This thing went places we never could’ve expected

Muck Rack Daily

This thing went places we never could’ve expected
November 5th, 2018 View in browser
Muck Rack Daily

Watch your language! Over on the Muck Rack Blog today, PR pro Tim O’Brien of O’Brien Communications explains why solo PR pros hate the “F” Word (Freelancer, that is).


Incessant dishonesty

The final mad dash to election day 2018 is underway, and Daniel Dale links to the “Excellent @PhilipRucker story on how much total nonsense Trump is talking right now. It’s awesome when his incessant dishonesty is treated as a story in itself rather than some sidebar to the real news.” That’s Philip Rucker’s Washington Post piece, ‘Full Trumpism’: The president’s apocalyptic attacks reach a new level of falsity (15,000+ shares), and, as Jay Rosen says, “You will not regret reading the first three paragraphs of this story.”

In fact, ‘Trump has hijacked the election’: House Republicans are in panic mode, according to new reporting by POLITICO’s Rachael Bade, Carla Marinucci and Elana Schor. As Carrie Budoff Brown tweets, “Ryan pleaded with Trump Sunday to talk up the booming economy in the final hours before Election Day. But Trump, unsurprisingly, had another issue on his mind.” But Tommy Vietor points out, “If @PRyan and GOP leaders wanted to run on the tax cut then they'd do so. Instead, Ryan's Super PAC is running racist ads about nonsense while Kevin McCarthy tweets about Soros. This spin is laughable.”

Blatant racism

Matt Viser of The Washington Post writes that the midterms will test whether Republicans not named Trump can win by stoking racial animosity. He tweets, “The fierce battle for control of Congress and the nation’s governorships has turned toward blatant and overtly racial attacks rarely seen since the civil rights era of the 1960s.” Among other examples, his piece highlights the fact that “A new robo-call going out to voters in Georgia features a voice impersonating Oprah Winfrey and calling Stacey Abrams, who is running to become the nation’s first black woman elected governor, ‘a poor man’s Aunt Jemima.’”

Daniel Victor of The New York Times notes that in the middle of “Sunday Night Football,” NBC Airs Immigration Trump Ad Deemed Too Racist by CNN. Joe Sudbay points out, “Three years ago almost to the day (11/7/15) NBC let Trump host SNL despite his blatant racism.” On Twitter, CNN’s PR team posted, “CNN has made it abundantly clear in its editorial coverage that this ad is racist. When presented with an opportunity to be paid to take a version of this ad, we declined.”

What’s fueling these immigration attitudes? Maggie Haberman of The New York Times explains that A Familiar Force Nurtures Trump’s Instincts on Immigration: Stephen Miller. Andrew Restuccia offers an “Ouch” to this passage: “Mr. Miller, who now lives in a sleek condominium building sheathed in glass in a trendy area of Washington, said people had no idea how corrupt the system was. They ‘look down from their glass-windowed condominiums at all of you,’ he said. ‘As bad as you think it is, it is so much worse.’” (For the record, Stephen Miller’s Uncle is Still Not Here for His Nephew’s Nationalist Policies, writes Gabrielle Bruney of Esquire.)

Pulling out all the stops

There’s yet more controversy in the Georgia governor’s race. Mark Niesse of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, Without disclosing evidence, Georgia Governor Candidate Brian Kemp accuses Georgia Democrats of hacking. Tweets Joe Brancatelli, “I mean, the GOP really is pulling out all the stops now. No more dog whistles, no more whispering. They are just flat-out saying they refuse to allow people to vote if those people might vote against them.” And in case it wasn’t obvious, David Frum reminds us, “In most democracies, what Brian Kemp is doing in Georgia would simply be impossible: nobody else - not the Brits, not the German, nobody - would entrust the enforcement of election laws to one of the very people competing in that election.”

Richard Hasen of Slate puts it this way: Brian Kemp Just Engaged in a Last-Minute Act of Banana-Republic Level Voter Manipulation in Georgia. “Anybody who thinks it is outlandish to fear that there might not be free and fair elections in 2020 if Democrats fail to check Republicans' unified control of government needs to read about the unspeakable things going on in Georgia,” says Yascha Mounk.

In terms of how difficult the process of actually getting to vote can be — well, apparently, that’s a feature not a bug. Also at Slate, Jamelle Bouie writes that young people don’t vote because the system doesn’t want them to. He tweets, “if you want to know why youth turnout is typically so low, look to a system that literally does everything it can to make it hard for young people to vote.” “@jbouie absolutely nails it here,” says Vann R. Newkirk II.

Newkirk also links to another piece on the topic, “To wit, here’s @AdamSerwer on his ordeal trying to register and vote in Texas, and how small difficulties can mount up if applied to people with fewer resources at multiple points in the system.” That’s Adam Serwer’s story for The Atlantic, I Registered to Vote in Texas. It Was Complicated.

More election-related stories

Glenn Thrush thinks, “The most interesting story you'll read today is about soybeans (Actually it's about geopolitics, China, American decline, technology and the balled-fist futility of tariff populism).” In Their Soybeans Piling Up, Farmers Hope Trade War Ends Before Beans Rot, Binyamin Appelbaum of The New York Times writes that the Chinese have all but stopped buying US soybeans. Isaac Stone Fish calls it “The Trade War meets the midterms in North Dakota.”

Where do the polls stand a little more than 24 hours out? Jennifer Agiesta reports on the latest CNN poll, which finds, In final days, Democrats maintain advantage. CNN’s poll is showing a wider lead for the Democrats than the Washington Post and ABC News polls. Either way, there’s plenty of angst.

At least there’s this “Good news: ‘Fresh uncertainty and churn’ is about to replace the current uncertainty and churn at the White House,” tweets Natalie Jennings, who links to the latest from Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey and Philip Rucker of The Washington Post, Trump administration prepares for massive shake-up after midterms. They report that Sessions and Rosenstein appear to be most vulnerable.

Covering the coverage

How does the coverage stack up? Margaret Sullivan weighs in with her latest Washington Post column, “In which I give the media a grade for its pre-midterms coverage -- and it’s not an A,” she hints on Twitter. She writes, Defensive, caravan-fixated and Trump-obsessed, the media blow it again. Just not as badly.

Meanwhile, Michael M. Grynbaum of The New York Times profiles Axios’s Jonathan Swan in a piece headlined, Another Trump Scoop, a Giddy Reaction and a Reporter Under Fire. Dylan Byers thinks, “The handwringing over @jonathanvswan is crazy. There are so few great journalists w instinct & work ethic to break news at the pace he does. Journalism suffers from an abundance of harmless reporters. Every editor should be looking for the next Swan.”

Others see it from a slightly different angle. Aleksander Chan tweets, “we love it!” highlighting, “Three current and former Trump White House officials praised Mr. Swan’s fairness.” Adds Matt Pearce, “A couple weeks ago Jim Vandehei was scolding journalists for showing their opinions on social media. I don't see how that's any more compromising than selling my services to Goldman Sachs for $20,000.” In the piece, Grynbaum notes that Swan was paid roughly $20,000 to speak at a Goldman Sachs event “that other news organizations would prohibit for their reporters.” “There Be Ideology Here,” says Pearce.


Malcolm Beith calls this one a “Very good, depressing piece on right-wingerism.” In a New York Times Magazine cover story, Janet Reitman writes, U.S. Law Enforcement Failed to See the Threat of White Nationalism. Now They Don’t Know How to Stop It. Jake Silverstein notes that this is actually next weekend’s cover, but “We’re publishing it early because it’s so important.”

Kevin Roose and Ali Winston of The New York Times report that Far-Right Internet Groups Listen for Trump’s Approval, and Often Hear It, leaving John Colapinto to wonder, “If there is even the remotest chance that the synagogue shooter was inspired by Trump’s rhetoric, how does anyone in his admin (save Stephen Miller) sleep at night?” Clifford Levy calls it a “Chilling look at the spread of fringe views from forums like 4chan to prominent Republicans to Trump himself.”

About that remotest chance, ‘No Blame’? ABC News finds 17 cases invoking ‘Trump’ in connection with violence, threats or alleged assaults (30,000+ shares), reports Mike Levine of ABC News, who says, “It took some time to gather all the documents and evidence here.” Susan Kraemer sums it up: “These criminal indictments were cases of radicalized terrorist killings committed by white nationalists (Nazis, basically) who attributed their behavior to Trump.”

Meanwhile, here’s a “Great story by ⁦@Gabriel_Pogrund⁩ about Pittsburgh’s mayor, including news about Trump calling Peduto after the shooting to lecture him about the death penalty. ‘I’m literally standing two blocks from 11 bodies right now. Really?’ Peduto said.” Tim Craig links to Gabriel Pogrund’s profile of Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto in The Washington Post.

The return of Trump-Russia

We haven’t heard a lot from the Trump-Russia beat lately, but expect it to come roaring back into your feeds again soon. As Matt Purdy says, “The Trump-Russia story is on a midterm hiatus, but will return. Here’s a new chapter: Infamous, well-connected oligarch wages high-stakes effort to get a reprieve from sanctions from Trump.” Read the latest from Andrew Higgins and Kenneth Vogel of The New York Times, Two Capitals, One Russian Oligarch: How Oleg Deripaska Is Trying to Escape U.S. Sanctions. Tweets Vogel, “SCOOP: Representatives of PUTIN ally OLEG DERIPASKA expect that sanctions against his companies will be lifted by the TRUMP administration after the midterms. Then they plan to launch an effort to get personal sanctions against Deripaska lifted as well.” As The Times tweets, “Our investigation offers a detailed look at how the world’s wealthiest people work with insiders to protect their interests at the highest levels.”

A few more

Nic Robertson of CNN brings us a heartbreaking interview with Jamal Khashoggi’s sons, who issue an emotional appeal for the return of their father's body. Suzan Fraser of AP News reports that Turkish officials are saying Saudi investigators worked to remove evidence of Khashoggi’s murder.

Emily Nussbaum links to “Another great @david_marchese interview, in which Driver is helplessly intense about not being intense.” That’s David Marchese’s profile of Adam Driver for VultureAdam Driver on His Most Important Work and Why He’s Not Actually “Intense.” Tom Bevan, for one, says, “There are a lot of things in this interview that make me like Adam Driver even more.”

At GQ, Rosecrans Baldwin takes us along for My Life Cleanse: One Month Inside L.A.’s Cult of Betterness. Tweets Daniel Riley, “Oh man, please read this piece by @rosecrans when you get a chance. 30 days immersed in L.A.'s cult of self-improvement. This thing went places we never could've expected.” Also, “Banger lede on this," tweets Katy Kelleher.

And in case you missed it, “Oh. My. G-d. This article is utterly gut-wrenching. If you read one thing this weekend read this,” says Karen Yossman. She links to Becoming Anne Frank, by Dara Horn for Smithsonian Magazine. Adds Brian Wolly, “A must-read today: @DaraHorn's sensational essay on Anne Frank. It stopped me cold multiple times. Come for the lede, stay for incisive commentary on what Frank means today.”


Question of the Day

Yesterday, we asked: Who coined the term thagomizer to refer to the distinctive arrangement of four to ten spikes on the tails of stegosaurid dinosaurs?

Answer: Weirdly, that was cartoonist Gary Larson, who coined the term in 1982 in his The Far Side comic.

Congrats to…Mary Tyler March, first to tweet the correct answer.

Your question of the day for today is…The 4th Earl of Sandwich is credited with inventing the sandwich. (Maybe you celebrated his birthday over the weekend on National Sandwich Day.) That was his title, but what was his name?

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

Career Updates

New roles for Douglas, Sinovic, Morris, LaRoe

Erin Douglas is joining the Houston Chronicle as a reporter on its business news desk. She is currently working on ProPublica’s Electionland reporting project, and she recently completed an internship with Bloomberg, where she covered energy. While in college, Erin interned at the Denver Post.

Steve Sinovic, who joined the Idaho Business Review as special sections editor earlier this month, is becoming its commercial real estate reporter. He previously worked at the Albuquerque Journal, and before that, he was managing editor of the Northern Nevada Business Weekly.

J.D Morris, part of the Pulitzer-winning team that won recognition for the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat’s coverage of the wine country fires, is joining the San Francisco Chronicle to cover energy and transportation. Also joining the Chronicle, at least temporarily, is Ginny LaRoe, who will assume a four-month stint as deputy business editor while Kate Galbraith is out. LaRoe was managing editor of The Recorder and criminal justice editor of

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!

This email was sent to
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Muck Rack · 588 Broadway · Suite 503 · New York, New York 10012 · USA