Nolan Hicks links to the reason for his “holy moly” tweet today: The latest from Mark Mazzetti, Ronen Bergman, David D. Kirkpatrick and Maggie Haberman at The New York Times, Rick Gates Sought Online Manipulation Plans From Israeli Intelligence Firm for Trump Campaign (36,000+ shares). Through interviews and obtaining copies of the proposals, they’ve learned, “A top Trump campaign official requested proposals in 2016 from an Israeli company to create fake online identities, to use social media manipulation and to gather intelligence to help defeat Republican primary race opponents and Hillary Clinton, according to interviews and copies of the proposals.” Yes, “Journalism is a marvelous thing,” as Eric Ginsburg tweets. And Meakin Armstrong thinks, “The gun is smoking.” Also, as Kaitlan Collins points out, “Trump has told allies in the last two weeks that, while he hated the Kavanaugh drama, it had the perk of getting the Russia investigation out of the press. Now the Times publishes this less than an hour before he’s set to ceremoniously swear him in.”
There’s a cliff ahead
And there’s something else getting in the way of the Kavanaugh celebration, specifically, the fact that the planet is careening towards destruction. Mark Landler and Coral Davenport of The New York Times write, Dire Climate Warning Lands With a Thud on Trump’s Desk, and Trip Gabriel highlights, “‘Not today,’ said Bill Shine, the WH communications director when asked for reaction to the UN climate report predicting a dire future. ‘It’s a Kavanaugh night.’” “Future generations won’t forgive us for this. We’re stuck on the Trump train; there’s a cliff ahead; and Trump is putting his head down and adding more coal to the fire,” is how Brian Klaas puts it.
Stuck in the Twilight Zone
At Media Matters, Matt Gertz writes that the press helped build Donald Trump's lie; now it has to reckon with that. Referring to last week’s bombshell story by David Barstow, Susanne Craig and Russ Buettner of The New York Times, he says, “The painstaking investigation by Times reporters David Barstow, Susanne Craig, and Russ Buettner is not just a skillful demolition of the origin story Trump told. It’s also a rebuke to generations of journalists who bolstered Trump’s tale.” He also points out that Meet the Press, This Week, Face the Nation and Fox News Sunday all completely ignored the story.
Meanwhile, David Fahrenthold and Jonathan O'Connell of The Washington Post have discovered that, after selling off his father’s properties, Trump embraced unorthodox strategies to expand his empire. Tweets Fahrenthold, “NEW: In 2004, @realDonaldTrump lost his financial lifeline -- his father's businesses. But after that, Trump didn't cut back. He expanded, using unorthodox financial tactics: all-cash purchases & big loans from a small office at Deutsche Bank.” You know, “Just another story of corruption that would destroy a President IF...we weren't stuck in The Twilight Zone,” notes Steve Cochran.
More great journalism
Forget “Petrov.” According to the latest from the Bellingcat investigation team, Second Skripal Poisoning Suspect Identified as Dr. Alexander Mishkin. As Bellingcat tweets, “Doctor... who? Together with Russia’s The Insider, we have identified the second Skripals poisoning suspect as Alexander Mishkin, trained medical doctor in the employ of the GRU.” The team has also released its full report on Skripal Poisoning Suspect Dr. Alexander Mishkin, Hero of Russia, tweeting, “The good doctor: Our full report on ‘Alexander Petrov’ is up, and we daresay it’s quite the read.”
Remember Google+? Well, “And now...this: great reporting by @bobmcmillan & @dmac1,” tweets Daniela Hernandez. Douglas MacMillan and Robert McMillan at The Wall Street Journal are reporting that Google Exposed User Data, Feared Repercussions of Disclosing to Public. Rachel Bachman offers “Congratulations to Google+ users who, like me, set up an account years ago and promptly abandoned it. Our neglect has been vindicated.” For Ryan Mac, “The story here isn’t really the potential data breach (which may affected hundreds of thousands) or that Google is shutting down Google+. It’s that Google's execs knowingly avoided disclosing an issue because they knew it’d invite gov scrutiny & bad PR.”
(For the response from Google, read Project Strobe: Protecting your data, improving our third-party APIs, and sunsetting consumer Google+, by Ben Smith, Google’s Vice President of Engineering.)
Elle magazine’s Madison Feller sat down with Jane Mayer of the New Yorker, who talked about how her reporting partnership with Ronan Farrow works and how she’s holding the world’s most powerful men accountable. Put simply, “.@JaneMayerNYer is a fucking boss,” tweets Leah Chernikoff.
And Rebekah Metzler links to “Superb @DanaBashCNN reporting.” That’s Dana Bash’s piece at CNN, Heidi Heitkamp was ready to vote ‘yes’ on Kavanaugh. Then she watched him with the sound off. Poppy Harlow calls it a “Must read from @DanaBashCNN who just sat down w/ @SenatorHeitkamp who told her re Kavanaugh —’When someone shows you who they are, believe them.’” Adds Ryan Struyk, “.@DanaBashCNN is amazing. Exhibit A. Great read on the pivotal decision for the most vulnerable Democratic Senator in 2018.”
Now it’s #holyshit
An AP Investigation by Garance Burke and Martha Mendoza found that deported parents can lose custody of kids, and as Paula Froelich says, “JFC - now it’s #holyshit.” Tweets Maria Ines Zamudio, “This @AP investigation is important and troubling. Deported parents may lose kids to adoption. The AP found ‘holes in the system that allow state court judges to grant custody of migrant children to American families-without notifying their parents.’”
The headline says it all in this one. In Migrant Children in Search of Justice: A 2-Year-Old’s Day in Immigration Court (91,000+ shares), Vivian Yee and Miriam Jordan of The New York Times tell the story of a toddler separated from her family and appearing before the bench in a federal immigration courtroom. Brooke Sutherland says simply, “This is heartbreaking.”
Erin Cunningham of The Washington Post has the latest on missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, reporting that Turkey demands Saudi Arabia’s “full cooperation” in probe of missing Saudi journalist. Abe Kenmore points out, “You know things are bad when even Erdogan is calling you out for mistreatment of a journalist.” Danny Hakim agrees, tweeting, “The state of journalism: The leader of Turkey, the ‘world’s worst jailer’ of journalists according to @pressfreedom, tells Saudis to prove journalist left Istanbul consulate and was not murdered there.”
Meanwhile, “Where is Jamal? My colleague @LovedayM and I spoke to the fiancé of #JamalKhashoggi, who also confirmed this photograph showing the @washingtonpost contributor’s last known moments as he entered the #SaudiArabian consulate in #Istanbul.” Souad Mekhennet links to her piece with Loveday Morris of The Washington Post, Jamal Khashoggi's fiancee speaks out about his disappearance in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
And now, on to what Omar Waraich says is “The worst thing you will read today,” a piece about which Dominic Dudley tweets, “Here's a fine example of a journalist who seems to think he's more important than the story he's covering.” In his column for The New York Times, Thomas Friedman writes that he’s Praying for Jamal Khashoggi. Sulome Anderson points out, “No one knows for sure if Khashoggi is dead and Friedman revealed him as an anonymous source who provided quotes critical of the Saudi government with no concern for Khashoggi’s friends and family who could be targeted in retaliation. Unbelievably careless.” And Glenn Kessler finds it “Funny how this article by Tom Friedman on Jamal Khashoggi, exposing him as a source makes no mention of this article from less than a year ago.”
A whole nother level
Say what you will, but the numbers don’t lie. A Flood Of Voters In Tennessee Have Rushed To Register After Taylor Swift's Instagram Post (72,000+ shares), report Claudia Rosenbaum and Michael Blackmon of BuzzFeed News. Doug Bierend suggests, “what if we encouraged a deeper engagement between popular culture and politics instead of pretending they run on separate tracks.”
Speaking of pop culture and politics, Is Ted Cruz “Tough As Texas”? is the new ad directed by Richard Linklater for the Fire Ted Cruz PAC, and you really ought to watch that. As Gillian Brockell says, “The come-and-take-it flag hat really brings this political ad directed by Linklater to a whole nother level.”
"And then there’s Kanye West, who is expected to visit Trump at the White House on Thursday, according to the report by Maggie Haberman at The New York Times. As Meagan Fredette notes, “The timeline is killing us all.”
A very meta Talk of The Town
So here’s what you need, because, as Laura J. Nelson says, “This story about Daniel Radcliffe moonlighting in the @NewYorker fact-checking department is very soothing.” About his New Yorker piece, Daniel Radcliffe and the Art of the Fact-Check, Michael Schulman explains, “Daniel Radcliffe, who’s playing a fact checker on Broadway, came to the New Yorker offices two weeks ago to embed in the fact-checking department. A very meta Talk of the Town.” Davey Alba offers an “ALT HED: Daniel Radcliffe and the Defense of the Dark Arts.” Tweets Rebecca Greenfield, “Well, this rules. ‘I just fact-checked a fucking article!’ -- Daniel Radcliffe, aka Harry Potter.” In case you’re not yet convinced, Sarah Kaplan gives us the all-caps version: “DANIEL RADCLIFFE MOONLIGHTED (moonlit?) AS A FACT CHECKER FOR @NewYorker AND THE ENTIRE AFFAIR WAS JUST AS DELIGHTFUL AS YOU WANT IT TO BE.” As Emily E. Smith says, “I just want to read this story forever.”
A big story breaking this morning: UN Ambassador Nikki Haley has resigned. Jamie Gangel, Jeremy Diamond, Kevin Liptak and Elise Labott of CNN confirm the story first reported by Jonathan Swan at Axios.
At The Washington Post, Matt Viser and Robert Costa reveal the new GOP messaging strategy for the midterms: ‘An angry mob’: Republicans work to recast Democratic protests as out-of-control anarchy. Also at The Post, Max Boot writes that the dark side of American conservatism has taken over. Or as Eric Alterman puts it, “Here's Max Boot writing the piece I still want to see from Bill Kristol.”
In a new exclusive for HuffPost, Paul Waugh writes, “The Labour MP for Derby North, Chris Williamson, will ‘definitely’ be challenged under new party rules that have made it easier to oust sitting MPs, several sources have said.” That piece reveals Corbyn Ally Who Campaigned For Deselection Faces…Deselection By Angry Unions.
AP’s Isabel Debre reports that, in a first-of-its-kind case, Israel has held an American graduate student at its international airport for a whole week, accusing her of supporting a Palestinian-led boycott movement against the Jewish state.
And finally today, a nice guy finishing first: The New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees is now the leading passer in NFL history, and as ESPN’s Mike Triplett notes, “he passed Manning in spectacular fashion.”