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Democratic debates set to bring historic diversity to the stages

A bill to support the creation of a Fallen Journalists Memorial in D.C. has secured bipartisan support in Congress. David Dreier, a former GOP congressman, speaks with Brian Stelter about why the memorial is needed.

Posted: Jun 24, 2019 1:33 PM

A version of this article first appeared in the "Reliable Sources" newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.

The 2020 campaign season is about to enter its next phase. On Wednesday and Thursday, the Democratic candidates will head down to Florida for the first primary debates. Expect much of the news cycle this week to be anchored by the two-day face-off. CNN's Chris Cillizza has an article out with five things to watch out for during debate week...

But in addition to WHAT happens at the debates and during the lead up to them, it's also simply notable WHO will be participating...

Historic diversity on the stages

"We'll actually see all these candidates on stage together," WaPo W.H. reporter Toluse Olorunnipa said on "Inside Politics" Sunday morning. "We'll have a historic number of minorities, we'll have veterans, people born in the 1940s all the way through the 1980s. It will be a very historic moment just to see that on the stage together."

...Including the number of women

"Americans who tune in to the two-night debate will see something else unprecedented: multiple women candidates appearing on the debate stage at the same time," Barbara Lee writes in an analysis piece for NBC's Think vertical. "Research has shown that critical mass makes a difference in being taken seriously: Two or more women or minority candidates have a better shot at getting hired than one alone..."

Biden in the spotlight

"This event should not have mattered much to Joe Biden," writes E.J. Dionne Jr. in his column for WaPo. "Before last week, he could have contented himself with launching a couple of eloquent sallies against President Trump while good-naturedly parrying attacks from the rest of the field...But Thursday night is now a big deal..."

Speaking of Biden...

You might have noticed Biden's glaring absence from the national media. While other candidates are clamoring for attention from large news organizations, Biden's camp has been ducking requests, The Daily Beast's Sam Stein and Maxwell Tani note in their latest story. Instead, Biden has been only talking to the national press corps to clean up messes, and otherwise preferring to stick with local news outlets.

>> David Axelrod to The Beast: "It is not a tenable strategy. His message is that he's the guy who can beat Donald Trump and he is viewed as the least risky choice. Over time, if the only interactions he has is around these screwups and gaffes, then he is going to start losing that message."

Tucker interviewing Trump in Japan

Brian Stelter emails: Tucker Carlson is taking his show to Japan for a full week of shows in the run-up to the G20... Per Fox, "the program will also conduct an exclusive interview" with Trump at the summit in Osaka... Clips will air "throughout the upcoming weekend on FNC" and the full interview will be on Carlson's show on Monday, July 1...

Week ahead calendar

Monday: The Aspen Ideas Festival continues in Aspen... and the 2026 Winter Olympic Games host will be announced. Sweden or Italy?

Monday evening: Showtime holds a NYC premiere event for "The Loudest Voice..."

Monday evening: SpaceX Falcon Heavy's first nighttime launch... CNet has details about how to watch...

Monday night: "The Hills: New Beginnings" debuts on MTV...

Tuesday: Bourdain Day, celebrating the life of Anthony Bourdain on the day he would have turned 63...

Friday: G20 summit begins in Japan...

Friday: 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising...

Let's build a Fallen Journalists Memorial

Brian Stelter emails: A new group wants to build a Fallen Journalists Memorial in DC. And they're seeking congressional approval, public support and private donations to get it done.

The initiative is being announced ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Capital Gazette attack this Friday. Former GOP congressman David Dreier,now the chair of the Gazette's parent company Tribune Publishing, is heading up the foundation that wants to create the memorial. Before flying to DC, Dreier joined me on Sunday's "Reliable" to announce the plans...

Next steps for the memorial

-- The foundation has secured bipartisan support for a bill to establish the memorial on federal land. Bills will be introduced on Tuesday...

-- Dreier, foundation president Barbara Cochran, and other leaders will hold a press event on Wednesday to formally launch the effort...

-- A board of advisors, still in formation, includes anchors such as Judy Woodruff, editors such as Matt Murray, and media execs such as Tom Johnson...

-- The foundation will need many millions of $$s in private donations, since the memorial can't rely on any federal funding. This will be a long road ahead...


-- Norah O'Donnell will begin anchoring the "CBS Evening News" on Monday, July 15... A promo aired on "60 Minutes" Sunday evening... (Variety)

-- 66 people were arrested by the NYPD over the weekend at a climate protest outside NYT's offices... (CNN)

-- Read more of Sunday's "Reliable Sources" newsletter... And subscribe here to receive future editions in your inbox...

-- A must-read by Seth Harp: "I'm a journalist but I didn't fully realize the terrible power of U.S. Border officials until they violated my rights and privacy..." (The Intercept)

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