From Wimbledon to Nashville, catch up with MuddHouse Media in June 2022!

The MuddHouse Media Logo on the Glen Campbell Museum in Nashville, TN during CMA Fest 2022

From banning Russian athletes at Wimbledon to CMA Fest in Nashville, find out what the hosts and partners of MuddHouse Media have been up to this June!

By Matthew McGuirk

The MuddHouse Media Logo on the Glen Campbell Museum in Nashville, TN during CMA Fest 2022

MuddHouse Media on Broadway in Nashville

MuddHouse was featured at the CMA Fest in Nashville earlier this month when Country Music Success Stories hosts Candy O’Terry, and Jacy Dawn Valeras hosted live interviews with top country talent. 

 

 

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“It is an honor to see MuddHouse Media’s visibility on the iconic street of Broadway in Nashville for CMA Fest this year,” said MuddHouse Media CEO Kris Meyer. “Candy and Jacy are two best in class podcast hosts and partners to MuddHouse.”

Patrick McEnroe Headed to Wimbledon

Holding Court host Patrick McEnroe headed to the Wimbledon tennis tournament in London, where he’s covering the event for ESPN from June 27 to July 10. 

 

McEnroe penned an opinion piece for CNN, where he argued against Wimbledon's decision to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from the event.

Beat the Press Addresses Important Questions about Mass Shooting Coverage

Following the tragic shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, Beat the Press dedicated an entire episode to discussing the role of the media in covering these mass shootings. Host Emily Rooney was joined by Lylah Alphonse of The Boston GlobeDan Kennedy of Northeastern University, and Joanna Weiss of Experience Magazine as they addressed the media contagion effect, covering the shooter, releasing photographs of the deceased, and the politics of guns. 

 

 

Rooney and her panel made the decision to record this single-themed episode to foster an important conversation about covering this recurring problem in the U.S.

A Deep Dive into the Coverage of the January 6th Hearings

Beat the Press

On Beat the Press, host Emily Rooney is joined by a panel of media critics to take you behind the scenes of the world's biggest and most influential media outlets featuring unusual moments that capture the public's opinion.

This week's panel of guests includes media consultant Susie Banikarim, former NECN anchor Mike Nikitas, and Jon Keller from WBZ-TV.

By Matthew McGuirk

Episode 8 (3)

On Beat the Press, host Emily Rooney is joined by a panel of media critics to take you behind the scenes of the world's biggest and most influential media outlets, featuring unusual moments that capture the public's opinion. On this episode, Emily is joined by media consultant Susie Banikarim, former NECN anchor Mike Nikitas, and Jon Keller of WBZ TV to discuss the January 6th hearings, the 50th anniversary of Watergate, and the recent Twitter showdown at the Washington Post.

January 6th Hearings — How was the story told on Fox News?

On the first night of the January 6th hearings, Fox News relegated its coverage to the lesser-watched Fox Business Channel and kept its primetime programming in place on the main channel. In this segment, the Beat the Press panelists discuss Fox’s decision to hide its viewers from the committee’s presentation and also touch on the testimony provided by Chris Stirewalt, a former Fox News political editor who was fired for calling Arizona for Joe Biden in the 2020 Election.  

Emily: “I actually worked at Fox for about two years, I guess it was when Roger Ailes was in charge. I can relate to what happened to this Chris Stirewalt because we were all always intimidated. Like, if you didn’t go along with the party line, somehow they were going to get you. They did get me, by the way. But here he is, doing something that was bold and, turns out, accurate … and then they end up firing the guy. It’s just stunning.”

Mike: “Fox not playing the first [hearing] in its entirety or just playing it in the background, to me that was really, really telling while Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity talked about it. You know, ‘We don’t think you are smart enough to be shown and decide for yourself.’ It made a mockery once again of their old slogan, ‘We report, you decide.’”

Susie: “I think what’s really depressing here is that they went a step further, which is they counterprogrammed it. They killed all their commercial breaks that night just to make it so that if they had viewers who were just even willing to flip over and catch a few minutes of it, they couldn’t do that because there [were] never any breaks.”

Jon: “Fox’s decision to do what they did that night [will not] cost them. They’ve made a lot of money, and they continue to top the ratings by creating this alternative reality for their audience, which is this warm bath of grievance and far-right conservatism. Tucker Carlson has made a fortune doing the same thing. Remember when he was sued? The defense was, ‘Well, he makes stuff up. This isn’t news.’ It works. It makes money. It gets ratings. They’re going to stick with it.”

Watergate and January 6th — Are the situations comparable? 

Recording just days after the 50th anniversary of the Watergate scandal, the Beat the Press panelists acknowledge the event’s impact on American journalism and also debate whether former president Richard Nixon’s actions are comparable to Donald Trump’s on January 6, 2021. 

the United States Capital BuildingEmily: “I think people have their own versions of reality, and they’re seeking the outlets that give that to them. They don’t think what happened on January 6th was a big deal. They’re certainly not going to compare what Trump did to Watergate because Richard Nixon was taken down, and Donald Trump will not be.”

Mike: “It’s so different now. I mean, [what] Richard Nixon did at that time looks to me like petty theft compared to Donald Trump. At least Nixon resigned. Trump committed and is still committing sedition and treason with every Truth Social post and every speech.”

Susie: “We just have this media ecosystem that’s so different from what it was back then. It’s so fractured. There’s so many different versions of reality that are being presented to readers and viewers … I think Nixon might have survived in this post truth world where we have competing truths. It’s really hard to present one version of reality because there’s always someone willing to present this totally alternate version of reality.”

Jon: “I think that the political media landscape is a lot tougher now than it was then… Nowadays, the scrutiny is much more intense. The landscape is much more harsh. The fact is I don’t think people like to be lied to and stolen and cheated by their power brokers any more than they did then.”

To Tweet or Not to Tweet — What can we learn from the recent Twitter debacle at the Washington Post?

Following a tweet storm from then Washington Post reporter Felicia Sonmez, which came in response to a sexist tweet from currently-suspended reporter David Weigel, Sonmez was fired by the paper for her public feud with colleagues and leadership. The incident has raised two thought-provoking questions in which the Beat the Press panelists discuss. First, how much tweeting should a reporter actually be doing? And second, is there a “correct” way to handle these situations?

Emily: “The shocking thing about all of this was that rather than sending text messages or internal emails to each other, this whole thing played out publicly online. The joke was not funny, and it’s immature. David Weigel started this, and he got what he deserved if you ask me, a minor [one month] suspension. The idea that you would take this public, I find that shocking that a reporter at a major newspaper like the Washington Post would do that.”Old Post Office building with Benjamin Franklin Statue, Washington DC, United States

Mike: “First off, the retweet was sexist, and it was stupid, let’s just say that. Twitter, in my mind, is not a conflict resolution tool, and that includes Felicia Sonmez. There’s an old saying in news about not getting into a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel full. We all remember that, right? Well, don’t get involved then in a Twitter war with someone who not only buys it by the barrel full but also happens to be your employer.” 

Susie: “Clearly, the environment for Felicia was not healthy, and she expressed that in a way that was not productive. The fact that she went online and immediately called out Dave, it’s not how I would have handled it. But the other challenge here is that it’s easy for us to [say] ‘don’t tweet’, but for a really long time in these newsrooms, reporters were told they had to tweet. Part of the way they had to maintain their jobs was to be really public on Twitter … There just doesn’t feel like there was an easy way to handle this.”

Jon: “I’ll tell you what the policy should be: ‘Never tweet. Never. If you want to work here, no tweeting.’ That’s it. That’s actually good advice for any young aspiring journalist listening to this podcast.”

The Media and Mass Shootings: The Contagion Effect, Covering the Shooter, Photographs, and Politics — Beat the Press with Emily Rooney

Beat the Press

On Beat the Press, host Emily Rooney is joined by a panel of media critics to take you behind the scenes of the world's biggest and most influential media outlets featuring unusual moments that capture the public's opinion.

This week's panel of guests includes Lylah Alphonse of The Boston Globe, Joanna Weiss of Experience Magazine, and Dan Kennedy of Northeastern University

By Matthew McGuirk

Episode 8 (2)

The Media and Mass Shootings: The Contagion Effect, Covering the Shooter, Photographs, and Politics — Beat the Press with Emily Rooney

On Beat the Press, host Emily Rooney is joined by a panel of media critics to take you behind the scenes of the world's biggest and most influential media outlets featuring unusual moments that capture the public's opinion. On this episode, Emily is joined by Lylah Alphonse of The Boston Globe, Joanna Weiss of Experience Magazine, and Dan Kennedy of Northeastern University to discuss the role of the media in covering mass shootings in the aftermath of shootings in Buffalo, N.Y., and Uvalde, Texas.

Media Contagion — Does the press contribute to shooting contagion?

Between academic studies and TED Talks, the idea of a contagion effect has been connected with media coverage of mass shootings. Given the prevalence of shootings in the United States, the Beat the Press panelists discuss the media's responsibility in covering these events and whether or not the coverage motivates future shooters.

A news conference about the begin with a camera pointing at a news anchorEmily: "I think there is a contagious effect. And by the way, I think that we don't do enough to separate out the types of mass shootings. Over the weekend, there were reported dozens and dozens of mass shootings. They're different genres … And I do, however, agree that this idea that by reporting all this stuff, we're suggesting, 'Hey, why doesn't somebody try to kill more than 19 people in an elementary school?'" 

Dan: "It's not the sort of thing that we can't report, so I think that what we need to think about is, 'How do we report it?' I think that the worst thing we can do—and yet it's what we see from cable news — is to just go live and stay there on and on and on again … I do think that studies show that this saturation coverage of mass shootings is possibly leading to more of them, and I think that we have to step back and say, 'How can we do this in a better way?'"

Lylah: "I don't think you can only blame the media for a contagion effect. I think that when you talk about the media, people are usually talking about the big cable news stations. But people are also getting this information, this wall-to-wall coverage, from social media, from Twitter threads where people are just spinning off on their own about their own theories, [and] from blogs and Facebook groups where people talk about conspiracy theories. And I think all of that together is where the contagion is coming from, not just the traditional media." 

Joanna: "The events that have transpired since the mass shooting at the school in Texas have proven why it's important to have media coverage. That is because the party line, the line that came from law enforcement from the moment it happened, turned out to be, in many ways, misleading and wrong. You have to have that media watchdog group … and in that sense, the more, the better. The more watchdog coverage, the more people are holding public officials to account after these events, the more you get to the truth."

Naming the shooter — Should the media report the shooter's name?

Whenever these incidents occur, some reporters and anchors simply refuse to name the shooter in an attempt to deny them whatever glory they may have been seeking. CNN's Anderson Cooper is known for following this policy, for instance. This leads the Beat the Press panelists to discuss the effects of this technique and whether or not it is a good standard to follow when reporting the news. 

Emily: "I would challenge almost anybody to come up with the names of most of these people. Most people can do Newtown, Adam Lanza. I can do Parkland, Nikolas Cruz. I couldn't tell you the Orlando nightclub guy's name. I could not tell you the Las Vegas [shooter's name]. Those people killed more than 50 people … I come down on the side of it's a point of information. You got to report the name. But I agree with Lylah, it doesn't have to make them a big media star."  

Dan: "One of the guidelines that I look at is a group called NoNotoriety, which grew up after one of the terrible shootings … The point that they made is exactly the point that we're making. Initially, you have to report the name of the shooter. But after that, you don't need to keep repeating it. And I have to say, I think that most news outlets have been going along with that. I've seen very few invocations of the names of the shooters in Buffalo or in Uvalde. It seems to me that the media are doing what they've been asked to do, and again I don't know if it's making any difference." 

Lylah: "I'm torn. I think that when the name is released when the name is discovered, that's news. That is a point of fact. I think people want to know who did it … But once it's been reported once initially, I don't think it needs to be brought up over and over and over again. I don't think we need to do the old-fashioned print [news] thing of recapping every point that we've come up with before in every story going forward. I would be in favor of reporting the name when it's released and then just referring to them as 'the shooter' after that and not calling more attention to that person." 

Joanna: "Most of the coverage that I've read has mentioned the name of the shooter once and then referred to him as 'the gunman' through the rest of the story. It has not diminished the impact of anything or my understanding of the event, and I think if that is the new media standard, that's terrific."

Photographs — Should the photographs of murdered children be released?

Despite the frequency of mass shootings, lawmakers are often criticized for their failure to effectively address the political issues at hand, such as gun control. CNN's Jake Tapper recently suggested that maybe releasing the photographs of the slaughtered children would force our politicians to step up, and this prompts the Beat the Press panelists to discuss the value of such an idea. 

Emily: "I come down on the side of this that the photographs should be released, not to change the course of legislation [but] because it's part of the news cycle. It's what happened. I've been very consistent about this my entire life. 

Dan: "I am coming down on the side of not publishing the pictures. I don't see that it would do any positive good, and I think it could do a great deal of harm. The kinds of people who are turned on by this might be inspired to do more. The gorier the pictures, the better, for their twisted purposes."

Lylah: "No matter what photos are released or aren't released, you're going to have a segment of the population that believes these are crisis actors and none of this really happened, or that it's a red flag operation and it was staged. You will not be able to reach those people no matter what you do."

Joanna: "I think it's part of the story of what these AR-15 weapons can do. It's part of what needs to be a public understanding about how these weapons work."

The politics of guns — Is it ever too soon to bring the politics of guns into media coverage following a shooting?

In virtually all mass shootings, people who immediately voice their support for gun control legislation are criticized for "politicizing" a tragedy. In this segment, the Beat the Press panelists debate this belief and discuss if it is ever "too soon" to address the political issues surrounding mass shootings. No Firearms Allowed Sign, An red road sign with handgun icon and not symbol with blue sky background

Emily: "I would argue, once again, that it's never too soon to bring it up. Even while Uvalde was unfolding, I was flipping around, but I was mostly on CNN. They were bringing up the issue of gun legislation. They were saying that it didn't make any difference in Sandy Hook, it didn't make any difference in Parkland, [and] it's unlikely to make any difference this time. You kind of want to hear that … There was so much other misinformation coming out that day, [so] why not discuss something else that we know is a real underlying theme to all of these shootings?"

Dan: "It's not politicizing the issue to immediately start asking, 'How can horrible events like this be prevented in the future?' One of the possible pieces of legislation that's being discussed is an expansion of red flag laws. Well, how do we make that work the way they're intended? One of the most shocking aspects of the Buffalo shooting was that the shooter had apparently threatened to shoot up his school, and the police questioned him under the red flags, and he was somehow able to convince them that he was joking. Well, how did that happen? It's a horrifying thing to hear, but it's also an important public policy question." 

Lylah: "Talking about how did the shooter get an AR-15-type weapon, how do we prevent people from getting their hands on this weapon in general, why does anyone need this weapon, [and] what ways are there to prevent the spread of these weapons, all of those are legitimate things that there is never a good time to talk about other than right when it's happening, right when you need to know. Otherwise, it gets shoved to the background until there's another incident and people don't want to talk about it."

Joanna: "Legislation is part of the story because legislation is how people get access to these weapons in many cases. It certainly was in the case of Uvalde, Texas, where this was an 18-year-old who, the day he turned 18, was able to walk into a store and, with no background check and with no questions asked, was able to purchase these weapons and this ammunition … Access to guns is part of the story, and so the laws that create that access to guns are part of the story." 

Great Replacement Theory, Roe v. Wade Leak Blame Game – Beat the Press with Emily Rooney

Beat the Press

On Beat the Press, host Emily Rooney is joined by a panel of media critics to take you behind the scenes of the world's biggest and most influential media outlets featuring unusual moments that capture the public's opinion.

This week's panel of guests includes media consultant Susie Banikarim, former NECN anchor Mike Nikitas, and Dan Kennedy from Northeastern University.

By Matthew McGuirk

Episode 8

Great Replacement Theory — What is it, and do believers care about the facts?

Following the Buffalo, N.Y. shooting, the Beat the Press panelists discuss Fox News and Tucker Carlson’s mainstreaming of “Great Replacement Theory” while also pointing out the broader implications that come with it. 

Emily: “It is easy to look at Tucker Carlson because he is mainstream media. He’s got a platform that millions watch. But it’s the underground element of this, that the connections through things like 4chan, 8chan, Discord—whatever these things are—memes, jokes, and it’s all about feeling threatened. So it’s not even a bigger thing; it’s nothing they can point to specifically. So how can we, the media, tap into something like that and stop somebody like the Buffalo shooter? My guess is he doesn’t watch Tucker Carlson; he doesn’t even know who he is.”

Dan: “What Tucker Carlson’s role is in this, and by the way, it was interesting that he said, ‘I don’t know what replacement theory is,’ and then he went on to describe it perfectly. His role in this is the mainstreaming of it. This is actually becoming a fairly prominent thread in Republican discourse... We have this continuum of the really dark, crazy stuff that you can find if you go looking for it, up to what actually has become a mainstream show like Tucker Carlson, up to Republican politics.”

Mike: “I think Tucker Carlson himself said that this 18-year-old was mentally ill. I agree with him. I also believe that without Tucker Carlson and the environment that he has helped to mainstream, this might not have happened. There are plenty of mentally ill people teetering on the fence of acting out. Tucker Carlson, and his ilk, help to push them over, in my belief.”

Susie: “The audience that’s watching Tucker Carlson is mostly older Americans in the middle of the country. But what is really important is that politicians watch his show, right? We know there’s this pipeline of these ideas that are considered fringe that the Fox News hosts bring into the mainstream and then give GOP politicians the green light to be able to embrace in a way that they may not feel comfortable doing if they didn’t see those ideas mainstreamed.”

The Blame Game: Who leaked the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade decision and why?

Following the leaking of a potential Supreme Court decision to overturn the Roe versus Wade decision, the Beat the Press panelists discuss the situation and wonder what matters more: discovering who leaked it or covering the consequences of this decision. 

Emily: “Isn’t the bigger issue the leak itself? It seems like we’ve gotten into this whole discussion about the ‘whodunit,’ which, once again, I have to say, it can’t be that hard to figure out who did it.” Lady Justice outside the Front Columns of the Supreme Court

Dan: “I have to depart somewhat from some of my progressive friends who are blasting the media for focusing on the leak because the Republicans want the focus to be on the leak. So, therefore, ‘Oh, you’re playing into Republican hands.’ No, I think who leaked it is very important, and I also think it’s important to know what the political motivations were.”  

Mike: “I also think we could be overthinking this — why it was leaked and who leaked it. It could have just been a clerk with ego who did it in a fit of anger. But again, to me, it doesn’t matter in the final analysis who leaked it. The horse is now out of the barn, we’re dealing with the implications, and states are changing their laws, and that’s what we should be focusing on.”

Susie: “Obviously, this is the kind of story the media loves, right? They love a whodunit and a palace intrigue, and I think because this is unusual for the Supreme Court, people really want to focus on that. But I tend to be on the side that this doesn’t matter. If you’re a woman in Texas, and you’re trying to figure out if you can still get an abortion one state over... you don’t care who leaked this memo or this draft opinion. You just don’t care. What you care about is how this is going to impact your life and how soon and what it means, and that’s a story we’re not as interested in because it doesn’t feel appealing to our sense of a good story.”

"Trump Backed" Candidate

Given the repeated use of the phrase “Trump-backed” in media coverage of the midterm elections, the Beat the Press panelists discuss the value of this kind of reporting. 

Emily: “Other than Mehmet Oz, no one knows who any of these candidates are. It’s just that they are the ‘Trump-backed’ thing. I guess what I’m saying is the media is playing a role in that by reemphasizing and reinforcing this idea that the other guy, not the Democrat, is the Trump-endorsed candidate, thereby giving him or her this artificial boost. It’s a fact that the candidate is Trump-endorsed, but is that the most important thing? Apparently so.”

Dan: “There’s more to this. Trump-backed candidates are doing well in some places. They are losing in other places. Maybe that means that Trump’s influence isn’t really that important? I don’t know. And we’re also not necessarily learning everything we need to know about who some of these people are.”

Mike: “The Trump playbook is pretty well known and the kinds of things he stands for and the kinds of things the candidates he endorses stand for. Certainly, we would have to maybe dig a little deeper, and perhaps local media in those local elections [and] state elections are doing that. But again, I think he is a huge part of the calculus of this election cycle; he is the biggest part of it. And I don’t think we can ignore it.”

Susie: “Of course, it is still important to evaluate how much Trump is still a factor in the GOP because that is going to matter now, it’s going to matter in the midterms. But I do think this is an example of the flattening that happens in political coverage in this country that I just generally think is bad practice because it’s part of trying to turn everything into a horse race. If you don’t want to actually do the work of explaining the differences between these candidates, it’s just much easier to refer to them as the Trump-backed candidate.”

UAP or UFO? 

Here the panelists discuss the Department of Defense’s efforts to change “unidentified flying objects” to “unidentified aerial phenomena.” 

Emily: “Listen, I predict that term won’t fly with the public or the media. What exactly is the government trying to do here? On one point, they’re actually admitting what people have been saying all these years that there are unidentified flying objects... it’s almost like they’re going to create a greater conspiracy theory.”

A courthouse in Washington D.C.Dan: “Of course, it’s not going to catch on, and I think the government is fully aware that the public is going to continue to refer to these as ‘UFOs.’” 

Mike: “I have often said that the two greatest gets in the history of journalism will be the first interview with an alien and the first interview with a ghost. Until that happens, I am a doubting Thomas.”

Susie: “I get there are some things serious here, and it needs to be looked at, and maybe they can do a short, closed-door session. But doesn’t this feel like something they want to do because it’s more fun than addressing all of the myriads of problems they could actually be trying to sort out in this country?”