Ahead this week: Discovery's PGA Tour deal, Apple's developer conference, Bill Clinton's new novel, Samantha Bee's follow-up, NHL and NBA finals, and more...
Melania Trump did not travel to Camp David with President Trump over the weekend. She has been out of sight for 24 days. And this mystery is poised to get a lot more media attention in the coming days. Why? Because as CNN's Kate Bennett reported Sunday evening, "the first lady will not be traveling to the G7 summit this year or join the President when he goes to Singapore for the planned June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un."
BUT: She is "expected to attend a White House event on Monday evening to honor Gold Star families..."
BUT BUT: The event is closed to the press, so Monday evening may not resolve the mystery / concern / speculation...
This story is a "talker"
Lemme fend off some of the criticism I've already seen on social media: No, this is probably not the most "important" story involving the Trumps right now. But it's a "talker" in a way that policy debates and ethics scandals and abuse of power allegations are typically not. People are genuinely curious about this and concerned about her...
--> At the same time, as I said on Sunday's "Reliable Sources," I think there's a risk of some liberals falling into a conspiracy theory trap here by assuming the worst about what's going on. We need less speculating, more reporting...
Reality check from Lynn Sweet
"First ladies get media coverage, I don't care what your political ideology is," Chicago Sun Times DC bureau chief Lynn Sweet told me on CNN. "When a first lady disappears from the public... after being in a hospital... of course reporters are going to raise questions. It's not hostile..."
>> Sweet added: "If she's doing stuff in the White House, [why] isn't there a picture?"
>> The counterargument to that: FLOTUS is intensely private... As Yashar Ali tweeted: "People close to her have often told me of how stubborn she can be about things like this. A simple statement could end speculation, but she refuses to give in..."
OS updates... tools for cutting down on phone use... maybe some AR improvements. CNNMoney's Heather Kelly has a complete preview here...
>> PLUS: Leaked screenshots show the presence of a News app icon in the dock of a desktop Mac... It looks just like the "N" logo for Apple News on iOS, per 9to5Mac...
IN OTHER NEWS...
A Netflix-style service for golf shows?
Bloomberg's Gerry Smith with the Sunday night scoop:Discovery is paying $2 billion "for long-term international TV rights to the PGA Tour, part of the media company's push to become a global force in live sports." It's a 12-year deal for "TV and online rights to the U.S.-based men's golf circuit, and the development of a Netflix-like video service..."
>> David Zaslav: "We think the PGA Tour is the most compelling international sports IP in the world..."
Viacom won't air "Heathers"
"After delaying its airing in the aftermath of February's Florida high school shooting, Paramount Network is permanently scrapping 'Heathers,'" the AP reports. Viacom confirmed it: "Viacom says the subject matter is not suitable in the current environment for channels it is attempting to make youth-oriented, but that it is open to the possibility of selling the anthology series to a more fitting outlet..."
For the record, part one
-- Has the NYT's newest investigation of Facebook unearthed evidence that that the company ran afoul of a 2011 consent decree with the FTC? (NYT)
-- Oh, and... Just how hard will it be for FB to "prevent manipulation of its ad system in elections?" This story gives you a taste... (NYT)
-- Happy birthday, Andy Cohen (Saturday) and Anderson Cooper (Sunday)...
-- New trouble at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "Over the past week, the paper has not published five cartoons by its editorial cartoonist, Rob Rogers..." (Pittsburgh's NPR station WESA)
Samantha Bee has more to say
YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST: On Sunday, TBS spokesman confirmed to me that Bee will address her vulgar Ivanka Trump comments when her show, "Full Frontal," returns on Wednesday. (Yes, she's definitely coming back.)
The spokesman had no further details to share... But other sources told me Bee and her producers are working on an in-depth response that will lead Wednesday's episode... I'm guessing she'll repeat some of what she said at the TV Academy event the other night...
Roseanne has more to say too, but...
Roseanne Barr taped a podcast interview with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, her "longtime friend and spiritual advisor," last Thursday, and she "offered an emotional and rambling mea culpa," THR's Benjamin Svetkey reports.
But Boteach tweeted Saturday that he "decided not to release it out of respect for Roseanne." He added: "I want to give her space to reflect on the recent events and releasing the recording is a decision she will make at the appropriate time..."
Brian Lowry emails:Bill Maher -- no stranger to jokes that get him in hot water -- echoed something David Zurawik said on "Reliable." Maher, on his HBO show Friday night, called Barr's tweet "abhorrent and presidential."
It should be noted, too, that there might be no more hypocritical act in media circles than deriding celebrities for venturing into politics but eagerly covering them for the ratings and traffic. It's a practice that tilts heavily toward conservative media but certainly isn't unique to them...
We also talked about the Joy Reid dust-up on "Reliable." Reid was on MSNBCSaturday morning, per usual, but was off on Sunday, traveling to a conference in Hawaii. It's clear that the cable newser has her back. But her hacking claims from April remain unaddressed/unresolved. I guess the hacker is still at large.
The appearance of "lying" is a problem, Ham said. Lewis agreed: "Why isn't MSNBC doing anything about about this?" He said they're circling the wagons, "doing what a political campaign would do, not what a media outlet would do..."
>> Channeling the MSNBC POV: Reid conceded in April that she couldn't prove she was hacked, so this is a settled issue. (But others don't see it that way...)
-- Is it ever ethical for a journalist to fake his own death? What if his life is at risk? I discussed this with Julia Ioffe on Sunday's program... (CNN)
-- I missed this on Friday: "The President has officially named Geoffrey Starks as his pick to fill the FCC Commissioner role left open by Mignon Clyburn's departure..." (TechCrunch)
Question of the day, week, year
Via the Post's Josh Dawsey: "Are there repercussions for not telling the truth?"
He was talking, of course, about Trumpworld's latest greatest contradiction. "Trump aides/surrogates said for months he was not involved/barely involved in drafting a misleading statement about a Trump Tower meeting with Russians." Jay Sekulow and Sarah Sanders were on tape saying Trump didn't "dictate" the statement.
Of all the subjects POTUS tweets about, I wish he'd spare a tweet for Puerto Rico. On "Reliable," I asked the panel why the new study estimating the possible death toll from Hurricane Maria's aftermath was overshadowed by "Roseanne" and other stories. Some of the answers:
-- David Zurawik: "We are addicted to celebrities, I mean, in a sick way..."
-- My answer: Barr's racist tweet was "relatively easy to cover. Everybody has an opinion. Everybody has an interest in it..."
-- Maria Cardona: "I wonder, if these were 5,000 American citizens stateside and if they weren't brown and if they didn't speak Spanish, I think we would be talking more about this..."
"Han Solo is still not a box office force," Frank Pallotta writes. "The second weekend of 'Solo: A Star Wars Story,' which tells the story of the rebellious pilot's youth, made an estimated $29.3 million in North America, according to the studio. That's a drop of roughly 65% from its first weekend's three-day total of $84.4 million. So far the film has brought in $264.2 million globally. "
-- Why the second weekend drop was such a concern: "There was virtually no big competition..."
-- It's only going to get tougher: The next three weekends include debuts of "Ocean's 8," Pixar's "Incredibles 2" and "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom..."
-- Jeff Bock of Exhibitor Relations "thinks it'll be difficult for the film to break even with its production costs, which reportedly totaled $250 million, not including marketing and distribution." Read more...
Fallon's graduation speech!
Via CNN's Dakin Andone: "The seniors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were greeted by a surprise guest speaker at their graduation on Sunday:" NBC's Jimmy Fallon.
"You should feel incredibly proud of yourselves. That doesn't mean you should rest on your laurels -- or your yannys," Fallon quipped... Read all about his speech here...
A FINAL THOUGHT...
Megan Thomas emails:Jelani Cobb's latest for The New Yorker perfectly encapsulates the past week's cable news debates. Love the last graf:
"Trump's response to Roseanne was dictated not just by his narcissism but also by his instinctive antagonism toward the old system of norms. It has become common to cast Trump as hostile toward democracy, but his hostilities, like his appetites, are far more basic. They are not aimed at undermining democracy but the norms of decency and accountability that make democracy possible. Samantha Bee was right to apologize; CNN was right to part ways with [Kathy] Griffin. After Charlottesville, the alt-right has been impeded by lawsuits, not by well-aimed left hooks. That Roseanne Barr seems to have decided that maybe she was wronged only affirms the wisdom of ABC's decision. The threat is not that Trumpism will destroy our sense of decency but rather that it may goad Americans into doing it for him." More...
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