EXCLUSIVE — THE INVISIBLE WOMAN: Reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, currently the only trans woman with a paid cable news deal, has been absent from Fox News airwaves for nearly half a year—and it’s not exactly clear why. From March 2022—when Fox News announced to great fanfare that it hired Jenner—through mid-August 2023, she appeared at least 34 times, according to an analysis by Media Matters for America. Half of those appearances were on the midday “hard news” shows such as America Reports and The Story with Martha MacCallum, but she popped up several times on conservative primetime opinion programs such as Hannity and even appeared twice on the panel of Greg Gutfeld’s late-night right-wing “comedy” show. However, those appearances completely dried up last summer and she hasn’t shown up on the network since an Aug. 14 interview on Fox News @ Night where Jenner talked about how she had just recently played golf with Donald Trump. Confider reached out to Jenner’s management to ask about her Fox absence and to clarify whether she was still under contract with the network. They never responded, but a Fox News spokesperson soon contacted Confider to state that Jenner remains in “excellent standing” as an on-air contributor. While Jenner vanished from Fox News airwaves, she has sat down on other networks and podcasts. Last month, she made waves in an interview with Monty Python legend John Cleese for Britain’s wannabe Fox News channel GB News. Theoretically, the overloaded news cycle over the past few months could have crowded out Jenner, whose punditry mostly focuses on trans issues and women’s sports. But according to Media Matters’ internal database, at least 265 segments mentioning trans issues have aired on weekday Fox News programming since Jenner’s last appearance. On top of that, there have been at least 98 weekday segments mentioning trans sports or trans athletes since Aug. 14.
EXCLUSIVE — BRINGING THE HEAT:New York Times climate correspondent David Gelles has deleted a LinkedIn post in which he touted remarks he made at a Times dinner in Davos about climate change. “After the year that was the hottest in recorded history, with climate change ravaging every corner of the globe, I implored a room full of CEOs, diplomats and NGO leaders to step up their urgency and begin considering truly radical political and economic interventions,” he wrote in the post, which was also added to his Instagram stories. “Rather than more of the same, it’s time to begin imagining what a society truly transformed will look like, and to start identifying the hurdles that make disruptions to the status quo appear uneconomical, impractical or politically untenable. The hour is late, and it’s incumbent on those with the capital and the clout to start deploying the whole of their resources toward the climate crisis.” Some Times staffers who spotted the posts and spoke with Confider questioned whether it violated the Times ethics guidelines by crossing the line into advocacy. After Confider reached out to Gelles and the paper for comment, he deleted the post. “As he has produced some of The Times's most vital and wide-ranging journalism on the politics and global impacts of climate change, David's approach to reporting has always been impartial, unflinching and incisive,” a Times spokesperson emailed Confider. “While he brought this same ethos to his role speaking at an event at the World Economic Forum, subsequent social media posts about the event may have been misunderstood to convey something other than impartiality, and as such have since been deleted.” Gelles did not respond to a request for comment.
NEARLY DEPARTED: Another on-air journalist could be headed for the exits at NBC News. Ben Collins, a senior reporter covering disinformation at the outlet, has told multiple people he will be leaving the organization in the next few months, multiple sources told Confider. Collins, a former Daily Beast editor and reporter, was briefly barred by NBC in late 2022 from covering Elon Musk and Twitter on air after he criticized Musk. In September, he wrote on BlueSky that he’d be leaving journalism early this year “unless things dramatically change.” When reached by Confider on Monday, Collins said his departure wasn’t a done deal but that he’s “probably leaving” to write a book. An NBC News spokesperson said it does not comment on personnel.
LA TIMES’ ‘DEATH SPIRAL’:The chaos at the Los Angeles Times over imminent layoffs received federal attention on Monday after 10 members of the city’s congressional delegation, led by Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) and including Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Robert Garcia (D-CA), wrote a letter imploring theowner and the union that represents the L.A. Times Guild to find some middle ground to save jobs. “We are concerned about reports of potential layoffs facing the LA Times newsroom and the impact this will have on all Angelenos, the availability of essential news, and the strength of our democracy at large,” the group wrote. “If they cut 20 percent of the workforce, on top of the cuts they already had, it's going to really, we believe, impact their ability to cover not only elected officials, but the stories that occur on a daily basis,” Gomez told Confider on Monday. “I'm hoping that they find a way to resolve this issue that keeps the integrity of the newspaper intact. If not, I can see a death spiral beginning.” The group recommended the Times consider a buyout system akin to TheWashington Post’s spree last month. “It's scary to think about an organization that really has made some important progress in the last few years moving backwards,” Garcia told Confider, citing the paper’s increasing staff diversity. The letter came after the paper’s first work stoppage in 142 years last week and the resignation of managing editors Shani Hilton and Sara Yasin, according to Semafor. Matt Pearce, a Times reporter and the president of the Media Guild of the West, told Confider he couldn’t speak to the congressional letter’s influence on management, but he hoped it would indicate they “should slow down and maybe consider its options here before doing permanent damage to the newsroom.” A Times spokesperson urged the lawmakers in a statement to pass legislation on the state and federal level that would allow the Times to negotiate with tech companies and have them pay for journalism hosted on their platforms. “These platforms continue to freely use and earn billions from local news content,” the spokesperson wrote. “The proposed legislation would require them to pay for it and, as a result, preserve newsroom jobs.”
IN PLAIN SIGHT: Semafor editor-in-chief Ben Smith was overheard complaining to World Economic Forum head of media Yann Zopf at Davos last week after being shut out of an off-the-record session with Emmanuel Macron. He asked if it was in any way connected to a story he and business editor Liz Hoffman wrote about what a money spinner the annual conference had become. Semafor had reported in their Davos newsletter that Politico reporter Ryan Heath was denied a credential for the billionaire bash owing to stories the organizers didn’t enjoy.
WE HEAR WHISPERS: Yashar Ali has been officially dumped by his attorney Bryan Freedman who had been representing the reclusive couch-surfing “journalist” in his legal battle with Los Angeles Magazine. Ali is listed in court docs filed by Freedman, which were obtained and reviewed by Confider, as living in a Residence Inn in Glendale. Confiderreported last month that Freedman was dropping Ali due to an “irreconcilable breakdown in the attorney-client relationship”…Traffic whiz kid Neetzan Zimmerman has been telling staff at The Messenger that “it’s over” while Richard “Mad Dog” Beckman has told his former employees to start looking for new jobs.
A NOTE FROM LACHLAN CARTWRIGHT, EDITOR AT LARGE: My colleagues Andrew Kirell, Justin Baragona and then Corbin Bolies and I started this newsletter almost two years ago and it has been a wild, saucy scooplet-filled run. After six years (and almost 100 editions of Confider) I’m departing The Daily Beast for a new opportunity. This is my last edition, but the rest of the gang will be back next week. I wanted to say cheers to each and every one of you for subscribing and reading and passing on some seriously juicy tips. I hope Confider has lived up to its tagline: “Everyone loves It. Until they’re in it.” Good luck out there!
MORE FROM THE BEAST MEDIA DESK
—Erin Gloria Ryan, one of the funniest writers to grace the digital pages of The Daily Beast, fell on the proverbial sword and watched many hours of Fox Nation’s new comedy offerings. Her findings are far more likely to make you laugh than the shows. More here.
—Tiffany Cross was fired by MSNBC in 2022, and she’s ready to talk about it. The Black ex-host said on her new podcast that she was dumped because she had “drawn the ire of white conservatives” and she is pinning some of the blame on Joe Scarborough. More here.
—There’s been a lot of angst over music outlet Pitchfork being folded into GQ, and in this op-ed, Kristen Carey explains why it rubs her the wrong way. She writes that the message being sent is: “Music is made by men, for men. Or, at least, the music worth paying attention to is.” More here.
—The case of an Indian tech guru using heavyweight lawyers across the globe to take down a Reuters story (which Confider first reported) has alarmed press freedom advocates. Politico’s Michael Schaffer examines here how an Indian judge’s decision has international implications.
—Former New York Times reporter Donald McNeil Jr. admitted he was still bitter three years after his 2021 sacking following a Daily Beast story on his use of the n-word. Read him praise ousted opinion editor James Bennet’s December diatribe and air his own gripes with the Times here.
—The Atlantic’s Yair Rosenberg reports that various news organizations have mischaracterized Israeli war officials as calling for genocide in Gaza, citing examples from NPR, The New York Times, and Haaretz in which quotes were truncated to give that impression. Read his breakdown here.
***WHAT ARE WE OUTRAGED ABOUT NOW?***
During his introductory press conference as the New England Patriots' first Black head football coach, Jerod Mayo talked about the significance of his hiring while talking about the importance of diversity. “What I will say, though, is I do see color because I believe if you don’t see color, you can’t see racism,” Mayo declared last week. Those comments, along with New England’s previous status as MAGA’s favorite football team, predictably led to a meltdown by the right-wing outrage-industrial complex. Naturally, the word “woke” was thrown around, along with claims that Mayo was trafficking in anti-white racism. “If you are a Patriots fan, it's hard to imagine a more discouraging thing to hear from the new head coach of your team,” far-right pundit Matt Walsh grumbled. Walsh’s Daily Wire colleague Michael Knowles, meanwhile, bizarrely claimed that “white people are the only people who do not see color” and this is why other races can “discriminate against [white people] by law and according to the mores of society.” Over at Fox News, Judge Jeanine Pirro wondered aloud if “a new season of wokeness beginning with the NFL” before asking her colleagues if Mayo would recruit longtime Fox News boogeymanColin Kaepernick to play quarterback. Piers Morgan, who seemingly just can’t help himself, suggested that Mayo was merely “getting [his] excuses in very quickly” so he could blame any negative coverage on racism. “Why make it about race?” Morgan then sighed.