Monday's HOT MIC

Introducing HOT MIC, PJ Media's new daily liveblog. Join our editors and contributors for news updates and conversation throughout the day, and add your thoughts to the mix in our comments section. Scroll down or click here for Liz Sheld's morning update.

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All together now: a criminal organization masquerading as a political party:

While on home detention in 2015 for looting his campaign fund, former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. told prosecutors of other possible crimes “by him and others” and offered to secretly record conversations as part of a federal investigation, according to a Justice Department letter obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.

“Mr. Jackson has informed the government of potential violations of law by him and others,” reads the Aug. 16, 2015, letter from Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel C. Richenthal in Manhattan to Jackson attorney John Colette.

Jackson “has indicated that he desires to undertake certain actions, including participating in monitored and/or recorded telephone and/or email conversations and meetings, with the intention of providing the government with additional information regarding these potential violations of law,” the letter also states.

It wasn’t immediately known what the other investigation entailed, what possible crimes Jackson might have told prosecutors about or whether the cooperation deal was formally entered into. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York declined to comment.

JJ, Jr., snitch. I wonder what information into political/criminal behavior in Chicago he might have...

Is Obama back from Tahiti yet?

This is (as my kids would say) *STEAST.

* The combination of "stud" and "beast," meaning awesome, bada$$, good, masculine, or basically any other positive comment.

My oldest son and his friends invented the word when they were in high school. I don't think it's ever been used outside his circle of friends. It is meant to be a supreme compliment.

Michael, before we get too excited about the demise of the MSM, let's keep in mind that they still dominate the market. While CBS Evening News had 6,249,000 viewers with 1,366,000 in the key demo in December, here are some numbers from the cable news shows from last week (in millions) via Adweek:

(Note that MSNBC is beating CNN in nearly every time slot now.)

Matthew Sheffield wrote an excellent piece at Praxis last year parsing out the numbers and warning of the dangers of overestimating the influence of what he calls the "conservative echo chamber." The bottom line is that most Americans still get their news from MSM outlets, and despite the great strides we've made in recent years, we've still got a massive hole to dig ourselves out of. This chart (from August of last year) gives you an idea where we stand in terms of the media landscape:

via Matthew Sheffield at Praxis

Least Surprising Good News of the Day:

President Donald Trump is very unpopular, but an even smaller percentage of Americans approves of the job House Speaker Paul D. Ryan is doing, a new poll shows. The Pew Research Center survey released Monday shows that just 29 percent of Americans approve of Ryan’s performance. In contrast, 39 percent approve of Trump, whose approval ratings rank among the lowest of recent presidents at this point in their terms.

Even among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, only 51 percent approve of the job Ryan is doing, with 75 percent of Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents disapproving. Democrats have not been able to capitalize on those low approval numbers for Ryan and Trump, the poll found.

Trump's approval numbers in the most recent Rasmussen poll, by the way, hit 50-50 today.

Sigh. Pop life.

Warrants Detail Pills Found All Over Paisley Park.

What's this strange relationship?

An autopsy determined he died of a Fentanyl overdose, but the documents do not indicate if authorities have pinpointed the source of the killer dose of the synthetic opioid. No one has been charged with a crime in connection with Prince's death.

The warrants say that controlled substances were found in bottles all over the Paisley Park complex, often in vitamin bottles. Some were in a suitcase labeled with a Prince alias, Peter Bravestrong.

Several medications were prescribed to Prince under the name of Kirk Johnson, his longtime bodyguard, assistant and personal friend. The doctor who prescribed them said he used Johnson's name "for Prince's privacy," one warrant says.

Perhaps the most toxic element in our celebrity culture is that after stars reach the pinnacle of fame and fortune, they usually reach a place where nobody is willing and able to tell them "no" and make it stick.

The result is usually a rapid diminishment in the quality of their work, drug addiction, early death, or all three.

For those of you who can't stand the constant sneering from the MSM (and the #neverTrumpumpkins), this item about Scott Pelley, whoever he is, of CBS News will warm your heart.

The sad sack CBS Evening News has long trailed its network competitors in ratings, but following Donald Trump’s election things have gotten markedly worse — and anchor Scott Pelley is as bizarrely emboldened as ever. Since last November, the Evening News managing editor and chief 60 Minutes correspondent has shrugged off any hint of objectivity in his cheap shots and barbs at the president.  Maybe Pelley has seen too many episodes of The Newsroom, but he seems to think his nightly news program is an opportunity to lecture the country on why the president is terrible and why Pelley is such an insightful genius.

Unfortunately for CBS, it doesn’t seem like the country enjoys Pelley’s nightly lectures.  A look at Evening News ratings from December to April show a massive slide in viewership. During the week of December 5, CBS was (as usual) dead last among the three broadcast evening news programs, at 7,621,000 viewers with 1,702,000 in the key demo.  By comparison, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt had a total 9,182,000 viewers.

Fast forward to April, however, and you’ll see a precipitous decline among all networks, notably with Pelley’s show getting hit the hardest.  For the week of April 3, Pelley raked in a mere 6,249,000 viewers with a pathetic 1,366,000 in the key demo — almost 1.7 million fewer viewers than leader ABC’s World News Tonight. Of course, anyone paying attention to Pelley’s show shouldn’t be surprised by the ratings plunge. CBS depends on heartland viewers far more than NBC and ABC … and Pelley seems to disdain the heartland’s values and voters.

To be fair, it's not just Pelley, whoever he is, who scorns Real America -- it's almost the entire, Ivy League-educated Manhattan and DC-dwelling swamp things of the MSM, who will die loathing the country that made their cushy living possible.

Today, America Rising PAC announced an initiative to make Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren's "life difficult."

With U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) embarking on a book tour as the soft launch of her 2020 presidential run, America Rising PAC is announcing, “The Elizabeth Warren Initiative” (EWI).

EWI will have two very clear goals:

1. Make Warren’s life difficult during her 2018 Senate re-election contest;

2. Continue developing the long-term research and communications angles to damage her 2020 prospects.

Warren likely has her eyes on the prize, and shows no fear of going wo-mano-a-mano with President Donald Trump.

Read more about the launch here.

Regarding Turkey, all the reports cited by Steve come from the same source - Reuters - which in turn come from sources inside Ergodan's regime. So exactly what transpired we do not know.

In any case, all eyes - and I'm sure administration attention - are on North Korea now.  Erdogan, despicable as he is, can wait a day or two.  As far as we know anyway, he doesn't have any nukes.

 

The anatomy of an anonymouse, or four:

A review of the surveillance material flagged by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes shows no inappropriate action by Susan Rice or any other Obama administration official, Republican and Democratic Congressional aides who have been briefed on the matter told NBC News.

President Donald Trump told the New York Times he believed former National Security Adviser Rice broke the law by asking for the identities of Trump aides who were mentioned in transcripts of U.S. surveillance of foreign targets. Normally, the identities of Americans are blacked out in transcripts circulated by the National Security Agency, but they may be "unmasked," if their identities are relevant to understanding the intelligence.

Members of the House and Senate intelligence committees from both parties have traveled to NSA headquarters to review the relevant intelligence reports. "I saw no evidence of any wrongdoing," said one U.S. official who reviewed the documents, who would not agree to be identified further. "It was all completely normal."

His assessment was shared by a senior Republican aide who had been briefed on the matter but declined to speak on the record. The finding by lawmakers of both parties was first reported by CNN.

Time was when real reporters were allowed to cite "anonymice" -- that is to say, axe-grinding cowards or wholly fabricated individuals -- except in exigent circumstances and then only with extreme reluctance. Not any more. And the media wonders why nobody except their coevals on Twitter believes them.

So this thought occurred to me yesterday after reading Byron York's juicy takedown of the Kushner family and the unreasoning animus of the presidential son-in-law against Chris Christie for doing his job: