The pack chases
The big buzz this morning comes from the Axios scoop by Jonathan Swan, originally headlined, Trump to terminate birthright citizenship (59,000+ shares). The story is based on Trump’s comments in an exclusive interview for “Axios on HBO.” As Jamelle Bouie explains, “this is a PR move—the president cannot simply rewrite the constitution according to dubious legal theories—but it still matters as a statement about what Trump wants and where he intends to take the conversation—to revoking citizenship outright.” Daniel Froomkin, meanwhile, says this is “Everything wrong with elite political journalism right here: Cozying up to Trump to get ratings, goading him into new hyperbole, no pushback, reporting it like it’s actually going to happen, the pack chases.”
John Wagner writes about it at The Washington Post, Trump eyeing executive order to end citizenship for children of noncitizens born on U.S. soil (180,000+ shares), and Glenn Kessler calls it “Another shiny object dangled in front of us.” Martha Wexler is able to “Suggest a better headline: ‘Trump suggests clearly unconstitutional idea of ending birthright citizenship by executive order.’” Also, Mythili Sampathkumar points out, “The best part about this whole thing: Trump and none of his children - except Tiffani - would be US citizens had it been enacted at various points in US history.”
Julie Hirschfeld Davis has The New York Times coverage, Trump Wants to End Birthright Citizenship. Tweets Matt Bai, “So let me understand this. The 2nd amendment is absolute and literal, to be read only as a 1st grader would. But the 14th amendment is open to a kaleidoscope of interpretations based on theories of intent.”
Precisely what we don’t need now
The other big Trump story is the news that the U. S. will deploy 5,200 additional troops to the Mexican border, officials say. Dan Lamothe and Nick Miroff have been following the developments for The Washington Post. Miroff points out, “The deployment of such a large contingent of active-duty troops (not National Guard) to the border has no modern precedent and appears to be the largest since the Mexican Revolution.”
Hirschfeld Davis reports on the story for The New York Times, Trump Sending 5,200 Troops to the Border in an Election-Season Response to Migrants, and Ray Locker says, “Movement of active-duty troops to the border to stop a rag-tag group of migrants 1,000 miles aways is all show, no action.” Adds Aaron Miller, “Sending 5200 troops to border is another example of Trump finding a solution to a problem we don’t have. It will convey a sense of crisis and inflame passions on immigration which is precisely what we don’t need now.” Meanwhile, Mara Gay has an offer: “Would trade 52,000 refugees for 1 bigot.”
CNN’s Brian Stelter links to his report from CNN Tonight, Pittsburgh suspect echoed talking point that dominated Fox News in October, tweeting, “The Pittsburgh suspect's hatred of Jews merged with a hatred of immigrant ‘invaders.’ We may never know where he heard this hateful language, but right-wing media has been saturated with ‘invasion’ and ‘invaders’ talk lately. So I wrote about it.” Tweets Sarah Boxer, “As the White House continues to blame ‘the media’ for a divided nation, consider the stats of one outlet, laid out by @brianstelter.” Stelter notes that the word “invasion” was used in relation to the caravan more than 60 times on Fox News in October, according to closed captioning transcripts.
Incapable of arresting the flow of hate speech
In case you hadn’t noticed, “The last few days have been horrible, and Twitter/Facebook/YouTube/etc have been making it worse.” Sheera Frenkel links to her new story in The New York Times with Mike Isaac and Kate Conger, a piece that had to have been nauseating to research: On Instagram, 11,696 Examples of How Hate Thrives on Social Media. Benjamin Law asks, “What do bombs/mass shootings in the US, the election in Brazil, killings in Myanmar and vigilante murders in India have in common? Social media companies’ incapacity to arrest the flow of hate speech and conspiracy theories. Now it shakes the real world.”
For a stark contrast to literally all of the above, read about Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz, a family doctor who, at a time when much of America shunned people with H.I.V., welcomed them in. Rabinowitz was killed in the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue. Julie Turkewitz tells his story in her New York Times piece, Family Doctor Killed in Pittsburgh Shooting ‘Held a Lamp Up That Lit the Way.’ She tweets, “When others were shunned, he took them in. ‘With him, we were safe.’ Pressing lessons for trying times. My tribute to Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz, a man gunned down in a place that was supposed to be his sanctuary.” He was a true example of “Kindness,” as Tucker Shaw says.
Nick Keppler of The Daily Beast also writes about Rabinowitz, Pittsburgh Shooting Victim Treated Gay Men With AIDS Before It Even Had a Name. Tweets The Daily Beast, “When Pittsburgh’s men asked who to see about a mysterious illness in the ’70s/’80s, they were told one name: Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz. The physician, who was murdered at the Tree of Life synagogue, earned his reputation on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic.”
And Daniel Fienberg of The Hollywood Reporter pens A Tribute to My Aunt Joyce Fienberg, A Victim of the Pittsburgh Shooting. “I am heartsick to read this piece from @thefienprint. It is something he should never have had to write. It is something nobody should ever have to write,” says Mark Harris.
Meanwhile, Eli Rosenberg at The Washington Post writes about Allegheny General Hospital’s president, Dr. Jeffrey K. Cohen, and the powerful humanity of the Jewish hospital staff that treated Robert Bowers. Jessica Goldstein highlights, “The Pittsburgh shooter was still shouting ‘I want to kill Jews’ when he got to the ER. Then his life was saved by Jewish doctors and nurses. Dr. Cohen, hospital president & Tree of Life congregant: ‘We’re here to take care of people that need our help.’”
In Journalism While Brown and When to Walk Away, Sunny Dhillon explains on Medium why “I’ve decided to leave The Globe and Mail after a dispute over a story involving race. You can read more here.” “Hey....we should all read this and talk about this in our newsrooms #journalism,” tweets Jen St. Denis. Mark Hume adds, “Sorry to hear Sunny Dhillon has left The Globe & disturbed to hear why. He is a passionate, young reporter of colour; an aspiring screenwriter, standup comic & author. His voice is important & I hope he finds a new platform soon.”
The Grifters – how it all worked
Brent Staples links to the new story by Maggie Haberman and Benjamin Weiser of The New York Times, Trump Persuaded Struggling People to Invest in Scams, Lawsuit Says (64,000+ shares). Tweets Grant Stern, “Another day, another Trump racketeering lawsuit drops. The whole Trump family just got sued for ACN, a sales scam they were paid to promote that raked in cash from ordinary people.”
This is a gut punch
Well, there’s more terrible news. According to a new report by the World Wildlife Fund, 60% of world’s wildlife has been wiped out since 1970 (32,000+ shares). Emily Chung of CBC News writes about that “Cool cool. Cool cool cool. Totally not terrifying information,” as Jaela Bernstien puts it. Or as Simon Worrall says, “Staggering. Unconscionable. Appalling.”
Damian Carrington covers the story at The Guardian, Humanity has wiped out 60% of animals since 1970, and “This is a gut punch,” as Chelsea G. Summers says.
Rob Picheta’s piece for CNN emphasizes the fact that This is the ‘last generation’ that can save nature, WWF says. He highlights, “The report also found that 90% of seabirds have plastics in their stomachs, compared with 5% in 1960.” “Good morning (sigh),” tweets Carole King.
Happy (or not)
OK, if you’re looking for something a little different, well, as Mario Aguilar says, “There's a lot of good shit in this @harvilla piece on Now That's What I Call Music but my fav are the 2018 interviews with one hit wonders from when I was a kid.” He’s referring to Rob Harvilla’s piece for The Ringer about The History of ‘Now That’s What I Call Music!,’ the Pre-Streaming Playlist Behemoth. There are some pluses and minuses to reading this one, though. Tweets Crystal Bell, “1. I used to play ‘Now That's What I Call Music!’ Vol. 7 on repeat. 2. This is an excellent feature. 3. I feel so old.” Also, take it from us, you might be at risk of getting “Flagpole Sitta” stuck in your head for the rest of the day.
And one more while we’re talking music history: NBC News reports that Pharrell Williams sent Trump a cease-and-desist for playing ‘Happy’ at a rally, but he’s certainly not the first. Devon Ivie at Vulture has compiled a list of some of the “pissed-off victims,” in The History of Musicians Saying ‘Hell No’ to Donald Trump Using Their Songs.