Today is a weird news day. “This is an absolutely jaw-dropping read,” says Jane Bradley. In “Inside the Pied Piper of R&B’s ‘Cult,’” BuzzFeed’s Jim DeRogatis reports that R. Kelly Is Holding Women Against Their Will In An Abusive “Cult,” Parents Told Police (13,000+ shares). Dee Lockett says, “This week is already too much.” But “Kudos to @JimDeRogatis for never letting this horrible story go,” tweets Sarah Weinman. Says Jessica Goldstein, “.@JimDeRogatis has been covering R. Kelly sexual assault allegations for decades. His latest report is horrifying,” Adds Katie Dupere, “This piece is incredibly disturbing, but ridiculously well-reported.” “Not the story I expected to read this Monday morning,” says Isabelle Chapman.
And then...“Omg. If u read no other story today. USC's fmr med school dean smoking meth w/prositutes, addicts IN HIS OFFICE,” tweets Tracy Weber. She’s referring to An overdose, a young companion, drug-fueled parties: The secret life of then-USC med school dean, by Los Angeles Times staffers Paul Pringle, Harriet Ryan, Adam Elmahrek, Matt Hamilton and Sarah Parvini. Tweets Andrew Joseph, “This @latimes story on the former USC med school dean is bananas. Great reporting.” “My jaw is on the floor,” says Charles Ornstein.
Moving on, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds 6 months in, a record low for Trump, with troubles from Russia to health care (62,000+ shares), as ABC News’ Gary Langer reports. With just 36% approving of Trump’s job performance, down 6 points from his record-low 100-day mark, it’s the lowest six-month approval rating of any president in polls dating back 70 years. Of note, when it comes to health care, respondents prefer Obamacare over the current Republican plan by a 2-1 margin. And taking a deeper dive into the poll, Langer reports Public to Trump: Lay off the Twitter. As Mark Berman tweets, “Trump: ‘They’re not going to take away my social media.’ Americans: Please stop tweeting.”
The latest Bloomberg National Poll found that 40% of Americans approve of Trump’s performance, while 61% say the country is headed in the wrong direction, up 12 points since December. Bloomberg’s John McCormick, who breaks it down in Americans Feel Good About the Economy, Not So Good About Trump, tweets, “Views of the White House as an institution are at the lowest level ever recorded in the Bloomberg National Poll.” Once again, Americans aren’t feeling so good about health care, with 64% saying they disapprove of Trump’s handling of the issue. And yet, “Trump’s voters are sticking with him,” McCormick tweets. “89% say he’s doing a good job.”
Extraordinarily important, complex
Speaking of health care, as CNN’s Phil Mattingly, Manu Raju and Steve Almasy report, McConnell delays health care vote while McCain recovers from surgery to remove a blood clot above his left eye. And today, Denise Grady and Robert Pear of The New York Times are reporting that McCain’s Surgery May Be More Serious Than Thought, Experts Say.
POLITICO’s Dan Diamond is exploring How hospitals got richer off Obamacare. In this piece, part of a series he says he’s worked on for a year, Diamond finds, “After fending off challenges to their tax-exempt status, the biggest hospitals boosted revenue while cutting charity care.” Jordan Rau says it’s an “Ambitious @ddiamond look at drop in hospital charity care under ACA,” and Elisabeth Rosenthal calls it a “superb piece.”
And in another piece for POLITICO, Diamond takes a look at How the Cleveland Clinic grows healthier while its neighbors stay sick. He tweets, “I went to Cleveland to visit its world-renowned health system. I found a slowly dying neighborhood in its shadow.” “Do read extraordinarily important, complex @ddiamond piece on @ClevelandClinic & its community. Situation not unique,” tweets Ashish K. Jha. And Darius Tahir says, “I assume everyone is praising the hell out of @ddiamond's Cleveland Clinic piece, but that's because they're right.”
My magician grandfather used misdirection, too
Ethan Bearman is referring to Trump lawyer defends Don Jr. meeting, says Secret Service allowed it, by Reuters’ Caren Bohan and Andrea Ricci. As Josh Dawsey tweets, “Secret Service bats down Trump's lawyer for inaccurately saying agency was OK with Trump Jr. meeting with Russians.” In other words, “The Secret Service confirms that this is not how any of this works,” tweets Daniel Drezner.
“Outgoing ethics chief @waltshaub gives @nytimes an exit interview,” tweets Kevin Chupka, of Government Ethics Chief Urges Major Changes on His Way Out, the interview by Eric Lipton and Nicholas Fandos of The New York Times with Walter M. Shaub Jr., who is resigning as the federal government’s top ethics watchdog on Tuesday. Tweets Bradd Jaffy, “Trump has created a historic ethics crisis, departing ethics chief says; appearance of profiting from the presidency.” Adds Anne Applebaum, “Can the US pursue international anticorruption initiatives in the Trump era? No, says retiring ethics watchdog.”
And then there’s this: “Wow. Trump’s campaign against ISIS has resulted in almost as many civilian deaths as Obama had in his entire adm,” says Sam Stein, referring to Samuel Oakford’s piece for The Daily Beast, President Trump’s Air War Kills 12 Civilians Per Day. Writes Oakford, “The president promised to ‘bomb the sh*t’ out of ISIS. But an Airwars investigation reveals that more and more innocents are being killed in American-led attacks.”
Meanwhile, “This story is interesting, but equally interesting is that the intel community wants this out in the open,” says Daniel Drezner, referring to UAE hacked Qatari government sites, sparking regional upheaval, according to U.S. intelligence officials (15,000 shares), by Ellen Nakashima of The Washington Post. “The plot thickens,” says Elliott Gotkine
Been wondering what Michael Flynn has been up to? The Associated Press’s Michelle Smith and Jennifer McDermott have discovered, Flynn returns to hometown, surfing in respite from scandal. Tweets AP Politics, “In beach town where Michael Flynn grew up one of 9 kids, supporters say they know he'll be exonerated.” Nicholas Riccardi calls it an “Awesome story on Michael Flynn, surfer.” And Julie Bykowicz says, “This @AP story gives a fabulous sense of place.”
“If you have never seen Night of the Living Dead, change that today. As timely now as it was then,” tweets HG Watson, in light of the news that George Romero, ‘Night of the Living Dead’ Director Dies at 77, as reported by Pat Saperstein in Variety. “This one really stings. What a legend. RIP, George Romero,” says Scott Neumyer. Tweets Allison Babka, “The breadth of Romero's work and his social commentary was stunning.” And then, “Dammit... first the great George A Romero and now Martin Landau…” tweets Jorge Ávila Andrade. The Hollywood Reporter’s Mike Barnes reports that Martin Landau has died: ‘Ed Wood,’ ‘Mission: Impossible’ Actor Was 89.
This is a very good content
And finally today, “Buckle up for NAME OF GROANS which is like that HBO show minus all the confusing and/or cringe-worthy stuff,” tweets Greg Morabito. The staff at Eater present Name of Groans: The Search for the Most Truly Awful Restaurant Name in America. “This is a very good content,” says Tim Donnelly.
At The Wall Street Journal, Alexa Corse reveals that South Carolina May Prove a Microcosm of U.S. Election-Hacking Efforts. The WSJ tweets, “There were nearly 150,000 attempts to penetrate South Carolina's voter-registration system on Election Day 2016.”
Read some “Gorgeous writing on Wimbledon and Federer. @louisahthomas gives in: Long live the King,” tweets Michael Luo, of The General Joy of Roger Federer, Wimbledon Champion Once Again, by Louisa Thomas for the New Yorker.
Learn How Ahmed Best, the Guy Who Played Jar Jar Binks, Survived the Fandom Menace, from Brian Raftery at Wired.
Find out “How mobile phone payments have rapidly displaced cash in China. Beautifully written by @PaulMozur, @lyyblack photos,” tweets Keith Bradsher, who links to In Urban China, Hardly Anyone Is Using Cash Anymore, by The New York Times’ Paul Mozur.
Feast your eyes on The Trump-Macron Handshake: A Play in Four Acts, by Uri Friedman for The Atlantic. Tweets Friedman, “This Trump/Macron handshake business has spiraled out of control. No handshake should last for 30 seconds.”
Comey’s Writing a Book, and Publishers Are Eager to Pay Big Money for It, says The New York Times’ Alexandra Alter.
“These stories are heartbreaking,” says Torey Van Oot, who links to Lost Mothers, by Nina Martin, Emma Cillekens and Alessandra Freitas for ProPublica. They write, “An estimated 700 to 900 women in the U.S. died from pregnancy-related causes in 2016. We have identified 120 of them so far.”
“I love the media,” said the Freedom Caucus chairman. Turns out, The Republican War On The Media Is (Mostly) Fake News, reports BuzzFeed’s Alexis Levinson.