"Our lead tonight is news that we hoped we would never have to report," Judy Woodruff said at the start of Monday's PBS "NewsHour" broadcast. "Our managing editor, my co-anchor, and dear friend Gwen Ifill died earlier today." Ifill was 61.
She was, as Woodruff said, "a supernova." First in print, then on television, Ifill broke gender and racial barriers and became a role model for journalists across the country. "I think we're all diminished without Gwen," Gloria Borger said on CNN when the news of Ifill's death came in. Watch the tributes and read our obit here.
Paula Kerger, the CEO of PBS, said "Gwen was one of America's leading lights in journalism." In an age of media distrust, she was trusted. Admired. Adored.
Cancer treatments while covering the election
One of Ifill's best friends, Michele Norris, told me that Ifill was diagnosed with endometrial cancer sometime at the end of 2015 or early in 2016. Ifill shared the news with family and friends but chose to keep the cancer battle private. In April, when she had to take a leave of absence from the "NewsHour," a spokesman said she was enduring "ongoing health issues" and didn't get specific. Norris said Monday that this absence was due to complications from the treatment.
Ifill returned to work in May, and within weeks she had an exclusive interview with President Obama. She covered the political conventions over the summer. But she was forced to take another leave of absence last week. She was at hospice care in DC when she died on Monday, surrounded by family and friends.
Obama and Trump paying tribute
President Obama during his Monday afternoon press conference: "Gwen was a friend of ours. She was an extraordinary journalist. She always kept faith with the fundamental responsibilities of her profession, asking tough questions, holding people in power accountable, and defending a strong and free press that makes our democracy work."
Donald Trump on Facebook Monday night: "We are saddened by the passing of Gwen Ifill and extend our deepest condolences to her family and loved ones. Gwen was a broadcasting pioneer, shattering barriers throughout her career and blazing a path for future generations following in her considerable footsteps. Her presence and legacy will be felt forever."
"A pioneering figure"
Just a few of the reactions from journalists, public officials and friends:
-- NYT's page one obit: "Ifill was in the forefront of a journalism vanguard as a black woman in a field dominated by white men..."
-- Loretta Lynch tweets: "Gwen Ifill was a pioneering figure in American journalism who quite literally changed the face of the evening news..."
-- WashPost's Abby D. Phillip: "Gwen made young black journos like me feel like we belonged in DC. When we met she was warm, full of advice & joy. I'll never forget it."
-- NBC's Pete Williams, speaking through tears on MSNBC: "She had so many awards in her office, you could barely see out the window…"
-- Don Lemonon Monday's "CNN Tonight: "You were simply brilliant and powerful, a quiet storm. Professional, understated, humble..."
Statement from Ifill's family
"We truly appreciate the public expressions of sympathy from those who knew and respected her. At this time, we respectfully request the ability to grieve and remember Gwen privately. However, more information will be made available in the coming days on a public remembrance of the woman so many admired..."
Megyn Kelly on "GMA" Tuesday morning
It'll be her first morning show interview, coming on the same day her book "Settle For More" comes out. Will Kelly be asked about her decision to withhold details about her interactions with Trump until after election day?
What she told Dr. Phil...
Dylan Byers emails: Kicking off her book tour with an appearance on Dr. Phil, previewed on Monday and airing on Tuesday, Kelly said that Donald Trump called her up "screaming" just days before the August 2015 presidential debate because she had interviewed Harry Hunt, a journalist who discussed claims that Trump's first wife, Ivana, had accused Donald of raping her.
"Trump was not happy with that interview," Kelly told Phil McGraw. "He wasn't happy that I put the reporter on the show and four days before the presidential debate... He called me up and threatened me and made very clear to me that he was extremely displeased. I told him flat-out 'Mr Trump, I'm sorry that you are unhappy, but you don't control the editorial on the Kelly File.' And that was it: He started screaming at me; he hung up the phone."
In another "Dr. Phil" clip, Kelly said Roger Ailes made "grossly inappropriate" and "specific" remarks about her body when she was a new reporter at Fox. She emphasized: "This was real. He did do this. I was far from the only one."
On Monday afternoon Susan Estrich issued a statement on Roger Ailes' behalf: "I categorically deny the allegations Megyn Kelly makes about me. I worked tirelessly to promote and advance her career, as Megyn herself admitted to Charlie Rose. Watch that interview and then decide for yourself. My attorneys have restricted me from commenting further -- so suffice it to say that no good deed goes unpunished..."
Trump and the media
First Bannon, now... Ingraham?
Laura Ingraham, a vocal critic of the press corps, could be the next White House press secretary. Ingraham is under serious consideration for White House press secretary, sources confirmed to CNN's Dana Bash and Jim Acosta on Monday. Other people are in contention for the post as well, the sources said. But Ingraham's name stands out because of her nationally syndicated talk radio show and her close ties to Trump. Here's our full story...
Why this matters: This would be another incendiary choice by Trump. In radio and TV segments, Ingraham has decried the biased "Hillary media" and questioned some journalists' patriotism...
She says "we'll see what happens"
Ingraham was a guest on Monday's debut of Tucker Carlson's 7pm show on Fox News. "I wanted to get you on before you get drafted by the Trump people," he said. "So would you take the job? She answered: "I am honored to be considered for that job and other jobs. So we'll see what happens." She cautioned: "I think people are getting a little far ahead of the narrative." But she basically confirmed that something is in the works -- she said "it's a big decision" but "if my country needs me... then I obviously have to seriously consider that..."
Bannon -- who stayed in the shadows during the campaign -- spoke with the NYT's Jeremy Petersand said he rejected the "ethno-nationalist" bent of some alt-right adherents. Trump supporters by and large are "patriots," he said. "They love their country. They just want their country taken care of." He added, "It's not that some people on the margins, as in any movement, aren't bad guys — racists, anti-Semites. But that's irrelevant..."
"The best gift the popular press could have gotten?"
Dylan Byers emails: Did Trump save the media? That's the question Vanity Fair's Sarah Ellison asks in her new piece... "This is the best gift the popular press could have gotten," a cable news exec told her after Trump's stunning election victory. The logic? "Trump's presumed demise might have been a welcome occasion for the republic... But through his stunning victory, this executive argued, Trump may have handed the media something of an economic lifeline." Read more from Ellison here...
Floyd Abrams says "we have to be on guard"
Ellison is right about the business side. A never-ending Trump-fueled news cycle seems likely to drive TV viewership and page views. But the journalism side may suffer. Reporters and editors don't know what to expect from a man who routinely savaged the media while on the campaign trail. "We have to be on guard, and we have to be thinking about the down side as we hope that it won't happen," Floyd Abrams, the veteran First Amendment lawyer, said on Sunday's "Reliable Sources." Here are some of the possibilities he and I discussed:
-- To loosen or change libel laws, "what he's got to do is to change the First Amendment," by appointing Supreme Court justices who will "abandon the level of very high protection for free speech that we have in this country…"
-- Trump could use the powers of persuasion: Leading the public "to be so anti-press that it would, if not destroy, greatly limit its ability…"
-- A Trump-led FCC could seek to revoke TV station licenses…
-- He could also try to expel journalists from press conferences and events. Abrams said this could open the door for a landmark First Amendment case…
-- There's also the prospect of the government "bringing an espionage action against the press for publishing" sensitive information...
Quote of the day
"Reality has a way of asserting itself."
--Barack Obama, when asked on Monday afternoon about his expectations for Trump's presidency...
The Atlantic toasts Jeffrey Goldberg
Spotted at The Atlantic's Monday night celebration of new EIC Jeffrey Goldberg: Hayley Romer, David Bradley, Bob Cohn, John Gould, Jim Jordan, Josh Tyrangiel, Jacob Weisberg, Emily Lenzner, Anna Bross, Christa Robinson, Felix Gillette, Michael Calderone, Peter Sterne, Kinsey Wilson, Margaret Low Smith...
Goldberg told the crowd that he joked, back in October, during his first staff meeting, that if Trump is elected, The Atlantic will be an outstanding "prison magazine..." Post-election, he said one of his goals is "serious deep reporting about the forces that brought about the rise of Trump..."
(I wish this wasn't a daily feature, but it is...)
Today in fake news
Facebook and Google are explicitly banning "fake news" sites from making money off their advertising networks. At Facebook, the move "adds fake news sites to the category of misleading, illegal and deceptive sites, which are already barred from using the Facebook Audience Network," the WSJ reports.
Brian Lowry emails: I'm reading a fair number of pieces trying to draw a link between people's entertainment choices and the public mood — from the strong performance of the movie "Moonlight" to "Arrival" exceeding expectations at the weekend box office. Studio execs, critics and pundits would probably be wise to tread cautiously in making such inferences/suppositions. While it's appealing to link everything back to politics — and a reasonable factor to cite in terms of, say, tune-in for topical talk or late-night shows -- people go to movies or watch TV shows for a host of reasons that have nothing to do with who the president is. And I suspect the crowds that flock to something like the "Star Wars" prequel "Rogue One" will cross all sorts of demographic lines...
-- MZ Hemingway: The media "gambled everything -- including their credibility -- on defeating Trump and electing Hillary Clinton, and they lost. And now where does that leave everybody?" -- Jeff Greenfield: "For people beyond our world, the distrust in the media was so high that even when Trump's liabilities were accurately reported, people who wanted Trump for all kinds of reasons said, 'No, you're part of the problem. You're part of the system we want Donald Trump to upend.'"
-- John Avlon: "We need to hope for the best but we need to prepare for the worst. And the job of journalists is more important than ever before right now." -- Liz Plank: "Our job is to scrutinize, never normalize. Donald Trump is not our assignment editor."
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