ONE YEAR AGO TODAY, The New York Times published its bombshell report on Harvey Weinstein’s decades of alleged sexual harassment and cover-up. The story, by reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, was followed shortly after by Ronan Farrow’s New Yorker report, helping to unleash the #MeToo movement and fundamentally changing our politics and culture over the last 12 months.
— Fast-forward to today, and the Senate is scheduled to take a key procedural vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Reporters spent yesterday tracking senators as they filed in and out of a secure room to read the FBI’s report on the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh, and trying to read the tea-leaves on how key senators might vote. Meanwhile, huge crowds rallied outside against the nominee.
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— The accusations against Kavanaugh have prompted several women to come forward with their own stories, including on CSPAN. On Wednesday, Kantor posted a link to Connie Chung’s Washington Post column about her own sexual assault and tweeted, “One year after Weinstein, why is the #metoo discussion still so powerful and durable, lasting longer and going further than anyone predicted? Because women keep revealing horror stories, like this nightmare account from the TV journalist Connie Chung.”
Good morning and welcome to Morning Media. This is Jason Schwartz, in today for Michael Calderone. The newsletter will be off Monday, but fear not, Michael will be back on Tuesday. In the meantime, you can reach me at email@example.com and @JasonSchwartz, unless you are a New York Yankees fan. Michael is at firstname.lastname@example.org/@mlcalderone. Daniel Lippman (email@example.com/ @dlippman) contributed to the newsletter.
KAVANAUGH’S COLUMN: As senators weigh their final decisions, Kavanaugh used the Wall Street Journal editorial page to attempt to address concerns about his demeanor when he testified before the senate last week. “I was very emotional last Thursday, more so than I have ever been,” he wrote in an op-ed published Thursday night. “I might have been too emotional at times. I know that my tone was sharp, and I said a few things I should not have said.” Following his interview on Fox News, this is the second time Kavanaugh has used a Rupert Murdoch property to attempt to plead his case.
— Meanwhile, the Washington Post editorial board came out against Kavanaugh’s nomination, the first time it has opposed a nominee since Robert Bork in 1987. And not long after the Journal’s Kavanaugh column posted, the Post published a dueling column in opposition from Kavanaugh’s Yale drinking buddies.
GRASSLEY’S TAKE: Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, for one, does not think much of how the Kavanaugh nomination has been covered. The Republican senator lashed out at reporters yesterday during a press conference, saying, “I would never use the word ‘fake news.’ I consider you folks policemen to our Democratic system of government, but I want to show you where some of you have bias.”
First in Morning Media: The New York Times is launching a new podcast hosted by columnists Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and David Leonhardt, called “The Argument.” The first episode is set to go live next Thursday, with the idea that the three hosts, with their different political orientations, will, ahem, argue.
— In a statement, Times editorial page editor James Bennet said, “We’re really at risk of losing sight of the notion that disagreement can be constructive — that it’s pretty rare for any of us to be entirely right or wrong about anything,” adding that the hosts would “hash out the big questions of our times.”
GENIUS! How about some good news? Longtime Charleston Gazette-Mail reporter Ken Ward Jr. was awarded a MacArthur genius grant yesterday for, according to the MacArthur Foundation, his work “revealing the human and environmental toll of natural resource extraction in West Virginia.” Ward’s paper has faced hard times recently, but his work has been buoyed by a partnership with ProPublica. The only journalist to win one of 25 MacArthur fellowships this year, Ward told his paper, “My son will maybe understand the significance of this when he sees this is something that Lin-Manuel Miranda won.”
KHASHOGGI’S SPACE: Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabian journalist who has been critical of the kingdom’s leaders, has been missing since he walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Tuesday afternoon. To draw attention to his situation, the Post editorial page today has a large empty space where his column would have run, alongside the headline, in the print edition, “A Missing Voice.”
BLOOMBERG VS. BIG TECH: Bloomberg reporters Jordan Robertson and Michael Riley dropped a big story yesterday, reporting that the Chinese government implanted chips in servers being manufactured in the country, allowing it to infiltrate U.S. companies. Several journalists took note of the unusually strong reaction from Amazon and Apple — two of the companies reportedly hacked — which both denied the story’s findings in lengthy posts.
SOUNDBITE: “I absolutely trust Bloomberg’s reporting, which makes me all the more fascinated with how definitive the denials from Amazon, and now Apple, have been.” [Tom Gara]
WHO YOU CALLING CONSERVATIVE? Some three dozen conservatives wrote a letter to the Washington Post, demanding that the paper stop referring to columnist Jennifer Rubin as a conservative. Rubin, of course, has been highly critical of President Donald Trump.
NEW YORKER FESTIVAL KICKS OFF: There’s no Steve Bannon (remember that whole thing?), but some very timely speakers will take the stage at The New Yorker festival this weekend. On Saturday, New York Times reporter David Barstow — one of the three reporters behind the paper’s blockbuster this week accusing Trump of tax fraud — will sit on a panel discussing Trump and his money with Michael Avenatti, Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus and Trump adviser Felix Sater, moderated by The New Yorker’s Adam Davidson. New Yorker reporters Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer, who have been all over the Kavanaugh story, will also be speaking on a panel Saturday.
MELANIA SPEAKS: Melania Trump is sitting down with ABC News’ Tom Llamas for an interview, set to air a week from today at 10 p.m. on 20/20. Llamas accompanied Trump on her trip through Africa this week, and ABC News is promising a “wide-ranging interview” with the First Lady, who speaks rarely in public (her jacket, notwithstanding).
MSNBC WEEKEND SHUFFLE: On October 13, anchor and correspondent David Gura will launch a weekend show, airing from 8-10 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, Mediaite reports. Al Sharpton will move from the morning to weekend evenings, with a 5 p.m. show both days.
HERE TODAY, TRONC’D TOMORROW: Get your last jokes in. Tronc announced that, as of Tuesday, it will once again be called Tribune Publishing Company.
Slate editor in chief Julia Turner is joining the rush west to the LA Times, to serve as deputy managing editor responsible for arts and entertainment coverage.
CNN’s Brian Stelter got a title upgrade to Chief Media Correspondent and Anchor of “Reliable Sources.” The announcement was made on the same day that CNNMoney, for which he writes, relaunched as CNN Business.
– Come for Erik Wemple’s reporting in The Washington Post on Tucker Carlson settling a small-claims libel suit with a former Daily Caller reporter, stay for how Carlson responds when Wemple asks for comment.
– HuffPost editor in chief Lydia Polgreen talked with Vanity Fair editor Radhika Jones on the Recode Media podcast.
– The Daily Beast is celebrating its 10th birthday with a package of content, including an essay on its “insane launch” by Tina Brown.
– Boston Globe alums Joanna Weiss and Mike Workman have partnered with Northeastern University to launch Experience Magazine, which “examines the power of experience to spark ideas, solve problems, transform industries, and drive personal growth.”
– Several cable news hosts argued with each other on Twitter yesterday.
“It feels like only two days ago that the New York Times accused the president of the United States of massive tax fraud.” –Matt Pearce