Facebook and Mueller; Trump slams ESPN; Skipper speaks; Ken Burns' latest; NBC's media team; Sunday's guest list; Emmys preview

By Brian Stelter and the CNN Media team. View this email in your browser!
TGIF, right, John Skipper? Scroll down for a preview of this Sunday's Emmy awards... plus the day's Trump + media news... and much more...


Mueller's search warrant for Facebook info

Dylan Byers reports: Special counsel Robert Mueller and his team are now in possession of Russian-linked ads run on Facebook during the presidential election, after they obtained a search warrant for the information. Facebook gave Mueller and his team copies of ads and related information it discovered on its site linked to a Russian troll farm, as well as detailed information about the accounts that bought the ads and the way the ads were targeted at American Facebook users, a source with knowledge of the matter told CNN on Friday.

The WSJ originally broke this news on Friday night... FB's only comment is "we continue to work with the appropriate investigative authorities..."

The day's other FB developments

 -- Not surprising: Google and Twitter have, like Facebook, been letting paid advertisers target users who engage with racist keywords, as BuzzFeed News and The Daily Beast reported...
 -- ICYMI: Hillary Clinton says the company needs to "own up" to its role... Here's my full story...

This is a "fight the White House wants"

President Trump is welcoming a fight with ESPN over Jemele Hill's comments. The network just wants the controversy to go away. On Friday we heard from Trump, who tweeted that the network should apologize... and we heard from Sarah Sanders about it for the third day in a row... and from ESPN president John Skipper for the first time this week.

Here's what GOP comms guru Doug Heye said to me: This is "absolutely a fight the White House wants and, if you want to make a cynical ploy to hold your base after angering it, needs. Cutting a deal that amounts to what Trump and outside groups had repeatedly labeled amnesty caused many prominent supporters to question if they had been duped all along. So what is Trump going to do? Distract by tweeting at an ESPN host most people have never heard of, the travel ban and the attack in London."

What Hill and Sanders have in common

As you know, Sanders has come under scrutiny for suggesting -- from the W.H. briefing room podium -- that a major media company should sack a Trump critic. Multiple ethics complaints have been filed against her. But on Friday she said she stood by her original comment.

Hey, she has that in common with Hill. When Hill addressed the controversy earlier this week, she pointedly did not apologize for her "Trump is a white supremacist" statement, she only expressed regret for painting ESPN in an unfair light...

ESPN is "not a political organization"

John Skipper to his staff Friday afternoon: "ESPN is about sports." It is "not a political organization." Yes, he said, ESPN upholds certain values about tolerance and diversity. Yes, ESPN's employees are also citizens who have opinions about politics. But the network has social media policies for good reasons, because personal comments "will reflect on ESPN."

Skipper did not mention Trump's criticism, but his message was clear: Let's cover the news -- sports and "the issues that intersect with sports" -- and stop being the news. "Let's not let the public narrative re-write who we are or what we stand for," he said. We posted the whole memo so you can read it here...

"Apologize for untruth!"

Quoting Jake Tapper on "The Lead:" "Mr. Trump's demand for an apology from ESPN and/or Jemele Hill is interesting, when you consider how often the president has lashed out and attacked others and then did not apologize. It is also interesting to hear him express offense for something he calls an 'untruth,' given how many untruths he has not only shared, but concocted..."

I know you already know this...

...But it bears repeating that ESPN's woes are primarily a result of cost-conscious consumers and a changing business model. (And it's still incredibly profitable and successful!) However, the president, through his tweet, has sided with the conservative commentators who say it's really liberal bias that is poisoning ESPN and dragging down the business. Here's my full story about that...

ESPN's public editor weighs in

In this column on Friday, ESPN's public editor Jim Brady wrote that Hill "made a mistake." He urged the network to improve "ideological diversity in ESPN's overall products..."

 -- More from Brady: "Media companies are simultaneously asking many of their personalities to be active and engaging on social media but not partisan or opinionated. It's a line that is, at best, blurry and, at worst, nonexistent."

 -- Chris Cillizza and I talked about this in an email back-and-forth that Cillizza published this afternoon. Here it is. I ended by saying this: How do we get the people who think "Trump is a white supremacist" and the people who think saying that is a "fireable offense" to hear each other? To understand each other? And is ESPN the right place to have that conversation?

Fresh reads

 -- Slate's Josh Levin calls ESPN "the Worldwide Leader in self-inflicted wounds," "letting the conservative trolls win..."

 -- Bill Carter writing for CNN.com: Watching sports used to be all about the teams. "Now it seems to matter just as much which tribe you belong to..."

 -- This isn't a read, but Chris Hayes had an extraordinary two-part interview with Ta-Nehisi Coates on Friday night... Coates delivered a long list of reasons why he says Trump "might" fairly be called "a white supremacist..."

The media's "enduring struggle with race"

Julia Waldow says this is a must-read: The WashPost's Vanessa Williams dissects why the Hill controversy is representative of the news media's "enduring struggle with race..."

Brooke Baldwin's column about that Clay Travis segment 

About that Clay Travis appearance on Brooke Baldwin's show: Baldwin filed a piece for CNN.com about why she cut him off. "Speaking to women like this is unacceptable," she wrote. The kicker: "As for my guest today -- despite what he's tweeting, he won't be coming back on my show -- ever. He works at Fox Sports Radio. Maybe he should learn from folks over at Fox News -- being demeaning to women does have consequences."

This Sunday on "Reliable Sources"

Wesley Lowery, Britt McHenry, Christine Brennan will all join me to talk through the ESPN story... Plus, outgoing Time editor Nancy Gibbs... and Michael Oreskes, Sarah Westwood, Amy Chozick, and Spencer Ackerman... Join us live Sunday at 11am ET...
For the record, part one
 -- Tragic and terrifying: 24-year-old FT reporter Paul McClean died while on a vacation to Sri Lanka, reportedly after being attacked by a crocodile... (FT)

 -- "After Graydon, Who?" Michael Grynbaum and Sydney Ember sized up the candidates... (NYT)

-- Sen. John McCain's daughter Meghan McCain is leaving her role as a Fox News contributor "to focus on other things.." (Variety)

 -- I forgot to include this yesterday: Chris Wallace has signed a new long-term contract with Fox... (THR)

Four months later...

"In the four months since" Fox News retracted its mishandled Seth Rich exposé, the network "has not apologized for what it reported. Nor has it explained what went wrong," NPR's David Folkenflik wrote Friday. Check out his piece with lessons learned...

NBC's media coverage expansion

Hats off to Variety's Brian Steinberg for this lead: "NBC News is building its own network of reliable sources to cover the ins and outs of the media industry."

NBC confirmed on Friday that Claire Atkinson, formerly of the NYPost, is joining the company to cover the media beat. She'll be "senior media editor," overseeing a "vertical" on NBCNews.com, name TBA. Others from around NBC, like Jo Ling Kent, will contribute coverage. It's unclear if Atkinson is hiring a team of full-time reporters. But NBC announced a bunch of contributors...

 -- Worth noting: CNBC already has quite a bit of media coverage, thanks to Julia Boorstin, David Faber, etc...

 -- Atkinson's first story: "Amazon Is Hungry and It's Coming for Your Cable Channels"

CNN's "Pacific"

Speaking of media coverage... BI's Maxwell Tani caught wind of some CNN news, and wrote this on Friday: "CNN is set to launch a new technology-focused vertical about the changing media landscape on the West Coast. Titled 'Pacific,' the new franchise will be led by Senior Media Reporter Dylan Byers, and will focus on the powerful West Coast-based companies that have changed media, technology, and politics." Stay tuned, as they say...

 -- Jim VandeHei's reax: "@DylanByers plunges deeper into tech/media. This will be good..."
For the record, part two
By Francesca Giuliani-Hoffman

 -- Starting in January, Google Chrome will only allow videos to autoplay when the audio is muted or when a user "expressed interest" in the kind of content on the site. More details here... (Forbes)

 -- The streaming service Slacker Radio was just bought by LiveXLive for $50 million... (The Verge)

 -- Podcasts -- the next big thing for investigative journalism? Meg Dalton looked at some examples... (CJR)

 -- Digiday says "Watching Hurricane Irma," a pop-up newsletter by USA Today, proved to be a successful experiment, and something that could be made into a template... (Digiday)

 -- BTW: Happy 35th birthday, USA Today!

Correction of the day

This NYT story about President Trump working with Democrats now has a delicious correction attached to it:

"An earlier version of this article misstated the leadership position of Senator Chuck Schumer. He is minority leader, not majority leader."

 -- Ryan Lizza tweeted it out and quipped: "The confusion is understandable..."
Trump and the media

Another press secretary leaving the White House...

CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Elizabeth Landers report: "Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary Marc Lotter is leaving the administration after eight months." Pence tweeted: "He might be leaving WH but I know we'll see him all the time on TV!" An admin source told CNN that Lotter is "needed for messaging on the outside... He can do more TV and speak on behalf of President Trump..."

"Trump's Tweets About London Bombing Anger British Leaders"

That's the headline on this NYT story. It points out that Trump's tweet about attackers "who were in the sights of Scotland Yard" came just 23 minutes after a "Fox & Friends" segment that included some very similar talk. An earlier version of the story said "White House officials said they did not know whether 'Fox and Friends' was the source for Mr. Trump." This is one of those "well, if you have to ask..." type things...

The complicated politics holding up Rupert's Sky deal

Hadas Gold emails: Are Rupert Murdoch's dreams of owning all of Sky falling apart? That's the question many were asking themselves this week as the U.K. official in charge of the fate of the deal said she wanted a further investigation into 21st Century Fox's broadcasting standards. So why was a conservative party official going against the wishes of a powerful media mogul's company whose politics more closely mirror her party's? Here are three reasons:

1. Thanks to this summer's snap elections, the Conservative party is in a weak position and without an outright majority...
2. The Conservative party is also dealing with the complicated aftermath of Brexit and doesn't want to deal with the hot-button issue of Murdoch gathering more power after several scandals rocked Fox News in the U.S...
3. The memories of the phone hacking inquiry are still fresh in peoples' minds...

Read Gold's full story here...

Reasons to be skeptical when you hear "this is something the media won't show"

Oliver Darcy emails: "This is something the media won't show." That's what the Independent Journal Review told its readers when promoting a story on Facebook about an 11-year-old mowing the White House lawn with Trump walking beside him. One problem? It's simply not true, as Hunter Schwarz pointed out. Dozens of news outlets showed the pictures and covered the boy's visit. CNN not only covered it, but interviewed the boy on "New Day." Moreover, some of the images IJR used to compile its story were from Getty Images, AFP, and CBS reporter Mark Knoller...

>> It's becoming a growing fad on the right to attack the media by stating untruths. There are many things for which the media can be fairly criticized. But spreading untruths because they play well with the conservative audience is lazy and counterproductive. It erodes credibility from these outlets when they may need it in the future to level fair criticism against the media. And, worst of all, it's misinforming people.
For the record, part three
 -- David Fahrenthold says Trumpworld's "answer to almost any question is silence ... they just don't get back to you..." (Longreads)

 -- 🚨 DRUDGE WATCH by Oliver Darcy: Matt Drudge cryptically masked his Twitter profile in black for some time. But no more! The media mogul recently debuted a new look, featuring a photo of him on a bench reading a newspaper and a picture of an unidentified living room. Take a look here...

 -- Via Darcy: Fox News is set to debut its new web redesign on Monday. The preview is already accessible here...

 -- Julia Waldow emails: Time Inc's "People/Entertainment Weekly Network" streaming service has been rebranded as "PeopleTV..." (TechCrunch)

Podcast: Pulling back the iron curtain on Russia's RT and Sputnik

This week's guest on our "Reliable" podcast is Jim Rutenberg, whose investigation into RT, Sputnik and Russia's "21st century Informational War machine" is on the cover of this weekend's NYT Mag. Here's the iTunes page for the podcast... and here's Julia Waldow's recap for CNNMoney...

"The Vietnam War" series begins on PBS this Sunday

Brian Lowry emails: Given how events from the period continue to ripple through politics and culture decades later, "The Vietnam War" feels like Ken Burns' most significant undertaking since "The Civil War." And this 18-hour documentary, spread over two weeks, also comes at a significant time for PBS, amid the latest efforts to slash arts funding.

Read Lowry's full column here...

Ken Burns sees parallels to today

Ken Burns speaking with Time: "If I said I'd been working for a decade" with Lynn Novick "on a film about mass demonstrations against the current Administration, about a White House in disarray and obsessed with leaks, about a President accusing the media of making up news, about a massive stolen-document drop into the public sphere that is showing classified information that destabilizes the conventional wisdom, and about accusations that a political campaign reached out to a foreign power during a time of elections, people would say, 'Wow, you're doing this moment and have abandoned history.'"
The entertainment desk, Emmys edition

Colbert hosting the Emmys Sunday, celebrating his second "Late Night" anniversary Monday

Brian Lowry emails: CBS is looking past the Emmys in terms of seeking a further boost for Stephen Colbert, who will host the awards show on Sunday. The network will kick off next week with "Late Show's" second anniversary special, followed Tuesday by Hillary Clinton -- admittedly, perhaps a trifle over-exposed at this point as an interview subject.

And in a sign of modern comity among late-night hosts, Colbert was a guest Thursday on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," where the two joked about, among other things, Sean Spicer's appearance earlier in the week. Kimmel has previously been a guest on Colbert's show, and the two share the same agent, James Dixon, who also turned up on "Live" Thursday night...

Key categories to watch

Here's a rundown from Sandra Gonzalez...

 -- From Dylan Byers: "What the Emmys may indicate about the future of TV..."
For the record, part four
Two items from Lisa Respers France:

 -- Francia Raisa says she was "grateful" to donate a kidney to best friend Selena Gomez...

 -- Bette Midler is "fine" after falling onstage...

We asked, you answered

Melissah Yang emails: CNN Entertainment asked readers to share their favorite female TV characters and received hundreds of responses. From Mary Tyler Moore to Xena: Warrior Princess, here's what they had to say about which TV women inspired them...

Have a great weekend! 

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