Jennifer Rubin/Washington Post

CNN needs a new chief. Here’s the ideal candidate.

“To hold the powerful accountable is not just a slogan; it is vital,” [Christiane] Amanpour told the graduates. “And when we do it well, it makes a huge difference. And when we don’t, it makes an equal but opposite difference.” She recalled the decision to not allow Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis.) a platform unless he reached the “basic evidence level required in a court of law.” She continued, “Maybe less is more, maybe live is not always right.” Relevant to the upcoming campaign, she also warned about covering “one man’s well-trodden globally known disinformation and propaganda machine” and someone who is believed to have sought to cause the “overturn and overthrow [of] the legitimately elected government of the United States.”

As someone frustrated with the mainstream media’s lack of candor about Trump, its incessant effort to normalize MAGA radicals and its refusal to report what is so readily apparent (e.g., Trump’s irrational ramblings), I thought this distillation of what the media should be doing was a bracing gust of fresh air. And that got me thinking: Why isn’t someone who was there at CNN’s founding and who understands the true mission of journalism running the show  literally?

Astead W. Herndon/New York Times:

The challenges that Ron DeSantis faces in any presidential run go beyond Donald Trump.

The political fortunes of Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis have reversed over the past six months. After his re-election as Florida’s governor, DeSantis looked like a strong potential presidential candidate while Trump grappled with legal and personal challenges. Now, Trump leads in opinion polling, DeSantis has struggled to solidify his star status and, in some corners, there’s a growing sense that Trump’s nomination for president is inevitable.

I would caution against that feeling, no matter how it looks for Trump at the moment. After months of reporting on the early stages of the 2024 presidential race, I’ve seen how narratives can miss important factors shaping the race. And that is how conventional wisdom starts to take shape in a way that’s divorced from evidence or data. (See: expectations of a Republican wave in last year’s midterm elections.)

DeSantis is expected to formally enter the race as soon as tomorrow. Here are two narratives about his candidacy that could use revising.

Narrative 1: DeSantis is toast.

Reality: There is an opening for a Trump alternative, whether it’s DeSantis or someone else.

Narrative 2: DeSantis’s biggest problem is Donald Trump.

Reality: Yes, but he has another problem to confront first.

And that problem is every other Republican running (there are a lot of them).

Perry Bacon, Jr/Washington Post:

7 news outlets reimagining political journalism in smart ways

Political journalism is in crisis. Over the past few months, BuzzFeed News, FiveThirtyEight, Vice and a number of other outlets that specialize in political news have substantially cut staffing and coverage. Even CNN and The Post have laid off journalists. And the political media is struggling to cover an increasingly radical Republican Party without seeming to be on the side of the Democrats.

But there is good news, too. Several new or expanding outlets are addressing some of political journalism’s long-standing shortcomings: insufficient coverage of state and local government and of people who aren’t White and upper-income; an over-prioritization of elections over policy; a failure to recognize that the courts are a central front in today’s political conflicts.

NBC News:

Ron DeSantis will launch his presidential bid with Elon Musk

The Florida governor will announce he is running for president on Twitter Wednesday evening in a conversation with Musk.

The relationship could be a significant boost for DeSantis by giving him an introduction to, and credibility with, Musk’s massive following — including his 140 million Twitter followers. But it could prove a burden should DeSantis become distracted by the tycoon’s many controversial comments.

The launch will closely tie together the billionaire tech mogul with one of the Republican Party’s rising stars. Musk has been an admirer of DeSantis, who also regularly chides corporate media. Last year, Musk said he would support the governor if he were to run for president.

The announcement will coincide with a retreat for high-end fundraisers pledged to support DeSantis in Miami. Bundlers will gather at the Four Seasons hotel from May 24-26, receiving briefings from campaign staff, combined with time to call around to raise money for the campaign.


Washington Post, in case you missed it:

Mar-a-Lago prosecutors sought records of Trump Organization deals

The April subpoena also sought information about a deal to host golf events

Special counsel Jack Smith issued a subpoena in April to Donald Trump’s company seeking any records going back to 2017, when he became president, of any business deals struck in seven foreign countries, according to a person familiar with the matter.

But the inquiry produced little that wasn’t already publicly known, this person said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing criminal investigation.

The significance is in looking for financial reasons to holding onto papers that belong to the American people and not Donald Trump. Perhaps the most intriguing is the Saudi golf—Trump golf course connection. More to come on this, should Trump be indicted.

Finally, in case you wonder about network news always ending with “good news” stories about puppies and veterans:


Natalie Jackson/National Journal:

DeSantis camp puts cart before horse race

Polling on how the two Republicans might fare against Biden is very fuzzy.

And conveniently—but likely not coincidentally—as DeSantis prepares his official announcement, several polls have come out that show him beating or tying Trump in early-primary states, and beating President Biden in general election swing states.

In general, when we see private campaign pollsters releasing results publicly, they have a good reason. Sometimes it’s to juice fundraising; sometimes to shift or create momentum for their candidate. But pollsters who typically do private work for candidates or PACs don’t just suddenly decide to release numbers for the good of society.

To be clear, there’s nothing nefarious about this; it’s how the game is played. Both of these firms have a solid track record. Public Opinion Strategies is the GOP partner (alongside Democratic firm Hart Research) on NBC News polls. All of these polling numbers are perfectly plausible for where we are in the election cycle. But I do think voters should be aware of the political gamesmanship that sometimes goes on in poll releases.


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