In case you don't have enough nightmare fuel...

Jan 10, 2017

"Great googly moogly."

You don't hear that one everyday. Then again you don't hear stories like CNN's bombshell report this afternoon that "Intelligence chiefs presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him." No wonder "great googly moogly" is all National Geographic's Craig Welch could muster in response.

"Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information on [Trump]," tweets Lindsay Wise of the Kansas City Star.

And yet, that might not even be the most eyebrow-raising part of the report. "CNN appears to have buried the lede a bit," tweets Jose A. Delreal of the Washington Post.

The major reveal Delreal's referring to is "'... a continuing exchange of information during the campaign' between Trump surrogates & Russian intermediaries," as Mike Wereschagin of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review puts it.

A number of journalists, however, are advising others not to jump to any extreme conclusions based on the story alone. Politico's Eric Geller, for instance, adds this caveat: "PLEASE NOTE what this is: A USG memo summarizing a former British intel agent's memo about Russian sources' claims of kompromat."

Meanwhile, the Huffington Post's Nick Baumann says, "Let's not oversell this story. It doesn't claim or prove that Russians have dirt on Trump."

But even if the claims are false, Baumann adds, "It shows that people in the USG are taking very seriously *claims* that the Russians have dirt on Trump."

Over at LAWFARE—commonly the voice of reason when explosive news breaks—Benjamin Wittes, Susan Hennessey, and Quinta Jurecic urge journalists to exercise patience and calm so as to not blow out of proportion claims that are still unsubstantiated. "Smart and thoughtful," says BuzzFeed's Ben Smith of the LAWFARE trio's blog post.

"Wait, what?"

That's how the New York Times' Jonathan Weisman reacted this afternoon when he read his paper's breaking story that Trump is pressing Congress for an "immediate vote to repeal Obamacare, followed by a replacement within days."

"So many questions about this," tweets VICE's Harry Cheadle.

"Looks like someone's going to get an education on how washington works/doesnt work," says Bill Trott of Reuters.

Here's a take from CBS News' Alex Wagner, who also gives a shoutout to its author, Maggie Haberman: "Trump, via @maggieNYT great reporting, is asking his own party to do the impossible when it comes to healthcare."

Regardless of what happens, the story's stressing people like DNAinfo's Nicole Levy, who tweets, "Following all the coverage of Obamacare in limbo is giving me heart palpitations."

"In case you don't have enough nightmare fuel..."

Indeed, as the New York Times' Eric Owles points out in the line quoted above, some of the details of his colleagues' latest scoop shouldn't be read before bedtime. According to the New York TimesEmily Steel and Michael Schmidt, "Fox News settled sexual harassment allegations against Bill O'Reilly, documents show."

"Among allegations," tweets Schmidt, reserving his judgment, "is that O'Reilly sounded like he was masturbating when he called her."

The Atlantic's Michelle Cottle is considerably—and understandably—less reserved in her take on the story: "Ew. Ew. Ew."

And finally, The New Yorker's Emily Nussbaum has a new title for the TV anchor: "Bill O’RLY, king of the Fox News sexual predators."

In other nightmares—I mean, news

Clare Hollingworth, the reporter who broke the news of World War II, has died at the age of 105, reports the New York Times. "Too many good details in this Clare Hollingworth obit," tweets Bloomberg's Allison McNeely, "but this one might be my favourite," referring to the fact that Hollingworth "periodically slept on the floor of her home in Hong Kong well into her 90s, just to keep from going soft."

CNN's Andrew Kaczynski reports that publisher "HarperCollins has pulled Trump appointee Monica Crowley's book amid plagiarism revelations."

And just when things seemed like they couldn't get any worse for Crowley, Politico Magazine's Grace Watkins is reporting that in addition to the more than 50 instances of plagiarism identified in her Crowley's book, the Trump appointee also appears to have plagiarized sections of her PhD dissertation at Columbia University.

According to the Washington Post's Abby Phillip, "Donald Trump will meet on Tuesday with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., a prominent skeptic of vaccines for children." Phillip adds on Twitter, "As a candidate, Trump was asked how he would square his anti-vaxxer views w/ being Pres. We'll soon find out."

GQ's Devin Gordon shares a heartbreaking story by his colleague Reid Forgrave: "Zac Easter knew what was happening to him, knew it was CTE. So he started writing it all down. Then he shot himself."

"Back in 1986, Coretta Scott King wrote a letter denouncing Jeff Sessions. That letter is now MIA." That's freelance photographer Amy K. Nelson who links to a timely true-life mystery by BuzzFeed's John Stanton and Nathaniel Meyersohn on the matter.

But wait! The Washington Post has found the letter! Wesley Lowery has the story, which includes the full text of Scott King's powerful message to Congress.

Dylann Roof, who murdered nine black parishioners in a Charleston Church last year, was sentenced to death today by the same jury that weeks earlier found him guilty on 33 counts of federal hate crimes. According to the Washington Post, the jurors deliberated "for just under three hours before deciding his sentence."

And finally: "In case you didn't know what it's like to be a woman on the internet, @laurenduca wrote an open letter to her trolls," tweets Vera Papisova of Teen Vogue, linking to a breathtakingly open, honest, and eloquent article by her colleague Lauren Duca on how harassment is "an inevitability" for women on the Internet—especially if you're a journalist and your job more-or-less depends on you being on Twitter.

About the author

reporter covering music tech + politics. bylines @FastCompany @Guardian @thedailybeast @Stereogum I wrote @propublica's fracking song

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