CNN’s hiring of ex-Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski has already proven to be a gigantic mess. Journalists—including, reportedly, those within CNN—have objected to the network paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to a man who has personally threatened people who are now his colleagues, but CNN has soldiered on anyway with the belief that Lewandowski provides unique insight into the Trump campaign.
As the profession of journalism slowly dies, what is sprouting up in its wake are “content creators”—people who replicate the facade of journalism while skipping most of the hard stuff. One manifestation of this phenomenon is the growing swath of people who review art and entertainment on YouTube, healdined by Pewdiepie, the Swede who has become the single most subscribed user on Youtube, making of tens of millions of dollars in the process.
Today the New York Observer published an “open letter” to the newspaper’s owner, Jared Kushner, in which a reporter named Dana Schwartz asks her boss to reconsider his close relationship with his father-in-law, the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who recently tweeted (and later deleted) an anti-Semitic meme about Hillary Clinton. Schwartz, who is Jewish, tells Kushner, who is also Jewish: “When you stand silent and smiling in the background, his Jewish son-in-law, you’re giving his most hateful supporters tacit approval.”
Remember Jonah Lehrer, the pop-psychology author and New Yorker staff writer who invented Bob Dylan quotes and somehow managed to plagiarize himself? After resigning from his magazine gig in mid-2012, and watching his publisher retract two of his three books, Lehrer laid low for a few years—but not so low as to prevent him from issuing a mealy-mouthed apology during a journalism conference, or signing a fourth book contract with Simon & Schuster. And now he has a new book to sell.
Well-known suit-wearer Gay Talese is scheduled to release a book in two weeks. The book is about a man, Gerald Foos, who says he purchased and maintained a motel in Colorado for several decades specifically for the purpose of spying on his customers as they did such private activities as having sex and using the bathroom. Part of the book was adapted into a long New Yorker article published April 11, which revealed that Talese had, at one point, peeped along with Foos, and potentially concealed the existence of a murder that Foos said had taken place at the motel.
This morning, esteemed bus terminal periodical USA Today reported stunning news: Author Cormac McCarthy had died suddenly at the age of 82. The news was posted to the paper’s Twitter account in a tweet that has since been deleted because Cormac McCarthy is not actually dead—he was only pronounced so by an Italian prankster who has made it his life’s mission to exploit the burden of efficiency that weighs on journalists everywhere.
On Friday, Page Six reported that CNN staffers were “pissed” and felt “betrayed” after the network’s president, Jeff Zucker, hired Donald Trump’s physically combative former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, as an exclusive contributor to CNN programming. Citing what appear to be at least three sources (including one “TV insider”), the column claimed that female and Latino staffers were particularly alarmed by Lewandowski’s new position:
Last year, a man named Bayna El-Amin smashed a chair over the head of another man named Jonathan Snipes at a Chelsea Dallas BBQ. Snipes, who is gay, initially portrayed the attack to DNAInfo as bias-related and unprovoked. Because El-Amin fled the scene and wasn’t arrested until over a month later, the public didn’t get to hear his side of the story. That, along with our cultural imperative to believe a victim when he speaks out, meant that Snipes’ narrative prevailed. (Snipes’s boyfriend, Ethan York-Adams, was also involved in the altercation.) It seemed an obvious example of “anti-LGBT hate violence,” in the words of City Councilman Corey Johnson, until an important detail emerged: El-Amin himself is queer.
Despite being fired in shame by Donald Trump’s enormous adult sons, Corey Lewandowski will not be exiting your life any time soon. This afternoon, CNN announced that it has hired Trump’s ex-campaign manager as a political commentator. Per Politico, the position is salaried and will make Lewandowski exclusive to CNN.
Last night, the New York Times reported on Iowa Congressman Steve King’s attempt to block the Obama administration from changing the face of the $20 bill from Andrew Jackson to the black abolitionist Harriet Tubman. At first glance, the piece reads as straightforward, workaday journalism. On closer inspection, however, it reveals a few of the paper of record’s most entrenched pathologies.
Gawker Media has filed for bankruptcy. The specific circumstances leading to that bankruptcy are unique and bizarre. The fact of a media company declaring itself bankrupt, however, is pretty much a commonplace. Under other conditions—even facing down a different, more conventionally motivated lawsuit—Gawker’s bankruptcy process might seem somewhat straightforward.
Perhaps the most embarrassing aspect of filing for bankruptcy is the well-meaning condolence note from a friend. “I’m so sorry,” more than one has written. That sympathy is often followed by fear for what Facebook director Peter Thiel’s revenge campaign—a billionaire secretly funding lawsuits against publishers, editors, and writers for stories that disrespected him and his friends—means for the functioning of a critical press.
We in the journalism field suffer the daily indignities of a dying industry, so sometimes our bosses try and cheer us up, usually with room temperature pizza sitting in clotted pools of grease. Bad pizza is better than some alternatives, though, such as the cake recently served to some staffers of The Oregonian which caused their bodies to spew shit like a punctured oil pipe.
One day after the Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel revealed his clandestine legal attack on Gawker Media to the New York Times, Gawker reporter Ashley Feinberg published a lengthy investigation that sought to solve the enduring mystery of Donald Trump’s infamous mane, which she described as a “cotton candy hairspray labyrinth.”