How it starts...
The topic of flag-burning dominated much of the discussion among journalists and pundits today, all thanks to a tweet sent in the early morning hours by president-elect Donald Trump that reads, "Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag - if they do, there must be consequences - perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!"
As USA Today's David Jackson writes, "It's not known what inspired Trump's condemnation of flag burning," but NPR's Susan Davis has an idea: "Trump tweeted this around time WSJ posted this story re: Jared Kushner's potential conflicts. Read it instead." That story by The Wall Street Journal's Peter Grant, titled "Donald Trump Son-in-Law Jared Kushner Could Face His Own Confilct-Of-Interest Questions" has just over 2,000 shares on Muck Rack whereas Trump's tweet has nearly 30,000. So if Trump's intent was to distract from the Journal's story, it may have worked. But his gambit also inspired the following powerful tweet from Internet icon George Takei: "I pledged allegiance to the flag every morning inside an internment camp. I would never burn one, but I'd die to protect the right to do so."
Elsewhere, journalists responded to Trump's threat against flag-burners as you might expect: With a mix of fear and ridicule.
"But what do you get for ripping up the Constitution?" asks Philip Martin of the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
"How it starts..." tweets Gretchen Hammond of the Windy City Times.
Finally, Outside the Beltway's Doug Mataconis hits Trump plainly and directly: "Donald Trump comes out against the First Amendment."
"It’s like if Trump owned the Macedonian fake news sites"
BuzzFeed's Alberto Nardelli and Craig Silverman (who has been really owning the "fake news" beat) report that Italy's most powerful political party is leading Europe in fake news and Kremlin propaganda (5,700 shares). Here's Nardelli tweeting out a quote from a former Google employee on the matter: "It's like if Trump owned the Macedonian fake news sites."
"I also didn't know that the weird comedian-led political party taking over Italy has been so co-opted by Russia," tweets BuzzFeed's Tom Gara.
Their colleague Miriam Elder writes, "The battleground for fake news in Europe is … Italy," before adding, "Starring roles in Italy played by the Five Star Movement, comedian Beppe Grillo, and Sputnik!"
Meanwhile, the Financial Times' Duncan Robinson tweets, "Great piece on news sites with links to Grillo's M5S party. Mainstream parties getting their butts kicked on FB."
No comment necessary
That's how Brent Staples of the New York Times responded to Matthew Belvedere's and Michael Newburg's CNBC report that "Times subscriptions have soared tenfold in the days since Donald Trump was elected president" (2,000 shares).
Recode's Edmund Lee writes, "New York Times added 132,000 net subscribers in the 2 weeks since election day, about as much as it does a quarter."
The Times' Comms Head Eileen Murphy shares a quote from the newspaper's CEO Mark Thompson on the report: "'Far from failing, we're seeing remarkable response' to Times journalism."
"The failing and dishonest New York Times is doing well so far in the age of Trump," tweets David Uberti of the Columbia Journalism Review.
The Financial Times' Jake Grovum does offer a small caveat, however, tweeting, "New York Times subscription growth tenfold *compared to same period last year* but still."
In other news:
Politico reports that Former Labor Secretary under George W. Bush Elaine Chao has been picked to lead preisdent-elect Trump's Department of Transportation, leaving the Huffington Post's Eliot Nelson singing an ironic tune: "Drain that swamp .... Oooohhh yeahhhh .... Swaaaammmmp draining .... Yeahhhhhhhh...."
Also from Politico, the Middle Eastern country Bahrain will host its 45th "National Day" at Trump's DC hotel. "This is all perfectly normal, shut up and eat your Trump-branded government cheese," says Rex W. Huppke of the Chicago Tribune.
"By picking Tom Price to lead HHS, Trump shows he’s serious about dismantling Obamacare," writes Sarah Kliff of Vox, adding on Twitter, "Hello it’s 11:36 p.m. please enjoy this 2,000 word explainer on Rep. Tom Price’s Obamacare repeal bill."
At the New York Times, Amanda Taub asks, "How stable are democracies" in a post-Trump world? She gets her answer from Harvard lecturer Yascha Mounk: "Warning signs are flashing red." Taub's colleague Max Fisher weighs in as well: "Well this is absolutely terrifying."
Bloomberg's Joe Weisenthal and others call Trump "the first president of our post-literate age." Historian Varad Mehta sings the piece's praises: "Really good by @TheStalwart on how social media lets Trump communicate in the modes of pre-literate societies."
"Another twist in the @theranos saga," tweets the Wall Street Journal's John Carreyrou, who's been covering the "blood startup" as closely and critically as anyone. "Rupert Murdoch, who controls @WSJ's parent company, invested $100 million." Again, here's Recode's Edmund Lee: "WSJ exposed Theranos as snake oil. @rupertmurdoch, which controls WSJ, is Theranos investor. QED WSJ independence."
And finally, Jia Tolentino (one of the best writers on the Trump beat this election season) and Damon Winter of the New Yorker write about how "Ivanka Trump's terrible book helps explain the Trump-family ethos." Here's Tolentino with more: "I read Ivanka Trump's horrific, delusional, unkind 2009 self-help book, in which she explains: she's just like Daddy."