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Make sure you scroll to the end... for a poem about the power of journalism...
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Trump lumps the media in with the Democrats

Tom Kludt reports: President Donald Trump said Friday that much of the press represents the "opposition party," echoing his chief strategist Steve Bannon's description of the news media earlier this week. "I think the media is the opposition party in many ways," Trump said in an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody. "I'm not talking about everybody but a big portion of the media..."

More: Trump said the media is "much more capable than the opposition party," referring to the Democrats. "The opposition party is losing badly," he said. "Now the media is on the opposition party's side." Read Tom's full story here...

Emboldening "autocratic leaders around the world"

I asked Committee to Protect Journalists exec director Joel Simon to react to Bannon's media should "keep its mouth shut" comments on Thursday night, and what Simon said applied equally well to Trump's follow-up on Friday.

"This kind of speech not only undermines the work of the media in this country, it emboldens autocratic leaders around the world," he said. "These leaders -- like Putin in Russia and Erdogan in Turkey -- have consolidated power by marginalizing independent media. We can't allow that to happen in the United States."

"Let Bannon and Trump talk. We'll report."

That's the headline on David Uberti's latest piece for CJR. He advises paying "less attention to the Trump Administration’s attacks, whatever effect they may have in the eyes of the public, and more attention to their journalism."

He quotes NBC's Lester Holt approvingly: "Do our jobs. Do our jobs….What we can’t do is get trapped in a debate. We are not at war with anyone or any entity. That’s what some would hope for. We cannot afford to be seen as petty or on someone's side."

I agree with Holt -- but I'm still left wondering the same thing I asked last night: If one side declares "war," and the other side says "we are not at war," who wins? 

"We are not the opposition" EIC Meredith Artley emails from ONA's first post-election board meeting, sharing one of the big discussions there: "Is the right framing for journalists to wear a superhero cape and Fight for the Truth? Or is the better framing that we are Fighting for - and listening to (fake h/t to Mr. Bannon) our audiences? We are not the opposition. We must demonstrate now more than ever how we are informing, engaging with and acting on the behalf of the public."

ProPublica's response 

It is selling T-shirts to raise money and send a message to Bannon:

Friday's news cycles

Midday was about the March for Life, which received more news coverage than it usually does, partly because of its proximity to last weekend's march and partly because of the VP's presence there… The afternoon was about Trump's press conference and visit to the Pentagon… The evening was about the executive order on refugees, decried as a "Muslim ban" by critics, described as a "religious test" by some journalists but not by others…

"When Pres. Trump says CNN is ok again..."

CNN's Jeremy Diamond asked Milwaukee County sheriff David Clarke for an interview. On Friday Clarke responded: "Donald Trump has labeled CNN as fake news. When Pres. Trump says CNN is ok again, then I might..."

NBC cancelling Hall and Roker's hour; Kelly taking over?

"NBC is canceling the third hour of 'Today' to make way for new star Megyn Kelly," Page Six scooped on Friday afternoon. "We're told Kelly will take over either the 9 a.m. hour from Tamron Hall and Al Roker or will replace Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford." In the latter scenario, Hoda and Kathie Lee would move up an hour to 9, and Kelly would take over at 10.

NBC News is not commenting -- apparently the 9 versus 10 a.m. decision hasn't been made -- but the current 9 a.m. show is definitely going away, and 9 a.m. hour staffers found out on Friday.

The official line is that Hall and Roker are still valued members of the "Today" show and NBC. But it's ugly behind the scenes. Some staffers are coming to Hall's defense and questioning the 9 a.m decision. Observers (at places like Jezebel and The Daily Caller) are alluding to the racial overtones of the change.

Meanwhile, Hall's agents are still in talks with the network about her future... Will she stay?

Disappointed and irritated viewers

Maybe Roker was sending a message to the execs when he tweeted on Thursday, "Congrats to our #TODAYsTake @TODAYshow 9am producers for producing the #1 morning show 7 weeks in a row!! @tamronhall and I are very blessed."

Team Tamron is asking: Why is this shakeup happening when the ratings are strong? People mag -- right in the "Today" show demo sweet spot -- has a bruising story quoting disappointed and angry viewers...

Sunday morning on "Reliable Sources"

The guest list: "On the Media" co-host Brooke Gladstone, Breitbart senior editor-at-large Joel Pollak, HuffPost EIC Lydia Polgreen, Reuters EIC Stephen Adler, and FT media editor Matthew Garrahan. I'll also speak with Turkish journalist Mahir Zeynalov and Russian journalist Alexey Kovalev about the challenges of reporting in countries where the government does a lot more than just saying "shut up." Live on CNN at 11 a.m. Sunday...

Speaking of Joel Pollak...

Here's his latest for Breitbart, calling the mainstream media "Orwell's big brother" and saying Kellyanne Conway's "alternative facts" phrase has been distorted:

"Sometimes you need the 'alternative facts' — what journalists used to call 'both sides of the story' — to paint the full picture. But the mainstream media presume that the Trump administration doesn't have a side — nor do Trump’s voters and supporters." Read more...

Speaking of Lydia Polgreen...

Polgreen had some fascinating insights at the media and Trump panel I moderated at NYU earlier this week. The audio is now online... Listen to the podcast here...

Why it's "tough being a news consumer (or reporter) right now"

Quoting what 538's Nate Silver said on Twitter Friday evening:

"After his first week in office, seems like we're all having trouble distinguishing between about 4 categories of Trump stories...

1. Genuinely unprecedented and troubling stuff.
2. Sensational but inconsequential stuff Trump does to troll or distract people.
3. Prematurely or incompletely reported rumors misreported as stuff that already happened.
4. Relatively normal POTUS stuff, exaggerated.

Need to read beyond headlines. Signal-to-noise ratio should improve over time but it's tough being a news consumer (or reporter) right now..."
For the record, part one
 -- John Herrman's latest: "Trump and the Theater of Access" (NYT)

 -- "Some British reporters said Friday they were unable or delayed in entering the White House to cover their prime minister's visit..." Here's what happened... (CNNPolitics)

 -- Trump predicted that Sean Hannity's ratings would be "through the roof" thanks to their interview. The 10 p.m. hour #'s were high, indeed, about 4.8 million viewers, but Bill O'Reilly still drew a bigger audience on Fox at 8 p.m. The Hannity interview was also "down from the 7.5 million who watched the David Muir interview on ABC..." (TVNewser)

 -- "In defense of CNN" -- this is Erik Wemple's Friday response to Jessica Yellin's op-ed in Thursday's NYT... (WashPost)

Speaking of NBC...

"Ripped from the headlines" about Roger Ailes

Sandra Gonzalez emails: Per TVLine, "Law & Order: SVU" is planning a Roger Ailes-inspired episode. (Reminder: NBC still hasn't said if/when SVU's episode featuring a Donald Trump-esque character will air.)
For the record, part two
 -- There was some chatter on Friday about Carlos Slim possibly unloading his shares in the NYT. But his spokesman says it's not true... (CNBC)

 -- "We regret the error," over and over again: The Atlantic has published a series of corrections to a piece about ultrasounds... (Hot Air)

 -- Ina Fried joins Axios as chief tech correspondent... (TechCrunch)

 -- Rachel Dodes profiles Teen Vogue's Trump critic Lauren Duca... (NYT)

"1984" still out of stock on Amazon

"Not surprisingly, '1984' has found a nervous readership in today's 'post-truth' era," Michiko Kakutani wrote in Friday's NYT. We've been tracking sales of George Orwell's classic all week long. As of Friday evening, it was still #1 on Amazon's best selling books list, still listed as "temporarily out of stock..."

This is not real

"No, the White House didn’t Photoshop an image of the president’s hand," the WashPost's Philip Bump had to report on Friday. Here's what happened...

 -- Semi-related? By NYMag's Jesse Singal: "Those ‘Rogue’ Government Twitter Accounts Are Going Viral Because of Fake-News Impulses"

This is real 

CNBC's early morning newscast, "Worldwide Exchange," really did use this "BREAKING NEWS: TRUMP TWEET" graphic earlier in the week. It is unlikely to become a regular feature, although who knows...
Trump and the media

What Trump was watching Friday morning

Friday's example of Trump apparently tweeting about what he sees on TV: "The author of a study that claims to show millions of illegal votes were cast in the presidential election refused to produce evidence support his allegation during a contentious and lengthy interview with CNN." VoteStand founder Gregg Phillips was interviewed by Chris Cuomo around 7:30... and Trump weighed in at 8:12, citing Phillips by name... Details here...

 -- What's your view: Was CNN right to interview Phillips on both "New Day" and "AC360" on Friday? Right to expose that Phillips has zero backing for his claims, or wrong to give him any oxygen at all?

Trump TV, prime time edition

Brian Lowry emails: There's an odd bit of symmetry to the debate over torture and its efficacy being renewed: When "24" premiered, it became fairly common for lawmakers to reference the series as a justification for harsh interrogation techniques in the face of "ticking-bomb" scenarios. Now we have a commander-in-chief who seems to derive a considerable amount of what he perceives about the world from what he watches on TV. At the same time, Fox is preparing to relaunch the franchise with a new hero, under the title "24: Legacy" after next Sunday's Super Bowl.

As a footnote, "24" will then move to Mondays, where it will be paired with a new drama, "APB," built on the premise that an Elon Musk-type billionaire takes over a police precinct in a cash-strapped, crime-plagued big city, outfitting the cops with all kind of space-age gadgetry. The city in question: Chicago, whose murder rate has also been a recent Trump target...

A "personal decision" for celebs 

Sandra Gonzalez emails: I enjoyed this LATimes write-up about award season in the era of Trump. One unnamed publicist said celebs must make a "personal decision" about whether or not to express their political views but she wouldn't recommend it. "At this point, with social media being as venomous as it is and trolls being who they are, I don’t think you can basically be safe with your opinions anymore. It’s a dangerous time. … Even Meryl Streep and George Clooney want to work. They don’t want to be considered liabilities.”

ICYMI: Infowars is an enabler

We included this story in Thursday's newsletter: Almost every media outlet from left to right, from Salon to Fox News, has debunked Trump's claim about millions of illegal votes. Almost. Trump has a happy enabler at Alex Jones' Infowars site. Check out our full story here...

Coincidence? On Friday, Jones went on a long rant about a "Reliable Sources" segment from last Sunday, calling me an "anti-American rat," a "creepy son of a bitch," a "scumbag," and a "little man," along with a dozen other names. He also implied that I work for Chinese masters, that I'm just a puppet reading words placed in the TelePrompTer by someone else, and that I'll never able to attract a mate ;-) 
The entertainment desk

Endorsement: "Arrival"

This evening Jamie and I finally saw "Arrival." It is hands down my favorite film of the year 2016. Jamie's too. (2016 because that's when it came out and that's why it is up for awards now.) See it this weekend if you haven't already! I'm already planning to see it a second time.

Speaking of awards... and this weekend... for anyone looking to catch up on Oscar movies this weekend, here's a viewing guide from Sandra Gonzalez...

SAG Awards on Sunday

The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will be held on Sunday night at the Shrine Auditorium... Sandra has this look at four key races...

"Hamilton" stars performing at the Super Bowl

Frank Pallotta writes: Look around, look around because Angelica, Eliza... and Peggy are going to the Super Bowl. Renée Elise Goldsberry, Phillipa Soo, and Jasmine Cephas Jones, the original cast members who played the Schuyler Sisters in the hit Broadway show "Hamilton," will sing "America the Beautiful" at Super Bowl LI, the NFL announced on Friday. The performance will be televised live on Fox before the game...

Poem from a reader

Gail, a regular reader of this newsletter, sent along a poem. If you work in the news business, it may lift your spirits at the end of a stressful week. 


there are so many egos
cramming the WH these days-
DT, KAConway, Reince, Bannon-
its no wonder they see the
mainstream media as
"the opposition"..
yet, at the same time,
love all the press they keep getting.

My heart, my life-will ALWAYS
be grateful to the "media"-
in 2002, when I was 
stricken with cancer,
a local newspaper columnist,
printed my story-
and it brought the attention
that saved my life-
as I sit here 14+ years later.

The irony being,
that in 2011,
liver cancer took HIS life..
I wish I could have saved him..
the way he saved me..

Please- dont ever stop
doing what you are doing-
you just never know
when youre saving a life..
or a sanity.. :)
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