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Oh my: Sinclair making a play for Hannity?



I say this no more than half-jokingly: The only proper replacement for Hannity at 9 p.m. on Fox would be Trump broadcasting live from the White House for an hour, riffing on whatever he wants to riff on. A nightly national rally, five nights a week.

Well, four nights. Hosts often get Fridays off, especially during the summer. Jared could sit in for him.

Hannity is supposedly signed at Fox through 2020, which means one of two things is true. It could be that Sinclair is thinking long-term here. They’re plotting to build a national competitor to Fox but it won’t be ready tomorrow. It might not be ready at all, in fact, if their merger with Tribune Media isn’t approved by the feds. Maybe they’re not expecting to launch until 2020 at the earliest anyway and are approaching Hannity now because it’s never too early to start pitching him on a career-changing idea.

The other possibility is that Hannity has an out clause in his contract, possibly a “key man” provision tied to Roger Ailes, and Sinclair is aiming to swipe him right out from under Fox later this year or next. Hmmmm.

As its executive chairman David Smith prepares to launch a competitor to Fox News, he has met in the last few months with the executive producer of Hannity’s top-rated show on Fox, Porter Berry, according to two people familiar with the meeting.

Berry is not the only person connected to Hannity who Smith has gone after. The Sinclair boss has also been wooing Sean Compton, a Tribune Media programming executive who is close friends with the Fox host…

Smith has yet to settle firmly on his plans for a Fox News rival, which are contingent on Sinclair’s $3.9 billion merger with Tribune Media being approved by the Federal Communications Commission, but he has been laying out a vision for a three-to-six hour primetime conservative cable news block.

Third possibility: Sinclair would like to sign Hannity but more than anything they want it known to Trump that they’d like to sign Hannity (and Jeanine Pirro, whom they’ve also been sniffing around), whether they actually do or not. If you’re a conservative media company awaiting merger approval from Trump’s FCC, it can only help your chances if the president knows you’re a fan of his favorite TV host — and “shadow” chief of staff — and are eager to amplify his message if approval is granted.

The benefits to Sinclair of landing Hannity are obvious. It would put them on the conservative media map instantly, announcing their arrival as a rival to Fox with fanfare. And Hannity’s the one host at Fox who might be capable of taking his audience with him if he left. Other big-name Foxies like O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly have either dived overboard or been tossed and the FNC juggernaut has sailed on, assured that their viewers will stay put because in the end they’re the only right-wing game in town on cable news. (Sorry, OANN.) If Sinclair touches down and Hannity climbs aboard, though, that changes in the biggest possible way. Hannity also occupies a niche that literally no one else in television shares, including Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham: His nightly message is invariably in sync on every point with that of his close personal friend, the president. If you’re a Trump junkie, you simply will not find a hit as potent anywhere else on television. And needless to say, if Sinclair landed him it would immediately raise their stock in the eyes of Trump himself, which might lead to some presidential plugs on Twitter or an exclusive interview or two. Gaining Trump’s public approval would be important to the network as de facto “permission” for longtime Fox fans to give the new network a try. Hannity could deliver it.

What does Hannity get out of the deal, though? He’d be taking a major professional risk, and for what? He doesn’t need the money. Sinclair could promise to make him the face of the network but he’s already the biggest name at Fox and seems to operate with complete freedom in his 9 p.m. enclave. (I remind you that he wasn’t so much as wrist-slapped by Fox for covering Michael Cohen on his show without ever mentioning that Cohen considers him a client.) The lure, I assume, would be the pure challenge of trying to launch a fledgling Fox competitor to the top of the ratings, but that might end up with him having a smaller audience in perpetuity than he ever had at Fox. Not all of his viewers will follow him, after all; depending upon who replaces him at 9, Fox fans might conclude that the new guy delivers the daily talking points about as well as Hannity does and therefore there’s no need to change the channel. Hannity jumping ship would essentially be a test of whether his brand or the Fox brand is chiefly responsible for the size of his audience at 9. Literally every time that test has been taken by other hosts, the Fox brand has won. It could be different with him, but how much of his stature would he want to bet on it?

As for Fox, who could they conceivably get to replace him? I don’t think you could sub in a generic talking-points machine like Tomi Lahren at 9 p.m. to replace the biggest name on the network. They’d either need to get someone who already has a big following (Mark Levin, maybe? Would he be willing to compete with Hannity?) or, more likely, they’d move Ingraham to 9 and give someone less tested like Lahren the 10 p.m. slot to see what she could do with it.

Here’s Hannity yesterday congratulating Ingraham on how rockin’ Fox’s primetime ratings have remained despite losing three-quarters of the line-up in the past few years. Maybe four quarters soon!

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Caravan reaches Mexican border, breaks through fence on Guatemalan side




The migrant caravan reached the southern border of Mexico Thursday night and NBC News reports some have already crossed the border. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal described the situation along the Mexican border as tense:

Tension was palpable in Ciudad Hidalgo, a tiny tropical village in Mexico surrounded by rain forest and banana plantations that borders Tecun Uman in Guatemala, with the two towns separated by a muddy river. Late Thursday, some 300 Mexican federal police officers equipped with antiriot gear were deployed to the border crossing ahead of the caravan’s expected arrival…

Many migrants marched along the river banks on Thursday afternoon. “Let them know that we are going to cross to Mexico!” shouted a man clad with a cap in front of the crowd.

The border between Mexico and Guatemala (at this location) is the Suchiate River. Here’s what that looks like from the bridge spanning the river:

There are gates on both sides of the bridge to control traffic. Buzzfeed’s Karla Zabs is there covering developments this morning. A short time ago the caravan began massing at the Guatemalan gate:

And that led to a standoff. The AP reports that “young men” eventually tore open the barricade and swarmed onto the bridge:

Migrants in a caravan traveling through Central America have broken down gates at a border crossing and are streaming toward a bridge to Mexico.

After arriving at the tall, yellow metal fence Friday, some clambered atop it and on U.S.-donated military jeeps.

Young men began violently tugging on the barrier and finally succeeded in tearing it down.

Men, women and children then rushed through toward the bridge, about 150 yards (137 meters) away.

This tweet translates as “Bombshell! Thousands of Hondurans manage to enter Mexican territory!”

The Noticias video below helps explain the sequence of events. This is a live stream but you can scroll back. First people were massed at the yellow gates on the Guatemalan side of the bridge. Then they broke through those gates and streamed onto the bridge as seen in that clip above. The migrants made their way to the Mexican side of the bridge and, at first, it appeared the gates were open, but they were pushed closed by police with riot shields.

A shoving match ensued between the police and the migrants trying to re-open the gates. Some migrants are throwing things at the police and the police appear to be using batons to keep people’s hands off the gates. Finally, when the gate is shut, you see some men jumping off the bridge into the water where they swim to a nearby raft.

Stalemate, at least for the moment:

I’ll update this post when the situation changes.

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BREAKING: Nellie Ohr Invokes Marital Privilege Preventing Her From Answering Questions About Talks With Her Husband Bruce Ohr




Nellie Ohr, wife of twice-demoted DOJ official Bruce Ohr appeared on Capitol Hill Friday to face lawmakers in a closed-door grilling.

Mrs. Ohr was supposed to appear for a deposition last month but she was refusing to cooperate with lawmakers.

Now this…

Nellie Ohr invoked marital privilege on Friday preventing her from answering questions about her husband Bruce Ohr.

MANU RAJU: Very rare bipartisan agreement: Both sides say Nellie Ohr interview has been led to nothing. She invoked marital privilege preventing her from answering qs about talks with her husband. @MarkMeadows sees no reason to bring her back. @CongressmanRaja calls it a “nothing burger”

Rep. Mark Meadows confirmed Nellie Ohr invoked spousal privilege. 

The House Judiciary and House Oversight Committees sought to question Nellie Ohr after her husband Bruce Ohr gave an explosive testimony to Congress.

The former Associate Deputy Attorney General told Congress the FBI knew his wife, Nellie Ohr worked for oppo research firm Fusion GPS yet failed to disclose that information to the FISC [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court].

Nellie Ohr was paid multiple large payments by Fusion GPS, the oppo research firm that commissioned dossier author Christopher Steele.

Mrs. Ohr also previously worked for the CIA and was a corrupt Communist sympathizer who spoke fluent Russian.

This story is still developing…please check back for updates.

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Disney Princess movies are now problematic




This week there have been stories about two different Hollywood actresses who both find Disney Princess movies to be problematic in some way. Once celebrities are talking about it, it’s sure to become a trend if it wasn’t one already. First up is actress Keira Knightley who told Ellen Degeneres that she doesn’t allow her daughters to watch Cinderella or the Little Mermaid. From the BBC:

Knightley told Ellen DeGeneres that 1950’s Cinderella “waits around for a rich guy to rescue her. Don’t! Rescue yourself. Obviously!”

She said of Little Mermaid: “I mean, the songs are great, but do not give your voice up for a man. Hello!”

The actress added: “And this is the one that I’m quite annoyed about because I really like the film. I love The Little Mermaid! That one’s a little tricky – but I’m keeping to it.”

I realize there’s probably no upside to arguing about something like this but I guess I expect a bit more from people who actually work in the film industry telling stories for a living. Cinderella is not about a woman waiting around to be rescued by a rich man. That’s missing the real emotional core of the story. Cinderella is about a woman who has been unfairly abused her whole life by her family but whose good qualities are finally recognized and given the respect they are due. The point of the story isn’t that she marries a rich dude, though that does happen. The point is that Cinderella is elevated after years of oppression and her family is punished (violently in some version of the story) for their wicked behavior.

As for the Little Mermaid, I have daughters and I’ve seen this more times than I can count. So I can say with certainty that Knightley gets this one wrong too. In the film, Ariel is obsessed with living life on land and after rescuing a drowning prince she agrees to trade her voice for a chance at happiness (largely because her father refuses to help her pursue her dreams). When Ariel asks how she can win the prince without her voice, the villain suggests she use her looks and pretty face.

But it doesn’t work. Under the villain’s spell, the prince is going to marry the villain until Ariel’s friends intervene and help her get her voice back. It’s only at that moment that the prince realizes Ariel is the one he loves. So, even if you woke-analyze this thing to death, the message isn’t ‘give up your voice for a man and rely on your looks.’ Only the evil villainess recommends that and it doesn’t work. The message here is that a prince will love your voice first and foremost and, in fact, probably won’t love you without it. That seems like a pretty decent message for girls.

Actress Kristen Bell, who starred in Disney’s megahit Frozen, also has problems with at least one of Disney’s princess films. During a recent interview with Parents magazine, she said she talks to her kids about elements of Snow White that bother her, including the kiss:

“Every time we close Snow White I look at my girls and ask, ‘Don’t you think it’s weird that Snow White didn’t ask the old witch why she needed to eat the apple? Or where she got that apple?’ I say, ‘I would never take food from a stranger, would you?’ And my kids are like, ‘No!’ And I’m like, ‘Okay, I’m doing something right.’”

The apple question is not the only one that Bell—a Disney Princess herself as the voice of Anna in Frozen—has after reading the tale. “Don’t you think that it’s weird that the prince kisses Snow White without her permission?” Bell says she has asked her daughters. “Because you can not kiss someone if they’re sleeping!”

I guess her kids won’t be trick or treating this Halloween since that would also be taking food from strangers. The kiss thing is especially silly. Snow White wasn’t taking a nap, she was all but dead. The dwarves were mourning her. Also, the prince isn’t some random guy. He fell in love with her at the beginning of the film and has been searching for her ever since. The whole point of the kiss is that it’s symbolic of his “true love” not some pervert taking advantage of an unconscious woman. And even when he kisses her he clearly believes she’s dead. The prince is surprised when she sits up, alive. Snow White then falls into his arms and rides off into the sunset with him. She loves him too. She’s happy. There is nothing creepy about it.

I wouldn’t expect your average woke-feminist to care about any of these details but, again, these women tell stories for a living. The details and the symbolism ought to matter a bit more than making some political point. Instead of taking a second look, Bell is now claiming to be the victim of misplaced internet outrage:

Here’s Keira Knightley on Ellen:

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