EXEC SUMMARY: I'm hitting send at 11:15pm ET, and there still are no Iowa caucus results. "It's clear something has gone wrong," a campaign official told Jeff Zeleny just now. Check CNN.com for the latest updates. Here are ten other big stories you should know about...
White House excludes CNN from annual pre-SOTU lunch with news anchors
President Trump's targeting of CNN is moving to yet another arena: The annual presidential lunch with television network anchors.
CNN anchors are being excluded from Tuesday's lunch, three sources told me on Monday night.
Trump, like presidents before him, typically invites anchors from all the major networks to dine with him at the White House in advance of his State of the Union address. The lunch conversation is considered off the record, but it gives the anchors a sense of the president's state of mind before they anchor SOTU coverage. "Despite Trump's persistent attacks on the news media, he's kept up such traditions," Politico pointed out last year.
CNN's Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer attended last year's lunch. Blitzer has been attending these lunches longer than almost any other anchor -- 20 years in a row.
Journalists from other networks are still planning on attending, according to sources at those networks. But I believe this is the first time that a president has singled out one network and opted not invite any anchors from there.
Trump campaign turns away Bloomberg reporter
Kaitlan Collins reports: Bloomberg News reporter Jennifer Jacobs was asked to leave a Trump campaign event in Iowa on Monday night. A campaign official said Jacobs was not credentialed for the event. The campaign is standing by its December decision to deny access to reporters from Bloomberg after the news outlet said it would not investigate owner Michael Bloomberg or other Democratic candidates while Bloomberg is running for the Dem nomination.
Bloomberg reporters have continued to attend White House events, including campaign rallies when they fly on Air Force One. The campaign says it can't prevent the White House from credentialing reporters. But at the campaign level, "the policy will continue until Bloomberg changes its policy of unfair and inequitable investigative reporting,” an official said Monday. Bloomberg News declined to comment.
>> Monday's move comes as President Trump has continued to vent privately and publicly about Bloomberg, complaining about his sizable ad buys...
"Iowa results delayed"
That's the banner headline on CNN.com at the time I'm hitting send. The cable newsers are filling time and sharing complaints about the delay. Political analyst Jeff Greenfield emailed me and said: "Somewhere in the '80's, Joe Klein and I founded the Committee to Begin the Process in Hawaii. (We are the only members.) I have written every four years of what a blight this process is. Watching the chaos over results tonight, my heart is overflowing with schadenfreude."
>> Rich Greenfield tweeted: "Election coverage right now feels like a Seinfeld episode -- what would Jerry Seinfeld say about a caucus that takes the votes but doesn't deliver the votes..."
Hannity, other right-wing sites spreading misinfo about Iowa
Earlier in the day, conservative activists were spreading false info about imagined voter fraud in Iowa. Lead Stories debunked the nonsense here. Numerous right-wing websites have posted about it anyway, including Sean Hannity's site. Donie O'Sullivan noticed that when Facebook users try to post the link to Hannity.com, a fact-check box warns them that the post has false info...
This news came as a shock to millions of Rush Limbaugh fans on Monday: Near the end of his three-hour broadcast, he announced that he was diagnosed with an advanced stage of lung cancer about two weeks ago.
"I wish I didn't have to tell you this, and I thought about not trying to tell anybody, I thought about trying to do this without anybody knowing, because I don't like making things about me," he said. But "there are going to be days that I'm not going to be able to be here, because I will be undergoing treatment, or I'm reacting to treatment." On Tuesday, Mark Steyn will fill in. Limbaugh said he intends to be back on the air this Thursday.
Prayers for Limbaugh and his loved ones. 🙏
Disney and Snap earnings after the close...
The State of the Union, live at 9pm ET in all the usual places...
Stephen Colbert's "Late Show" will be live with SOTU reaction...
"Fox agreed" to what?
On Monday the DOJ released another 300 pages of notes from major witness interviews in Robert Mueller's Russia probe. CNN's team has a complete recap of the key findings right here.
Page five of Steve Bannon's interview is eyebrow-raising. The NYT's Adam Goldman tweeted Monday evening: "I wonder what 'Fox News Sunday' has to say about this little item in Bannon's FBI interview with the special counsel?"
I wonder, too. The item involves Fox anchor Chris Wallace's interview with the president-elect in December 2016. "He did an interview with Chris Wallace that weekend," the Bannon interview recap says. "Wallace brought up Flynn's son's tweets, which Trump had not heard about. It was embarrassing for Trump, and Fox agreed to cut out that part of the interview."
Is that true -- did Fox "agree" to omit something? Or did Bannon get it wrong? I repeatedly asked a Fox News spokeswoman for comment on Monday night, and did not hear back...
Show of solidarity by UK journalists
Hadas Gold emails from London: British journalists staged a walk out of a briefing by UK government officials in protest after several of their colleagues were blocked from attending. Downing Street had invited certain reporters to a technical briefing on the UK's future relationship with the EU. But other journalists also showed up. A security official said they couldn't enter... And instead of allowing the group to be split up, all the reporters walked out of Downing Street. Other members of the media praised the show of solidarity.
-- Number 10 did not respond to my request for comment, but other reporters said they were told by Boris Johnson's head of comms, "We're welcome to brief whoever we like..."
-- "I can say that in 22 years of being a political journalist, I’ve never experienced a day like today," tweeted HuffPost UK's political editor Paul Waugh...
FOR THE RECORD, PART ONE
-- I get the impression that many people have tuned out the impeachment trial now that Trump's acquittal has been fast-tracked. But here's the latest: "Senators now have the opportunity to speak on the Senate floor before casting their votes on Trump's fate Wednesday..." (CNN)
-- When Trump complains about seeing Dems on Fox, "I think that the president fails to understand what Fox News is all about, which is that we are covering the election... And we're going to give equal coverage and equal exposure to both sides," Chris Wallace says... (Deadline)
-- Speaking of Fox and Dems, Sarah Ellison profiled Fox correspondent Peter Doocy, son of Steve, who "has been assigned to cover the Democratic field writ large..." (WaPo)
'Holy cow:' YouTube's revenue
"Holy cow," CNN's Brian Fung tweeted, reacting to Alphabet's big Monday afternoon surprise: "Google reveals it made over $15 billion from YouTube ads last year alone — up 36 percent from 2018 and 86 percent compared to 2017." Fung said "YouTube made $28,822 per minute in ad revenue last year..."
Context: "Alphabet for the first time disclosed the size of various business units within Google, including YouTube advertising," Clare Duffy wrote.
Putting YouTube's massive scale in perspective: THR's Alex Weprin said "YouTube had more revenue last year than Fox Corp. or Discovery Inc." The Information's Nick Wingfield and Tom Dotan said "YouTube makes more money from advertising than the ABC, NBC and Fox broadcast networks -- combined."
Clickhole's new owner
Kerry Flynn writes: Cards Against Humanity has bought satirical site Clickhole from G/O Media, the companies announced on Monday. BuzzFeed News reporter Katie Notopoulos has the scoop: "The deal will allow ClickHole to bring on additional staff -- it currently has only five full-time employees -- and explore new revenue streams." The site will operate independently...
FOR THE RECORD, PART THREE
-- Jessica Mann, who testified in court that Harvey Weinstein raped her, "had a panic attack on the witness stand and abruptly ended her testimony during cross-examination Monday." She is expected to retake the stand on Tuesday... (CNN)
-- "An African-American man who was fired from his job as a producer at One America News Network was not harassed on the basis of racial prejudice, but was fired in part because he lodged such a complaint, a jury found Monday." A jury awarded the man $290,000 in damages... (SDUT)
Tribune management shakeup
Kerry Flynn writes: Tribune Publishing CEO and President Tim Knight is leaving, the company announced on Monday. CFO Terry Jimenez is replacing him. As the NYT's Edmund Lee wrote, "The changes come two months after Alden Global Capital, a New York hedge fund once called 'a destroyer of newspapers,' acquired the single largest stack in the company and installed two of eight directors on the board."
A streak of bad press for WaPo
Kerry Flynn writes: Marty Baron didn't have a good Monday. First, HuffPost's Emily Peck published a story titled "Staffers say sexism runs deep at The Washington Post," where women have been paid less and one contractor said she was fired after asking for a raise.
Second, The Daily Beast's Max Tani reported on Baron threatening to fire Wesley Lowery if he continued to violate WaPo's social media policy. Here's the story...
Super ratings for the Bowl
Sunday's game averaged 102 million viewers across several Fox channels and streaming outlets, up from about 100 million on TV and online last year. Overall, Frank Pallotta noted, "the NFL's TV viewership for the 2019 season was up roughly 5%... The most-watched NFL season in three years."
Why was Super Bowl viewership up? Fox Sports data guru Michael Mulvihill tweeted some of the reasons: "Quality of the game... Later start time... Much stronger pre-game viewing... Home markets. KC, SF way up."
Conversely, why wasn't viewership up MORE? He offered three reasons: "Game length." Sunday was the shortest SB in six years, and that lessens the impact of the "most-watched part of the game." Also, weather: "No part of the U.S. faced severe weather that keeps more people home." And "host market..."
Fun with Super Bowl #'s
--> More from Mulvihill: "Kansas City posted an extraordinary 55.7 rating and 89 share for the Chiefs first Super Bowl win in 50 years. Local viewing peaked in the final quarter hour at a 62.6 rating and an astonishing 97 share."
--> Three hours before the game, Hannity's chat with Trump averaged 10.3 million viewers, Hannity's biggest single audience ever...
--> After the game, "The Masked Singer" averaged 23.7 million viewers...
FOR THE RECORD, PART FOUR
-- Brian Lowry notes: Kantar Media projected the ad revenue from this year's Super Bowl as a new record – an estimated $435 million... (Kantar)
-- At halftime, Shakira's tongue was both a meme -- and educational. Lisa Respers France's story explains... (CNN)
-- Bill Murray's "Groundhog Day" Super Bowl ad for Jeep made people real nostalgic. And it won USA Today's ad meter competition... (USA Today)
-- The 2021 Super Bowl will be on CBS... And ViacomCBS, with an eye toward upcoming rights negotiations with the NFL, began to promote it first thing Monday morning... "CBS, your home for Super Bowl LV" promos ran all day long on the company's 24 networks and social feeds. "It just shows what our commitment is to the NFL and big events on ViacomCBS," Sean McManus told Brian Steinberg... (Variety)
Will Fox see any lingering benefits?
Brian Lowry writes: The Super Bowl has a long tail media-wise, given all the next-day coverage of the halftime show, the commercials and the game. But in TV circles the related question is whether the host network – this year, Fox – sees any lingering benefits from all the promos for upcoming series that were crammed into the game.
The answer should come in earnest on Wednesday, when "The Masked Singer" – which launched behind the game – officially begins its season, followed by the new series "Lego Masters."
FOR THE RECORD, PART FIVE
-- Friday night's tribute to Kobe Bryant, at the first Los Angeles Lakers game since his death, was "the second most-watched regular season NBA game in ESPN's history," with 4.4 million viewers... (TheWrap)
-- "ESPN will drop a special 96-page magazine on Friday dedicated to Kobe Bryant -- the company's first such special issue since ESPN the Magazine ceased publishing in September," John Ourand reports. This edition of his newsletter, typically for subscribers only, is accessible to all... (SBJ)
-- Steve Rousseau wrote about blocking more than 1,000 brands on Twitter. "Brand blockers" is apparently a thing... (OneZero)
Lowry reviews "McMillions"
Brian Lowry writes: HBO kicked off a new docu-series on Monday, "McMillions," about the McDonalds Monopoly game scam back in 2001. It's interesting stuff, but also a sign of how the trend toward stretching documentaries into multi-part projects, a la "Making a Murderer" and "The Jinx," doesn't always serve the material well...
Disney paying huge $$$ for "Hamilton"
Lin-Manuel Miranda announced the news about Disney "bringing the hit musical, starring the original Broadway cast, to movie theaters on October 15, 2021," as Jordan Valinsky wrote here.
But Miranda "omitted one of the most breathtaking parts of the deal," Deadline's Dade Hayes said: "According to sources, Disney beat out other suitors and paid $75 million for worldwide rights to the show." Hayes said, "I can't think of an acquisition of a finished film that has gone for more money than this one. It is, however, a seminal cultural zeitgeist event..."
A rare interview with Liza Minnelli
She is on the cover of this week's Variety... The mag's Oscars 2020 edition... Pegged to the Oscar buzz surrounding "Judy." The cover story will be out on Tuesday morning...
Peter Roth re-ups with Warner Bros
"Peter Roth, who has overseen the television production operations of Warner Bros for the past 21 years, has signed a new multi-year contract extension to remain at the helm of the independent TV studio," Deadline's Nellie Andreeva reports. "In conjunction with his new deal, Roth has been elevated to the newly created position of Chairman of the Warner Bros Television Group. The re-upping comes months ahead of the end of Roth's current contract this coming summer. He will continue to report to Ann Sarnoff, Chair and CEO, Warner Bros..."
FOR THE RECORD, PART SIX
-- "In its first-ever festival acquisition," HBO Max has picked up "On The Record" from Oscar-nominated directors Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, Mia Galuppo reports... (THR)
-- Julia Alexander reports on Justin Bieber's cringeworthy effort to make his single "Yummy" TikTok viral... (The Verge)
-- Gary Baum wrote about Dylan Howard's "Hollywood reboot" and asked: "Why are so many A-listers working with a tabloid henchman?" (THR)
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See you tomorrow...