By:
July 2, 2024

Good morning. Just a quick announcement before we get started with today’s abbreviated newsletter. The Poynter Report will not publish for the rest of this holiday week. The newsletter will return next Monday, July 8. Now onto today’s media news, tidbits and interesting links …

  • Democrats continue to spiral out of control, frustrated by Joe Biden’s awful debate performance last week, and are trying to figure out who to blame and what’s next. Some of the ire has been directed at those who prepped Biden, wondering if Biden was overprepped or misprepped, or whatever word you want to use. Former Biden press secretary Jen Psaki, who now has her own show on MSNBC, responded with on Monday afternoon: “There are a lot of important discussions and debates about this political moment we are in and the path forward, but the notion that the issue at the debate was the prep process done by people like and Anita Dunn who have successfully prepped many candidates including Obama, Clinton and Biden is absurd.  It was a bad debate.  I have no doubt they were tough, strategic and direct. (Believe me I have seen them in action) but prep does not always determine the outcome. Biden was bad. Important convos about what happens next. But if you are directing your ire at ‘prep’ you are not talking about the right things.”
  • Many Biden supporters are upset that the conversation since the debate has been about Biden’s shaky night and not the stream of lies Donald Trump spewed out during the debate, as well as Trump’s threat to democracy. However, I found : “And too many people screaming ‘What about Trump lying!’ are fighting the war they want to fight and not the fight they’re in. This election is now about Joe Biden’s ability to do the job. Period.” At this moment, like it or not, that is the fight that the Democrats are in.
  • While there have been and urging Biden to drop out of the race, there was another editorial, , urging that Trump step aside. The Inquirer editorial board wrote, “In fact, the debate about the debate is misplaced. The only person who should withdraw from the race is Trump. Trump, 78, has been on the political stage for eight years marked by chaos, corruption, and incivility. Why go back to that?” The board went through the list of why Trump should never be president again and closed with, “There was only one person at the debate who does not deserve to be running for president. The sooner Trump exits the stage, the better off the country will be.”
  • The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was another paper with an editorial calling for Biden to not run in November. The latest AJC podcast, discusses the editorial board’s decision to write that Biden should step away. AJC president and publisher Andrew Morse said on the pod, “We chose to publish this editorial because we felt it was the right thing to do.”
  • Give CNN’s Jake Tapper credit because he’s absolutely right in . If Biden wants to show that last Thursday was merely a bad night, and that he is still very much capable of handling the job of president, he should have a two-hour press conference at the White House as soon as possible. He can answer all the questions, show how sharp he is and put the debate in the rearview mirror. “The fact that you haven’t done that,” Tapper said, “says quite a bit to me.”
  • The Associated Press’ David Bauder with
  • USA Today editor-in-chief Terence Samuel abruptly stepped down Monday. No reason was given, but the move was effective immediately. Samuel that the move was “sudden,” but he couldn’t say anything more than that. Monica Richardson, senior vice president of USA Today, wouldn’t say why Samuel was suddenly leaving, but told the Times in a statement, “Terry Samuel has been a valued colleague during his tenure at USA Today. We sincerely wish him well and thank him for his contributions.” Samuel had been in the job only a year. He previously had been the top news executive at NPR. He also has worked at The Washington Post, The Root, The Philadelphia Inquirer and U.S. News & World Report. Surely, there’s more to this story to keep an eye on in the days and weeks to come.
  • New York Times opinion columnist David Brooks with When asked if he sees himself as a right-wing journalist, Bannon, the former chief strategist for Donald Trump, told Brooks, “I’m not a journalist. I’m not in the media. This is a military headquarters for a populist revolt. This is how we motivate people. This show is an activist show. If you watch this show, you’re a foot soldier. We call it the Army of the Awakened. I mean, (Fox founder Rupert) Murdoch is a bigger enemy of ours than MSNBC. Because he’s the epitome of neoliberal neocon. And they’re the opiate of the masses. They’re the controlled opposition, right? They’re never going to want fundamental change. They’ll throw some shiny toys — Obama’s a Muslim, the kind of issues which we mock all the time.”
  • Hunter Biden is suing Fox News and its parent company over a 2022 mock trial series about his legal issues. The six-part series called “The Trial of Hunter Biden” aired on Fox Nation, the network’s streaming platform. It was supposed to be what a possible Biden trial might look like and it included several sexually graphic images of Biden. It also included two charges he has never been indicted for. The lawsuit said, “While using certain true information, the series intentionally manipulates the facts, distorts the truth, narrates happenings out of context, and invents dialogue intended to entertain.” It added that Fox News “targeted Mr. Biden in an effort to harass, annoy, alarm, and humiliate him, and tarnish his reputation. … The miniseries is fictionalized; it is not a news event. It was made for the purpose of trade and advertising, and merely exploits Mr. Biden’s name, image, and likeness for Fox’s commercial benefit.” Fox took down the series after Biden threatened to sue. .
  • In a statement over the Biden suit, a Fox News spokesperson said, “This entirely politically motivated lawsuit is devoid of merit. The core complaint stems from a 2022 streaming program that Mr. Biden did not complain about until sending a letter in late April 2024. The program was removed within days of the letter, in an abundance of caution, but Hunter Biden is a public figure who has been the subject of multiple investigations and is now a convicted felon. Consistent with the First Amendment, Fox News has accurately covered the newsworthy events of Mr. Biden’s own making, and we look forward to vindicating our rights in court.”
  • Sunday night’s 2024 BET Awards had an “In Memoriam” segment that included the likes of baseball legend Willie Mays, actors Louis Gossett Jr. and Richard Roundtree, and civil rights activist Dexter Scott King. It also included … O.J. Simpson, who died in April. The families of Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman, were upset at Simpson’s mention. Simpson was charged, although acquitted, of the 1994 murders of Brown Simpson and Goldman. Fred Goldman, Ron’s father, told NBC News, “I thought it was just wrong. It’s hard to imagine that he would fall in the same category as the vast majority of other people they honor.” Nicole’s sister, Tanya, told TMZ, “It’s inappropriate to give an abuser and murderer recognition. Whoever thought of doing that owes every domestic violence victim an apology … and that’s including our family. And, they should be fired.”
  • A few days old, but worth the read. The Los Angeles Times’ Greg Braxton with
  • For Awful Announcing, Katie Lever with
  • Always good to see reporters from what was the former New York Times sports department still writing sports stories from time to time. Here’s David Waldstein with (Great headline, too.)
  • This is a good story from “CBS Mornings” national correspondent Jericka Duncan: “

More resources for journalists

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Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for Poynter.org. He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
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