Our newsletter, Live From the Green Room, regularly documents the triumphs and failures of the reporters, the pundits, the anchors, the hosts, the contributors, and even the politicians making waves at the intersection of politics and media.
Each day, our newsletter presents a winner and a loser. In this post, which we will publish every Friday, we run down the best — and worst — of the week.
Fox News reporter Eric Shawn was the first Winner of the week on Monday after he spent his Sunday afternoon debunking the long list of wild fraud claims made by President Donald Trump and his allies about the 2020 presidential election. On the same day, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo found himself on the Loser side for a wild, self-flattering speech imploring Americans to “admit your mistakes” — something the governor and author of a pandemic how-to book has been slow to do amid a number of pandemic blunders.
He ended the week with an odd victory — winning an Emmy. We’re not kidding.
Dolly Parton was Tuesday’s Winner for donating $1 million to Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine, while yet another powerful man found himself the Loser, this time Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Twitter essentially copied Instagram’s story feature and plopped it’s own version above the iconic Twitter timeline. This didn’t go down well.
The Wall Street Journal editorial board took the Winner spot on Wednesday for its article demanding evidence for Trump’s election rigging claims, and although Fox News host Tucker Carlson was the Loser that day for reporting on a dead voter who wasn’t actually dead, he managed to turn things around to become today’s Winner — as you’ll see below.
Read Friday’s Winner and Loser in full below, and subscribe to Live From the Green Room here.
We have frequently named Fox News’ Tucker Carlson the Media Loser of the Day for being all too-willing to fan the conspiratorial flames of baseless election fraud claims, but we want to play fair, so we must give him credit when he shows up with a bucket of ice water to douse that fire (again, a fire he helped start, but still).
On his show Thursday evening, Carlson laid out in great detail the incredible allegations about massive, nationwide election fraud put forward by President Donald Trump’s campaign lawyer Sidney Powell — and then patiently explained how she was unable to provide any evidence to back up her claims, despite numerous, polite requests from his show.
As Carlson explained to his viewers, he had taken Powell’s accusations “seriously” and “respected her work,” but “simply wanted to see the details.” They had invited her on the show, he continued, and would have “given her the whole hour,” plenty of time to show her evidence and lay out her case.
“But she never sent us any evidence despite a lot of requests, polite requests, not a page,” said Carlson. “When we kept pressing she got angry and told us to stop contacting her.” No one they contacted in the Trump campaign was able to provide any evidence either.
Carlson’s been in the enviable position of being the only Fox News prime time show to beat what has otherwise been a recent ratings sweep for CNN in the key 25-54 demo, but he may not get to stay on top of that hill if a chunk of his viewers turn on him.
Powell herself has already lashed out, calling Carlson “insulting, demanding, and rude” on Maria Bartiromo’s Fox Business show Friday morning, and we’ve noticed some howling from Trump supporters on social media, so the risk Carlson took of possibly alienating his strongly pro-Trump audience is more than theoretical.
We try our best to call balls and strikes here in the Mediaite Green Room. We’ve slammed Carlson when he’s promoted propagandistic nonsense, and we are happy to sing his praises when he does the right thing, especially considering how he’s essentially swimming upstream to do so.
We’ve almost gotten numb to the president and his supporters habitually spouting multiple flavors of outlandish nonsense across the cable news networks on a daily, if not hourly, basis, but every now and then we find a really special pile of crap.
Trump’s longtime friend Geraldo Rivera has been a steadfastly sycophantic presence for the president on Fox News, and on Thursday he proffered an idea to boost his buddy’s flagging spirits: name the vaccine after him, as a treat.
No, that’s not a bit of satire from The Onion; those are real actual words that Rivera said on live television.
Telling the Fox & Friends panel that he wished we could “honor him in that way,” Rivera said he had this idea to name the vaccine “The Trump” because “with the world so divided and everybody telling him he has to give up and time to leave and time to transition and all the rest of it…[i]t would be a nice gesture to him, and years from now it would become kind of a generic name.”
Are you [bleeping] kidding?!
To recap: nearly 12 million Americans have caught Covid-19, and over a quarter of a million have died from it. Cases are surging to record levels across the country and hospital ICUs are reaching capacity.
Trump spent most of the year disdaining masks and mocking those who wore them, and then wrapped up his campaign with a superspreader tour of crowded, mostly maskless rallies across the country. He’s publicly attacked the experts on his own coronavirus task force. He has refused to concede the race to President-elect Joe Biden and allow the transition to smoothly proceed, an unforgivably dangerous delay for not only pandemic response planning, but national security concerns as well.
But we should name the vaccine after him to protect his precious ego? We should reward him for this undemocratic temper tantrum?
Your humble newsletter correspondent hails from the South, and as we say down here: Bless your heart, Geraldo. This is never going to happen, and it’s ludicrous and offensive that you even suggested it.
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