How big a deal is this Clinton emails story? Well, years ago when I was a front-page editor I had occasion to study the front pages of major papers across the country very carefully, and I concluded the NYT had THE most exquisite, nuanced sense of how important a story was, and how to play it. Most days, the NYT’s Web lede is confined to one column. Here’s how they played this (three columns, essentially).
I promised y’all an Open Thread, but decided on a VFP instead (if you care what the difference is, ask and I’ll explain down in the comments):
FBI to review Clinton emails found on Weiner’s device (WashPost) — At this point, if you’re Hillary Clinton, the last thing you want to see — on every major news outlet’s lede story — is your name and “Weiner” in the same headline. Right now, the candidate’s wishing Anthony and Huma were still together so she could tell Huma to go slap him up ‘side the head.
Recreation board refuses Haley’s request for sexual harassment report (The State) — This is a bit old now — it was in The State this morning. But… really? I love the sarcastic nod to transparency when the board came out of executive session to make this decision in a three-minute public session. Why’d they do this? Well, “Green and the five board members at the meeting refused comment and left the meeting without speaking to reporters.”
Just as an exercise in discipline, I’m going to force myself to do a VFP despite this being a light news day. Hey, real newspapers have to, so it’s good to keep my hand in. To make it even harder, I’ll stick to the old 1980s-era rule of having six stories. No copping out:
NPR Poll: Are Parents Overrating The Quality Of Child Care? (NPR) — The answer, by the way, is yes. This is similar to what we found at ADCO doing focus groups for a group working with Child Care Services division of DSS a few years back: People tend to rationalize that their childcare provider is just fine.
How about that? Despite (or perhaps because of) the lack of hard news out there, I came up with a pretty interesting, diverse set of topics for you. And nothing about Donald Trump! You can thank me later.
And no, I’m not deliberately ignoring the situation with the Iranian-backed rebels shooting at a U.S. warship. But we had a good discussion about that earlier, and I’m not seeing any new developments on it today. I looked…
Recreation Commission director indicted on misconduct in office charge (The State) — Some of you have wondered when, oh when, some of these investigations might bear fruit. Well, here you go. And it really didn’t take all that long. The bigger problem is that in any normally constituted system of government, he’d have been fired by now. That is the systemic flaw that needs to be addressed.
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The big stories at this hour:
Trump says US may abandon automatic protections for NATO countries (BBC) — WOW. In other news, the United States of America is changing its name to Country That Ran Out On the Whole World. He’s got great timing, doesn’t he? He says this the week of the convention, on the eve of his acceptance speech? And you know what? His supporters will go, “What’s the big deal?” Yo, Putin! Your BFF’s planning to lower the gates for you; are the tanks fueled up? Go ahead and roll into the Baltics, unless you want to finish Ukraine first. Your call…
Supreme Court rejects conservative challenge to ‘one person, one vote’ (WashPost) — For all of you who paid attention in school, this is what we used to call “one man, one vote.” So, way important. A side note: As long as the Court is willing to rule unanimously, as they did on this, I guess maybe replacing Scalia isn’t as urgent. Yes, my tongue is in my cheek, but it’s nice to see them not splitting into the liberal/conservative camps. Gives one hope and all that.
Gunshots fired at U.S. Capitol (WashPost) — Someone has been shot; may have been a police officer, may have been the shooter. This could turn into a lede, depending on how it develops. The Tweets pictured above illustrate how confused initial reports are.
John McCain: Salute to a Communist (NYT) — Just a really interesting read, by one of my favorite Americans. It’s got Hemingway in it, and the Spanish Civil War. And adventure, and nobility, and honor. Fine stuff.
There’s enough real news out there today to put together a VFP without relaxing standards (this is so much better than the days when I had to do one for the dead-tree paper every day, whether there was news or not):
Graham: Swallow hard, back Cruz, stop Trump— No way, senator. Cruz is in his own way as bad as Trump, and you know it. You also know that Hillary would be preferable — to you, to me — than either of them, even though we’d both like to have a better alternative. Of course, I couldn’t care less about your party, but if you want to save it, you shouldn’t compromise further than Rubio. And yeah, I see the math you’re looking at (which shows Cruz as more viable). But even you should realize that sometimes a party isn’t worth saving, and that would be true if Republicans who know better turn to Cruz.
Stop-Trump Forces Regroup After Rout — Actually, that’s too optimistic-sounding. “Regroup” suggests some sort of organization possessing a hierarchy and discipline, such as a military unit, coming together and, on the basis of their training, adapting to a new tactical situation. This is a bunch of disconnected rivals running around like freshly decapitated chickens.
Or call it an Open Thread and bring up your own topic, if you prefer. We haven’t had a really good, in-depth conversation about anything yet this year. Let’s see if one of these topics has the magic:
China Market Woes Reflect Pessimism Over Economy — They shut down their exchange today right after it opened, and sent markets tumbling around the world. I’m beginning to suspect the ChiComs just don’t get capitalism. Not that we’ve been doing all that great with it lately ourselves… Meanwhile, right next door…
The Oregon occupation — Anyone have any thoughts to share about this, such as the back-and-forth on whether these guys are “terrorists?” Here’s one side on that point and here’s the other. My own preliminary take: Don’t you have to actually commit violence to be a terrorist? These guys are armed (which is what disqualifies them from the same category as students who take over the administration building), so it seems the most we can say is that they are potential, or maybe even incipient, terrorists. Or terrorist wannabes, perhaps…
Or don’t. You know what? I can’t stand the way that video keeps autoplaying, so I’ve removed the embed code. If you want to view it, here’s the link. Anyway, I’ve got my own, more recent, Graham clip up now.
Who’s going to see Star Wars this weekend? (thestate.com) — Personally, I’m going to wait a bit; I don’t like crowded theaters. A weekday matinee, perhaps, sometime after Christmas. But I’m curious: How many of y’all have tickets for tonight, for instance?
Asteroid flamed out passing over Lake Murray (thestate.com) — That was what caused that flash in the predawn sky over the lake. It was most certainly not an alien spacecraft. I’m quite sure about this because I and other local journalists were told this by some very official-seeming guys in black suits, right after they flashed their own bright light in our eyes. Now everybody go see Star Wars and don’t bother thinking about this.
Click on the image to view this and more Ariail cartoons at thestate.com.
Just to take a quick run around the bases…
Fed Stands Pat, Wary of Global Tumult — WSJ — As I understand it (from having tortured myself listening to commentary on NPR), this is bad news because the Fed isn’t optimistic about our economy, and it’s good news because businesses are likely to invest more and wages might finally rise a bit. I think.
13 USC fraternities suspended from recruitment — thestate.com — Speaking, as we were earlier, about people who have odd priorities when it comes to higher education… I’m curious: Were any of y’all in fraternities or sororities? Why?
I’m told this is the Bangkok bomb site, the day after. Yes, those are Buddhist monks. I’m watching this with particular attention since three of my kids are about to go there to visit their little sister./photo by Michael Massey
Some headlines at this hour:
Dow Hits 2015 Low on Growth Worries — Worst day in 18 months. Cut it out, Wall Street! I’m sick of y’all’s fits of anxiety and the malaise it causes the rest of us to live in. Give us a break!
Gov. Nikki Haley opposes moving Guantanamo Bay detainees to SC — Interestingly (to me, since I didn’t know it), she’s joined in this by Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott (and Mark Sanford). Not that she wants the problem dumped on Kansas, either — which beyond professional courtesy to Sam Brownback, I don’t understand. Kansas not only has a long history of housing federal prisoners, it’s about as far from the madding crowd (such as Charleston’s tourists) as you can get. It’s the land of eight-man football, after all…
This is one of those in-between kinds of days in which there’s no really overriding news. So you get the weird phenomenon of all of these news entities having completely different lede stories. Which might not be interesting to you, but is to me.
Here they are, in no particular order — since they’re all ledes, right?…
Google Unveils Wireless Service Called ‘Project Fi’ (WSJ) — Of all these stories, I may be the most interested in this one. But as an editor, I don’t consider it the most important, and would lede with it. And when I read that it won’t work with iPhones, I lose personal interest as well…
S.C. agency changes policies after lawsuit by transgender teen (The State) — Lemme explain this to you: It seems that she… I mean, it seems that he… well, I lack the vocabulary. I tell you what, though: Cases such as this are a good argument for bringing back the inclusive “he.” They still do it in Spanish, after all…
I haven’t done one of these for awhile, out of laziness. I’ll start to do one, but I can’t find six stories that I think are worth a front. So I cop out and do an Open Thread instead. But were this an actual newspaper, I’d have to come up with six (OK, given the demise of the broadsheet, more like five, or even four) whether they were worthy or not.
So as a matter of discipline, I’m going to make myself do this. Fortunately, we do have a serious lede story today: