Our newsletter, Live From the Green Room, regularly documents the triumphs and failures of the reporters, the pundits, the anchors, the hosts, the contributors, and even the politicians making waves at the intersection of politics and media.
Each day, our newsletter presents a winner and a loser. In this post, we run down the best — and worst — of the week.
Luke Mogelson of The New Yorker was the first Winner of the week on Monday after some stunning video footage he captured from inside the U.S. Capitol during the violent insurrection on January 6 went viral.
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell scored an unfortunate doubleheader as Loser of the Day on Monday and Tuesday. Monday’s dishonor stemmed from his visit to the Oval Office in the final days of President Donald Trump’s presidency. He wasn’t there to advise Trump about bed linens, however. Instead, he brought a document urging a variety of drastic (and unsupported by law or facts) actions to overturn the election results, including martial law.
Lindell was Tuesday’s Loser after an interview where he acknowledged that a slew of major retailers, including Kohl’s, Wayfair, and Bed, Bath & Beyond, had all decided to dump his signature pillow after his proud, public backing of a (fortunately unsuccessful) coup attempt.
MSNBC’s Joy Reid was Tuesday’s Winner after scoring an Inauguration Eve interview with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). With Democrats controlling the White House and both houses of Congress, Pelosi will wield major influence over the national political agenda for at least the next two years. It was a well-timed booking.
Wednesday was the long-awaited or long-dreaded (depending on which side of the political aisle you lean) Inauguration Day, and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow was the Winner for her continued rating dominance.
CNN political director David Chalian was designated Loser for his words of over-the-top praise for President Joe Biden during the nationwide Covid-19 memorial that took place the night before Inauguration. Chalian hyperbolically compared the lights shining from the reflecting pool at the Lincoln Memorial to Biden’s outstretched arms, embracing America. Yes, really.
National Treasure Tom Hanks was a popular choice for Winner on Thursday, for his performance hosting the Inauguration primetime special Celebrating America. Many viewers were worried the actor was chilly outside in the Washington winter temps, but he persevered.
Thursday’s Loser was a group project, with a new poll finding that trust in the media has never been lower, and that a majority of Americans believing the outlets bringing them their news are more interested in pushing a political agenda.
Read Friday’s Winner and Loser in full below, and subscribe to Live From the Green Room here.
MEDIA WINNER: Bernie Sanders and the State of Vermont
For years, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has been a beloved star of internet memes. He did not disappoint on Inauguration Day, rocking a look that has been gracing our social media feeds in a constant torrent ever since.
Sanders wore his famous (and previously memed) grayish-beige (or is it more of a beige-y gray?) winter coat and an absolutely mammoth pair of woolen mittens to watch the inauguration of Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. A photo of the former presidential candidate in all his curmudgeonly glory didn’t just become a meme, it became the meme of the Inauguration.
Photoshops of Sanders in a wide variety of geographic locations and pop culture moments quickly went viral. Lion Brand Yarn even posted their own version, showing Sanders in the yarn aisle of a craft store and offering a pattern to knit your own mittens.
The backstory behind the mittens made it all even better: they were knitted by a Vermont schoolteacher out of repurposed wool sweaters and lined with fleece from recycled plastic bottles. And, no, she doesn’t have time to knit any for you. Sanders, on brand as ever, told late night host Seth Meyers that he “was just sitting there trying to keep warm.”
Biden’s inauguration remarks focused on a message of unity. Seeing how Sanders and his mittens have been joyfully embraced all across the political spectrum, maybe there’s hope after all.
MEDIA LOSER: Sean Hannity
Fox News’ Sean Hannity hosts an opinion show, and he is entitled to his opinion. He’s been a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump, and a vocal critic of newly-inaugurated President Joe Biden, for years.
That’s all well and good, but your humble newsletter correspondents are entitled to our opinions too, and when Hannity goes off the deep end, we’re gonna call him out.
On Thursday’s episode of his eponymous show, he declared “the Biden administration is off to a very rocky start,” claiming the new president was having a “disastrous first week” — despite the fact that barely one day of that week had even passed.
Hannity then claimed Biden was “struggling” to “answer simple questions,” alluding to the president sniping back at an AP reporter with one of his exasperated folksy comebacks: “C’mon, give me a break, man,” when challenged on whether his vaccine rollout plan was ambitious enough. He followed that up with a wild exaggeration of the number of jobs that will be eliminated by the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Oh, and more vague but unsubstantiated promises that the Hunter Biden laptop story is “about to break wide open.” Sure it is.
Hannity is entitled to loudly criticize every single Biden policy, heck, every single word the man utters, for the next four years, if he so wishes. But declaring Biden’s first week to be a disaster when 80 percent of that week hasn’t even occurred yet is just plain hackery.
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