☕ Cover: The iconic New York Times Building and Fox News Host, Tucker Carlson courtesy of Gage Skidmore.
Good Morning. Here’s what you need to know to start the day, along with perspective from both sides for calmer coffee conversations with your family, friends, colleagues, and co-workers. Plus, a bit of good news: One man rescued a coyote puppy from a river and then proceeded to take him on a rafting trip for 10 days.
📰 TOP STORY
Reinforcing Stereotypes: 2020 has been an interesting year, to say the very least. In the United States we began the decade by taking out Qasem Soleimani, Iran’s most powerful military commander. The hashtag #WWIII started trending on twitter. Later in January, Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crashed, killing the basketball legend along with eight others, including his daughter. Roughly a week after Kobe’s crash, Iowa attempted to officially kick off the 2020 election with their presidential caucuses. Following a three-day delay in vote reporting, the state’s Democratic Party declared that Pete Buttigieg had won two more delegates than Bernie Sanders, while Sanders won the popular vote. Meanwhile the Associated Press declined to declare a winner, and still hasn’t. On February 5th, the Senate acquitted President Donald Trump on articles of impeachment. Less than a week later the World Health Organization (WHO) named a new disease “COVID-19” on February 11th. Exactly one month after, on March 11, the WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic, which officially closed the chapter on our lives BC, or “Before Coronavirus.” Journalists recognize they’re writing a “rough draft of history” as each new event unfolds. This means that trust in information, and those who deliver it, has never been more important. With that said, partisan coverage has slowly chipped away at the public’s faith in media outlets across the country. Two events last week didn’t help their cause.
On the Left: Bari Weiss, an opinion writer and editor, for the New York Times resigned in dramatic fashion last week saying she was, “the subject of constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with [her] views.” According to Weiss, colleagues at the New York Times called her a “Nazi and a racist” and in her view, “Twitter has become its ultimate editor.” In her resignation letter, Weiss says that she was a “centrist” who fell victim to “a ‘new McCarthyism’ that has taken root at the paper of record.” Weiss writes that “A new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at the [the New York Times]: that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.” Weiss adds that “Stories are chosen and told in a way to satisfy the narrowest of audiences, rather than to allow a curious public to read about the world and then draw their own conclusions.” She says that she was “always taught that journalists were charged with writing the first rough draft of history. Now, history itself is one more ephemeral thing molded to fit the needs of a predetermined narrative.” Keep in mind, the New York Times fired Weiss’ former boss — editor James Bennett — after he published a piece by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) that advocated using force against racial justice protesters. Many New York Times staffers said the piece endangered them.
On the Right: Things at Fox News weren’t much better. After racking up the highest rated program in cable news history, Tucker Carlson suffered a personnel setback last week that caused the TV host to take a “long-planned” vacation. One of Carlson’s top writers resigned after a CNN investigation found he was posting racist and sexist comments online under a pseudonym. Under the name “CharlesXII”, Blake Neff regularly posted offensive language on an online forum called AutoAdmit. On June 5, Neff wrote, “Black doods staying inside playing Call of Duty is probably one of the biggest factors keeping crime down.” On June 24, Neff commented, “Honestly given how tired black people always claim to be, maybe the real crisis is their lack of sleep.” On June 26, Neff wrote that the only people who care about changing the name of the NFL’s Washington Redskins are “white libs and their university-‘educated’ pets.” In a recent interview with the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, Mr Neff said that when Mr Carlson read scripts off his teleprompter, “the first draft was written by me”.
Flag This: In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, some attempted to explain the horrific event as the action of “one bad apple.” Critics of the “bad apple excuse” argued that police departments across the country can’t afford to have these characters in their ranks. They say that a police officer’s job is too important to risk having one bad apple that could end up killing an unarmed civilian. While this may be a valid argument, the same logic could be applied to American newsrooms. Given the unprecedented string of events that will ultimately fill a vivid chapter in our grandchildren’s history books, we need our journalists and the outlets they represent more than ever. We don’t, however, need them doing things that reinforce stereotypes that half of the public already has of them. When the New York Times loses a self-proclaimed “centrist” because she was pushed out by the “woke” police that only reinforces the President and his supporters’ beliefs that the paper is “Fake News.” Similarly, when Tucker Carlson is reading cue-cards that were curated by a xenophobic writer, that only validates Democrats’ beliefs that Fox News is a race-baiting broadcaster. At the end of the day, each outlets’ desire to cater to their base is creating deeper echo chambers. This is an environment in which a person encounters only beliefs or opinions that coincide with their own, so that their existing views are reinforced and alternative ideas are not considered. This will make discussions with those you disagree with much harder to handle which will, in turn, lead to more arguments and division. In order to stop the division at the source, American media outlets need to stop reinforcing stereotypes.
🦅 US NEWS
Praise Comes From Across the Political World for John Lewis
“Tributes from across the political spectrum poured in over the weekend for Rep. John Lewis, the civil-rights hero and longtime Democratic lawmaker from Georgia who died Friday at age 80, with some Democratic lawmakers calling for action on a stalled voting-rights bill to cement his legacy,” Alex Leary writes for the WSJ. “Flags at the White House and the Capitol were flown at half-staff to remember Mr. Lewis, who was widely mourned as an inspirational leader who fought for civil and human rights and held the country to a high moral standard.”
- Flag this: “On Sunday, Rep. Karen Bass (D., Calif.) said the way to honor Mr. Lewis’s legacy would be to pass the voting-rights bill that would restore the parts of the Civil Rights-era Voting Rights Act that were struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013. The court nullified the law’s requirement that states with a history of discrimination ask the Justice Department for permission to change their voting requirements. The high court said Congress hasn’t taken into account the nation’s racial progress when singling out certain states for federal oversight. The House passed the bill in December 2019, but the Senate has yet to take action on it.”
Trump Digs in on Federal Crackdown Against Portland Protesters
“U.S. President Donald Trump condemned protests in Portland, Oregon, and violence in ‘Democrat-run’ cities on Sunday as his Republican administration prepared to intervene in urban centers he says have lost control of anti-racism demonstrations,” Sarah N. Lynch and Doina Chiacu report for Reuters. “Federal law enforcement officers, armed with a new executive order aimed at protecting U.S. monuments, last week started cracking down on crowds gathering in Portland to protest police brutality and systemic racism. The crackdown in the liberal bastion of Portland drew widespread criticism and legal challenges as videos surfaced of camouflage-clad officers without clear identification badges using force and unmarked vehicles to arrest protesters without explanation.”
- Flag This: White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Attorney General William Barr and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf are working on measures the administration can take to counter the unrest. “You’ll see something rolled out this week as we start to go in and make sure that the communities, whether it’s Chicago or Portland, or Milwaukee, or someplace across the heartland of the country, we need to make sure our communities are safe,” Meadows said on Sunday Morning Futures.
🌎 WORLD NEWS
“Tens of thousands of people in Russia’s Far East marched in protests triggered by the arrest of a popular regional governor, but that have since morphed into a wave of growing dissatisfaction over social issues and the rule of President Vladimir Putin,” Ann M. Simmons reports in Moscow for the Wall Street Journal. “Saturday’s demonstrations marked the eighth consecutive day of public actions since the July 9 arrest of Sergei Furgal, the governor of Khabarovsk, for his alleged involvement in the murders of two businessmen and the attempted murder of another 15 years ago. Mr. Furgal has denied any wrongdoing. Supporters believe he was targeted in part because of his 2018 gubernatorial victory over a Kremlin-backed candidate, which dealt a blow to the ruling party.”
- Flag This: “Since a referendum earlier this month endorsed changes to the country’s constitution that could potentially keep Mr. Putin in power for years to come, there has been a spate of detentions, arrests and raids of government opponents’ homes, triggering fears of a crackdown by authorities. The arrest of Mr. Furgal has prompted residents in Khabarovsk to air other grievances, such as declining living standards and job losses in the wake of the coronavirus crisis that has infected more than 765,000 Russians nationwide.”
India Faces Twin Challenges
“Nearly four million people in India’s northeastern state of Assam and neighbouring Nepal have been displaced by heavy flooding from monsoon rains, with dozens missing as deaths rose to at least 189,” Reuters reported on Sunday. “The overflowing Brahmaputra River, which flows through China’s Tibet, India and Bangladesh, has damaged crops and triggered mudslides, displacing millions of people.”
- Flag This: “Assam is facing the twin challenge of combating floods and the coronavirus pandemic. Out of 33 districts, 25 remained affected after the current wave of flooding, beginning a fortnight ago. India is grappling with the novel coronavirus, which has infected nearly 1.1 million people and 26,816 have died from the COVID-19 disease, government data showed on Sunday.” Keep reading.
🗞️ BIZ, SPORTS, & TECH
Bad News for Cruises
Last week was a challenging stretch for the cruise industry. There were several analyst downgrades, Carnival sold off some ships, and Norwegian Cruise Line executed a secondary stock offering. Most importantly, however, the CDC once again extended the “No Sail Order” that will keep ships from sailing on stateside voyages anytime soon. All but one of the country’s cruise-line stocks took on a little water last week. Keep reading.
Olympic Organizers announce schedule for rearranged Tokyo Games
The Tokyo Olympics next year will use the same venues and follow an almost identical competition schedule as the one originally planned for this year before the event was postponed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, organizers said. The Games are set to be the biggest ever in terms of events, with a record 339 medals available before the closing ceremony on Aug. 8, although organizers say they will be simplified. Keep reading.
Twitter Disables Trump Tweet Over Copyright Complaint
Twitter disabled a campaign-style video that President Donald Trump retweeted on Saturday, citing a copyright complaint. The social media company also said Saturday that hackers were able to download account information for up to eight accounts involved in the hack of its systems last week, but said none of them were verified accounts.
📢 PRESENTED BY KEYSMART
🗳️ FLAG POLLS
US President Donald Trump has ordered the creation of a “National Garden of American Heroes” to defend what he calls “our great national story” against those who vandalize statues. Do you support Trump’s National Heroes Garden? Plus, here is who will be memorialized according to the executive order.
On This Day in 1969: At 10:56 p.m. EDT, American astronaut Neil Armstrong, 240,000 miles from Earth, speaks these words to more than a billion people listening at home: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Stepping off the lunar landing module Eagle, Armstrong became the first human to walk on the surface of the moon.
The true story of the heartthrob prince of Qatar and his time at USC: Los Angeles has long enjoyed a reputation as a playground for the rich, but the handsome teenage prince who arrived nine years ago operated on a different level. Los Angeles Times · 22 min
Why It Pays to Be Grumpy and Bad-Tempered: Being bad-tempered and pessimistic helps you to earn more, live longer and enjoy a healthier marriage. It’s almost enough to put a smile on the dourest of faces. BBC Future · 10 min
Former Employees Say Ellen’s “Be Kind” Talk Show Mantra Masks A Toxic Work Culture: “If [Ellen] wants to have her own show and have her name on the show title, she needs to be more involved to see what’s going on,” one former employee said. BuzzFeed News · 10 min