch, New Zealand, has created a room (apparently the first of its kind in Christchurch) that’s specifically dedicated to what?

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

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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