Sunny is on a sleep strike... still wide awake at 11:15... she's 21 months old going on 21 years. So she gets a co-byline on this edition of the newsletter! Here's a preview of Tuesday's biggest media stories... 

Tuesday with Bernie

All signs are pointing to a Tuesday announcement from Bernie Sanders... He is expected to confirm that he's entering the 2020 race... Possibly in an interview with John Dickerson on "CBS This Morning." 

At exactly 10 p.m. on Monday, CBS said that Sanders would join Dickerson for a "revealing interview" on Tuesday morning's newscast. And WMUR is reporting on the rollout plan...

TMZ spots RBG at DCA

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be on the bench Tuesday morning for the first time since her surgery in December. A videographer intercepted her at National Airport on Monday... and TMZ has the "exclusive" footage... She "walked slowly but steadily and with purpose," flanked "on all sides by security," the site says. Supreme Court paparazzi, what a world...

"The Threat" is No. 1 on Amazon

Andrew McCabe's book comes out on Tuesday morning... And all the press and pushback and controversy has already lifted "The Threat" to No. 1 on Amazon's constantly updated best sellers list. (Maybe the president's anti-McCabe tweets helped too.) 

Michelle Obama's "Becoming" has been No. 1 practically every day since it came out in November, but for now it's No. 2 while McCabe is on top...

 --> His first live interview will be on the "Today" show with Savannah Guthrie on Tuesday morning...

-- Don Lemon's CNN town hall with Amy Klobuchar just wrapped up... Here are some of the key moments... (CNN)

 -- Roger "Never Apologize" Stone apologized his nasty Instagram post about the judge in his case... (CNN)

 -- The second episode of ABC's "The Investigation" podcast about the Mueller probe comes out on Tuesday... Lanny Davis is the guest... Davis says his client Michael Cohen is ready to talk about his personal experiences with Trump, including "behind closed doors" accounts that Davis calls "chilling..." (Apple Podcasts)

 -- Last week's "coup" rhetoric on Fox News made its way to the president's Twitter feed on Monday... Philip Bump unpacked the idea here... (WaPo)

"Netflix has won this game"

An interview with Barry Diller is always a treat. The media mogul always says what he thinks. He might be right, he might be wrong, but here's what he thinks right now, per his new "Recode Decode" interview with Kara Swisher:

 -- "Everybody is going to play" in the streaming space, "but I think that those who chase Netflix are fools. Or try to compete with Amazon Prime, because I don’t think there’s any ability for anybody in the, let’s call it the ... The media business, the entertainment business, who do so." Others can and will build subscription services, but "Netflix has won this game. I mean, short of some existential event, it is Netflix's. No one can get, I believe, to their level of subscribers, which gives them real dominance."

 -- "Hollywood is now irrelevant." What he means by that: The studios will "continue to make programming," but they're not controlling the media world anymore or buying up big assets.

 -- Talking about Disney-Fox: "What happened is for the first time in a hundred years you saw now the shrinkage. In other words, six movie companies has now gone down to five..."

 -- Disney will "continue to have relevance, and Bob Iger's a superb executive." He says "they’ll be a world player" but they'll (only?) "do okay in streaming."

 -- On Facebook: "Mark Zuckerberg is a fine and decent citizen." He "should be criticized, he should be able to take that criticism, and he should be able to be productive about it..."

 -- Is government regulation of Google coming? "Yeah. Of course it is." Quickly? "No, nothing comes quickly."

 -- Diller was on the board of WaPo's parent company when the Grahams went looking for a buyer. He opposed a sale at the time but says Jeff Bezos has "done a fantastic job with it."

 -- On Trump: "We have a thoroughly rotten leader in the country, an accident of history that hopefully will be over soon... Hopefully, in two years, to paraphrase Gerald Ford, this national nightmare will be over."

Here's the full interview...

Salke shares Amazon's film strategy

Amazon Studios boss Jennifer Salke is "cementing her film strategy: a mix of theatrically distributed arthouse titles and blockbuster swings, along with other movies that will premiere directly on Prime Video," THR's Rebecca Keegan wrote Monday.

Salke spoke with THR and several other outlets about the company's plans to release about 30 films a year, mostly straight to Prime Video, but with about 10 a year appearing in theaters first. The NYT's Brooks Barnes says Amazon is "pushing the reset button..."

Salke's jabs at Netflix

She says Amazon's strategy is "not about volume and endless scroll... The curated approach is the only way to go for us. Quality over quantity." She also says "I don't want talent to feel like their movie, or creative endeavor, is in a factory..."

Marvel TV's universe on Netflix ends

Frank Pallotta emails: The upcoming third season of "Jessica Jones" will be the show's last, Netflix announced Monday. It also announced that "The Punisher" will not return for a third season. That marks the end of the five-year partnership between Marvel TV and Netflix. So we'll see the heroes over on Disney+, right?

Disney hasn't officially said that the Marvel shows will be part of Disney+, but Marvel's message is "to be continued..."


 -- The lead story on right now: "16 states file lawsuit to stop Trump's national emergency declaration" (CNN)

 -- Anderson Cooper on Monday night: "With an emergency, there's usually at least some sense of urgency, and there's not a lot of that coming from the White House -- or, more to the point, Mar a Lago, where the president spent the weekend and had an omelette or two..." (Twitter)

 -- With Heather Nauert out of contention for UN ambassador, Trump is now "talking about John James" for the job... (CNN)

 -- What's next for Nauert? Unclear...

O'Donnell and Chan

Norah O'Donnell sat down with Priscilla Chan for an interview airing on Tuesday's "CBS This Morning." 

One of the news pegs is a prison rehab program called The Last Mile, which is funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. O'Donnell and Chan visited an Oklahoma prison "where female inmates are learning how to code." There's a preview clip up on

Lara Logan is no longer with CBS

Lara Logan's role at CBS News ended last year, according to a network spokeswoman. This is newsworthy because Logan's comments about media bias are getting widespread pickup in conservative media circles right now. 

The Daily Caller, for example, wrote on Monday: "CBS News Foreign Correspondent Lara Logan criticized the mainstream media for their left-leaning tilt during an interview with retired Navy SEAL Mike Ritland for the Friday episode of his 'Mic Drop' podcast." During the interview, she quipped that she was committing "professional suicide."

I hope not. I'm glad she is sharing her POV. But headline after headline says "CBS' Lara Logan," and that's not accurate...

New exec editor in Pittsburgh

Via The Incline's Colin Deppen: "The editorial director of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette — who penned a controversial Martin Luther King Jr. Day editorial and was at the center of the firing of cartoonist Rob Rogers — has been named the paper’s new executive editor. Keith Burris replaces David Shribman, a Pulitzer Prize winner who left the post late last year." Burris will continue to double as the editorial director of the Post-Gazette's sister paper in Toledo. So the turmoil continues in Pittsburgh... Read more here...

"Join the Beat"

Via Poynter's Kristen Hare: The basic idea behind this project "is that reporters who cover a beat, regularly report on a topic or want to begin doing so, work to build a group of their most engaged readers to help make their journalism better, said Ariel Zirulnick with the Membership Puzzle Project." Year two of "Join the Beat" will start soon... Journalists have a couple more days to apply if they're interested...


 -- Fox Biz host Trish Regan will have an interview with Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido on Tuesday night...

 -- Fred Barnes says "we're entering a new political era. The issues are bigger, they’re far outside the mainstream, and they're reminiscent of an earlier time. And the stakes are higher." Socialism is not "likely to fade..." (WSJ)

-- Jonathan Peters writes about a "rare sighting: a claim for misappropriation under the 'hot news' doctrine." The lawsuit is by a subscription service called Capitol Forum against Bloomberg... (CJR)

Latest updates in the Smollett case

 -- The brothers who were questioned about Smollett last week are Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo...

 -- "The brothers are no longer suspects," the Chicago Police Department said Monday night…

-- The brothers said in a statement to WBBM that they are not "homophobic" and not "anti-Trump..."

 -- Per CNN's latest story, "police want to talk to Smollett again," but he did not speak with police on Monday...

 -- Will he answer detectives' questions on Tuesday? A spokeswoman for Smollett declined to say...

 -- No new comment from Fox, the TV home of "Empire..."


Wait and see...

Lisa Respers France's latest: As the Jussie Smollett story has taken a turn, the reaction has shifted to wait and see among some of his supporters. Read on...


Fox stars are in "blame the media" mode

I guess I hit the trifecta on Monday? Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham all complained about me on their Fox News shows, one hour after the other. Carlson dubbed me "that oily media reporter kid from CNN." (I've never been called THAT before. If anyone has any skin care tips, email me.) Later in the evening Hannity called me "Humpty Dumpty" and Ingraham mispronounced my name even though she's known me for a decade.

My offense was that I said on CNN that news outlets by and large covered the Smollett allegations carefully, and this whole thing ultimately isn't ABOUT "the media," it's about Smollett and why he may have lied.

Obviously news outlets are imperfect. Fox News talk shows are imperfect too. Many commentators and activists and politicians rushed to judgment, under the assumption that Smollett was telling the truth. But "most news organizations actually acted with restraint."

Oh wait. That's not my conclusion -- it's what Fox's own media analyst Howard Kurtz said on Monday...


Grading the media's coverage

Brian Lowry emails: I'd agree with the assertion that most of the Smollett reporting has been responsible, following statements from law enforcement. Setting aside partisan point scoring, the most legitimate criticism of the coverage has to do with amplifying hot takes from pundits and the voices of activists and celebrities — an example being Ellen Page's widely circulated speech on Stephen Colbert's show about "connecting the dots" between the reported incident and conservative rhetoric. Such stories are low-hanging fruit traffic-wise, but clickbait-y accounts of what's said at junkets or on talk shows are too often a context-free zone, presented without enough of the necessary disclaimers. The weight of that coverage risks blurring the line between where the news stands and potentially premature conclusions informed by opinion...


Politics and confirmation bias

Chris Cillizza in Monday's edition of The Point: "Politicians are forever on the hunt for stories that confirm what their base already believes." So Dems "were very quick to believe Smollett's version of events. And now Republicans -- especially those aligned with the Trump White House -- are just as quick to seize on the idea this was all an elaborate hoax. Both sides are simply exhibiting confirmation bias. Because we reward that sort of thing in our politics now..."

 -- On Monday Kamala Harris seemed unprepared for a Q about her earlier tweet calling the Smollett case an "attempted modern day lynching." She said "I think the facts are still unfolding" and "there should be an investigation..."

 -- BTW, Trump also opined on the case when it first emerged... He said "it's horrible. It doesn't get worse." No followup since then...

A look back at Smollett's career before January 29

Lisa Respers France emails: When Jussie Smollett released his debut album "Sum of My Music" last year, he was riding high. The actor and musician had also just finished directing an episode of his hit series "Empire" and appeared in the EPIX docu-series, "America Divided."

"I'm not gonna lie and pretend otherwise, I want this s**t to do well," Smollett told Fader last March of his first full album. "If I didn't, I would just play it for my mother because she f***ing loves it or I would just try and pitch the songs for 'Empire.' But no...these songs really mean something to me and I want people to hear me."

Well, people are listening to Smollett now. His career awaits the outcome of this case. Read on...


 -- Tripp Mickle's latest: "Apple is shaking up leadership and reordering priorities across its services, artificial intelligence, hardware and retail divisions as it works to reduce the company’s reliance on iPhone sales..." (WSJ)

 -- Jake Tapper is on Monday night's "Late Show with Stephen Colbert..."

Russia responds to CNN's report about Maffick Media

Donie O'Sullivan emails: Maffick Media, the video company owned by RT whose pages were suspended by Facebook on Friday; RT itself; and the Kremlin all weighed in over the past 36 hours. In a statement posted to its website, Maffick said, "We did not violate any of Facebook's policies whatsoever. None of our content promotes disinformation or fake news." And Margarita Simonyan, the head of RT, pointed out that Facebook didn't seem to have an issue with the pages until CNN asked about them.

Asked by a Russian journalist to comment on the CNN report, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said RT "has to stand up for its rights." Peskov expressed optimism that the pages would be restored. "Regarding this specific case, I wouldn't get ahead of ourselves, we first need to get clarifications," he said. "I think of course RT has to stand up for its interests and receive explanations regarding this particular company and what the reasons were. We know that they've repeatedly succeeded in restoring their rights and I hope this is going to be the case here as well."

Time's Up CEO resigns after two months on the job

Chloe Melas emails: Less than two months into the job, Lisa Borders has resigned as the president and CEO of Time's Up. The announcement came late Monday, first in a tweet by Borders. She said she had to step away to "address family concerns that require my singular focus." COO Rebecca Goldman "will serve as interim CEO while we conduct an executive search," the organization said.

Here are the full statements from Borders and from Time’s Up...

Lowry recommends this doc about Sammy Davis, Jr. 

Brian Lowry emails: Timed for Black History Month, "Sammy Davis, Jr.: I've Gotta Be Me" is a fascinating "American Masters" documentary, exploring the entertainer’s many contradictions —exemplified by his versatile talent and often tone-deaf navigation of the turbulent politics of his time...

 -- Lisa Respers France emails: Surprise! Country star Miranda Lambert got married to a New York City police officer...

 -- John Oliver returned to "Last Week Tonight" on Sunday and mocked Trump's national emergency... (Yahoo)

 -- The first trailer for the final season of "Veep" is out! The series returns on March 31... (Vulture)

In case you missed Sunday's "Reliable Sources..."

Here are several ways to catch up. Listen to the podcast via Apple or your preferred podcast app... Watch the video clips on Or watch the entire episode via CNNgo or VOD...

Sunday's debate

Kmele Foster and Liz Plank discussed the Jussie Smollett rush to judgment on Sunday's "Reliable." Foster urged skepticism on the part of the press -- he said some people had doubts about Smollett's story early on, but "were afraid to raise the questions because of the intersectional nature of this particular accusation." Afraid their motives would be challenged.

Plank was more concerned about the downstream effects of a potential hate-crime hoax. "The fact that one robbery was faked does not mean robbery is not a problem," she said. "The fact that there is one false rape accusation does not mean that there's no rape. We have to cover these issues as trends and as patterns." Bill Carter also joined in... Watch part one and part two of the segment here...

More security needed at Trump's rallies?

On "Reliable," I spoke with the man who intervened and restrained the attacker in El Paso. His name is Ben Bergquam, and he's a big supporter of Trump who hosts a Fresno radio show and runs a live-streaming site. He was in the press pen when he saw the commotion. He said he agrees with Trump's "fake news" claims, but the attacker "made all MAGA-hat wearers look bad," so he stepped in. Bergquam said he thinks more security at rallies needs to be considered. Watch...

"A travesty of justice"

Maria Ressa, fresh from her night in jail on a "cyber libel" charge, told me on Sunday that her country's case against her is "ludicrous" and "unconstitutional."

Speaking from Manila, the Rappler CEO said the Philippine government's latest action against her is "definitely intimidation..." She said "I came out of that night thinking this is now a travesty of justice." Read Jill Disis' recap here and/or watch the full interview...
Email me anytime with feedback, story ideas, etc... See you tomorrow...
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