This is cool/depressing

Muck Rack Daily

This is cool/depressing
January 23rd, 2019 View in browser
Muck Rack Daily

A glimmer of promise

Sheryl Gay Stolberg of The New York Times reports that the Senate will hold competing votes on Thursday on President Trump’s proposal to spend $5.7 billion on a border wall and on a Democratic bill that would fund the government through Feb. 8 without a wall. But Greg Sargent notices, “The WH deliberately got poison pills inserted in Senate GOP bill reopening govt, NYT confirms. ‘WH officials conceded privately they had tacked on controversial proposals anathema to Dems that would block many migrants from seeking asylum.’”

John Brummett says, “i think what this means is that neither the trump nor house bill can get 60 votes thursday, signaling to everybody that, damnit, let's cut this thing down the middle and move on with our crumbling republic.” Adds Gabriel Snyder, “there isn't much of a ‘path’ to reopening the government here, but it is a glimmer of progress in that McConnell has concluded he can't duck and cover on the shutdown anymore.”

Do not miss

As for McConnell, Charles Homans profiles him in The New York Times Magazine, and as Susan Dominus tweets, “In addition to being an ace editor, @chashomans is one of the most astute and stylish political writers in town. Lucky readers, do not miss his profile of Mitch McConnell.” The piece is titled, Mitch McConnell Got Everything He Wanted. But at What Cost? For a taste of what’s in store, Ann Colwell shares, “This.... is just a helluva description: ‘Like a spy or a pinto bean, McConnell has used this blankness to his advantage, made it a carrier for designs greater than himself.’” And Ali Weinberg says, “Looks like a great story but mostly ๐Ÿ‘ to โฆ@chashomansโฉ for getting ‘gyre’ in the first sentence of something not titled Jabberwocky.” 

The latest in the twisting, turning saga of Trump Tower Moscow

For that, Heidi Blake directs you to Azeen Ghorayshi’s piece for BuzzFeed News, Trump’s Lawyer Said There Were “No Plans” For Trump Tower Moscow. Here They Are. Behold: The Spa by Ivanka. The 250 luxury condos. The 15-story hotel. The Class A offices. A show-stopping $50 million penthouse apartment reserved for a special guest named Vladimir Putin.

Ghorayshi writes that the details come from “hundreds of pages of business documents, emails, text messages, and architectural plans, obtained by BuzzFeed News over a year of reporting.” Amos Zeeberg gives us one more detail that’s not in the BuzzFeed News piece: “Funny thing about Trump Tower Moscow: It was reputedly planned to go in Moscow City, a running joke of an area with embarrassingly high vacancy rates. Sounds like a Trump-style swindle/project.” And one more detail about this piece: Tweets Edmund Lee, “Ah, the link in that first graph.”

Rudy doing what Rudy does

Moving on to other things Trump’s lawyer has said, you may recall that Giuliani told the New Yorker’s Isaac Chotiner that “Even if [Trump] Did Do It, It Wouldn’t Be a Crime” — among other claims, including that Giuliani heard the tapes, but he didn’t, actually, because there are no tapes, but sure, there are tapes, but those are different tapes, and even if his tombstone calls him a liar, at least he’ll be dead. Something along those lines. Anyway, POLITICO’s Eliana Johnson and Darren Samuelsohn report that Trump is exasperated by gaffe-prone Giuliani. In fact, “Rudy Giuliani led to a rare F bomb dropped in Politico,” as Hunter Walker points out. But don’t worry about Rudy. On Twitter, Maggie Haberman tells us, “Trump is definitely frustrated with Giuliani but Giuliani isn’t going anywhere. Overall Trump likes what he does.”

Thinkin’ ’bout Trump-Russia-NRA

On this next one, Joshua Benton says, “I understand the framing but it’s always strange to see these stories that Mueller ‘wants to know about’ something or ‘is interested in’ something. Like he just reads blogs all day and then gets curious a couple months later or something.” And now we’ve got that mental image in our heads as we read that Mueller wants to know about 2016 Trump campaign’s ties to NRA, which is the new scoop from Sara Murray at CNN. Christopher Orr thinks, “Trump - Russia - NRA. That third shoe is going to drop.”


With everything that’s going on, a new CBS News polls finds that Pelosi has the edge over Trump on budget negotiations. Anthony Salvanto, Fred Backus, Jennifer De Pinto and Kabir Khanna of CBS News take a look at those numbers. Seven in 10 Americans don’t think the issue of a border wall is worth a government shutdown, and 66 percent want Trump to agree to a budget without wall funding. Trump’s overall approval rating has dipped three points from November to 36 percent today.

And according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, the shutdown and Russia are driving Trump to an all-time high disapproval, reports POLITICO’s Rebecca Morin. This poll finds that 57 percent of voters believe it’s likely that Russia “has compromising information“ on Trump. Referring to that statistic, Tim Steller says, “I find this particular poll result shocking.”

Meanwhile, Danielle Paquette, Lisa Rein, Jeff Stein and Kimberly Kindy of The Washington Post report that Hundreds of IRS employees are skipping work. That could delay tax refunds. Tweets Mike Madden, “IRS employees are getting hardship waivers from going back in for unpaid work because they can’t afford the gas to commute to their offices, among other reasons.” So if you’re counting on that refund, be prepared to wait. As IRS customer service representative Marissa Scott told The Post, “it’s going to be a disaster all around.”


Of course, surely there are people around to spin all this. But as Jay Rosen says, “Anyone who can read this and still think of him as a media (or marketing) wizard needs their own psychiatrist. He has no clue what he is doing.” He’s referring to Power struggle paralyzes ‘irrelevant’ White House press shop, by Kaitlan Collins and Kevin Liptak of CNN. Chris Megerian highlights, “‘I think Bill Shine is having fun being the President's buddy at work every day.’ And that's from a supposed Bill Shine ally!” Lindsay Beyerstein uses her super sleuthing skills to detect, “When your source is Sarah Sanders.” Be sure to read the whole thing, because, as Nancy Cook tweets (and many are highlighting), “‘Get me Tidley.’ The best part of this story comes at the end.”

This particular bad news cycle

Back to the Covington Catholic controversy, at The Atlantic Adam Serwer writes about Covington Catholic and the Trump-Era Overcorrection. Tweets Jonathan M. Katz, “As always, @AdamSerwer is really good.” Adds Radley Balko, “This by @AdamSerwer is a spot-on review of the two big train wreck media controversies this week.” Julia Reinstein agrees: “This particular news cycle has been so bad and disorienting in a way I couldn’t totally pinpoint. I’d been having trouble synthesizing why the MAGA kids story and the response to the BF News story similarly shook me up, and this @AdamSerwer piece nails it.”

Meanwhile, Ben Kesslen of NBC News spoke with Christian Bales, the gay valedictorian banned from speaking at Covington graduation (103,000+ shares), who told him he was ‘not surprised’ by the D.C. controversy.

And at Esquire, Dave Holmes explains why, like many, I Saw the Smirk With My Eyes, But Felt It in My Gut. Ben Boskovich highlights part of that piece on Twitter, noting, “I pulled out this graf from @DaveHolmes's piece on the human embodiment of menacing privilege, but you should really read the rest of them, too.”

This is horrific

Jodi Kantor says, “If you enjoyed ‘The Usual Suspects,’ ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ or any of the X-Men films, please read this. Not because you did anything wrong. But to ignore these men's stories now? That would be very wrong indeed.” She’s referring to The Atlantic’s Bryan Singer investigation, Bryan Singer’s Accusers Speak Out, by Alex French and Maximillian Potter. Tweets Siddhant Adlakha, “The story Esquire was working on last year, about Bryan Singer, fellow abusers and the people who enabled them, has been published at The Atlantic. Over 50 sources. Keep in mind, the details are disturbing; some of these men were 13 or 14 at the time.” Put simply, “This is horrific,” says Erica Orden. Adds Kevin Fallon, “Let the floodgates finally open.” 


John Schwartz of The New York Times reports that Record Numbers of Americans Say They Care About Global Warming, according to a new Ipsos poll. “Fires in the west, powerful hurricanes, unusual deep freezes in the northeast -- I wonder why,” tweets Patrick LaForge. “The needle? It budged,” says Schwartz, while Max Rosenthal headlines it, “Area Humans Increasingly Aware They Are Screwed.”

Meanwhile, at Bloomberg, Christopher Flavelle writes of Muggy Disney Parks, Downed AT&T Towers: Firms Tally Climate Risk. On Twitter, he points out, “You may not believe in climate change—but your bank does. And your phone provider. And your hardware store. And your credit card company. And they’re all thinking about how to use it to sell you more stuff.” For example, Home Depot says climate change will help sell more air conditioners. So, what have we learned? “The soul crushing depravity of capitalism is only magnified by climate change,” tweets Rose Eveleth

As brilliant as it is disturbing

Gizmodo’s Andrew Couts tweets, “Excited to publish the first in a 6-part series by @kashhill, who is a maniac and spent weeks attempting to completely block the tech giants from her life using a custom-built VPN. First up, Amazon.” For that, read I Tried to Block Amazon From My Life. It Was Impossible, by Kashmir Hill. Tweets Tim Marchman, “If you want to read (and/or watch) something as brilliant as it is disturbing, try @kashhill's experiment in trying to cut Amazon out of her life (part of an ongoing series).” As Silvia Killingsworth says, “this is cool/depressing.”

Fake faces

Add this one to your “#neologismwatch ‘selfie dysmorphia.’” Christopher Mims links to Elle Hunt’s story in The Guardian, Faking it: how selfie dysmorphia is driving people to seek surgery. Commenting on the heavily filtered image one patient showed him, Dr. Wassim Taktouk told Hunt that it was flawless – “without a single marking of a normal human face.” For the record, Jameela Jamil says she has “BEEN ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป SAYING ๐Ÿ‘๐ŸปTHIS ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป SHIT๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป FOR ๐Ÿ‘๐ŸปA๐Ÿ‘๐ŸปYEAR๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป This article is great.”

RIP Russell Baker

Robert McFadden writes the New York Times obituary for Russell Baker, the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author and humorist, who died at 93. Baker’s “Observer” column appeared in The New York Times and hundreds of other newspapers for 36 years. Wendy Benjaminson highlights, “(Journalism) students should be required to stand outside a closed door for six hours. Then the door would open, someone would ... say, ‘No comment.’ ...And the students would be required to write 800 words against a deadline.’ RIP Russell Baker.” Tweets Peter Baker, “The only thing as exquisite as a column by the legendary Russell Baker is an obituary of Russell Baker by the equally legendary Robert McFadden. RIP Russell Baker. No relation but I wish there were.”

For more on Baker, read the obituary by Colin Campbell for the Baltimore Sun, Baltimore-raised Pulitzer Prize winner Russell Baker dies at 93.

Wednesday round-up


Question of the Day

Yesterday we asked: Dan Levy got the idea to have the wealthy Rose family buy the town of Schitt’s Creek as the premise for the TV show “Schitt’s Creek” from reading an article about what famous person who once bought a town? Extra credit if you name the town, too.

Answer: That’s Kim Basinger, who bought (and later sold at a loss) Braselton, GA.

Congrats to…Craig Pittman, first to tweet the correct answer, and we agree with Jude Isabella, who says, “Watch Schitt's Creek if only for Catherine O’Hara's priceless accent.”

Your question of the day for today is…What’s the only carbon-negative country in the world?

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

Career Updates

Roston, Bendavid, Csanyi make moves

Aram Roston has left BuzzFeed News for Reuters, where he’ll be a Washington-based national security reporter focusing on U.S. intelligence. He was an investigative reporter for BuzzFeed News for the past five years. Before that, he was with NBC News’ Investigative Unit, where he won two Emmy Awards for his work.

Naftali Bendavid is joining The Washington Post as deputy campaign editor. He was most recently an editor at The Wall Street Journal, where he oversaw coverage of the Justice Department, Supreme Court and Mueller investigation, as well as the health and education beats. He previously worked for the Chicago Tribune and the Miami Herald.

And Zoltan Csanyi has joined CBS affiliate KYTX in Tyler, Texas, as its news director. He most recently led the news department at KGBT in the Rio Valley. Before that, he spent two years as a coordinating producer for ESPN. He’s also worked for Univision affiliate KINT-26 and NBC affiliate KTSM in El Paso, and KXTX Telemundo Dallas.

Donโ€™t forget - if you change your job in journalism or move to a different news organization, be sure to email usย (hello [at] muckrack [dot] com) so we can reflect your new title. News job changes only, please! Thanks!

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