The story you should be paying attention to: less than one day after the midterm, Donald Trump fired Jeff Sessions as Attorney General and put in Matt Whitaker, a lackey who made a career of attacking the Mueller investigation, as the interim Attorney General. We have no idea what damage he might have already done to the investigation but I think we can all agree he wasn’t appointed to protect Mueller’s work.
The other story you should be paying attention to: another horrific mass shooting took place in a California bar last night, killing some 12 people, including a sheriff’s deputy who was about to retire. Actress Tamra Mowry is concerned her niece might have been in the bar at the time. The most heartbreaking part of this Washington Post piece about the shooting is the note that some of the people in the bar at the time had also at the Las Vegas massacre. Because that’s how often mass shootings happen in this country: you can be a victim of multiple mass shootings IN ONE YEAR. According to Gun Violence Archive, this is the 307th mass shooting in America this year. This is the 312th day of the year.
The other story you should be paying attention to: despite some painful and marquee losses, the Democrats had an amazing midterm election despite the odds being stacked against them. How are the odds stacked against Democrats? More than 8 million more people voted Democratic in the midterms — and they still lost two Senate seats. But let’s be positive! Besides the 29 House seats they picked up, they also flipped some 330 state-level seats WHICH IS HUGELY IMPORTANT, especially heading into the 2020 election and the census. And though the Democrats are beating themselves up over Beto’s loss and the loss of the Florida governorship and not taking back the Senate, the fact is taking over the House is a big fucking deal, especially since as the first story I was screaming about demonstrates that Trump is willing to do whatever it takes to cover his ass.
But the story we are going to talk about because this is a TV blog and we need to talk about the TV angle to these political issues even though this is exactly what Trump WANTS us to talk about and we are doing his bidding by focusing on it: Donald Trump held a press conference yesterday in an attempt to spin the midterms as having been positive for the GOP and him personally, and it was utterly batshit insane and ended with a direct attack on the free press and truth itself.
A few highlights: when he was asked about his rhetoric emboldening racists and white nationalists, he fired back that the question itself — which was asked by an African-American woman — was racist.
Trump repeatedly told April Ryan, another African-American woman, to sit down when she tried to ask him questions about voter suppression and then claimed that CNN’s polling was the real voter suppression (???)
He claimed that he had the “highest poll numbers with African-Americans” which, what? And then claimed to not know who Lil’ John was, despite being a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice.
He claimed “very close complete victory” in the midterms despite “very hostile media coverage, to put it mildly,” and then read a list of Republicans who didn’t “embrace” him enough, claiming that’s why they lost their races (instead of, you know, competing in purple districts whose voters were disgusted with Trump).
He threatened House Democrats that if they attempt to investigate, he will retaliate with investigations by the Senate:
“They have nothing. Zero. You know why? Because there is nothing. But they can play that game, but we can play it better. Because we have a thing called the United States Senate. And a lot of very questionable things were done between leaks of classified information and many other elements that should not have taken place. And all you are going to do is end up in back-and-forth and back-and-forth.”
He threatened to end the Mueller investigation, saying he could “fire everybody” — which of course he partially followed through with hours after the press conference. He also suggested that he had a solution to the abortion question? But it’s super secret?
Maybe my favorite moment was when he was asked about releasing his tax returns if the Democrats request them and he explained that he was disinclined to do so because they are “complicated” and “people wouldn’t understand them.”
“Well, look, as I’ve told you, they’re under audit. They have been for a long time. They’re extremely complex. People wouldn’t understand them. They’re done by among the biggest and best law firms in the country. Same thing with the accounting firms. The accountants are a very, very large, powerful firm from the standpoint of respect, they’re highly respected. Big firm. A great law firm, you know it very well. They do these things, they put them in. But people don’t understand tax returns . . . But it’s big and it’s complex, and it’s probably feet high. It is a very complex instrument.”
But the highlight — if you can call it that — was Trump’s showdown with his favorite press nemesis, Jim Acosta. When Acosta questioned Trump’s lies about the migrant caravan, Trump lost his damn mind and began yelling at the reporter, telling him that he’s the president and Acosta is not. Or something. Acosta tried to follow-up with a question about the Mueller investigation when Trump announced he would not answer, and a female White House intern tried to grab the microphone out of Acosta’s hand. The exchange ended with Trump calling Acosta a “rude, terrible person.”
Watch the exchange here:
After this embarrassing exchange, Sarah Sanders announced via Twitter that Acosta’s press pass was being revoked, claiming that Acosta “put his hands” on the female intern:
But THEN, Sanders added a video that was uploaded by Alex Jones’ crazy conspiracy site, Infowars, which sped up the footage to make the contact between Acosta and the intern look more violent than it actually was EVEN THOUGH WE ALL SAW IT WITH OUR OWN EYEBALLS.
All of this is some straight-up authoritarian bullshit that should not be tolerated by anyone who loves the First Amendment and the Constitution. The government stripping journalists of their press credentials is something countries like China and Russia does, not the United States. And I can not think of anything more Orwellian than a White House who constantly decries “Fake News” using literal fake news to smear a reporter. Just wrap your head around that propagandistic nonsense.
The White House Correspondents Association responded in defense of Jim Acosta:
I assure you, Jim Acosta is just the first reporter who will be stripped of their press credentials by this White House. As Trump feels more and more cornered in these next two years, he’s going to lash out even more and it is not going to be pretty and it’s not going to be safe. Not for reporters, not for justice, not for our country.
In fact, a man was just arrested for making death threats to CNN, specifically Don Lemon. The man called CNN some 40 times between October 30 and November 2.
On the other side, protestors showed up at Tucker Carlson’s house and chanted, “Tucker Carlson, we will fight!” “We know where you sleep at night!” His wife called the cops, and the group that organized the protest was kicked off of Twitter.
In other TV news
Last night’s It’s Always Sunny was shockingly and powerfully emotional. I won’t spoil it for you except to say that it dealt with Mac’s sexuality in an uncharacteristically sensitive way. Here’s how that surprising It’s Always Sunny finale came together. And Rob McElhenney talks about the episode and a terrific season overall here. God dammit this show is good.
And be sure to click on and read this guy’s thread:
Bryan Cranston is on board for the Breaking Bad movie — but he hasn’t read the script and he hasn’t been asked to join by Vince Gilligan, so calm down.
SOMEONE PLEASE GIVE J.J. ABRAMS A GAME OF THRONES PREQUEL EPISODE TO DIRECT. IMMEDIATELY. ALSO, DAMON LINDELOF. CAN WE LOOK INTO MAKING THAT HAPPEN?
Here’s the University of Michigan and Penn State bands joining forces for a pretty epic Game of Thrones tribute:
Abby Lee Miller has returned to Dance Moms following a particularly hard few years.
- The Kids are Alright and Splitting Up Together have received full season orders at ABC.
- The 4400 is being rebooted at The CW. And how did I forget about The 4400 while writing about Manifest?
- The Sorority Girl Who Saved Your Life is being developed at ABC.
- Until the Wedding is also being developed at ABC.
- A blended family comedy is being developed at Fox.
- Pacific Rim, Altered Carbon, Cagaster of an Insect Cage, Yasuke, and Trese are all anime projects coming to Netflix.
- Alma, a supernatural drama, is being developed at Netflix.
- Ragnarok is being made at Netflix.
- Ghosting, a holiday movie from Lisa Kudrow’s production company, has been ordered at Freeform.
- Michael Sheen is joining the cast of The Good Fight.
- Steve Carrell will host Saturday Night Live next week.
- Rebecca Front will star in HBO’s pilot Avenue 5.
- Niecy Nash and Lisa Leslie are going to guest star on Speechless.
- Niecy Nash will also be in Uncorked on Netflix with Courtney B. Vance and Mamoudou Athie.
- Claes Bang is joining The Affair on Showtime.
- Tim Jo will recur on This Is Us.
- Kirby Howell-Baptiste is joining the cast of Veronica Mars.
- Henderson Wade will join the cast of Swamp Thing on DC Universe.
- Bel Powley, Karen Pittman, and Desean Terry have joined the cast of the Apple’s morning show drama.
- Jack Rowan and Masali Baduza will star in the BBC’s Noughts + Crosses.
Mark Your Calendars
- Life Size 2 will premiere on Freeform on December 2.
- No Sleep ‘Til Christmas will premiere on Freeform on December 10.
- The Princess Switch will debut on Netflix on November 16.
- Reminder: Liev Schreiber is going to be the host of Saturday Night Live this week and I still struggle to spell Liev Schreiber.
- Legends of the Lost with Megan Fox will premiere on the Travel Channel on December 4.
- Catfish will return on MTV on November 28.
- Busy Tonight will have Tina Fey as the guest on November 11 following the People’s Choice Awards.
- The Truth About Killer Robots will debut on HBO on November 26.
- Meghan’s New Life: The Real Princess Diaries will air on ABC on November 22.
Eddie Foy III, Casting director for Happy Days and the Emmys among others
Supernatural: Maggie goes missing and when the team searches for her, they find “their worst nightmares” instead. Whatever that means. 7 p.m., The CW
Baroness von Sketch Show: The all-female sketch show is back. Season three. 8 p.m., IFC
Law & Order: SVU: A waitress is assaulted at a trendy restaurant. MARIO BATALI, I THOUGHT WE TOLD YOU TO GO AWAY. 9 p.m., NBC
Late Night: Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: Emma Stone, Bridget Everett, Finesse Mitchell Late Night with Seth Meyers: Tracy Morgan, David Remnick, Franklin Vanderbilt The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Billy Crystal, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Big Red Machine The Late Late Show with James Corden: Minnie Driver, Jack Whitehall, Chloe x Halle Jimmy Kimmel Live: Anthony Anderson, Sebastian Stan, Jeff Goldblum The Daily Show: Swizz Beatz Watch What Happens Live: Sarah Jessica Parker
|How to Get Away with Murder
|CBS||The Big Bang Theory
|FOX||Thursday Night Football: Panthers at Steelers
|The Good Place
|Law & Order: SVU