SPECIAL EDITION: Times vs Post; Trump vs world; leak threat; ‘danger zone;’ Gergen calls this ‘impeachment territory;’ what will Trump tweet?

By Brian Stelter and the CNNMoney Media team. View this email in your browser!
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One-two punch 

Last Tuesday in the 5pm hour: James Comey found out he was fired. This Tuesday in the 5pm hour: “Trump Asked Comey to End Flynn Inquiry.” The New York Times bombshell came just 24 hours after the WashPost scoop about the president sharing classified info with the Russians… a one-two punch… in both cases, CNN and other news outlets quickly confirmed the key details…

NYT and WashPost “locked in battle”

From an emailer: “If anyone doubted the relevance of newspapers, the past two days should erase those doubts.” 

Post turned NYT reporter Adam Goldman tweeted Tuesday night: “The @nytimes and @washingtonpost are locked in battle. And every day First Amendment gets stronger & people get real news that matters.”

GOPers avoiding cameras

MSNBC’s Joy Reid pointed out “the absence of Republicans on TV tonight” in the 10pm hour. Earlier in the evening, Bret Baier said the same thing on Fox: “We’ve tried,” but “there aren’t Republicans willing to go on camera tonight.”

 — Jeffrey Lord on “AC360:” “We are once again in high-tech media lynching mode.” The other panelists were not buying what Lord was selling…

Surprise: Trump hasn’t tweeted yet. When will he weigh in?

As of 11:15pm ET, @realDonaldTrump has stayed silent… I’ll be talking about Trump’s comms strategy on “CNN Tonight” at 12am…

Reactions to a whirlwind day

 — Rachel Maddow: “What a night…”
 — Fox’s headline asks if this is “COMEY’S REVENGE…”
 — David Gergen on CNN: “We’re in impeachment territory now…”
 — David Ignatius says “Trump’s presidency is beginning to unravel…”
 — WSJ editorial board: “Loose Lips Sink Presidencies”

Trump reportedly told Comey to consider putting reporters behind bars

Quoting from Michael Schmidt‘s NYT story: “Alone in the Oval Office, Mr. Trump began the discussion by condemning leaks to the news media, saying that Mr. Comey should consider putting reporters in prison for publishing classified information, according to one of Mr. Comey’s associates…”

 — Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press exec director Bruce Brown: “The comments attributed to President Trump cross a dangerous line…

 — “The White House did not respond Tuesday when asked to address the president’s remark about imprisoning reporters,” Dylan Byers writes…

Speaking of leaking…

“Under intense pressure from the White House, the Justice Department is prepared to aggressively prosecute government officials who leak classified information,” The Daily Beast’s Betsy Woodruff reports. “Justice Department officials told The Daily Beast that targeting leakers will be a priority during Jeff Sessions‘ time as attorney general…”

Must-read by Erick Erickson

His Tuesday morning blog post, “I Know One of the Sources,” is a reality check about why people sometimes blow the whistle…
 — Former Obama aide Jon Favreau‏ tweets: “If you’re one of the senior White House officials speaking on background about what a disaster Trump is, maybe it’s time for you to quit…”
While the W.H. didn’t deny the prison comment, it did deny that Trump ever asked Comey to end any investigation… The statement was not attributed to any specific individual…

“The danger zone”

After Jim Acosta read the administration’s denial on “AC360,” Anderson Cooper said: “Jim, I don’t ask this next question lightly. But — that’s an official statement from the White House — why should anybody believe them? Given that other official statements from this White House have then been contradicted by the President of the United States in a tweetstorm early in the morning the next day, or hours later even at times. So how do we know that the president himself isn’t going to come out with something else completely different tomorrow morning?

Acosta’s answer: “Anderson, that is the danger zone that this White House is in right now…”

Dylan asks: “Does anyone in Trump’s White House have credibility?”

Dylan Byers wrote this before the NYT story hit: “The next time the White House wants to make a credible defense of President Trump’s actions, who should it send to the podium? There’s not really a good answer…”

Maybe Sean Spicer or other aides will be tossed overboard, but “such a shakeup would be unlikely to solve Trump’s problem, because Trump is the problem,” Byers wrote. “He is the one forcing his aides to defend dubious claims. He is the one sending his spokespeople and surrogates out in front of cameras without the full details of his thinking…”

 >> On Tuesday night, after the NYT story hit, Trump spokespeople were remarkably quiet…

Matthew Miller predicted this

Flashback: former DOJ flack/now MSNBC analyst Matthew Miller tweeted this last Thursday: “One thing I learned at DOJ about Comey: he leaves a protective paper trail whenever he deems something inappropriate happened. Stay tuned.

“White House Fights a Familiar Enemy: The Press”

…That’s the headline on Michael Grynbaum’s Wednesday NYT story. Semi-related: these quotes from Newt Gingrich to Politico’s Josh Dawsey. “I am personally offended by the American news media. I think it is destructive and disgusting. It is a danger to the country right now,” Gingrich said…

Issa denies flicking off Politico reporter

An eye-popping tweet from Politico’s Rachael Bade: “Just asked @DarrellIssa abt the Comey news and he flicked me off — literally gave me the middle finger — and kept walking. Said nothing.” Issa responded: “I respect @rachaelmbade and worked with her for years. I know she must have seen or heard something to believe this happened, but it didn’t”

Wednesday’s NY Daily News cover:

Quote of the day
“We are only on day 117 of the Trump presidency, and now, tonight, we do not know how many more days there will be in the Trump presidency. The four year calendar of the presidency is now in serious jeopardy…”

Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC


Tapper’s essay

Jake Tapper’s must-watch intro on Tuesday’s “The Lead:” “The Trump administration reportedly revealed information to Russians that CNN was asked not to report.” CNN withheld the specifics back in March.

“As of today, before this broadcast, we are still being told by the Trump administration to not report the name of the city, and we won’t,” Tapper said…

Guilfoyle gunning for Spicer’s job?

Dylan Byers emails: Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle has been telling colleagues — and the Bay Area News Group — that she is in talks with the White House to replace Spicer or take on another communications role. “I’m a patriot, and it would be an honor to serve the country,” Guilfoyle told Bay Area. “I think it’d be a fascinating job, it’s a challenging job, and you need someone really determined and focused, a great communicator in there with deep knowledge to be able to handle that position.”

 — A word of caution, folks: “Talks” don’t necessarily mean anything more than informal suggestions from specific people at the White House. They certainly don’t mean she’s in line for the job or going to get the job. Is it at least noteworthy that it’s been brought up? Sure.

 — What Fox says: “Kimberly is a valued member of the FOX News primetime lineup, and is under a long-term contract with the network. (Read: Not going anywhere.)

 — What Guilfoyle says: “As I stated in the [Bay Area] interview, I really love what I do and my job co-hosting The Five is tough to beat.”


“Story on DNC staffer’s murder dominated conservative media — hours later it fell apart”

Oliver Darcy emails: The murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich was back in the conservative news stream on Tuesday, earning front page splashes on Fox News, Breitbart, and the Drudge Report. But after some digging, it was clear that the story was falling apart.

 –> Fox has some serious questions to answer about its conspiratorial coverage of this story. Read Oliver’s full report here… 

For the record, part one
 — The Guardian spoke with creators of “fake news” sites who claim that Facebook’s warning labels, which alert users about bogus stories and point them to fact-checkers, are sometimes having “the opposite effect,” driving more clicks to the crap…

 — Via CNNMoney’s Seth Fiegerman:Facebook has found yet another issue with its ad metrics — and now there’s money involved.” Refunds! 

 — On Tuesday “Fox News contributor Tammy Bruce apologized on air for calling a 10-year-old autistic boy a ‘snowflake,’” one day after Jake Tapper’s show highlighted the offensive segment…

MSNBC #1 in the demo again Monday night

This is an extraordinary moment in the cable news race. MSNBC was #1 in the 25-54 demo in prime time again on Monday… continuing last week’s trend… CNN was #2… and Fox News was #3. Sean Hannity even alluded to it on Tuesday night, saying leftists “are doing better than ever on cable news…”

Lawrence O’Donnell update

Rachel Maddow very publicly backed Lawrence O’Donnell on Tuesday night… saying “I consider us a team…” while rumors continue to swirl about O’Donnell’s fate. His contract is set to expire in just a few weeks.

As of Tuesday morning “O’Donnell’s high-powered agent, Ari Emanuel, the co-chief executive of William Morris Endeavor, had likewise been unable to obtain clarity about MSNBC management’s intentions,” Lloyd Grove reported, citing a source. But the official line is that negotiations are underway and that O’Donnell is likely to stay… 

Murdoch holding a pep talk for Fox Newsers on Wednesday

Rupert Murdoch will rally the Fox News troops on Wednesday, unveiling plans to renovate its second-floor newsroom in Manhattan,” Deadline’s Lisa de Moraes reports. She says “the event is intended as a venue in which Murdoch will talk about moving the company forward, and its future…”

Record traffic for this Atlantic cover story

Leezel Tanglao emails: The Atlantic’s newest cover story is Alex Tizon’s last story — he died in March — and according the editor’s note, he didn’t know this story was going to be on the cover: “He died the day we made that decision, before we had a chance to tell him.” It is powerful, sad, real — to put such a personal story out there with such detail — that takes guts…
For the record, part two
 — Michael Smerconish scored a very rare interview with Bill Cosby… it aired on Smerconish’s radio show on Tuesday… here’s what Cosby did and did not say…

 — “Michael Moore has been secretly making a documentary” about Trump’s electoral win, “Fahrenheit 11/9,” and “Bob and Harvey Weinstein have just personally secured worldwide rights…”

 — Quick humblebrag here: “Reliable Sources” was #1 in the demo in its time slot again on Sunday… that’s three weeks in a row…


The ABC’s of the upfront

Brian Lowry emails: ABC has had a pretty rough season ratings-wise, which explains why the fall lineup it unveiled featured significant changes – what Variety described as “major surgery” – across the week.

“Let’s be honest: We have higher standards for our performance,” Ben Sherwood said near the outset of Tuesday’s presentation. Still, the big reinforcements might have to wait until midseason, when””American Idol” is tentatively scheduled to return, along with some of the network’s more promising-looking new series. The fall’s biggest gamble is probably the new Marvel show “Inhumans,” a genuine superhero show that will premiere in Imax theaters in conjunction with its network debut…

 — Jimmy Kimmel – whose upfront routines were characterized by Channing Dungey as his “annual display of insubordination” – stayed home because of his newborn son’s health issues.

 — Sin of omission? During ABC’s pre-upfront conference call with reporters, Vulture’s Joe Adalian asked Dungey if the network is considering a spinoff of “Scandal” or “Grey’s Anatomy.” Dungey sidestepped the question, then announced plans for the latter, set in a firehouse, during the presentation…

This is “SportsCenter?”

Frank Pallotta emails: John Skipper didn’t take questions from reporters at ESPN‘s upfront, but he couldn’t avoid what was on everyone’s mind: The media landscape is changing, and ESPN has to change with it. “Let me be up front at this upfront,” Skipper said at the Minskoff Theatre. “ESPN is responding to change, and we are making changes from the most dramatic position of strength.” Read more from Frank and Ahiza Garcia here…

“Roseanne” returns

Lisa France emails: The nostalgia factor is so heavy right now. Showtime is bringing back “Twin Peaks,” NBC is bringing back “Will & Grace,” and now ABC is rebooting “Roseanne…” with the original cast… including both Becky’s.

Get ready for the think-pieces about the Trump influence… since it’s a show featuring a working class family in middle America.. and since Roseanne Barr has been vocal in her support of the president. Read Lisa’s full story here…

So who’s going to host “American Idol?”

Chloe Melas emails: Who is hosting “American Idol?” That was the big question after the ABC presentation. ABC entertainment prez Channing Dungey announced that Katy Perry will be one of the judges, but made no mention of Ryan Seacrest, who has been rumored to be the host. Seacrest even said on “Live” last week that he was open to the gig, although it will inevitably make his schedule even more hectic. Considering the upfront would have been the logical place for the announcement, I can only assume ABC is still in negotiations with Seacrest…

Wednesday: Turner and CBS upfronts

Turner in the morning, CBS in the afternoon… John Koblin has a preview of Kevin Reilly’s TNT/TBS presentation in Wednesday’s NYT… check it out here…
The entertainment desk

Are more Hollywood hacks on the horizon?

Sandra Gonzalez writes: It happened to Disney. It happened to Netflix. And it’s going to happen again — because Hollywood has a hacking problem.

Read her full story here…

Kimmel hosting next year’s Oscars

Lisa France emails: Jimmy Kimmel is probably hoping that next year’s Oscars won’t have as dramatic an ending as this year’s mixup! Kimmel has been announced as the host again… he’ll be master of ceremony for the 90th Academy Awards…

Chloe interviews Tracy Morgan

Chloe Melas emails: I sat down with Tracy Morgan to discuss his new Netflix standup comedy special. He got very candid while talking about the tragic 2014 car crash that left him in a coma and his best friend dead. He said it’s his family and fans that keep him returning to the stage and humor gets him through the grief. Read more…
For the record, part three
By Lisa France:

 — Ben Huggins and Lauren Bushnell are the latest “Bachelor” couple to split. But don’t give up on love! Here’s why…

 — “Dancing With the Stars” had a shocking elimination, and fans were not having it…

 — Singer Elle King was secretly married this whole time. Huh? Details here…

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