This is all going peachy

Muck Rack Daily

This is all going peachy
November 2nd, 2018 View in browser
Muck Rack Daily

The most plausible hypothesis

Michael Balter articulates the burning questions on all our minds: “Was Roger Stone full of shit when he told #Bannon he knew about the #Wikileaks email drops, or is he full of shit now when he denies he did? I'm going with the most plausible hypothesis, and I'm sure #Mueller will have the evidence to back it up.” He links to the new story by Sharon LaFraniere, Michael Schmidt, Maggie Haberman and Danny Hakim of The New York Times, Roger Stone Sold Himself as a WikiLeaks Pipeline to Trump’s Campaign. Was He?

On Twitter, Rosalind Helderman of The Washington Post reveals, “On Tuesday, Roger Stone told us there were ‘no’ communications between him and Trump campaign officials about Wikileaks. ‘And if Bannon says there are he would be dissembling,’ he added. Now NYT publishes exchange between Bannon and Stone about Wikileaks.”

Adam Goldman highlights: “Unable to reach Mr. Bannon, Mr. Stone communicated with Matthew Boyle, the Washington political editor of the far-right Breitbart News. ‘Assange — what’s he got?’ Mr. Boyle asked Mr. Stone on Oct. 3. ‘Hope it’s good.’” “So a Breitbart reporter took it upon himself to make sure that Steve Bannon got in touch with Roger Stone?” asks Daniel Drezner. Either way, says Bradley P. Moss, “What I love is how Stone’s defense is that he can’t actually have committed a crime because he’s apparently a con artist who misled everyone about how much he actually knew.”

As for the receipts, Schmidt tweets, “NEW: Emails we’ve obtained show how Bannon considered Stone a conduit to Wikileaks .. how closely Breitbart was tied to the campaign .. and how Stone asked Bannon to have Rebecca Mercer send money for his efforts to undermine Clinton.” From Schmidt, Mark Mazzetti, Haberman and LaFraniere of The New York Times, Read the Emails: The Trump Campaign and Roger Stone.


Turns out, Trump’s Surprise Border Mission is a Politically Motivated Waste Of Money. At least, that’s what Pentagon sources are telling Newsweek’s James LaPorta and Nicole Goodkind. LaPorta tweets, “#BREAKING new this morning at @Newsweek - The deployment of U.S. troops to the southern border took the #Pentagon by surprise leaving senior officers believing the directive was a politically motivated waste of money.” How obvious is the stunt? As one source told them, “If Ray Charles was deaf he could still tell you that this is just an election stunt.”

Not only racist, but a lie

So, about that new campaign video featuring Luis Bracamontes. Nicholas Riccardi links to some “Important context on Trump’s inflammatory Twitter ad: The convicted killer he mentions was released early by Joe Arpaio’s office and illegally returned to the US during George W Bush’s administration. Democrats had nothing to do with it.” Those inconvenient details are courtesy of the fact check by Sam Stanton of the Sacramento Bee, Trump’s claim that Democrats let cop killer stay in U.S. is false. As Karen Tumulty‏ says, “Trump’s new video is not only racist, but a lie. Take it from the @sacbee_news, for which this was a local story.”

Michael Daly of The Daily Beast also reports that Luis Bracamontes, Cop-Killer in Trump’s Twitter Video, Actually Came Back to U.S. Under Bush. And, he points out, Trump failed to mention that Bracamontes used an AR-15, a weapon that Republicans, including the president, don’t want to outlaw.

While we’re at it, the latest numbers are in from the fact-checking team of Glenn Kessler, Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly at The Washington Post: President Trump has made 6,420 false or misleading claims over 649 days.

Sounds familiar

According to a new report by Juliet Eilperin, Josh Dawsey and Lisa Rein of The Washington Post, the White House is concerned Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke violated federal rules. Although…“They've never been concerned before, why now?” wonders Michelangelo Signorile. As a reminder, this is “The fourth Trump cabinet official this type of headline applies to,” Robbie Gramer points out. 

This probably isn’t important

Peter Schorsch is referring to the big story this morning by Zach Dorfman and Jenna McLaughlin of Yahoo News, which reveals that The CIA’s communications suffered a catastrophic compromise. It started in Iran. “Holy crap. The Iranians compromised a highly sensitive CIA covert communications system by basically *Googling* it — and could see who was visiting it and from where — compromising CIA assets. A major scoop by @JennaMC_Laugh and @zachsdorfman,” tweets Zack Whittaker. McLaughlin notes, “Technology is hard. Bureaucracy is slow. Spying in places where we don't have diplomats is often next to impossible. But sometimes, people die because of it.”

Deal or no deal

Javier Blas calls this one a “MUST READ”: The U.S. has agreed to let eight countries — including Japan, India and South Korea — keep buying Iranian oil after it re-imposes sanctions on the OPEC producer on Nov. 5, according to Bloomberg’s Nick Wadhams. Tweets Gordon Chang. “#Trump administration is considering giving #China a waiver from #IranSanctions. Given Beijing's increasingly dangerous behavior, we should be sanctioning China at every possible opportunity, not looking for ways to relieve pressure.”

Meanwhile, “ALL GREEN in #Asia. If you still don't know why, read this,” advises Fion Li, who links to Trump Said to Ask Cabinet to Draft Possible Trade Deal With Xi, the scoop by Bloomberg’s Jenny Leonard, Saleha Mohsin and Jennifer Jacobs. The key word here is “possible.” Tweets Eamon Javers, “NEW: A senior administration official tells me that the report president Trump is ready to cut a trade deal with China is not true. ‘There is a long way to go’ on negotiations, the official said.” Bloomberg’s Shawn Donnan responds, “Let's be clear. The overnight Bloomberg @business scoop from @jendeben et al is that the president asked cabinet officials to draft outlines of a POSSIBLE deal following Xi call. Also clear any deal faces both internal resistance and long road ahead…”

Jared? He’ll believe anything we tell him

Eric Walz links to the new report by John Hudson, Souad Mekhennet and Carol Leonnig of The Washington Post, Saudi crown prince described slain journalist as a dangerous Islamist in call with White House. Tweets Hudson, “SCOOP: Saudi Crown Prince MBS privately disparaged Khashoggi as a dangerous Islamist in a phone call with Jared Kushner and John Bolton. Big contrast with MBS’s public statements decrying Khashoggi's death. New story by me and @smekhennet and @CarolLeonnig.” Michael Balter wonders, “What intel about #Khashoggi did #Kushner share with the Saudis during his earlier visit with the Crown Prince? Especially about dissidents living in the US?”

Boss, friend and now hero

Karen Attiah says, “This was heartbreaking to read and edit. NPR’s chief business editor speaks out about being raped by M.J. Akbar some 23 years ago in India.” In a new Washington Post op-ed, NPR’s Pallavi Gogoi reveals, I was raped by M.J. Akbar when I was a journalist in India. Here is my story. David Folkenflik calls it “A painful, tough personal #MeToo account from my boss, friend and now hero @pgogoi about a powerful politician in her native India. She edited my #MeToo coverage rigorously and fairly. I never knew any of this.” On Twitter, Gogoi offers “Thanks to the journalists who have spoken out before me. I stand on their shoulders.” Adds Nivedita Bhattacharjee, “good on the Post for running this. Now what, @PMOIndia? #TimesUp.”

Top-shelf politicking

Here’s a crazy story, or as Zach Carter puts it, “Some top-shelf politicking from Democratic Party fundraisers here.” HuffPost’s Paul Blumenthal and Alexander Thorburn-Winsor found out that Someone Paid Thousands Of Foreigners 20 Cents Each To Hide HuffPost’s Negative Coverage Of A Democratic PAC. As a result, HuffPost’s story about End Citizens United dropped to the second page of Google search results from right near the top. Meanwhile, “Every time one of my stories doesn’t do well, I’m going to tell myself this is why,” says Amanda Terkel.

‘Served’ by Gannett

From Ken Doctor at Neiman Lab, your latest Newsonomics: “Digital defeats print” is the headline as Gannett steps away from printed election results — about which, Chris Krewson says, “It's getting harder and harder to imagine what a newspaper printed daily is for if it isn't the results of a local election.” As Jason Dean points out, “There are a lot of people in rural America (and WI) that don't have reliable access to internet, or are older and don't use technology. Many areas ‘served’ by Gannett. They'll need to turn elsewhere for election results.” Angel Rodriguez notes, “When the LA Times pushed deadlines to get in a World Series game that went past 1230am we got so much love from our readers. The decision to not put election results in the paper seems really odd.”

Joshua Benton asks a good question: “This comes at a time when most papers still generate most of their revenue from a loyal but rapidly shrinking print subscriber base. Is giving them a worse product every morning helping drive them to digital...or just pushing more of them to quit reading?”

Don’t miss this line

Benton himself has a new story about digital for Neiman Lab, reporting that The New York Times is on pace to earn more than $600 million in digital this year, halfway to its ambitious goal. Nicholas Riccardi is “Pausing to recall with great anger how digital evangelists told us ‘information wants to be free’ and scolded anyone who wanted to charge for the work of journalists, which turns out to be an excellent way to keep media alive.” But Christine Schmidt also wants to make sure you “Don’t miss this line: ‘Take 98 percent of whatever energy you devote to worrying about the future of the @nytimes and rechannel it into worrying about your local daily, which is very likely approaching existential crisis.’”

What a bunch of asshats

A fight broke out among Maryland football players at practice in the wake of the Durkin drama, and Luke Broadwater of the Baltimore Sun has the details. “Mhm, nothing ‘toxic’ here πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ™„” as Ulysses Munoz tweets. Adds Alan Clemons, “Yeah, this is all going peachy for the Terps. Beating up a guy for talking with investigators? What a bunch of asshats.” The point, says Andrew Das, is that “Maryland football needs a loooooooooong timeout.”

Weekend reads

This weekend, “Read this, and anything else that you can find written by @alexanderchee,” advises Lucy Scholes. The “this” she’s referring to is The First Time I Moved to New York, Alexander Chee’s new Longreads essay. Chee explains, “It took writing this for me to realize how often a shared love for a book was at the center of my friendships. For @Longreads fundraising drive, a look back at my first year in NY.”

Also in Longreads, “this story about the Strand union’s contract fight is a good reminder of the literary world’s ongoing hostility to labor. the last time a book publisher successfully unionized was 2001!” Jess Bergman links to The State of the Bookstore Union, by Rebecca McCarthy, who notes, “I wrote about the Strand’s negotiations and bookstore unions at large. An abbreviated version of this was going to run in the Village Voice before it was shut down, so tyvm to @Longreads for picking it up! Join their membership drive!”

Making the rounds:


Question of the Day

Yesterday, we asked: For some reason, Stephen King wants fiction writers to stop using the phrases, “for a long moment” and “for some reason.” But that’s not his only new writing advice: What word did he recently say is “very tired” and “needs a long vacation”?

Answer: So long, amazing.

Congrats to…Jude Isabella, first to tweet the correct answer.

Your question of the day for today is…Who coined the term thagomizer to refer to the distinctive arrangement of four to ten spikes on the tails of stegosaurid dinosaurs?

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 usΒ (hello [at] muckrack [dot] com) so we can reflect your new title. News job changes only, please! Thanks!

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