The new national security reality show
Yes, it was a big night for music last night. (And maybe David Bowie racking up 5 posthumous Grammys will bring us back some cosmic balance.) But it was also “Journalism’s Biggest Night,” according to Kia Makarechi of Vanity Fair. Here are the two stories he thinks deserve some special recognition:
“This @nytimes story on the #NSC under Trump is as crazy as you would imagine,” tweets Alex Leo. David Sanger, Eric Schmitt, Peter Baker report on Turmoil at the National Security Council, From the Top Down, exploring life inside the NSC, “based on conversations with more than two dozen current and former council staff members and others throughout the government.” “A torrent, not a leak,” as Eric Frazier of The Charlotte Observer...observes. Revealing “Paranoia, despondency and chaos,” as the Times’ Adam Goldman puts it, “This seems...ummm...bad,” says David L. Harris of Boston Business Journal. The story wraps up with what Hans Nichols of NBC News calls “a signature @peterbakernyt kicker:” National security advisor Michael Flynn turned to K. T. McFarland, the deputy national security adviser, during an all-hands meeting “and, in what seemed to be a self-deprecating joke, said, ‘I wonder if we’ll be here a year from now.’”
About that second story, The Wall Street Journal’s David Enrich tweets, “Bizarre scene at Mar-a-Lago after @realDonaldTrump gave statement on NKorea missile launch.” CNN’s Kevin Liptak reports that the president received a call on his cell phone about North Korea during dinner with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Mar-a-Lago. “Trump and Abe's evening meal quickly morphed into a strategy session, the decision-making on full view to fellow diners, who described it in detail to CNN,” Liptak writes. “The new national security reality show, no clearance necessary,” tweets Garance Franke-Ruta of Yahoo.
Philip Bump followed up with a story in the Washington Post about the president’s seemingly casual approach to intelligence security (or “security,” as Chris Cillizza tweets), despite what he said on the campaign trail. Bump explains why “Using cell phone flashlights to better view confidential documents isn't a great idea.” WaPo’s Dan Zak notes, “New perk for Mar-a-Lago club members: access to impromptu high-level security meetings between heads of state,” while Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel has a plan: “Can news orgs pool their money and get a reporter a membership at Mar-a-Lago?”
Adele says Hello to #Lemonade
But let's go back to that other Biggest Night for a moment. Andrew Bilinsky of Rolling Stone managed to capture many of the Grammy highlights and lowlights in one chock-filled lede: "Beyoncé performed a dreamy meditation on motherhood, Adele performed an emotional tribute to George Michael and MetalliGaga performed through technical errors and bad ideas...A Tribe Called Quest took on the president and Twenty One Pilots took off their pants." Also making a splash, Chance the Rapper, whose historic night ended with a star-studded party. "Local kid makes good at the Grammys," tweets Jared Rutecki of Better Government Association. And over at USA Today, Patrick Ryan helpfully outlines the 5 things you should know happened at the Grammys (21,000+ shares). Tweets @usatodaylife: "#Lemonade may not have been the Recording Academy's drink of choice, but it was definitely Adele's."
Does this bother you? Because this should bother you.
Jerry Hildenbrand of Android Central is talking about former NSA analyst John Schindler’s reporting in the Observer that the “Intelligence Community is so worried by the unprecedented problems of the Trump administration...that it is beginning to withhold intelligence from a White House which our spies do not trust.” “Whoa. This is an important read. Published by Jared Kushner's Observer,” says Laura Holson of the New York Times. (Yes, that Observer.) Tweets Sean Gallagher of Ars Technica, “This is pretty unsettling stuff. But then, those who track the IC sensed it was possibly coming.” POLITICO’s Michael Vasquez retweets this nugget from Schindler: “RT @20committee: No tweets from Don since this hit the streets. Interesting.”
The knives are out.
Meanwhile, as Democrats push for an independent investigation of Mike Flynn over his talks with Russia, as reported by Donna Borak for The Wall Street Journal, Josh Dawsey and Alex Isenstadt of POLITICO are reporting that Flynn isn’t the only one who might be on thin ice. “The knives are out...and getting sharpened,” tweets Jim Zarroli of NPR. Long story short, as the Washington Post’s Cillizza observes, ”If you are Reince Priebus, this is a very tough read.”
Deep inside the business strategy of the not-failing NY Times
Nicholas Thompson of WIRED is tweeting about the “Excellent exclusive” by Gabriel Snyder, whose March cover story for the magazine takes a look at how the New York Times is “preparing for the end of print,” as Justin Miller of The Daily Beast puts it. The Times’ Nina Bernstein sums it up like this: “Not failing. At all.” Says Ryan Kearney of the New Republic, “Every journalist should hope the NY Times figures this out.” If it feels like you’ve read about this before, Rebecca Ungarino of CNBC thinks this reporting stands out: “Of all ‘Will NYT be an institution of Western civilization forever?’ deep dives, this is the best.” In it, Snyder points out that “Newspaper companies today employ 271,000 fewer people than they did in 1990—around the population of Orlando.” It sounds like this was a smart tweet from Mike Isaac: “srsly A.G. is v thoughtful, great leader for NYT i am totally not shamelessly sucking up to the boss right now.”
In other media news, the Washington Post has announced it will be the breaking news source on Snapchat’s Discover.
Speaking of breaking news, 188,000 people have been evacuated from Northern California towns downstream of the Oroville Dam due to the possible failure of a spillway. Last night, Robert Scheer of The Indianapolis Star tweeted, “Crazy story out of California you'll want to follow. Former Indystar Pulitzer nominee @RyanSabalow on the beat.” Ryan Sabalow of The Sacramento Bee has been reporting on the breaking news as the story has unfolded overnight and into this morning. “Glued to @sacbee for news on #OrovilleDam and #OrovilleSpillway,” tweets Tim Grieve of McClatchy Newspapers.
And finally today, Charlie Warzel of BuzzFeed reports on the rise of anti-Trump Twitter conspiracy theorists, whom he calls “blue detectives.” Morning Consult’s Amir Nasr responds, “Good on @cwarzel for giving the important reminder that conspiracy theories come from both the right and the left.” Josh Barro of Business Insider breaks it down for us: “Some liberals are letting Trump drive them insane, film at 11.”