The most remarkable story of the day (at least so far)

Muck Rack Daily

The most remarkable story of the day (at least so far)
October 15th, 2018 View in browser
Muck Rack Daily

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We know 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 Tracy Swartz, a reporter at the Chicago Tribune, who told us a bit about how she uses Twitter to find sources, the most difficult story she’s ever covered and more. Head over to the Muck Rack Blog for 6 questions with Tracy Swartz from the Chicago Tribune.


Fascinating on like 18 different levels

That impolite, arrogant woman is back, and this time, there’s DNA evidence. As Annie Linskey of the Boston Globe reports, Elizabeth Warren has released DNA evidence that provides “strong evidence’’ she had a Native American in her family tree dating back 6 to 10 generations (20,000+ shares). Cameron Joseph says he “Was wondering why she hadn't done this earlier,” but Nick Fountain thinks it “Seems like a weird precedent.” Jamil Smith tweets, “I applaud @SenWarren’s transparency, but DNA tests for Native ancestry are unreliable. This won’t deter Trump’s racist barbs. And this still doesn’t fully explain why, as she claims, family nostalgia pushed her to identify in workplaces as Native American.” Adds Jason Ukman, “The subject of complicated science and DNA testing enters mainstream political discussion. What could go wrong?” Either way, “To me, this is the most remarkable story of the day (at least so far.). Fascinating on like 18 different levels,” tweets John Berman.

You might remember that Trump offered $1 million to the charity of Warren’s choice if her DNA test showed Native American ancestry. The charity that’s now waiting on a check is the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center. Tweets Warren, “NIWRC is a nonprofit working to protect Native women from violence. More than half of all Native women have experienced sexual violence, and the majority of violent crimes against Native Americans are perpetrated by non-Natives.”

It’s almost 2020, Elizabeth Warren edition

So, she’s running? Matt Viser of The Washington Post reports that Elizabeth Warren is building an expansive Democratic campaign effort ahead of a likely 2020 bid. He tweets, “Elizabeth Warren has quietly built a shadow war room designed to elect Democrats across the country in the midterm elections, further positioning herself for an all-but-certain 2020 presidential bid. My peek from inside the network she's building.” Or as Terri Rupar tweets, “It's almost 2020, Elizabeth Warren edition.” If you’re wondering, “What is Elizabeth Warren doing? ⁦@mviser⁩ tells you in granular detail in this terrific story,” tweets Josh Dawsey. Adds Conor Sen, “This article is partially about Warren but also what it looks like if a party lets its prospective presidential candidates function as mini-DNC’s.”

Speaking of Native American ancestry

The next question, as Jacob Soll sees it, is, “Will Trump come up with a racist nickname for McCarthy?” You see, it turns out, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s family benefited from U.S. program for minorities based on disputed ancestry (13,000+ shares). That comes from the investigative work of Paul Pringle and Adam Elmahrek of the Los Angeles Times. As the paper tweets, “His birth certificate says he's white, and the tribe he claims to belong to is not federally recognized. But a company owned by Kevin McCarthy's brother-in-law obtained millions in no-bid federal contracts because of his claimed Native American identity.” Uh, “Whoopsie?” tweets Ann Brenoff.

He really can’t stop himself

Lesley Stahl of CBS News interviewed Donald Trump on 60 Minutes last night, and you can read the full transcript of that interview with the President on Christine Blasey Ford, Vladimir Putin, more. Rebecca Leber’s take: “Trump's unhinged comments to @60Minutes on climate change shows he's learned nothing except that he's been briefed to stress the economics over the science denial... except he really can't stop himself.”  Philip Bump notes that “Part of what keeps Trump from getting away with reiterating untrue claims is an informed, skeptical interlocuter who is in the room with him and can interject with reality.” Adds Nicholas Kristof, “.@LesleyRStahl did an excellent job in her Trump interview, and I recommend reading the transcript.” Judd Legum agrees: “Lesley Stahl’s interview with Trump is a tour de force. Sensing it wasn’t going well, Trump resorted to this: ‘Lesley, it's okay. In the meantime, I'm president--and you're not.’”

Meanwhile, Matt Wilstein links to “Not the MOST embarrassing part of Trump’s #60Minutes interview but pretty embarrassing.” Maxwell Tani and Tracy Connor of The Daily Beast noticed that Trump has a ‘tacky’ fantasy painting hanging in the White House of himself with GOP presidents. They found out that Rep. Darrell Issa gave the painting to Trump, who called artist Andy Thomas to say he really liked how he looked. As Mara Gay says, “Money can’t buy taste. Proof.” And like all of us, John Murphy is “*speechless*”

Today in ethics-shmethics

Amy B Wang of The Washington Post has a new story from the Georgia voter registration front, where Sen. David Perdue snatched a student’s phone after being asked about the voter registration scandal (53,000+ shares). Or as Arthur Goldstein puts it, “Today in ethics-shmethics, GOP Senator steals a student's phone rather than answer question about why he supports a candidate who enables voter suppression.” “Good lord this is amazing and hilarious. Feral senator snatched students phone. Rants. Realizes it’s probably illegal and runs away,” tweets Josh Marshall.

So the real question is, how did we get here? The answer, in a word: Newt. In a new profile for The Atlantic, McKay Coppins explains How Newt Gingrich Destroyed American Politics, tweeting, “He turned politics into a vicious blood sport, broke Congress, and paved the way for Trump's rise. Now, Newt Gingrich is reveling in his achievements. My profile in the November issue of The Atlantic.”

The rise of a Saudi dictator

For the latest in the Jamal Khashoggi disappearance, Kareem Fahim, John Wagner and Souad Mekhennet of The Washington Post are reporting, Trump sending Pompeo ‘immediately’ to meet Saudi king over missing journalist. At BloombergJavier Blas reports that Saudi Arabia Breaks 45-Year Taboo With Veiled Oil Weapon Threat, but Kevin Crowley notes, “Saudi Arabia could be signing #oil's death warrant if it explicitly uses reserves as a political weapon -- look what happened last time: ‘Oil consumption is lower today than in 1974 in Germany, Japan, France, Italy and the United Kingdom.’”

Aaron Miller links to a “Terrific piece @PhilipRucker @CarolLeonnig @Agearan on MBS and  Kushner. The most successful Saudi foreign policy initiative bar none is the bamboozling of the Trump Administration.” That’s Two princes: Kushner now faces a reckoning for Trump’s bet on the Saudi heir, by Philip Rucker, Carol Leonnig and Anne Gearan of The Washington Post. Marcy Wheeler says, “This is well-handled. I'd love to see more fact checks in line in stories.”

And watch out, because “NYT Mediator comes out of the shop to ride again,” Jim Rutenberg announces, linking to his first New York Times Mediator column in almost a year, Reality Breaks Up a (Saudi) Prince Charming’s Media Narrative. In it, “@jimrutenberg calls out media orgs who have propagated MBS aka ‘Mister Bone Saw’ including American Media Inc (AMI) following the disturbing disappearance of Saudi journo Jamal Khashoggi,” tweets Lachlan Cartwright. Adds Alex Burns, “This is a gut punch of a @jimrutenberg column about American media’s enthusiastic complicity in the rise of a Saudi dictator.”

Getting worse

“This too is on the list of crimes committed by #Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman,” tweets Mona Eltahawy, who links to the reporting by Hannah Summers at The Guardian, Yemen on brink of ‘world's worst famine in 100 years’ if war continues. “Yemen is on the brink of the worst famine in a century because of the Western-backed Saudi war waged against the country. Do not look away. The British Government shares responsibility for this atrocity. Every kid that starves to death is on them,” tweets Owen Jones.

Meanwhile, “Tonight, about one out of every 10 students in New York City will sleep in a homeless shelter or in the homes of relatives,” reports Eliza Shapiro, whose new piece for The New York Times finds, Homeless in New York Public Schools at a Record High: 114,659 Students. For perspective, that’s more than the entire population of Albany, NY. Tweets Shapiro, “Something every New Yorker should know: there are 114,659 homeless students in our city. NY’s biggest homeless student crisis on record is getting worse.”

Doing something about it

A new section, Future Perfect, launches at Vox today, with an introduction by lead writer Dylan Matthews, Global poverty, climate change: Future Perfect explores effective ways to fix the world’s biggest problems. Laura McGann explains: “It's hard not to be seduced by the incremental Washington drama, even though we know only a fraction of it matters. @dylanmatt and @elbertventura are doing something about it. They're leading Future Perfect, a home for stories on changing the world.” Greg Sargent offers “Big props to @dylanmatt and @voxdotcom for rolling out something this ambitious.” Abraham Riesman adds, “This is the best idea I’ve seen in journalism since the launch of ProPublica; bravo @dylanmatt @ezraklein@voxdotcom.”

The Sand Palace stands alone

“The story of how the Sand Palace of Mexico Beach made it through Hurricane Michael while most of its neighbors collapsed is one about building in Florida, and how construction regulations failed to imagine the Category 4 monster’s catastrophic destruction.” Patricia Mazzei links to her piece in The New York Times, Among the Ruins of Mexico Beach Stands One House, Built ‘For the Big One.’  Tweets Lee Gardner, “This is pretty fascinating, and connects to something that I've been thinking a lot about lately: how we have to start rethinking/remaking our built environment to withstand even the most optimistic climate-change projections.”

Truly shocking

Rob Evans at The Guardian did some digging and found out that police spies infiltrated UK leftwing groups for decades. Tweets Stephen Paton, “Of the 124 groups identified as having been infiltrated by the police, only 3 of them were right-wing. Take from that what you will.” David Pegg calls it “A remarkable piece of work by my colleague @robevansgdn: mapping the groups known to have been infiltrated by covert police operatives. Left-wing groups and environmentalists high up the list; Nazis and terrorists, not so much.” Adds Peter Walker, “This story is likely to be lost amid Brexit & royal babies, but it is truly shocking, and yet more exceptional work by colleague @robevansgdn.”

Other big stories

It’s official: Sears Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. The Wall Street Journal’s Lillian Rizzo and Suzanne Kapner have the details on “the collapse of a company that dominated American retailing for much of the 20th century.”

As Alix Kendall says, “Let the obsession begin,” because BBC News is reporting, The Duchess of Sussex is pregnant and expecting a baby next spring (191,000+ shares).

On a more downbeat note, and who could have possibly seen this one coming, Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson have split and called off the engagement, according to TMZ.

We’ll just wrap things up here: The Australian Associated Press reports that the US embassy in Australia accidentally sent out a cat photo instead of a meeting invite. And not just any cat photo. A photo of “a tabby cat wearing a blue Cookie Monster outfit and holding a plate of choc-chip biscuits, beneath the title ‘cat pajama-jam.’” The BBC also covered this important story, US embassy in Australia apologises for Cookie Monster cat email, and as Alix Kroeger points out, “Whatever else happens today, at least it will have had this picture in it. And this headline.” Derick Perkins offers, “What a ‘cat’-astrophe. Thank you, thank you. I'll show myself out.” Also, we here at the Muck Rack Daily can relate very much to Shane Savitsky, who tweets, “As someone who hits ‘send’ on a lot of your @axios newsletters, this story is both hilarious and my greatest possible fear.” On the other hand, Stephen Carroll tweets, “*signs up for US embassy mailing list*” so...maybe not so “cat”-aclysmic after all? (We have another one that involves “cat”-alyst, but we’ll go ahead and show ourselves out now, too.)


Question of the Day

Yesterday we asked: What is notable about Charlie, the dog featured in the instant classic “A Star Is Born,” besides the very clear fact that he might be the most adorable dog...ever?

Answer: Charlie the dog is actually Charlie Cooper, Bradley Cooper’s own dog!

Congrats to…Dan Rosenbaum, first to tweet the correct answer. Honorable mention shout-out to Lizzy Shaw, who also pointed out that the dog is named after Cooper’s father.

Your question of the day for today is…What actor provided the opening voice-over narration for “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (the 1974 version)?

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

Career Updates

New roles for Zavis, Hempel, Lee

Alexandra Zavis has been hired as Reuters’ new Africa bureau chief, where she’ll be leading an African news-gathering team that has been expanding in the last 18 months. She was most recently a reporter for the Los Angeles Times and before that, worked for the Associated Press. She began her career at a South African newspaper in 1994.

Jessi Hempel is moving from WIRED to LinkedIn, where she’ll be a senior editor at large. Before joining WIRED in 2014, she worked for BusinessWeek, Fortune and Conde Nast’s Backchannel.

And former New York Daily News managing editor Kristen Lee is joining Cheddar to serve as its managing editor. Before the Daily News, she spent three years at the Associated Press as a business and finance reporter.

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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