Anderson Cooper Calls BS On Blagojevich’s ‘Political Prisoner’ Claim

This is seriously must-see TV.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper spars with former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who calls himself a “political prisoner” days after being pardoned by President Trump.

Normally, I try and condense the news here on The Randy Report, so I don’t post 11-minute videos very often. But this is quite something.

Blagojevich’s sentence was commuted earlier this week by Trump after the Democrat (and former “Celebrity Apprentice” contestant) had served eight years of a 14-year sentence for pay-for-play crimes. You may recall the former governor was caught on tape admitting he planned to ‘sell’ President-elect Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder.

At one point in last night’s interview, Blagojevich states he wants to work on reforming the criminal justice system. Cooper found that to be laughable.

“It’s a little ironic, and frankly a little sad and pathetic and hypocritical, you talking about getting a commutation of a sentence, which is within the president’s right, but you ignored a whole hell of a lot of other people who were hoping you might give them clemency when you actually mattered,” said Cooper.

At the end of the fiery interview, here’s Cooper’s summation:

“Look, I have no problem with you getting out. The president can commute whoever he wants. I just think you’re besmirching prosecutors who actually are no longer in government.

“But prosecutors are important in our system and you are going after the very basis of our justice system. Part of the thing is you got out – you do have an obligation to at least admit what you did wrong and you refuse to do that and you’re creating a whole new alternate universe of facts.

“And that may be big in politics today, but it’s still frankly just bullshit.”

Reporter ‘Deeply Regrets’ Misquoting Buttigieg After Mistake Goes Viral

Mayor Pete Buttigieg on the campaign trail (via Buttigieg campaign/FB)

A reporter for the Los Angeles Times has issued an apology for misquoting Democratic presidential hopeful Mayor Pete Buttigieg in an article published on Sunday.

Evan Halper seemed to have gotten a newsworthy quote from Buttigieg where the midwestern mayor appeared to blame President Barack Obama for the election of Donald Trump.

At the end of Halper’s article, he quoted Buttigieg as saying, “The failures of the Obama era help explain how we got Trump.”

What the openly gay mayor actually said was, “The failures of the old normal help explain how we got Trump.”

Halper took to Twitter early Monday morning to apologize saying he misheard what Buttigieg as a “result of transcribing a noisy recording.”

Buttigieg was responding to being compared to former Vice President Joe Biden and billionaire Michael Bloomberg.

“My message is not about going back to where we were,” said Buttigieg. “I think because I come from a part of the country where ‘normal’ has been a real problem for a very long time, and I think the failures of the old normal help explain how we got Trump period.”

“So, I’m much more interested in running on building a future that is going to have a lot of differences,” he added.

Apparently, the communications team for Buttigieg’s campaign records and archives his interviews. They’ve got the receipts and posted the audio recording to YouTube.

Buttigieg’s statement comes at the 45-second mark:

Buttigieg accepted Halper’s ‘swift and honest’ apology via Twitter:

Apologies are nice, but in the time that the article was published and the apology was issued, the hashtag #ByePete had begun trending on Twitter.

Some folks in the Twitterverse were not happy. Here’s just a sample:

Once seen as a ‘long-shot’ candidate, Buttigieg has continued to rise in the polls. And with higher polling positions, he has attracted closer scrutiny to his policies and public statements.

The Real Clear Politics average of national polls currently shows Buttigieg in 4th place behind Biden and Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

RCP average of polls for first-in-the-nation Iowa, however, indicates he trails only Warren.

A first or second-place finish in the Iowa caucus’ for Buttigieg would give even more credibility to his candidacy.

Reporters Informed No More Hallway Interviews At U.S. Senate

Reporters have been informed today that they will no longer be allowed to conduct interviews in the hallways of the Senate without filing for permission for each interview in advance.

Trying to shut down press coverage of the Senate’s meetings on upcoming healthcare legislation, I’d imagine.

At least one Senator, Chris Murphy of Connecticut, said he can handle himself:

UPDATE – Whiplash, anybody?

Ted Koppel Schools Bill O’Reilly On True Journalism

Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly asked his guest, veteran journalist Ted Koppel, how HE would interview GOP White House hopeful Donald Trump.

Koppel did not hold back, explaining that he felt Fox News and their ilk have made the news interview “irrelevant” through their pundity when it comes to the Trumpster.

Via Media Matters:

“You and I have talked about this general subject many times over the years. It’s irrelevant how I would do it. You know who made it irrelevant? You did. You have changed the television landscape over the past 20 years — you took it from being objective and dull to subjective and entertaining. And in this current climate, it doesn’t matter what the interviewer asks him; Mr. Trump is gonna say whatever he wants to say, as outrageous as it may be.”

As he so often does, O’Reilly didn’t actually admit that his guest had hit the nail on the head, so he tried reiterating the same query. Once again, Koppel did not let O’Reilly or Fox News of the hook for their culpability in the rise of Trump:

“The first way you do it is not in the interview — you do it by some reporting. It’s an old-fashioned concept but I think demonstrating who and what Mr. Trump is and what his policies really amount to is something you don’t do in an interview. He doesn’t answer the questions.”

Reporting from Fox News! Ha! Now that truly would be revolutionary.

Finally, Koppel left O’Reilly with this stinging criticism of the candidate they helped spawn:

“When was the last time you have heard Donald Trump spell out a real policy on anything other than, ‘We’re gonna be the best, we’re gonna be the greatest, I’m gonna negotiate the best deals you’ve ever seen.’ There is no substance in any of that, and nobody among his followers seems to care about that.”

Tom Hardy Addresses Recent Sexuality Question: “I’m Entitled To My Privacy”

Tom Hardy

In a lengthy interview with The Daily Beast, actor Tom Hardy explains his reaction to a reporter’s recent question about his “ambiguous sexuality:”

“I think everybody is entitled to the right to privacy. There should be elegant ways to approach any topic, and there’s a time and place to approach anything and have a good, common sense conversation about anything. I do think that there’s a responsibility for people to own the way that they speak publicly. This doesn’t stop us from being human beings; some things are private. I’m under no obligation to share anything to do with my family, my children, my sexuality—that’s nobody’s business but my own. And I don’t see how that can have anything to do with what I do as an actor, and it’s my own business. If you knew me as a friend, then sure, we’d talk about anything. But that was a public forum, and for someone to inelegantly ask a question that seemed designed entirely to provoke a reaction, and start a topic of debate… It’s important destigmatizing sexuality and gender inequality in the workplace, but to put a man on the spot in a room full of people designed purely for a salacious reaction? To be quite frank, it’s rude. If he’d have said that to me in the street, I’d have said the same thing back: ‘I’m sorry, who the fuck are you?’

“What he had to talk about was actually interesting, but how he did it was so inelegant. And I appreciate that I could probably have more grace as a human being, but I’m just a bloke. I’m just a man. And I’m just a man doing a job. I’m not a role model for anyone, and you’re asking me something about my private life in a room full of people. I don’t want to discuss my private life with you. I don’t know you! Why would I share that with a billion people? Also, if you felt it was so important for people to feel confident to talk about their sexuality, why would you put somebody on the spot in a room full of people and decide that was the time for them to open up about their sexual ambiguity? There’s also nothing ambiguous about my sexuality, anyway. I know who I am. But what does that have to do with you? And why am I a part of something now that, however legitimate, I haven’t offered my services for? It’s not about what he and his publication stands for, none of that is offensive, and on the contrary, it’s very admirable, and an important issue. But how I was asked was incredibly inelegant, and I just thought it was disrespectful and counterproductive to what he stands for.”

In case you missed it, here’s video of the odd moment at a press conference for Hardy’s new movie Legend:

Tom Hardy Shuts Down Reporter’s Questions Regarding His Sexuality Like A Boss

At a Toronto International Film Festival press conference for the new film Legend starring Randy Report fave Tom Hardy, Daily Xtra reporter Graeme Coleman learned that Hardy doesn’t suffer fools who ask foolish questions easily.

Here’s how it went down:

Coleman: In the film your character is very open about his sexuality. But given interviews you’ve done in the past your own sexuality seems a bit more ambiguous. Do you find it hard for celebrities to talk to media about their sexuality?

Hardy: What on earth are you on about?

Coleman: I was referring to an interview given to Attitude magazine a few years ago.

Hardy: But what is your question?

Coleman: I was wondering if you find it difficult for celebrities to talk about their sexuality.

Hardy: I don’t find it difficult for celebrities to talk about their sexuality. Are you asking me about my sexuality?

Coleman: Um, sure.

Hardy: Why?

Coleman: Um…

Hardy: Thank you.

Watch the exchange below. Tom Hardy FTW!

Is Donald Trump Paying For Positive Coverage At Breitbart?

According to Buzzfeed writer McKay Coppins, Donald Trump’s campaign may have some sort of “financial arrangement” to influence the tone of coverage on the conservative website Breitbart:

According to four sources with knowledge of the situation, editors and writers at the outlet have privately complained since at least last year that the company’s top management was allowing Trump to turn Breitbart into his own fan website — using it to hype his political prospects and attack his enemies.

One current editor called the water-carrying “despicable” and “embarrassing,” and said he was told by an executive last year that the company had a financial arrangement with Trump.

A second Breitbart staffer said he had heard a similar description of the site’s relationship with the billionaire but didn’t know the details; and a third source at the company said he knew of several instances when managers had overruled editors at Trump’s behest.

Additionally, a conservative communications operative who works closely with Breitbart described conversations in which “multiple writers and editors” said Trump was paying for the ability to shape coverage, and added that one staffer claimed to have seen documentation of the “pay for play.”

All four sources spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to jeopardize their jobs; and none knew exactly how Trump’s alleged arrangement with the privately held company worked.

Breitbart’s executive chair Steve Bannon denied the allegations.

Outgoing Gawker Editor Charges Pricey Lunch On His Way Out The Door

On his way out the door, after resigning as executive editor at Gawker, Tommy Craggs posted a pic to Instagram showing the receipt for a pricey lunch charged to his Gawkers’ expense account.

The photo, which clearly displayed an American Express credit card with Craggs’ name and Gawker Media LLC, showed a charge of $546.85 check at Balthazar, a New York restaurant. The payment included a $150 tip.

Craggs and Gawker editor-in-chief Max Read announced Monday that they were resigning from the company after an article about a failed gay rendezvous by a Condé Nast media executive was removed from the site. The removal last week followed major backlash throughout media circles.

Because nothing says journalistic integrity like sticking it your former employer like this.

The article ordered removed by the founder of Gawker outed a closeted executive who had been the target of a blackmail attempt.

Out CNN News Anchor Don Lemon Makes “Worst Journalism of 2104” List

Openly gay CNN news anchor Don Lemon finds himself on a “Year End” list nobody really wants to be on – “Worst Journalism of 2014.”

The Columbia Journalism Review’s recap of the year’s “most cringeworthy news blunders” included the out anchor because of a series of off kilter moments that made headlines this year.

“Live television is exceedingly difficult to produce, of course, but Lemon’s gaffes this year offer a case study in how to choose words wisely — or not,” wrote David Uberti.

Among Lemon’s 2014 gaffes listed were mentioning the “obvious” smell of marijuana during the Ferguson riots, asking in seriousness if a black hole might have been responsible for the disappearance of Malaysia Flight 370, and comparing spanking children to dog training.