Volcano cam; Zuck testifying again; Obamas and chill; Hannity tops Rush; a book of Trump's tweets; new Amazon Studios addition

By Brian Stelter and CNN's media team
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Exec summary: Charlize Theron playing Megyn Kelly... Interview mag shutting down... The Obamas signing a streaming deal... "The Daily Show" making a book of Trump's tweets...

Introducing the "lava camera"

The web's newest sensation: Live video streams of the volcanic eruptions in Hawaii. It's been difficult for camera crews to get in position, but as more and more fissures open up and as the lava flows ooze into the ocean, I've been seeing more and more coverage and interest from the public.

The CNN live shots from correspondents Scott McLean and Stephanie Elam have been breath-taking. On Monday, many news sites promoted live streams from CNN and other sources. And the most popular video on Hawaii's biggest TV news site is of "new aerial footage..."

News crews pay close attention to the wind

Elam, who's based in L.A., has been in Hawaii for the better part of two weeks. "The Big Island is dense with brush, so it is jarring to turn a corner in the middle of the jungle to see a sea of black lava in front of you," she told me. "But when you do get to see a lava fountain, it is mesmerizing to watch."

The story poses some unique challenges for news crews. Elam said: "The biggest thing we are concerned about is the direction of the volcanic gases on the wind. When we are near the fissures, we go with our gas masks at the ready. One time, the winds changed direction and the sulfur dioxide started blowing toward us. We put our masks on and got out of there..."

Zuck testifying again

"After pressure from senior European officials," Mark Zuckerberg has agreed to have his European Parliament testimony live streamed, Ivana Kottasová reports. It's on Tuesday... Here's what to watch for...

About the "confidential source"

Are viewers and readers being provided the proper context about President Trump's demand for an investigation into whether the Justice Department or FBI spied on his presidential campaign for political reasons?

"It's an incredible historical moment," law professor Rebecca Roiphe told Charlie Savage for this Tuesday NYT story. But it's a LOT to digest.

That's partly because so much of this controversy is based on two competing sets of facts. "In Donald Trump's America, there really are two Americas," conservative columnist Matt Lewis writes. "In one, America's intelligence community caught wind of the fact that Russia was attempting to influence the various inexperienced and sketchy members of the Trump campaign, and sought to investigate this possibly dangerous behavior, using various methods at their disposal, including confidential informants on the inside. In the other America -- and make no mistake, there are tens of millions living in this alternative universe -- the Obama administration sought to wiretap and spy on the Trump campaign for completely nefarious reasons. They were out to get him from day one."

Lewis points out that "there are several problems with this second option..." It "requires a conspiratorial mind." As Jake Tapper said on "The Lead" Monday afternoon: "What I don't understand about this conspiracy theory is, what did this 'Obama plant' do to destroy Trump's campaign? Held it as a secret through the election?" Kirsten Powers responded: "Right. It doesn't make sense."

 >> The banner on "AC360" just now: "Trump's DOJ demand threatens to become constitutional crisis." Jeffrey Toobin's bottom line: "What's going on here is that Donald Trump is trying to destroy this investigation..."

Something to think about...

Slate's Isaac Chotiner tweeted: "I've read 1000 stories today on Trump and the DOJ and my main takeaway is that if the identical thing was going on in a foreign country, the tone of the stories would be 100 times less wishy-washy..."
For the record, part one
 -- Most important investigation of the day? Seems like it's this astonishing AP story: "The princes, the president and the fortune seekers..." (AP)

 -- This has been widely suspected. Annie Linskey says it's true: "Trump's staff makes grammatical errors in tweets they write for him on purpose in order to sound more like Trump..." (Boston Globe)

 -- Charlize Theron will play Megyn Kelly in Annapurna Pictures' movie about the downfall of Roger Ailes... (THR)

 -- Speaking of Kelly: She has one of her "dream guests," Judge Judy, on Tuesday's "Megyn Kelly Today..."

Interview Magazine, founded by Andy Warhol, shuts down

"Interview Magazine, the fabled publication originally founded by Andy Warhol, is closing up shop," Tom Kludt reports. Ezra Marcus, an editor at Interview, said the mag is "folding both web and print effective immediately." Staffers were told the parent company is filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The Observer's John Bonazzo has more background here...

Two rising stars

After bad news like that, lemme offer something more hopeful...

 -- Like this new Shorenstein Center case study about VTDigger, "a rising star in nonprofit news." The Vermont-focused site has "nearly 300,000 monthly users, has a staff of 19 full-time employees, and an annual budget over $1.5 million..."

 -- And this NiemanLab story about a PBS station in PA that's "flush with spectrum-sale dollars." It is hiring more journalists and creating "a weekday newscast focused on local issues and solutions -- not car crashes or thunderstorms..."
For the record, part two
 -- Politico's arrival in Asia: It is "launching a partnership on Tuesday with the South China Morning Post," Lukas Alpert reports. "The venture will start as a content-sharing partnership..." (WSJ)

 -- This week's New Yorker has a first look at Ken Auletta's next book, "Frenemies," about the "epic disruption of the ad business..." (New Yorker)

 -- Jennifer Rubin's message for the news media: "It's time to stop taking Giuliani seriously..." (WashPost)

Obamas and chill

The Obamas' post-presidency playbook: Book deal? ✓ Library? ✓ And now a Netflix production deal.

The first content from the Obamas will appear in 2019 at the earliest, according to a person involved in the deal. Monday's announcement said the Obamas "will produce a diverse mix of content, including the potential for scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries and features."

Sometimes the former president and first lady will be on camera as hosts or moderators. Other times, they will stay behind the scenes as producers. Here's my full story...

How much $$$ it's worth

Per Dylan Byers: "Netflix paid Obamas high 8 figures, per our sources -- not as much as Shonda Rhimes ($100m) or Ryan Murphy ($300m), but of course those guys are established showrunners." More in PACIFIC...

Who will run the production company?

The Obamas' company will be called Higher Ground Productions, but "the Obamas have yet to hire a producing partner who would handle the day-to-day of pitch meetings and development," the WashPost's Steven Zeitchik notes. A Hollywood exec told him "it's the best job in the world..."

Lowry's take

Brian Lowry emails: Even by Hollywood standards, Netflix's deal with the Obamas raises the practice of aligning oneself with big names (the slightly vulgar term for it that starts with "star") to a higher level. But it's a reminder that the streaming service and premium rivals like HBO and Showtime are in part in the announcement business, where the fruits a deal generates are sometimes less important than the perception that it creates. In this case, being in biz with the former president is a marquee item for Netflix, even if the Obamas wind up being, as seems likely, sparingly involved and preoccupied with other endeavors.

For their part, teaming up with Netflix also allows the Obamas to put their clout behind the kind of uplifting programming with which they want to be associated, without needing to worry about ratings or box-office pressures...
For the record, part three
 -- Ahiza Garcia's latest: "Why ESPN is going big on basketball..."(CNNMoney)

 -- "BuzzFeed Studios has signed with WME as it looks to ramp up its film and television output..." (THR)

 -- ICYMI: Here's my look at the royal wedding ratings... (CNNMoney)

Dent joins CNN

"Newly minted ex-Congressman Charlie Dent has joined CNN as a political commentator based in his home state of Pennsylvania," Roll Call reports. Dent, a moderate Republican, made his debut on "Erin Burnett OutFront" Monday night...

Howard Stern explains why Trump was such a great guest

Howard Stern is the next guest on David Letterman's Netflix series. In his preview clip, released Monday, Stern talked about his experiences interviewing Trump over the years...

"To me, a guest who comes on and says anything that is in his mind is a great guest. And he would get on, and no matter what I asked him, he would answer, in a very sincere and thought out way..."

A book of Trump's tweets. Really!

Last year, "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" opened a pop-up exhibition called "The Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library." Now, Comedy Central is repackaging it as a book with Penguin Random House's Spiegel & Grau. It will come out July 31... with chapters about Trump's "greatest battles" on Twitter, his "masterpieces," his self-owns, and more...
For the record, part three
 -- John McCain's seventh and final book, "The Restless Wave," comes out Tuesday. "McCain is not well enough for a book tour," so his co-author and longtime speechwriter Mark Salter is out promoting it... Here's his interview with Dana Bash... (CNN)

Hannity tops Limbaugh

Talkers magazine's annual list of the "heavy hundred" -- the most influential voices in radio -- came out on Monday. For the first time ever, Sean Hannity is No. 1 and Rush Limbaugh is No. 2.

"Sean has had an unprecedented year in talk radio," editor Michael Harrison told the AJC. "Even last year we had a very intense discussion among our editors whether Sean should have been on top. We held out another year out of our respect for what Rush Limbaugh means to the industry and to the format."

Fox's "SmackDown" deal

"Fox will be the anticipated home of WWE's SmackDown Live in a massive new five-year deal worth more than $1 billion," THR's Marisa Guthrie reports. "The new deal, which is nearing completion and is worth $205 million annually, is expected to begin in October 2019 and will mark a three-fold increase over what NBCUniversal is currently paying WWE to air SmackDown on its USA network."

Brian Lowry emails: The WWE does look like a logical fit for the "New Fox" template, which -- with its reliance on live sports -- should have a more male programming skew...

Amazon Studios adds co-head of TV

Former NBC exec Vernon Sanders is joining Jennifer Salke at Amazon Studios. Sanders will be co-head of television alongside Albert Cheng, Variety's Daniel Holloway reports... "He will oversee creative and production units for Amazon Prime Video..." Both men will report to Salke...

 >> BTW: Deadline's Nellie Andreeva hears that Amazon is in talks to pick up the cancelled Syfy series "The Expanse..."
The entertainment desk
 -- Lisa Respers France emails: Chrissy Teigen and John Legend have introduced their son Miles...

 -- One more from Lisa: "Taylor Swift had quite the busy weekend..."

 -- Via Sandra Gonzalez: Jada Pinkett Smith opens up about hair loss...
 I C Y M I 

How to catch up on Sunday's "Reliable Sources"

Watch the video clips on CNN.com, read the transcript, or listen to the podcast via Apple Podcasts...

Three key segments

 -- I asked the panel if Michael Avenatti is overexposed at this point. John Avlon raised the prospect of an "Icarus problem," but both Avlon and Max Boot said Avenatti has been remarkably effective...

 -- Another subject on "Reliable:" Is there a strategy behind Rudy Giuliani's interview gauntlet? Sabrina Siddiqui said, "He's full of contradictions and has been wildly loose with the facts..."

 -- Josh Dawsey shared his reporting about Trump pushing the postmaster general to raise Amazon's shipping rates. We discussed the concern that Trump is trying to punish Amazon, run by Jeff Bezos, for critical coverage by the Bezos-owned Post...

Questions for Kellyanne Conway

My Sunday morning interview with Kellyanne Conway came in three parts. Here are the video clips: 

1. Where is the president getting his info? When he claims Mueller has found "no collusion" and "no obstruction," who's telling him that?

2. What's behind the W.H. "leak" problem?

3. Why is the president granting so few interviews? Why hasn't he held a solo press conference at the W.H. in more than a year?

De-emphasizing the killer 

In the wake of the Sante Fe mass shooting, I asked "Columbine" author Dave Cullen, "Is less more? Meaning, is the amount of media attention that these 'spectacle murders' get part of the problem?"

We also talked about the evolution in news coverage... de-emphasizing the killer, emphasizing the victims and survivors... Here's video of the segment...
HEY, WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THIS LETTER? Email your feedback and thoughts to brian.stelter@turner.com... the feedback helps us improve this newsletter every day... Thank you!
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