My CNN Piece

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Something terrible happened in San Francisco last week and it made me so angry I had to write about it for CNN.

Read my piece here: https://cnn.it/2w7hAZC

SFPD raided the home of a journalist and seized his equipment and confidential work material. They did this with the permission of two San Francisco judges and with the endorsement of San Francisco’s Mayor London Breed. It’s a clear violation of California’s shield law and it’s also a major breach of press freedoms.

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Scoop: Kamala Harris/Fox News

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Scoop: Sen. Kamala Harris Will Not Appear On Fox News For A Town Hall

Presidential candidate and California Sen. Kamala Harris will not appear on Fox News for a moderated town hall, according to two sources familiar with the matter. Harris’ campaign has not yet informed Fox News executives of her decision.

Harris joins Sen. Elizabeth Warren in declining to appear on the top-rated network. As Senator, Harris has never appeared on the network for a sit down interview.

A spokesperson for the Harris campaign told me, "They've reached out but we haven't entertained it.”

Yesterday, Warren announced she was rejecting the opportunity, tweeting, “A Fox News town hall adds money to the hate-for-profit machine. To which I say: hard pass.”

I will be updating this post; to check back for more, visit yashar.substack.com.

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Scoops: MSNBC-John Heilemann/Fox News/The Atlantic Writers

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Scoop: John Heilemann Is in Talks to Host MSNBC Show

Journalist John Heilemann, a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC and co-author of the presidential campaign books “Game Change” and “Double Down,” is in talks to host his own MSNBC show on Saturday evenings, two sources familiar with the matter tell me. The deal, as I understand it, is not yet finalized.

Heilemann is a ubiquitous presence on the network, appearing often on “Morning Joe,” Nicolle Wallace’s afternoon show and Lawrence O’Donnell’s evening program. For the past three years, he has also co-hosted Showtime’s “The Circus,” a docuseries about the 2016 presidential campaign that morphed into a docuseries about the Trump White House and the 2018 midterms, among other topics in the political arena.

Heilemann had been set to write a juicy, behind-the-scenes book about the 2016 campaign with the co-author of his other books, Mark Halperin. But the book, and a movie deal with HBO linked to it, were canceled when allegations of sexual misconduct against Halperin were revealed in late 2017.

If the deal is finalized, Heilemann’s program is expected to air on the same evenings as MSNBC’s newly announced program “Saturday Night Politics” with Donny Deutsch.

Scoop: Guy Benson to Solo Host Fox News Radio Show

Fox News contributor and Fox News Radio host Marie Harf is leaving the network to join the presidential campaign of Congressman Seth Moulton, a source familiar with the matter tells me. Harf is expected to announce the decision on her Fox News Radio show, Benson & Harf, later today.

Guy Benson, Harf’s co-host, who is also a Fox News contributor, will take over the show as the solo host starting Thursday, my source said.

It’s unclear what position Harf has accepted on Moulton’s presidential campaign. Before joining Fox News, she served as senior adviser for strategic communications to then-Secretary of State John Kerry. Earlier in her career, she held communications roles at the State Department and was an analyst at the CIA.

The Fabulous Amanda Mull and Taylor Lorenz

Something very interesting happens on Twitter when stories by Amanda Mull or Taylor Lorenz, staff writers at The Atlantic, are published. First, other writers and Twitter users will tweet the story out. Then, usually hours later and sometimes days later, people will start tweeting about the subject of the story without mentioning the writer or linking to the piece.

While most writers would appreciate having their name and story link attached to conversations about their work, it is a testament to the job they do that what they’ve written about transcends into an open dialogue online.

Amanda and Taylor write stories that are Twitter conversation starters, whether you like what they write about or not (and I love it).

Taylor writes about internet culture. What’s great about her work is that she writes about stuff you probably don’t know anything about, stuff that on the surface may seem trivial but is actually important when it comes to media and culture. If you have children of any age and want to understand internet culture, her stories are a must-read. But even if you don’t, her understanding of internet culture is so deep and nuanced, you can learn a lot by reading her stories.

Have you ever been talking with friends about something that moves you, annoys you or fascinates you and someone says, “Someone should write about that”? Well, that is one of the things that Amanda does so well—she writes about the stuff that inhabits our lives and writes about them in a way that’s intellectual and thoughtful without sacrificing readability.  

I’ve included links to some of my favorite stories by Taylor and Amanda below. I hope you’ll take a look. Once you start reading their work, you won’t be able to stop.

Taylor Lorenz: The Instagram Aesthetic Is Over

Taylor Lorenz: Momo Is Not Trying To Kill Children

Amanda Mull: Workers Love AirPods Because Employers Stole Their Walls

Amanda Mull: Hot People Are Stressful

Amanda Mull: How To Like Food You Hate

Amanda Mull: Why Do Smart People Send Nudes?

Taylor Lorenz: Instagram Has A Massive Harassment Problem

Taylor Lorenz: The Hottest Chat App for Teens Is … Google Docs

Amanda Mull: Why Most of America Is Terrible at Making Biscuits

Amanda Mull: Millennials Are Sick Of Drinking

Taylor Lorenz: Rising Instagram Stars Are Posting Fake Sponsored Content

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New: CBS News Sweeping Changes

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A story I’ve been working on for a week…CBS News is set to announce sweeping changes to CBS This Morning and CBS Evening News. For the first time, the news division will be run by a woman and CBS Evening News and CBS This Morning will be anchored by women.

Link to my story here: http://bit.ly/2LjdszO

Scoops: Oprah/Malcolm Nance and MSNBC

This edition is free, but I will paywall my newsletter soon, so if you like what you see and want more, I hope you will click the subscribe button below. Just 19 cents a day.

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Scoop: Oprah Had Lunch with Mayor Pete Buttigieg

This morning, the media and political world woke up to Oprah Winfrey gracing the cover of The Hollywood Reporter and a Q&A with the icon by THR’s TV editor Lacey Rose.

In the Q&A, Winfrey noted that she’s been studying up on the 2020 Democratic field, including one particular candidate. “Right now, I’m studying the field,” Oprah told THR. “I’m reading ‘Shortest Way Home’ by [Pete Buttigieg], I call him Buttabeep, Buttaboop.”

Well, it looks as if she’s doing more than studying up on him. I learned this afternoon from a well-placed California source that Mayor Pete had lunch with Oprah recently. Another source confirmed that the lunch took place on Sunday at the home of a mutual friend in Los Angeles.

Outside of a few supportive statements and noting “I’m with her,” in interviews, Winfrey largely stayed out of the 2016 election. But it appears that given her comments to The Hollywood Reporter and the news that she had lunch with Buttigieg, she may be willing to participate in the 2020 election in a similar fashion as she did in 2008, when she endorsed then-Sen. Barack Obama in a heated primary.

While the success of Obama in that primary and in the general election can’t be ascribed to one thing, there is no doubt that Winfrey’s endorsement brought a surge of energy to his candidacy.

Scooplet: Where Did Malcolm Nance Go?

Until an appearance on “AM Joy” this weekend, MSNBC’s national security analyst Malcolm Nance had been missing from the network, having made his last appearance April 13. Even when the Mueller report came out April 18, Nance was nowhere to be found.

Nance’s absence on air was met with a flood of tweets from his fans demanding to know why he wasn’t on air discussing the Mueller report. Progressive talk show host Stephanie Miller tweeted, “Wow @MSNBCPR looks like my 6 mill listeners and all my regular guests/celeb friends/your core audience w their huge twitter #s are really PISSED @MalcolmNance is missing from @MSNBC.”

The creator of #OscarsSoWhite, April Reign, who is a diversity and inclusion consultant, tweeted: “Why is the ONLY Black counterintelligence expert on the sidelines at this crucial juncture when discussing the Mueller Report, Trump, and Russia’s interference? This isn’t a coincidence. #WhereIsMalcolmNance”

And even “Star Wars” star Mark Hamill tweeted: “BRING BACK @MalcolmNance ASAP!!!”

Nance returned to the air this weekend, appearing on “AM Joy.” And while a network source told me on April 23 that Nance remained under contract with the network and he would appear soon, it seems there is more to the story.

Sources tell me that bookers at MSNBC were told in two emails, the first sent on March 28 and the second the week the Mueller report was released, that if they wanted to have Nance on their programs, they would have to first check in with the director of booking for MSNBC.

This on its own is not atypical. Networks require their bookers to check in with the head of booking when it comes to certain analysts and contributors to ensure that a paid contributor/analyst hasn’t been appearing on the network too much or when it involves a high-profile person; networks don’t want to have their top contributors appearing on lower-rated shows, so they place a higher-level booker in charge of that person’s bookings.

But I’m told by several sources familiar with the matter that this is not the case with Nance, who has been a ubiquitous presence on MSNBC, appearing on shows all over the network’s schedule.

I’ve been told that the week the Mueller report came out, Nance was booked for programs but was unbooked by MSNBC brass.

A big reason Nance was effectively put on ice by the network, sources say, is he has been a source of controversy in the minds of MSNBC executives.

A Daily Beast story published March 27 about MSNBC’s decline in ratings since the Barr letter was released noted that Nance would make hyperbolic predictions about the Mueller investigation. The next morning, the first email ordering bookers to consult with higher-ups before booking Nance was sent out.

It’s important to note that Nance continued to appear on the network after that email was sent.

A source familiar with the matter also tells me that a tweet that Nance posted April 11 raised eyebrows at the network. The tweet was actually a “quote tweet” of Edward Snowden, who was tweeting about the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Nance quote-tweeted Assange and said, “A TRAITOR SAYS WHAT NOW? I can’t hear you over my Schadenfreude meltdown. Someday soon you’ll get a swift Blackbag rendition by your FSB Secret Police friends & I’ll be waiting outside EDVA courthouse! #IWouldWorry”

MSNBC/NBC executives saw the tweet as unprofessional and hyperbolic and decided that Nance needed some time off before returning, the source said.

Nance is back on the network now, but I am told there is still a sense of frustration with Nance’s allies that he was unfairly treated, particularly since former CIA Director John Brennan, also an MSNBC analyst, made similar predictions himself and wasn’t treated like Nance was.

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