Morning Media Newsfeed: AJ Journalist Freed | Daily Beast Reverses on Romney

Al Jazeera journalist freed in Egypt. The Daily Beast backtracks on Romney exclusive. These stories and more in today's Morning Media Newsfeed

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Jailed Al Jazeera Journalist Freed (TVNewser)
Peter Greste, a correspondent for Al Jazeera who had been held for 400 days in Egypt, has been freed and has left the country, Egyptian state media reports. The Guardian “A presidential decree has been issued to deport him to continue his punishment period in Australia. The foreign ministry coordinated with the Australian embassy and his plane took off at 4:10 p.m. [local time],” an interior ministry spokesman said. The decree allows foreign detainees to continue their detention in their home countries, and is thought to have been enacted with the journalist’s case in mind. HuffPost / Reuters There was no immediate word on the fate of his two Al Jazeera colleagues — Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed — who were also jailed in the case that provoked an international outcry. THR The three were arrested over their coverage of the violent crackdown on Islamist protests following the military overthrow of president Mohammed Morsi in 2013. Egyptian authorities accused them of providing a platform for Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, now declared a terrorist organization. Mashable The three men were granted an appeal by Court of Cassation, Egypt’s supreme court, on Jan 1. and their families were holding out hope that Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi would grant them a presidential pardon since a decree was issued in November giving him the ability to do so for foreigners convicted of crimes.

Daily Beast’s Romney ‘Exclusive’ Was Completely Wrong (FishbowlNY)
When Mitt Romney announced Friday that he’s not running for president, The Daily Beast had some backtracking and explaining to do. Friday morning, the site published a piece declaring that Romney would run. CNN Money The Daily Beast and Bloomberg News each published reports — neither of which had a byline — citing sources who said the former Massachusetts governor was ready to explore a third presidential campaign. Shortly before Romney’s scheduled 11 a.m. call with donors, conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt — a vocal Romney booster — posted a statement that said otherwise. The Washington Post / Erik Wemple Friday, a statement from Mitt Romney surfaced on his intentions regarding the 2016 presidential race. “After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the Party the opportunity to become our next nominee,” said the statement, in part. The interesting part of the Daily Beast’s story is its reliance on what appears to be the same memo that declares Romney’s intent to stay out of the race. TPM But by the time Hewitt came out with the scoop at about 10:30 a.m. ET, both the Bloomberg and Beast posts were being passed around social media in a swirl of confusion. The Beast headline simply flipped to “Mitt Romney Will Not Run for President.” Beast editor Noah Shachtman took to Twitter to issue a mea culpa.

George R.R. Martin’s New Book Not Coming This Year (GalleyCat)
George Martin‘s latest volume in the Song of Ice And Fire series, The Winds of Winter, will not be published this year. THR / The Live Feed The last book, A Dance With Dragons, was published in 2011, making it at least five years between volumes for eager fans. Mashable Martin’s publisher, Jane Johnson, tried to mollify fans by reminding them that a series of “prequel novellas” based in Martin’s world of Westeros would arrive later this year. Nevertheless, she was adamant. What HarperCollins didn’t draw attention to is that the later arrival of Winds of Winter all but guarantees that the HBO series Game of Thrones will do what Martin has long hoped it wouldn’t: overtake the books. Variety The show became the first TV series to hit the bigscreen when it opened Friday to $686,000 at the U.S. box office. The fantasy series stood to earn almost $2 million from 205 IMAX screens over the weekend, bringing its per-screen average to a weekend high of $9,800.