An outrage and a travesty
Unfortunately, we start your week and your Labor Day off with news that two journalists have been imprisoned because they did their jobs. As Antoni Slodkowski of Reuters reports, a Myanmar judge has convicted the two Reuters reporters in the landmark secrets case, sentencing them to seven years in prison. The conviction of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who uncovered a massacre of Rohingya villagers in Myanmar, is “An outrage and a travesty,” tweets Ernest Scheyder. Saad Sayeed tweets that he is “Shattered to hear that a Myanmar court has sentenced Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo to seven years in prison. The two brave reporters have been convicted for doing their jobs #Journalismisnotacrime #FreeWaLoneKyawSoeOo.”
Reuters’ John Chalmers files a special report examining how Myanmar punished two reporters for uncovering an atrocity. Dominic Waghorn calls it “The squalid tale of Reuters journalists being fitted up and framed by a corrupt brutal regime trying to cover up mass killings putting Aung Suu Kyi further to shame.”
Reuters Editor in Chief Stephen J Adler says the verdict is “a major step backward in Myanmar’s transition to democracy, cannot be squared with the rule of law or freedom of speech, and must be corrected by the Myanmar government as a matter of urgency.”
In Myanmar: 7 Years for Reporting the Truth, Human Rights Watch calls it a major setback for press freedom. And Shawn Crispin, senior Southeast Asia representative for the Committee to Protect Journalists, issued a statement condemning the conviction and calling on Myanmar’s civilian authorities to immediately release the journalists.
Reporting for The Guardian in his piece, Myanmar: Reuters reporters investigating Rohingya crisis jailed for seven years, Jamie Fullerton notes that as Wa Lone was led to a police van in handcuffs, he said, “I have no fear. I have not done anything wrong … I believe in justice, democracy and freedom.” Tweets Harriet Williamson, “Sentenced to seven years in prison for seeking the truth of the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people. Journalism is not a crime.”
More devastating news to share today: Reuters’ Bruno Federowski and Bill Trott report as Rio’s 200-year old National Museum is hit by a massive fire. The National Museum was the largest natural history museum in Latin America. They write, “A peek inside its giant windows revealed a roofless interior of blackened hallways and charred, smoldering beams.” “Heartbreaking. 20 million lost artifacts from an incredible culture. Rio is a special place for me and so many,” tweets S.E. Cupp.
For The Guardian, Dom Phillips reports on the ‘incalculable’ loss as 200-year-old Rio institution gutted. Tweets Catherine Slessor, “Rio's Museu Nacional, formerly Paço de São Cristóvão, the Brazilian Imperial Palace. After the declaration of the Brazilian Republic, it became South America’s leading museum of natural history. Anguishing to see the building and its collections in flames.” And Tommy Greene highlights some of what’s been lost: “Brazil's oldest museum burned down last night, taking with it most of the #museunacional's 20-million-item archive, which includes the oldest human skeleton in the Americas, fossils, dinosaurs, and a meteorite found in 1784. What an immense loss.”
Why is laboring news?
Bruce Haring of Deadline has a roundup of celebrities and members of the media who are defending former “Cosby Show” actor Geoffrey Owens, who’s working at Trader Joe’s. Fox News picked up the story that the Daily Mail ran earlier after someone sent in a photo of Owens bagging groceries. At The New Yorker, Michael Schulman writes of The Shaming of Geoffrey Owens and the Inability to See Actors as Laborers, Too, and Lainna Fader says, “This is a must-read, just in time for Labor Day.” The SAG-AFTRA Foundation tweets, “This #LaborDay, we honor #geoffreyowens and ALL of the hard-working actors who work 1, 2, 3 day jobs in order to pay the bills, take care of their families & still work to entertain us. #ActorsWithDayJobs, share yours loud and proud! We’re here for you!” Best tweet? We think it’s this one by Max Weiss: “RT if you think Geoffrey Owens took a much more honorable path in his life than Bill Cosby.”
Oh how true this is
In an op-ed for The New York Times, David Leonhardt writes that They Sat in Hypocrisy. The “they” in question: Congressional Republicans attending John McCain’s memorial service. He tweets, “By appearances, they were honoring John McCain and showing what a better America could look like. But it was all an act. The Congressional Republicans at McCain’s memorial service have rejected his version of America in favor of Trump’s.” “Oh how true this is,” says Robert Fife. Bill Kristol offers, “What could Congressional Republicans do to show they take McCain's legacy seriously? To start, they could 1) legalize DACA recipients, 2) protect Mueller, and 3) secure our elections. These bills exist. They could be passed this month.”
Meanwhile, at The New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin explains How Rudy Giuliani Turned Into Trump’s Clown. For Patricia Kowsmann. “This reminds me of that Katy Perry song.. you’re hot then you’re cold, you’re yes then you’re no, you’re in then you’re out…” Also from the profile, we learn that Giuliani isn’t too concerned about his legacy, mostly because, he notes, “I’ll be dead.”
A far more noble man
But “From the lessons we heard from the pulpit at John McCain's funeral to #MollieTibbetts' father echoing words we heard at a similar time decades ago, this has been a really good day for America,” says Steve Daniels. Rob Tibbetts, father of Mollie Tibbetts, has written an essay for the Des Moine Register with a simple message: Don't distort her death to advance racist views (121,000+ shares). “To all who jumped on Mollie Tibbett’s murder to perpetuate hateful lies. To all who had the gall to equate her death to family separations at the border. Here is her father, a far more noble man than any of the lot of you, saying what you should hear,” tweets Rex Huppke.
Speaking of those who had the gall...The New York Times tweets, “A day after Donald Trump Jr. wrote a column blaming Democrats for Mollie Tibbetts’s death, her father writes a rebuttal, ‘to call out the racists among us and ask people to aspire to higher American ideals.’” Melissa Gomez writes about that in her piece, Mollie Tibbetts’s Father Asks That Her Death Not Be Exploited to Promote Racism (46,000+ shares). As Lisa Guerrero observes, “Her family seems incredible which makes it even more devastating that this lovely young woman is gone. May she Rest In Peace.”
Andrea Kannapell links to Katie Rogers’ profile of Meghan McCain in The New York Times, Meghan McCain, Forged in Her Father’s Image. Tweets Anna Schaverien, “I was so disappointed this morning to find related searches for Meghan McCain included ‘bikini,’ ‘sexy’ and ‘cleavage.’ If you're looking for an article on her eulogy that focuses on the person and her words, not her appearance, see @katierogers' article.” Plus, as Katerina Ang points out, “This NYT profile of @MeghanMcCain has a delightful Joy Behar quote.”
For more insight, turn to another daughter. Tom Walters calls Patti Davis’s op-ed for The Washington Post, “Touching and insightful; the daughter of one political icon reflects on the grief of another.” In her piece she writes, Meghan McCain and I shared our fathers with America, and America felt our grief, noting that, “For all the years that I resented America for claiming my father...I was so grateful to have the tears of a nation joined with ours as we laid my father to rest.”
Stop what you’re doing and read this
OK, “Seriously, read this. READ THIS! This story is amazing and beautiful and a blessing to your day. And it’ll blow your mind.” Jessica Shortall is talking about Sarah Spain’s piece for ESPN, which reveals The jaw-dropping story behind an NFL coach’s search for his family. Bob Cook says, “This story on @coachdmc and the twist in his search for his adoptive parents is amazing — and as an adoptee around his age, I feel every moment of his search.” We could tell you more about Kansas City Chiefs running back coach Deland McCullough’s quest to find his biological family, but we’re not going to spoil it for you. Just go read it. As David Haugh tweets, “Catching up to this @SarahSpain story. It’s one of those stop-what-you’re-doing-to-read stories. It’s worth the time. Tremendous job.”
A few more
As TV Seeks Diverse Writing Ranks, Rising Demand Meets Short Supply, writes Cara Buckley of The New York Times. But a lot of people are retweeting Ava DuVernay’s take on it: “Nah. Short supply if you aren’t truly looking, listening, learning. Short supply if you’re just calling agencies and then calling it a day. There is no short supply. There is no crisis here. Just the need for the industry to stop talking, but not walking.” Adds Priyanka Mattoo, “EYEROLL I’ll staff you five great comedy writers and five great drama writers RIGHT NOW just pay attention. And enough with announcing diversity initiatives with zero follow through.”
Meanwhile, “Go ahead and luxuriate in the million-dollar earrings and private jets of ‘Crazy Rich Asians.’ Singaporeans would like you to know that in reality, things here can get even richer and even crazier.” Shashank Bengali links to his piece in The Los Angeles Times, How famously uptight Singapore become a playground for Asia’s ‘crazy rich.’
Jason Lemon of Newsweek reports, Paul McCartney Once Saw God During a Drug Trip And Claims It Looked Like a ‘Massive Wall.’ (That’s “British singer Paul McCartney,” as the piece clarifies, in case you weren’t familiar.)
And finally, today, Marc Silver, editor of NPR’s Goats and Soda blog, caved in and took a goat yoga class. The verdict: Goat Yoga Is ‘Preposterous’ Says Goat Yoga Teacher. It’s Also ... Terrific!