First, the UK
Let’s begin this Friday with Great Britain, where a British spy agency denies the 'utterly ridiculous' Trump wiretap claims, according to Jim Sciutto and Ben Westcott at CNN. Samantha Barry wrote, “In a highly unusual public statement…” Frances Marcellin (Nee Cook) added, “Bet even this won't stop the WH talking such garbage.”
In the New York Times, we have Peter Baker with White House Tries to Soothe British Officials Over Trump’s Wiretap Claim.
At the Telegraph, news that the U.S. makes formal apology to Britain after White House accuses GCHQ of wiretapping Trump Tower from Steven Swinford.
Then from BuzzFeed, James Ball tried to explain: This Is Why It's A Big Deal For GCHQ To Publicly Deny The White House's "Wiretapping" Claims. For reference, GCHQ is the UK's signals intelligence agency and counterpart to America's NSA.
Then, North Korea
To make you even more uneasy about America’s standing in the world at large, Korea Herald reports: U.S. says 'strategic patience' on NK is over. Glenn Kessler explained, “US Secy of State Tillerson cut short his visit to S. Korea because of "’fatigue,’ Korean officials tell Korea Herald.”
The New York Times has news from David Sanger that Tillerson Says No Negotiations With North Korea on Nuclear Program. The second part of that headline is that Tillerson would consider a preemptive military strike. This prompted Brady Dale to wonder, “Maybe I should rethink my return to New York City?”
And Anna Fifield writes in the Washington Post, Tillerson says ‘all options are on the table’ when it comes to North Korea. That comment didn’t put anyone at ease. In fact, it seems to have had the opposite effect. Erin Cunningham wrote, “It was nice knowing you all.” Mike Whitney said, “We're all going to die.” And Liva Judic tweeted, “Seriously though. Do they think going to war with NKorea is like playing Lego? #doomed.”
The Leader of the Free World Meets Donald Trump, reads James Rubin’s headline in Politico for his article about the U.S. president meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
About Trump’s inner circle
Sources tell CNN’s Dylan Byers that Sean Hannity once pulled a gun on Juan Williams. According to Byers, Hannity is “Trump's biggest backer on television” while Williams is a liberal contributor with whom the Fox News anchor has “spirited on-air arguments.”
At Forward, Lili Bayer and Larry Cohler-Esses have an exclusive about a Nazi-Allied Group Claiming Top Trump Aide Sebastian Gorka As A Sworn Member. Cole Stangler called it a “Big scoop.” Brian Klaas tweeted, “So...Gorka, a key Trump adviser may be a member of a Nazi-affiliated far right group & perhaps an illegal immigrant.”
The Wall Street Journal’s Shane Harris writes that according to some documents, Mike Flynn Worked for Other Russian Companies Besides RT. WSJ themselves tweeted, “Trump's ex-National Security Adviser Mike Flynn was paid tens of thousands of dollars by Russian companies.”
The trouble at home
Meals On Wheels shared their statement here about President Trump’s so-called Skinny Budget. “Cuts of any kind would be devastating for millions of vulnerable seniors,” the organization wrote.
The Onion’s spin on the Meals on Wheels development involved this brilliant headline: ‘Curses!’ Shouts Fist-Shaking Meals On Wheels Ringleader As Trump Cuts Off Gravy Train.
It’s not just Meals On Wheels that would be cut by this budget plan. NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill tweeted, “Under POTUS budget, virtually all fed funding to NYPD eradicated. Entire counterterrorism apparatus in nation's top terror target hobbled.”
In a new CNN poll, people were asked about allowing illegal immigrants who’ve been in the U.S. for a number of years to stay and apply for citizenship? Of those who responded, 90% were in favor and only 9% opposed. Bradd Jaffy called it a “remarkable number.”
And if you’re wondering who to trust when it comes to health-care reform, Jenna Johnson at the Washington Post found out that Trump supporters put their faith in him. Robert Costa called it, “Sharp and revealing reporting from Nashville.” Chris Megerian explained: “Tennessee voter thinks Trump helped lower her son's health insurance premium. But it was Obamacare.”
Now for some laughs
In the New York Times, Daniel Victor published a story that will make all punctuation sticklers smirk: Lack of Oxford Comma Costs Maine Company Millions in Overtime Dispute. Jenny Schuessler quoted a Vampire Weekend song when she tweeted, “‘Who gives a f*ck about an Oxford Comma?’ These truck drivers, for starters.” Ella Riley-Adams wrote, “Commas carry consequences.” And Stacy Cowley added, “VINDICATION. (I remain bitter about NYT's comma rules.)”
For news about Snoop Dogg, Bow Wow and an Ill-Advised Retweet (notice the lack of Oxford comma there?), check out Elizabeth Spayd’s piece in the New York Times. Spayd herself tweeted, “The path from rapper Bow Wow to an ill-advised retweet by a NYT reporter.” Michael Gold wrote, “Oh god the public editor finally learned about twitter jokes.” Sam Stecklow wasn’t as nice about it, “@deanbaquet please find a new public editor who was not born in the 1700s.”
An odd choice perhaps?
Over in England, BuzzFeed’s Patrick Smith and Alex Spence report that Former Chancellor George Osborne Will Be The Editor Of The Evening Standard Newspaper. Stuart Millar tweeted, “‘No one can believe it. I feel like I’ve been shot. my ears are ringing.’ - Standard staffer to @psmith.”
The Standard shared the news too. Emma Howard tweeted, “Errrr WHAT?” Adam Bienkov added, (quite British-ly), “Oh my, this is actually happening.”
And so did the BBC. To which David Ricketts replied, “Did not see that coming…”
Yes, and also in The Guardian, where Jasper Jackson tweeted, “Well that's an... interesting choice.”
Your weekend reads
On St. Patrick’s Day, Liam Stack takes on the task of debunking a myth. So he wrote The Irish Were Not Slaves, Too for the New York Times. Stack tweeted, “Happy St. Patrick's Day! I wrote a story debunking the ‘Irish were slaves, too’ meme.” Jenny Schuessler added, “Great debunking of a myth that pops up in NYT comments every time I write a story about African-American enslavement.”
It’s a couple of days old now but we recommend reading Operation London Bridge: the secret plan for the days after the Queen’s death from Sam Knight in The Guardian if you haven’t yet. Michelle Dean tweeted, “‘There may be corgis.’ Thank the gods.” Alex Needham said, “This is riveting.” Caspar Smith commended the “extraordinary, fascinating levels of detail.”