Kavanaugh's closing argument; Tronc no more; Benioff speaks; LA Times changes; 'A Star Is Born' reviewed; Where is Jamal Khashoggi?

Exec summary: Brett Kavanaugh is defending himself in a WSJ op-ed... Meantime, the WaPo and NYT editorial boards are calling for a "no" vote... A cloture vote is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. ET Friday... All the details are below...

One year since Weinstein

One year ago, on the evening of October 4, the top headline in this newsletter said "Weinstein stories coming soon?"

Looming exposes of Harvey Weinstein had been rumored for months. But THR brought it out into the open by revealing that an NYT story might be imminent. The site said that Weinstein had hired "an army of attorneys and crisis managers" and "unleashed them on The Times."

Do you remember what Weinstein said to THR that night? "The story sounds so good, I want to buy the movie rights."

Ha-ha. Do you think he's laughing now?

Take a minute and think about how the world has changed in the past year... And what still needs to change...

"None of us knew what was about to happen..."

Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey's first story about Weinstein's abuses was published in the 2 p.m. hour on Friday, October 5, 2017. Michael Barbaro snapped this picture of Kantor and Twohey, both exhausted, later that day:
Looking back one year later, Kantor told me, "None of us knew what was about to happen. Not the team at the Times. Not Ashley Judd or Laura Madden, the first two women to go on the record."

Kantor reminded me that there were legal threats from Weinstein's camp. But there was also this element, something I didn't know: "Many sources had told us that Weinstein's behavior was an open secret, that no one would care about our findings."

Those sources were wrong. Ten days after the story hit, the words "Me Too" spread across social media like a spotlight on a dark, hidden world. But the #MeToo movement wasn't an inevitable result of the reporting. A confluence of events -- a series of individual choices -- brought us to this moment. My story about this will be up on CNN Business on Friday...

Anniversary reading

 -- The # of workplace sexual harassment claims filed with the EEOC "has spiked in the year since the #MeToo movement took off," Julia Carpenter reports for CNN Business...

 -- The Wrap has a look at how Hollywood's sexual misconduct policies have changed in the past year...

 -- And Friday's USA Today has a look at both the accomplishments of the past year and the backlash... The timing for this Kavanaugh vote is uncanny...


First vote set for Friday

CNN's live blog has the latest updates here. A cloture vote is expected Friday at 10:30 a.m. ET... "The action moves the Senate closer to a confirmation vote, though a final vote would not take place until Saturday at the earliest..."

Kavanaugh's op-ed

"The Supreme Court must never be viewed as a partisan institution," Kavanaugh wrote in this op-ed for Friday's WSJ.

I think most Americans would agree with that statement. But Kavanaugh's testimony last week -- his broadside against Democrats and his conspiratorial comments about the Clintons -- flew in the face of his new remarks. Oh, and he wrote the op-ed for the Rupert Murdoch-owned WSJ. Last week his outlet of choice for a TV interview was the Murdoch-owned Fox News.

His message is simple: "I Am an Independent, Impartial Judge."
"I was very emotional last Thursday, more so than I have ever been," he wrote in the op-ed. "I might have been too emotional at times. I know that my tone was sharp, and I said a few things I should not have said. I hope everyone can understand that I was there as a son, husband and dad. I testified with five people foremost in my mind: my mom, my dad, my wife, and most of all my daughters."

The op-ed has some people wondering if he's trying to appease Jeff Flake, who (speaking at The Atlantic Festival on Wednesday) expressed concern about Kavanaugh's "sharp and partisan" tone...

Apparently this was Kavanaugh's idea

A source close to Kavanaugh told CNN's Ariane De Vogue that "he penned the op-ed because he felt like it was important for the full Senate to have before it in his own words something that sums up not just the last two weeks but the entire confirmation process and his life's record." A senior W.H. official told Sarah Westwood that it was Kavanaugh's idea... A different official criticized him for "calling his own play again..."

Cuomo channeling Maya Angelou

Chris Cuomo on CNN Thursday night: "Maya Angelou gave us the best advice in these matters: 'When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.' How will the senators interpret that wisdom here? We will see."

This hasn't happened since Bork...

"We believe senators must vote 'no,'" the WashPost editorial board said Thursday evening. This is the first time the board has opposed a Supreme Court nominee since Robert Bork in 1987.

Less surprisingly, the NYT edit board is also saying "no." This editorial says "it is a terrible reality that, at this point, either confirmation or rejection of Judge Kavanaugh's nomination by a narrow and overwhelmingly partisan margin will dismay and anger millions of Americans. But only by voting no, by asking Mr. Trump to send someone else for it to consider, can the Senate pass its test of institutional character and meet its obligation to safeguard the credibility of the Supreme Court..."

These sites are benefiting...

"This Supreme Court confirmation process has become one of the biggest traffic generating news stories for hyperpartisan news pages on Facebook of the past two years," BF's Craig Silverman reports.

Daily Wire COO Jeremy Boreing says "it is certainly the biggest story in politics since the 2016 election..."

 -- Melania Trump will sit down with ABC's Tom Llamas during her Africa trip... The interview will air next week... (ABC)

-- Margaret Sullivan's newest column: "Dishing up lies while proclaiming the love of facts, Trump and Sarah Sanders gaslight America..." (WaPo)

 -- Bloomberg Businessweek's story about how China "used a tiny chip to infiltrate U.S. companies" is getting a ton of attention... But Apple and other companies are forcefully denying the key claims in the story... Check out Apple's push-back... (Bloomberg)

 -- Shares of Snapchat's parent company are trading "under $8 for the first time ever..." (CNBC)

 -- Cheddar's Alex Heath obtained a 15-page Evan Spiegel memo directing the staff to achieve full-year profitability in 2019... Lots of details here... (Cheddar)

Did you notice the new logo?

The top of this newsletter now carries the CNN Business brand name... Part of Thursday's launch of a new site with a new mission. Here's the welcome note from Jason Farkas and Rich Barbieri...


Laurie Segall's interview with Marc Benioff

Julia Waldow emails: Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff tells CNN's Laurie Segall that he bought TIME because he values storytellers and because the buy aligned with his "spiritual values." But he emphasized that he won't be involved editorially. "I want them to be unshackled," he said. "I want those editors and writers and photographers and visionaries to be free. And to really help us and guide us." Watch/read highlights from the interview here...


 -- Here, Donie O'Sullivan reminds us how much we still don't know about the week-old Facebook breach... (CNN)

 -- Read Lucas Shaw on how "traditional studios, tired of losing their best people to Netflix, are fighting back..." (Bloomberg)

 -- WE tv, in partnership with the NAACP, rolled out a get-out-the-vote PSA on Thursday night... (Twitter)

 -- The New Yorker Festival kicks off on Friday... Many events are sold out, but some tix are still available... (TNY)


Where is Jamal Khashoggi?

There's a big blank space on the WaPo editorial page on Friday...
The white space is intended to draw attention to Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance. The editor's note at the bottom of the would-be column says, Khashoggi "is a Saudi journalist and author, and a columnist for Washington Post Global Opinions. Khashoggi's words should appear in the space above, but he has not been heard from since he entered a Saudi consulate in Istanbul for a routine consular matter on Tuesday afternoon."

RIP, Tronc

Tronc officially announced on Thursday that it will revert to the name Tribune Publishing next week. The fix will take effect next Wednesday. Michael Ferro pushed the Tronc name through in June 2016...

Brian Lowry emails: It's easy to laugh off the Tronc name, but the whole interlude was oddly emblematic of the misguided stewardship over the newspaper industry, where corporate owners, for a time anyway, seemed to think that corporate-speak and gimmickry could address the underlying hurdles that faced the business.

Julia Turner joining LAT

More from Lowry: A significant change at one of Tronc's old papers, the Los Angeles Times, was also announced on Thursday: Mary McNamara, a Pulitzer Prize-winning TV critic turned assistant managing editor for arts and entertainment, will be returning to writing as a cultural critic and columnist. In November she will be replaced by Slate EIC Julia Turner, who's moving from NYC to L.A.

Turner's title will be deputy managing editor responsible for Arts and Entertainment coverage. In the announcement, McNamara noted that she guided the team "through two turbulent years, both culturally and internally," which exhibits a gift for understatement...


 -- Julia Waldow emails: More than 80% of the Twitter accounts that spread disinfo during the 2016 campaign are still active, despite Twitter's attempts to crack down fake accounts according to new research conducted by the Knight Foundation... (NPR)

 -- An explainer by Jill Disis: "Why skinny TV bundles are getting fatter..." (CNN)

 -- "The 'Heathers' TV series is finally going to make it to air. The Paramount Network is planning to release the first season of the show ahead of Halloween, but with edits..." (Variety)

First look at Sunday's "Reliable"

On this weekend's broadcast, I'll be joined by Susanne Craig, one of the three reporters who broke the Trump tax evasion report for the NYT. Any Q's for her? Email me...

Reminder: We're hiring!

The "Reliable Sources" team has a brand new opening for a TV producer -- here's the listing -- check it out and/or spread the word. We also have an opening for a writer/producer...


By Daniella Emanuel:

 -- Men are quoted more than women in the news. This Quartz article explores how this sexist trend could be rubbing off on Wikipedia, in the form of the experts they choose to cite... (Quartz)

 -- The founders of Spotify intend to "sell another $100 million in shares..." (Variety)

 -- Dave Anderson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning sportswriter for The New York Times, has died at the age of 89...(NYT)

Birth of a star!

Brian Lowry emails: "A Star is Born" might not live up to the intergalactic hype, but it's immensely entertaining — an assured directorial debut for Bradley Cooper, and a perfect project to help Lady Gaga transition from musical stardom into the movie world.

Read Lowry's full review here...

Sound familiar?

Brian Lowry emails: Enjoyed this line from LAT critic Justin Chang's "Venom" review more than the movie: "'Venom' tells the story of a journalist who annoys his editor, develops a horrible diet, and devolves into a feral, disagreeable version of his former self, all while unleashing panic and mayhem on an unsuspecting American populace. No it isn't a documentary."

New info about Jon Favreau's "Star Wars" streaming TV series

Brian Lowry emails: The eagerly anticipated live-action "Star Wars" series for Disney's upcoming streaming service has a name and concept: "The Mandalorian," set during the period between "Return of the Jedi" and "The Force Awakens." It's being developed by Jon Favreau...


By Lisa Respers France:

 -- Former rap mogul Suge Knight was sentenced to 28 years in prison Thursday for a hit and run that killed one man and maimed another on the set of "Straight Outta Compton..."

 -- Mischa Barton who found fame on "The O.C" is joining "The Hills" revival. That just feels right...

 -- The actress Michelle Williams looks nothing like the singer Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child, but that doesn't stop them from getting confused...

Thanks for reading! We'll be back tomorrow. Email me with your feedback anytime...
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