In case you missed it---Juan Williams reflects on his four-minute slugfest with Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich. Highlights: He thinks Gingrich won the debate, in large part because he skillfully played to that caffeinated crowd in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He says that prior to his questions, a tough dialogue on race had been pretty much absent from the contest. And that his colleagues at Fox had told him that the questions he was prepping could get him booed. They were right.
Also: Just how did an e-mail from NBC’s Brian Williams leak onto the gossip site Gawker? Improperly!
●High-talk value here: Dylan Byers of Politico tracks down an e-mail that somewhat-embattled author Jodi Kantor sent around to friends to scare up support for her somewhat-embattled book “The Obamas.”
Hi from the circus. Can I ask for your help, off the record? I’ve had a weird problem with my book release, which is that many folks on cable tv and twitter, who barely seem to have read the book, are characterizing it in ways that just aren’t accurate (As a scandalous tell-all, an unflattering portrait of Mrs. Obama, or a renegade project with factual problems — none of which are true.)
I realize it’s a little annoying to be asked to tweet things, because the medium is spontaneous, but in this case so many people have misdescribed the book that I want to ask for your help.
You don’t ask for help “off the record” via a group electronic mail.
●Lots of talk on the Web about the Great Wikipedia Blackout to protest SOPA. WaPo makes an offer to step in and help out. Wikipedia’s mobile site appears to be working, according to PaidContent.org.
●The question: Are newspapers “civic institutions or algorithms”?
If you think about the most successful pay walls in the newspaper content business, it is always the big financial newspapers — notably, the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times — that have figured out how to charge for content online. By some estimates, The Wall Street Journal now has more than 400,000 paid subscribers and the Financial Times has 200,000 paid subscribers. The typical argument given for their success is that they have the best journalistic coverage, the best opinion writers and the best international coverage — all of which combine to make them a must-read. But there is another reason lurking out there — people read the Wall Street Journal because it helps them make money. Among the financial newspapers, Barron’s is perhaps the most explicit about this relationship, with one of their taglines along the lines of, “Read us on Saturday, make money on Monday.” Yes, financial newspapers are algorithms that help you make money in financial markets.
●Journalist Richard Threlkeld dies. A veteran of CBS and ABC News, Threlkeld covered the big issues of his day, including the fall of Saigon and Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“Richard Threlkeld had the kind of name and kind of looks that could’ve made him a reporter in the movies, but unlike a reporter in the movies, he could write his own scripts,” Lesley Stahl, his co-anchor on the CBS Morning News from 1977 to 1979, said in a statement Friday. “In fact, he was one of our best writers and reporters, someone CBS sent to troubled spots to cover the big stories of the day.”
●Sarah Palin delivers a nod to Newt Gingrich. He came out there “just like South Carolina’s own Smokin’ Joe Frazier; he came out there swinging, talking about work, talking about jobs and work ethic and how government needs to get out of the way in order for all Americans to have a sense of opportunity to work, and I think that’s what a lot of voters have been craving to hear.”
Palin, when asked whom she was endorsing in the race, sort of answered the question and sort of didn’t. She said that if “I had to vote in South Carolina, in order to keep this thing going, I’d vote for Newt.” Note that she didn’t say that Gingrich was the best candidate — merely that voting for Gingrich would “keep this thing going.” A manipulative vote, in other words.