It said ‘DO NOT CONGRATULATE’ (in all caps)

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It said ‘DO NOT CONGRATULATE’ (in all caps)
March 21st, 2018
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Austin bombing suspect blew himself up

We got a series of updates on the Austin bombings overnight. They ended with police saying the suspect blew himself up, according to AP News’ Jim Vertuno who reports live from Round Rock, Texas.

Authorities identified the bombing suspect as Pflugerville resident Mark A. Conditt, per a report by Sean Walsh, Claire Osborn, and Tony Plohetski at the Statesman.

Austin police sources told CBS News Conditt’s death followed an incident involving officers along I-35 in Round Rock, Texas. As police were closing in on the suspect, he killed himself by detonating some sort of explosive device, according to the KEYE source.

Sharing this Justin Doom piece from ABC News, Stephanie Wash added, “The alleged Austin bomber was a 24-year-old white male. He killed himself with an explosive device this morning as authorities surrounded him. Police believe he is responsible for all the bomb instances since March 2.”

Apparently, the Austin bomber's motive was to cause “mayhem and death,” according to what a federal law enforcement official told Faith Karimi and Mary Ryan at CNN Tuesday afternoon before the police chase for Conditt began. “Since March 2, a serial bomber has terrorized Texas's capital, leaving explosive packages around the city,” Chinmay Bidkar reminded us.

‘Welp. Another one for Trump’

For a look into Trump’s Stormy History: The Seven-Year Battle Between the President and the Porn Star, be sure to read Joe Palazzolo’s piece in the Wall Street Journal. “In February, Stormy Daniels's lawyer told Michael Cohen that she believed he had breached their NDA. ‘I didn't f---ing breach it!’ Mr. Cohen yelled, people familiar with the call said,” Erica Orden tweeted. Rebecca Ballhaus added, “Stormy Daniels asked her former lawyer earlier this year to contact Tom Steyer to see if he would indemnify her as her legal battle with Trump’s lawyer escalated. Her lawyer declined to make the call.”

Over at the New York Times, Jim Rutenberg reports that another Ex-Playboy Model Karen McDougal is Suing to Break Her Silence on Donald Trump. “EXCLUSIVE/BREAKING: Former Playboy model Karen McDougal sues to get out of “catch and kill” deal with National Enquirer parent Co. silencing her story of an affair with Trump,” Rutenberg tweeted. Jay Yarow reacted with: “Welp. Another one for Trump.”

‘DO NOT CONGRATULATE’ (in all caps)

You might have heard that President Trump congratulated Vladimir Putin on Putin’s fourth term win. But according to Carol Leonnig, David Nakamura, and Josh Dawsey at the Washington Post, Trump’s national security advisers warned him not to congratulate Putin. He did it anyway. “It said ‘DO NOT CONGRATULATE’ (in all caps) in his briefing materials,” Brody Levesque shared.

Reacting to Trump congratulating Putin, U.S. Senator John McCain–who’s also Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committeereleased this statement which includes: “An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections. And by doing so with Vladimir Putin, President Trump insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election.”

In a story that’s been making the rounds on social media all morning, BuzzFeed News’ Tom Namako reports that An "Ashamed" Fox News Commentator Just Quit The "Propaganda Machine.” The commentator in question is retired United States Army lieutenant colonel Ralph Peters. Alex Kasprak shared this quote from Peters’ resignation letter: "Despite increasingly pathetic denials, it turns out that the 'nothing-burger' has been covered with Russian dressing all along."

Facebook ‘exposed’

Channel 4 continues its series with Exposed: Undercover secrets of Trump’s data firm, which includes tidbits like “Cambridge Analytica bosses say they ‘ran all the digital campaign’ for Donald Trump” and executives being secretly filmed saying they leave “no paper trail.”

In what might come as little surprise at this point, Steve Bannon oversaw Cambridge Analytica’s collection of Facebook data, according to what a former employee told Craig Timberg, Karla Adam, and Michael Kranish at the Washington Post.

Following up on the Facebook backlash going around the internet this week, Bloomberg’s Paul Ford insists Facebook Is Why We Need a Digital Protection Agency. Reto Gregori pointed out Ford’s story is also “our cover this week.”

R.I.P. to a journalism legend

We are sad to report that Les Payne, the former Newsday editor who won a Pulitzer Prize, has died. William Murphy wrote the obituary in Newsday. Payne was also a founder of the National Association of Black Journalists and was currently working on a book about Malcolm X at the time of his death. S. Mitra Kalita remembered: “I cannot explain how revolutionary it was to have a man like Les Payne in the corner office. And his glee when your scoop got ‘the wood.’ Thank you for fighting for all of us.” Michael R. Sisak said, “Sad news. Newsday reporter Les Payne, part of the Pulitzer Prize-winning ‘Heroin Trail’ team, has died.”

Other awful news

Question of the Day

Yesterday, we asked: The world’s last male northern white rhino died yesterday at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Where is the conservancy located?

Answer: The Conservancy is in Nanyuki, Kenya.

Congrats to David Daniel‏ who was the first reader to tweet the correct answer for the second day in a row!

Your question of the day for today is…How many parts went into Newsday’s “Heroin Trail” series for which Les Payne won his Pulitzer Prize?

As always, click here to tweet your answer to @MuckRack. We’ll announce the winners tomorrow!

Don’t forget - if you change your job in journalism or move to a different news organization, be sure to email us (hello [at] muckrack [dot] com) so we can reflect your new title. News job changes only, please! Thanks!
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