Stay tuned for the kicker

Muck Rack Daily

Stay tuned for the kicker
October 23rd, 2018 View in browser
Muck Rack Daily

Brace yourself for some of the more cringeworthy tweets from journalists about the PR pitches landing in their inboxes lately. You’ll find the best of the worst over on the Muck Rack Blog, where Jessica Lawlor has your roundup of This month in bad PR pitches.


The phase we’re in now

Sarah Mervosh, William K. Rashbaum and Andrew R. Chow of The New York Times are reporting that an explosive device has been found in the mailbox of George Soro’s home in a suburb north of New York City (34,000+ shares). In other words, “They’re openly attacking people in the streets and attempting to murder prominent Jews in case you’re wondering what phase we’re in now,” tweets Matt Bors

Christopher Hooks says, “i keep thinking about how soros must feel on a personal level to have spent his whole life in service of the lessons of the holocaust and to be spending his last years hunted by the cultists of an increasingly unruly transnational far-right.” As The Times reports, Soros, who was born in Hungary, “has given at least $18 billion to his Open Society Foundations to promote democracy and human rights around the world. His activism has made him a villain to conservative groups and the target of anti-Semitic smears.” “I'm sure Donald Trump will be screaming about this act of terrorism,” tweets Dean Baker. We won’t hold our breath.

So how much more insane can this get

Allyn Fisher-Ilan is asking in light of a new Reuters report that reveals how the man behind Khashoggi murder ran the killing via Skype. John McQuaid says, “It's the accumulation of details around the Khashoggi killing – now, murder by Skype – that is so damning.” You may have noticed that there’s no byline on that story. So did David Ljunggren, who tweets, “No byline, dateline or reporting credit on this Reuters exclusive, which is highly unusual. Shows you how sensitive the story is.”

Alex Crawford of Sky News reports that sources have told Sky News Jamal Khashoggi’s body parts have been found and that his face had been “disfigured.”  

Meanwhile, John Hudson tweets, “US spies are increasingly skeptical of the Saudi account and have told Trump the ‘rogue killers’ theory is dubious, a WH official says.” He links to his reporting with Shane Harris and Josh Dawsey for The Washington Post, CIA director Gina Haspel flies to Turkey amid growing controversy over Jamal Khashoggi killing.

Haspel was dispatched hours before Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s speech, which Richard Pérez-Peña of The New York Times reports on this morning. After weeks of carefully orchestrated leaks, Erdogan laid out what he said was a Saudi plot to kill the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Aaron Miller points out, “Erdogan holds back key evidence that might reveal both horror of what Saudis did and who authorized it. What does the Turkish President want? regional influence? Money.” All of the above and more? As CSIS Director Sam Brannen notes, “Trump has nothing on Erdogan’s reality presidency. Erdogan owns the global information cycle and is using it to masterful domestic political gain just as his own economy teeters on the brink.”

Trump’s closing argument: Racial panic

Back in the U.S., fear and lies rule the day. In “issuing a dark and factually baseless warning that ‘unknown Middle Easterners’ were marching toward the American border with Mexico,” Trump and G.O.P. candidates are brandishing race and immigration to sway a close election, write Alexander Burns and Astead Herndon in their front page New York Times story today. As Nicholas Riccardi puts it, “Trump’s closing argument: Racial panic.” Sopan Deb calls the piece “excellent” and urges, “Stay tuned for the kicker.”

In their piece, Trump and Republicans settle on fear - and falsehoods - as a midterm strategy, The Washington Post’s Ashley Parker, Philip Rucker and Josh Dawsey also write about the racial panic argument, with Parker highlighting on Twitter, “One Trump ally tells us that the migrant caravan is a ‘political gift’ and ideal midterm wedge issue for Trump. ‘I wish they were carrying heroin,’ the former Trump campaign adviser said. ‘I wish we had thought of it.’”

And here’s how Daniel Dale of the Toronto Star puts it: “All lies, all the time. My story on Trump's midterms strategy of making things up to scare people, especially about Democrats and dark-skinned foreigners.” His story, Donald Trump’s strategy as midterms approach: lies and fear-mongering, proves that “It is possible to cover Trump rallies with an accurate headline,” says Matthew Yglesias.

About that “migrant caravan,” in her new column for The Washington Post, Margaret Sullivan writes, The caravan is coming! And it’s high time to calm the rising media frenzy. She tweets, “By picking up the language of ‘caravan crisis’ and ‘onslaught’ -- and by allowing themselves to be manipulated -- the media does Trump's bidding. Again.”

The so-called “blue wave”

Meanwhile, “There may be a ‘blue wave’ coming but it’s going to be very close, new ⁦@washingtonpost⁩ poll indicates.” Paul Farhi links to the details on a new Washington Post-Schar School poll of the most-contested districts in the country, with analysis by Dan Balz and Scott Clement, Battleground House districts remain close in new poll.

And, according to data provided by TargetSmart and independently analyzed by the NBC News Data Analytics Lab, Republicans are outpacing Democrats in early voting in key states (169,000+ shares), Adam Edelman reports. Tweets Michael Del Moro, “Latest data suggests robust enthusiasm among early Republican voters that could put a dent in Democratic hopes for a so-called ‘blue wave.’”

Jamil Smith points out, “The playbook for suppressing nonwhite votes hasn’t changed much. This includes moving polling sites. I do wonder how much the damage will be blunted by tech, and by new industries that recognize that standing on the correct side of history is profitable.” He links to the story by Natasha Bach at Fortune, Lyft Partners With Voto Latino to Help Get Dodge City Voters to the Polls.

As for maintaining the integrity of the elections? Well, there has been some activity in that arena. Julian Barnes of The New York Times reports that the United States Cyber Command is targeting individual Russian operatives to try to deter them from spreading disinformation to interfere in elections, telling them that American operatives have identified them and are tracking their work. Tweets Eric Geller, “Why so tame? Fear of Russian power grid attack or other destructive retaliation, NYT says. (IOW, we're deterred.)”

There’s no fighting in the war room

So, a change of pace. Let’s talk about The Day John Kelly and Corey Lewandowski Squared Off Outside the Oval Office. Maggie Haberman and Katie Rogers write about that in their new piece for The New York Times, with Haberman tweeting, “NEW w @katierogers, Kelly grabbed Lewandowski by the collar outside the Oval Office during a Feb fight, requiring Secret Service intervention. Word of it came after reports about the Bolton-Kelly spat last week.” Yes, “Fisticuffs outside the Oval!” as Sheryl Gay Stolberg tweets. Well, that seems inappropriate. As everyone knows, and as a number of movie aficionados pointed out on Twitter, “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here. This is the war room.”

Pentagon Papers vibes

Craig Whitlock links to “Another classic example of @USArmy being more concerned with protecting generals and their reputations than disclosing the truth to the public.” That’s Michael Gordon’s new piece in The Wall Street Journal, The Army Ordered an Unvarnished History of the Iraq War-Then Let It Languish. Gabriel Dunatov is picking up some “Pentagon Papers vibes, with important caveats, of course.” Tim Hanrahan notes, “The study’s very existence is little known outside the Army. The Wall Street Journal pieced together its history through dozens of interviews with former and current officials familiar with the effort, and from reviews of internal memorandums and emails.”

The Groper in Chief says it’s ok

Ugh. Allyson Chiu of The Washington Post files this story: ‘The President ... says it’s ok to grab women by their private parts’: Man accused of groping woman on flight invokes Trump. Karrie Jacobs points out the obvious: “I'm sure this is not the first time that a predatory creep invoked Trump.” And in case you’re having trouble keeping track, Jeff Yang has a helpful list for you: “The Groper in Chief also says it’s ok to: —Murder critics —Attack journalists —Interfere with our elections —Separate children from families —Install unqualified offspring into government —Be racist —Lie & steal (if you’re rich enough to get away with it).”

As for the other gropers, Audrey Carlsen, Maya Salam, Claire Cain Miller, Denise Lu, Ash Ngu, Jugal K. Patel and Zach Wichter have put together a new interactive piece for The New York Times that shows how #MeToo Brought Down 201 Powerful Men. Women Are Nearly Half of Their Replacements. “Actually better than I thought!” tweets Lauren Silva Laughlin

Rediscovering the classics

Helen Sullivan announces, “allow me to be the first to say: oh no, they have finally found me.” So this is pretty incredible. Kevin Rawlinson of The Guardian reports that the world's oldest intact shipwreck has been discovered in the Black Sea, “where it appears to have lain undisturbed for more than 2,400 years. The 23-metre (75ft) vessel, thought to be ancient Greek, was discovered with its mast, rudders and rowing benches all present and correct just over a mile below the surface.” Robert Cyran predicts it’s the first of many, tweeting, “Advances in autonomous submersibles probably starting a golden age of underwater archaeology.”

Tuesday round-up:


Question of the Day

Yesterday we asked: China has announced plans to replace Chengdu’s streetlights with what?  

Answer: A fake moon blasted into space (technically an illumination satellite)

Congrats to…Thomas Feyer, first to tweet the correct answer.

Your question of the day for today is…Sandra Bullock told Harry Connick Jr. that he’d been cast in “Hope Floats” by showing him the message, “You got the part,” which was written where?

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


Featured Journalist: J. Frank Sigerson

Today’s featured journalist is J. Frank Sigerson, a business and financial journalist as well as a culture writer focused on covering the crypto, crowdfunding, technology and marketing sectors. He describes himself as a bowtie collector, whiskey enthusiast and podcast addict and says he’s interested in financial stocks, mostly in biotechnology, healthcare, mining and blockchain. You might have seen some of Frank’s work in outlets like, Mogul, Small Cap Network, CNN,, Thrive Global and Thought Catalog. Head over to his Muck Rack profile 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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