'I’ve written a post'
We can’t possibly begin our newsletter today without discussing the Jeff Bezos news from last night.
To start, here’s the post the Amazon CEO published on Medium Thursday afternoon titled, “No, Thank You, Mr. Pecker” in which he directly addresses David Pecker, the owner of AMI, which owns the National Enquirer. Bezos tweeted: “I’ve written a post about developments with the National Enquirer and its parent company, AMI.”
For some explanation on this, The Huffington Post’s Carla Herreria wrote: Jeff Bezos Says National Enquirer Exec Threatened To Publish [His] “Dick Pick.” Lydia Polgreen followed it up with, “What a day.”
And for more, head to the Washington Post, where Paul Farhi said that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos accuses National Enquirer parent company of “extortion” over “intimate texts” and photos. At the time, Carol Leonnig tweeted: “BREAKING >>>> @JeffBezos accuses National Enquirer of ‘extortion’, of threats to publish more ‘intimate texts’ and photos if he didn't stop investigating how they acquired the info.”
Allyson Chiu at the Washington Post adds that Ronan Farrow says he also received “blackmail” threat over reporting on the National Enquirer and Trump.
Friends and allies
Ivanka Trump has “zero concern” about special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, according to Jordyn Phelps at ABC News.
Over at USA Today, Brad Heath highlighted the fact that Trump is the first modern president to hire his customers – including as U.S. ambassadors. On Twitter, Heath wrote, “President Trump has named more members of his private clubs to top posts in his administration. Presidents traditionally hired friends and allies; Trump is the first modern president to award government jobs to his customers.”
Kellyanne Conway described an alleged assault to CNN. She says happened at a restaurant in October by a woman; who denies the charge. That story from Dana Bash and David Shortell. Shimon Prokupecz added, “In an interview with CNN, Kellyanne Conway says that she was grabbed and shaken by a woman while out with her teenage daughter in a Maryland restaurant late last year.”
A Saudi update
From the Wall Street Journal, we news that Saudi Arabia Sought Vice’s Help to Build a Media Empire via reporting by Rory Jones, Benoit Faucon, and Keach Hagey. “Saudi Arabia is trying to build a media empire to counter Qatar and Iran and reshape its image in the West. It is seeking help from Vice, Bloomberg and others,” Michael Amon wrote.
While at the New York Times, there’s a “MAJOR SCOOP” (according to Adam Goldman) from Mark Mazzetti that a Year Before the Killing, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Told an Aide He Would Use ‘a Bullet’ on Khashoggi.
Brexit: ‘What a mess’
Per Lisa O'Carroll at The Guardian, we hear that the Brexit “no-deal” crisis command centre has started hiring civilians. Glyn Moody tweeted of “‘Military-style operation could stay open for two years.’ Martial law, here we come... #brexitchaos” Claire Phipps explained, “The government has started to recruit civilians to work in a Brexit emergency command and control centre, being set up to make sure Britain runs smoothly in the aftermath of a potential no deal.” Paul Johnson added still more details: “Wanted by Govt for #Brexit emergency planning: -'Unflappable people', pay £300-400 a day, start by end of month 50 days to go. What a mess.” MaryAnn Johanson’s reaction was: “Jesus Christ.”
In another piece of news from across the pond, Sir Philip Green is facing a £3 million legal bill after the injunction against The Telegraph was dropped, according to Claire Newell and Hayley Dixon at, yes, The Telegraph. The newspaper adds that the injunction had prevented allegations of sexual assault and racial harassment from being reported.
John Dingell, longest-serving member of Congress has died. He was 92. That piece was written by Rebecca Shabad at NBC News.
In her obituary for BuzzFeed News, Sarah Mimms called former Rep. John Dingell “The Hilarious Leader Of Resistance Twitter.”
Similarly, Freep’s Brian Manzullo published John Dingell was a Twitter superstar. Here are his greatest hits. The roundup includes this gem: "Maybe we should all just delete our accounts." As relevant today as the day he posted it.
We also lost actor Albert Finney, who died at age 82, as reported by the BBC.
In The Guardian, Andrew Pulver called Finney cinema's original “angry young man.”
The AP reports that the Supreme Court blocked Louisiana abortion clinic law which would require abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Elana Schor shared this bit from the piece: "Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four liberals in putting a hold on the law, pending a full review of the case...Kavanaugh wrote a dissent explaining his vote."
Over at Hmm Daily, Tom Scocca asks Can a Journalist as Important as Jill Abramson Be a Plagiarist? It’s an interesting question in light of these plagiarism accusations and sheds important light on the class divide present within media. We encourage you to check it out.
Emily Wax-Thibodeaux covered The parking lot suicides for The Washington Post. Frances Sellers explained this refers to “when veterans take their lives in the very places they sought help- Department of Veteran Affairs hospitals. A troubling story told w piercing clarity.”
Also, spend some time with Megha Mohan’s The secret language of lesbian love from the BBC. “How lesbians communicate using memes in a country where homosexuality is a criminal offense. I spoke to dozens of women about attraction, coming out to yourself & the internet. If you can - look at this on your laptop/desktop too,” Mohan tweeted. That country, specifically, Burundi.