Behind the scenes of Taylor Swift's political endorsements

Swift’s “Miss Americana” will be released to Netflix on January 31, and according to an early look at the documentary, both her father and at least one member of her team had reservations about her 2018 endorsements. Also in this week’s issue:

  • Here’s the artist who illustrated the unprecedented NYT endorsement

  • One reason it’s more expensive for campaigns to advertise on TV in 2020

  • JFK watercolors are up for auction


P.S. So that French art gallery I mentioned in this space last week that said it was hosting Britney Spears’ first exhibition isn’t authorized and/or real. A publicist for Spears told the BBC “there is no truth to” the exhibition. The gallery recently posted a photo on Instagram that shows what looks like Spears’ painting of flowers that was auctioned off for charity in 2017, though. 🤔

Here’s the artist who illustrated the unprecedented NYT endorsement

The New York Times editorial board endorsed two candidates in the Democratic primaries Sunday: Sens. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.). It was an unprecedented move that made a lot of people annoyed and/or angry on Twitter. The editorial board seemed to anticipate the reaction, writing, “There will be those dissatisfied that this page is not throwing its weight behind a single candidate, favoring centrists or progressives” (note: endorsements are made by the paper’s opinion section, not its reporters).

The illustrations for the endorsement were done by Jules Julian, an Amsterdam-based artist, who set the candidates in blue skin tones against purple backdrops. The show “Our Cartoon President” made their own version:

BREAKING: The New York Times encourages all candidates to get out there and just have fun.
January 21, 2020

Julian did portraits for the other candidates too:

The National Archives apologized for altering photos of the Women’s March

Credit: The Washington Post

The National Archives apologized in a tweet thread Saturday for altering photos of protest signs with messages critical about President Trump during the first Women’s March. The image was part of a display that showed the 2017 march when viewed from one angle and a 1913 women’s suffrage march when viewed from another angle, and the Washington Post found signs that read “God Hates Trump” and “Trump & GOP — Hands Off Women” that each had “Trump” blurred out. Signs with references to women’s anatomy were also blurred out, including a sign that read “This Pussy Grabs Back.”

In an initial statement to the Post, spokeswoman Miriam Kleiman said the decision to blur words was made “so as not to engage in current political controversy,” but they’ve now reversed their decision:

One reason it's more expensive for campaigns to advertise on TV in 2020

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is making TV ads more expensive for everyone. Prices for political TV ads are up an average of 20% since he announced his campaign because he’s buying up so much and inventory is lower in nearly every state, Politico found. That’s not just for presidential campaigns, that’s for Senate, House, and state legislatures too.

Bloomberg makes up an eye-popping 75% of all broadcast political spending as of January 17. If you add in all mediums, including digital and radio ads, Bloomberg has spent $92.8 million through Monday, compared with $35.5 million for all non-Bloomberg spending, according to data provided to Yello from Advertising Analytics.

Bloomberg has run 16 unique ads so far this year that are either anti-Trump, or touch on issues including prescription drugs, pollution, and healthcare. Some feature the tagline “Mike will get it done.”

JFK watercolors are up for auction

A pair of watercolor paintings by John F. Kennedy are currently up for auction along with a trove of Kennedy memorabilia. Both watercolors show Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn and were painted in 1960. Per RR Auction, the paintings were gifted by Kennedy to a friend in Beverly Hills, Calif., and were never exhibited. The bidding is at $19,976 as of Tuesday morning and runs until Thursday.

You can check out more Kennedy items up for auction that I posted on the Yello Instagram and Twitter accounts, including campaign paraphernalia and a paper doll of Jackie Kennedy.

Jon McNaughton’s new painting depicts Sean Hannity as… Paul Revere

It’s called “Modern Day Paul Revere” and it shows the U.S. Capitol on fire. By way of explanation, McNaughton rewrote Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “Paul Revere’s Ride” to be about Trump and impeachment. The work is on sale starting at $29 for an 11x14 litho.

KKW and HRC are getting documentaries

A pair of new politically themed documentaries were recently announced. A four-party Hillary Clinton series titled “Hillary” is heading to Hulu beginning March 6. The trailer includes interviews with Clinton herself as well as former Presidents Clinton and Obama, and references everything from ~her emails~ to her husband’s infidelity. The series is directed by documentary filmmaker Nanette Burstein.

According to an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Clinton has some thoughts on Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the doc: “Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done. He was a career politician. It's all just baloney and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it.”

Then the month after, Kim Kardashian West will star in the two-hour “Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project,” airing on Oxygen on April 5. In the trailer, KKW says she began receiving letters from inmates telling their stories. “I went into this knowing nothing, and then my heart completely opened up,” she said. The show will follow four cases and is produced by Kardashian West and Bunim Murray Productions, which produces “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”

Behind the scenes of Taylor Swift’s political endorsements

Credit: Mary Ellen Matthews for Variety

Variety spoke to Taylor Swift and previewed her forthcoming Netflix documentary “Miss Americana” for their Sundance 2020 cover story. A few highlights:

  • Variety described Swift as “incredulous” about how she used to be applauded for staying out of politics: “Every time I didn’t speak up about politics as a young person, I was applauded for it,” she said. “It was wild. I said, ‘I’m a 22-year-old girl — people don’t want to hear what I have to say about politics.’ And people would just be like, ‘Yeahhhhh!’”

  • Her father and at least one member of her team didn’t initially support her decision to endorse Democratic candidates in 2018. An unnamed associate is heard saying that standing against the president and Republican candidates could cut her tour audience in half and her dad said he was “terrified” after reading her statement.

  • Swift is described as pushing back tears when she says she regrets not coming out against Trump in 2016, and says of the then-Republican U.S. Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn, “I can’t see another commercial [with] her disguising these policies behind the words ‘Tennessee Christian values.’ I live in Tennessee. I am Christian. That’s not what I stand for.” She went forward posting her endorsement after saying “I need to be on the right side of history. … Dad, I need you to forgive me for doing it.”

  • Swift said she’s featured pro-LGBTQ messages in her music because to not do so would have been hypocritical. “I think it is so frilly and spineless of me to stand onstage and go ‘Happy Pride Month, you guys,’ and then not say this, when someone’s literally coming for their neck,” she said.

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