Morning Media Newsfeed: White House Talks Sony Attack | Abrams to Leave Nightline

[emailonly]{{{ sbox300x250 }}}[/emailonly] Click here to receive Mediabistro’s Morning Media Newsfeed via email.

White House Approaching Sony Hack as ‘National Security Issue’ (THR)
During a press briefing in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that the hacking of Sony’s internal computer system has become a “national security issue” involving federal law enforcement and diplomatic personnel. Earnest also confirmed revelations from the latest batch of internal Sony emails released by the hackers that two members of the administration had screened “a rough cut” of The Interview — the impending release of which may have prompted the attack — at Sony’s request, but Earnest said Thursday that they had made no recommendations about changes or how to proceed. Time Earnest said there have been a number of daily meetings at the White House about the hack, and that there are “a range of options that are under consideration right now” for a response. Earnest would not rule out a U.S. cyber counterattack on those behind the Sony hack, saying officials are mindful of the need for a “proportional response.” The Washington Post Public attribution of the attack could come as early as this week, one national security official said. U.S. intelligence officials have concluded that the government of Kim Jong Un is behind the attack. North Korea has publicly denied involvement. The attack came in apparent retaliation for Sony’s planned Christmas Day release of The Interview, a comedy built around the assassination of the North Korean leader. PRNewser The group (or country) behind the massive Sony hack sent out a warning that there would be repercussions for any theater that shows The Interview on its screens. Right away, the largest theater companies, from AMC Entertainment to Regal Entertainment and beyond, said they wouldn’t show the film. So Sony killed the whole thing. The outrage from Hollywood has been fast and furious on Twitter, with many expressing anger and disappointment that there wouldn’t be a bigger stand for freedom of expression. Deadline Sony has no plans to release the film anywhere for the foreseeable future. The news comes despite the lack — at least in public — of the same kind of terrorist threat against Sony’s international operations as was made against the studio’s U.S. release. The Interview had been set to open across all major European territories in January and February. Those plans are now off.

Changes at Nightline as Dan Abrams Exits, Byron Pitts Steps in (TVNewser)
ABC has announced that Nightline anchor Dan Abrams will be stepping down from that role to be chief legal analyst at ABC News, and to return his attention to his company, Abrams Media. THR Chief national correspondent Byron Pitts has been set as his replacement, ABC News president James Goldston announced in a memo on Thursday. Abrams was announced as Nightline co-anchor in a shake-up at the news show in June of last year, when he replaced Terry Moran, who was named chief foreign correspondent. Incoming Nightline co-anchor Pitts joined ABC News in 2013 from CBS News. HuffPost / AP Pitts joins Dan Harris and Juju Chang on the anchor team. He will replace Abrams beginning on Friday night’s edition of the late-night news program. Variety The Abrams Media Network is a collection of websites covering various tech and lifestyle topics, including Mediaite, Geekosystem, Styleite and Jane Dough.

WaPo Partnering With Texas Tribune (FishbowlDC)
Starting in January, The Washington Post will be teaming up with The Texas Tribune for a partnership that will include the sharing of editorial content, collaboration on events and more. The Washington Post The Tribune will also join the more than 220 newspapers currently participating in the Post’s digital partner program, offering their subscribers 52 weeks of free and unlimited digital access to the Post. Poynter / MediaWire The Tribune, a non-profit newsroom based in Austin, will give the Post “exclusive outside-of-Texas access” to its stories, writes Post executive editor Martin Baron. Tribune reporters will also contribute to a broad swath of sections on the Post’s website, including The Fix, Post Politics, GovBeat and PostTV. In return, the Tribune will get “early budget lines on Texas-specific journalism” from the Post and permission to cross-post that content, Baron wrote in a staff memo. The Tribune’s D.C. bureau chief, Abby Livingston, will also work from the Post’s newsroom. Texas Tribune The Tribune and Post will also team up to pursue a presidential debate and a suite of other co-sponsored events. The first of these, a half-day symposium dubbed “Texas on the Potomac,” is slated for Jan. 29 in D.C.