My sofa has more moral backbone than this

Muck Rack Daily

My sofa has more moral backbone than this
October 18th, 2018 View in browser
Muck Rack Daily

Getting your brand in the headlines of a major publication is every PR pro’s dream. Discover what it takes during the Pitching to Editors Webinar on Nov. 1. You’ll hear from experts at Muck Rack (including CEO Greg Galant), USA Today, and more. Register now and use this link to get the special Muck Rack discount.

The rise of the modern media landscape has brought about a new target for many public relations professionals: the influencer. Over on the Muck Rack Blog today, Muck Rack’s Marketing Director Mike Schneider provides insight about how to use influencers in your PR strategy, starting with an understanding of the difference between a journalist and an influencer.


His prescient final column

First up today, read the final column Jamal Khashoggi filed for The Washington Post before his disappearance, What the Arab world needs most is free expression (89,000+ shares). “This column perfectly captures his commitment and passion for freedom in the Arab world. A freedom he apparently gave his life for,” writes his editor, Karen Attiah. Tweets Jon Williams, “From beyond the grave: #JamalKhashoggi’s prescient final column @washingtonpost: ‘Arab governments have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate’. #PressFreedom #Saudi.” Adds Brian Stelter, “.@JimSciutto & @PoppyHarlowCNN just read Jamal Khashoggi's final column in its entirety on CNN. The more who read or hear it, the better.” As Eli Lopez says, “Jamal Khashoggi’s ideas were simple, yet they clearly generated great fear. This was the last column he filed for us. I would have liked to discuss some edits. But he really said it all, clearly and powerfully. Please read and, above all, share.”

Meanwhile, Kayla Webley Adler says, “I’ve been so impressed with how @KarenAttiah has been handling the disappearance and likely murder of her writer Jamal #Khashoggi, so I called her up talk to about what she’s going through right now. Here’s what she had to say.” Read that interview in Marie Claire for new insights about both Khashoggi and Attiah, Karen Attiah, a Washington Post Editor, on Jamal Khashoggi, the Missing Saudi Journalist and Her Columnist. Webley Adler reveals why, in Attiah, Khashoggi found an editor with compassion for those without a home. As Rachel Epstein tweets, “Goosebumps. Thank you @KarenAttiah for sharing a piece of Jamal's story with @kaylawebley.”

Horrific news dept

Dan Yurman refers to the news that the killers severed Khashoggi’s fingers and beheaded him (127,000+ shares). Carlotta Gall and David D. Kirkpatrick of The New York Times report on the revelations from the leaked audio, about which they write, “The government of Turkey let out these and other leaks about the recordings on Wednesday, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Ankara, in an escalation of pressure on both Saudi Arabia and the United States for answers about Mr. Khashoggi.” Tom Gara notices, “The Erdogan messaging/media management aspect of the Khashoggi story is becoming very explicit. The NYT ends its latest story with basically a full paragraph disclaimer.”

And from Shane Harris at The Washington Post, “New: The White House and the Saudi royal family are searching for an explanation for Khashoggi's death that avoids implicating MBS. That's going to be difficult, as mounting evidence points to the crown prince's connection to Khashoggis' disappearance.” His report finds the crown prince under scrutiny in journalist’s disappearance even as Saudis search for exculpatory explanation. Daniel Drezner suggests an edit: “Seriously, replace ‘mutually agreeable explanation’ with ‘convenient fiction’ in the lead paragraph and the story works just as well.”

For “More indications about why the Saudis saw Khashoggi as a threat,” Sharon LaFraniere links to the piece by Loveday Morris and Zakaria Zakaria of The Washington Post, Saudis tried to silence associate of Jamal Khashoggi, recordings show.


In their piece for The Washington Post, Robert Costa, Josh Dawsey and Philip Rucker highlight a policy of ‘Wait and see’: Amid global outrage over Khashoggi, Trump tries to protect Saudis. Tweets Costa, “The president keeps reaching for reasons to protect the U.S.-Saudi relationship, taking a soft line even as outrage grows around the world and in Congress.” How outraged is Congress? As Daniel Drezner says, “This paragraph says everything you need to know about Bob Corker’s ability to do anything independent of the Trump administration.” Costa, Dawsey and Rucker write that Corker, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, noted, “the administration had ‘clamped down’ on sharing intelligence about the Khashoggi case. He said an intelligence briefing scheduled for Tuesday was canceled and he was told no additional intelligence would be shared with the Senate for now, a move he called ‘disappointing.’”

Meanwhile, Julian E. Barnes, Matthew Rosenberg and Gardiner Harris of The New York Times write that U.S. Spy Agencies Are Increasingly Convinced of Saudi Prince’s Ties to Journalist’s Disappearance. Their reporting finds Corker “express[ing] frustration that his repeated efforts to obtain an intelligence assessment on the fate of Mr. Khashoggi had been denied by the administration.”

And as for how things went for Pompeo? “I don’t want to talk about any of the facts,” Mr. Pompeo said. “They didn’t want to either.” “Mike Pompeo said Saudi officials ‘promised’ they would ‘get to the bottom of this’ investigation into the disappearance of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi. Saudi officials are the murderers, so kind of unlikely they will get to the bottom of anything,” Eilene Zimmerman points out.

If you’re thinking, surely Pat Robertson will have a level-headed take on this, well, we think you’re going to be disappointed yet again. As Tara Isabella Burton of Vox reports, Pat Robertson, prominent evangelical leader, on the Khashoggi crisis: let’s not risk “$100 billion worth of arms sales” (74,000+ shares). “Very Christian of him,” says Emily Friedlander Peck, and Peter Gleick notes, “My sofa has more moral backbone than this ‘religious’ leader.” But you’re all forgetting this sacred lesson, tweets Lawrence O'Donnell: “Remember when Jesus Christ said forgive the murderer if he buys arms from the arms dealers who contribute to your campaign?”

The investigation is proceeding

Kerry Eleveld links to “Your daily reminder that the Mueller investigation is proceeding and findings await…” In an interview with Sadie Gurman of The Wall Street Journal, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein defends the Mueller probe and calls it ‘appropriate and independent.’ Many are highlighting his comment, “At the end of the day, the public will have confidence that the cases we brought were warranted.”

Meanwhile, Michael Schmidt and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times report that Don McGahn said his final goodbyes at the White House yesterday. In their latest, McGahn, a Soldier for Trump and a Witness Against Him, Departs White House, they write, “Mr. McGahn may have also caused more damage for Mr. Trump than any other White House official in the special counsel investigation.” “Because Donald Trump would be too obvious a choice, I guess,” tweets Marcy Wheeler.

Fantastic and sad

The Washington Post Fact Checker is at it again, and Glenn Kessler is here to tell you, Just about everything you’ve read on the Warren DNA test is wrong. Why should you read this? Well, as Carlos Tejada says, “This is a pretty good story on a pretty dumb topic.” For the record, Kessler gives “Three Pinocchios all around — including to our tweet.” But one thing is certain, notes Michael de la Merced, “Leaving aside the sociopolitical issues of Elizabeth Warren’s DNA announcement, it’s clear that too many reporters (myself included) need to improve our numeracy.”

Anna Palmer says this next one is a “VERY good @elainaplott profile of Heidi Cruz. Looking at the real sacrifices she (and their family) has made to help her husband's political career.” At The Atlantic, Elaina Plott gives us Heidi Cruz on Ted, His Senate Bid, and the 2016 Race. Olga Khazan highlights “One of the many great lines this fab @elainaplott profile of Heidi Cruz: ‘Heidi Cruz looks like her house: expensive, serene, draped in pretty fabrics.’” Sarah Zhang calls it “The Heidi Cruz profile I've always wanted to read, from who else but @elainaplott,” while Scott Bixby says, “This profile of Heidi Cruz by @elainaplott is fantastic and sad.” You’ll have to read it to see why Igor Bobic is advocating, “Caroline Cruz for President.” 

And here we go again. David Morgan of Reuters is reporting, McConnell says Senate Republicans might revisit Obamacare repeal after the midterms if they have the votes.

Meanwhile, ‘I am on the ticket’: Trump seeks to make the election about him, even if some don’t want it to be, write Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey of The Washington Post. Just so we’re clear, “Trump says that a vote for Republicans in the midterms is a vote for him. Trump also says he shouldn't take the blame if Republicans lose the House,” tweets Jacob Pramuk. Got that?

A really lucrative side gig

OK, “This is kind of nuts: Morgan Stanley's top tech banker moonlighted as an Uber driver, potentially helping MS in its bid to be on the IPO.” Chris Whittall links to the story by Maureen Farrell and Liz Hoffman of The Wall Street Journal, Morgan Stanley Banker’s Side Gig Could Help Firm Land Highly Coveted Role on Uber IPO. Ben Walsh calls it an “Inspirational example of the gig economy,” and John Sinclair Foley shares, “My Uber rating is above 4.9. Do I get a job on the IPO too?”

Facebook is always gonna Facebook

So, about all that pivoting to video. Jason Kint says, “wow, this is the smartest, most comprehensive take I've seen on the unsealed lawsuit against Facebook and its impact on media strategy. hat tip, @laurahazardowen cc @dcnorg.” He links to Laura Hazard Owen’s piece for Neiman Lab, which asks, Did Facebook’s faulty data push news publishers to make terrible decisions on video? “One reason I am campaigning for a return to journalistic basics is to overcome the diversion to non-reporting tasks. This certainly helps the case,” says Les Zaitz. It also makes the case for “trusting what you see and know vs. assuming someone bigger than you automatically knows better,” as Kristine Hope Kowalski points out. Mike Isaac reminds us, “Facebook is always gonna Facebook. Mark is willing to change everything much faster than publishers are able to. cf. ‘social reader’ apps circa 2011 takeaway is to always act as if everything about Facebook may shift beneath you in two quarters or less.”

While we’re at it, Twitter, apparently, is always gonna Twitter. Joseph Bernstein of BuzzFeed News reports that Twitter Won't Suspend Louis Farrakhan For Tweet Comparing Jews To Insects. How is that possible? Simple. As Edward-Isaac Dovere explains, “Twitter has proposed new rules including banning people who use ‘dehumanizing’ language ‘comparing groups to animals and viruses.’ But because those rules haven’t taken effect, the company says it’s cool with Farrakhan comparing Jews to termites.”

Essential read

Eddie van der Walt admits, “I rarely read articles start to finish. This Irish woman's changing view of the English had me gripped.” That Irish woman is Megan Nolan, and she shares her thoughts about post-Brexit ignorance in an op-ed for The New York Times, I Didn’t Hate the English — Until Now. Laurence Cawley calls it an “Essential read from @mmegannnolan. I was lucky enough to be taught by one of the greats of Irish (and British) history studies, the late Dr Brendan Bradshaw.”

Not terrible news dept

It’s not all bleak, people. At Vulture, Jackson McHenry gives us a little good news: Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret is going to be adapted by Edge of Seventeen director Kelly Fremon Craig. “Just seeing this book cover whooshed me back into being 13 again; my copy of Are You There God It's Me Margaret looked exactly like this, but more battered. Please let this movie be good,” tweets Moira Macdonald.

You might also want to read about “That time a record company tried to push the Beastie Boys into a rap battle with MC Hammer.” For that, Michael S. Derby refers you to the “Beastie Boys Book” excerpt, posted by VultureThe Making (and Unmaking) of Paul’s Boutique, by Beastie Boys Michael Diamond and Adam Horovitz. Also in that piece, “Mike D describes meeting Guns n' Roses with the only description of Slash you'll ever need,” as Alexander Abnos tweets. Seth Mandel’s request: “Inject this story directly into my veins please.”

And this is a relief: Matt Miller at Esquire wants you to know: The New ‘Halloween’ Movie Is Great. And You Don’t Have To Watch the 10 Other Movies To Enjoy It.


Question of the Day

Yesterday we asked: According to Nominating Committee member Alan Light, who was responsible for getting Devo on the ballot for the 2019 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?

Answer: Devo can thank Dave Grohl.

Congrats to…Dan Rosenbaum, and now we sound like a broken record. Honorable mention goes to the clairvoyant Jude Isabella, who tweeted, “Taking me way too long to find out. So I'll just quote Devo: whip it, whip it good. (And preemptively congratulate @brooklyndan or @craigtimes).” Also, Lorraine Berry, we have no idea who’s responsible for keeping Warren Zevon out, but we’ll keep you posted on that.

Your question of the day for today is…When asked who was the worst guest host on SNL during her tenure, Jane Curtin said, “God, there were so many!” But then she singled out what actor?

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


Featured Journalist: Mary Hui

Today’s featured journalist is Mary Hui, a freelance journalist and writer based in Hong Kong. Mary focuses on a range of urban and socioeconomic issues. She also writes about trail running and co-hosts The Adventure Trail podcast, produced by the South China Morning Post. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, City Lab, Quartz and elsewhere. She tells us that if she’s not out chasing a story or working on her laptop, she’s out trail running in the mountains. Head over to Muck Rack to find out more.

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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