How Sam Bee's quip backfired; Puerto Rico's pain; Trump's TV pardons; Disney's dilemma; Lowry's review of "Succession;" welcome to June!

By Brian Stelter and CNN's media team
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Exec summary: Scroll down for MSNBC's silence about Joy Reid, President Trump's celeb pardons, Kim Kardashian's interview about her White House visit, and much more...

Are we failing Puerto Rico?

There's been a lot of criticism of the national news media this week for short-changing Puerto Rico... specifically, the Harvard study about the island's death toll in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Personally I'm curious how the study would have been covered if it was about, say, Houston.

As Harry Enten pointed out here, "Americans viewed Hurricane Maria as if it was happening in another country..."

So in case you missed it, the study estimated that 4,645 people died in the storm and its aftermath. The island's official death toll is 64. Per CNN's story, the Harvard team "says that, if anything, its estimates are low..."

🎧 This week's pod

That's why, for this week's "Reliable Sources" podcast, I asked CBS News correspondent David Begnaud to talk with me about the study and the implications. He's in San Juan right now. I asked him if this study had been overshadowed by other news... And I asked how people in Puerto Rico are reacting.

Check out the Q&A via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and TuneIn...

Notes and quotes

 -- CJR's Pete Vernon wrote about how the Harvard study took "a backseat to Roseanne coverage..."

 -- Some real talk from CNN's Greg Krieg: "Puerto Rico will be an enduring stain on Trump's presidency..."

 -- Kelly Magsamen, a key voice in the Obama admin, tweeted: "As a foreign policy person, I am struggling with the fact that 5000 people died in Puerto Rico, a US a situation that was avoidable with early action. That's more than 9/11. We can't be a great global power if we can't take of our own..."

 -- We need more info: This story notes that "CNN and the Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI) in Puerto Rico are suing the island's demographic registry for access to death records that have been withheld..."

Friday is the start of hurricane season

...And with that in mind, CNN correspondent Leyla Santiago ‏called seven mayors in Puerto Rico to ask, "Are you prepared for another storm?" She tweeted out her notes...

Bee's "joke" backfired

Samantha Bee says she is sorry. TBS agrees. There's been an outcry over her comment on Wednesday's "Full Frontal" that Ivanka Trump is a "feckless c---." TBS (which, like CNN, is part of Turner, a division of Time Warner) says "those words should not have been aired. It was our mistake too, and we regret it." Here's Frank Pallotta's full story...

And here are a couple of the thought-provoking thoughts that I saw on social media today:

 -- Ashley Feinberg: "The only reason for the samantha bee backlash was conservatives wanting retribution for roseanne, giving in to insincere outrage campaigns is only going to make it worse"

 -- Jim Geraghty: "Half-formed thought, forgive me: what we're seeing on the Right regarding discourse and decorum is sort of like 'jury nullification.' They see such a glaring double standard in the way 'beyond the pale' is defined that they no longer want to enforce the rules for anyone."

The beginnings of an ad boycott?

That's what this looks like... But we'll see if it grows...

Autotrader and State Farm say they're suspending ads from "Full Frontal" in the wake of Thursday's controversy. Autotrader said Bee's comments were "offensive and unacceptable." Jackie Wattles and I wrote about it here...

 --> What I'm wondering: Is this a repeat of the ad boycott against Laura Ingraham? In that case, Rupert Murdoch stepped in and Fox said "we cannot and will not allow voices to be censored by agenda-driven intimidation efforts..."

Lowry's take

Brian Lowry emails: Bee's blast was a classic unforced error – a legitimate criticism directed at Ivanka Trump, as a public figure and representative of the administration, turned into a controversy because of unnecessarily crude language that was clearly intended to provoke a response.

When it comes to "crossing a line," it's one that comics need to be savvier about tiptoeing across when they're involved in dispensing political satire under the umbrella of a large corporation...

The White House's worrisome reaction

Bee crossed a line, but the White House's reaction is also cause for concern... Because of the possible chilling effect...

On Thursday Sarah Sanders came thisclose to calling for "Full Frontal" to be canceled... She called Bee's language "vile and vicious" and said the show is "not fit for broadcast..."

Be soft on the people. Be hard on the ideas.

I was reminded of this line recently when Mitch Landrieu spoke at a dinner in DC. But versions of this have been said for decades. It applies really well to all of this week's media world outrages:

Be soft on the people. Be HARD on the IDEAS.

It applies to both Ivanka Trump and Sam Bee. By all means, let's debate the Trump administration's policy that's causing migrant children to be separated from their parents. But let's do it without hurling profanities at people...

Still no comment from Joy Reid or MSNBC about her old blog posts

Tom Kludt emails: The question Joy Reid and her bosses at MSNBC are no doubt asking: When does it end? How many more embarrassing old blog posts will get dredged up?

On Thursday, BuzzFeed unearthed yet another strange post from Reid's shuttered blog: A 2007 item that included an image of John McCain's head photoshopped on the body of the Virginia Tech shooter.

MSNBC still isn't commenting, continuing the "say-nothing, let-it-blow-over" strategy the network employed last month. You'll recall Reid apologized back in April for some of her homophobic writings, but she maintained her dubious claim that the blog was manipulated by hackers, even while acknowledging that she couldn't prove it. It might serve Reid well to issue a blanket apology, covering all the weird and offensive sentiments on her blog. That might put this bizarre saga to bed, once and for all...

 --> BF's Joe Bernstein tweeted: "'The reason these stories continue to be of interest is MSNBC and Joy Reid won't address them -- so we don't know if they would attribute them to a hacker or not. Transparency is typically a good thing in our field..."
For the record, part one
 -- Fox News Channel's "America's Newsroom," co-hosted by Bill Hemmer and Sandra Smith, currently airs from 9 til 11am ET... Now it'll continue til 12pm... Fox says 11am host Jon Scott is moving to "Fox Report Weekend..." (TVNewser)

 -- Paul Farhi's scooplet: Random House dropped Glenn Thrush amid misconduct allegations, but Thrush "was free to keep the cash" from his book advance... His would-have-been co-author Maggie Haberman "still intends to write a book for the publishing house..." (WashPost)

 -- Former Jeb Bush spokesman Tim Miller's latest: "The media's undeniable pro-Trump bias" (Crooked Media)

 -- Nikki Finke is "training her eye on politics..." (VF)

Trump v. Disney, day two

For a second straight day, President Trump found a way to talk about the "Roseanne" controversy without condemning Roseanne Barr's racist remark. And for a second day, Disney ignored him.

Trump targeted Disney CEO Bob Iger on Twitter. He expressed resentment that ABC took swift action when Barr attacked former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett, but didn't take equivalent action when other ABC stars assailed Trump. Every case is different, of course. But Trump tapped into a potent strain of grievance politics. It's the same thing that drives countless segments on his favorite Fox News talk shows: the notion of a double standard that hurts conservatives. Here's my full story...

Trump is pardoning conservative celebs

Jake Tapper on "The Lead" Thursday afternoon: Trump is "seemingly passing out pardons to heroes of the far right almost as eagerly as Oprah once gifted Pontiacs to suburban moms." The newest example: filmmaker and conspiracy theorist Dinesh D'Souza.

"Critics and analysts suggest that this is all of a piece," Tapper said. "These are all individuals prosecuted by people whom the president deems to be his opponents. They're individuals who faced charges that members of the Trump team could face themselves." So "is a signal being sent here at all?"

"I see him on TV"

On AF1, Trump told reporters that he has never met D'Souza, but "I read the papers. I see him on television."

In this context, TV means "Fox News." Trump has seen D'Souza on Fox shows...

 --> Ryan Reilly's take for HuffPost: "Once again, Fox News producers are playing an essential role in the pardon process..."

 --> Here's Chris Cillizza's reaction...

Bannon's first CNN TV interview...

Was taped on Thursday. Fareed Zakaria sat down with Steve Bannon for an in-depth interview in Rome... The first few clips are rolling out on CNN now... The interview will air Friday at 9pm on CNN, and will re-air Sunday morning...
For the record, part two
 -- Elon Musk is getting a lot more combative on Twitter. Proof: "We've tracked all of Musk's tweets since 2015. It's never been like this..." (QZ)

-- Amy Walter will debut as the Friday host of "The Takeaway" on Friday... Tanzina Vega hosts the rest of the week...

 -- Cheddar "has purchased MTV Networks on Campus, a small news and entertainment network piped into college campuses across the U.S." Now it'll be called CheddarU. Financial terms were not disclosed... (WSJ)

 -- Fox's plan for fewer commercials on Sunday nights "has hit a snag," Jeanine Poggi reports. She says NBCU's rollout of the limited-ads idea has been "smoother..." (AdAge)

Newly released tapes of Michael Cohen threatening a journalist

This is newly released audio of Michael Cohen threatening reporter Tim Mak. "Tread very f***ing lightly, because what I'm going to do to you is going to be f***ing disgusting. Do you understand me?" Cohen told him. "Don't think you can hide behind your pen because it's not going to happen."

Mak worked for The Daily Beast when this happened back in 2015. Now he works for NPR, and the outlet decided to air the audio...

 --> Oliver Darcy tweeted: "It's remarkable how calm and professional @timkmak remained in the face of Cohen's tirade of threats..."

"What Happens When a Journalist Comes Back From the Dead"

That's the title on Julia Ioffe's piece for the NYT's opinion section, which is a must-read.

Thankfully the Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko is alive. But because he faked his death to expose his would-be killers, dismissing "fake news" claims became "far more difficult," Ioffe writes. "This time, the Russians turned out to be right..."
For the record, part three
By Julia Waldow:

-- Ken Doctor explains why Tronc is "getting smaller," "getting bigger," and "generally shapeshifting" into what could be different companies. He also ponders the LAT's likely future under Patrick Soon-Shiong, whom Doctor writes "has told some that he'd like to create something 'better than CNN...'" (Nieman Lab)

-- Recommended reading: Adrianne Jeffries's "How to succeed in advertising (and transform the internet while you're at it...)" (NYMag)

-- Helpful! Taylor Blatchford rounds up over two dozen journalism conferences occurring over the next year, with comprehensive info on dates, locations, and prices... (Poynter)

-- Facebook is no longer the dominant online platform among U.S. teens ages 13 to 17, a new Pew survey on social media habits reveals... (Pew)

-- Brie Larson, Meg Ryan, Jason Blum, and John Ridley are among the finalists for an open seat on the Academy's board of governors... (THR)

Disney hopes to rebound with NBA Finals

Frank Pallotta emails: It's been a rough week for Disney. One of the company's biggest brands, "Star Wars," disappointed at the box office over the weekend. And then ABC cancelled its top-rated new show, "Roseanne."

But the company hopes to rebound (pun very much intended) with Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

The Cavs are ahead at the time I'm writing this... Let's see how many games this goes...

 --> The Q: Can King James and KD end Disney's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week with a slam dunk?
For the record, part four
By Daniella Emanuel:

 -- Grammys chief Neil Portnow will be leaving his post in 2019, following "months of criticism" that women need to take charge in order for there to be more representation at the annual awards show... (Variety)

 -- The Skimm has launched a texting service called "1:1", which aims to answer subscribers' questions about how the day's news applies to them... (NiemanLab)

 -- Dylan Byers says the tech execs who show up for conferences, summits and forum fail to make news because they've been "media-trained to the point of impenetrability..." (CNN)

Kim explains her trip to see Trump

Mic was behind the scenes with Kim Kardashian before and after Wednesday's W.H. visit. Kardashian said: "People will just hear something and not understand, well, 'What does Kim have to do with prison reform?' Seven months ago I saw a story on Twitter. It was about a great grandmother that, like, just tugged at my heart. It was just that simple connection."

She added: "If it takes me to go and talk to the highest person in power, the ONLY person that can make this happen, which is President Trump, then I will definitely do that..."
The entertainment desk

After "Roseanne" -- now what?

Brian Lowry emails: The LAT's Stephen Battaglio and writer Ken Levine pointed out, correctly, that ABC had to know they were rolling the dice by getting back into biz with Roseanne Barr. And I also agree with this piece by Indiewire's Michael Schneider, arguing that despite the temptation to do a "Frankenshow" and try making lemonade out of lemons, ABC should make a "clean break" and let "Roseanne" go...

"The Americans" analysis

Megan Thomas emails: I've read every possible recap about "The Americans" finale. It was so great. For anyone else out there who is already missing the show, there's plenty of great analysis on it: The New Yorker... Vulture... The NYT... And Brian Lowry's piece for CNN...

Lowry reviews "Succession"

Brian Lowry emails: HBO's "Succession" will surely generate buzz in media circles because of its very Murdoch-like underpinnings, with an imperious media tycoon and the heirs who work for him. But much like "Billions" with its rooting in big business, this drama – written by Jesse Armstrong, with a pilot directed by "The Big Short's" Adam McKay -- fairly quickly takes on a life of its own.

Read Lowry's full review here...

Sunday on "Reliable Sources:"

"Succession" executive producer Frank Rich!
For the record, part five
 -- Drake has explained the blackface photo from Pusha-T's single. The pair are currently engaged in a major rap beef...

 -- Brigitte Nielsen has announced her pregnancy at 54...

 -- Tom Cruise has teased a look at the "Top Gun" sequel...

Welcome to June

Via Lisa Respers France, here's what's streaming on Netflix, Amazon and Hulu in June...
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