Who needs caffeine this morning when you have this

Muck Rack Daily

Who needs caffeine this morning when you have this
January 30th, 2019 View in browser
Muck Rack Daily

Here’s an increasingly common PR problem: Your organization becomes the target of a social media storm based on false information and rumors that then spur news coverage that only amplifies the false narrative. What to do? For starters, listen to Tim O’Brien. Over on the Muck Rack Blog, he discusses Confrontation as a defense strategy.


In any American city

With temperatures in the Midwest colder than parts of Antarctica, the Chicago Tribune has advised readers to stay inside. But what are your options if you have no “inside” to go to? In ‘I’m Cold and I’m Afraid’: Across Midwest, Homeless Await Deep Freeze (81,000+ shares), Julie Bosman and Monica Davey of The New York Times write that “as health officials issued numerous warnings about the dangers of frostbite and hypothermia, homeless people faced potentially devastating circumstances.” Tweets Margaret Sullivan, “This heartbreaking report is out of Chicago where there are an estimated 80,000 homeless people. But it could be written in any American city and that is shameful.” Adds Zoe Galland, “The photo, the lede...everything about this story is so unsettling.” 

Extreme cold. Extreme heat.

Meanwhile, as the U.S. Midwest Freezes, Australia Burns: This Is the Age of Weather Extremes (21,000+ shares), writes Somini Sengupta of The New York Times. With temperatures reaching nearly 116 degrees Fahrenheit in Adelaide last week, “This is weather in the age of extremes. It comes on top of multiple extremes, all kinds, in all kinds of places,” she writes. In other words, don’t go tweeting about how you’d like some global warming. As Damien Cave — and NOAA scientists — remind us, “Yes, folks, it’s all connected. Extreme cold. Extreme heat.”

For more on that, Dan Eggen links to this “Must-read multimedia package” by Zoeann Murphy and Chris Mooney of The Washington Post, Gone in a generation | Across America, climate change is already disrupting lives. Tweets Dan Zak, “Who needs caffeine this morning when you have this spirit-chilling experience? Montana, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming used to pull carbon dioxide out of the air, in a big way. Now they are EMITTING carbon dioxide.” “Seriously though this series is brilliant. visually stunning, personally compelling, devastating and endlessly important. we need so much more climate journalism like this,” says Emily Atkin.

Even wilder than you may have thought

“Jesus, this story,” is how Tamara Cofman Wittes sets this one up. Christopher Bing explains, “@joel_schectman and I have been working tirelessly for the last four months to produce this piece — today you get to read it.” That’s his Reuters special report with Joel Schectman, which takes us Inside the UAE’s secret hacking team of U.S. mercenaries. Tweets Joseph Cox, “A few journos knew DarkMatter was acting as UAE’s hacking division and have been pursuing this story. But @Bing_Chris & @joel_schectman show it’s even wilder than you may have thought—former NSA hackers working for UAE, then being asked to target Americans.” Also, says Alex Wayne, “Your occasional reminder that most governments in the Middle East are Bad.” And Tom Gara thinks, “There’s something poetic about the NSA lady who hired Snowden failing up to a mercenary gig in Abu Dhabi hacking the phones of journalists and rights activists.”

A companion piece to that story, also by Schectman and Bing, looks at the “Karma” hack and how the UAE used a cyber super-weapon to spy on iPhones of foes. Tweets Jonathan Weber, “If you're even a little interested in cyber, infosec, the NSA and the Middle East, set aside some time for this one. I promise it is worth it.”

A colonoscopy on yr entire digital life

For some spying closer to home, Rob Pegoraro points out that “This report by ⁦@JoshConstine⁩ starts with Facebook paying 13-year-olds to install an app to track their phone use and gets exponentially worse, as difficult as that might be to imagine.” He links to Josh Constine’s piece for TechCrunch, Facebook pays teens to install VPN that spies on them. As Mike Isaac puts it, “aside from being indicative of how @facebook views human behavior and privacy generally, this program puts an actual price on how much your personal data is worth to you. in this case, 20 bucks a month to perform a colonoscopy on yr entire digital life.”

The political ads write themselves

Foxconn, the company that received $4b in government incentives to build a 20 million square foot campus in Wisconsin to manufacture advanced large screen displays for TVs, has made some slight adjustments to that plan.

In an exclusive for Reuters, Jess Yu and Karl Plume report that the company now says it intends to hire mostly engineers and researchers rather than the manufacturing workforce the project originally promised. As Adam Pasick summarizes: “$4 billion in tax breaks for 13,000...no, 5,200...nope, 1000 jobs. And they won’t be blue collar.” “The political ads write themselves,” says Paul Blumenthal. Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn Chief Executive Terry Gou, told Reuters that, due to the steep cost of making advanced TV screens in the United States, “we have no place in the U.S. We can’t compete.”

Meanwhile, Jonathan O'Connell, Elise Viebeck and Tracy Jan of The Washington Post report that Trump’s company plans to expand check of employees’ legal status following report that it hired undocumented workers for years. “And Eric Trump said the expansion of E-Verify to other Trump properties was delayed by the partial government shutdown -- which was triggered by his father’s demand for a border wall to keep out undocumented immigrants,” tweets Matea Gold.

This is something

Betsy Klein links to Isaac Chotiner’s interview with Cliff Sims in the New Yorker, Cliff Sims Is Proud to Have Served Trump. In case it’s not obvious by now, “Every Isaac Chotiner interview is a gift,” tweets Nisha Chittal, and this one is no different. As Christopher Hayes says, “.@IChotiner does it again.”

Two Russia-flavored scoops

First, the scoop from James Politi and Henry Foy at the Financial Times, Trump sat down with Putin at G20 without a US note-taker. According to their reporting, the two men spoke for several minutes, accompanied by Melania Trump and a Russian translator.

And in more Russia-related scoop, John Hudson and Ellen Nakashima of The Washington Post report that Russia secretly offered North Korea a nuclear power plant, officials say.

Around the U.S.

TMZ has the horrifying details after ‘Empire’ Star Jussie Smollett was beaten in a homophobic attack (423,000+ shares). The Chicago Police Department confirmed to TMZ that Smollett told them the attackers, who put his head in a noose and poured bleach on him, yelled, “This is MAGA country.”

A heartbreaking story from Michael Gold and Emma G. Fitzsimmons of The New York Times, A Mother’s Fatal Fall on Subway Stairs Rouses New Yorkers to Demand Accessibility (72,000+ shares). They note, “Only about a quarter of the subway system’s 472 stations have elevators, and the ones that exist are often out of order.” Tweets Ron Lieber, “If nothing else (since nothing will happen to fix this for a while because MTA), let's all promise to stop and help anyone lugging anything up and down dangerous stairs anywhere, yes?”

New from Alexa Ura of The Texas Tribune, Texas quietly tells counties that some of the 95,000 voters flagged for citizenship review don't belong on the list (15,000 shares). Andrew Cohen calls it the “Least surprising news of the week.” “But ... without an epidemic of voter fraud how will they ever justify voter suppression?” wonders Lisa Falkenberg.

From Sarah Maslin Nir of The New York Times, “Lamekia Dockery begged to go to a hospital so much that guards came up with a solution: they put her in solitary. When she kicked the door, they came up with another:they shackled her to the bed. Where she died. No one will be charged. My investigation.” That story is ‘I’m Going to Die Here,’ She Told the Guards. They Didn’t Listen.

As it concludes its investigation into the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, the FBI finds no specific motive in Vegas attack that killed 58 (15,000+ shares), report Ken Ritter and Mike Balsamo of The Associated Press.

Media news

Heidi Moore says, “Reading this interview with the (completely innocent) teenager who was creating BuzzFeed quizzes for free is watching a young worker wake up to exploitative business models.” Madison Malone Kircher of New York magazine talked with Rachel McMahon, the Michigan teen who made BuzzFeed’s top quizzes and was paid in free swag.

Jim Waterson of The Guardian reports that The Pool, an online women’s magazine co-founded by Lauren Laverne, is in crisis talks. Eve Livingston notes, “The Pool are the company who owe me nearly a month’s salary in unpaid invoices and I wasn’t going to name them because I’m such a fan of so many people that work there. But then I read this ‘winky face emoji’ detail.” Adds Fiona Sturges, “The management of this situation has been an absolute shitshow, and the emails about money owed pretty insulting, but it's also really sad. The Pool has some brilliant journalists and has produced some excellent work over the years.”

Meanwhile, “Someone has snapped up 20 percent of Evening Standard parent company controlled by Lebedev. But mystery buyer is not obliged under law to disclose major interest in a UK newspaper,,,, go figure.” Lionel Barber links to the Financial Times scoop, Mystery investor bought 20% of Evening Standard parent. As Cam Simpson points out, “Dark money is no longer just in the news. It is the news.”

And finally today, as Anne Helen Petersen tweets, “1167 words on why The New Yorker cannot for the love of god keep you logged on is MY KIND OF INTERNET CONTENT.” At Nieman Lab, Laura Hazard Owen tackles the big problem: Why won’t The New Yorker keep you logged in? Mystery: Solved (kind of). Even weirder, though, “is someone at Nieman Lab incepting my mind for stories?” asks Whitney McIntosh.


Question of the Day

Yesterday we asked: Pizza Hut is the Official Pizza Sponsor of the NFL this year (yes, that’s a thing), and in honor of the Super Bowl, they’re temporarily changing their name to what?

Answer: Pizza Hut-Hut

Congrats to…M “you said what?” B, aka @scwriter, who seemed just as surprised as we were that that’s the answer.

Your question of the day for today is…Megan Mullally said her late father, who was a struggling actor in the 1950s, recently received a SAG/AFTRA residual check for his performance in what show?

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

Career Updates

New roles for Lipschutz, Horwitz, Sabin

Neal Lipschutz has been named Deputy Editor in Chief of The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires. Since May 2013, he’s been the standards and ethics editor of the Journal, and he’s been an anchor at Dow Jones for more than 35 years. He joined the company in 1982 as a national copy reader for Dow Jones Capital Markets Report.

Associated Press reporter Jeff Horwitz will be joining The Wall Street Journal at the end of next month to cover Facebook. He’s been at the AP for the past five years and previously worked as a staff reporter for The Washington City Paper, The San Bernardino Sun, Legal Times and American Banker.

And Samantha Sabin, previously Morning Consult’s brands reporter, has changed beats. She’s now covering tech policy in addition to authoring the Morning Consult Tech morning and afternoon newsletters. Before joining Morning Consult last year, she covered tech for DC Inno.

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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