Welcome back. I’m doing the very last edit of my book this week—which you can preorder here!—so in my stead, I’ve stacked Suzy Weiss on top of Oliver Wiseman in a trench coat to talk like me (they do an eerily good impression) and bring you all the news you might have missed.
Either be kind or be withering and cleverly cruel in the comments. And I’ll see you next week!
→ Trump wins Iowa: Donald Trump ran away with it in Iowa on Monday—exactly as the polls predicted he would. Face it, folks, it’s over! DeSantis flopped. Nikki Haley has a shot in New Hampshire next week, but is miles behind the former president everywhere else. And it looks like the old GOP establishment’s effort to stop Trump will fail for a second time. As for the other candidates, Vivek dropped out and swiftly endorsed Trump. Shocker!
The probable Republican nominee and prediction-market favorite to be the next president hot-footed it from Iowa to New York to testify in a civil suit in which a jury has already judged that he committed sexual assault. Trump waved to the cameras outside court, which captured some weird red marks on his hand—leading Democratic pollster James Carville to armchair-diagnose him with syphilis. It’s going to be a long year.
→ He who must not be aired: After almost a decade of soul-searching about the issue, the media has finally settled on a way to cover Donald Trump: don’t. Or at least, don’t broadcast him. And loudly explain that you have zero curiosity about him or his appeal, chalking it up to these people just love fascism. Both CNN and MSNBC opted not to air Trump’s victory speech in Iowa Monday night. MSNBC’s blazer queen Rachel Maddow told viewers the move was made “not out of spite, it is not a decision that we relish”—who are you kidding, Rachel?—and explained that “there is a cost to us as a news organization of knowingly broadcasting untrue things. That is a fundamental truth of our business.”
Very true, Rachel! Just not in the way you think. The cable news business really is in bad shape: ratings have collapsed and the median viewer is so old they could run for president. Maddow, you’ll recall, spent the Trump years acting like the hero of a Cold War thriller: nightly, we were told that the whole house of cards was about to come tumbling down. She and her team were only days away from exposing the whole Russiagate conspiracy. And then it all turned out to be a nothingburger and Maddow moved on like nothing ever happened.
One fantasy MSNBC and others are especially wedded to is the idea that they still matter. The decision not to air Trump’s speeches is ultimately a marketing move: it’s designed to convince you that the show you are watching is more important. And, of course, all of this suits Trump. He can cast himself as a bad boy antihero being targeted by some of the most loathed institutions in America. Sure enough, Trump responded by saying he thought CNN and MSNBC should have their broadcasting licenses revoked. It’s win-win for both sides—and a big L for the rest of us.
→ Breaking: The Houthis are terrorists: You know the Houthis? Yes, the guys attacking defenseless civilian shipping crews in the Red Sea? Well, it turns out they are terrorists. The Biden administration announced that the group would be reclassified as such this week. Look, neither of us have security clearance or PhDs in the history of Islamist violence but this gang has been giving off major terrorist vibes for quite some time now. The whole murdering civilians and firing AK-47s into the air whenever you’re celebrating thing? Big red flags in our book. Speaking of red flags. . .