News Round-Up: November 10, 2020

Screen capture of CNN White House correspondent Boris Sanchez
Screen capture of CNN White House correspondent Boris Sanchez
CNN White House correspondent Boris Sanchez (screen capture)

Some news items you might have missed:

Mainstream Media Crush: I can’t believe I’ve never noted how enjoyable CNN’s Boris Sanchez (above) makes watching the news. That is all. #EyeCandy

Pink News: Last week, I reported how openly gay Mayor Dean Trantalis of Fort Lauderdale was verbally accosted at his polling station by a group of Trump supporters calling him homophobic slurs.  Just thought I’d report he sailed to reelection with 58 percent of the vote.

Out Music: Check out the latest music video from out recording artist mxmtoon, “ok on your own,” featuring pop star Carly Rae Jepsen.

The mid-tempo track explores the fallout of a breakup with the realization that sometimes it’s better to be “on your own” when a romance comes to an end. “I need some time to myself so I can comprehend/ I’m not so scared to admit I could use a friend.”

USA Today: Nine legal experts say Trump’s lawsuit challenging election results in Pennsylvania is dead on arrival for a number of reasons: Courts are wary of invalidating legally cast ballots, and voting by mail, used in many states, is both common and constitutional.

Statista: Following Pfizer’s announcement that its vaccine candidate was found to be 90 percent effective against COVID-19 in phase 3 trials, shares of travel industry stocks like hotels and airlines went soaring across the globe. Interestingly, the news also sent some shares tumbling for such “pandemic winners” as Zoom Video Communications, Peloton, and Netflix.

(graphic via Statista)

Gothamist: Governor Phil Murphy is requiring indoor bars and restaurants in New Jersey to close by 10 p.m., one of several restrictions that he announced today to address a spike in COVID-19 cases. “There is more than anecdotal evidence that as the night wears on, probably for reasons that are obvious, people let their hair down,” Murphy said, while also sharing that the state’s positivity rate is at 7.52%.

MSNBC: President-elect Joe Biden threw some 12th level shade Donald Trump’s way when asked about Trump refusing to concede the presidential race. “At the end of the day, you know, it’s all going to come to fruition on January 20.”

Robust News Cycle Leads To CNN’s Best Ratings In 40 Year History

Donald Trump

The Associated Press reports the recent stretch of news regarding the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the lives of the world’s citizens coupled with the racial upheaval triggered by George Floyd’s death has resulted in CNN garnering its biggest audience for any three-month period in the network’s 40-year history.

According to the Nielsen ratings, CNN’s weekday prime-time audience of 1.95 million was up 120% over the same period last year.

Fox News saw a 43% increase pulling in an average of 4.07 million viewers, while MSNBC’s audience of 2.47 million was up 13% from 2019.

Donald Trump, who rarely acknowledges actual facts and figures, routinely refers to CNN as “failing.”

Sure, Jan…

Even the moderator for CNN’s Twitter account for Public Relations finds the Donald to be exhausting in his perpetual lies.

CNN Reporter & Crew Arrested During Live Broadcast In Minneapolis

Minnesota police arrested CNN reporter Omar Jimenez and his crew live on-air early Friday morning after they had clearly identified themselves as press and repeatedly offered to move ‘wherever you want us.’

As you can see in the video below, the officers have Jimenez and his crew surrounded and seem to say nothing for some time until they step in and arrest the reporter.

CNN anchors said Jimenez and his crew were arrested for not moving after being told to by police, though the live footage prior to their arrests clearly shows Jimenez talking calmly with police and offering to move wherever necessary.

CNN president Jeff Zucker spoke with the governor of Minnesota, Tim Walz on Friday morning, following the arrest of CNN’s team in Minneapolis,

Walz said he “deeply apologizes” for what happened and is working to have the CNN team released immediately.

The Minneapolis State Patrol said this about the incident: “In the course of clearing the streets and restoring order at Lake Street and Snelling Avenue, four people were arrested by State Patrol troopers, including three members of a CNN crew. The three were released once they were confirmed to be members of the media.”

CNN disputed the state police characterization in a statement on Twitter.

“This is not accurate — our CNN crew identified themselves, on live television, immediately as journalists. We thank Minnesota @GovTimWalz for his swift action this morning to aid in the release of our crew.”

Out News Anchor Shepard Smith In Talks With MSNBC

Shepard Smith (screen capture)

Former Fox News anchor Shepard Smith is reportedly exploring a return to television news.

After months of behind-the-scenes clashes with Fox’s right-wing political personality Tucker Carlson, Smith (who came out in 2017) abruptly announced on October 11 he was leaving the network where he’d worked for 23 years.

In his farewell announcement, he told viewers he was looking to begin a “new chapter,” and it looks like that chapter may take place at Fox News’s competitor, MSNBC.

The Daily Beast reports the 56-year-old out journalist is in talks with MSNBC President Phil Griffin about anchoring a new show at the more liberal-leaning news network once his non-compete clause with Fox expires.

An unnamed insider at MSNBC told The Daily Beast, “it’s unclear what slot he would take, but we’d want him in primetime.”

“We are well aware [Jeff] Zucker [president of CNN] is also pursuing him, as are a number of the networks,” added the source.

One possibility might be the 5 p.m. slot currently held by the lackluster, ratings-challenged MTP Daily currently hosted by Chuck Todd. There are rumors the powers that be might move Todd and his crew to a morning slot.

If Smith does end up at MSNBC he would be joining fellow out journalist Rachel Maddow, who currently hosts the top-rated show on the network.

One wonders, though, if his years at right-leaning Fox News might color how MSNBC’s more liberal audiences connect with the veteran newsman.

When Greta Van Susteren left Fox after 14 years for MSNBC, she only lasted six months before the plug was pulled on her new gig, For the Record with Greta.

Wherever he lands, his new network will need to be ready to pony up some heavy-duty duccets as Smith was reportedly earning $15 million a year at Fox News.

You can watch Smith’s goodbye to Fox News below.

CNN Host Explains Ukraine President’s Planned, Then Cancelled, Interview

Apparently, the announcement of an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, by the Ukraine government that Donald Trump sought in exchange for previously promised military aid was to have taken place on Fareed Zakaria’s CNN show, although at the time CNN didn’t know the full backstory.

Zakaria told his viewers today he felt he owed them an understanding of what he and his team did and didn’t know as they sought the interview with President Zelensky.

It makes sense that Trump’s White House would WANT the announcement on CNN because Democrats watch CNN. Trump wanted as many possible Dem voters to see/hear the allegations to taint support of Biden.

It’s worth noting, again, that journalists from across the political spectrum – even Fox News – have repeatedly said there is no evidence of any wrongdoing by Joe or Hunter Biden. Trump just wanted his 2020 version of ‘her emails’ to discourage Democratic voters.

Watch below.

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month With CNN’s Javier Morgado

CNN executive producer Javier Morgado

CNN executive producer Javier Morgado

I’m always so proud of my friend, Javi Morgado.

As the executive producer of CNN’s New Day, he just kills it every day. Such a pro.

But that’s just part of his story.

I’ve known Javi for years as a leader among LGBTQ journalists where, as a longtime member of the National Lesbian Gay Journalists Association, he’s given back time and time again.

And throughout his career, he’s returned to Miami – where he began his professional journey – to give back to aspiring journalists.

In one of the rare moments Javi has stepped in front of the camera, he shares some thoughts on his pride for Hispanic Heritage Month.

“Proud to share my family’s story & represent CNN in AT&T’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration,” says Javi.

CNN Chats With Emmy-Nominated Randy Rainbow

CNN’s John Berman sits down with Randy Report favorite Randy Rainbow (yep, that’s his real name) to chat on his meteoric rise as political parody satirist.

Randy’s career took off during the 2016 presidential campaign when his satirical take on the first Hillary Clinton/Donald Trump debate garnered over 20 million views in two days on Facebook alone.

He’s now nominated for an Emmy Award and touring the country performing live concerts.

Here’s the video that began Randy’s triumphant run as Political Satirist in Chief plus his Emmy nominated “Barr:”

Trump Likes To Reserve A Certain Word For Black/Brown People

After Donald Trump went on another Twitter rant, this time directed at Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland), CNN host Victor Blackwell noticed a pattern in the Donald’s choice of language when referring to certain people.

I really don’t need to say anything else. Just watch.

UPDATE: Rep. Cummings responded to Trump’s ugliness. You’ll note that Cummings, instead of going ‘low,’ talks about doing his job for his constituents and asks the Donald to be a part of the solution.

One Night, Five Democrats, Five Town Halls

CNN held five back-to-back town hall events with five Democratic presidential contenders last night – Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Good stuff from everyone, they all had strong moments at times.

A few takeaways:

While I appreciate the moderate lane Klobuchar has staked out for herself, it came across a bit timid and noncommittal in some of her answers. I’ll admit that a lot of issues can’t be truly addressed in a couple of minutes on a stage, but she was notably more cautious than her fellow candidates.

I really like Kamala Harris. She’s clear about what she stands for, and she has a strong decisive energy about her.

When asked about impeachment proceedings for Donald Trump, she said Congress should take steps towards impeachment but added Democrats must be “realistic about what might be the end result.”

One of Harris’ best moments came when she was asked about the issue of gun violence in the country and what she would do about it. Here’s what she said:

I have to say I almost became emotional as Mayor Pete took to the stage. As a gay man, to see this 37-year-old mayor take to the stage as a real player and handle himself so well was uplifting and energizing.

Mayor Pete had one of the biggest moments of the night when he was asked about the back and forth he’s had with Vice President Pence, and a comment made by Trump ally and homocon Richard Grennell, the current ambassador to Germany.

Buttigieg’s response: “I’m not a master fisherman, but I know bait when I see and I’m not going to take it.” And the crowd went wild.

A new talking point emerged throughout the night after Sen. Sanders said even the Boston bomber deserved to be able to vote. Sen. Harris concurred saying, “We should have that conversation.”

But Buttigieg was clear and concise in his opinion that prisoners should not be allowed to vote. “While incarcerated? No, I don’t think so,” the South Bend mayor said.

CNN has recapped each of the candidate’s hour-long turns onstage.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar

Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Sen. Bernie Sanders

Sen. Kamala Harris

Mayor Pete Buttigieg

A few more moments from the night:

Out Mayor Pete Buttigieg Shades Mike Pence As ‘Cheerleader For Porn Star Presidency’

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, in the hunt for the Democratic presidential nomination, said Sunday night that he and Vice President Mike Pence (former governor of Indiana) have different views on biblical scripture.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, in the hunt for the Democratic presidential nomination, said Sunday night that he and Vice President Mike Pence (former governor of Indiana) have different views on biblical scripture.

CNN’s Jake Tapper, hosting a town hall in Austin, Texas, asked Buttigieg if Pence would be a better or worse president than Donald Trump.

After several moments of bewilderment, the 37-year-old mayor said that, while he disagreed with Pence ‘ferociously’ on things, he always felt Pence “at least believes in our institutions and he’s not personally corrupt.”

However, Buttigieg wondered aloud, “But then, how could he get onboard with this presidency?”

The openly gay mayor shared that his view of the Bible is based on “protecting the stranger and the prisoner and the poor person – that idea of ‘welcome,’” while Pence’s take on scripture seems to have ”a lot more to do with sexuality and a certain view of rectitude.”

“But, even if you but into that, how could he allow himself to become the cheerleader of the porn star presidency?” asked Buttigieg, referencing the allegations that Donald Trump made hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

“Is it that he stopped believing in scripture, when he started believing in Donald Trump? I don’t know. I don’t know.”

The Harvard alum also talked on coming out as gay in his traditionally conservative state.

“Frankly, when I first got into politics, elected politics at the beginning of this decade in Indiana — In Mike Pence’s Indiana — I thought you could either be out or you could be in office, but you couldn’t be both,” Buttigieg said.

“I came out in the middle of a re-election campaign because it was just that time in my life when I had to do that,” he told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “Pence was governor. We weren’t sure what it would do to my political future in a socially conservative community.”

“I wound up getting re-elected with 80 percent of the vote,” he concluded.

Asked how he could be qualified for the White House having never held statewide office, Buttigieg pointed to his resume: “I actually think that experience is one of the best reasons for somebody like me to be in this — I have more years of government experience than the president.”

“I have more years of executive government experience than the Vice President, and more military experience than anyone to walk into that office since George H. W. Bush,” said the former Navy intelligence officer and veteran of the war in Afghanistan. “Experience is what qualifies me to have a seat at this table.”