March 14, 2017

Marilynne Robinson. Photo: Kelly Ruth Winter

Marilynne Robinson will publish an essay collection with Virago. What Are We Doing Here? aims to figure out “how America should talk about itself now,” and will be published in 2018.

Pam Colloff is leaving Texas Monthly for a joint position at the New York Times and ProPublica. Colloff will stay in Texas while she serves as a senior reporter at ProPublica, and a writer-at-large for the New York Times Magazine.

The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza has been hired by CNN Politics as a reporter and editor at large. At the Post, Cillizza created The Fix, a political analysis blog. Of the move, Cillizza said that he’s ready to take on whatever is thrown at him. “I don’t think it has to be The Fix 2.0,” he told Politico. “CNN has built a lot of good stuff already. They certainly don’t need me to dictate anything.”

New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman points out that the person with the most to gain from former US Attorney Preet Bharara’s firing last weekend was Rupert Murdoch. Bharara had been investigating the company for numerous crimes, including illegally obtaining journalists’ phone records and possibly committing mail and wire fraud through their settlements with the women who accused Roger Ailes of sexual harassment. One of the shortlisted replacements for Bharara is Marc Mukasey, Ailes personal lawyer, leading many to believe that the firing was carried out to undermine the investigation. A grand jury has already been convened, however, and is expected to hear evidence in the next few days.

At a press briefing yesterday, Sean Spicer asked reporters for thoughts on which charity Trump should donate his salary to, a campaign promise that Spicer says the president intends to keep, but has yet to follow through on.“He has kindly asked that you all help determine where that goes,” Spicer told the press pool. “The way that we can avoid scrutiny is to let the press corps determine where it should go.”

At the New Yorker, Andrew Marantz asks, “Is Trump trolling the White House press corps?” Marantz follows Lucian Wintrich, the newly-credentialed White House reporter for the Gateway Pundit, a conservative news website known for spreading false stories. Wintrich doesn’t get to ask any questions at the press briefings he attends with Marantz, but spends his time posing for photos at the briefing room’s podium, googling himself, and honing an unasked question about Fidel Castro that he hopes will embarrass Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Wintrich wasn’t present for Trump’s February diatribe against the media, but Marantz points out that his attendance probably wasn’t necessary. “After all,” he writes, “the man in control of the press conference was the world’s most gifted media troll, the President of the United States.”

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