Trump’s ‘fake news’ ad; Tucker’s book deal; Ackerman leaving Guardian; strike averted; Tony nominations; Kimmel’s moment

By Brian Stelter and the CNNMoney Media team. View this email in your browser!
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Trump’s new complaint about CNN

Sensing an opportunity to pick a fight, President Trump’s re-election campaign is accusing CNN of “censorship." Why? Because the channel won’t let the campaign buy airtime for an ad with a patently false claim.

Ad buyers know how this works. TV channels enforce certain standards for ads, and channels are well within their rights to reject ads that don’t meet those standards. This is not a “First Amendment" issue, no matter how loudly Trump’s allies say it is. But cynically creating a “controversy" about the ad stirs up contempt of the media, in this case CNN, which may accrue to Trump’s benefit.

So here’s what this is about…

“In a self-congratulatory ad marking his first 100 days in office, President Trump labels major television networks ‘fake news,'" WashPost’s Callum Borchers writes. The label is superimposed over the faces of Wolf Blitzer, Andrea Mitchell, Scott Pelley and other anchors.

“The ad is false"

CNN said in a statement that it “requested that the advertiser remove the false graphic that the mainstream media is ‘fake news.’ The mainstream media is not fake news, and therefore the ad is false and per policy will be accepted only if that graphic is deleted.

CNN didn’t object to anything else in the ad ― 29 seconds touting the president’s accomplishments ― although Trumpworld suggested otherwise…

RNC gets involved

The Trump re-election campaign’s exec director Michael Glassner said “it’s clear that CNN is trying to silence our voice and censor our free speech because it doesn’t fit their narrative." RNC chair Ronna McDaniel also invoked “freedom of speech" and said Tuesday afternoon that CNN should “apologize for their attempt to block the President’s message."

“This ‘fake news’ mantra is a political maneuver"

On Tuesday night Kellyanne Conway tweeted about the controversy, so it’s likely to get more attention on Wednesday, especially from conservative media. But CJR editor Kyle Pope told the NYT that CNN is “totally within their rights…" and added this… “It’s telling here that this is in a political ad by the political campaign because it’s increasingly clear that this ‘fake news’ mantra is a political maneuver more than anything."

“Almost no cable news play"

WashPost reporter/CNN contributor Wesley Lowery tweets: “3 big police shooting stories today – Slager plea, no charges for Baton Rouge cops, Texas cop fired. Almost no cable news play, combined"

Today in Fox News news 

Not much news about Fox News on Tuesday… one day after Bill Shine‘s resignation… though Variety’s Brian Steinberg highlighted the fact that Shine’s co-president job is open, and quoted a source saying “that means someone else is coming…"

Meantime, with headlines like this one swirling — “Suzanne Scott allegedly helped rally others against Gretchen Carlson" — Fox News issued a denial, saying “Suzanne Scott said she never asked any women at Fox News – on-air or off — to support Roger Ailes."

Stone v. Hannity

Roger Stone with a provocative tweet aimed at Fox’s last prime time man standing: “Bill Shine out. @SeanHannity next. One down, one to go! I had to kill Hannity effort to become Trump WH COS."

Chief of staff? What?! Hannity responded Tuesday night: “Roger, with all due respect, I NEVER EVER ASKED to be considered for any WH job, nor would I ever have accepted, nor is that my skill set."

Tucker Carlson’s two-book deal

Tucker Carlson has struck a “a two-book deal with Threshold Editions," The AP’s Hillel Italie reports. “Numerous publishers had expressed interest in him and his literary agency, Javelin, says the deal is worth eight figures." The “eight figures" detail is intriguing because Page Six hears the deal is worth $9 million… not quite “eight figures…"

 — Also noteworthy: Carlson went with Threshold, an imprint of CBS’s Simon & Schuster, instead of the Murdoch-owned HarperCollins…

Quote of the day
“The F.C.C. has basically said: ‘Game on. We’re going to let you consolidate further than anyone had imagined.’

–BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield in this NYT story about TV station ownership…


Megan Thomas emails: Variety’s Cynthia Littleton has all the deal-making details on last night’s WGA-AMPTP cliffhanger negotiations. (Beltway insiders could take a tip from Hollywood on this one.)

Down to the wire

Brian Lowry emails: Negotiations between the major studios and the talent guilds are sometimes described as skirmishes between the haves and have-mores. But the fact the WGA talks went down to the wire — despite the apparent determination of both sides to avoid another strike — reinforces the sense that the industry is in a major state of flux, creating considerable uncertainty about what existing models will look like even over the course of a three-year deal.

That said, the timing appeared to play to the writers’ advantage, given the major networks’ desire not to let “How long will the strike last?" questions overshadow their upfront presentations to advertisers, which begin on May 14…

For the record, part one

 — Via TVNewser’s Chris Ariens: “ABC’s David Muir traveled to Somaliland over the weekend to report on famine facing four African nations…"

 — April cable news #’s are in… there was a “dip in April compared with an unprecedented first quarter," BI’s Maxwell Tani says, “but they remained strong compared with April 2016…"

 — The Pulitzer Prize Board has a vacancy. Bret Stephens was up for the position, but now that he’s at the NYT, he can’t join, “because of a rule that two employees of the same publication can’t serve at the same time," HuffPost’s Michael Calderone reports…

 — is rebranding as Dotdash and becoming a travel website, Digiday reports. CEO Neil Vogel says “we’re going to spend real dollars" on a trade marketing campaign for it…

UK royals seek $1.6 million over topless Kate photos

CNN’s Emanuella Grinberg reports: “Prince William and his wife Catherine are seeking $1.6 million (1.5 million Euros) in a trial for damages from a French magazine that published topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge in 2012, the magazine’s lawyer told the UK Press Association on Tuesday…"

Books out today

Ivanka Trump‘s “Women Who Work" … VF writer Nick Bilton‘s “American Kingpin" (Graydon Carter hosted a book party at Waverly Inn on Tuesday night) … HBO Documentary Films prez Sheila Nevins“You Don’t Look Your Age…and Other Fairy Tales" … and on a personal note, my wife Jamie is featured in Susannah Meadows‘ new book “The Other Side of Impossible…"

New report on “combating fake news"

“Reliable Sources" P.A. Francesca Giuliani-Hoffman emails: On Tuesday the Harvard Kennedy School and Northeastern released a report on how to solve the problem of fake news. The authors recommend “involving more conservatives in the discussion of misinformation in politics," “collaborating more closely with journalists in order to make the truth ‘louder,'" and building a Wikipedia-like tool for reputable data sources, to help journalists find quality information. Here’s a Poynter writeup…

 — Also on the topic of fake news, News Corp’s Storyful is partnering with Moat and CUNY to form the Open Brand Safety framework, to identify fake news sites and help brands avoid advertising on them. Here’s a post by Jeff Jarvis about this…

For the record, part two

 — Here are the 2018 Nieman Fellows!

 — Ben Mullin‘s latest: “A new model for investigative journalism? An offshoot of Berkeley’s Investigative Reporting Program strikes a deal with Amazon to produce over-the-top video…"

 — WSJ’s Mike Shields “has been tapped to expand Business Insider‘s advertising coverage. Starting May 8, he will serve as advertising editor." Here’s the twist: “The person he is basically taking over for, Lara O’Reilly, has joined the Journal" as “a senior editor covering media and marketing…"

 — Yashar Ali, who reported last week that Hugh Hewitt is in line for a weekend show on MSNBC, now has word of another: “Stephanie Ruhle, Ali Velshi in talks to start weekend business show on MSNBC…"

Spencer Ackerman leaving Guardian US

Tom Kludt emails: Spencer Ackerman, a member of the Guardian US’ Pulitzer-winning team in 2014 that reported on the Snowden revelations, announced his resignation today. His last day is Thursday. It’s a huge loss for the already-beleaguered newsroom, which has been enduring a round of layoffs. A source there told me that staff was “devastated" by the announcement, although it wasn’t met with total shock. Frustrations with the publication’s management have been bubbling for quite some time now…

Mum’s the word from Colbert after shocking comment 

No comment from Stephen Colbert or the “Late Show" about a moment on Monday night’s show that has some conservatives aghast…


Trump and the media
Tom examines Trump’s favorite morning show

Tom Kludt’s latest video, produced by Jon Sarlin, studies the symbiosis between “Fox & Friends" and the Oval Office… Watch here…

Breitbart’s e-book

Francesca Giuliani-Hoffman emails: On Monday Breitbart released an e-book on the first 100 days of the Trump presidency… the book compares Trump to Reagan and Johnson, saying: “One could argue, from a left-wing viewpoint, that Trump is a bad president […] but no serious observer could claim he has been an ineffective one." Check out CJR’s analysis…

The entertainment desk
Jimmy Kimmel: late night’s best storyteller

Frank Pallotta emails: Jimmy Kimmel’s deeply personal story about his newborn son’s health crisis on Monday night showed once again what makes Kimmel late night’s best storyteller.

Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert have also spoken about their personal lives on air, but Kimmel has done so with pitch perfect humor and relatability as he uses his stage as a pulpit for the people and causes he cares about. Examples: Kimmel’s tributes to Don Rickles and his Uncle Frank and his great behind the scenes account of the big mix-up at this year’s Oscars…

Tony noms!

Chloe Melas emails: The 2017 Tony Awards nominations are here… “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812″ and “Hello, Dolly!" led the way with the most noms… If you missed it this morning, check out the full list here…

“Jeopardy" and “Wheel of Fortune" hosts re-up contracts 

Pat Sajak, Vanna White, and Alex Trebek have all renewed their contracts through the 2019-2020 season," Variety’s Elizabeth Wagmeister reports. While the renewals for their shows “Wheel of Fortune" and “Jeopardy" “have not been made official, the talent contracts signal an imminent two-season renewal both both game shows, which is expected to be made official soon…"

Programs marking the anniversary of Diana’s death

Brian Lowry emails: Princess Diana is the new L.A. Riots: On the heels of a half-dozen specials marking the 25th anniversary of the riots, the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death will be recognized through programs on CBS, ABC, NBC and HBO, THR reports.

 — Related: The WSJ wrote last month about the TV “anniversary frenzy" phenomenon…

Carrie Fisher’s last scene

Megan Thomas emails: “Catastrophe" co-creators and stars Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan talked with IndieWire about filming the finale for season three of the Amazon series, which turned out to be Carrie Fisher‘s last acting work. Fisher ad-libbed her comedic final scene, ending with the line, “It’s great TV."

For the record, part three

 — Hillary Clinton mentioned Hulu’s new show “The Handmaid’s Tale" in a speech on Tuesday night…

 — Lisa France emails: Col. Bruce Hampton, was known as the “granddaddy of the jam scene." He collapsed and died in a way befitting that title — surrounded by a group of star musicians jamming on stage at an Atlanta concert held in honor of Hampton’s 70th birthday…

 — More from Lisa: A game of beer pong loosened singer Ed Sheeran up enough to get him to spill a bit about his role in season 7 of “Game of Thrones…"

“Reliable Sources" highlights
Catch up on Sunday’s show…

Listen to the podcast here… read the transcript… Or watch the video clips on!

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